September 8, 2015.
Dear Street Diary,
I saw an Aboki frying akara today and he was the third Aboki this week. Earlier this morning, I stopped at the bus stop, waiting to enter the next available keke (tricycle) to my destination, when I heard this voice coming from a keke that just swiftly passed. It was a voice I had never heard before at this bus stop “Ogba, Jones! Ogba, Jones”. I turned to look in the direction of the voice, it was a woman. She looked very serious, tough and in her late 20s. She was just all about her keke hustle and matching up to the men. They respected her, even the touts. They didn’t treat her differently from the men. A part of me admired her for her courage. She was doing on the streets what some other women did in bigger organizations which was, doing her best to do what she can to put money in her pocket and being excellent at it, irrespective of gender.
The Last blow came on my way home. I entered a bus absentmindedly and as usual, I was scrolling through my phone. For no reason exactly, I looked towards the rickety door of the bus and noticed the bus conductor jump out of the bus and hop after it, as it gradually came to a stop. We waited for passengers to drop and new passengers to enter. I was wondering why he was hopping and then I carefully looked and realized that he had just one leg. His right leg did not have a knee to foot. I’m guessing it was amputated. If you have been to Lagos, you’d know that being a conductor involves a lot strength, running around, hanging out of a bus, screaming, jumping in and out of a bus, fights with touts etc. This guy looked beyond his condition and took on the daunting task of being a conductor!
It just taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do. My only limitation is my mind. If I can train my mind to defeat the limitations it sees, I can be anything. I am going to write a post soon on something inspired by the physically challenged conductor. He showed the world that he was able even when labelled disabled. A woman showed that she can exist in a world dominated by men and still rule. 3 Abokis decided that they would fry akara and yam and transcend beyond mai-shai and Aboki cottages.
Make your disadvantage, your advantage.