Do you remember the game as a child, where you would count Volkswagons or count things that were orange, or count anything outside your car window to prevent boredom? (Find the letter A, B, C, etc..)
As I was traveling yesterday in heavy traffic with frequent stops due to gridlock, I decided to play the game and count in order to keep occupied. And the first thing I saw was the common occurrence of a man urinating, right on the street. I was in the car for another 30 minutes and counted up to EIGHT! I don't plan to make a habit of this particular counting game, but it is interesting to share the true sights of Lagos - the good, the bad AND the smelly!! Due to the frequency of these sightings (right in front of us - thank you very much!), the city puts up signs like the one below. In fact, notices can be found with the same message all over Lagos, and it is the most common "slogan" in the city.
There are signs written with paint on the side of buildings ...
And written on walls...
And on fences...
Unfortunately with NO public restrooms available and a large part of the population living on the streets, this IS a problem with no clear solution. And I often see people relieving themselves right in front of the signs, so the message is totally ignored!
Today's paper also had a great picture of a few men in the act 'squatting' next to the local streams, since Lagos is really trying to highlight and curtail this practice. I decided not to share THAT picture, in order to stay 'family friendly'. :)
And on the main page of the Lagos State Government website today:
Governor Fashola explained, “Let us not forget that everything that we depend on, whether for food or for water, comes from how we use the land around us. If you pollute the land, it will go down to the ground water and it is that ground water that we will ultimately drink; it is that ground water that we use to farm and it is possible that that ground water will be ingested into our body with the toxin that will reduce or diminish the quality and longevity of our lives”.
And my favorite section of the site:
To Lagos residents, the Governor said, “When we ask you , therefore, not to urinate in the open, when we ask you not to defecate in the open, to dump your refuse in appropriate places and not in the drainages or water bodies, we do so because we care, not because we dislike you”.
A blog detailing our experiences in Lagos would be incomplete if I didn't share what we truly see day to day. :) I told you that I would keep it real!
And THIS is why we wear closed toed shoes when we go to the markets. Aren't you glad that I clued you in? And you thought my life was totally glamorous!