North, Nots or Not: Follow The Compass

So, I got bored of Lagos and wanderlust invaded my stagnant life here, and when an opportunity to travel out of Lagos peeped from yonder, I grabbed it well well.  Where was I going?  The Northern section of Nigeria, or as pronounced here the ‘Nots’ or ‘Not’.

As anyone in Lagos, who is not from the North, about the North and you shall get all kinds of stories.

“Those guys are not civilized! They eat rats, sniff glue and smoke cow dung!”  

Ati smoke what?

“They collect cow dung, place it under a fire and inhale the smoke.”

Talk about some hot shit, abeg abeg!

“They don’t speak English, only Hausa.  Eddie, they are backward people- how shall you cope with them.  You go suffer my brother!”

It’s at this point a ka familiar voice, one that only you hear and emanates often when you realize that a huge blunder has taken place begins to whisper “Eddie you dickhead, what have you done.”

It’s not like I can go up to the head of the department and say “Oga, I change my mind, maybe the North is not such a good idea.”  I mean, where is the sense of adventure, the sense of fun, the sense of..what is that you are giving me boss, an air ticket?  Oh crap.

I am to visit 6 Northern states in a week.  A week with dung smoking, glue sniffing, Hausa speaking, rat eating people: a people am often confused for.

It has been a tough life for me, I have been branded with several nationalities for years now.  I have been labelled a Somali, an Ethiopian, an Egyptian, Zanzibari, Pempa, Taita and now in Nigeria, Fuleni. 

So I leave early Sunday morning to take my 2 hour flight to Jos to begin my Northern adventure on Monday, only to get there to the news that all flights to Jos are cancelled due to the chaos there. 

“Dickhead, dickhead, dickhead!”  Am singing to myself, increasing after each ‘head’.  I should trun back now, this is the perfect excuse, a cancelled flight.  This is a sign.  This is it, extrication from this huge mess.  I don’t want to be in a village setting.  I like civilization.  I embrace modern technology.  I don’t want to be served rat peppe soup or rat suya.  Turn back, go back to the hotel and blame it on Jos. 

“Leave now dickhead, now, now”… But the need to endure all obstacles, the need to self actualize, the need to…okay, the need not to get fired drives me on.

There are 2 things you don’t do in Nigeria: Don’t let a stranger count your money and please do not give money to any fast talking oga.

Now that flights were cancelled, there was a scramble to secure bookings to other destinations.  The domestic airport is very small and was very crowded.  Imagine 400 people trying to get served at the Sarit food court and we are together.  This chaos and confusion becomes the right atmosphere for conmen to proliferate their GDP.

I walk straight to the counter and sadly informed that all flight to Yola, my next destination after Jos are full.

It’s at this point I wish I had some cow dung and a lighter with me.



~ by jagedin9ja on December 12, 2008.

2 Responses to “North, Nots or Not: Follow The Compass”

  1. Aka! U dummy! Only u wuld volunteer to be sent to such a place… Yikes!!

  2. You do realise the Taita are a tribe in Kenya and not a nationality?? But thanks for the the wayside compliment .. we are one of a kind 😉

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