Wish for Africa Foundation

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Thursday 3rd June 2010



In the middle of the night I woke up and as I opened my eyes I couldn’t see, oh no I thought I’m blind, then I remembered I was in Lagos and NEPA was down. I scrambled to the end of the bed to find the table and my phone as I pressed it there was light! Not blind at all just dark.

Today was going to be a girl’s day out with Angela and she had gone to work till lunch time so I had a lazy start to my day. I laid in my bed checking out the internet and chatting with Tony, then Michelle back home on skype.

Angela came for me at midday and we headed for Victoria Island over the Third Mainland Bridge, past the fat fish and houses on stilts and eventually to the huge impressive buildings, the other side of Lagos. We were headed for the UBA bank that Damola works in to swap drivers so that Angela’s driver could go and pick the children up from school.

This meant the usual thing of sitting in Lagos traffic, which although would drive me mad back home, I do get pleasure in watching Lagos go by. The Okada drivers and their passengers, although most of them on Victoria Island only had one passenger, many carry two or more and the things you see people carrying whilst on them can be amazing. Huge panes of glass, long lengths of pipes or wood, heavy bags on their heads and often babies strapped to the backs of mothers. Although it is law to have a helmet, like most laws here it is not followed too well. Often if the Okada rider has a helmet it is in his hand or often it is a hard hat from a building site.

As we headed from inner town to the edge heading for Shoprite, we passed along a road that is currently under construction. I had passed this way last year and it was good to see the progress that was being made. A toll had been built which I’m sure I saw the foundations for last year and couldn’t see what it was, although it had not yet started to take money.

This part of town has some of the most expensive hotels about and they look very grand and obviously cost a fortune to stay in. I would imagine most of the visitors to these are business men/women and there must be many as there are loads of hotels and they must make money to survive. There are also more under construction so the need must be about. The oil industry here is very big and a lot of business comes from that I guess.

This is when you see the extremes of wealth side by side grand beautiful buildings and outside the cooking pots and sellers in their shacks. The stop and shop sellers making the money in the chaos of the traffic.

We finally arrived at Shoprite which is a large Asda type shop near Lekki that also has smaller outlet shops and another big warehouse type shop called Game within the complex. In these you can pretty much buy anything and there were lots of familiar brands and food I haven’t seen since I was in the UK. This was the first time in this visit that I didn’t feel as though I stood out so much, as there were several non-Africans doing their shopping there.

I excitedly got crusty bread rolls, camembert cheese, salt and vinegar crisps and of course chocolate! If I ever lived here in Lagos as long as I was near Shoprite I could survive. We walked around and looked at the shops but shortly had to head back to the car. By the time I got back in the car the chocolate was started, very nice too.

We then made our way to the Silverbird cinema. I have been there before on my last visit but not to go to the cinema. We had a look around and then grabbed some lunch at a Nando’s type restaurant, once we had finished there we had time to spare before the film, so we walked around the shops and I got a couple of small gifts to take home.

We then went and purchased popcorn and then Angela insisted on us having ice cream too which was a really nice treat and thoroughly enjoyable. The Silverbird complex was really nice, well decorated certainly by Nigerian standards and the toilets were spotless, the cleanest I have been in, in Nigeria. There was even nice toilet paper (this matters to a girl), even the public toilets in the Hilton Abuja were disappointing. The film we saw was Robin Hood and very good that was too. The only thing was it was running to African time and we were meant to go in at 5.30 and we were told to wait as the previous showing had yet to finish it was 5.50 before it started. Well, when I say started, we sat and watched the end credits before the start of our showing (only in Nigeria).

When it had finished we made our way to the driver outside and he took us home. The traffic was not too bad and we passed over third mainland quite quickly the stilted houses almost invisible in the darkness of night. The busy night time trade was under way and the streets as always were busy with people going about their business. When we got home the children greeted us with excitement, and I gave them the popcorn I hadn’t eaten and retreated to my room (to eat chocolate!).

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