When the journey finally began, I had picked up enough curiosity about my immediate envrinment to observe my surroundings. The two passenger beside the driver were obviously students, though I cant say how I figured that out. Guess it takes one to know one.
On the second row was a fair bulky man, a woman of the same statisctics with her liitle son and an over dressed, voluptuous, chubby young woman with an imitation lace wig. They were all doing an awfully good job of being quiet and looking out the windshield from behind the driver’s seat.
The pew behind them contained two men and a woman. The men would keep talking throughout the eight-hour journey. I discovered that whoever started the thread of conversation would get almost idiotic nods of agreement from the other at every sentence. Their talked ranged from world politics to global warming and classic reggae. They were very knowledgeable and remembered quite a lot, I must say. The woman, I had regrettable noticed, had feet reminiscent of a reptile’s, with long toenails and a lot of wrinkles. It was not a nice site. She looked like she was in her tortuous thirties with her dishelved hair, her almost tight red blouse and knee length simple black skirt. Infact, she looked like something that had been run over by guard dogs.
Then there was my sister and oh…and a girl who was by the left window at the back.i shall not go through the trouble of describing her because she did not bring anything to the table during the journey. She hardly spoke except to complain about something or the other. We started the journey at about ten-thirty that morning.
Riding on the bus…riding on the bus…riding on the bus…I had multiple bouts of motion sickness ,thanks to our bad roads, until we arrived hours later at a rest stop. The time was two o’clock and the sun was unrelenting. I have jumped all the way to this point in the journey because the experience here dwarfed anything before it during the journey.
The rest stop, instead of being at Benin as I had assumed, was at some area near benin whose name I cant remember. It consisted of a small shack of a restaurant and a bush nearby. Almost looked like a village at the roadside. I quickly followed the other men into the very low bush before I discovered that the site was actually an uncompleted building violently overrun by weeds. After a few seconds, I replaced one of the men at the place he urinated and whipped out my…er…and urinated. I walked into the restaurant where the two students at the front of the bus were settling down to a meal of what looked like eba (pounded yam?) and egusi soup. I walked to the counter and asked the rough looking woman there if there was a toilet nearby. She instantly demanded a fee of fifty naira and took me to the back of the place. It looked like where ritual murder was commited. There were broken pots everywhere with their pool of collected rain water and dilapidated structures that looked to be a row of three lavatories. There was also a very beautiful woman almost hidden from view by still more half standing structures doing dishes or washing clothes- I can’t be sure.
As she gestured me toward the stalls, I asked for a roll of tissue paper
‘do you have tissue?’
‘tissue?’ It sounded like a foreign idea to her.’No tissue. But water dey’
I frowned, not very intent on cleaning myself up that way.
‘ok, where is the water?’
‘the water dey everywhere’
In a flash, she had picked up the still intact bottom section of a dirty broken bucket and dipped it into one of the bigger drums of water standing out. she dropped the now-filled container of slightly murky water at my feet. She gave a sort of nod towards the thing and rushed into the restaurant to take care of her customers.
In order to prevent shitting in my pants, I unthinkingly carried the thing into one of the stalls, where I was met a big surprise. At the least I had expected a pit latrine and at most, a non functioning WC, but this contraption beat all my expectations.
It was a two feet high block of concrete with an almost square shaped inner section hollowed out to the depth of about six inches. The square was not complete because a part of it led into a hole on the wall, where presumably the faeces was supposed to go through.The bottom of the hollow bore a yellow stain- imprints of the legacy left by previous users. Further moments of not-so-diificult reasoning saw me arriving at the conclusion that I wud have to climb and squat on the platform and perform my duty in the same manner little girls urinated on the roadsides. My stomach made a noise and I was off to business. I reckoned that I had to be free of my trousers and boxers. I looked for a suitably clean place to hang it before settling on a wooden beam that criss-crossed the un-ceilinged roof. I kept my phone on a ventilation hole on the wall, took a moment to thank God that nobody but me was witnessing this outrage…before I remembered that all of heaven and any passing fallen angel had probably paused to see me in this squatting position. I closed my eye and started my business careful not to let my arms build up reach back up into my…oh shit, you don’t have to read this..
I would say that is all for the memorable events the journey had. I would very much not like to avail of the tales of how the driver frequently stopped to satisfy his cravings for a cigarette, or how the tire of the bus kept deflating and taking valuable time by causing us to stop and pump it back up…or how the traffic at anambra state made me wish myself dead and finally, of how the car finally developed a fault a few villages from the owerri city where I was supposed to disembark at about 11pm at night, causing my frantic mother to send one of her gazillion sisters to pick us up and let us spend the night at her place which fortunately was a few meters from the point the bus stopped. That is all about the journey. Hopefully, if I have time, I shall comment on memorable funny moments and observations during my stay