I’m convinced the most interesting things in Lagos happen in public transport.
Take an experience I once had on an okada (Lagos slang for commercial motorcycle. If Lagos is an urban forest, okadas are the insects: both are small and all over the place. Both also weave maddeningly in and out of sight.)
There I was, being flown to work (did I mention that most insects – sorry, okadas – fly?), when the oddest thing happened. My pilot slowed to a stop, suddenly reached out and grabbed a handful of leaves from a shrub just by the road and, clutching them, took off again.
Naturally, I asked what that was about. It was a medicinal plant, he said, for a rash on his back. What was its local name, I asked? He didn’t know. He’d simply randomly tried it for his back – crushing and rubbing it – one day, back in his hometown (the plant grew in some abundance there, apparently) , and found to his surprise that it worked. Since then, he’d used it every time the rash reappeared.
Which was what bothered me: the rash was reappearing. To my mind, that shouldn’t have been happening. I mean, shouldn’t he have been looking to treat it for good? But how do you convince a man something isn’t necessarily the answer when it “works”?
Simple: you don’t. Except you can both agree on a redefinition of “answer.”
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