Humans of Lagos.
“I had riden over two hours, before I decided that I really had to keep this memory. It is not everyday a babe can cycle in lagos, Nigeria.
Because between Danfo*, Keke*, Okada*, one will definitely attempt multiple times to send you to Igbobi*. It’s the Gubernatorial elections today, very little motorists on the road.
So I looked around for who I would give my phone, to take a picture of myself cycling across, when my lane traffic light goes Green.
The first man looked like he would just walk off with the phone, the second man looked too angry about something, the third grinned like he would dial his number on mine, save it and call me twenty-four hours seven days a week.
So I smiled at the pretty well dressed lady and she hissed back. “Unhappy individual” I muttered to myself.
Then I met this girl, dressed quite nonchalantly, trying to cross the road and I rode up to her
“Errmm, I see you are trying to cross, I want to get to that side of the road too, but please can you take my phone and go ahead of me? So you can take a picture as I cycle across?”
She sized me up
“Okay, show me where to tap your camera”
I gratefully did, then I add
“If you are shy, you can actually hide beside that electric pole and zoom”
She moves without a word.
Next thing I saw, she stood in the middle of the road.
“Kai, move to the end of the road!” I whispered. I hope some bike rider or car doesnt come and hit this girl.
She goes “Oya,Start coming!” waving her hands like a traffic warden.
Everyone turned to stare, she was oblivious to their looking.
Then she tells the car trying to cross “Heyyyys, I want to take a picture, park, wait”.
Then back to me “Oya na, move, ehen, move”
I cycled across half in amusement.
And after I got to her, she handed my phone over saying
“Check it, I can wait for you to cross and come again if you dont like it”
I liked her immediately.
She was not Yoruba at that moment, I was not Igbo, she was not rich, I was not poor, she was not darkskinned, I was not lightskinned. We were just two female souls, playing with a bicycle and a phone camera.
We were humans, in Lagos.
*Danfo: Often bruised yellow and black public transport buses, operated by men who most times, you cannot be sure what drives them while they drive.
*Keke: Umbrella looking Mobiles, they are operated oftentimes in a manner that makes you uncertain of the operator’s opinion of his automobile. Sometimes he thinks he is as big as a danfo, other times he wriggles through the tiniest space, as though he were an Okada
*Okada: These ones? These ones?
*Igbobi: Where you would most likely end up if any of the three collides with you on your Bicycle. A trip there to visit a patient might make you never cycle again.
Afternotes: Yes, I am Humans of Newyork fan. Lagos is a very fine city, in a beautiful country called Nigeria, in West Africa.