Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Wednesday 26th May 2010
Woken up by the heat as NEPA was down, the kids sounded grumpy maybe they were hot too. Showered and dressed I got my breakfast from the kitchen, cornflakes with powdered milk, fresh milk doesn’t seem to be available here everyone mixes powder with water. I said good morning to Mama as she is fondly referred to, she is the house keeper. She often giggles at my attempts at Yoruba at her as I say E-se (thank you) & E-karo (good morning).
Mr Dee picked me up this morning, the traffic was bad again and we slowly crawled and weaved our way to Mafoluku. Without the luxury of air con in Mr Dee’s car when we stopped the heat soared, he kept apologising as the electric window is also faulty and wouldn’t fully open. I really didn’t mind his kindness at picking me up was far greater than my discomfort.
As we drove or rather sat in traffic I watched the Lagos world go by which never ceases to amaze me or make me laugh or cry. Such a mix of things that are so different to what I see as normal living in the UK. People are fetching water from communal taps and then walking with the heavy and full buckets and bowls of water on their heads. So many shack type shops selling pretty much anything you can imagine, it makes you wonder how they make any money when so many sell the same things. LAWMA, Road workers sweeping the roads in an attempt to keep Lagos clean. Men working hard digging the dirt and garbage from the large road side gutters, that separate the road and the shops to allow for drainage. At every entrance to the shop there are precarious boards to cross over like a draw bridge.
The disabled begging many seem to have these skateboard type things to sit on as their legs are withered and thin due to polio, they shoot around the traffic in hope of money, no wheelchairs for them. Many of these I understand from Femi came from the north where they refused vaccines as they fear it is something ‘Christians’ will give them to kill them. Improvement has been made in the area and fewer people now suffer from Polio. Still many can be seen in most areas along the roads begging.
Once at Mafoluku I took advantage of the fans to cool down and grabbed a sprite, all was quiet so I caught up on the internet. Femi made his breakfast which made me laugh, a pint glass filled with cornflakes, several sugar cubes, milk powder then water poured over the top (I spent five minutes making sure my power had dissolved before adding cornflakes! Only in Nigeria!).
Money was required to buy paint to freshen up the downstairs in preparation for the party. The staff hadn’t budgeted for this so I gave them money from the donations 2000 naira which is only about £9. They purchased paint and keenly commenced painting. It could be said a little too keenly as it was everywhere, no masking tape, no sheeting just rollers and paint, and once Femi had seen it and raised his voice (scary!) cloths were grabbed and light switches, tables, desks, floors and faces were wiped. We then had a quick African dance move session before I treated them to donuts for all their hard work.
After noon and the TV crew arrived from IMPC to shot a short documentary on Wish For Africa. They are behind a charity football match that is being held on 6th June with celebrity players and one of the teams will be playing for us. As we went from room to room for different shots one of the staff members were interviewed, then Femi, then myself. By the time it was my turn I was suitably hot and sweaty, being a celebrity certainly isn’t my thing, but all in a good cause.
Mr Dee then took me home borrowing Femi’s car as he didn’t want me sweating so much again, and we have to go straight for a radio station tomorrow. Poor Femi will have to slum it in Mr Dee’s car if he goes out, sorry! On the way home we drove through a different area of town, Mongoro Agege. It was the first time I had seen a railway, as with many things here it appeared to be work in progress some of the lines were being replaced, many were not properly joined. Further down the track I could see a train but it is obviously restricted on its destination. Apparently like many things that fail here, the people that were in government had no interest in railways but in haulage, so why put money into something that you personally won’t make money from? Plans are now set to improve the railway system and like all major cities they recognise the need for a better railway system if the dreams of a Mega city are to come to fruition.
On my return I was greeted by the children, all started calmly as they joined me in the room then they were full of excitement and came in jumping over me and the bed. After a while Mama came in and insisted they left the room to calm down. Any shyness from them has certainly gone. They have their moments but the are such beautiful children I am blessed to be staying with them (as long as the keep out of my bags :-)