I was on my way home yesterday with my hubby and son when we got stuck in the mad Lagos traffic. After a long stretch of time convincing my little one to stop jumping up and down in the vehicle; he finally slept. He was tired from hours of non-stop activity. The little man doesn’t rest at all!
Anyway, as the traffic situation got no better, I started looking around the street. You know the kind of traffic jam that causes you to become a spectator, noticing even the tiniest detail of what goes on around you as relax with the jam, yes, that kind. So, I noticed something that has come to be a way of life in Lagos.
An elderly man of about 60 years old who was carrying a sack-full of heavy stuff, stood in front of a shop where movie and music DVDs are sold transfixed to the television set which was alive with people singing and dancing. The traffic was bad, so we were at that same spot for another 30 minutes; and in all of that time, that man stood there engrossed in what he was watching. He would move away when someone wanted to pass but his eyes never made a diversion from the television.
As our vehicle obeyed the sudden crawl of cars in front of us, I turned back to look at this man who endured the pain of the load he was carrying to watch some people dancing on TV. This is not the first time I have seen people gather to watch movies or musicals on television in Lagos streets. In fact, it happens that some of these old Indian movies like Mard, Yeh Vaada Raha, Burning Train and others have been translated by some Alaba gurus into Yoruba language such that their mouths move but you hear Yoruba language spurt out. In Obalende, you would always see men, women, boys and girls gather to watch such movies as hours creep by. They ignore for a moment the long journey to their homes or destinations and enjoy the movie. These happens mostly late in the evenings. There are cases where they crowd to watch a Chinese movie they don’t even understand the language.
You wonder if these people do not have television sets in their homes; but that may just be the truth. You see, we go about each day worrying over little things we don’t have and slave everyday trying to make money to get them while complaining when we don’t; forgetting that those things we do have; there are people who cannot afford it.
Most of us have been privileged to have television sets in our homes since we were children and so, see it as a must-have for every home; but there are people (like that elderly man) who may not be able to afford that luxury.
Poverty stares us in the face everywhere we go in Nigeria and what that should teach us is that we are far better than many others in various respects. It should teach us that irrespective of what happens to us or where we find ourselves, there are people suffering much worse. It should teach us to be thankful for the little things we have that we felt were our rights such as good health and life… Go to the emergency units of hospitals today, and you would acknowledge that you have what most people shattered and broken irreparably in there would give everything for.
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