I miss Nigeria all the time, and particularly I miss the Nigerian people, their mentality, their rich and wonderful culture. Wonderful people.
For more than twenty years I lived in Nigeria with different people and from different cultures in a diverse society.
I have learned a bit from the different cultures, such as the Yoruba, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, Efik, Uruan, Ijaw, Bini, Ibibio, Anang, Anyema, Baushi, Eket, Etong, Igala, Nupe, Oron and many more.
Ten years of that I lived in Ibadan, the capital city of the Yoruba people, if you consider Lagos as everyone's city.
About 5 million inhabitants live in Ibadan, but for those who know what a city looks like, Ibadan is more than a mega-village with many rural houses, with rusty and brown tin roofs, surface drainage system, even more surface sewage, and a method of distributing the garbage throughout the city, so that it does not concentrate in one place, and everyone will be able to enjoy the garbage equally. Fairness is binding.
Nevertheless, there are attempts to build urban infrastructure in Ibadan. One of the projects they built in the city was a theater that would later be converted into a cultural center. The theater was designed as a semi-circular building, and is supposed to host shows and plays.
Schröder, 61, is the project superintendent on behalf of the company. Schroeder with German roots, punctual, requires discipline, strictness, dedication and perseverance.
He likes to guide his teams and teach them construction techniques. One of his best students is a foreman named Adewale.
Schröder tells me that on that day they had to build a circular wall. In the design, the stairs rise from the first floor to the second, adjacent to the rounded outer wall. Therefore, it is necessary to build an internal wall, under the stairs, which will close the space created there. Schroeder says that's how it's planned, and that's what the plans show. To close the space under the rounded stairs.
Schröder is a thorough and strict person. He demonstrates to Adewale how to place each block, with a small angle, so that the inner wall takes a round shape, parallel to the outer wall, which was already built. With the inner wall the space under the stairs will be closed hermetically.
Then, Schröder says, I went to my Schlafstunde. A kind of afternoon rest or sleep for all kinds of types like Schröder.
Schröder go to his Schlafstunde every day, at 1300, and this is a custom he has carried with him for decades.
Just before he leaves for his Schlafstunde, Schröder turns to Adwale and asks him, to whom he intends to give this complicated job.
Adewale suggests Babatunde for two reasons. First, he knows that Schröder recognizes the high professional abilities that Babatunde has and second, because at this time there is no one on site except Babatunde.
Since it is Babatunde, who is one of the professionals that Schröder highly appreciates, Schröder stayed to make sure the wall would be perfect.
Together they mark with a rough pencil, on the floor of the entrance to the theater, the rounded line on which Babatunde is supposed to lay the bricks.
Now, for a demonstration, Schröder takes several bricks and carefully places them, brick by brick, at a slight angle, along the marking.
He asks Babatunde if he understands the principle and asks him to lay down a few bricks with a slight angle. Babatunde lays down a number for the bricks and it provides Schroeder's peace of mind. Just to be sure.
Schröder is satisfied with Babatunde and evaporates to his Schlafstunde.
Babatunde vigorously approached the mission. He brings some bricks to build and slowly, layer by layer, you can see the wall rising, to the glory of the theater of Ibadan.
It is important for Babatunde to finish the wall quickly because he knows that Schröder appreciates this kind of performance and when Schröder is satisfied, he provides bonuses.
Besides, he must be home early today, because the relatives of his daughter's intended groom are coming to visit his wife and him, and he is supposed to entertain them, and eat very bitter kola nuts with them. A sign of a sweet life.
When Schröder returns to the project at 1700 he is amazed to see a perfect wall built by Babatunde.
There is no doubt that Schröder is very happy with the results, although the wall it not completed yet. Plaster and painting are still required.
He calls Adewale and compliments him for a job well-done.
Adewale too is proud. He knows Schröder will give him a nice bonus, for a job well-done. Plus, a bonus for Babatunde, of course.
Schröder ask Adewale – "where is Babatunde?"
Adwale squirms and tells Schröder like this - "Ahhhh ... Masta (Master)" he says "... we have a big problem here, Masta."
Schröder – "okey Adewale, what's the problem?"
Adewale – "You see Masta ... Babatunde is stuck in the space behind the wall, under the stairs, and can't get out."
And this is the end of the story.
Except that several years later, I visit the area, and decided to have a look at the theater.
What s surprise was it to find the director of the theater there, and he is none other than Babatunde. I was very happy about the promotion Babatunde got.
I asked him if he could get me tickets for the upcoming show. Babatunde says there are currently no tickets for at least two weeks ahead.
Later he reveals to me that, in fact, there are no tickets at all, because there is no activity in the theater.
The new governor decided not to complete the construction of the theater, which had been started by the previous governor. He will not let the previous governor enjoy credit for such a nice project! He is not a sucker!
Thus, in the meantime, Babatunde uses the place as a goat pen for his herd, and in the area in front of the theater he grows cassava, and occasionally chews bitter kola nuts. To make life sweeter.