Showing posts with label lagos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lagos. Show all posts

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Nigerians climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Down Syndrome

English: January 15, 1938. Mt. Kilimanjaro: Th...
English: January 15, 1938. Mt. Kilimanjaro: The snow-capped summit containing the nearly perfect crater is flanked by deep furrows of lava flow and glacial erosion. C. 20000 feet. C. 07:00. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Six Nigerian professionals are embarking on a 6-day hike to the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. This is happening as part of a fundraising drive for the Lagos based Down Syndrome Foundation.  The Charity climb tagged Climb for Down syndrome, the brain child of Inspired by Charity, a social enterprise, is scheduled to take place 16th-23rd August, 2014 in Tanzania.

The hiking party hopes to use the climb to raise awareness about Down syndrome and help to raise 10,000,000 naira for the Down Syndrome Foundation (DSF). DSF is a renowned charity that works to provide leadership, support and advocacy in all areas of concern as it relates to persons with Down syndrome in Nigeria.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding Mountain at 5,895m high, attracts over 40,000 people every year who seek to climb the mountain. Of the seven summits, it is the easiest to climb, requiring no ropes, or special mountaineering gears or previous climbing experience.

The Climb for Down Syndrome Party will be climbing through the Machame route, one of the seven routes to Uhuru summit. The choice of the route according to Dotun Eyinade, the convener is to ensure that everyone acclimatizes quickly and to increase the chances of success. “Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro remains a physical and mental challenge and for many of us it will be one of the most physically exacting things we would do in our youth” he added.  Inspired by Charity views the experience as more than an adventure but a purposeful intervention in  support of the Down Syndrome Foundation, as it executes its charitable mandate in providing critical succor to a vulnerable community. Eyinade, a Fellow with Acumen Fund said the team would leverage the media, especially new media platforms to raise awareness about Down syndrome and the Foundation. As socially minded professionals, we consider the hike a transformational experience, one which requires courage, grit and determination; we are excited about the prospect of using the hike to fundraise for Down syndrome foundation and help to place down syndrome on the front burners of public discourse again.

The professionals are drawn from the KPMG, Seven Energy, Generation Enterprise, Acumen Fund amongst others. Accordingly, Climb for Down Syndrome has received the endorsement of the Down Syndrome Foundation.This is a worthy and unique concept which I believe must be the first of its kind in our country. We would love to thank the team for believing in our cause and finding our Foundation worthy to benefit from this unique event,” said Mrs Rose Mordi, President, Down Syndrome Foundation.

Donations in support of the Climb can be made directly to the bank accounts of the Down Syndrome Foundation as well as on www.234give.com, a crowdfunding platform.


The climb is supported by Premium Times, The cable news, Development Diaries and the One Life initiative

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Old Van in a New Bus


Most people who use the danfo or any other yellow bus for commute through the mad dash that is the average Lagos route are not unaware of the fact that the cars served as a goods conveyance van in Europe, this hardly registers. However, even if they don’t know what for sure, they know the tokunbo cars must have served another purpose in its previous incarnation, especially when they contemplate the dress ripping makeshift seats and rough hewn windows that just about serve the purpose they were meant for. They know that the iron-rimmed seats are not standard issue, at least from whence they car came, and that the chance of bodily injury if an accident occurs was amplified by their addition. They know the drivers are largely reckless—early morning shot of paraga and Igbo reckless—and the buses disasters waiting to happen. They know this, but throw their lives into the arms of in-time-of-trouble-and-need-gods as they clamper aboard the buses every morning, afternoon and night. The need to transit overshadowing fear, caution, and whatever sense of impropriety they might feel.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My next BIG Thing!


Social media will be celebrated whenever and wherever the story of the generation of Nigerian writers that I belong to is written. And that story will surely feature how writers of my generation, managed, despite the odds, to create something grand out of the possibilities inherent in social media. The story will be big and surely, the tales of how aspiring writers searched for and connected with thousands of like minded individuals would be an integral part of it. While I don’t particular feel I am qualified to write this story, I won’t deny the fact that what you are reading now is a facet of that story.

I met Gbenga Awomodu, online, I can’t recall if it was on Facebook or in the early days of Naijastories, but we connected online and since we both live in Lagos and shared an interest in event reviews and journalism, the chances of us meeting outside of the electronic world of social media was high. We met a couple of times outside of social media before the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop brought us face to face again in August 2012. The story of my generation of writers actually played out in that workshop. Of the 22 participants, I had only ever met Gbenga in person before the workshop, but Richard Ali, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, and Samuel Tosin Kolawole were already (Facebook connected) friends of mine, even though I had never met them in person. I still shiver at that social media strangeness that allows you know people intimately before you meet them in person. I was also meeting Yemisi Ogbe for the first time, but I knew her work as a food writer with the now sadly defunct Next Newspaper, where I also had the privilege of contributing articles, and we happen to have mutual admiration for each other’s work—I  discovered that out during the course of the workshop. I summarised my workshop experience here and Yewande Omotosho did here, so we can skip all the long tori and bite into the meat of this one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Of traffic snarls and the land of the rubber men



It is a hot day.
Another of those days that traffic stretches as far as the eyes can see causing people in cars to share something other than the unity of crawling traffic and sweltering heat: short fused temperament.

This is Lagos, the heat and traffic snarls are constant realities that we have learnt to live with, no matter how hard that is. Nigerians, we are special breeds, rubber men that defy the laws of elasticity—we are yet to find that elastic limit and we continue to adjust to constantly shifting challenges. Nothing seems to shift more constantly than our traffic laws. Perhaps they don’t really shift, change, rather the government finds new way to express them. That way they keep us on our toes, sweating in choking traffic.

We do have constants, those things that remain the same year in year out. The danfo bus, a modified Volkswagen van that perhaps ferried goods from one point to another in the European country that hosted its first incarnation, is one of the things that remain the same. A testament of our dump mentality, the danfo, like millions of other automobiles in Nigeria, comes second-hand: Europe’s discard serving faithfully here, still.
There is little to see in the scrap-like drabness of the danfo bus I boarded in the hope that their street and alley meandering ability would perhaps shorten the time I would otherwise spend in the traffic snarl—a vain hope. The clammy intensity of the heat that comes from within and without did not gift concentration, so Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I will Write About This Place rests in its place in the side pocket of my well-used bag. Yes, I had discovered that the three hours spent in traffic heading to work and the three hours spent on the way back is a good time as any to catch up on reading. Before One Day I Will Write About This Place, one of those Ikeja-under-bridge-paper-backs—a novel by John Varley—occupied the space in the bag. Victor Ehikhamenor’s brand new book Excuse Me!, a testament of where Nigerian literature is headed, will replace Binya’s in a few days.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aluu 4 and the state of our mind



I want to be numb, but my soul cries too loud for me to ignore. I am supposed to have grown accustomed to pain, but things happen that remind me that I am a man and that in the heart of man, pain has an abode, try as much as you can, you can never escape its grip.

As I type this, the voice of two promising young men cut down in their prime by the kind of unmitigated blood-lust that our country have come to identify with, booms out from my laptop speakers. Like voices from the grave, the young men cry out that there “ain’t no love in the heart of the city”. It is eerie, like prophesies of that kind are, especially when one considers that the boys had pleaded for their lives to flesh and blood men that refused to show them a little love, people that refused to spare their lives.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Farafina Creative Writing Workshop Experience



It was my third application. I paused a while before I typed the address into my mailbox. Twice before, 2010 and 2011, I had answered the call for entries for the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop. On both occasions, I got an email informing me that though I made the long list of thirty five, I unfortunately didn’t make into the final list of fifteen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The North burns: can we talk about us?


Once again, like uncountable times in the past, the north is in the throes of ethno-religious crisis. As usual, the security agencies are caught napping and aside from accusations of complicity in the crisis, seem to be all thumbs, with little or no idea of how to handle the situation – besides their age-old ‘shoot on sight’ solution that is.

In a previous article, written some years ago, I dwelled on the nature of the north and after examining the numerous crises I witnessed and luckily escaped while living in the north, concluded that ethno-religious crisis and the north of Nigeria are Siamese twins that may forever remain conjoined, unless the drastic is done.

I warned then that the north would blow up again way before the Boko Haram clash and the first Jos affair. My forecast was not based on any form of prescience, but as a result of a brief study of ethno-religious clashes in the north.

In the north of Nigeria, from Jos and beyond, the truth about Ethno-religious crisis is not if it would occur, but when it will occur, again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fashola's speech, as the army invaded Lagos

English: Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, at t...
Image via Wikipedia
A full excerpt of the speech as delivered by Babatunde Raji Fashola on military occupation of Lagos state:




Dear Lagosians,


For the past few days, I have monitored the developments related to the public protest against the increase in the pump price of petrol. 


During that period, I have at the invitation of my colleagues in the Governor’s Forum responded to an invitation from the Presidency.


My role since last Monday till date has been to find a ground of compromise that stabilizes the polity, protects our democracy and prevent any loss of lives.


Inspite of these efforts, we were not wholly successful in preventing the loss of the life of a young Nigerian, AdemolaAderinto who was sadly shot. 


I am truly saddened by that ugly development. While I condole with his family, I pledge the commitment of our Government to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice.


I have decided to address you today in view of the very disquieting developments that occurred overnight especially the deployment of soldiers across Lagos.


I have the highest respect for members of our military, especially because they have made a contract with all of us that they will willingly lay down their lives whenever it becomes necessary to do so, in order to protect us.


This covenant is instructive, because soldiers did not sign up to stop us from expressing our grievance about things that we are displeased about.


It is not disputable that the citizens who have gathered in several parts of Lagos like Falomo, Ikorodu and Ojota to mention a few have largely conducted themselves peacefully, singing and dancing while they expressed their displeasure at the way that we have taken decisions that affect them.


That in my view should not offend those of us in Government. The majority of these people who represent diverse interests have not broken any law. If they have, it is my opinion that in a constitutional democracy, it is the police that hasthe responsibility for restoring law and order if civil protests threatens the breach of the peace.


This is not justification for sending out soldiers to a gathering of unarmed citizens. Every one of us, or at least majority of us who hold public office danced and sang before these same people when we were seeking their votes.


Why should we feel irritated when they sing and dance in protest against what we have done?


For me this is not a matter for the military. The sooner we rethink and rescind this decision the better and stronger our democracy will be.


If anything, this is a most welcome transformation of our democracy in the sense that it provokes a discussion of economic policies and this inevitably may result in political debate.


I therefore urge the reconsideration of the decision to deploy soldiers and implore the President and Commander-in-Chief to direct their withdrawal from our streets, I must also emphasize that the rights of free speech and protest is not absolute. They impose the duty not to break the law, breach the peace, endanger human life or destroy property whether public or private.


They also impose the duty to respect the rights of others not to support our protest and indeed to support what we oppose. At the end of the day, it is a contest of ideas in which the most persuasive will get the endorsement of the majority of the people we serve.


I am convinced that our democracy is mature enough to accommodate this. We must do our best to ensure that it does.


God bless you all.




BabatundeRajiFashola, SAN
Governor of Lagos State 


Monday, January 16, 2012


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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alaye

Rough draft of a short story that was later revised, updated, refreshed and published in StoryTime


ALAYE

It was still dark enough for the neon lights to reflect off the paved road, throwing crooked shadows off the potholes that are scattered like puckered pox scares on the coal-black tarmac. Across the road, to the left of an abused public toilet, a huddled figure lay prone, seemingly dead to a sleeping world.
Looking from afar, the weak light fails to hide the deep callous on feet that had apparently taken a tough beating. Large, mutant-like mosquitoes can be clearly seen on the exposed soft areas of the feet, which strangely, is a little further up the foot than normal. At this point, the mosquitoes spotted distended tummies and swaggered with the delirium of the high that comes from ingesting too much human fluid.

The figure appears to be immune to the bites of the giant vampires, for apart from the occasional gentle heave of chest, he lay perfectly still.

An attentive watcher, coming closer, would notice the way patched lips seem to move in silent mime to whatever song is playing in his dream world. The sleeping figure, haggled by a thousand internal demons, turned involuntary in dreamy stirrings that revealed an impossibly deep wound on his shin. It is fetid and crawling with hundreds of maggots and a zillion other microbes.

It had probably gotten to that stage beyond pain for, at that moment it lay partially on the jagged face of a broken pavement stone, a darkish red liquid run off it to form a small spreading puddle beside the stone.

A few feet away, a sprawling mountain of refuse looms, spreading its peculiar fragrance overall the scene.

Beyond this, lies the bridge. Large and gray, a solid testimony to man’s engineering genius. From afar, it appears nondescript, without identity, a lonely sentinel, with only the earth base and dirty canal water for comfort. But closer, she takes on a distinct identity, calling attention to her animate family, silently attesting to her right to be called mother by those who take solace and shelter under her concrete wings. The so-called homeless who have found a home where none but the earth can rightfully claim to own.

Beneath her they lay, in individual singles, in communal clusters or in the larger feudal clutch of the gang-bred, street men and kids. Rank determining the proximity to the middle, made-men laying claim to the center around the street monarch while outcasts and recruits fan the outer rim.

There are those who are yet to be accepted into the clutch. These ones either find security in company of others like themselves. They, like the drifters, people who are here today and most probably gone tomorrow, chose the more trusty companionship of the self, deeming it wiser to snore alone, doing nothing to upset the tribe.

Among these drifters, a new face appeared a few days back. But, unlike them, he had stayed put, though out of everyone’s way. Unlike them too, he appears to draw attention where others are over looked. Alaye was the name he gave the street monarch who uncharacteristically took a curious second look at him during his nightly round of his monarchy. Apparently bemused by the street name he had asked again, “yu sure sey yu bi Alaye so?”

Alaye who did not miss the underlying treat of menace and challenge in his voice had replied in kind, allowing faint submissiveness to color his voice a little.

“Yes ke! Baba, I bi alaya now! I don tey fo area onli sey we neva jam.?”

“Ok now, we go see,” was the non-committal response from the street monarch who continued to look him in the eye. “Shey, from wia you show from respet dey abi? Bicos for hia wi no de take yab o.”

He did not wait for Alaye’s reply before stalking of, his longish legs scraping the hard-parked earth as the muscles rippled in his bare upper torso. Behind him followed his court, a collection of the nations reject, all affecting various degrees of hopefully mean grimaces to match their leaders mood and possibly ensure the quaking of on-looking hearts.

The monarch, who goes by the street moniker Area Baba to reflect his ownership of the bridgehead and the whole of the street down to 25th bus stop, used to be more accommodating. But that was up until his lieutenant Jada, who now runs the areas beyond 25th bus stop, tried to overthrow him in a bloody palace coup that was fought with their weapon of choice, broken bear bottles and iron rods. The fight lasted the most of two weeks and in the end, he was made to part with the choicer part of his inland real estate, which meant loss of revenue from street begging and pick pocketing.

Now he only manages to scrape out a hard going for himself and his boys from pimping for the prostitutes at 2nd avenue and ‘harassment’ money from drivers who use the illegal bus stop at the foot of ‘his bridge’.

Now he looks at this new drifter and sees the same intelligent glint that he saw in Jada’s eye the first time they met. He knows from experience that smart people may mean a whole lot of success. But, if they are as ambitious as Jada, then trouble is what they bring with them.

He prays this one moves on soon. But in the mean time, he will put Kekere on his trail. Because even if he isn’t made he may strike out on his own and would, like Jada, soon have enough boys to challenge his authority. Turning to his new lieutenant Stone, he whispered.

“You sure sey we get space for this one?”

Alaye knew the street monarch’s interest portends trouble. He has being on the street long enough to know the code that is the difference between life and death. The faster you decode another’s code the surer you are of knowing where you stand with him. He had moved the big refrigerator carton that is his mobile tent and bed a little further away from the clutch of the gang-bred. Trying his very best to distance himself from any conflict that might arise.

He positioned the carton in a way that the peephole he had opened in it was facing in the general direction of the bridge base where the street monarch’s chambers lie, instinct warning him that trouble would probably come from that direction not from outwards as usual.

He has kept a low profile from that first day and up till the moment was yet to attract any undue attention to his person from the monarch who still looks at him suspiciously whenever their paths cross, a meeting Alaye avoids as much as he can.

Tonight like other nights before it, Alaye is sleeping deep, though not too deep as to loose grip of his environment and situation. All around him, other street urchins are also in different levels of sleep.
Their young bodies having gotten attuned to the weather and mosquito bites, they sleep unhindered, much like the destitute by the highway that apparently has entered a world that is far from that of human beings, the world of the weather beaten mental chase.

As the night sky took on a faint hue of light that gradually turns the deep black of night gray, Alaye stirred as his biological clock ticked the unset of dawn. He sat up in his coffin like carton and looked towards the gang-bred chambers. His heart gladdening at the sight of the sleeping figures there.

“Hopefully,” he thought, “I would have finished my morning bath and be far away before they awake”
Alaye has every reason to be weary for today is one day that he hopes that avoid trouble, at least, until he knows his stand.

Yesterday, a woman who bought pure water from him at the bridgehead hold up promised to give him a job in her supermarket. On the condition, that he makes it to her shop before 7.am.

Since her shop is on the other side of the city, he will have to rush if he is to retain any hope of getting the job. So, an entanglement with Area Baba will only slow him down or even curtail his going altogether.

His path towards the broken water mains that served as source for drinking water and bathroom for the street boys and indigent residents as well was light by the glare from craggy molues wobbling towards the day’s job.

Unlike other days, he took his time bathing, trying his utmost best to rid the grit and sweaty odor that clung to him. Though he is one of the few street boys that still see an everyday bath as a necessity, the hard life of the street still leaves him as dirty as the others at the days end.

When he had assured himself that he is as neat as he can ever get in the circumstance he walk back to his carton. Foraging inside he pulled out his only decent dress-reserved for days like this-and shrugged into them. Having no option in the footwear department he made do with his threadbare bathroom slippers.

Five minutes later found him trudging down mile two at a pace that is not too brisk but not slow either. He has hope of reaching Ikeja by 6:30 and get to the woman’s shop with a few minutes to spare. Even if he could afford the fare from mile 2 to Ikeja, the thought of taking a bus did not occur to him.

Like others in his situation, he has come to an understanding his fate and sees any money that can be saved as worth saving, so he treks to his destination. Another reason he treks is the hope of meeting someone or something that will alleviate his suffering. It is this hope that keeps him and his kind alive that drives suicide from their minds and keeps them sane even when the world around them has gone totally insane.

Alhaja, the woman that promised Alaye a job runs a big supermarket in Ikeja with branches in most of the markets that cluster Lagos. She fancies herself a philanthropist who looks after the dregs of the society. She absorbs youths like Alaye without any family to turn to.

Why she picks out the strong and young can be left to anyone’s imagination. In Ikeja shop, several young men and women work as sells persons or loaders. She clothes and feed them while providing them shelter from the element and the bitter world. Some of her employees, former street boys and girls, have being known to climb the social ladder while in her employ. But, it is a minimal number that do so.

When Alaye Ikeja he discovered that the difficulty he had earlier envisioned of locating the shop was premature for at first inquiry he was directed to a row of well stocked shops that as early as then was in full swing. He watched with open mouth as an army of youth battled to set up for the day’s business.

It was hard going for him following the progress of the workers who bustled like a thousand worker bees. Some unloading from crates while other arranged them in whatever order caught their supervisors fancy.

It was this supervisor, a girl of about Alaye’s age, who directed him to the Alhaja’s office to wait her coming.

Alaye discovered that he is not as special as he thought, as other kids were seating on a long bench in the corridor outside the office, various degree of fear and expectation mingling in the young faces.

A plumpish girl on the far end made space for him. He thanked her as he joined the wait.

They did not have to wait. For, at 7.30 am on the dot, Alhaja turned up. It was her voice that Alaye heard first. It was raise in apparent anger at whatever wrongs the workers outside perpetuated. Alaye caught his breath and the girl beside him stiffened, apparently he wasn’t the only one that felt the gall in her voice.

The next moment the small corridor was swallowed up by a heavy musk based perfume that had that Arab fragrance that is as overpowering as they were made to be.

She looked each child up and done as she responds to their individual greetings which she appeared to live off. She expected the postulations of both the males and females and scolded a girl that did not squat as deeply as was expected of her.

But unlike the tone they had heard her use outside, she was rather mild about it, scolding with a motherly voice that was both stern and kind admonishing for forgetting a deep cultural norm that a little girl overlooked.

Later, they were all interviewed by her, in twos, to ascertain their level of intelligence and placement.
Somehow, by some trick of randomization, Alaye and the plump girl were the last go in. initially, as the others came out of the office, Alaye had thought of asking them how it went. But, they being strangers it was rather difficult and no one met his eye no matter how heard he tried to catch theirs.

Now it was his turn to face the lioness in her den.

Alaye did not lie to himself for he knew that his future is close at hand. As they stepped into the office the deep fragrance hit him again, only harder this time, it was all he could do to stop from choking from the nausea that rose from his belly. It took all his will to cross the lush carpeting to the front of the large vacant table that where Alhaja sat.

She was intent on a paper she was scribbling on, though not enough to not notice them and stop them from coming too close to her table. Apparently, the perfume served a dual purpose; it keeps her foul odors in as well as keeps that of others out from her ringed nose. She wrote on seemingly ignorant of them while they looked at each other and fidgeted.

From the much they could see of her face, unobstructed by the shawl she wore arab style over her gele, she is obviously in her mid forties. Her figure, though a little on the fat side, retained the basic curves that are accentuated by an extra large backside and bustline. Unlike most fat women, nature spared her extra folds across her tummy.

Her face, though not closely beautiful is still handsome enough to be called pretty. In all, she makes for one striking figure that her average frame seems to carry very well.

Her office, though well furnished, appears to be a sort of showpiece, for the space that would have been spacious was choked by equipments and other stuffs that aren’t really needed. Like the extra TV behind her desk and the electric typewriter.

Two hours later Alaye and Zainab, the plum girl, were on their way to Alhaja’s wholesale shop in Oshodi. He is to work as a loader with the supply truck while she is to work in the shop proper, as a sales girl.

The shop was not as big as those in Ikeja were but it was still big enough to require a staff of eight excluding Alaye and Zainab.

They received just as about the same sort of greetings that they got in Ikeja. The workers did not pay them much heed as they went about their duties, only one stopped long enough to direct them to the manager who turned out to be a middle-aged woman equally as fat as the Alhaja.

They were not giving much room to settle as they were rushed off to work.

Alaye did not much like hate his work as a loader, he had had cause to do jobs of such nature in the past, it is just that the unpredictability of it vexes him to hell.

One minute he would be getting set to eat his lunch, the next he will be rushing off to load up a truck for a customer.

Like most people taken off the street Alaye wasn’t bothered any by the sleeping arrangement. Some of the workers have their own accommodation in town but Alaye, Zainab ant two other girls had to sleep in the shop. While the girls slept in the packing store, Alaye made do with the cold shop floor, once again bedding down on a large carton.

Time passed like a swallow’s flight. He got closer to plump Zainab of the dreamy eyes and the other workers stopped seeing him like a stranger. They did not see much of the Alhaja and the few meetings were brief. Strangely, she appeared to remember his name, a thing he thought peculiar until he leant that she knows the name of all her employees, a sharp memory that served her very well in her day-to-day dealings.

Alaye was too grateful for his change of fortune that it did not occur to him to ask for his salary at the end of that month or the ones after. Every day he collects the stipend of one hundred and fifty naira that served as his feeding money. One a good day, he gets as much as five hundred naira as tips from happy costumers. With all these, he was as comfortable as one can be in the circumstance.

To him demanding for the three thousand naira that was due him sounded like betrayal of trust.

It was Zainab that raised the issue of unpaid salary some months later. Apparently, she had spoken to the other girls and from their narration, it appeared like the norm, they too didn’t get paid up until one year after they started work and even then only a few months worth.

Alaye preached caution, opting to wait till they must have worked for one year before complaining. He said this to pacify her for he wasn’t sure he had the guts to face Alhaja even then.

Zainab was later moved to Alhaja’s private residence as a housemaid while Alaye stayed on in the Oshodi store only he now had to follow the trucks that supply pure water as a loader.

The issue of unpaid salary was not treated as Alaye’s earnings from tips increased. But he did not forget and hoped he will get paid at the end of the one year. True, he was picked from the street but he has his plans and hopes to see them to fruition.

Trouble started when it one year passed and extra months added up. After much dilly dallying Alaye summoned courage and went to Ikeja to speak to Alhaja. Like the previous times he had being to see her he was made to wait for a long time.

When he finally saw her, she was on her way out and would have passed him on the corridor where he sat waiting if he had not hailed her.

At first, she looked at him strangely as if trying to place him but after a while, she smiled slowly.

“You are from the Oshodi shop right? I hope no problem?”

“Yes ma,” Alaye replied, “there is no problem ma.”

“Ok. How may I help you?”

“eem, ma… its about my salary… I have not been paid since I started work and it over a year now.”

“I know,” She said turning towards the door apparently dismissing him.

“But ma I was told that you pay after the first year and it is four months after.” He said following her outside.

She turned sharply, her eyes blazing. “who told you that?