Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Love in the time of the rains

We have just entered the height of the rainy season, with monsoon storms slating down on Abuja. The roof on our house is jerry-built, like most houses in the city. The rain flows in rivulets from the corners of our bedroom, drenching the floor. In my spare moments, I towel up the water, filling bucket after bucket. It is a losing battle. Our landlord said nothing will be done until we have paid our yearly rent (which is due this week). For the moment, it is not possible to sleep in our bedroom - the dampness forces itself into the throat.

Meanwhile, the BQ near our apartment has become a pig sty. Piles of rubbish lie about, spare engine parts and used tires and the like. The shared bathroom is filthy. It is time for our very own Kick Against Indiscipline process in the compound..

High on Minister's Hill above us, various huge mansions are being hastily constructed. They look like Southfork through migraine eyes - columns aplenty, no trace of architecture, simply buildings for the philistines. One day, there will be design culture again in Nigeria. It has not happened yet.


negresse adoree,  7:48 pm  

Have seen your blog for the first time and am fascinated by your apparent obsession with all things naija. I used to be like that about francophonie until I realised that la belle France would never accept that an African could be truly French. Tell me, are you yearning for acceptance and is it forthcoming?

lolaojiks 7:53 pm  

Eeyah!! Seems the rains have relocated your way as London is now bright and sunny.

Jeremy 8:05 pm  

Negresse adoree: non, je ne veux pas l'acceptance. En meme temps, toujours je voudrais voyager le plus profonde dedans le paradox qui est Nigeria, dans tous les facons. Excusez-moi mon francaise - c'etait un long temps!

Lolaojiks. Thanks for the eeyah. I always like being eeyahd..

lolaojiks 8:59 pm  

Ha ha

Thot you might like this

wienna,  9:55 pm  

Pele o, omo papa Jeremiah. Do u people do enviromental sanitation in Abuja at all?

Anonymous,  10:19 pm  

Will the landlord even fix the leakages if u pay the yearly rent? is he/she very honest and forthcoming with stuff like that?
Good luck. Dunno how y'all do it.

oguro,  11:09 pm  

.... design doesn't exist in naija vocabulary. the buildings are constructed ... from plans that are 'drawn' ... design as a rigorous thought process is alien. maybe you should think of grey water harvesting ;-)

Ebun,  9:50 am  

".... design doesn't exist in naija vocabulary. the buildings are constructed ... from plans that are 'drawn' ... design as a rigorous thought process is alien."

Well said Oguro. This is where 2020 vision comes in to save the day. Take note Brother Jero.

negresse adoree,  11:25 am  

Haba, does anyone at all see anything positive in this country of ours? I have visited a number of beautifully designed and constructed homes right here. Of course you have to have squillions of naira and oodles of good taste, and unfortunately the two do not often coincide...
Jeremy - your mangled French is soooo sexy

Anonymous,  11:35 am  

you just made me miss home... in uncharacteristically sunny london, gorgeous weather, not a drop of rain forecast.. in BA lounge at heathrow now, looking forward to scary abuja storms, dark skies, comic book lightening, possibly a tryst with my sulking lover- can anyone spell frisson?

mofieyisola,  3:55 pm  

hahahah scary abuja forms
frankly jeremy is quite right. i am dismayed by the huge boxes also known as houses in lagos particularly parkview and banana islands. i mean seriously is having a big marble house with fake lions and marble columsn and three floors the best way to tell people you have money, esp since its only you and madam and the house girl living there, and just three of you to scoop out the water when it rains because another olofofo built his house where the drainage was supposed to be.

in my mind, you dont need lots of money to design a house, a house can be small and very well designed adn green too!

lets not even talk about the insides of these ugly boxes, with their ugly gates, less than 90 degree corner, bad bad finishing and woodwork, ugly wrought iron everything (is this shit meant to be cool) noisy ac, too heavy and mismatched furniture, cold marble, gosh and those royal backed chairs you see in naija movies adn are perfectly dismayed to find out that people actually own such pieces of furniture...uugggh

oguro,  12:13 am  

...good design doesn't imply a huge bill ... good design is more cerebral ... somehow it proves that plenty ghana must go can't buy taste...
I've given up on the possibility of anyone in naij really appreciating design

anonymaus,  11:18 am  

I enjoyed your piece on the vagaries of daily life in Nigeria ie "Love in the time of the rains".

It brought back a fond recollection from my childhood which was tinged with fact of reality about Nigerians in that country today.

My Dad is a Nigerian, let's put it this way modesty was not his strong point. When I was around 5 or so, growing up in South London, he was always bragging about "Nigeria this and Nigeria that", to my Mum (she is not Nigerian) and myself. If this wasn't enough he'd launch into one spiel about how educated Nigerians are ....

This got me thinking, "wow this place called Nigeria must really something, with all these incredibly educated people, it must be a fast developing country". I first visited the country in 1981, along with my Mother. I liked the colour and vibrancy of the people and the place, but the sad reality was that the all too pervasive dilapidation and filth that is common place in the urban environment, and in the rural areas people still living like their great grand-parents did at the turn of the 20 th century ; made me think that for all these "educated people" to have emerged from there, the basics of life still haven't been addressed, the country is no more developed than countries with smaller numbers of educated people. People would rather live in filth, but spend their money at a social event spraying, than pay the necessary taxes to have a proper waste disposal system instituted and maintained.

(I've never met a group of people who use education to elevate themselves at other peoples expense like Nigerians ie it is used as a put-down. I've met Europeans, Asians, Indians, in fact people from all over the world holding various high caliber degrees etc. None of them make it out to be a big deal, with the exception of Nigerians - who seem to have gone overboard about it)

Your short piece about luxury villas sprouting amidst the sea of waste that is engulfing Abuja, Nigeria's newest and reportedly most orderly city - highlighted this.

I'm glad to see that your upbringing has alerted you to the fact that filth is not good (be it in your house or nearby). I'm pretty sure that you were not responsible for the mess (it probably isn't that untidy by local standards) that is adorning your compound, and that you will remove the mess. Maybe this normal act of decency may spread to all 36 states of the federation, so that the ubiquitous mounds of rubbish will disappear once and for all. Rather than it being an occasional thing practiced in Lagos state. The use of waste disposal bins and campaigns not to litter might help raise awareness.

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP