Nigeria: Making Paradise Part1

‘Drop a seed anywhere and watch it grow…’ ~ Professor Owolame

It’s been 4 months now since I visited the country of my birth, Nigeria, and what a trip it was. From the beauty of the fertile lands that the country has been blessed with in abundance to the dangerous highways that reduce your life expectancy rapidly.

I arrived in Nigeria on the 7th of December but in reality you are already in Nigeria the minute you step in the queue to board the plane. People’s mind sets change, painfully British politeness is replaced by equally as painful brash Nigerian directness. I experienced this first hand as I was accused of ‘not having eyes’ as I brushed by an Aunty (out of respect anyone that is older than you is called Aunty or Uncle).

Welcome to Nigeria AJ

As soon as you arrive the humidity hits you. Thick, heavy hot air making you sweat instantaneously. “Uncle settle me now“ and differing iterations chase your ears as you make your way through the various stages of boarding, from passport control to police officers everyone gets a bribe before you make it. We joke about this abroad but it’s actual issue that seeps into many facets of life in Nigeria. But despite all this Theresia still great potential in a myriad of fields business agriculture the arts, media. There is huge growth potential in all of these places, that I wish to uncover. There is a gentle optimism present too.

“We smile through our struggles“ ~ Professor Oginny

All these little things point me to come back to do more and investigate. The next trip will be a movie. But for now here are pictures and diary excerpts from the last trip.

Day 2 : Ogun State

Braved the heat to do exercise outside and I was sweating buckets. Still no wifi but I’m finding myself being somewhat productive and I’m getting notes down and working on plans and mapping things out. Not being connected to the world is a blessing. Giving me clearer thoughts on plans. May have to apply this more often and not be reachable during work hours. Realising Africans TVs obsession with Spanish and Indian tv channels

Day 3 Ogun State

Woke up with some inspiration after reading some of Michael palings journal on his travels. And I’ve realised that I have not even attempted to realise the true potential of the situation I’m in. I need to do more, speak to locals and do bits, actually learn about the culture like I did in Stockholm.

Day 4 Ogun State

Was spent in Markets. We travelled by local taxi with no aircon. The first that hits you on the high way isn’t the heat but the pollution, without aircon it just hits you constantly. The second thing that hits you is the bad driving people are reckless and that really puts you on edge. Easy to see why people are so religious over here, making simple trips are miracles. But then little gems like the side markets exist on the journey. The fact that Lagos is surrounded by water is something that I always forget

We visited Balogun market which was by far one of the busiest places I’ve been to. Noise colours and more noise and every Nigerian delicacy you can imagine. The thing that struck me most so far is the responsibility and maturity of the kids. They are buying and selling goods with the zest and confidence of seasoned vets.

Day 6 Ogun State

First decent night sleep since the first day of being here. Stomach still not settled. However I’m feeling uneasy due to another reason. Usually when I travel I feel my difference is celebrated, in Europe people love the British accent. In Lagos I feel uncomfortable opening my mouth. Like my words are a direct insult/mockery of their culture. It’s like they can smell I’ve from London. I’ve lived in Germany and England and now for the first time I feel segregated in my mother land. Maybe it’s just me or the area I’m in but I’m monitoring the situation.

Day 9 church.

We went to church saw some of the town and the thing that struck me with Ilesa was the random old western/European style houses amongst the huts and African style architecture. Remnants of colonialism?

Day 13

Inspired by the commerce in Nigeria. If you need something someone can make it. Industrial labour still very big here. Had thoughts of creating a show where you swap builders from different countries and make them work in each other’s conditions. Imagine cockney east London builders in Lagos. TV Gold.

Day 16

Bought a goat which kept me entertained.

Day 17

we killed the goat. Horrible experience. Made me question this whole process of how meat gets to

Day 19 Ilesa

we visit kunles house and it was a treat. situated in the middle of nowhere his little castle stood magistically. Kunle as always a pure delight and full of laughter and joy as he plays host supreme to me, mum IBk and the Professor. We then later went to a traditional Nigerian restaurant. An orchestra of noises reveberrated around the premisses. Laughter and yuroba music are the main subjects but the thing that stood out was the noise from the pounding of yam. 6 women arched above a bowl systematically grinding the hard yam into a soft solution that taste magical. The soup at this place was outstanding. We bumped into an old friend of the professors by chance and he as everyon is in awe of the man as he tells old tales. He notices my second name and tells me how i may be the next king of Ilese which I find amusing. watch this space.