Ayilara and Empire need no introduction to old time residents of Eko. Angels fear to tread in these districts and only a JJC would dare to venture there on a sightseeing mission. These two areas are a strong testament to how neighbourhoods take on a character all their own with the passage of time. So if you happen to be house hunting and have a particular preference and know someone that lives there, it’s usually best to ask what makes that area tick. This will help decide if you can actually put up with it. Many a time people have parted with huge sums of money only to discover that the ‘local culture’ doesn’t sit well, although the actual apartment itself is a hit!
I’ve since settled into a new hood and discovered that despite the ‘macro’ environment there are still micro systems in my immediate vicinity that affect my quality of life. For instance there’s a generator (two actually but one seems to have been permanently silenced and has made life SO much better!), I’ve dubbed ‘the demon gen’. The owners live in the building behind mine and when NEPA is in active mode, its working. It makes a high whining sound that simply grates! This pollution is further compounded by the white/black fumes it also emits. This twin combination has demonstrated just how much I can HATE an inanimate object. I have good days when I can simply ignore it and others when I barely manage not to tear out my hair.
I also know a young girl named Kelechi. I sometimes hear her cry in the mornings, heart-wrenching sobs that make me close my windows and try and mind my business. I know what her dad sounds like too because I hear him shout when she’s getting ready for school. On those days she’s either not inclined to have her bath or maybe she’s a mite too slow for him, I’m not sure which. I’ve also become accustomed to her mom’s high pitched voice shout…KELECHI! I also know that she can be a bossy older sister, especially when she’s happily chattering with her younger brother. With all the foregoing, the only thing I don’t know is what she actually looks like and maybe one day I’ll find out.
Another charming feature I’ve noticed is the long, brown, muddy stretch the adjoining street becomes when it rains. We still have it great since it’s still passable by both human and vehicle traffic. There are some places that need seafaring transport once the rains arrive. The greatest disadvantage this confers on residents is finding the best spot to cross the slush without getting splashed by a passing car or landing in the muck.
A breed of Eskimos lives next door, although they appear to be African by descent and Nigerians to boot. I’m still convinced they share the same ancestors as their brothers up north…way up! I say this because they certainly love the chilly weather. With the aid of their air-conditioner this is more or less a permanent condition…despite the extremely cool weather we’ve been experiencing recently. This air-conditioner is not the silent type, it makes this atrocious noise like a locally fabricated grinding machine! It groans and shudders when working. I’m privy to when it’s switched off and on since the condenser faces my windows. It noisily works and peace only descends again when an outage occurs or it’s switched off. Sometimes with all my windows shut tight, socks on and under the covers, I hear the contraption come on and know that my neighbours are certainly NOT warm-blooded!
Every neighbourhood has its peculiarities, the things that make it unique…what are those in your neck of the woods?