omo eko

The past two days has probably been the most exciting on this trip. It was exhausting, that’s why previous post wasn’t the most entertaining. I was exhausted after returning from working all night, it wasn’t till after I had published the post that I realised I did not comment on why paying =N=300 for a bottle of water was so significant, each bottle usually cost =N=70. I am now back in Ibadan after spending a few days in Lagos, this post continues from when I left the venue at 3:30 pm on Thursday……………. Although I am not a Lagosian, the traffic on the 3rd Mainland Bridge was legendary and I knew that if harboured any hope of reaching mainland at a reasonable time, it will be in my best interest to leave before 4pm. The hotel I was working is in Lekki , which wasn’t too far from the bridge. I was advised to take a taxi from outside the hotel which wouldn’t cost me more than =N=1,500 from Lekki to my destination in Ikeja. When I reached the hotel gates, I asked one of the security guards where I could get a taxi to GRA in Ikeja. “You want taxi? Here” he said as he pointed to a man in a grey shirt standing by the gate. The security guard motioned him over and I repeated my destination. He studied my face and said “that will cost you =N=5,000 (£20). “No way!!!!” I exclaimed and I brushed past him outside the gate”. I was really angry, I was surprised by how angry I was. I was a few meters outside the gate when I heard “kissssssssst kisssssst”. I turned around and it was the taxi driver, “ok how much you want pay” he asked. “I was told =N=1,500” I said adamantly. He shook his head vigorously, and waved me away.The baking sum had started to get to me, I was tired, hadn’t bathed and I smelt really really bad, so I walked towards him and said “ok, I will pay 2,000. He waved me away again. “Okay how much is your final price” I said. “3000” he replied. I turned around and continued to walk away from the hotel.

I was really annoyed, after walking for about 1 minute the reality of my situation suddenly hit me. I had never taken public transport from such a far distance before, this was an area I was unfamiliar with, plus I was carrying sterling and over 30k in local currency plus my passport. I said to myself “KKB, think about what you are doing”. I briefly considered going back but I had walked too far and my pride would not allow me. I saw a man wearing army fatigues coming towards me so I said “oga I beg, how I go take moto from here to GRA Ikeja” . “IKEJA? Ok, take a bus from here to Obelende and change for a bus to Ikeja”. “thank you sir”, I said gratefully. I was about to begin a journey which would be one of the defining moments of my trip. I walked a few meters to the bus stop and luckily for me the first bus that arrived was going to Obelende. It came towards the bus stop at full speed with the conductor hanging out of the side door, shouting, Oblende, Obelende, Obelende!!!! I got on and took me seat at the back, as I was getting on I heard the conductor say “I no get change o, make sure you have change o”. Luckily I had a =N=50 note with me which I gave to him when the bus started moving. These buses are not built for passenger comfort, believe me. After much turning, horn pressing, shouting, and moving very slowly through the Lekki traffic, we finally arrived at Obelende. I got off the bus while it was still in motion. As I observed my surroundings, I could not believe how relaxed I was. It was noisy and chaotic, private cars, commercial buses, okada’s and people were hustling for the limited amount of space. Everyone talking seemed to be shouting even if the person they were talking to was right in front t of them. I asked someone where I could catch a bus to Ikeja, he pointed me in the direction which looked like the roughest part of the place. I made my way to as directed and I found myself in a bus garage with hundreds of yellow commercial vehicles. The noise in this place was astronomical, conductors and drivers where standing next to their buses shouting their destination at the top of voice touting for customers. Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba,…….. They said these destinations with such speed and rhythm, one would think that it was an orchestra/opera. I finally found a bus going to Ikeja and when I confirmed the destination with the driver, he unceremoniously waved me on “get in!!! he barked. I said Bisimillah, entered the bus and sat next to a young lady eating plantain crisp. After taking my seating, I noticed a man standing in front of the bus holding small bottle and pitching to the passengers on the bus. His mouth was so sweet; he talked about the medicinal benefits of a herbal product called Moringa, “it has the ability to heal headaches, body pains, and broken bones”. He went on and on, he stopped short of saying it could cure cancer. I just sat there looking at thinking to myself that this guy is wasting his time because none of the passengers seemed particularly interested; they were just waiting for the bus to fill up with people so that we could move. The sales then said “if you don’t believe in the powers of this product, those of you have internet on your phone, guagle it (Google) and see if what I am saying is not true”. Thanks ma, you see, someone is taking out their phone and guagling it,” the young lady next to me was a pharmacist so she asked a few informed questions. After that, people on the bus began to ask her about the product, “is it good2? “How does it work”. The sales man had character and perseverance and in the 30 minutes of waiting to move, he sold three of his products. He showed that that perseverance will always achieve result. A lot more happened in the bus stop it would be too much to write about- I will save it for my next book. By 5:05pm, we were on the move, I got to talking to the young lady and I enjoyed the conversation as we crossed the third mainland bridge going towards Ikeja. I counted my lucky stars that I had avoided the infamous traffic. The journey cost me =N=250. I got off at Leventis and took an Okada to my hotel which cost another =N=50. I was very proud of what I had achieved, to others it may seem like taking public transportation by oneself is a minor but for me, I was able to say I had accomplished one of the objectives of this trip- to be independent.

Till when the internet access lets me- KKB out

=N=600……………ouch

Oba drove me to Lagos today, I had no exact plans but I was hoping  to discuss my report with Zmirage COO but the staff are so busy I was not able to talk to anyone for more than five minutes. So I decided to jam with my uncle TJ and his family in the office, as usual it was an enlightening experience.

I spent the night at my dad’s house and I can’t say I had a great night’s sleep. I am waiting on some news which I am hoping goes my way…. that’s a discussion for another day. Oba arrived to pick me up around 9:30, he was feeling a little unwell so he wasn’t his usual chatty self during the journey, I had a lot on my mind so I didn’t talk much either,  additionally the third member of my entourage Muyiwa had returned to work after his long annual leave, so there was that void. The journey to Lagos was not okay in terms of traffic, but I felt so sorry for Oba when I saw the level of traffic jam he would face on the way back to Ibadan. We entered Lagos around 11:30am and on the way to the hotel, we decided to stop at a buka we had visited before for a spot of lunch, alas it had moved to another location. Oba decided it would be best to drop me off at the hotel and begin his long journey back to Ibadan asap. We dropped my back and I immediately jumped back into the car so that I could be dropped somewhere I could catch a bus to Zmirage offices. At my required destination, I jumped out of the car while it was still moving because there was a risk of being fined heavily if caught by the traffic police. I took an okada (motorcycle) to the office and the surprised look on my Aunty’s  (Iya Ife’s)  when she saw me was worth the petrol money alone. my cousin Fola was also there, the last time I saw her in Nigeria was as 10 year old in her school uniform, now she was a confident young lady studying law in Abuja. After exchanging pleasantries with family and co-workers, I had a brief discussion with the COO and I chilled with my extended family.  As I said, spending time with my uncle is never dull, and he gave me provided me with some insight into the challenges Small to Medium sized enterprises faced in Nigeria.

Zmirage are currently building the stage and theatre set for play/musical called SARO and the family said they were making their way to the location so I decided to join them. I had only planned to stay in Lagos for the night but I extended to 2 nights at the last minute………this will become relevant later. We all piled into my Uncle KIA and made out way to the Continental Hotel in Victioria Island (VI)- this is where my day became interesting. On the way to the hotel, Uncle detoured to another hotel to have a brief meeting with some technical people. While waiting, I became thirsty so decided to purchase a bottle of water. Being the chivalrous   gentleman that I am, I asked the ladies I was with if they would like a drink. My aunt and cousin declined but my colleague Haneefat accepted my offer. I walked into the hotel bar and asked for two bottles of water, the barman went to the back and came out holding a bottle of water. Before he could tell me the price, I said “I wanted two please”. “You wanted two, ok sorry”. With that he got me another bottle as I had requested. I opened my wallet as I asked how much I owed “=N=600” came the reply. My knees damn near bucked under me, I became so disorientated that I was not able to tell the difference between the =N=200 and =N=500 notes in my wallet. I knew I would have to pay a premium in VI but this was daylight robbery.  I sipped that water slowly to make sure I enjoyed the every single drop, but I know I am gonna lose sleep over this incident.

When we reached the hotel, I saw the hall where SARO was going to be shown, I made the spontaneous decision to stay to watch how the stage was set instead of going back to the hotel on the main land. It was an interesting night, the technical crew were due to begin setting the up the stage at 12am, so the boss told some of us to relax at the hotel that had been booked, you don’t know how pissed I was when I found out it was the same hotel which burned me earlier to the tune of =N=600. The hotel must have been a bad omen for me because I slept on and broke my glasses. We made our way back to venue at around 12am; to say I was less than useless would be an understatement. Everyone there had a job to do, electricians, carpenters, sound engineers; I just stood watching them create this amazing set. I slept for about an hour in my uncle’s car and I continued my job as a spectator. I am writing this post and one hours sleep.  I left the venue at approximately 3:30 pm today but I am too tire to write about my journey home, but I promise that if you are patient you won’t be disappointed with tomorrow’s post….

Till tomorrow KKB out………………………

Abeokuta………………

My mum’s side of the family, the Adewummi have a tradition of meeting at the family house  in Abeokuta the day after ileya. After the exertion of the day before, everyone was a little tired in the morning. I had heard stories about this meeting in Abeokuta so I was really looking forward to it, additionally I had never visited the family house in Ijaye. After much shouting of ejekalo (common lets go), and I don’t want to be late o, we all piled into the people carrier. I asked my mum what time the meeting was due to start, “10am” she replied. I looked at my watch, it was 10am and we were just driving out of our front gate….. typical!!!!

The drive to Abeokuta was uneventful, the first 20 mins was lively with chatter but everyone was pretty exhausted so there was minimal chatter for the rest of the journey. The road from Ibadan to Abeokuta was a lot smoother than the Ibadan to Lagos express which can be officially deemed a death trap.  We arrived at the family house in Ijaye at approximately 12pm, surprise surprise, the event had not yet started. After greeting and hugging family, we were told that some of the other VIP’s (my uncles) were still on their way from Lagos. My aunty took me to pay my respect by my grandfather’s grave at the back of the house, it was a special moment. After that, my entourage and I sat under the canopy for about 30 mins, after which we decided to go and sit in the car until the event began out of sheet boredom. When we reached the car, we saw a beer parlour across the road and we made our way there. We ordered drinks and just jammed. I enjoyed sitting just watching the world go by, I enjoy going to Abeokuta because the houses allowed it to retain its sense of history. I met an absolute angel, (cant upload pic yet) in the form of a little girl, the innocence in her eyes warmed my heart. I called my Uncle Alhaji Moshood who was coincidentally in Abeokuta and he joined us within 20 mins. We stayed at the joint jamming till about 3pm before making our way down back to the house. Surprise, surprise, the event still had not started the Imam and some other VIP’s had still not arrived. I was introduced to uncles I had never met, distant cousins, in depth explanations of how everyone there was somehow related.

The VIP’s arrived around 3:30pm and the event began, the event was a special prayer to comererate the life of my grandfather Alhaji Bolaji Adewummi (RIP). It went well, although it didn’t go according to plan. We took pictures, ate and met a few more family members, around 6pm, the party began. Around 8pm, we moved to another family holding Eid celebrations for the neighbourhood, we ate and drank some more. My entourage dropped my mum, aunt and myself at the hotel we would be spending the night around 11pm, after dropping us they promptly went back to the party to continue the partying.

This was when I realised that I was having problems with my internet dongle, I assumed that it was because of the location and would be able to begin posting upon my return to Ibadan…………….how wrong I was…….

Till later……………..KKB out.

 

(Currently having problems uploading pics, will do it later

Odun Ile ya…………………………

Kilonshele everyone. I know I have not posted in nearly a week and I am very sorry. It was a combination of things namely not being able to access the internet using my dongle. I was very busy so I was not able to go to the cyber café, in addition I was suffering from a bout of exhaustion which meant I had to rest over the weekend, no travel no writing, nothing. I hope you can all forgive me. It’s a real shame because so many interesting things happened between Tuesday and Friday, I will combine it all into this one post.

 

As I finished my last full post, I felt uneasy because I didn’t feel the same level of excitement the night before Salah/Eid Kabir  as I did as a child. One of the core reasons for this was because my siblings were not with me, it was just me in the same house without all the energy and company of my best friends. I have missed them a lot on this trip but I did not realize how much until the night before Salah. I realized that I was trying to re-create some of the happiest memories of my childhood- this is impossible. The reasons those times were so memorable were because it happened as it was supposed to, it was not planned.  It wasn’t until the morning of Salah that I realized how much my siblings were instrumental in creating my happy childhood; I missed them that morning more than any other time.

 

I was ready by 7:30 am, I put on my aso odun (festival outfit) which my dad had ordered from his tailor, I spent the next 15 minutes looking for a hat that would fit my enormous head, after trying 4 or 5 I finally found one that fitted me. My father, stepmom and Mr Manager left for salah prayers around 8:30am. On the way to the praying ground, the memories came flooding back when I saw  families wearing their finest matching aso odun, people buying  their sacrificial rams at the last minute, even the policemen were in a jolly mood. We drove into University of Ibadan mosque as we had done all those years ago and it seemed that nothing had changed. People and cars were making their way to the mosque to meet the 9am prayer time. We found a parking spot and my dad and I made our way to the prayer site which was outside the main mosque building. I followed behind my dad as I had always done a child, but the only difference this time was that I was taller than him and he was not holding my hand. The praying ground was packed to the brim, we found a couple spots just in time and we sat down.  The Imam led the prayers, it was a beautiful sight as thousands of my fellow Muslims and I performed the required two rakat prayers. Upon completion of the prayers, the Imam delivered a sermon which I couldn’t hear properly because of the open space and the loudspeakers were not great.  While attempting to listen to the sermon, I heard some call out Kabir, I instinctively turned to the direction where my name was being called and noticed that 4 or 5 other people did the same thing.  The sense of belonging I felt at that moment is indescribable, here Kabir is a common name, it like John or Charles in the UK.

 

The sight I had waited almost 25 years to see was moments away, the slaughter of the ram by the chief Imam. Everybody was staring in the same direction, there was a sudden commotion and all in unison hundreds of worshippers cried out Alhau Akbar. I looked and saw the Imam holding a bloodied knife in the air, this to signal that the first sacrificial ram had been slaughtered so everybody can go home to slaughter their own rams. I had always wanted to see this but before we left for the UK,  but I was always  too short to witness the spectacle- mission accomplished.    Everything seemed to have remained the same, the hawkers, beggars, and traders were still around, the only significant change was that 20 years ago, only the privileged few had cameras, – today a lot of people were taking pictures on their smart phones.

 

We arrived home around 10am and the preparations for the day began, I changed into my `work clothes` and prepared for the slaughter of my father’s ram.  Mr Manager and a couple of my father’s employee prepped the ram for slaughter by tying three legs together as it lay on its side on the concrete floor; I assisted by covering the animal’s eyes with its ears. Under the watchful eyes of my father who was watching from the balcony,  Mr. Manager put a sharp knife to animals throats and cut……I watched in silence as death came swiftly. After my minimal contribution, I was a spectator for the rest of the day’s events. I watched as the employees put the carcass on the fire to burn off the hair, it was then chopped into pieces and given to the women to cook. The whole process took about 4 hours and by 3pm , I was eating fried rice and three piece of fresh meat. It was nice spending Eid Kabir with  my dad in my own house in Akobo- but truthfully  it was not like I remembered it.

 

Oba arrived to pick me up around 4pm and we made our to my mum’s house  in agara which was more livelier than my dad’s house in Akobo. They had slaughtered two rams for the occasion and the party was in full swing.  As customary, during Eid celebration, food was packed and  delivered to my mum’s neighbors. Muyiwa and Oba had invited their friends round which made it a more festive atmosphere, I got some food  joined them,  I  enjoyed their company but at a certain point I felt I didn’t really fit in- it  made me miss my friends back in London a little bit. My childhood friend Titi came round and I spent most of the evening with her. I escorted Aunty Sheri to another Eid party her friend was hosting in another part of town which was fun. We returned home around 10pm and continued the party till around midnight.

 

As I went to sleep that night, I suddenly realized something which had eluded me for nearly 33 years: the reason they call Eid Kabir “Odun ile ya” in Yoruba. Ile ya means going\ coming home in Yoruba but I did not understand the significance of that title till I drifted off to sleep.  Over the past couple of days, when people where talking about their preparations for Salah, most of them talked about going to their home towns or villages to celebrate the festival. Others , when making their travel plans would consider the best times to travel because of heavy traffic due to people going home of eid. Ile ya is called that because people literally go home.

 

Although the day did not turn out as I had remembered, it was a wonderful day and I am grateful I was able to spend Eid Kabir at “home”.

 

(sorry cant post any pics yet, dicey network connection!!!!!!!!)

Not my fault

Dear All

I know i have not posted in 4 days, its not fault. my internet dongle has stopped working and i have not been able to access the internet. i am currently writing this quick note to you all in a gruby internet cafe in Challenge.

I promise you you patience will be rewarded.

 

Till…………..I dont know KKB OUT…………

Never Expect Power Always……………………….

Salam everybody.  Apologies for this very late post, I have been very very busy over the past couple of days preparing for Eid Kabir celebrations. It is just like I remember it before I left 22 years ago, the atmosphere if filled with a celebratory mood, and I currently smell of ram.  My siblings and I bought our dad’s celebratory ram this year, may Allah continue to bless us with this gratitude for many more years to come.

Dad's Ram

Dad’s Ram

It’s been an exhausting couple of days, the drive from Lagos to Ibadan was long and tiring. I saw a young street hawker who gave me inspiration for my new book, I have never seen anybody work so hard for =N=100 (less than 50p). There was a lot of traffic and he was trying to sell a bottle of apple juice a Hausa man who was travelling on top of a trailer. He threw the bottle to the man who was not able to catch and it fell back to the group. The hawker had to run after the bottle while making sure that he did not get hit by the now fast moving traffic. He picked up the bottle and sprinted 200 meters towards the trailer which was now further down the high way. He threw the bottle up to the man and he missed again, any normal human being would have given up but this guy picked up the bottle and sprinted again towards trailer, the third attempt was successful and the  Hausa man dropped a =N=100 bill onto the road. As a boy picked it, he was inches away from being hit by a commercial vehicle but he skilfully served his hips at the last minute.  He was sweating like a race horse and as he went past our car, I rolled down the window to say “Ku I se” (well done) “Thank you sir”, he responded.

I was suffering from a slight cold which had become worse by Sunday morning. I was meant to follow Muyi to church but I was too exhausted so I gave it a miss. There are many great feeling in the world, such as making love to a woman, carrying a new born baby or watching Arsenal beat Spurs in the North London derby.  One of the greatest feelings in the world comes curtsey of NEPA (Nigerian Electricity Power Authority or Never Expect Power Always). Yes you are reading correctly,  NEPA although this feeling would not be possible if they were efficient.  (I am currently writing this post in pitch darkness) Anyway I had difficulty sleeping on Saturday night; in addition to my cold, I was very hot because it was humid night. By 3am, it felt like I was the gates of hell, that’s how hot and uncomfortable I felt. Suddenly I felt a cool breeze come over me, NEPA and returned the power and the standing fan I had left on began spinning.  This cool breeze is not something I can describe; you have to experience it to understand.  My whole body just feels coooooooooool. If I was given a choice between this particular cool breeze and a million pounds, I would choose the cool breeze.  It comes a close second to watching Arsenal beat Spurs in the North London derby. !!!!!

I did not have the energy to write a post yesterday, I was just too tired. Sorry!!!!!  People been blowing my phone asking for their daily fix of KKB.   Muyi and I went to my dad’s house to pick up the ram he had bought my mum for Eid Kabir.  I told my dad about my experience in Lagos and he looked very proud of me. My mum returned from her trip to Lagos with my Aunty Sheri, I love when my aunt is around; there is never a dull moment.  The preparation for Eid Kabir celebrations is tangible; everywhere you turn people are purchasing rams or are making their way to their family home in other states to celebrate. Traffic in Ibadan today is ridiculous. Early this morning we went to Bodiga  market pick up a ram that my aunt’s friend had bought for her. This is one of the reasons I smell of ram. I can wait for Eid tomorrow.  I will spend half the day at my dad’s house and the rest at my mum’s house.

Mums Ram

Aunty Sheri's Ram

Aunty Sheri’s Ram

I have come to the realisation that this Eid won’t be like I remembered because my sibling Morufat, Moruf and Karimot  won’t be here with me………………………………  till tomorrow KKB out

KKB- RAM WRANGLER

 

IMG_1910IMG_1926IMG_1930IMG_1932

Last day in Lagos…………….

Last day in Lagos…………….

Cousin Abeeb and Tunde

Me with cousin Abeeb and Tunde

 

I have spent two full weeks in Lagos and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time here. I spent most of my time working so I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted to. I am grateful for the time I spent, it was a real eye opener, I learnt a lot about myself and I have a better idea of my path in life. I have met some truly amazing people and have had a wonderful experience.

It’s a  bit of a bitter-sweet moment for me today, I am going back to Ibadan which I am looking forward to because I need to rest but also I feel that there is still so much I need to experience in Lagos. Eid is next Tuesday and I am really looking forward to it. Even before the big day itself, I can feel the difference between here and London. Everybody here is looking forward to the big day, some people are making plans to go and buy their rams, looking forward to going back to their hometowns etc. when I say everybody, I mean Christians and Muslims equally.  After work yesterday I took my work colleagues (two of whom are also my cousin Tunde and Abeeb) out to say thank you. It was a very interesting evening, we bonded more yesterday than over the past two weeks, I learnt a lot about the Kareem family history and I have made it a personal project to draw out the Kareem family, it is going to take a while, there are a lot, a lot of us.

For the past three weeks, I have felt a sense of freedom that one can only feel when one is at home. Not that I don’t feel at home in London, but that freedom is tangible/organic/regulated, the total freedom I feel in Nigeria can’t be described, it is unique and same feeling cannot be felt by two people. (Sorry, I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, I know you know what unique means).

I was meant to go out last night with my boy G, but this dude fell asleep so I went out with Peter, one of new friends from the “People you meet……” post. My entourage are on their way to pick me up from my hotel, I am currently chilling with my aunty Alhaja Kareem at the hotel.  I am about to chop some yam.

I had plans to make this post a lot more interesting but I slept with the air-conditioner on all night yesterday and I have come down with a cold so I am not in the zone- apologies.  Hopefully I will feel better by the time I get down to Ibadan and be inspired to write something better……… till this evening or tomorrow….KKB out.

Amala with gbegiri and ewudu soup…………………….

Banjour All. I have just returned from the airport after picking my mother and my aunty Sheri who arrived from NYC.  It was a lovely reunion but I am exhausted and I still have not finished my final report for Zmirage.

Everyone who knows my mum knows she is warm, friendly, humorous and very very very sarcastic. I haven’t seen her for a couple of week and I was really happy to see her. Within an hour of her arrival her sarcastic nature came out in full force. I asked her “ki ni ago wi” (what is the time). With her usual sharp wit she replied “oni ko lo ra ti e” (my watch says go and buy you own). That was when I knew we were back to where we left off in London.

Yesterday was a slow day; I worked at the hotel on the report which I can’t seem to finish. I met a couple of friends for lunch at the local buka where I ate amala with gbegiri and ewudu soup (Nigerian don’t know how lucky they are having a buka on every corner). After lunch I made my way back to the hotel, I need to cross the road so I decided to cross at the zebra cross. I waited for cars to stop which they didn’t, in-fact they were speeding.   Traffic built up which caused the cars in the first two lanes to “slow down” I began to cross, as I got to the 3rd lane the driver of the car which I forced to slow down pressed his horn loudly and motioned angrily for me to cross the quickly. As he drove past me, he rolled down his window and shouted an insult at me, I shouted back at him “olodo, don’t you know are supposed to stop at Zebra crossing. Idiot”.  A man who had crossed the road behind me also shouted insults at him. After all that agro, he got stuck in traffic and could only move few yards at a time after the zebra crossing.

 

Nigeria is the only country I have been to where crossing at a zebra crossing poses the same risks as crossing a six lane highway…….. Till tomorrow KKB out.

Btw: my entourage have reunited

Entourage Reunited

Entourage Reunited

entourage have reunited.

One chance buses………….

Waa blo people. Hope you all been well. Thank you for your support and following my blog. I hope I can continue to entertain you all.

I am starting to feel like I am settling into my new environment. I woke up early on Wednesday and decided I would take public transport to work by myself. As I handed my room key in at the reception, I asked the receptionist how I could get to Maryland. She kindly gave me the direction, I said thank you and asked her to tell my mother I loved her if I was never seen again.

I walked to the bus stop and there was only one taxi waiting, from the passenger side I asked the driver if he was going to Maryland, without looking up he said “Leventis, Leventis”. Okay, are you going through Maryland” I asked. I suddenly felt somebody push me out of the way by my shoulders, I turned round to see a little old woman push past me while saying “he is going to Leventis, are you deaf”. I was stunned and I just stood and watched as she got into the front seat with her load.    I got into another taxi with for other people, during the short 10 minute journey I gave the drive =N=200. I was the last passenger to get off, when we got to my stop the driver didn’t look like he was making any attempt to get my change. Where’s my change, I asked in an aggressive tone. “How much did you give me”? “I gave you 200, you owe me =N=150”. He ruffled through his glove compartment and gave me my change somewhat reluctantly.

I needed to take a commercial bus to Anthony bus stop, this was where I had to have my wits about me. My uncle had warned me against taking buses knick named “one chance buses”. These were buses which would contain three or four people pretending to be waiting to pick up passengers. They would actually be waiting for unsuspecting people to enter the bus at which point they would shut the door and speed off. They would rob the person and abandon in a deserted spot. I heard a conductor shouting Ikorodu, Ikorodu which was the direction I was going, but there were only three males on there, with my Uncle’s advice ringing in my ears I ignored them and waited for a bus which was full on arrival and entered.  As we got near my bus stop, I told the conductor, “Antony wa ooo”. I got off the bus and made by way to the office.

My colleagues were equally surprised and proud that I made my way to work by myself. I took the commercial buses a couple more times in during the day to attend a meeting with my colleague Abeeb, it was an interesting and exhausting day. Till tomorrow…………….KKB out

People you meet-Part 2…………………..

King Prawns

King Prawns

I apologize again for the late post, I was not inspired to write yesterday and I did not want to post any old rubbish but I woke up this morning in the zone so here it is. Yesterday was both difficult and satisfying. I got to work late because I was supposed to take public transport but changed my mind at the last minute.

One of the key objectives was to assess the potential of implementing Quality in SME’s in Nigeria, I have realised that it is going to be a much more challenging than I thought or ever imagined. There is a very totally different working culture here and the lack of infrastructure would make things difficult. I spent a day writing a report before finding out that half of what I wrote is redundant. I could not carry out the training I had planned because most of the staff were so busy. Exhausted, I left work and returned to the hotel at 4pm. My room was being cleaned so I went to get a drink at the hotel bar, I had a debate with the barman about my nationality. He tried to say that because I have lived in the UK for over half my life I am British. I emphatically told that although I have British citizen I am still Nigerian. I offered to take him to my family house in Igbore Abeokuta to prove that I am Nigerian. I gave another barman some advice about the realities of life in the UK.

An hour later my uncle invited me to dinner by the pool side with him and a couple of his friends. My uncle’s friends were the most interesting dinner companions I have had in a while. They were both successful business men, one of them in particular inspired me and I inspired him. He is an internationally renowned emergency doctor from South Africa who has traveled the world and treated victims of major disasters. He told me a few stories which made my jaw drop. I talked about my book and they were both very impressed with what I had accomplished and they eagerly wanted a copy. I told about the journey I took while writing the book, the ups and downs and a new project I am initiating which is to donate my book to schools in Nigeria. I also discussed the concept for my documentary which they found very very interesting. One of the traits I have always admired about my mother and my uncle TJ is their ability to draw and relate to people at all levels and all walks of life. The night before, my friend Titi had said that my mother, I and my siblings had the ability to draw people to us seamlessly especially my little sister Karimot. Speaking to these gentlemen confirmed that I did have this ability, these gentlemen had travelled the world, they were heavyweights in the fields and I am sure they rolled with big boys (if you get my meaning) yet I was still able to engage with them effortlessly and keep their attention without breaking a sweat. I did not stutter once and I did not have to repeat myself because I was speaking too fast, I spoke with confidence which made my words come out clearly and eloquently. I wonder why I don’t speak like that all the time; I believe that self-confidence is the key. They shared stories about life in South Africa and while discussing literature it was like talking to one of my boys about football, effortless. I was amazed about how much I inspired the doctor, I mean he is a World Renowned doctor with awards and life experiences I could only dream of but meeting me gave him the encouragement to do what he was wanted to do for year- write a book. He said he had been keeping notes about his experiences as an emergency doctor and treating patients all over the world but he had not started writing his book because he was unsure about how to structure his stories. I advised him “just start writing, don’t worry about the structure, it will sort itself out, just write, trust me when you start writing you won’t stop”. The look of appreciation and admiration on his face is not something I will forget in a long time, he looked at me like I had given him a new lease of life. The feeling of inspiring somebody is priceless, and I hope to continue on the path I have found myself.

One of the discussions which caused me to reflect the most was when they found out my age. When I initially told them about my book they were astonished at what I had accomplished at such a young again. The doctor asked if I was married, before I could answer his companion said “leave him alone, he is still a young man, let him enjoy himself, do you think everyone is like you”. Uncle TJ joined the conversation “young?, he’s not a young man anymore; by the time I was his age I had three girls”. The doctor then asked me how old I was, “I am going to be 33” I said. The silence was stunning; all I could hear was the clearing of throats and an attempt to hide the surprised looks on their faces. “OK! Wow! I thought you were about 25 or 26. Don’t worry you got time”. One of them said. They now gave me some advice about relationship and finding a wife. We talked more about the potential Africa has and why we are not as developed as we should be. For dinner, I had King Prawns, when I say King Prawns I mean KING PRAWNS, not those tiny things you buy at the supermarket in the UK, judge for yourself in picture above.

Following my “Crossroads” post i think am beginning to find my path……. all i need now is how to make a living following my dream. Till tomorrow……………….KKB out