Monday, June 2, 2008

Everyday life in L.C.H.E.

I wrote this post before and published it...but it didn't come up...i's really pissed...having to do this again*hiss*. but i sorta remembered some things i'd left out before.

When we first moved to L.C.H.E, i wasn't excited about anything, at all.

We lived on the outskirts of Lagos prior to our relocation that was home-for real-but then, armed robbers sorta chased us away.

Anyways, my mother came home in one of those days when we'd had-it-up-to-here with the area and it's security (or lack of it) and said she'd found out about L.C.H.E's, I was fresh out of high school and looking up universities at the period, I thought it sounded Ivy League-ish so the first thing I asked was, 'How much is it???' then she said, 'about 120,000 p.a give or take', getting kinda excited, i exclaimed, 'really! it's far far cheaper than high school! , how long is my course??? where is it???', then she gave me her you're-sucha-fool look and said, 'we are moving, dum dum!' , 'oh!'

Moving homes is supposed to be like a big big decision but my parent's made theirs in three days, actually, it was the longest notice we've (my sis, bro and i) had from them, the shortest was one day.

As it wasn't even a school or anything like it, i didn't bother to find out what L.C.H.E meant before we moved, i didnt care. I was expecting the worst anyways, (it's what my mother suggested) so i wasn't really suprised to find this:

(we just recently got the blocks painted)Every block has got six flats, in my zone (zone is a term for 'a cluster of as-many-as-possible blocks' with a chairman, a financial secretary and one or two PHCN transformers), the flats vary from two to three bedrooms, K,T&B (kitchen, toilet and bath).

Anyways, for mail's sake (I LOVE snail-mail, even if it's just bank statements) , i found out that L.C.H.E meant Low Cost Housing Estate, and i wasn't really suprised, duh!

This place is really strange most of the time. Every day, almost nothing changes. Recently, i realised that it's always the same routine.


‘EEEEE RROONU PIN WA DAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!’, every morning I wake up to a preacher’s voice. The woman’s a screamer, but then, her voice is not as loud as the bell she ties to the yellow belt on her white church garment.
‘EEEEE RROOONU PIN WA DAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!’ (Repent),
I have lived here for over three years,but, everyday, I wake up really shocked, wondering what exactly is responsible then I hear the very pesky voice again, ‘OLOHUN NNN BOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!’ (Jesus is coming!!!), this goes on for 30 minutes max and then she moves on to another zone.
This woman is the quietest, most tolerable and most considerable one of all the preachers in my estate: she doesn’t carry a mega phone.

5:00 AM
I snooze for another thirty minutes before the guard dogs go off on themselves. These dogs are the worst, most uncontrollable monsters in the world…and they’re programmed to start barking to death at exactly 5:00am (for about 10 minutes) every single day! This queer behavior baffles me. How’s it possible get these dogs to do this??? My neighbor says there’s some African magic involved. I don’t care; I hate what these little monsters do.

By the way, did I mention that the vigilantes ring a giant bell every hour from 1:00am till 6:00am??? Once at 1:00am; twice at 2:00am, etc etc. Just so we all know that they’re at work every night and don’t delay their monthly salaries.

‘Breedi re butter re’ (here’s bread and butter), “EEE RA BUREDI, E PO TEA O” (buy bread and make some tea). ‘Aaagegee BREAD!!!’ The first bread seller in my zone announces her resumption. If there are 200,000 people living in my estate, 30,000 people sell Agege bread, another 160,000 help them earn their living.
They (the bread hawkers) are omnipresent (in the scorching sun and the heaviest rain), every time (except when you actually need to buy their bread like crazy).

When I hear the first bread-song, I know it’s time to wake up.

a bread seller in action

E KAA RO OLOGI DE O!’ (Good morning, the pap seller is here), ‘E KAA RO OLOGI N KI YIN O!’ (It’s the pap seller greeting you oh!). If when I hear this, I’m still in bed, I know it’s really time for me to get up. They don’t last as long as the bread sellers or the preachers, sometimes, if I don’t listen carefully, I miss them, or mistake them for the bread sellers.

GBAAAANNN!!!! GABAAANNN!!!!! GABAAAAAAANNNN!!!!! KOLE KOLE!!’, I can feel every annoying thump right in my head. If I’m still in bed when they come, the crazy sound beats me wide awake and I’m up for the day, that’s it!
These garbage packers are the most self centered MOFO’s to have have ever walked the face of the earth…but they’re useful when they serve their purpose once in a while; which is getting me out of bed and clearing my garbage container.
If I'm still in bed when they come, the crazy sound beats me wide awake and i'm up for the day, that's it!

Sometimes they come earlier, or later, give or take; they start around 7:30. THUMP! THUMP!! THUMP! THUMP THUMP THUMPTHUMPTHUMP THUMP!!! They’re the shoe-shiners, they don’t say anything, they just bang on their wooden makeshift stools hanging over their shoulders. They polish a pair of shoes for 10naira, glue soles back for about 20naira and above, depending on the extent of the damage, anyways, they’re there to treat sick shoes.
But whenever I need them, I stay away from the Hausa ones; they don’t know anything, the Ghanaian guys are the pros.

Think of any hawk-able thing in the world, it’s sold between this time. The fish sellers, pepper sellers, mobile tailors (obi-omas), plantain sellers, yoghurt vendors, Barcelo-niggas ( these ones are the funny ones, they sell these things they call ‘Ghana buns’, mostly to little kids), traditional drug vendors, p’on be p’on be (knife sharpeners), come-buy-papers (these ones BUY papers from people and then re-sell to their own customers), crayfish sellers, even more evangelists (with deafening loudspeakers and mega phones, making salvation seem really unattractive) etc, etc.

Ironically, the estate is as quiet as any neighbourhood can get. Once you can get past all the buying and selling and simply mind your own business.

After 6:00pm, when all the young football-playing boys and the ten-ten girls have retired to their flats, the lovers come out. This is the real show. My estate is a typical player's playground. These guys have at least one girlfriend in each zone, really. I wonder if the girls are blind or simply don't want to face the truth.

Surprisingly, it's the teenage fathers that these girls find more attractive. Many of them (the boys) don't like to go to school, they have day jobs at the different cyber cafes around. And I see them doing pretty well. No one has made me the judge o, so I just mind my business.

What happens after 10:00pm??? I cannot see...I can only hear from my room; the music from the loudspeakers (the DeeJays are half as much as the bread sellers) and I imagine the nighttime lovers doing their did. Enticing the girls with chicken suyas (the mai-suyas are half as many as the Dee Jays, lol) and other eatables. Around 11:30pm, the noise stops. Everybody goes home, and i get ready for the female preacher's alarm tomorrow.

My estate isn't really fun (for me) but it's safe...we don't even have a cop shop, i guess we don't need one.


Naughty Eyes said...

I's first (hope so)!
No cop shop? How lucky you are! And the vigilantes just sound a gong? The ones we had when I stayed in Aba used to shoot the hour! It was routine for the pellets to rain down on the roofs just in case the shots didn't wake you in the first place...
Thot I was one of the few people who had the Yahoozee pix and the Boy and Girl thots pix too on my phone.
Have you thought of writing a travel brochure? Made me want to see your estate

Woomie O! said...

I shoulda mentioned that they used to shoot on the hour, every hour...until the residents' association held a meeting and assured them that we were aware of how hard they worked and advised them to save their bullets for the real thieves.
the pics...they move around really fast.
Haven't thot of writing a travel bronchure...haven't seen enough.

laspapi said...

Just like naughty eyes, I felt I would like to spend a night in your estate. Couldnt stop smiling at the synchronized alarms.
I have a vulcanizer (vulganizer?) who wakes the neighbourhood at 7am with his 'mean machine'. That's not too bad. We've had the occasional wandering 'missionary screaming at 6am. If I had a catapult...

Buttercup said...

wow, i feel like i was right there in ur estate wit the way u described! i think ur blog is just refreshin, kinda different n ish

esquire said...

This is very funny. I can't believe i've not read it till now. I probably overlooked it 'cos if the length. All i got to say is, that's a typical 9ja street.