Monday, September 11, 2017

7 Months in Lagos, the key experiences I have had and How Paranoid I have Become


I have been in Lagos for about 7 months and in this not-too-long a time, I have had some amazing experiences (and oh! trust me. amazing doesn’t always mean good. You’d see!). In the next 1000+ words, I'd be sharing the most vivid experiences and incidents that I have encountered in Lagos so far.

1. Let’s start at the beginning: Three days after I got to Lagos, on the 1st of March, I went to my NYSC LGA for CDS (Community Development Service). I didn’t know the drill, so I left home early and got there around past 8 am (CDS was to start by 9 am). I didn’t mind waiting, as far as they actually start by 9 am, but then Lo and Behold, the LG Workers started strolling into the office by 9:30 am. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, I and two other girls who were waiting, had to sweep the office for them (they didn’t say please o, the lady just gave us the broom like it was part of the NYSC requirement — to sweep the LGI’s office).

We finished sweeping and then asked her when we would start. She said we were going to do the CDS at Unilag (yes, we would use our own t-fare to go to Unilag ) for what doesn’t concern us, but I still didn’t mind — I didn’t even know the drill, so it wasn’t a problem.

Long story short, we went to unilag, listened to primary school students debate and answer quiz questions on SDGs, served snacks, took pictures and then was dismissed by the LGI. But here’s where the story got worse.
Between leaving the class at Unilag, taking a cab to the school gate and a bus to Sabo, Yaba, I lost my phone — after only 3 days in Lagos! The thief did not even have a conscience, that I was wearing a corper’s uniform. No o! But that was fine. I took it as my welcome to Lagos stunt and got a new phone soon after.

2. A Few weeks later, I volunteered to help Mfon Ekpo handle projector and video interviews at Seminar, and Wow! It was like God spoke to me. Mfon opened my eyes to a lot and for Me, that was a significant part of my settling in Lagos.

3. But then about two weeks, I was to be at Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac for Google Digital Skill Trainers summit.

The morning of arrival, I woke up and found myself praying more than usual. I remember feeling like I was praying to avert something bad, but wasn’t so certain. So I shook it off and went to work, but throughout the day whenever something slightly out of place happened, I’d ask myself if that was the reason my Spirit prompted me to pray that much in the morning.

Well, I closed from work and had to find my way to Festac. I didn’t know how to, so I called like 3 different people asking for directions. Eventually, at one point, two of them gave me descriptions that synced, so I set out. I can’t remember the route, but I sha found my way to Festac gate. It was about 7:30 pm. I was supposed to take a bike, so I hailed one and told him Golden tulip and he said he knew it. So I relaxed, got on the bike and the trip started.

The bike ride was long and at one point I was going to ask the guy how far, but he turned into a street and when he did, I told myself, if he was going to a wrong place he wouldn’t make a turn (I don’t know what I was thinking sha. Mtcheew!). He made the turn and just kept going to the end of the road, suddenly he made an abrupt stop and told me to come down that we were here. I looked, lo and behold, he was dropping me off at another random hotel at the end of one random street. I didn’t even argue because, at that moment, I knew stopping was safe for me. So I let him go and ordered an uber. Then, It became clear, why I prayed that much in the morning.

I vowed though, not to enter bikes rode by Hausa men except I’m very sure of where I’m going to. EVER!

4. And then, six days later, as I was coming from a friend’s place at Ajah, the bus almost blew up. Lol! Scariest Shii ever! All I can remember is at one point, the bus slowed down and everyone started jumping out. I couldn’t see nada because smoke had covered the bus. I remember jumping out and praying that we are not jumping into a ditch because we couldn’t see.

Eventually, I felt my leg touch the ground and then ran (alongside every other person) away from the bus. I was shaking! Like really shaking! But yeah, again! I was grateful.
When I calmed down (more like after getting home, sleeping and then waking up), I began to wonder...

...Between the Festac incident and this, was God trying to get my attention? Smh! I felt so though, until one day when the bus I took from Yaba had a faulty brake on third mainland bridge. At this point, it dawned on me that faulty danfo buses were a normal thing in Lagos. I mean, it's hard to find a bus that is not shaking. So somehow, I am almost always scared when on danfo on third mainland bridge. But oh well.

5. Oh! Yes… Twice pick pockets almost picked my bag at obalende. The first time wasn’t that bad; he had only unzipped a side of my bag before I turned and he ran away. But the second time? The guy's hand was already inside my bag and when I turned, he looked at me dead in the eye with so much indifference that I started shaking. And he didn’t even run, he just turned and kept walking away like I was the one at fault. I was so scared. That eyes could kill without flinching. Scarier thing? Other people were around there watching him unzip and put his hand inside my bag but them no talk anything ni. Smh!

This! this solidified my Lagos Paranoia. Now, I’m crazy scared of Danfo buses especially on the third mainland bridge, I’m always watching my back, holding my bag tight, working fast and frowning in places like obalende, taking Uber at nights rather than any form of public transport but more, even when I’m not holding anything valuable, I’m always turning, watching my back and side. Even when I’m strolling down my street, I’m always wary of whoever is at my back, even if it’s a child. Oh dear Lagos!

6. Apparently, though, I’m not still careful enough as someone stole my phone from my pocket in a Keke at V.I about a month ago. I sha think this was jazz sha. Honestly! And it made me angry, not paranoid, not sad, just pissed. But yeah! The honest truth is I was pissed at myself, not because my phone was stolen but because of the warning signs, I ignored twice! 

7. But also, Lagos has been great too! Aside Mfon events (I have sworn to be a volunteer to her anytime I am available because I honestly get blessed each time), I have Ren├ę and it’s getting incredibly better each day (Thank You Jesus. You are a great CEO), and my 9–5 is great too. The culture, the atmosphere, the people at Webcoupers are just amazing. Working at Webcoupers has taught me so much about entrepreneurship and life. My bosses are GoSH! I want to be like both of them in different ways. Yea! Google Digital Skills, the training (training people) in Lagos opened me up to Lagos, — gave me a level of visibility and purpose. Also, I started my first online course and loved it.

8. Yes Yes Yes! House on the Rock. I have loved this church and Pst. Paul for ages and been in Lagos has helped me hear him speak in real time. I was able to attend TAPE and SLC (heard Td Jakes peach in real life). #EMERGE. TAPE was particularly beautiful for me in ways that I cannot begin to explain. Dancing and worshipping God at TAPE was I don't know ... a thing! (for lack of a better word). I had a specific request at TAPE that didn't pull through but it got nothing away from that experience.

I haven’t had so many victories this year, gotten more than a few disappointments but they have taught me resilience and faith and strengthen my resolve to keep going. I’m super grateful for ease and favor in the little things like a great place to work, a great great place to live and friends that care. And oh! I feel a change! I feel God. I believe that the last months of this year would be the best. God has got me.

Indeed, Lagos has taught to me more paranoid, to watch my back, but it is also teaching me maturity and self-dependency and responsibility and discipline.

Lagos has been Good to me and I can’t wait to finish NYSC. I hate going for CDS. I’m rogue ­čśü

WOW WOW WOW! YOU ARE A REAL MVP IF YOU READ TILL THIS POINT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! YOU ARE APPRECIATED.
Did you enjoy the post tho? If yes! Leave a comment and share the link... Love you.

PS: I'd be turning 22 in a few weeks and in a few days, I'd be posting 22 lessons I learnt in my 21st year. Watch out! Preferably, subscribe to the blog :D

26 comments:

  1. Heheheh, Happy birthdau in advance....
    This is an awesome write up.
    And hey God has Got you in Lagos, no shaking na ur land be that.

    KOTN
    (King Of The North)

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  2. Nice Write up and Admirable style of writing,it's always an experience in Lagos

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  3. Lagos ehn. I thought I was the onlynparanoid person about taking public transport and the fear of getting my phone stolen. I'd rather leave my phone at Home.

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    1. Hun, you should really get use to it. Leaving your phone behind wouldn't stop Lagos from teaching you pepper lolz!

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  4. Lagos ehn. I thought I was the onlynparanoid person about taking public transport and the fear of getting my phone stolen. I'd rather leave my phone at Home.

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  5. Good ........it is called baptism of fire welcome to Lagos nobody can chance" you anymore

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  6. Great one dear, better days lies ahead. waiting for the next write up.

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  7. Good one. God will continue ordering your steps. All the best

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  8. Awesome Article i must confess and your experience tho lol...

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  10. After our excursion trip to Lagos I can hardly imagine myself staying there. But have got a little encouragement­čśť.
    Lovely writeup dear. Anticipating the writeup after service. Happy birthday in advance.

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    1. Lmao! Dont let Lagos scare you joor.
      Sure thing, I'd write an NYSC experience afterwards. Thanks for reading and the birthday wish

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  11. Made me lol. I'm happy for you sha, keep learning but don't loose too much. Nice write-up. Happy birthday in advance.

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    1. I'm glad it made you lol'. Dont worry, I dont intend to lose more things

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  12. One thing is for sure, you autobiographical film will be very interesting. I would have gather enough money and experience to produce it when the time comes.

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  13. Moved to Lagos 5 months ago and your experiences are quite not far from mine and this exactly happened to me at Oshodi "The guy's hand was already inside my bag and when I turned, he looked at me dead in the eye with so much indifference that I started shaking. And he didn’t even run, he just turned and kept walking away like I was the one at fault. I was so scared. That eyes could kill without flinching. Scarier thing? Other people were around there watching him unzip and put his hand inside my bag but them no talk anything ".

    Lagos Experience

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  14. Nice one.
    that's Lagos for you.
    Wish you all the best.

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  15. Interesting... Where did you use to stay before coming down to Lagos?

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  16. Interesting write up. Very apt. A guideline for people new to lagos State.

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  17. Happy birthday in advance.All the best dear.

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  18. Beautiful piece here...Love it
    I believe you're now a Lagosian, as those experiences were to induct informally into the city.

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