I am writing this letter to you, sitting inside my face-me-I-face-you room in Alagbonle. A plate of over soaked garri is sitting by my side. There is no sugar in it, if you must know. I know you always declared that we shouldn’t take too much sugar as it was bad for us (although we all knew the real reason was that there was usually not enough money for sugar).
How are you papa? I hope everyone is fine. Please tell me you are not still teaching in that school where they pay you 400 naira every week. You can do better oh, papa, you can. What of Mama? Is she still frying that her chin-chin? I’m really missing that chin-chin oh.
My purpose of writing this letter is to seek your advice. I am not finding it easy down here in Lagos at all! You know when I left you guys last year to come and hustle here, I told you I had a friend here in Lagos who said he would start me up in some sort of ‘container ‘business. I saw the smile on your face when I mentioned ‘container’ so I was even more willing to come down here. You and I know, Papa, that the certificate I got at the Polytechnic could not get me any work. I tried for almost one year and then you people got tired of feeding me at 25 years.
Papa, when I got to Lagos, I was expecting to stay in one of the places where them Davido and MI stay; you know those musicians that we play their songs every time. This was because that my friend, Emma is a big boy. He is even a musician, in fact. Sometimes, he tells me that he sings with all those big musicians in big shows in Lekki and Victoria Island.
To my dismay anyway, when I arrived Lagos, my friend came inside a danfo bus to pick me. You know this their governor has stopped all the commercial bikes, or I am sure he would have used one of those their rickety bikes. I still assumed that my friend parked his car somewhere far off, but when he came, he jacked one of my bags on his shoulder and told me we had to trek a little before we could find a bus to take us to Alagbonle.
Papa when we got there, I wanted to board the next bus home.
I decided to find courage in your words anyway, that if throws us a grape, we should make grape juice out of it. This place wasn’t even near to grape at all, though.
It was just…just Alagbonle
Everybody was speaking Yoruba, I could hardly hear anyone speaking English, yet I managed to survive, and I have lived there for the past six months now. The container job is moving small small also; our job is to help one man deliver goods inside a certain truck. Till today I don’t know the content of those ‘goods’ and I really don’t care as long as it’s feeding me.
Papa, I was almost giving up on the whole Las Gidi thing when I met this girl. Papa, she’s an angel. In fact, I was not surprised her name is Angelina. This girl is an epitome of beauty. Papa when you talk about rounded buttocks, she has round one and two. Papa, I know you must be smiling by now. I remember those days when you showed me Ogechi, our neighbour, when Mama was not looking. You used to tell me that she had perfectly rounded ikebe. Papa if you see Angelina’s own, you will call Ogechi child play (don’t let mama see this letter oh!)
Angelina is very beautiful; in fact, too beautiful. She is fair and lovely. She has red lips and her voice is like that of Beyonce. Her eyes….Papa, those eyes.
Papa, let me just say she is endowed.
I met her when I went to the experience center of this network that use green colour…Etisalat. I just entered to find out how to do my ‘you and me’ plan so that I will be calling you and Mama easily every time. That is how the man at the door directed me to Angelina oh. Papa I wanted to ask her to marry me there and then. She was so pretty. She smiled at me when I came and asked me to sit down. She asked what I wanted and I told her, then she told me how to do it. Within two minutes she had resolved my issue and then asked me ‘Any other thing I can help you with?’ and she was still smiling.
I did not want to leave that desk, even though I saw other people waiting by the side. I wanted to stay there forever. I didn’t know when I said ‘I want to buy two SIM cards and I will register both of them here.’ although I already had two Etisalat SIMs before. She smiled again and brought two SIM cards for me and then proceeded with the process for the registration. She said both cards would cost me 200 naira. I had only 250 on me, but I guess I wasn’t thinking then. When it got to the part where I had to give my address, I laughed for a while. When she asked me why I was laughing, I said that I wondered why the network wanted to know where I stayed.
Papa at this point I had to do something. I remembered how you said you got Nkechi, that girl in your yard when you were still young. I had to do something smart too.
I told her I was a student in America who had come to visit in Nigeria for a while and I was staying at Lekki, very close to the beach. She was excited and said she had also done her Masters in America. My accent changed immediately. She asked me the university and what course I was studying, then I knew I was in trouble.
I started a long round of coughing as though I was choking on something while I fiddled for my phone in my pocket and from the years of knowing my phone so well I quickly set off the alarm. Then I told her I had an urgent call and had to rush down. I asked her if the address was really necessary, and she said it wasn’t too necessary, which was what I wanted to hear. I picked the SIMs and ran out of the office, sweating and saying hello into a phone that had its alarm still ringing.
When I got home (Alagbonle, not Lekki), I told Emma. He laughed at me and then said he would make it work, that the next time I go there I should go with flowers, work on my American accent and have my profile intact. That day I went to a nearby cybercafé for overnight browsing looking for the best universities in America that offered the most prestigious courses. By morning, I was fagged out. I set out two days later with a flower in my hand and my American accent.
When I got there that day, she had someone else at her desk. I told her I had to see her privately. She said she was working, and would attend to me after the man and two other people that were waiting there. I told her I could not wait, that this was urgent and that it could not be in public. When she saw how desperate I was, she excused herself and came outside where I gave her the flowers and told her that I would soon be returning to America and I actually came around to Nigeria to look for a wife. She said she had to work anyway and I quickly collected her number.
Papa to cut the long story short, I started chasing Angelina oh. I spent all the money I made from the container business buying recharge cards and sending her. Papa, after three months of visiting this girl at her workplace and sending her recharge cards of up to 3,000 naira, she has refused to give me her address. I have bought all those 50 naira love poem books they sell at the roadside and I have used all the poems but she still is not answering me. Papa, I cannot even maintain my American accent again when I’m talking to her. And now I am drinking garri without sugar almost every day. My money is finishing. I need help.
Papa should I just tell her one time that I’m an Igbo boy staying in Alagbonle, although I think she does not totally believe my America story, but she always laughs and smiles when I’m telling her about my experience in America, so I’m confused.
You always told me you were a warlord when it came to women and that you conquered all the beautiful women in your village then, so I need your advice now, as man to man. I really want this girl and I have been chasing her for three months now, but she no wan gree.
I and my friend are planning to arrange one house in Lekki for one day and invite Angelina over and I will behave like it’s my house so with that one I’m sure she will agree. What do you think enh Papa?