Lagos is a city; whose inhabitants are by nature aggressive, angry, and rude. The city however, does house some of the most resilient people you will ever meet, because Lagos is the sea turtle mother, who leaves her eggs to hatch so her newborns have to fight for themselves. Lagos is the city of much more than the negative reputation it receives: it is a city filled with dreamers.
In my four months of being here thus far, I have seen myself change in many ways. The experiences shape you into something completely different with every day that comes forth, almost like the free forming water, when it takes the form of whatever container it finds itself in. I found myself doing things I regularly wouldn’t do; I was walking through my estate the other day and a driver blew his horn at me, as he sped up and came to an abrupt halt due to my presence. I cussed him out, almost in corresponding reaction.
Nigeria’s clarion call brought me here, though it is somewhere I never envisioned myself ever stepping foot in, because Lagosians may all believe that their city is the best place to live in. I am indeed that petty. I appreciate the tranquility of Abuja now more than ever, anytime I attempt to transport myself from one place to another. The bus rides give me unholy levels of anxiety, and people are always arguing over change. Last week, I sat next to the window of a danfo and wanted to put my hand out. Almost immediately, another bus driver blows by us, almost scraping the side of our vehicle, and without much hesitation, I return my hand to its rightful place while it is still attached to my body.
The women are also not to be trifled with. In my first month of being here, I went out to get a drink with a friend and was approached by a lady, who seemed about my age. She is quick to strike up conversation, though she consistently gives one-word replies. In the ensuing minutes after, the talk turns sour as she realizes that I am not going to pay for the meal she wants to have and the volumes of alcohol that she wants to consume. I am no Adonis, but sometimes, na dem dey rush me.
The experiences however haven’t been all bad. In my time thus far, through NYSC orientation camp all the way to our Community Development Service Groups, I have met fellow Corp members who I feel are growing up to be world class citizens of this nation, that I love with all my heart. I have met people with unbreakable spirits, who exude positive energy on a daily basis. There however are Corp members that I have met, who happen to be copies of the problems with Nigeria, but that is neither here nor there. Through the friends I have made, I have also learned some things that I did not know much of before, cooking being the most notable. My role when it came to cooking was strictly limited to the consumption and sometimes the cleaning, but this week, I cooked my first pot of beans, and it was edible.
Lagos has taught me a lot of things; both things about myself and others. I have learned to embrace unfavorable situations because sometimes, we as human beings may tend to be creatures of habit and partakers of comfort. That in itself needs to be tested and tried, from time to time. I have also learned to embrace whatever phase of life I find myself in, because once that phase is over, it will be gone forever. My days as a Corper—though still long from over—will eventually come to an end. At the curtain call, all I can do is look back and reminisce on the fond memories that will never fade away. I will remember the songs we’d sing during parade, singing that the union of two soldiers would give birth to a mumu. I will remember being yelled at, to jump up and remain at attention every day at 6:00 pm, when Nigeria goes to sleep. I will remember Minimah and all the other officials who developed a variety of different relationships with us, mostly friendships, but some otherwise. I will remember the mami market nights, when my comrades splashed their newly shared allowances on liquor and meat, but most of all, I will remember and hopefully carry on with the friends I have made, because we are the future of this country.