so as part of my new found randomness, I upped and went to Abeokuta. just because. everytime i travel outside of nigeria on a personal trip, i find that i move around a lot. i want to see everywhere and go everywhere as far and wide as is possible. however, abeokuta is a few minutes from where i spent many years growing up and i have never crossed the border into the state. i doubt that the realization is unique to me. the truth is many people go to the "need to go" places in their lives. work, church, home, bar. they know that the country is bigger than just wuse zone 2 or ikoyi, but nothing takes them out of their routine to explore. growing up, my parents took us everywhere just because. i have been to yola, jos, kaduna, ibadan, uyo and many cities across nigeria as a result of this exploratory spirit. but times have changed. as civil servants, i assume that the work life balance that my parents enjoyed through the 80's is something that we can only dream about. fast-forward about 20-something years, and here i am struggling to balance my life at all in any way. waking up by 5.30am everyday and getting back by 9pm does not exactly leave one with any capacity to seek to explore. the original intention was to take a long drive to the country-side and let some breeze into my clogged mind. I ended up stopping at Ifo to buy NAFDAC un-approved bread that had literally just been removed from the oven a minute before we got there plus had been well covered with flies as we were trying to decide which particular one we wanted. I heard a different dialect of Yoruba that I hadn't heard since my days in university and saw a huge cement factory and things that I would otherwise not have averted my mind to.
and Abeokuta is amazing...slower, cleaner air, natural environment, local people with too much make-up, the works. it reminds me a lot about lokoja, where the local economy is made of small businesses and there is a direct correlation between the clients you are able to get and the next meal you are going to eat...and it is the perfect place to drop a sharp blog post.
excuses aside, there is so much to see in this country that it is unforgivable that people now do not even know how lokoja looks or that benin or enugu are huge towns that rival some of the areas in lagos. for those who are parents, today is a different world. you wont let your kids run around your compound or play with your neighbours, but you will save all year to let them go and run around a mall in Dubai for 3 days. just saying. anyway, the point i'm trying to make is that Nigeria is not name on a book. it is a collection of people so diverse that it will do you and your children good to appreciate it physically.
see y'all around peeps.