Ife the city.
Ife the Yoruba word for love.
Today (Sunday) I stopped at the old tollgate just at the entrance to Ife (on my way back to Ibadan).
“How much?” I asked the lady with the tray of bananas. One of several women trying to sell me fruits of various kinds including oranges, pears, etc.
“N200” she said.
“But these bananas are small.” I said.
“That’s how we found them.” she said as a form of apology for the size of the bananas.
I haggled half-heartedly because it was expected.
She insisted on two hundred Naira. Her face took on a pleading look. I relented.
She put the bananas in a plastic bag and handed it to me. I paid.
The middle aged man in the “Yellow Fever” uniform standing along the road with the fruit sellers asked if I would be kind enough to give him a lift to Ikire. I was sure he wasn’t completely sure he would get a positive response. I asked him to hop in which he gratefully did.
He was somewhat dirty and didn’t smell too good. But who would after being in the African midday Sun all day?
I noticed his eyes were bloodshot even though he had on a pair of dark glasses. I thought I smelled some of the local gin on him.
He told me he was transferred from Ikire to Ife (or was it the opposite?) early this year and he had not yet secured accommodation locally so he has been shuttling between the two towns (probably a distance of about 40KM).
I put on the radio. A call-in Yoruba programme was on air. People called in or sent in SMS asking the radio presenters to “beg” their loved ones (husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, etc.) for wrongs they had done to them. They would give the person’s name, their names, and ask for forgiveness. The presenters will then plead on behalf of the caller.
We came to a point on the road. A small white car had run off the road into the brush just by the road side. I don’t think it was too bad as we could still see the driver’s head and he seemed OK. Their was also no urgency in the actions of the FRSC officers diverting traffic at the point. There was a huge trailer on the road trying to turn around. I suspect it might have caused the small car to run off the road.
I dropped off the traffic officer at the Ikire junction.
I was on the road again when I got a call from “The Realist” (a friend; a sister; a kindred spirit; :-).
Which reminded me of the previous day’s events. (Not that I had actually forgotten).
I had gone on a little adventure on the campus grounds with “The Realist”.
The highlight was a visit to the zoo.
Which still consisted of a lot of virgin forest. Hanging vines. Dark paths. The whole setup very Indiana Jones like. Broken here and there by the enclosures of various animals. I might have missed a couple but the animals in the zoo consisted of the following:
A couple of lions. They didn’t look well fed nor happy. They were locked up. The tip of their ears raw with the flies bothering them. Despite making lots of noise to get their attention, they were too disinterested (or ill?) to even give us a look. One was lying in its own piss and feaces. It was all a little depressing. I had read on the Internet the day before that there were only 34 lions left in the whole country. I guess these two were part of those 34. I wasn’t sure how long they could survive in that setting (maybe we will soon be down to 32).
There was a dwarf crocodile lying completely still in the Sun; a river turtle; a crested “something-something” bird; a couple of ostriches.
A hyena which we didn’t see on the first pass of its enclosure partly due to the “little” jungle in its enclosure. It was visible on our return journey. The enclosure wall was about waist high, so I guess hyenas can’t jump or climb. All the same it was disconcerting.
We took some pictures.
A little python. I understand from “The Realist” that there used to be a huge long black python there as well. (Maybe it had gone to snake heaven).
We came across an enclosure with “Maxwell’s Duiker” on the little signboard, but the animal(s) were absent. Maybe gone the way of the big snake as well.
There were some monkeys as well. Their enclosure wall was very high. Probably close to 20-feet in some places. I guess it is needed to keep the monkeys in. I should have taken some pictures.
While we were there, only one other group (probably from Ife town due to the mix and look of the 6 or so people) showed up. So much potential unrealised (a reflection of the country).
We still enjoyed the visit though. It was also some exercise as we were both sweating due to the exertion (the terrain was undulating).
We left the zoo and visited some other areas of the campus.
At some point we were in front of the “Dramatic Arts” cloister of buildings. I remember I used to go to there when I was still a student to go look at the statues put up by the Fine Arts students; sometimes I would go to the workshop at the back to watch them work.
The campus had changed a lot. Lots of construction going on. Lots of cars.
All good things come to an end. I dropped off “The Realist.”
I went to “Ajose Lecture theatre” by myself but the place was locked up due to renovations going on. I looked through a crack in the door and could see all the new seats wrapped up in cellophane.
I drove to the staff quarters to the home of a close friend. I was going to stay the night with his family.
I almost didn’t make it to church this morning (Sunday). I wasn’t keen but the wife was just a little (gently) persistent enough to make me change my mind.
I was glad I went for the service. I didn’t know my friend was going to preach. He was actually one of the church elders!
Back “home”, I dozed on and off after the well-made meal of yam and fried eggs 🙂
Five thirty and I got on the road for the trip back to Ibadan.
I got to Ibadan about an hour later.
It was mentioned in church that this is the month of grace. May the good Lord be gracious to all of us.