Actually when I came to Lagos for my compulsory National Youth Service corps…(Which happens to be another form of modern day slavery…Mr. President, I beg your pardon), my expectations were at an all time high. After the orientation camp, I got my self registered, I reported to my place of primary assignment and of course I went back home to pick up some stuff and for a much needed break, I came back a week later to start working in earnest. I was living with this cousin of mine (God bless her). Usually she drops me on my way to work at a BRT bus stop. I take a BRT bus to the island and then I come back and meet her at her office so that we can go home together….the implication of this was that she had to wait for me even though she had closed…..
Then one day she told me the bloody truth “Babe you have to learn to find your way home, I can’t always wait for you”. Jeez! I was actually dreading this day…what this meant was that…I HAD TO ENTER THOSE HORRID DANFO BUSES. I took a deep breath and kept on telling myself…”Don’t worry honey…You’re a big girl now, How hard could it be? It’s just a stupid bus anyway” All the while I was consoling my sorry self…I was remembering all the blood curdling stories I had heard about “one-chance” and people going into those buses and turning into grasshoppers….Holy Mother of God!
The next day, I really didn’t look forward to closing time….For Pete’s sake I had to enter a danfo. My boss gave me a ride to a certain point and then I had to alight…….I stood at the so called bus stop….there was nothing to show that it was a bus stop…Duh.. In Lagos everywhere is a bus stop. So I stand there trying to look as less-concerned as possible…my belly was actually doing flip flops. I consider taking a cab, but cabs in Lagos are ridiculously expensive, especially for a corps member like me who was still trying to find her feet. Then it happens, a bus danfo screeches to a stop right in front of me raising so much dust with a guy who was supposed to be the conductor hanging fro m the door like some acrobat preparing to do a jump…his driving made me wonder if he was competing in a Grand Prix. This woman brushes me to run into the bus…her massive backside almost toppling me over. The bus conductor yells in his terribly croaky voice….the bus happened to be going to my place. “Enter, one fifty, hol your shange oh!” Mind you, “shange” is change. The woman with the backside yells “one fifty, for wetin?, you go thief” the conductor replies “if u no wan go, u come down” the woman gets down and uses some choice words in vernacular which of course the guy replies to with this twisted look on his face. I get in, it’s getting dark and I’ll rather not be on a Lagos road at night because of a hundred and fifty naira, and I wanted to get this danfo thingy over and done with.
The first thing I notice is…the seats were just wooden planks hammered to some ugly iron frames, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting some middle-eastern upholstery…but wooden benches, even church pews are more comfortable than what I was now sitting on. Then I noticed something else….For Pete’s sake! What was that smell? Some passenger had decided to bring his goat along for a bus ride. The bus moves and stops at intervals to pick up more passengers at some other so-called bus stops until the bus is full. Then I feel something on my shoulder, this guy beside me had decided to to take a nap on my poor shoulder…Holy Mother, What have I done to deserve this?! I move, he wakes and apologizes. “Yes, Owo da” the conductor says to me. I give him this clueless look, “What the hell is he saying to me?” The woman beside me must have sensed my confusion and comes to my rescue “He says you should bring your money”
“Oh sorry” I say, and give him the money. However traffic was heavy but these guys sure know how to meander. The driver completely leaves the road and goes to the side, he almost enters the bush and I’m thinking…”OMG he’s going to take us into the bush and kill us all”. He seems to be enjoying himself and I just noticed the driver wasn’t even wearing a shirt, “What kind of human being goes driving without his shirt on?” I wonder. I also notice something else, he has a picture of this Muslim prophet on his windshield and he also has a rosary hanging from his rearview mirror, I convince myself that Lagos is a really wacko place. My phone is ringing but I’m too scared to bring it out. The sleeping guy gives me this strange look, “your phone is ringing” he tells me. “I know”, I reply, giving him this mind-your-business look, I guess it worked, because he looked away and best of all he didn’t dare sleep on my shoulder again.
We get to this police check point, and the driver squeezes something into the officer’s palm…I don’t know what it is…you figure it out. Then the bus doesn’t move again, it just won’t budge, I begin to panic, but no need…the driver speaks to the conductor and he comes down and he pushes the bus with all fourteen passengers plus the driver making fifteen, then the bus starts. Now I am thinking- that is one strong dude. We are almost at my stop…and I scream “OWA!” I hope I said it right…I guess I did because the driver stopped and I scrambled out. I breath a sigh of relief, now that wasn’t so bad……Na wa oh that day wasn’t funny, but trust me I’m now a danfo stakeholder just like any other Eko babe. So if you come into Lagos and you are making a maiden trip in a danfo…..call me up, I’ll put you through….LOL. Eko oni baje!
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