Another Blurry Section of Nigerian Road

1st-2nd May 2016

Day 46 of ± 189
Abandoned wood pile in front of oncoming truck going in the wrong direction. Photo by Jussi Eskola
SUPPORT — Do Not Take BRIBE — According to your CONSCIENCE → so decide based on what level of conscious you have? ;) Photo by Jussi Eskola
Scenes beside the road in between Abeokuta and Benin City. Photos by Jussi Eskola

The aim for the next couple of days was to drive in the direction of Port Harcourt. Long stretching roads merged into one, sometimes empty, sometimes filled with crazy drivers, dripping oil trucks and dirty smoke.

Road side stalls, for the first time, were mostly bare, empty, void of life. A sad display of poverty, or of the more attractive potential gains from oil profits through its trade – something which occurs when money gained from trading in oil makes it more worthwhile to buy imported produce, rather than investing in locally grown.

We passed the day continuing to observe these bleak scenes still amazingly filled with smiling, waving and generally happy-looking people, portrayed against a backdrop of beautifully lush green tropical grasses and trees. Police checkpoints broke up the journey, irregularly – something we were stubbornly getting used to. Their irritating existence can be blamed on Boko Haram, so as frustrating and tiring as they were, they had a needed purpose.

Rounding the day off amidst the humid grassy enclosure off the side of a Nigerian dual-carriageway, fenced off by trees, we settled in the secluded and people-less bush, to eat, sweat and listen to more about this prominent African nation.

View of the road ahead. Photo by Elizabeth Montgomery
The night of the 1st May — a secluded green spot. From left to right: Christian, Travis, Jonatan, me, Martina, Gudbjørg, Jussi, Jørn & Ryan. Photo by Elizabeth Montgomery

Somewhere inbetween. Photos by Martina Bright

Last night was unpleasant and sleep-deprived with mosquitos, diarrhoea and hot sticky skin – current ever-present realities. Will we ever feel comfortable and clean again?

View from a bridge — Benin City(?). Photo by Jussi Eskola

It is now the 2nd of May and we stopped for food shopping on a humid, hot and swelteringly busy bridge in Benin City. The heat mingled with people’s haggling attention was almost strangling in the hazy dust hanging within and over everything. We were already tired of these roads and the incessantly long daily drives filled with badly spaced police checkpoints and a lack of healthy food. Coke and biscuits anyone?

A cooler time of day finally arrived, coinciding with more frequent rural scenes of dark wooden villages against dark, humid, green backdrops.

Turning right, the truck bumped and swayed off the tar and into a school ground with two simple rectangular buildings, a quiet sheltered haven under dark leafy-green canopies of trees where we set up tents on wet, sandy soil.

Sleep inside the truck that night came easier, closing another dreary and uneventful, yet very insightful day on the road.

Left: seemingly deserted school buildings. Right: written on one of the walls inside the school — DON’T FORGET KNOWLEDGE. Photos by Elizabeth Montgomery
On the blackboards inside one of the school buildings — ‘GOOD MORNING CLASS, Pls don’t be flaba-gasted about the exam. JUST see how simple it will be friends, (by the grace of God), by (Ekele), CHINWE THANKS’. The walls and boards were filled with many further such inscriptions. Photo by Elizabeth Montgomery

Tomorrow Day 47: 3rd.May.2016 – ABA to CALABAR

*Check out Jørn and Lukas’ 3 videos created from the first couple of months of footage from the trip down below, before further footage was either lost or stolen:

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