Author: Marcus Onuba
My trip to Nigeria was truly enlightening. When we arrived at the airport in Lagos , the temperature immediately hit me. I wasn’t sweating, but I could feel the air, it was as heavy as a blanket as we walked through the tunnel off the plane and into the airport. We grabbed our luggage and had to wait in a long line as we waited for the next available Customs Officer. The officer was dressed in a light brown starched uniform with a Nigerian flag on his lapel and black berets on his heads. He stamped our passport and off we went to enjoy our holiday.
We passed over a long bridge crossing the Atlantic Ocean. We soon made our way back on land. There were thousands of people crammed into a market square. There were women dressed in colorful Nigerian fabrics selling roasted corn over grills made from steel drums. There were also men grilling barbeque meats and wrapping them in paper with onions and peppers. The streets were crowded with people walking. A man on a scooter rode next to us, he was carrying a lady passenger carrying a large basket on her head and a small baby tied against her back with a piece of fabric wrapped several times around her.
We arrived at the Eko Meridian Hotel. Bright colored artwork hung on the walls and large palm trees nearly reached the ceiling. I heard the ocean breaking against the sand and congo drums playing somewhere in the distance. The next morning it was time to go to Lekki Beach.
It took us ten minutes to get to the beach house. It was a two story house that was painted coral orange, like a flamingo. When we arrived there were so many people around to greet us. I didn’t understand everything people were saying, although most people spoke English. There were kids my age, so I went outside to play. They were playing soccer, most of them played in bare feet. I didn’t want to feel different, so I took off my shoes. We laughed and played for hours. When my mom called me in to eat some of the kids left to cross the street. I hadn’t paid attention, but less than a block away was a row of shanty houses with aluminum roofs. I sat out on my Uncles’ porch as I watched a mother wash her little girl in a tub the size of a clothes basket. One of the boys who was playing with us ran into one of the houses laughing and smiling. My mom came out to call me and I went inside to eat. I sat at the table and couldn’t help but think about the boy across the street. After lunch I asked my mom if I could go back outside.
I found the soccer ball in the yard and picked it up to bounce it on the driveway. Right away the boy crossed the street and asked me if I wanted to come over. I went down the street to his house. He opened the door and his house had only two rooms. There were pictures from magazines all over the walls like wallpaper. She offered me some juice to drink and I accepted. It was delicious. We played for hours, with cards and two dice, before I knew it was getting dark. I looked up top and noticed there were no lights. All that time and no television, no video games, it was during that trip I realized real fun, is with real friends, and technology isn’t always better.