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Back in Lagos

October 14, 2011

From Liz Bird:

Toward the end of our trip, our already shaky internet connection disappeared completely for a few days, putting our blog postings on hold. But as we wrapped up the visit, we had a couple of interesting and rewarding days. 

Choosing fabric at the market

For the first time, we were able to spendd a little longer in Lagos, and we experienced the highs and lows of life in this incredibly busy and vibrant city. A visit to the National Museum gave us a taste of Nigerian heritage, including a room devoted to the political history of the country, and some fascinating traditional stone sculptures (no photos allowed, unfortunately!). But like everywhere in Lagos, the museum is not immune to the perpetual power outages that plague the city, and have produced a booming business in home generators for those who can afford it. The moment we walked in the door, the power went out; from then on a portable generator was brought from room to room as we moved through the building.

A narrow walk way through the Lagos market

Later we visited some of the teeming markets in Lagos. There are dozens of markets, each being best known for particular specialties, such as meat, produce, fish, snails, or household goods. We went in search of bolts of fabrics, and found a dizzying selection, such as the beautiful wax prints that originated in Indonesia but are now customized all over West Africa. Another popular style is known as ankara, a printed cloth that comes in an endless range of colors and patterns. Typically, Nigerian women buy cloth and then have it made into two-piece outfits (a top and skirt) or one-piece dresses, each worn with matching head-wear known as gele – a rectangular piece of cloth that be tied in different ways to give different looks. With the help of a friend, we bargained for a variety of cloth pieces, and also bought some beads and other souvenirs.  We also got used to the constant calls of “Oyinbo!”  (white person), which followed us through the market stalls as merchants tried to attract our attention.

 Finally, we made our way back to our guest house through the inevitable “go-slow” or traffic jam, which is a routine part of life in this exciting city.

Vendors take advantage of the Lagos "go-slow"

5 Comments leave one →
  1. adejoke permalink
    October 17, 2011 12:33 pm

    So nice to know you had a good time in Lagos where I am from. Currently a student at USF. I am so excited to read about what y’all are doing. Keep up the good work.

  2. October 19, 2011 5:34 pm

    great blogpost a good depiction of lagos. being a lagosian myself

  3. October 19, 2011 5:34 pm

    yea im a student athlete here at USF

  4. Korede permalink
    October 20, 2011 11:43 am

    Currently in USF and I miss the Lagos “go slow”! I miss Nigeria!!!

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