Wednesday, September 22

Summertime in the town: A Igoni Barrett on a rainy coach journey in Lagos

It had been seeing all day just how a classic goat pees, in meets and starts, with bleats of sun in between. This is a weekday in September 2007, the magical year I moved to Lagos, and just a few months to the nine-to-five that attracted me over. The enjoyment of getting up every day at 5am and capturing a jam-packed danfo coach for the two-hour commute had because curdled in my own wannabe-writer’s heart. I was standing at Obalende coach end that day after work, without coach in view for the past 40 moments and rumours of a citywide gridlock swirling around, when the water started again, a sunlight bath, evidence, they say, that the lion has been born.

Ticket increases were expected on days of large traffic, but this time around the ticket had tripled naija news. Outraged howls lease the air
Finally a minibus seemed, its overripe pear colour nearing such as for instance a sunlight ray. The group around me surged ahead through the puddles and started yanking at the battered home, yelling at the conductor above the shake of the motor to question his destination, and then preventing to rise aboard actually before the driver had used the brakes. Rainfall increases the frustration in Lagos commuters. The strongest barged through the open home; a trim son slithered in by way of a window; and the rest were pushed away, trampled aside. I was one of the solid that fortune favoured that afternoon.

The minibus was a 14-seater which had been gutted and renovated to hold 20. Of the 50-plus persons standing in the torrential rain, 19 guys and one woman had got inside. These left behind involved a nursing mother and her bawling infant, a man with a withered leg, an elderly lady whose frailty could have opened gates for her on rainless days. In the endless dreary rains actually notions of chivalry reduce from the wet. Besides, they were just rain-slicked faces lacking in chance, their forlorn expressions no fault of ours.

A Igoni Barrett in Lagos
A Igoni Barrett: ‘My two-hour commute stretched to four hours that day.’ Photo: Folarin Shasanya
The grouch-faced conductor needed his ticket in a speech ready for trouble. Ticket increases were expected on days of large traffic, but this time around the ticket had tripled. Outraged howls lease the air, nevertheless the shirtless conductor retorted with the insouciance of a opportunity capitalist: “Pay or get out.” No one was ready to quit their chair, yet the price to keep on was steep. We forgotten our protest and started begging to pay dual the typical ticket, nevertheless the conductor wouldn’t budge. It had been a seller’s industry and he’d us from hello.


These guests who did not hold enough income to protect the overpriced ticket became the loudest about perhaps not getting off. It had been one particular style that screamed at the conductor to allow many people hold the others within their lap. In this way the two can pool their sources and pay for the chair they shared. That proposal was forced through by strength of numbers, with the hopeful beyond your coach joining their voices to these inside to die out the conductor and driver’s dissent. And and so the mother approved her child to the woman inside, and then jumped aboard to stay in a strange man’s lap. Five more people got on, including the limping man. But seniors lady, so dignified in the damp, refused to impose herself on anyone despite a few offers. I ought to have abandoned my chair to her, I thought when we drove off. But the rain.

My two-hour commute stretched to four hours that day. The coach end rumours had been correct, as the loudest people sometimes come in this gossipy city, and we achieved an infernal go-slow on the flooded roads. It had been there before us and could be there long after that overfull minibus of 27 lucky guests had pale into memory. For at sunset the lionesses should end giving birth, and every wet time the heavens will open up to to produce rainstorm that makes the goat small again.

A Igoni Barrett is mcdougal of Blackass.

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