Tales of an Otondo: JJC

Like every other student, when I dropped my pen after my final paper I was certain that I was a graduate.  All that was left was for the paper acknowledgement – a certificate – to follow. I backed up my conviction by applying for my transcript to be sent to a foreign university where I intended to study for my Masters. To my greatest wildest surprise,  I learnt that there was still an outstanding course left for me to clear before I could graduate. That period was not a good one for me. Indeed, I felt displaced. I finally sorted that out. Re-took the paper and waited to be cleared while my class mates went on to serve the motherland.

To be frank,  I felt really down. Angry. Confused. Basically, it was a medley of emotions. I was finally called up to serve after months of waiting. I was posted to Kano. Kano!!!

Photo Credit: campusportal.com.ng

Photo Credit: campusportal.com.ng

I had never been that far North before and when I arrived after a long road trip, I was greeted by the heat wave and loads of unusual culture. First, I had to make my way down to yet another transport park because sadly Kano city was not my final stop. A kind stranger helped me on an achaba* and described my destination to the mai achaba** and even paid the fare. I was certain that he had sold me off when after 10 minutes we were not yet yet at our destination. I could notice that we had moved away from the city headed towards the country side. But gratefully,  we made it after what seemed like an hour of unforgiving sun blaring down on me. As a result of the major communication gap between us,  I had to try to decipher what he was saying by his gesticulation when he stopped at where seemed like no where. Still, despite my 4 years of university education and 18 other years of life experience I still couldn’t figure what the gibberish that was rolling out of his mouth meant. Then he pointed.

Voila! The NYSC Secretariat Gwarzo. I exhaled.

*achaba = Hausa word for a man on a motorcycle working independently who takes passengers to their destinations in exchange for money (Nigeria). Essentially a motorcycle-taxi.

**mai achaba = Achaba rider.

Next: <Tales of an Otondo: On Public Transit in Kano>

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