Getting Lost in Lagos (Again)

Chimnwendum
5 min readDec 1, 2023

To get lost is to learn the way.

I hear missing your way as a newbie in Lagos is a rite of passage.

Shebi you be danfo driver?

My mother said “There is a reason why it is written This is Lagos and not Welcome to Lagos once you get to Lagos, shine your eyes”

I decided to start another series after my Igbo Girl and Money series. I hope to cover every silly mistake I make and every funny thing I do so we can both laugh and learn together. I will have a name for this new series in the next blog, I hope.

And so it begins…

This is not my first time in Lagos, but as a young adult, it is, and to me, every bridge looks alike. It took me three trips to know I could differentiate them with murals on their walls. This is why I never fall asleep, no matter how tired I am.

So, while returning home today, instead of boarding a Danfo to let’s say America, I took a bus to the UK. You can imagine my dismay when the roads were not giving America vibes. Where are the okadas? So I asked again, is this bus going to America? Everyone in the bus echoed ‘No’ and the bus driver stopped by the side of the road.

As he stopped, the passengers, while speaking over one another, gave me directions on how to get to the bus stop. I thanked them and collected my #200 change from the driver before hopping off the bus.

I ran to the Keke bus I saw and told the driver I was going to so-so and so bus stop, he told me to jump in. As I did, I quickly realized I was the only one on the bus. I hopped off again and went to board a tricycle popularly known as keke.

This is called Keke Bus

As I hopped in, I started praying for three more people to come so we could move. It was getting late, and I was not ready to fight or chase anyone if they dragged my bag. So, as I anxiously shook my leg, a middle-aged man came in, glanced at me, and decided to sit in front. I guess I was exuding dangerous pheromones. Come close and get burnt, hiyaaaaa!

This is popularly known as Keke in Nigeria

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Gradually, the keke got filled. I sat on the right side of the keke, while a young mechanic sat on the left side. Then, we had a fair, short, petite man between both of us. I didn’t feel uncomfortable because I could easily jump off the keke if things went south. Plus, it was a culture shock because most men in Aba, where I grew up, would rather have me sit in the middle.

As we were about to leave, the next keke driver started rizzing me. He said “I love this girl skin color o” while looking at me and I replied with a smile and a ‘thank you’ because why not? I am graceful like that. Then his friends start teasing him about how he likes 911 girls. I got to understand that 911 Girls is a street code for fair girls. I see the correlation, do you? or, am I wrong?

Anyways, I got to the bus stop and I asked again, “Where can I find a danfo going to America” to which this kind phone accessories seller pointed at a big sign board in front of me.

As I made my way to where the danfo was, I passed a stand where they sold fries and chicken. I wanted to buy some for the road, but my money advised me against that. So I swallowed my spit and kept moving.

The highlight of my day was discovering where I can buy second-hand books, I was excited! At the same time, I felt terrible because I had just spent a huge amount of money on books. My consolation? It’s an investment into the woman I am becoming, so we move.

As I sat on the front seat en route to my home, I was at peace. I was grateful. I was happy. Finally, I will be home in a few minutes, in the comfort of familial faces who will laugh at the fact that I lost my way again.

When the danfo pulled into the garage, I made haste for home because the night was upon me, and I detest night waka. But I saw a familiar face: another stand with fries on it.

Without wasting time, I asked the seller to put #150 worth of fried potatoes and #100 worth of plantains. Just in case there is no food at home, I go use this one hold body.

I walked as fast as my legs could carry me. I didn’t want my family worried. As I got home, I quickly removed my wig and picked up my 6 month old baby cousin from the floor. His body movement told me he was so happy to see me that he kept threatening to stand up. Calm down, little soldier, soon baby. Have a baby ever shown you they loved you? It is wholesome. Ah, someone who loves me genuinely.

Then my aunt said, “I cook rice o take as much as you can finish”. As I rose to the occasion, I was mindful to take some rice because I still had my fries.

With glee and gratitude, I ate till my heart and stomach were full.

Another day in Lagos, and I thrived. Thank you Jesus. We move again tomorrow and we know your favour goes with us.

See you in the next blog. Bye.

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Chimnwendum

Sharing lessons from stuff adulthood throws at me.