I was already on my way; it was 7:02am on Monday morning and like any other part of Lagos, there was traffic due to the bad state of the road and a myriad of motorists plying it. I had never plied this road before and unlike me I wasn’t interested in looking at the road. There were a few things on my mind at that time that needed quick attention; I had not submitted my weekly assignment and I needed to do so soon plus I wanted to read an editorial in a magazine I just borrowed.
It all started last week Thursday when Mr. Seun asked if I’d like to come along to Akonko; in my mind, while I answered in the positive, I’m like sir are you still asking. I’ve heard an earful of Akonko gist and was longing to see and experience for myself what I’ve heard, of course I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. The trip was actually planned majorly because of an electrical engineer based in the US who was interested in providing this community with electricity to meet their basic electrical needs.
We got to the acclaimed Akonko village and it was just as I had heard- horribly looking school, dirty water to be drunk, no medical care, no mobile network or internet source, no electricity and of course terrible road network. The sight of the only nursery and primary school in the village made me chilly, the environment terrible enough for the children to learn almost nothing. We had to meet with the Baale (traditional leader) of the village so the engineer could make his intentions known; the Baale informed us about the several challenges they went through daily as a community, the most devastating for me was the lack of a medical centre in the village and the journey children took to their secondary school. There isn’t any secondary school in the village so their children had to trek a long distance to school since their parents couldn’t afford a daily transportation fare of about N800, all that ran through my mind at that point was that some children who have better opportunities misuse it and complain over trivial things while these children who have less opportunities value the little they have and go the extra mile to get the most out of it; the irony of life.
The engineer in turn told the Baale of his plans and how he intended executing his plans, the Baale who seemed to be more interested in a Medical centre set-up was still glad about this proposition although he stated clearly that funding was going to be a major hindrance due to the fact that most of the villagers live off their farm produce which isn’t worth much. The meeting ended on the note that the Baale would convey the message to the villagers and get back to the engineer via a middleman.
As soon as the engineer left, the journey began for us – eloPhotos team; the team comprised of Seun Akisanmi, Busayo Alabi, Temitope Adeniyan, Mosope Onanusi and I. First of all, we had an intensive meeting concerning eloPhotos’ now and future (I’m certain Mr. Seun can hold a meeting in the desert if need be) then we had a quick lunch before we moved to the farm. En route the farm Mr. Seun asked that we take as much macro pictures as we can to build our portfolios, thanks to this advice the journey to and fro the farm was not as tiring as it should be.
The trip slated for one night got extended to 2 nights and save for the annoying insects that kept stinging me and the discomfort (wasn’t expecting it to very comfortable anyway), the trip was worth it for me and wasn’t as bad as I envisaged. Thanks to the unadulterated air, fresh vegetables and fruits, it made our stay quite refreshing.
The trip opened my mind to a few things; the people in this village seemed very carefree and happy despite the state they were in. Of course they had worries and it was obvious that they should be worried but the case was in opposition to this fact, in my opinion they lived in a manner that was optimistic, expecting nothing but good. I caught immediately that happiness is not based entirely on your status or the wealth you have, but on the state of your mind; what’s going on in your mind and what are you feeding it with? Positive or negative? God help us all to worry not and be happy.
Enor Izomor is my name and I’m proud to be a photographer.