Friday, May 04, 2007

Dark days and Dark ages

There are some things, Some days that cant be forgoten. Even when the details are blurred the pain of the event will sear into the memory, leaving behind scars that would never heal, an unending supply of pain that seem to flow into the heart, sipping into the mind, remaining there like a puddle on a muddy street.
Sitting down for coffee recently with four European and Asian women, on a beautiful cloudy morning, the conversation as usuall turned to what i like to refer to as the TIA (this Is Africa) conversation.
It started innocently enough,
"why are vegtables grown here in Nigeria so expensive? "
my reply, "probably because of the high cost of transportation due to the soaring petrol prices"
next question"i dont understand why the world 6th Largest producer of oil don't have petrol for themselves"
To this i didn't need to reply, she knew the oil export revenues = embezelled money equation so i thankfully didnt have to explain.
But it didn't stop there, it went on and on, and on, the people here are poor becuase they have too many children, who die so easily of Malaria and Malnutrition, e.c.t
One of the ladies told a tale of her driver who threw his baby in the forest because he or she was falling sick all the time. i stared back at her in utter disbelieve, i mean this is 2007 and you still hear stories like that!

It was humiliating, there was no hint in their tone that they were trying to put me down, they were just stating the "facts" as they know them, but i felt slighted, angry, not with them but with myself for sitting here and listening to things i already know, and with Nigeria for being so backward, giving others that chance to talk about us as if we were animals raoming the forests,.


When the topic came to vocational training, i stupidly suggested that the foriegn companies in the country provide training for their employess, and the consensus from my forieng "friends" was that "you must help yourselves, dont expect other to help you", i didnt even bother to try the feeble argument of corporate social responsibility.

It was so sickneing hearing them talk about "My Country" like that, the urge to throw up the nice breakfast she served grew stonger as i excused my self and left. Tears smarted my eyes as i walked home, i was overwelmed by sadness, the unfortunate reality that is our story, Nigeria's story is always nagging me, tugging at my heart, stiring a dull ache that permates my whole body at once strengthing and draining me.

2 comments:

Aruni said...

I have realised a while ago that every society be it African, Asian or North American have their failings. The ever widening gap between poor and rich continues not only in Nigeria but all over the world.

The conversation I had at lunch time with my co-workers last tuesday was no different from the one that is mentioned. Why is everything so expensive? Why do we have to pay so much taxes? Why are gas prices soaring? Damn those politicians. A study yesterday suggests that Canadians are paying 0.30cents more per litre of gas than they should. Conclusion gas companies are thickening their wallets at our expense, so what else is new?

Every few months you hear of an abandoned baby in a garbage pile, in the woods, on the street. This in spite of orphanages and hospitals allowing people to leave their unwanted babies in their care, no questions asked.

One thing I don't agree with is the fact that people have to help themselves. Companies have a duty to train their employees. That is a responsibility that cannot be shrugged off.

The grass is greener on the otherside, they should realise that it is the existence of corruption and the absence of fairplay that allows them to enjoy being driven around by drivers, pampered by househelp and generally act like royalty.

P. M. Jay said...

Hi Aruni,
I am Glad you commented on this topic, because you know excatly the kind of setting i was struggling to descibe.

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