Pic Credit: http://www.jideodukoya.com
I have written about Lagos a couple of times from a perspective, a single side. There are several sides to a story, several views of a picture, several angles to a view. I am inspired by my walk ins and out of Lagos. Still in Lagos and rounding up now; this story is inspired by Lagos.
He wasn’t certain about Ada’s final decision, he had walked up and down the length of his office everyday deep in thought. She just had to go to Harvard, as far as he was concerned, she had no choice. She was his offspring and she had to listen to him; well so he thought but that was not the case with Ada his daughter, who always made it a point to remind him that she had come to live her life as she chose and gone were the days that parents could order their children on major decisions regarding her life. In turn, he had acted like he was guiding her to go to Harvard and would shrug his shoulders after every mini speech while saying,
“All that matters is your happiness, nothing more”. His daughter would look at him and laugh in reply. He knew that she knew that he wanted her to go to a prestigious university, particularly one that he had attended. He wanted her to be a medical doctor, a well trained one that would be the administrator of the hospital he was building in memory of his late mother. The only place that he could vent out his frustration and anxiety was in his office, far from his wife and daughter. Tired of walking up and down fruitlessly, he reached for his briefcase on his table, marched out to his car and sat at the right rear seat of his car, which was termed the owner’s corner, while his driver ran towards the car to drive him home.
Far away in Igando, a suburb in Lagos state, Funke ran along the street she cared less about the car horns and okada drivers reigning curses on her. She wanted to get home and she had to get there fast. She moved swiftly pass the street hawkers and pedestrians forming clusters everywhere she passed. As she got to the front of the broken down house that she and her parents called home she broke down in tears. The Government officials were already at work, breaking down their home. As she stood in front of the house she watched as people yelled and screamed, running up and down. Some carried the few pieces of treasured items that they could from the place they called home, while others just stood and cried. Tears streamed down her face and she fell to her knees, in the midst of the rubble, she buried her face on the ground and she wept. Her mother had warned her father not to move into the broken down house with the big X written right in front of the house in red, but her father had insisted they moved in, the building being their last resort. They shared the 3 bedroom building with five other families.
Little did Funke know that a week later, the scholarship she had applied for would be granted. She would go across the ocean and pursue her studies. The first in her father’s family to go to college in the white man’s land.
Ada had made up her mind to go to Harvard long before her father had expressed his desire for her to go there. She had proven indifferent because she didnt want him to believe he could talk her into anything he wanted against her will.
Ada and Funke would later study at the prestigious university and both of them developed a friendship that had blossomed into a sisterhood. As soon as Ada found out she would spend the christmas in Lagos she was very excited and ran into Funke’s room.
“Funke, I am going to Lagos and you are coming too!” Funke had been observing her regular siesta when her good friend ran into her room disturbing her beauty sleep. Initially she had been upset when she heard someone yelling but realizing that it was Ada, she perked up and rose half way up sitting up on her bed to talk to her friend. Now Ada was jumping up and down her bed and all Funke could pick from her words was that she was going to Lagos. Perplexed by the type of joy that Ada was displaying, she asked,
“Why are you so excited?”, extending her hand and turning up her palm querying Ada. Ada starred back at her friend surprised, she got up off the foot of Funke’s bed and sat close to her, right beside her, with her eyes gleaming, she said,
“Funke, lets go to Lagos and have fun, lets go and meet the eligible bachelors and eat suya. Let us go and shake our bodies, drink zobo, get in touch with the friends that we have left behind and reconnect with our ties back in the motherland”.
Funke looked at her friend and sadness fell upon her face. She looked at her friend and she wondered how she could ask her to go to Lagos. Lagos that had beckoned to her father from the village and he had lived the illusion of Lagos life the fantasy land until hunger drove him back to his village in anger. Lagos that she had seen her younger brothers starve and made her steal garri from their neighbor’s cooking bowl to feed them. Anger, pain and sadness welled up inside her and then with fury in her eyes she fastened her gaze on her friend and asked,
suya = grilled shredded beef…
garri = dry cassava flakes
zobo = flavoured drink from a plant called Roselle, from the calyx of Hibiscus Sadbriffa