I hear you have grown a beard. The kind intellectuals grow when they are producing some mind-boggling theories. Overheard a conversation between the gods of miracle and impossibility, Contemplating who wins in our battle, I the stupid optimist or you the fearful. Mountains can become […]
Arrive in Lagos, and you can feel the pulse of the city; sharp and strong like blue cheese. Lagos doesn’t wait for you to get your head around it. Even in the enclosed space of the airport, it envelops you with its ebullience and in this season, its dusty Harmattan weather.
I once said to a friend that the Atlantic Ocean in my part of the world is woman that likes to show off with its boisterous waves. Lagos on the other hand feels like a good wake up slap on the face. She is a grandmother from the early 60s, who has no sense of personal space and will hug you with her musty Saturday-Night-powder-like fragrance and equally curse you out if you don’t understand how things are done properly here.
As an ardent traveller and student of the world- people, skies and smells- are some of the main ways l identify and connect to various spaces. Growing up in Ghana, l have come to expect warm folks willing to help visitors easily. In the last couple of years, becoming the other in many lands, l have come to relish and miss that trait.
With my limited travel around the continent, l reminded how Africa is such a diverse continent! It still blows my mind why anyone will think of lumping all of us into one homogeneous group. Nigeria alone is an example of such diversity. The number of languages flying around in the arrival hall of the airport is evidence of this: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, and English. Oh and not forgetting the ubiquitous pidgin that makes me, the stranger in this space, feel a little at home.
Grueling, is the only word to explain how my first night in Lagos was spent in the dark. ‘NEPA’ decided l needed a baptism of fire to remind me this isn’t the my privileged constant supply of electricity that l was used to! My misconception that a constant supply of electricity is a God given right will not be tolerated. This is a land of over 20 million inhabitants and survival under any circumstance is crucial.
As l lay down trying to conjure sleep in the hot musty room, barricaded by security metal rails and a bullet proof door, l think of the Lagos l read about in books, projected in the media and spoken about in many contexts and the contradiction that a first night presents is palpable. The worlds l envisaged through the eyes of Emecheta’s The Concubine, Adicihie’s Americanah and many books all wait to show some glimpses of themselves. I cannot wait to see more of this dynamic city and hopefully the great nation that is Nigeria, especially in these times.