Skin whitening cream, breast cream and padded pants
on Hysteria in Nigeria (Nigeria), 18/Jul/2012 10:47, 34 days ago
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I had a great reminder of how direct people here are recently. We were in a shop at Wuse Market, the main market in Abuja. I wasn’t looking to buy anything, I was with two new volunteers who wanted to pick up a couple of things. But the guy who owned the shop couldn’t handle me standing there and not wanting to buy anything. So he kept bringing things over to me to try and tempt me to change my mind. Unfortunately I don’t think he’s quite perfected his sales pitch. He started off with skin whitening cream. I asked him how white he wanted me to be, so in noticing the error of his ways, he went off to find something else that I just wouldn’t be able to resist buying: breast cream. That’s what it said on the box. He handed it to me with a pointed look at my chest area. I asked a friend here, she said it’s meant to make your boobs bigger. Oh good, thanks Mister Market Man. Needless to say I left his shop without buying anything. Later on in the day we were sat in the park at the Designer Marketplace thingthat I mentioned a couple of months ago, and someone came round to give us some flyers. For padded pants. That’s right, pants to make your ass bigger. See the photo of said flyer below. They only cost 1,000 N. The same amount as the cocktails that we were drinking at the time. Bargain.And now I’ve got one week left. There are parts of life out here that I love and that I will really miss – the noise, the music, the laughter. And there are parts of living in Nigeria I definitely will not miss.We went to a popular“sit out” place to get fish and chips a few weeks ago. We had a really nice afternoon, until we left to go out to the main road and flag down a cab. There was a no parking area on the side of the road, and so we walked past that area (we had thought) and a cab came and stopped by us. We were negotiating the fare when one of the military men who guard the entrance to the carpark came over, and before we knew it, he had used a knife attached to his rifle to slice not one, but TWO of the cabs tyres. He then took the car keys off the driver and went back to his station. I was literally speechless, I couldn’t believe he did it. There was no warning, nothing. And so an act that was supposed to punish the cab driver for stopping on that particular part of the road then left him unable to move anyway. They said it was because of terrorist threats. I was interested to hear how rendering cars motionless would reduce the risk of bombs going off. I’d much prefer a car with a bomb in it to be able to move than have it stationary in such a crowded public area. The next car that came to stop in that area then paid the officer, so he was able to stop there. It’s that level of corruption and abuse of power that makes me sick. Replacing those tyres will have cost the cab driver god knows how much. And he must be so used to that sort of treatment, because he didn’t even try to argue. Until someone stands up to people, nothing will change, but at the moment with things the way they are, if you dare to stand up to them you end up paying dearly for it.So leaving here will be bittersweet.