A Wonderful Surprise

This post originally appeared on my Medium, which is a wasteland now, but I decided to post it here as well, just because.

Oh, I never saw the writing prompt challenge through, but then no surprise there.

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{By my calculations, this is going to be my 7,481,873,236,171st attempt at writing with the guidance of prompts, of which I have failed 7,481,873,236,170 times. Yes, this is really going to be my seven trillion, four hundred and eighty one billion, eight hundred and seven three million, two hundred and thirty six thousand, one hundred and seventy first attempt. A lie, obviously.

I was going through Boro’s Medium (see here – Boro’s Medium; Oh, she has a blog too. Check it out here – Boro’s blog) and came across an entry that was influenced by a 30-day writing prompt challenge. While it was an interesting read, I checked out the prompts (see here) and they appear encouraging, soooo, I’m going to try my luck with it/them/whichever works. It’s mainly supposed to be a learning process, so please, bear with me. Salute}

Day 1

Take us through a written walk down your street and to your favourite place through the eyes of somebody else.

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You see, when I moved to this city, I expected I would have a very uneventful time- following routine, the occasional splurging on food and goodies, and bulk of my time spent with my laptop, the internet and my quite impressive collection of movies and TV shows. Boy was I wrong.

It started off how I earlier predicted. For some, routine consumes, messing with their sanity. For me, it’s comforting. Knowing what I would be doing per time is calming and the accompanying peace of mind soothes my generally anxious self.

We met and hit it off. Unfortunately, this isn’t a narration of how we met.

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He always walked me home, after every date; after every time we saw really. He never came in though, and every time he had been on my street, it was dark outside. He stayed quite far away from mine but he made sure I was home safe before he left me. ‘I need to be sure you’re okay’, he would say. I knew he was just really into me and tried to extend whatever time he had my company.

Unfortunately, I have left. I have moved away. Even more unfortunate, he’s still in that city.

He’s such a case. When we speak, he tells me about how he’s bored sometimes and wants to gets dressed then go to my place, even if I won’t be there. Hmm, I would reply.

I can imagine how it would turn out, if he ever decides to go through with it. I hope he remembers how to get there, because getting to my street is like a GTA San Andreas cheat code; that’s how giving directions to my street sounds.

To get to my street, he’s going to get to a very popular bus stop. Then make a right, a left, a right, a left, then a final right, after which he would be standing at the foot of my street. The name of my street is a four letter word. It has three vowels and one consonant, the alphabet ‘r’. There’s a certain way I pronounce the letter ‘r’; he loves it.

When he finally gets there, an elderly Yoruba man will tease him. He would call him ‘Olowo ori’; as he does every time he sees us. After shrugging off the elderly mans jokes, he will walk quite a distance.

My street is conventional, for the most part. It’s a stretch of asphalt that curves at the far end. Rough around the edges with a few patches, the road is fairly comfortable to walk on.

Photo by Safiyyah

I hate how boring it is. We have nothing, as it’s fully residential. No one ever comes out, except on Sundays when if you’re lucky, you get to see families get into their nice cars and head to their respective places of worship. I am of a different faith so Sundays are an off day for me. He’s going to find it boring too. There’s really just house, more house, a sprinkle of house and a lot of house.

The best part of my street is, as he would discover is……..my house;

Because in my house lies my room

Because in my room lies my bed

Because on my bed, my sheets lie

Because in my sheets, I lay

Waiting for him

A wonderful surprise

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My Very Efficient Alarm

This past year has been one of my most challenging years. There have been times I found myself in situations that kept me up at night thinking ‘What if?’ ‘How?’ ‘Why?’. There have been times I made mistakes whose consequences would heavily affect my life negatively. Somehow however, things got better every single time by the grace of God. On the flipside, there’s been proper positive things that have happened. While the bad outweighs the good (by a lot), I’m still very thankful cos things could really have been worse. Random but isn’t it funny how many of us are going through shit but act like everything is alright because you don’t want to disturb anyone with your problems?

There’s so much to be thankful for. I have learned a lot, but one thing I’ve come to realise I’m most grateful for isn’t something that happened within the past year.

I’ve been away from home for the most part of the year, thanks to NYSC and It has been an eventful experience. Very. Very. Eventful. Got myself a cozy place to call home for the year which seemed to be in a potentialy drama-free location.

I have alarms set on two devices I own. Both go off in the morning to wake me. But you see, this whole time, I’ve actually been ‘using’ three alarms.

What is this third alarm? My third alarm turns out to be my neighbours. On days where the alarms on my technological devices fail to wake me up from my slumber, my neighbours come through; and for this I am thankful.

The best part of this alarm is it’s never the same sound. I’ve been here for roughly 10 months and they’ve probably only repeated the same alarm soundtrack at most 7 times. On days when it’s not Mother Neighbour shouting so ‘awon ara Ile le lo kirun’ , it’s eldest child neighbour doing the shouting. These two were the most common alarm soundtracks during the early days. Until… April.

Not to sound like an African grandma but I feel something came into this place around that time. The sound tracks changed. I still remember the first time. Alarms one and two had blared but I ignored and went back to sleep. It was only few minutes neighbour alarm came through.

It sounded like a stainless steel pan connecting with something but I couldn’t quite place it, until I went to my window and from the ongoing dialogue, one of the children was getting his/her ass beat with a whole frying pan. Mind you, the person doing the beating gave birth to the victim. The beating stopped and I went about my day as usual.

Over the next few days, I got to hear new soundtracks. The weapons changed. Sometimes a broom, sometimes a stick; sometimes a bucket, and other times a fist.

I feel bad cos I’ve gotten used to this consistent domestic violence. These children in my honest opinion may never be happy while they’re inside that house. Yeah, there’s times they laugh together and stuff but ah. While many would defend this nonsense and call it discipline, I personally feel that would be a garbage opinion.

Another neighbour lives with her daughter. 7 times out of 10, she’s insulting this daughter of hers. The other 3 times, she’s beating the shit out of her.

Morning, afternoon, night, it doesn’t matter. The violence is good to go. One afternoon, on my way back from work, alarm neighbour is beating her son; I’m talking MMA beating here, uno fists, kicks, the whole lot. I try to beg her to stop and come between when she insults me in Yoruba, tells me to mind my business and fake reaches to strike me. I didn’t flinch but I was proper scared cos 1. I don’t know how to fight and 2. I wouldn’t know how to react. Anyway, I take my leave and go about with my life.

Just this evening, for about half an hour, lives-with-daughter-neighbour spent the whole time insulting her daughter while punctuating the insults appropriately with nice slaps. She even went as far as telling her daughter, and I quote ‘you are not worth prayers. You are useless’. I’ve tried to talk to said daughter but everytime I want to, I change my mind. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a bit scared, or because I don’t know what to say. Also, there’s the fact that she’s younger than me and, well, I don’t want trouble.

I’ve been here for a very short time; at least from the perspective of all these victims. From the look of things, they grew up under these conditions and are used to it now. It’s quite sad. I’ve been trying to imagine what kind of adults these kids would grow up to be. It’s a given that they’ll be proper violent. But what worries me most is how I can’t see them not abandon their parent if (and I hope they do) they make it. I mean, if I was in their shoes, there’s no way I would genuinely love my parents.

Sigh. In the end, as it has been made clear, it’s not my business.

If you grew up in a loving home, you should be really thankful. As I’ve come to realise, loving homes aren’t commonplace. The occasional ass-whopping is okay though, just to be clear.

I’m really thankful for the parents God gave me. Wasn’t much of a stubborn child so I was beaten very few times (It was mostly ordinary belting though), but there wasn’t a single time any of my parents said anything outright hateful or emotionally damaging to me; can’t remember a single occurence. I can imagine how sad I would be if my Dad or Mum said I was useless or wasn’t worth a prayer.

Anyway, I really just think we should be grateful if we were privileged to grow up in loving homes. I mean, there’s many of us who relate with our parents like they are our close friends. Be grateful.

Also, if anyone has any idea how one can help these victims, I would love to listen. Cos I really can’t think of a way to come to these perpetrators as a woman.

Oh, I should really use the word ‘proper’ less.

NYSC SZN: Actually Serving – Part 3

It’s quite clear that the time you spend going to your Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), going for CDS on Thursdays or whatever day of the week your Local Government (LG) decides and living in whatever city/town/village said LG is located makes for the main part of the whole NYSC scheme; after all, this is the part you spend the most time on.

For me, I got to serve in Ibadan (‘got to’ as in past tense because my mind isn’t  here again and left to me, I’ve passed out ). If you didn’t know, Ibadan is basically BTEC Lagos. Arguable since there’s probably many other cities across the nation that share more semblance to Lagos but I say this mainly because of the close proximity between both cities.

Ibadan is actually okay. I expected way less but  having been here for close to a year, I’ve come to realise it’s a decent city. It has it’s meh qualities like

– I’ve noticed my English has been heavily affected. I use terms I never would’ve thought would come out of my mouth; also, I have frequent ‘h-factor’ slip-ups (although, it’s likely it’s  just the Yoruba in me manifesting but let’s blame Ibadan)

– Drivers are equally as mad as the ones in Lagos, if not worse even

– The city sleeps way too early. I mean, ordinary 10pm and most places are deserted. 10pm that is like 8pm in Lagos

– At least once a week, I see two men and a goat on a bike

It also has it’s cool qualities like

– Transportation is cheap. There’s legit cab rides that go for N20/N30

-Traffic isn’t  crazy. There’s days this doesn’t  hold but generally, especially when one is used to Lagos. …well

– I want to say things are generally cheap but I’m  still not so sure

Anyway, I’m  more interested in giving a personal primer of the place. By the way,  whatever kind of personality you have, or whatever you define as fun, there’s something for you.

So, personal. I’ve had a whole lot of experiences here, so far. Been to quite a couple of places, had weird experiences with locals, some proper ridiculous things even; basically seen a lot. I should mention that the things you do and the places you go to would be heavily dependent on the people you roll with most; unsurprising anyway. While preparing to move here, my friends who were also going to be here as well and I swore we would hang steady but, LOOOOOOL. I mean, we still saw many times but not as frequently as we expected. A lot of factors contributed but that’s by the way. 

For me, I got to meet someone and we spent literally all our free time together. And so, it’s no surprise that most of the places I went to were with said person.

There’s a whole lot so I’m going to split the content into different parts: one for nice places I’ve been to and the other for the ridiculous experiences and relevant tips.