When in Rome……….. abi????

Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe.

It has been an interesting couple of days.  Today is my 7th day in Nigeria and just as I was feeling like I was adapting to my environment, I was reminded by my father and Mr Manager that there is still a lot learn.

One of the most important things I have realised over the past seven days that there a lot of time but there isn’t always enough time. For me , my action plan for the week was based on my time frame I was used to in the UK, but I have quickly realised time is allocated differently in Nigeria. For some others, they invest a lot of time in their livelihood for little or no reward.

I am going to write about a topic which I was hoping not to write about at all on my journey, but I stated that I would write about the good the bad and the ugly so here we go. Mr Manager and I went to the University of Ibadan (UI) Mosque for Jummat prayers this afternoon. On the way there, we came up behind a taxi; I saw a woman try to open up the passenger side door of the taxi from the outside and when unsuccessful opened it up from the inside. I thought it was a little odd but thought nothing of it until she held the door open without getting inside. The situation became clearer when Mr Manager told me that the woman was a plains cloth police officer, and she was extorting money from the taxi driver. Sadly, although I have only been here 7 days, I have seen this once too many times. My entourage and I have had a number of running with then of the past couple of day, the funniest incident happened last night when the police officer who had stopped us asked Muyiwa who the owner of the car was while he was reading through the registration documents!!!!!. Dumb huh??  One of the oddest things I have noticed about the police this week is the signs on their vehicles; it states “Police- Anti Crime Patrol”.  Talk about stating the obvious!!!!!!  They can’t exactly be the pro-crime patrol can they??

They mosque was enjoyable; UI mosque is still the same as I remembered it over 22 years ago. When I walked into the grand prayer hall, I was a little shocked that it wasn’t as grand as I remember because the ceiling used to be a lot higher. It took me a few seconds to realise the ceiling had not come down, but I had grown up. I was still expecting to see it through the eyes of the 10 year old boy of 22 years ago.

On the way back to the factory from the mosque, I need to get my sandals repaired so Mr Manager asked a wandering cobbler to come over to the car. “Aboki, come here”!!!!  I gave him sandals to the man; he inspected it and told me it would cost 150 naira to fix them. From the passenger seat, I said “ok, fix am”. Either he didn’t hear what or said or his response was automatic “ok, how much you wan  pay?”. That was when I realised that he was expecting me to haggle; I didn’t think to argue over fee of less than £1. Unfortunately for the Aboki, Mr Manager who had been temporarily distracted was able to haggle the price down to N100.

Later on in the evening, I went to the cyber café and I decided to buy some roast corn for my father on the way back to the factory. I asked the old lady who was selling the corn by the side of the road the price of each corn.  She looked at my face and said 40naira each. I had N120 in my pocket so I asked for three. When I gave the corn to my dad and Mr Manager in the office, my dad asked me how I bought them for. I told him 40naira each. He then asked how I haggled the price. He saw the blank look on my face and he began to laugh. My father and Mr Manager had a good laugh at my expense for about 10 minutes. Amongst  other things, they said the woman must have been thanking her lucky stars when she saw my face and must have thought i was a God send. I know haggling is part of the culture here but I cannot see myself consciously haggling with an old woman over what cost less than a double cheese burger. To survive here,  will have to adopt the proverb “when in Rome, act like romans?  I don’t know if my conscience will allow me to do that. But we shall see.

Till tomorrow, KKB out.

3 thoughts on “When in Rome……….. abi????

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