How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer


You never know how precious your eyes are until you come close to losing them or at least losing your sight even if the eyes remain in their sockets. Last week, I had reason to be grateful for the gift of sight.  It was like any other Monday at the office; busy as ever. The work day soon ended and my colleagues and I headed home. I got to Ojota and boarded a bus heading to Ikorodu as usual.

The ride was uneventful for the most part or at least till we got past Mile 12. From then on, the traffic was a nightmare, two lanes had been turned to four by impatient motorists and the super-impatient ones had crossed the median to face oncoming traffic; a phenomenon commonly referred to as “passing one-way”. As terrible as it sounds, this isn’t unusual on that road. It’s disorganized chaos that people who ply that road have grown accustomed to.

Suddenly, I heard a loud thump on the bus and wondered what it was. Looking out the window, I saw the most ridiculous thing ever; LASTMA officials picking stones and throwing  at vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Even though I understood that it was wrong for people to face oncoming traffic on that road, (and it is very unsafe too), I didn’t see the wisdom in law enforcement officers throwing stones at innocent passengers.

A few minutes passed as the journey continued. I decided to call my husband and let him know that I was almost at the bus-stop. Just as I finished speaking with him and ended the call, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt something hit my right eye real hard and felt water pour all over me. With one hand over my eye and my head bowed, I could hear my self screaming, “Yee, yee! My eyes”. I could hear the guy sitted on my left side saying, “Sister sorry o”. My mind was in a daze as I struggled to make sense of what just happened and also cope with the pain of something hitting my eye with such force.

At this point, I could hear the lady sitting by my right hand side, asking if I was okay. I asked her what just happened and she explained to me that it was LASTMA officials who threw pure water satchets at the bus. That was when I realized, what hit me was a satchet of pure water and it hit my eye with such force that it busted.

On getting home, I narrated the ordeal to my husband who was almost as irritated and pained as I was. I assured him I was okay and started showing him some of the pictures from our photo shoot the week before. While we both admired the pictures, I felt something streaming out of my nostrils, it was blood! Bright red blood was streaming out of my nose! My alarmed husband rushed to get me toilet paper to contain the bleeding.

My husband watched with concern written all over his face while I applied pressure to my nose area with blood-soaked tissue paper, assuring him that I’d be just fine. Well, after a few minutes of waiting for the blood to cease and it didn’t, I got a bit scared myself and told him I needed to lie on a flat surface. Off to bed I went. The bleeding subsided shortly after I got in bed.

As I laid in bed, I thought of the nameless, faceless guy whose “bullet” hit me and caused me all these harm. If I felt anything for him at that moment, it sure wasn’t love. What could a passenger like me have done to stop a lawless bus driver from flouting the law? What kind of city hires confused human beings (like the ones I had encountered that night), to enforce traffic laws?

The next day, I set out to work as early as usual, way before sunrise. It was later in the morning that I realized that my right eye was quite sensitive to light. It was fine as long as I stayed indoors but hurt really bad the moment I came out in broad daylight. This went on for two more days before my eye felt a bit normal.

Thinking back at the whole episode (after the emotions of anger and frustration had diffused), I, Ronke Alao, thought of how fortunate I was. Imagine if the LASTMA fellow had chosen a stone as his weapon that day and it hit my eye, doing real damage to it? I’d love to make a name for myself as a photographer but not as a one-eyed photographer. We as photographers tend to gush over our expensive gadgets and the new lens released into the market that is meant to see better than the human eye. As much as we value these expensive equipment, let’s always remember that we are blessed with the most precious “lens” of all, that can’t be ordered on a website: our very EYES.

 

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