A portion of the bridge was turned into a car park with Alaye Boys (Area Boys) controlling that particular business.
Making a living under the bridge (Jibowu/Yaba)
I am a firm believer that there is something to learn from everyone and from every thing. Even from things that we may view as being negative, we learn what-not-to-do. Sometimes these lessons are not new to us but act as a reminder to us of what we should already know.
I have a lot of friends that I have learnt from and inspired by bloggers like Overwhelmed, Uzo and London Buki, I have decided to start a series called LEARNING FROM MY FRIENDS. I have started with my favourite story. The story of Bobo.
Bobo was a fine-boy-no-pimples and had da body to boot. He worked in one of the top Oil companies in Nigeria. I met him when I was attached there. He had exquisite taste in everything. He looked good, dressed well and had the nicest ride in town. Looking from the outside in, he looked like the average guy (no offence intended) that would spend his last dime to look good and basically live from check to check as a result.
Then I got to know him. We became fast friends after his birthday party which I (uncharacteristically, I admit) attended. We hung out several times after that and I quickly to the realization that apart from beauty and brawns (wo, the bobo was fyne!! forgive me if I say it a lot), he also had a brain. How? Well, let’s start with the fact that EVERYTHING he bought was bought under the condition that it would not come directly from his salary. It had to come from one of his various businesses or investments. All said investments were originally funded by his salary. In addition to a state of the art cyber-café (which I heard he got rid of when the cyber café business took a nose dive), he sold gold jewelry (he was a supplier to a few retailers in our little town of in South-South Nigeria). He also bought high quality furniture for people from Italy. From time to time, if the market was right, he would also bring in articles of clothing (that was something that was scarce where we lived and always sold like hot cake). He was also always on the look-out for any business deals that would bring in more money. Any expense he had was taken care of from the proceeds of his investments.
Let me give you an example of how he lived his life. His house was largely unfurnished when I met him. He could easily have bought furniture that he would make do with, but he was not in a hurry to cram his house with things he claimed would not make him unhappy or that he would have to throw away in due course. More expensive in the long run. Whenever he had an order to fill for furniture, he would buy use the profit to buy at least one item, e.g a table, a set of chairs, a sofa and that was how he was slowly and surely filling his house. With classic items that would be relevant at least 6 or more years down the line.
Also, he had the best car amongst his peers. Make no mistake, it was just a Tokunbo (second hand) car (he invested the rest of his car loan). His colleagues tried to counsel him against buying such an expensive car and a few even tried to talk him into buying a cheaper Tokunbo (second hand) car. Bobo stuck to his guns, rocked his car for 2years, had minimal visits to the mechanic garage and when the car started flooding the Nigerian market, sold it at close to the amount he got it for.
He sold the car to one of his colleagues. Ironically, it was one of those that had counseled him against getting such an expensive car. By the way, he took that money and bought an even nicer Toyota. It was so nice that it sparked a rumor that he had been promoted at work and given a car to boot. His plan was to slowly climb his way to a brand new car.
Okay, enough for long story. Here are the morals of the tale:
* Treat your salary like it’s your capital.
* Pay for nothing from your capital
* Invest, invest, invest.
* Put a part of your profit back into investment. Don’t spend it all.
* Buy what you are happy with. It’s cheaper in the long run.
The reaction I generally get is disbelief and a loud “eh? No waay o!”
Their reasons for my need to celebrate?
Give thanks to the Lord for His Gift.
I am pretty certain that all the thanks I have given Him everyday for almost a year have been received. My Creator aint baal.
Did your parents not celebrate your first birthday for you?
And by doing so, did I sign a contract that I would definitely do the same for my own child?
This is one of the most important and happiest days of her life.
Granted, that is why we are having cake and ice-cream. Besides, she will have many more important and happiest days in her life to rival this one.
She will need to see pictures when she is growing up.
My family members and I plus any friends that pop by for cake and ice-cream will gather around her and take pictures around the cake.
In fact, there is no reason I can think of why I absolutely MUST throw a party for her. I have taken my daughter to 2 parties and each time, she was uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn as though could not quite believe the crowd around her. How will she then enjoy this carnival I have been asked to throw for her?
I am more inclined to throwing her a party when she turns 5. At least that way, she will actually get to enjoy her own bouncy castle, train ride and the food that is being served, even the presents that she receives. She will also have her own friends there rather than just the adults that want to eat out of my largesse by chopping and getting their children entertained for free at her first birthday party.
Anyway, this week, perhaps because the pressure had intensified, I asked a friend and colleague whose mother has a catering outfit how much she thinks it would cost to cater to about 50 guests. Her quote seemed rather reasonable so for 30 minutes after our conversation, all those that asked me the "oh so important question" of when the party was going to hold, I told that I was thinking of just doing rice salad, drinks. That just opened a can of worms as they started with:
“Ah, no party is complete without bouncy castle.”
“Train rides, nko?”
“What about party packs? I am going to the market tomorrow. Just give me the contract” …*wink* *wink*…
Through the gate, you can see the stage and also the big screen TV behind.
I had to re-work the 2nd picture to cut out the girl leaning on the gate (She's publicity shy). I just want y'all to see the distance to the stage.
When I saw these pictures, I was rather dismayed and thought to myself that this is just typical of Nigerians. Our need to prove that we are different from the masses just keeps finding new ways to humiliate those that have less than we do. Nouveau riche attitude really, something garish about it.
Well, trust my naija people, they eventually found their way into the VIP area on both days.
All that said sha, they obviously had FUN!!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Don't yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise.
- Get used to "Okada" drivers saying things like:"Commot that scrap for road", "Mr. I go drive myself". It is normal, just ignore them.
- The first parking space you see will be the last parking space yousee. Grab it.
- Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes car-holes) are put in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.
- There is no such thing as "one-way" in Lagos. Expect traffic from any direction at all times.
- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork.
- It is traditional in Lagos to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant their bumpers are not touching the next car.
- When asking for directions, always ask at least 3 people. Lagosians claim to know every inch of the city - even newcomers.
- Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.
- Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Lagos drivers,unused to such courtesies, will think you are making obscene gestures to them. This could be very bad for you in Lagos.
- Hazard lights (popularly called "double pointer") is not, (as commonly supposed) used to indicate a hazard. It is a warning to you that he is a bonafide Lagos driver, and as such, will not stop under any circumstance.Take him extremely seriously especially if he backs it up with a continuous blast from his "horn".
- At any given time , do not stand on the zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you, else you will have to explain to the oncoming traffic that you look like a zebra.
- Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.
-Remember that the goal of every driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.
- Above all, keep moving.
This post is fast not becoming what I had in my mind, so I'll stop. See y'all.
For the purpose of this mail permit me to refer to "power" or “electricity” as light". That is what I am used to.
You've probably heard the jokes:
There was a neighborhood which had not had light for 4 years. Somehow, the god of NEPA smiled at them, men came in a van, tinkered with the wires and hey pronto!!- the light came on. Children that had been born in the last 4 years and had never seen a bulb come on, much less a television ran and hid in fright, crying that "ojuju" (masquerade) had come.
So I was on my way back home from work yesterday. A colleague was seated in the vehicle next to me. As we approached the area, we both automatically started doing something that a lot of people in Lagos and I imagine other parts of Nigeria do. It’s called "light hunting". For those that are not privy to this rather interesting and subtle sport let me explain the aim of the game:
* To tell from 5 or more streets away from home if NEPA (now known as PHCN) has provided you with light (electricity).
There are rules to this game. The highly skilled in this game can
* tell you the houses that have their light bulbs on night and day. These are most prized.
* tell you which ones have recently bought generators and as such are not eligible to be used as criteria to judge as to whether there is light.
Anyways so I was on my way home and just as we turned a corner, I started to say "there's..." and he said "...light!" We looked at each other and smiled. The smile of "ah, so you too even sabi!" Apparently, the guy even sabi more than me. He said “thank goodness, I will go and iron my clothes because we are off tomorrow.” Off? I asked what he meant. Apparently, there is some sort of load shedding going on on his street where they have light for 3days on, one day off. On the day off, there will never be light. At the same time, on the “on” days, there might not be light for a few hours. Not surprising.
What started this post? We just received our NEPA bill and surprise! Surprise!! It was less than N1,000. In a house were the light bulbs are constantly blazing and were we have an assortments electronic implements to make life just a bit easier? Hmmm. goes to show you how often we have had light in the last month.
Now I got to go. Typing this post is exacerbating my headache. That’s because I am in the middle of appraising some people at work and I thought that this would relax me. It didn’t. Back to the grind.
The deadline for submission is soon. I will write more after it’s over.
And no, my tutor does not look that hot.
I had an accident yesterday.
I was on the third mainland bridge, going from Victoria Island to the Adekunle exit that leads to Ebute-Metta. My daughter was in the back in her car seat so of course I was doing je-je on the road. I was just going btw 80-100 km/h and the next thing I saw, a second too late, was a hole on the road. I hit it with a bit of force and heard a big thwack! I was like, “what the heck?”...Next thing I know, the car is wobbling a bit and I realize that I have a flat tire. I tried slowing down, no way. It was going wobble wobble wobble in the meanest of way so I just put it in park. It finally shuddered to a stop.
I could not even really get off the road properly. I was on the slow lane yeah, but anyone that knows 3rd mainland can attest to the fact that there are no slow lanes. At this point, my heart was thumping. It was 6.00p.m and I was alone with my daughter on this dangerous bridge...eek! Talk about being a sitting duck!! I got down and ran to the passenger side to see assess the damage. I just glanced at it and ran back in (I was wearing 3” heels and did not feel good about standing there with that ferocious wind whipping around me). Have I ever mentioned that I have a bad case of vertigo? I hate heights with a passion. I always have this sensation that I am about to fall. And then I feel uncomfortable around large bodies of water. If there is a deep bowl of water, it’s almost impossible to get me to dip my hand in it. I was more or less facing the ocean and I was on this bridge that was vibrating at a constant frequency. Men, I felt like vomiting. My heart was still thumping. Luckily my phone battery hadn’t given out (my charger has issues) so I called my classmate (I was just coming from his Hotel). I figured that if I called my dad, it would take him a lot longer to get there. Besides, the man is pushing 70. The last thing he needs is coming to change my tire. No, there’s absolutely no-one else in my house that can do it. No brothers around and the me-guard hurt his hand recently. My classmate said he was coming so I just sat there.
Then my daughter started crying because she was tired of being in her car seat. I had to let her out and she came and crawled all over the front. I kept all my windows locked and the a/c on so that she would be comfortable and had made up my mind that absolutely nothing short of death was going to get me out of that car. My classmate called and said that he was at Falomo Bridge. “Hurry!” I thought desperately. Just then, a boy walking on the road started gesturing and asking me a question that I did not hear. I was not even interested as I was scared of him turning out to be an area boy who viewed me as his weekend meal ticket. The guy was stocky and well built (you won’t blame me). He walked off without looking back.
I was still there O!! It was SCARY because I just had my hazard lights on and no caution lights. Like I said I was not going to get down from the car. I just sat there praying that a speeding car did not come and ram into me, pushing me into the water. Luckily the barriers were there sha. There was a guy in a sky blue Camry who slowed down and then took off again. (If you are reading this, I am not angry; it’s the condition of the world that does not give us an enabling environment to be good Samaritans. I would do the exact same thing to you and not out of any malice.)
Then a cab stopped ahead of me and started reversing. “Maybe he thinks I will leave the car and go with him”. I thought. “Not a chance!” He alighted and came round to the passenger side. He looked like a kindly old man so I wound down the window.
“What is the problem” he said. I told him and he asked me if I had a spare tire. “Yes.” Okay, open the boot. I did, hoping that he would not be a monster that would steal my tools & spare tire and run. (I still would not have come out). He took what he needed, went back to get a tool that I was missing, jacked the car up, changed the tire, replaced my tools, put the bad tire in the boot and then came to tell me he was done and that I could drive off. All this time, I was still in my safe place. I wound down again, thanked him profusely. Told him that The Lord would bless him and gave him a little money which he accepted but DID NOT ask for. There are still good people in the world who are not afraid to put themselves at risk to help a fellow human being. For all he knew, it was a trap.
I then started on the journey home, less a wheel cover. Shaking but very grateful to God for sending me help and for answering my prayer.
On a final note, I would like to call on the government to please! please!! please!!! Fix the road. As much as it sounds like a plea, it is actually my right to have the road fixed. I have paid my taxes duly. You even tax my bonuses and overtime pay!! Is it too much for me to ask not to pay for repairs that wouldn’t have come about if you had done your work? If my baby and I had died, my blood would have been on your head and hands… Take that to bed with you (if you can be moved). There are holes all over that bridge.
5 things I am grateful for