The Lagos Experience — Through My Eyes.

Ekabosowo Takon
6 min readJan 28, 2024

There are many things I remember about my life prior to coming to Lagos , even though I was barely old enough to know my left from my right, but one of them wasn’t how I felt when I knew we were going to move to Lagos.

For the past couple of months, my family and I had been visiting the site of our soon to be new house in Eket to observe the progress, and get acquainted to the environment — my mum didn’t like the place, but I don’t think she wanted to leave AkwaIbom the way we left.

THE BEGINNING

The beginning of our movement started in uncertainty because our flight kept being postponed due to the weather. I can swear that the house echoed because it was just my mum and I that were left — so it was hard and gruesome.

First, we didn’t want to leave , then instead of just going once without any chance of looking back, the weather tortured us with this?

THE JOURNEY

The flight was chaotic — we faced turbulence like no other, frankly my mother thought it was the end for both of us. It was then my mother grew her phobia for planes and flying. She held on to me as the plane shook and maneuvered the hazy clouds. We were notified of the turbulence and were asked to brace up for it — was this the universe’s way of telling us not to move ?

THE ARRIVAL

We finally arrived in Lagos, and the new chapter began. The first thing I noticed about Lagos that I can remember was— the tall buildings. I had never seen anything like that in a Nigeria before. In-between the cluster of buildings I spotted from third mainland bridge — Marina seemed like a whole new world from where I was coming from.

As we proceeded to Bourdillion Road, my siblings and I turned our little necks and pointed out things we found fascinating about this new city that would soon be “home” to us.

SETTLING IN

The first place we lived in Lagos was the company guest house on Bourdillion Road — till date it’s still erected , but definitely out of use . It is one of my favorite spots to look out for when I’m passing by Bourdillion road.

The guest house became home to us for a couple of months. It was the “lavida loca” life we needed to ease us into the Lagos life. Every single meal was a buffet , the type that allowed to take away the things we wanted to.

My siblings and I grew an unusual likeness for their meat sauce and always looked forward to the arrivals of the turban chef bring when he came with the starter — in hopes that it contained our favorite hot round bread buns , soft butter along side the delicious meat sauce.

GETTING BY

The guest house was amazing , everything we needed was catered for , but there was something about the bathroom that seemed straight out of a horror movie — so someone had to always be on standby when I went in, for fear of facing deadly monsters.

We took walks around Ikoyi and “got accustomed to the Lagos life” — but there was a big shocker coming for us.

HOUSE HUNTING

I honestly don’t know how we landed where we lived for over a decade but we landed there and that was the shocker for us. Life as we knew it in Eket, and Ikoyi was over for us. The Lagos reality was about to begin and there was nothing we could do about it.

The first thing I remember about the house was the size of the living room , and the presence of a front balcony (one we never really used after we moved in).

THE GREY HOUSE DOWN THE ROAD

As we settled in , Lagos sank its teeth deep into us that we often found ourselves feeling out of place.

My mother made sure we never went outside or related with any of the children that lived around. This was a world different from where we were coming from. There we, our neighbors and family friends played around the compound from morning till night with the gates opened — except the masquerades were passing by.

Now , we were stuck in this grey house with cream walls and doors. It was similar to a death sentence in children’s terms — and it slowly began to have effect on us.

EXPLORING LAGOS

My dad tried to lessen the blow by buying us way too many toys, books and interactive company games. From mega plaza to shopping plaza we bought and bought.

These were going to be our new friends now. Many Saturdays were exciting because we either went to Apapa amusement park, or we went toy shopping or even books & stationery shopping.

Eating out , toy shopping, book & stationery shopping became my favorite things to do outside the house. Just seeing CSS bookshop sparked joy in my heart. My dad allowed us get all sorts of stationery, gigantic pencils, elongated pens, cut out and many other books that drew our attention.

INTEGRATING TO LAGOS LIFE

I think my parents had it way worst that we the kids did, but they tried to hide it. My dad went to work everyday, and came back bearing gifts every other day — our favorite part of our day as kids was welcoming him from the door.

My mother became a fashionista, I think that was her own way of coping. Bringing out her bags, shoes and clothes to match them with eachother almost everyday — and searching out and drawing styles to give to her tailor to sew.

Driving in Lagos was very difficult for my parents at first , my mother especially. We weren’t used to law enforcer’s defensive driving skills. Moreover, “using a cane” and yelling at drivers while weaving through traffic and blaring a siren was extremely chaotic for my mum, she near damn screamed at them everytime.

There were days when my mother would freeze behind the steering for fear of being arrested or harassed — a traumatic experience that we went through with her.

MAKING FRIENDS AND LOSING THEM

There was nothing harder than trying to make friends with people that had a way different reality than we did.

For my mum, my dad and even my siblings and I — it was hard. Till date, it is still hard. We all tried in our own way to make friends. From church and school , only my mum succeeded in making a genuine friend in church about a decade after we had moved — unfortunately the friend died a few years later.

My siblings and I never really made friends, I turned to sports, books , computer games and art, my sister turned to art and books, and my older brother turned to books and computer games — my eldest brother turned to music and did whatever he wanted to do.

However, one thing that always brought us together as a family was music.

My parents too , never really made friends — my mum took to reading , business , cleaning and matching her clothes still . My father took to reading and journaling.

CONCLUSION

Till date, I still have not gotten used to Lagos. There is this taste for chaos and dysfunction that hangs over it — that I’ve never been able to shake off. It’s like a restless city that moves around looking for what to calm it down.

Me ? For me, I constantly yearn for quietness and peace — the kind that Lagos is somehow opposed to. I think that Eket did it’s best keep its grip tight on me — and I’ll forever be grateful for this yearning.

In a way , I’ll say that Lagos traumatized all of us in ways that made us always want to find solace indoors or by ourselves — a coping mechanism if you ask me.

Maybe this is why I’ll always be a homebody — the streets have never been for me.

Till next time,

Love, E 💕.

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Ekabosowo Takon

Who knows if I’d ever write a book again — to me this is my memoir. A legacy sort of , a compilation of my life in a sense.