So I've been in Lagos now for 4 days and it's all coming back to me. The blaring Afrobeat on every corner, the heavy horn honking (which to Nigerian's is mostly a polite way to tell another person that you are overtaking), the fragrant smells of Nkwobi, Suya & Akara (look them up!) The fact that you don't need to leave your car while driving because the street sellers have it all (forgot your toothbrush on the way to your lovers house? Sweated up your shirt and need a Perfume? Or you missed Alicia's swimming carnival and need a Hannah Montana DVD to make her smile again? - don't worry, they've got it covered). Oh and I can't forget to mention - the painful but entertainingly bouncy potholes on the road, and the constant praises to the most high (don't believe me? Check the marketing slogans on the back of most vehicles; "...The burial of Satan - the day your problem must end!").
YES it's been 10 long years since I last visited Nigeria, but no matter how much time passes, there are 3 words that will always sum this place up for me; chaos, congestion and charisma.
Currently the population sits at roughly 182 million (a few more Naija bubs will be born by the time I finish this post) and there are over (approx.) 450 languages that have been and still are spoken! - now if that's not a richly diverse country, I don't know what is. Basically, most - if not everyone here is on their hustle and personally navigating through that is often overwhelming. I've had to take off the Aussie cap and whack on the Naija helmet, ready to take on what comes my way.
I often ponder on thoughts of home and the challenges and triumphs that I may face while here. Thoughts continuously popping up like "Why did I trade my warmly lit ambient room for power cuts and showers that run cold..." or "...I could be riding on a semi new air-con bus that mostly runs on time instead of this tin-can van where I'm tooth to tooth with the bloke next to me and the trip is taking 12 hours to reach our destination rather than 8..." But regardless of all of these thoughts and doubts, I'm taking the experience for what it is. An experience and a chance to develop, learn and grow as a solo unit as well as a brand. A place which has talent bursting from the seems and people waiting and eager for the next project.
Most people wouldn't bother stepping foot into Nigeria unless they were posted to work here or they were coming back (or forced) to see family. But I'm excited to show another side of this beautiful country via Shekudo, a rich and complex country with culture and character proudly waiting around every corner. You just have to be open to observing beauty from a different lens, - a lens different from the one that most of us have been trained to see through.
Abeg, until next time!