Lagosians are very warm and nice people and I love Ojo local government area of Lagos State, where I reside. This is an area regarded as ‘Lagos village’ or more aptly put, Lagos slum. I grew up here. I am an alumnus of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo.
And, I still live here. What is most endearing is my status as ‘Oyinbo Nigeria’. Now we are in pandemic mode because of COVID-19, my status as ‘Oyinbo Nigeria’ has turned to something of a joke.
A week ago, I boarded a ‘Keke Napep’ from my area at Iba, Lagos State, Addof bus stop to be precise. I was on my way to buy foodstuff at the Iyanoba market in anticipation of the lockdown.
After flagging down the popular yellow coloured auto-rickshaw, I noticed a passenger, a beautiful fair-complexioned young and plump Ibo lady. She was at the back seat, but in the twinkle of an eye, she ‘gracefully’ moved to the front seat. This happened as I entered the keke.
As the Ibo lady alighted at Estate gate bus stop, the driver informed me that the lady left the back seat because I looked like a foreigner and she was scared of getting the virus from me.
Funny enough, I wasn’t surprised because I had seen her body language and guessed that was why she changed seats. The keke driver and I laughed over her naivety.
By the way, some people call me half caste, some call me, ”oyinbo Nigeria’. Some say I look more like an older version of a Bruno Mars. Some outrightly call me CHINKO (a slang for Chinese). I’m used to such names already. With the coronavirus pandemic, now, more than ever, I tend to get more attention from people.
I walked into a friends compound and a little girl of 12 was busy washing clothes. The moment she saw me passing through the gàte, she rubbed her eyes for a couple of seconds and fled into their apartment.
There I was reeling with laughter. After I narrated the comedy to my friend, the girl’s aunt popped out of the house to find out what the fuss was all about. She said that her little niece claimed that a foreigner (that’s me) walked into the compound and had brought along the coronavirus.
Thank God the lady is someone I know. We all burst into uncontrollable laughter enjoying the fun of it all.
Like I said earlier, I’m already used to the stare and side talk from Lagosians. I simply joke along with their naivety saying, “Abeg o, I no be Chinese o, I be Delta half-caste oyinbo. I no carry coronavirus!”
I’m never embarrassed.
Note: Never encourage any form of discrimination towards people. No matter the race, tribe or skin colour, we are one. We fall together, we rise together.