I remember the other day when I was being driven over the third-mainland bridge by my uncle, with my brother sleeping and heedless of raucous around him in the passenger seat. The traffic was capricious and one could hear the persistent blaring of car-horns and call-outs of the road side hawkers advertising their goods for sale. The whole scenery was maddening and caused me to develop a faint migraine. I was also close to throwing up; no thanks to the acrid stench of black choking fumes coming from the exhaust pipes of the enormous trailers and numerous beat up cars that drove beside us. As we momentarily paused, I looked over the bridge. From my vantage point I could see under the bridge. I saw garbage, lots of it, and then I saw a mat placed a few feet and quite conveniently away from the garbage. I was immediately taken aback by the mat.
Could someone be living there?! I thought, very appalled. What if someone was actually living there; with the person exposed to mosquitoes, pelting rain, or even worse- miscreants..
With this thought in mind, the traffic gave way a little and we drove past that scene. As we reached what seemed to be another bridge, a diversion to be precise(due to the fact that the remaining part of the bridge was blocked as it was under construction), I looked overhead and saw a gathering of people. My mother, who was sitting at the back seat beside me, saw where I had my gaze upon and promptly told me those were purchasers of bend-down-select clothes. Now, bend-down-select clothes are worse than second hand clothes. I mean, these clothes have been owned by not only multiple owners, but have been worn several times over. The new kind of these clothes are of the lowest of quality, and usually their colors run once they are washed, or they shrink several sizes smaller or even worse, expand beyond recognition. In other words, these kind of clothes are fake in every sense of the word.
During the drive back home, we drove through several cities, past residential and commercial areas. Most of the residential structures looked really old and worn out, with their walls ruined by weathering, age and ofcourse human contribution. Their gutters held pungent stagnant water filled with debris. I saw people eating near these gutters, some even cooking near them. The homes looked jam-packed, the roads on which we passed these homes were bad as they had crevices and to top it off, there was no electricity in most of these homes. Those who had generators had theirs turned on with their noise and black offensive fumes entering their neighbors homes…
It was a very sorry sight.. and I saw even worse. I guess it had just been a typical day driving through the rugged cities of Lagos.
And to think some of us who have it good still complain? And to also think some of us who have it bad haven’t seen the real bad yet!
Some of these people lack electricity. In other words, they don’t get to watch the news. In other words, they don’t really know what is happening out there apart from what is happening to them. In other words, they are the perfect description of ignorant.
Some of these people are the lose canons in the society. They can’t afford a good education. They can’t afford three square meals a day. They are poor and are consistently looking for ways to get out of their condition. Even if they have to do so by selling fake products, stealing, or even killing to make some money. These people are the perfect baits of the corrupt who can easily sway them with a little cash to do their dirty bidding. Is this life? And to think those people in those ruined homes are actually better than the one who is living under the third mainland bridge. Nah…there’s got to be more to life…
Sometimes I think of where to put the blame. Do we blame the nonchalant government? Or the people who wait for the government to turn their lives around? Sometimes I wonder where does the government even start from? Studying the buildings that day, they were decrepit and in sorry conditions. Even if the government decided to breakdown those structures to replace them with new ones(Assuming!), it would mean displacing thousands of people, leaving them with no accommodation. *sigh* I don’t even want to go there..
Then I think of us, the lucky ones. Those of us who, with government aid or no, have been able to make it quite far in life. Be it successfully completing our education or working even if it we don’t get paid so well . At least, we’re not jobless. Those of us who can afford if not three meals, at least one meal a day. Those of us who have a phone, even if it is of low quality or not the of latest technology. Those of us who have clothes, bend-down-select or not, designers or not – at least we are not nude, and we still look quite presentable in them. Those of us who know what the Internet is and can have access to it when we want. Those of us who can watch television and know what is happening in other places, and are not totally devoid of information. Those of who can afford health-care. Those of us who have a suitable place of abode. Those of us who are healthy..
Infact- those of us who(whether super-fly rich, middle-class or so-so) have all or some of these things ARE the lucky ones.
And I’m not talking about the intangibles… I’m talking about those of us lucky enough to have some, if not all of life’s basic necessities that makes life a little less gruelling than it already is.
At least It’s not as if we have nothing. We have something…
At least we are not the one under the bridge.
photo retrieved from : http://hotnaijanews.com/2012/07/01/repair-works-on-third-mainland-bridge-postphoned/