Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nigeria is a wicked place.
A chancy, desperate place where thin lines divide the living from the dead, the surviving from the destitute, the merely hungry from the starving. Where hi-rise banks and international money-lenders lend scarce relief to the fruit and bread vendors, toiling in their shade. where waist-length hair weaves, and skin-bleaching, light colored contact lenses and the latest European fashions run parallel with coiled braids,vivid geometric patterns, and the sleeping baby tied to the back. hustling. lagotiating*. bickering. debating. discussing. mourning. celebrating.

sit here at Aunty K's shop, in the bustling, smelly heart of EKO-Lagos island, and you may feel no need to go anywhere else. The great, the too-bad, the breathtakingly beautiful, and the painfully ugly will all pass by today, eventually.

Strong women carrying the day's offerings ~shoes, eggs, cloth-cut-to-measure, bread, chickens in a portable coop, effortlessly balanced atop corded necks and unbowed heads. A man herding one ram ~ distended testicles bouncing and dragging~ to a battle.
Children and chickens dodging mokados, mercedes, rusted out shells, and weighed=down pushcarts.
Dirt ceases to be dirty, and the unknown is familiar and the same.

The pure energy ~ witnessed only here, like this ~ of the purposeful crowds, busily filling every available space, the hustlers, the area boys, the strife, the sunken flooded potholes threatening to be lakes on tree-lined streets... the gated, exclusive estates, accessible only to the wealthy, via the same dogged and damaged roads~ where the amount of Naira who have to spend only rarely protects you from life.

def: *LAGOTIATING is the art of lagos market negotiating. This is a verbal and physical skill passed down through generations...

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