Who would have thought that I would be attending a party at the Oba’s (King) palace on my third day in Nigeria? Unfortunately, it was raining and I wasn’t dressed in the proper Yoruba attire, but it was great nonetheless. Many of the market women wore coordinated outfits and danced together. The Oba’s four wives also wore the same outfits, and their hair was ornately decorated with red coral beads and cornrow braids. There was lots of music, dancing, and free food (a grad student’s dream)!
The adventure began when I left the party with my host sister at 7pm. It was still raining and there were HUGE puddles of water. I resigned myself to the fact that my cute new high-heeled sandals were going to get all muddy when I had no choice but to walk through one of the mini-ponds. The water (hopefully that’s what it was) reached well above my ankles. I found it incredibly difficult to duck my head from people’s umbrellas, dodge the fast-moving cars and motorcycles that honked every two seconds, and keep my eyes on the ground so that I wouldn’t step into a hole all at the same time.
We tried to take a taxi home, but they tried to charge us N2500 ($18) for a trip that shouldn’t have costed more than N700 ($5) – all because they think I’m a rich Oyinbo (white foreigner). Instead, we took a crowded mini-bus which continuously lurched back and forth in “go-slow” (traffic) for two and a half hours. Then, the unthinkable happened. The rear tires of the bus got stuck in a ditch. Some men got out and started trying to push the bus, and when that didn’t work, they rocked it from side to side. I held my breath and prayed that it wouldn’t tip over. Luckily it didn’t, and we made it out of there alive.
When we got off the bus, we had to take a motorcycle taxi, which I had previously vowed that I would never take. I was scared at first because I’ve never ridden a motorcycle with three people and without a helmet, but it actually wasn’t that bad. Without a doubt it’s the breeziest way to travel!
Posted By Erica Williams
Posted Apr 9th, 2007