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by - December 28, 2018

slum in lagos
Makoko Lagos, Nigeria. 

26Th December 2018, my friend Sarah (founder of say-say's initiative) organized a food drive at Makoko, a popular slum located between the Island and mainland in Lagos and I decided to share a bit from the experience here. 

egun trader at makoko
smoked fish trader at Makoko
We arrived on the road closest to the traditional rulers home a few minutes before 1:00pm.
 Once our bus parked, a swarm of young men around the ages of 20 - 30 surrounded our bus, and with no prior instruction from us began queuing and as Sarah explained  to them that we had no intentions of sharing the items we brought for the drive there, a fight broke out, we had to stay in the bus for tn minutes till the police came.

During the time we were locked in the bus, most of us shared the opinion that the people's reaction to our arrival proved they were used to these kind of visits, our discussion was quickly cut short by an argument that began because one of the volunteers made a common inspirational speaker quote;
“Poverty is a choice.”

Walking behind Dayomi on the trail.
I forgot to mention earlier that prior to my visit, my  initial thought was that most of the people who lived within this community were Yorubas, which was wrong.
 Turns out  most of them are Egun, an indigenous tribe known to have migrated from The republic of Benin to Badagry during the Dahomean war in the 18th century.
This information made it clearer as to why despite their living conditions, most of them had large families, since I’d read somewhere that the use of condoms were considered a taboo among most Egun people.

The women in the community were involved the most during the drive, from moving the food items, to being the ones to queue for their families, a good number of them even came out with their babies, one would wonder what all the men were doing at that time.

little girl in makoko
little girl enjoying music from the DJ.
Contrary to most volunteer’s fears, after speaking to the people in their language, the drive went on in an organized manner, Sarah had hired a local DJ who did a great job giving the experience a festive vibe.

Working with the  food sharing team, gave me more insight about not only the people but we as volunteers.
First off, a lot of the locals were disgusted with the fact they got tagged after receiving their packs, I even had a couple of women refuse the tag. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I  found it a bit troubling that out of everyone who came out for the drive, 95% of them were women with children.

little boy at makoko
little boy by our bus 

Being In Makoko showed me how much even in a self-acclaimed mega city like Lagos, extreme poverty does not exists because the people aren't doing enough (because believe me those people are hardworking),  it’s more or less a tool.

I tried explaining to the volunteer who was attacked earlier for her “poverty is a choice opinion” that people in communities like this have not been given the opportunity to liberate themselves that is why people like us, identifying our privilege of empowerment, should try the best that we can to give back no matter how little. 

I'll end with this, on Christmas afternoon, I watched CNN heroes were Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, the founder of Pearls Africa Youth Foundation was honored for teaching girls in the same community to code, one of which created a website to help fishermen and women within her community in Makoko sell seafood online, now imagine the amount of untapped talents yet to be discovered.

more photos;
makoko lagos
Dayomi and our new friend Aisha. 
makoko lagos
Bosola on phtotography duties

I'd love to hear from you...
like, share and leave a comment.

If you'd like more information about this outreach and how you can help people in this community, you can send me an email, or Google search charities like;
Say say's initiative and shecodes. 


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