Tales of an Otondo: From Here to There

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

I may have gotten to the NYSC Secretariat Gwarzo but unfortunately we were no where near Kano camp. I still had an hour and half long journey to embark on before arriving Karaye, Kusala Dam where the permanent orientation camp was located.

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Photo Credit: lordsidemedia.wordpress.com

On getting to the Gwarzo Secretariat the corpers stationed there transported me to the nearby motor park (Gedi Gedi) via yet another achaba, I think. Writing now, I am not so sure what means of transportation was used but what I can remember clearly is that everything seemed different and new to me. Sure, they were the same old objects I was familiar with from back home – cars, trees, buildings etc – but they had somehow managed to have taken on a new appearance. They felt altered. The trees, for example, were pale and scanty. The vehicles lacked lustre except for a normal looking handful which stood out in comparison. The buildings seemed more like ancient ruins than finished structures. The soil was a dirty shade of black unlike the vibrant red of Benin’s ground. Everything was new in a familiar way.

On getting to the park, there were two other female corp members ahead of me. There was also a passenger in front. Hence it remained just a single passenger for us to begin our onward journey. About 15 minutes later a male passenger joined us in the rear and I waited anxiously for the driver to move but he didn’t. Of course I could not say a thing, less because I was exhausted and more, because of the communication gap. Apparently they only spoke Hausa – or as I was later to discover – pretended to speak only Hausa. In their word ‘ba turanchi’. So all I could do was to sit and wait. Eventually another passenger approached the vehicle. A woman this time.

A lengthy conversation ensued. Off course there was no way they were arguing price for that long. Surely the passengers and driver were mapping out a plan to abduct us. Don’t blame me. I felt suspicious because they kept glancing in our direction. It was only minutes later I realised that two passengers were to occupy the front sit and that a male and female could not for religious reasons(I think). The man in the rear moved forward to the front and we set out.

They usually carried two passengers in front. But there was fuss about something and by putting two and two together realised that it was forbidden, more or less, for a woman to sit closely to a man. Hence they decided that the woman come to the back sit while the male passenger join the other up front. Problem solved. Phew.

On getting to the last stop we took Achaba once again to the gate of the NYSC camp.

Can’t remember what exactly was asked of us but I know we were interrogated at the entrance and asked to head straight for the clinic to undergo pregnancy test. Luckily the clinic had not opened so we headed to the registration point. I never got around to doing the pregnancy test despite threats from authority that we will not be paid Allowee.

People swarmed the area. New faces in different shades – Chocolate, Yellow, Black, Brown, I-was-black, I-was-Yellow. I bumped into an old class mate Aik in that moment my heart paused and when it began beating again I felt at home. The day was far spent and we were eventually given temporary hostel accomodation and we were to return the next day to register.

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3 thoughts on “Tales of an Otondo: From Here to There

  1. Pingback: Tales of an Otondo: On Public Transit in Kano | Geemayree's Diary

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