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This is the second in a series of posts about my recent trip to Nigeria. Check out my first post where I talk a little bit about the run up to the trip, and what you can expect when you first land . I hope you enjoy this as I much as I enjoy sharing it with you!

Culture is my thing!

For  example the African native clothes/ attire. The Nigerians who live abroad wear the regular top and jean etc. This could change if there was an event or party that requested an  African theme – aso ebi .  Yes, there were odd days one would feel quite African and would decide to dress as so.  But in Nigeria, wearing a native cloth was just as fine as choosing a regular  english outfit. It  created such a colourful scene. I  wish it was normal in Ireland. There was even a day of the week set apart – Friday to dress in their native clothes if wished. I got a lot of style inspiration, which I’ll be sharing soon.

The way Nigerians communicate there is different. The majority of them speak to each other in what they call Broken English. Don’t be fooled by the name: Broken English .This is very much its own language which is  not to be confused with Pidgin English (which is basically English in an African accent). There are over 100 languages in Nigeria. Broken English is one of the ways of overcoming these crazy language gap. Of course, I felt lost in conversations most of the time but don’t worry if you have plans to go there – English is one of the national languages so you’ll be grand.  

Speaking of communication, you’ll see it break down spectacularly if you ever get stuck in the traffic in Lagos. Instead of cars in single file, like you’d see during bad traffic on an Irish road, you have drivers  creating their own lanes at all sorts of angles, screaming at each other…

“Ori eh ope!” (Your head is not correct!)

“Oloshi!” (Idiot!)

“MUMU!!!” (Daft! Fool !)

…and many other things that I won’t repeat! You’ll also regularly see cars driving towards  each other in the same lane, then the drivers stop and curse the lives out of each other, and you’re just like ‘ would you not have stayed in opposite lanes in the first place?’. As you’ve probably guessed, the road system there is a lot less formal, and even though there are road taxes and rules, often you can buy your way out of trouble, and the roads themselves aren’t well maintained. True to Nigerian spirit, we just get on with it – but like any good, passionate person in a traffic jam, we can get angry!

There are a lot of markets in Nigeria, with 20 that are the most busiest  in different States  I went with my mum and her sister to the Balogun / Dosumu market in Lagos Island . It was huge! There were so many people, so many options to choose from, and everything you could imagine was there – hair extensions, clothes, food, make -up and the list goes on. Mind you at the  food stalls or fresh sea food stalls if you don’t like the smell of fish, you might be thrown off  but I didn’t mind.

market

During the trip my cousin and I  went to other markets like the Computer Village in Ikeja  and Yaba market popularly known as Tejuosho market . The computer village market was also pretty big, you could get any technical gadgets here – phones, laptop, chargers etc . You’ll just need to be sure of of the vendors you choose from. I found the way the vendors operate over there is a bit different to what you’d see in my adopted home in Dublin. Electricity was all powered by generators, I’ll talk about this in my next post.You also had many young dropout workers who were looking for any means of living by repairing phones, laptop etc.

During my adventures at the Yaba market  in Lagos, when stall owners tried to sell me something, I’d say ‘ no thank you’. And I got stared at as if I was abnormal. My cousin laughed: ‘yes, they will know you are not from this place!’.  Apparently, the normal thing to do is just walk past and ignore, or even worse- hiss! If you don’t, you risk getting physically dragged left, right and centre by vendors. Luckily, my cousin turned into a bodyguard and kept a close eye on me. This wouldn’t tend to happen in Ireland – well, not unless you’re on Moore Street (a street filled with different ethnic backgrounds, with plenty of Africans!), and even at that, people are mostly trying to lure you in with compliments.That being said, the market was so much fun it was a different type of experience than I was use to, etc.

Once I got the hang of the weather, I decided it was time for something a little more dangerous – at least, that’s how it felt whenever I used public transport! In Ireland motorbikes are not a form of public transport, but in Nigeria an  okada as it’s called is a pretty popular way for up to 3 people to get around. Risky? Yes. But they’re the fastest method of transport. God love the first okada man who gave me a lift. I remember holding on to every part of his body for dear life as he speed down the really bumpy onike  road, “ Aunty!” he shouted, “Wetin now! why you dey grab me like that !?” . My cousin laughed as I held on even more tight, by the time I got off you’d swear I had been a part of the Olympic race – and won.  I was like: ‘Fam, I’ m not gonna be killed while on holidays!, I will make it back to Ireland alive!’ (If motorcycles aren’t your thing, you also have the Maruwa or Keke, a tricycle  which can carry 4 people and it’s significantly slower)

okada man

maruwa, danfo

okada

And then you have the ‘mo-lue’ or ‘danfo’ – a small bus. My bodyguard cousin  wisely only brought onto the danfo once or twice.  I even laugh everytime I think about it. They have bus conductors who called customers onto the bus. To give you an idea of what they do: Imagine this in Dublin: no bus stops, no indication of where you are, except someone holding onto the handrail screaming:  “CLAREHALL, CLAREHALL , CLAREHALL!”, Just so you’d know where you’re going. This was the routine for all the stops along the way. Imagine the bus moving at break-neck speed on bad roads, – I don’t know how they don’t fall; if they did it could be instant death or serious damage.

danfo

danfo

We were lucky to make amazing friends through family. I have to say, these group made such a difference to our trip. I wouldn’t have seen any of Lagos’s night life without them. We went to the Ozone cinema. We went on long night walks and got a feel for a different view. This was important because we got to mingle with our age group. I also got to learn  much more about Nigeria. We even got an Uber Taxi, I had no clue it existed in Nigeria.

They showed and told us what the younger version of the country looks like. At night depending on the areas you live. Movement was n’t always allowed for security and safety reasons.Like every regular young person in Dublin, Friday and Saturday nights happen at clubs, cafe bars with live bands and what not. In quote ‘night life depends on family background, location and is day specific‘ . Oh ! less I forget to mention the legal age is 18 . I had a negative or should I say downgrading image of the country prior to my trip!  Meeting new friends, going on adventures has  helped me see how beautiful Nigeria is . It helped me to just see the cultural aspect, which was amazing…

Thanks for staying till the end !In my next series I will go into my meeting family.

Tell me your experience of getting on a Okada, How did you feel?

What was your experience of the Market’s you went ?

Please leave your comments down below on any experience you have share.

See you soon,

Florence.

Photographer: Faith Anthony, Instagram : Faith_anny

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