Baba Lasisi’s thunderous voice rang out as clear as the Muslim call to prayer, even though he stood ten houses away. That meant I had violated my curfew again–for the third night in a row.
Baba Lasisi was my next-door neighbor, and a creature of habit. Every evening at seven, he came out of his house, his protruding abdomen girded by only a loincloth, a half-eaten chewing stick in one hand, and a bowl of feces in the other. As he deposited his business into the Lagoon below, he screamed for his wife to put dinner on the table. However disgusting the thought, you could set a clock by Baba Lasisi’s evening routine.
I lived with my parents and four siblings at the far end of the Ijora-Badiya community, in a two bedroom house, suspended above the Lagos Lagoon by wooden stilts. An intricate maze of bamboo walkways served as our connection to the outside world, and also separated us from the filthy water that flowed placidly beneath.
Every day after school, I sold 'pure water' at the bus park for Maami. She expected me to sell all ten dozen sachets of water in two and a half hours, and complete the twenty minute walk home by six p.m. Therein lay the problem.
Since our only source of "pure water" was the Lagoon beneath us, our customer base was being steadily destroyed by cholera, amoebic dysentery and enteric fever.
But what else could I do? I was past my best years for child prostitution, and the street gangs that dealt khat and opium had no use for me. I could work in the sweatshops, but sewing garments sixteen hours a day would obviously keep me out past six.
It all seemed so unfair. All we needed was one person to help us get the millions of dollars out of the secret account, and our troubles would be over. Why would no one help us? We were offering a generous cut of the proceeds; why would no one answer our emails?
Opening: Wande.....Continuation: Steve Wright