I looked at him, his red and bulging eyes told me he wasn't ready to listen to any pleas.
This isn't our supposed destination, how on earth does he expect us to get a cab here? It was getting dark, confusion and fear lodged at my heart. What if it's all a set up? What if he planned this?
"Oga driver, you go carry us commot here o, you no get choice", one of the guys said.
"We no be JJC for this Lagos o" Our lead, adjusted himself and said.
None of their threat seems to affect him; he sat down, undisturbed, and not ready to move the rickety bus an inch forward.
This wasn't what we planned, we thought by now we'll be in our various hotel rooms relaxing from the strenuous journey. But the bus we initially took from Ekiti had fault and we had to enter an arranged bus.
And now we try effortlessly to tell him, this isn't the destination we were supposed to be, but he kept claiming our driver didn't tell him anything about it.
"If you don't get down from my bus, I'll take you all back to where I picked you" the driver stood up and threatened.
"Nobody is getting down from this bus, our lead countered"
I was beginning to feel knots in my stomach, this isn't going well at all, can’t we just get down and search for a better option? I secretly thought in my mind.
The rough looking driver had parked the rickety bus at a filling station, and the workers noticing the arguments going on had come over to look and know what was going on exactly. Then they listened and decided the fault lies with the first driver who didn't give the driver enough details. Then almost pleading with stylish threats, he changed his mind and decided to take a shortcut and drop us at the nearest bus stop. We guided our bags and luggage as we move stealthily through the crowds. We got to our hotel some hours later. The beautiful compound, lights and a smiling receptionist was enough to help us forget the stress of the journey for a while. I got in the room tired, but not too tired to notice the beauty of the room. The well-arranged bed, the atmosphere, it was all too fascinating. I jumped on the bed without thinking twice, rolled and enjoyed its fluffy feel. Hmm, I breathed in the soft pillow. My other roommate jolted me out of reverie to take my bath. Oh, yes! My bath! I almost forgot. Had a nice hot shower and said a goodnight.
The next morning was really promising, I checked from my window and I sun glimpsed below the pool, an amazing view, really. I forgot myself in the moment for a while, and then I remembered why I was there. To attend the Devfest Lagos everyone has been talking about. It would be my first tech event outside of Ekiti. And thanks to Esther who thought of sponsoring us. I looked forward to networks to be built and things to be learnt. I quickly took my bath and dressed up. Went to the restaurant with the rest of the team. The aroma of the different delicacies that hit my nose made me inhale sweetly. We met few whites there already having their food. It was a serve yourself occasion, I looked forward to serving myself any food of my choice, just like the whites were doing. But, when the time finally came, the attendees asked us to be on a long queue, I caught the whites laugh at our barbaric order. Well, we held our plate while we pointed to what we want. We weren't even offered any drink to our meal. And I saw when one of the staff attended faithfully to a white man’s table that wouldn't go forward and attend to himself. We're students, so why should we be treated exclusively like their other clients. Or we aren’t rich enough to fall in position with the whites. Or is this discrimination against fellow black like yourselves?
Why do we tend to worship the whites and keep fellow countrymen embarrassed? Had it been a mutual feeling, wouldn't it have been better. But news of how we get searched inherently at airports is no longer strange.
Just the other day, I witness some ladies flirting openly with these Chinese guys, obviously wowed by their difference in skins. One even went to the point of touching his cheeks, caressing it like they've known each other forever. I wonder! I wonder why! What's the insolent behavior about? Why do we drool at their sight, when the same hasn't been accorded to us? I left the hotel that day with a different mindset. A least earned white gets more respect than a medium waged Nigerian. The only reason you get accorded same respect and more treatment is your success, achievement and wealth acquired. We tend to look at ourselves with despise, look down at ourselves because of the material things we have or we have not.
The event was worthwhile though, I learnt from the whole journey and I was glad I made it to Lagos.
Experience is definitely the best teacher