‘Balende

We actually live in a very beautiful city. In this city we sing, we dance and we steal things. We have normalised all that and more.

Commuting in my city is hectic but we have someway found comfort in the midst of the chaos.

14-seater buses are reconstructed till they can inconveniently contain at least 20 passengers. Despite the entire Mega-City brouhaha, tricycles, bikes and the yellow buses we call Danfo are still the most available and affordable means of transportation.

If you have ever entered a Danfo from Obalende to elsewhere in Lagos, you must have experienced one or all of the following scenarios:

The Elderly Sick Beggar

While you wait for the bus to be filled up, somehow you get scared of growing old in Nigeria. If the country’s economic hub has so many poor, sick and homeless people roaming around parks, it is hard to wonder what happens in other states.

There is no way you are leaving that park without having a worn-out and sick Nigerian walk up to your window to beg for alms. You begin to imagine the amazing dreams these beggars had as kids and youths. You begin to wonder how Nigeria has killed their hopes. You begin to worry if this is your future staring back at you. You cross yourself like a catholic priest and plug in your earphones.

The Hungry Co-Passenger

You will just be seated quietly in a Danfo and the guy next to you will just unwrap steamy moi-moi, drop the banana leaves on the floor of the bus and throw his face away while enjoying his meal.

Sometimes a fellow passenger just opens a bowl of rice and stew garnished with egg and fish. You sometimes want to partake in the feast but your pride and home training won’t let you eat the humble pie and beg.

You warn him not to stain your white shirt and his response further pisses you off.

“If you no want stain, why you no buy car?” he responds with his mouth full.

“Fool,” you curse him out.

He ignores you and looks out of the window while stuffing his mouth with even more food.

Perforated Containers

The journey from the Obalende to the mainland is going smoothly. You guys are cruising on third mainland bridge and it suddenly becomes windy. The rainstorm is here and in a few minutes, it’s raining cats, dogs and buffalos.

Not long after, the driver is stretching his hands out to wipe his windscreen. It is then we notice the car has no wipers. The driver is holding the steering with his right hand and cleaning the glass with the other.

The Danfo is swerving from side to but that doesn’t seem the biggest problem right now. The bus is leaking at different places, the door is flying, the windows can’t be shut. The passengers are complaining but the conductor is laughing out loud.

For the entertained bus conductor, it’s just another day in Lagos.

What’s been your worst experience in a public bus?

 

 

 

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