Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams – Donovan Bailey
So I decided to take my time off writing today and focus on another love of mine, photography.
I concluded my photography training and I wanted something fun, that would tickle readers’ interest. An everyday thingy in Deedees own way. Pictures of a place that reeks of strangeness, poverty but yet outstanding living amidst a cosmopolitan Lagos; Makoko came to mind.
Makoko is a settlement of about 85,000 settlers situated at the Ebuta Metta diversion just below the Third Mainland Bridge. You will see the settlement if you are coming from the Mainland towards the Island through 3rd Mainland bridge.
Naijdotcom described Makoko as unlivable, Wikipedia termed it the Venice of Africa, even Aljazeera claimed that it is a small fishing village built by fishermen who came from Benin to make money more than a hundred years ago, before it grew into an illegally constructed one-square-kilometer urban settlement.
I remember back in 2012, when I won a scholarship for the Venture in Enterprise and Management Development Programme (VIEMP) at the Lagos Business School (LBS). Slum to School, an NGO focusing mainly on the malnourished in the society partnered with the LBS project for a “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) at Makoko. The scene was unbelievable and the hustle and the terrible environment provoked my interest. I wanted to come back and here I am.
I spoke of my plans with my friend Adeola Joshua who lives around Yaba, quite close to the community and he was absolutely interested in being a part of LifeLens.
We got to Makoko at exactly 3:17pm on 12 March and then proceeded to the floating settlement. Segun our tour guide informed us of the need to meet with the Baale, but unfortunately he was not in. That notwithstanding we got the go ahead to move into the community and take pictures.
After haggling with the guy that paddles the canoe, we agreed at a price to paddle his taxi canoe around the slum. Weird though, there were no available life vests to protect us from any form of mishap (I no go try am again in my life) LOL! It was crazy.
The first odour that hit me was that of the brackish water. A very thick nauseous smell is what greets you as you enter the lagoon due to the dirt, poo and all sorts that have piled up over time. Untroubled by the smell, we forged ahead.
Most of the inhabitants in the community are engaged in the fish selling business and I quickly noticed that the air was thick with fumes; smog seeps out from the hundreds of wood-burning kilns and smokehouses all around the community.
Our taxi canoe maneuvered through the informal canal which serve as routes in the community. Hawkers were selling their wares along these informal canal as if it was the Sabo/Yaba market. From a mobile boutique to a local “Buka”, life is as enjoyable as living on the mainland.
To satiate your lustful desires is a floating hotel very close to Timi’s barbers shop where you can decide to have a romp depending on your agreement with the seller of the ‘good’ if you know what I mean… (winks)
Not to forget are the “agberos” that we met along our way to the floating school who asked for N5,000 before we could pass through a canal, surprised but motivated to move on, I negotiated with these guys and parted with some amount of money, and we continued our adventure on water.
I know what would be going through your mind, was Deedee not scared, oh! I was. The fact that there was no life vest made matters worse. Anyways, our nerves were calmed a little when Segun (our canoe paddler) told us we had not gotten to the deep part ‘yet’.
We could not get to the floating school though. How disappointing that was, and it was because yours truly was scared stiff.
I was able to take awesome pictures of the environment, the floating school and we even got a Makoko View of the Third mainland bridge because we were so close.
My Take: Makoko is as amazing as it sounds, people live in such agonizing conditions and there has been no evidence of endemic or pandemic outbreak over the years. Amazing!
I could have written more! Let me stop here and allow my timelines of pictures do justice to the rest. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Makoko. Wouldn’t you? See pictures after the cut:
I have played my own part. I have been able to show through these pictures that regardless of your situation, look at these pictures above, reflect and thank God for your life!
Now it is time to play your own part. Click the like button and share button below to share this post with your friends and family.
Let us make them see what is going on in the slums so that they would be motivated and thank God for their present situation!
If you have seen this and thanked God for your life. Don’t you want your friends to see these pictures too?