September 16, 2015
Dear Street Diary,
“Toll gate, 120!! Toll gate, 120. Hol your change o.”
“Conductor na 500 I get o” I said.
“You go pay 150 be that” He said looking serious and a bit distracted. I entered the bus. I just needed to get to my destination and I was not going to let 30 naira hinder me. I had to make it in time for my 9am meeting at Ota and come back early enough for my 12:30 pm meeting at Ikeja. I sat on the third row, close to the rickety door. The bus had five rows excluding the driver and front seat. While we were waiting for the passengers to be complete, a woman leaned on the bus, at that edge where the bus door reconnects to the other part of the door to give us the illusion of safety. She was marketing and selling “wonder” capsule. The drug that cures it all. She looked really believable and passionate. She said in Yoruba that, if you buy the sachet which contained 5 capsules all your health problems would go away, JUST FOR 100 NAIRA.
One woman reached out to buy but the bus started moving and change was a problem. The woman sitting on the first row, by the door, collected the drug and gave to the passenger. She told the woman selling that when she gets back, she would give her the money and the woman selling agreed. I was shocked initially, and my brain started clock working. Is she such a regular customer? Why did the other woman trust her? Why was she being a Good Samaritan to pay for this other woman’s (the passenger) health problems to go away? Why…? My line of thought was caught off by a very confident voice.
“Mokiyin mummy, Mokiyin Daddy… My sisters and brothers…”
I looked up and saw the Good Samaritan woman standing and facing us. It all made sense to me now. She was into the marketing business too. I just wasn’t sure what she was marketing. I am not very good at Yoruba but I understand a little Igala (because my mum is from Kogi State) and they share many similar words with Yoruba plus being around my Yoruba friends like Ope Dokunmu, I have learned small Yoruba. So, I started putting some words together to make sense out of it. I even asked someone to interpret to me because I knew I had to tell you about it. He explained that she was talking about Jesus Christ and was preaching the healing power and prosperity. She was also scaring people about death and witches and wizards.
Next thing she brought out this old small bottle containing small anointing oil. The bottle looked like those small shampoo/activator bottles in kit relaxers. She took a portion of it and rubbed it from her palms to her elbows and passed it around. Me I did not rub o, I have trust issues like that. Next thing, she brought newer similar bottles containing anointing oil for 200 naira. It was small o. PEOPLE BOUGHT!!! The same 200 naira can get you big anointing oil 10 times what she was selling. She was making 1000% profit on it. It was real o. The spirit was moving.
I looked at her face and only then did I notice her red eye brow which she achieved with red eye pencil. When I told my friend about it, he said that, it was probably the over flowing blood of Jesus that she could not contain any longer. She spoke till we got to Agbulegba. When she finished her sermon, she became tour guide, telling us about places in Agbulegba. After a while, she beacme assistant conductor, echoing everything the conductor said.
I just concluded in my mind that, in Lagos, the hustle is real mehn. Anything can be used as a hustle facilitator.