Monday, October 08, 2007

Encounters - 1

Sometimes i get really lazy and cant be bothered to write. For a few months - actually close to a year, i have been toying with wirting about encounters.

Living in Lagos means that i witness or experience the most interesting things. Some of them are funny, some are sad, some inspiring, some just defy logic.....you get what i mean.

So i have decided to capture some of the ones that touch me for different reasons on my blog....

Today, on Awolowo Road on the way to work - traffic was crawling as it usually does at that time. Lastma officials were everywhere and doing their best to at least make the situation sane (and they were succeeding).

Near the Lagos Polo Club, the Lagos State Waste Management Agency officials were taking away the thrash. And i was watching them thinking to myself. Thinking about how the little steps that are being taken in Lagos are making a difference. We have thrash collectors and Lastma...

Then a group of kids - 2 girls and 4 boys walked past the waste management folks. They were on their way to school. All neatly dressed in their school uniforms and gisting away. They were young teens with the oldest in my mind not being older than 14.

By the gas station up ahead was a mad woman. Well she was carrying all the baggage in the world, talking (screaming) to the heavens and marching puposefully on the way to ..well somewhere i guess.

All of a sudden, the mad woman begins to run towards the kids. The waste management people stop and watch her. Wondering i am sure, like i was where she was running to. As she got closer to the kids, it became clear that she was actually heading for them. At that point, the waste management folks shouted at the kids to move. Almost in slow motion (at least that's the way this played out for me), the kids all turned around (i am sure they wanted to see what all the shouting was about). Bus conductors and a few drivers started to scream at the kids, toot their horns...maybe to distract the mad woman, maybe to warn the kids...just doing something..who knows.

Mad woman extracts a long club like wooden object from the bag she was carrying and smashed this on one of the boys' heads. Boy's head begins to bleed. I swear we were all shocked. People started to shout. The kids looked stunned. One of the waste management people quickly ran to the boy and put his hand over the wound. Somebody selling pure water opened a pack and poured it over the boy's head. All of a sudden, the Lastma officials start running down. Mad woman crosses the road and continues to scream at the heavens and people are clearing from her way.

The Lastma officials run to the boy, look across the road and see the mad woman walking away. One of them brings out his walkie talkie and talks into it. Meanwhile, i am wondering why one of the Lastma people wont go and apprehend the woman. Suddenly, a few armed policemen (they must have come from the Falomo police station not too far from where this incident took place) show up. 3 of them. They corner the woman. Who begins to swing at them with her stick and the policemen are doing this weird dance - trying to dodge her swings, while trying to grab her.

At that point, traffic moved.....

I was shaken.

There are no wise words or insights to share. This is just an encounter......

15 comments:

Soul said...

oh my....
Gosh it's been too long since I've been in lagos. I can picture the polo club but nothing else not even the faces of the Waste management officials.

What in Gods name did the mad woman see in the childs face that made her want to hit him. It's amazing how a regular day can turn into an irregular one through no fault of your own.

Daddy's Girl said...

Hmm.. I think I have seen this mad woman on Awolowo Road before, always ranting loudly to high heavens, walking very 'purposefully' and carrying loads of things on her head. There was a day I was walking behind her and she picked up one of those metal 'No Parking' signs in front of one of the banks on the street, and almost used it to hit someone's car (for no reason), until some men restrained her. Like you said, the things that happen on these Lagos streets everyday. I'm sure if there were video camers on Awolowo Road they would record so many incidents. I think the reaction in some cases has improved (although we still have a looong way to go), my aunt was hit by an okada the other day (on the same Awolowo Road!) Her head hit the side of the road and she got a huge gash. She said the police rushed to help her, treated her for free at their clinic (she needed stitches in her scalp) and arrested the okada guy. You described the encounter well.. I look forward to reading more.

DiAmOnD hawk said...

whoa....
reminds me of a mad man that use to be close to the local airport... always had this big stone in his hand and during traffic would threaten to smash your windscreen if you didnt give him money. wonder if he was really mad. i just used to wish i had a gun to shoot him... stuck in traffic everyone would be praying that he'd pass by ur car...

Mona said...

na wa oh! ah ah

this is a new one

well wat cd they have done when mad ppl walk around everyday so i guess we cant blame them for staring initially i.e. the lastma n co thinking nothing would actually happen

wow poor boy i hope he is okay

36 INCHES OF BROWN LEGS said...

i hope the little boy is okay sha...

Ugo Daniels said...

I know this ain't funny but i can imagine how the policemen were trying to evade the woman's 'weapon'

But, wait, WTF!! What on earth entered that mad womans head to club one of them kids. Thank God it wasn't even a bite, that would have been fatal!

Chxta said...

Hope the boy is okay, and the woman's taken for proper attention.

Olawunmi said...

wow. that was some scene. and then you accuse me of running into the strangest incidents.


sometimes life is random beyond understanding. i hope those kids get away from that unscarred

Naijadude said...

wow, is that for real? what could have the poor boy done on a early morning?

Bella Naija said...

wow!
that is just unfortunate but also indicative about the poor state of mental health facilities in the country. There is very limited access to care and counselling for people with mental health issues(and when people get it..many are misdiagnosed). Minor issues escalate into full blown mania like in the woman's case.
I hope the boy's injury wasnt serious tho

Nneka's World said...

Na real wa oh! Hope the boy is ok....Imagine having your head "smashed" on early in the morning..
The police men tried as well as the LASMA people....

this brings back memories of one mad woman i saw and was carrying an empty dirty plate with oil on her hands and there was a girl walking past her, nicely dressed and the woman just grabbed her and proceeded to wipe away her red oil hand all over the girl's shirt......

Anonymous said...

I've been badly flogged by a mad man on the streets of Ikoyi.My mother said a mad man chased her through the market place when she was 9 months pregnant with me and I'm a medical doctor who is specialiseing in guess what?....psychiatry ...go figure

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

God how terribly sad...

Calabar Gal said...

Good Lord!! I am minded to say the policemen should have arrested her for assault & battery. Then her madness would probably have ceased.

SET said...

CRAZY, SAD, BUT THESE THINGS HAPPENS.