At last, I feel slightly strong enough to pen down a few lines, after this I may take another few days off to recuperate fully but I just needed to put this down to let y’all know that I’m alive.
Before I say what I’m gonna say, I wanna apologize to anyone from Nasarawa State who’s reading this, no vex please, I’m just speaking my mind.
As some of you may recall, I’ve been talking about the National Convention of Persons with Disabilities coming up on 5th – 9th September in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa, I’d planned to update my blog with a minute by minute update of things happening at the convention but when I got there my eye see strong thing!
First of all, there was no internet connection, yeah you heard right, NO INTERNET in a Nigerian capital city in the 21st century. Ok, if you know me well, you’d know that I died and resurrected at the thought of being cut off from communication (blogosphere, FB) for almost a week; but there was nothing I could do, I had to stay put and endure my ordeal because I was at the convention to make my voice heard and my opinions count.
I got back to Abuja on Friday and fell ill instantly... its almost as if my body were trying to purge me of all the ‘kondus melendus’ I may have picked up in Lafia. Ok before I digress, let’s get back to the main issue…
The hotel... in the entire Lafia there’s only one nice hotel, owned by the Governor. By my standards it is dingy (hope Mr. Governor isn’t reading this) but to others it’s the sexiest hotel, so make I gree. Let’s just say that while in Lafia, I faced fundamental health and hygiene issues from the hotel, to the venue of the event, it was one hygienic matter after the other. Believe it or not, I went thru a whole bottle of sanitizer and another of Jik and Dettol all in my effort to remain germ free. At some point I wondered if I had to drink the Jik sef.
Abi should I talk about rats running around in the ceiling; abi the generator that comes on at 6pm and goes off at midnight, signaling the cockroaches to come party? Meehn! I suffered in Lafia sha… I had to stay awake one night keeping vigil with my phone torchlight because a cockroach flew past me, I knew he (makes sense that a cockroach would be male, abi) was still in the room and because I have a morbid fear of roaches, I couldn’t sleep till daybreak.
The glaring issue here is that we just don’t have a culture of maintenance in this country. The most fine-looking edifices are put up; very beautiful on the outside, but just go inside and see the mess they’ve turned into one year after being opened. No one bothers with its maintenance, yet you see young men and women milling about the place in droves calling themselves cleaners, and still the bathrooms stink to high heavens (I preferred peeing in the bush than in the toilet at the venue)
In the first hotel I stayed at, I had to bathe outdoors before the break of dawn because, if my skin came in contact with the walls of the bathroom, I would definitely have had to burn it all off. So, I had two options, do 'dry-cleaning' (
high school, sorry, secondary school parlance) or bathe outside for 4 days. Dry-cleaning means using a little water and possibly a face towel to clean ‘vital areas’ then use nice fragrances to mask any other 'fragrance', at my age I wasn’t gonna do that so it had to be bathe outside in the cover of night…
Another shocking matter for me was the fact that in a state capital city, there are no taxis only okada (motorcycles). Considering that 80% of delegates at the convention were either mobility or visually impaired, I was baffled as to what the organisers were thinking. Imagine someone who uses a wheelchair or crutches sitting on okada while the okada rider struggles to hold steady the wheelchair/crutch. Seriously, my friends how does a state capital not have taxis? *bewildered*
Well finally sha, 4 days came and went, I had a nice time (barring the hygiene challenges) and made new friends in the process…
Drugs have kicked in so I’m gonna go to sleep now, hopefully tonight I’ll write up my experiences at the convention. I’m gonna tell you about 2 remarkable PWDs I met…a man who’s possibly one of the handsomest guys I’ve met in a long while and an amazing lady who’s a polio survivor just like me…I fell in love instantly...