Thursday, July 13, 2006

Light hunting

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.


  1. me too i dey Light hunt small small. i concentrate on the traffic lights though. if they're on we're on, vice versa. God save Nigeria!

  2. Hmm. We haven't had "light" for days! Now, we ration generator, so the poor thing doesn't break down. Afterall, it's called "stand-by" generator.


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