*Limps in with war paint on face, bandanna on head, and scarred knee*
If you’re reading this it’s not too late, I made it back safely from the mountains *Drake voice*. Before I share my inspiring stories, you know it is my ritual to update you on what’s been happening my psychedelic butterflies.
So, what’s new? Erm I’ve been drinking alomo bitters. It’s not every time vodka you know, sometimes be local. Since I refuse to be healthy and see all this baby fat gathering, I thought local herbs may help. Or I may at least be elated enough not to notice all of this fluffy fat. *Takes a swig and squeezes face at bitterness of drink* This week alone, I have almost lost my creative mind. We haven’t had light for days. After day three, I decided to ask why the rest of the estate was full of light and our compound was flooded with darkness. Apparently our transformer blew (Transformer- an apparatus for reducing or increasing the voltage of an alternating current). AGAIN. *Pours another round of alomo for the heat and the pain*
When living alone in Lagos you learn so many odd things. Hamattan just passed, a time where it’s cool and we have loads of dust. Since it’s departure, my room has been unbearably hot and I’m warm blooded so don’t usually mind heat. This heat has, however, been ‘shoot me’ hot. I’m a melting snowman save me hot. This morning, I decided to dust the net in hopes that it would make a difference and lo and behold; there was air!
This week has been a creatively intense week. I have felt everything intensely. Passion has shaken my universe yet once again. I’ve been inspired by a desire to love, be a mother to a little bohemian king or goddess, explore, to write inspiring stories, learn, understand and create pulsating through my veins all at once. In the same trance of inspiration, I’ve desired to write moving poems on human trafficking and Nigerian post-colonial history as well as controversial articles on class division. I’m also proud to say that publishing my book before June in spite of the obstacles in my way has become more of a priority because I believe there are healing words inside.
I have also been very lonely which I hate admitting. Lagos people are very pretentious so over the past two and a half years I haven’t made many friends if any at all. You can connect today and like amnesia has overtaken them, they knoweth you not tomorrow.
Most care about the ‘class’ that they were taught by white men and big houses next to smelly gutters, while I care about sunflowers and sustainable development…They judge people by what they do for a living while I find who you are for a living far more interesting….needless to say I miss my family and friends. On a brighter note, I’ve found the strength to channel all of this energy into my hustle. *Adjusts flower studded crown*
Did I mention that my bank account balance reduced drastically? It is further fueling my desire to blow this year. I cannot live the true bohemian life I desire without financial freedom, so the hustle, my fellow butterflies continues. The naira is now 455 to the pound, so I’m not sure if I still want to make my way to financial freedom in naira….*Blank stare*
Journey to the Waterfalls…
Anyways, update over, and on to the more interesting matter at hand. The inspiring stories I have for you about my recent trip to Erin Ijesha Waterfalls! It’s pretty far away from Lagos as it’s located in Osun state which is about three or more hours away on a good day. I will not lie, I was slightly hesitant as I’ve never been this far out of Lagos by myself on public transport, but I just put on my bohemian cape and off I went. What’s the worst that could happen anyway? There’s no point in trying to kidnap me. Lord knows I ain’t got no money.
Not So Inspiring Stories on the Bus…
I began my journey at 7:30 am, which was late, to be honest, but I had to go, no more staling. I have a taxi guy named Kassim I have grown fond of. He smiles a lot and he loves boats. Kassim can be extremely slow and distractible though, which can be quite annoying. Kassim took the wrong turning as usual, and I realised how Nigerian I have become at that moment. Nigeria has my mouth lit as the youngsters of this era say. Kassim took the wrong turning as he often does and I caught myself almost ask him if his brain was touching. I almost began to transform into those women who talk to their workers like they’re their children, when indeed they may be twice their age. May I not live to be that person and may Kassim’s brain never touch.
There was some granny sitting next to me so I felt a little safe. Worst case scenario if they trying to kidnap me is I hold onto grandma’s dingy Ankara wrapper for dear life. The conductor asked for money- N1,600 naira to be exact, and as he gave me my change I did the unforgivable. I took my change from the driver with my left hand. The elderly lady sitting next to me looked at me with a mixture of disgust and disbelief and asked me in Yoruba why I did that. I looked at her apologetically. Abroad children issues. For the non- Nigerians, it is formidable to give or take things with your left hand as it’s seen as a sign of disrespect. I think it’s such an abomination that you’ll turn into yam or banana peels if you do it or something. *Shrugs* We began the journey across the red sea in the hot space bus and I didn’t arrive in Osun state until three and a half hours later.
Arriving in Osun…
Osun state was dusty. The buildings were decapitated. Seeing as Osun State was apparently created in 1991, I couldn’t understand why. The people seemed restless. They moved in slow motion and they didn’t seem to care whether the sun would set that day or rise the next. As I got off at the bus garage, I had no idea how much longer it would take to get to my destination, so I needed to ask for further directions. I put on my best Nigerian accent and threw in a few Yoruba words in an attempt to make my shameful pronunciations less noticeable. I was told I would still have to take a bike and a bus before I would get to the waterfalls. As pissed as I was, I thought, what’s an inspiring story without a little struggle?
It was already after 1:00 PM so I became worried because I was returning the same day and it was getting late. Should I turn back? Is it safe to be in some random and secluded town when it’s late? I contemplated. I then decided that I had come too far and sweat damn too much to turn back at that point. The journey had to go on fam. I couldn’t come back home without images and a few inspirational stories to tell.
Once I boarded, I waited for the bus to finally take off, but I thought it may fall apart before it did. A woman got on the bus with a colourful cloth wrapped around her body. As she sat down drenched in sweat and fatigue and removed the cloth, there appeared a beautiful little girl. She looked no older than a few months old. She breastfed the baby and all I could think about was the present state of Nigeria seeing as we’ve presently overtaken India when it comes to extreme poverty. Why are we always laughing and why is everything a joke? There is nothing amusing about the level of poverty that we have accepted. I wondered what her living standards were and how adaptable we are as human beings. We adapt to situations that we should never in a million years accept.
Alas! Erin Ijesha Waterfalls…
Tired, frustrated and over 5 hours later, I finally arrived at my destination! I had to take another bike to get to the waterfalls. As I got closer and closer, it all became worth it. I was lost for words….
I paid a N500 gate fee and then I saw stairs and almost fainted. I looked around for a lift. Wasn’t no lift bro. I was extremely hot at that point and needed to get into the water. Up I went, panting, dying one step at a time, wondering who invented the punishment called climbing and exercise.
Suddenly, there was another creep, similar to the one in Agodi Gardens (another destination in my volume of inspiring stories) ran up behind me. I ignored him until he convinced me that I needed a tour guide. His name was Tunde. I agreed. Just in case I fainted, I needed someone to let everyone know I died on the line. He said the best part of the waterfalls was on level two, so I got to climbing.
Apparently, there are no mountains in Nigeria. I was informed after I was bragging to a friend about this part of my adventure. Mid-story, he rudely interrupted telling me that I clearly never went to school as there are no mountains in Nigeria. Fam, I don’t believe it, that thing I climbed was a mountain. And FYI never listen to naysayers because there ARE mountains in Nigeria! This may not have been one of them, but the ones that do exist are weathered-down so highlands such as The Jos Plateau, Northeastern Highlands, and Cameroon Highlands tend to be more recognized.
Honey, I climbed that mountain like Rocky Balboa (Did Rocky climb a mountain? He sha ran up them stairs in the movie so that counts.) One! Two! Three! Four! Gbosa (Gbosa–word used by Nigerians to emphasize a dramatic event, announcement, or plot twist)! My ass almost fell and took Tunde down with me. But God. See my war scars below.
As we continued to climb, Tunde told me a story about how the waterfalls came about. I hope you’re not expecting me to share any of these inspiring stories with you because honestly, I can’t remember. He was telling me something in this video child. Alternatively, you can always read more about the history of Erin Ijesha Waterfalls here.
I finally got to the waterfalls and I was in heaven on earth. There are apparently 7 levels, and a waterfall at each level but I was only able to conquer two. Fat girl problems and time didn’t permit me to go up much further, but i’m sure that if i had, I would have more inspiring stories to share with you.
There happened to be other people there as well and many of them seemed to be students. The water felt like the purest I’ve ever immersed myself in! Feeling the water gush on my skin was nothing short of revitalizing.
Tunde was the real MVP as he helped me take all of these pictures. I hope to go back in a few months to conquer all 7 levels and so I have a few more inspiring stories to tell! There is supposedly a village at the top so that would be cool to see as well!
As I tried to take in my entire experience on my way home, I could only put all of that glory into a few inspiring stories and a poem I wrote on the way back home.
You speak to me through still waters
And sing to me with the pattering of waterfalls
You show me your glory at the peak of mountains
Your love is most evident
When I cast my foot upon rocks but don’t fall
Through the budding of new leaves you show me
That I have not yet reached my end
The answers to my persisting questions
Are in the heart of this garden you’ve given me to tend
How do I capture the light that I’ve found here?
How do I carry it everywhere I go?
The further away I become from this sight
The further into a painful longing my heart goes
Through the meticulous work of your hands
You speak to my soul in a language it understands
Beauty bleeds from the tip of my pen
In the hidden wonders of your glory I can see your great plan
I feel you place a warm kiss on my forehead
From where the sun peeks through the trees
Through the praises of the birds I can feel you’re near
The world outside of this heaven is a lonely place.
Three days later I’m still here…in a creative trance…
Hope you’ve enjoyed the inspiring stories about my trip and anticipate more to come!
Until next time my butterflies;
Chocolate kisses and Bohemian loving!