Architecture

 

Its a beautiful building of worship, but I strongly think that people are more particular about building the house of worship rather than building people. I think that if we build people we would automatically build the nation and focus less on fighting crime.

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Nightmare of a Photographer

Photographers in Nigeria admire foreigners that we see on tv or on the streets especially the way they just take out their cameras and click click. I can say absolutely say that most of us want to be able to do that on the street of Nigeria but hey! except you want to get beaten or have your camera broken and we all know how expensive these gears are. when you go on the street and point your camera, the next person has sized up your gear and is probably thinking of how much they can make form selling your gear, they might even go further to think about how they will spend the money and who they will share it with as settlement. A friend shared on Facebook how she got slapped and her camera thrown on the floor because she tried to take some pictures on the streets. She went ahead to show her ID card as a journalist and further explain to the mob that it’s her job but all that fell on deaf ears. I just imagined if I was in her shoes I would think of anything to say to help me get my shot and pray hard that I don’t get beaten up. Honestly there is no mercy on the streets of Nigeria when you are holding a camera.

I once tried to take a photograph of one of our campaign buses that carried our #EndFGM message on the sides and before I even began to take my shot, one random passer by began to question me. I put on my ‘I-Don’t-want-any-trouble’ face and before long the man got angry because I had not replied any of his questions. He just began to insult me and tell me how my parents did not train me well and all that. I just quietly moved away from that spot to an office building opposite, walked in and asked if I could take my shot from their upstairs office.IMG_9501

Child! Not Breadwinner

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I am not against a child helping her mother out to make ends meet in the home, but let’s be fair, a child is a child. Children want to play eat and sleep when they are not going to school, at least that is what they do since they can only be seen and not heard according to many adults. So why should a child become bread winners if they can’t be heard? It is like saying that a boy of a certain age should not allowed to watch a movie with violent content but we put a gun in his hand and make him a child soldier or that a girl should not watch a movie with sexual content yet she is married off before she turns 18. Children should be allowed to be children: play with their dolls, play in the sand, play in the rain too; children are children only for a short while. When they become adults they will be adults, then they can take up breadwinning responsibilities after all they didn’t ask to be born.

New Places

Jos! Plateau state is the most beautiful place I’ve been to recently with lush lands, mountains and plains. To see this you have to go by road and then enjoy the view. Little wonder the whites are attracted to this part of the country – the weather tries to keep their bodies as cool as it can get.

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My job as a development photographer has given me the opportunity to travel to places I wouldn’t go on a usual day. I saw interesting things and a people who are a lot slower than the people from where I came. It made me laugh after my work was done but while I was working, getting from one place to another was quite annoying as the taxi driver would take his time while driving and listening to his music not minding if passengers were in a hurry or not. I once asked on driver politely if he could step on it’ and he just smiled and asked me if I was in a hurry, I thought my quick ‘yes’ would propel him and make him drive faster but that was the least of his problems at that point and to make matters even worse he just brought out his Phone and called someone who I suspected would was his girlfriend considering his hush tones. I think the difference between the drivers where I am from and in Jos is their age. There in Jos the drivers are mostly youths and so they have their entire lives ahead of them. The drivers from where I came are so old you wonder why they are still driving, they probably want to make the most of what’s left of their lives hence the ‘no time’ attitude.

I tried every new fruit I came across, any new food that I’d never tasted didn’t pass me by. And so on one of our trips I saw this strange orange-like fruit, everyone except I was happy to see that fruit, they said it reminded them of their childhood. Well I wouldn’t say I wasn’t happy, I was rather excited to be tasting something new. We all came out of the vehicle to buy this thing called Jioh in Hausa (Please Jos People help me out with the name and spelling). I was more excited to be taking a photo of Jioh so I brought out my camera and as usual this boy hides his face in disapproval. I assured him that I only want to take a photo of the fruit and so he lets me; using the fruit to cover his face.

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The fruit has a flesh and seeds like that of African cherry or Agbalumo as we usually call it. Nobody advised me to not chew the flesh with my teeth. It is so sour, three days later I still could not chew anything! My molars felt dead and sensitive I had to swallow everything.

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In all it was one of the most amazing trips I’ve had in a long time.

The Lion’s Food

Okpa is a meal made from Bambara nut. Bambara nut looks like giant bean seeds and is not as easy to cook as normal beans; it takes a really long time. In a city like Abuja where the cost of living is really high, some people can’t afford to eat lunch at a restaurant, if you want to make that a habit you should budget at least N1500 (about $5) which is high for an average Nigerian to spend in 5 working days. That amounts to N7500 (about $24) this can be the salary of an individual in other parts of the country in a month.

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So average individuals patronize women like the ‘Okpa Woman’ as she is usually called by her customers. Once she arrives at a particular office, the one who notices her announces her presence to others and they all rush to buy before it finishes. Even if you are not ready to eat you need to buy it and keep it because before about midday, Okpa is all sold out.

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This meal costs only about N50 ($0.16) – N150 ($0.48) depending on whether or not she included egg while preparing it. So if you buy two wraps of Opka at say N100 ($0.32) then you spend N1000 ($3) every week on lunch in Abuja. That’s if you don’t mind eating Okpa every day for lunch but that is how a lot of people survive in a city like that.

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