When I was first in Ibadan and still staying at the luxury Davies Hotel, one evening Abdul, a member of VSO staff was also staying there, and I had arranged to go and visit Karen and Brent (former volunteers), it was their last evening in Ibadan. We met at reception as arranged but when we got to the door we found torrential rain. Like a true Brit, I said, “wait I’ll fetch my umbrella”, I did, but Abdul persuaded me that we couldn’t go. If I had been alone I probably, would have tried, and got drenched waiting for public transport that never came, and would have either been forced to take an okada (motorbike taxi) and get wetter in the process, or to give up!
Since then there has been heavy rain while I have been at work, fortunately this has stopped by the time I had to leave, but on a number of occasions it has left the nearby river flowing over the road instead of under it, with cars forced to turn around, and people wading through. Fortunately I live in the opposite direction.
On Sunday, I was enjoying an Indian meal at a fine hotel, two bus / taxi rides away from my house, it was only when we came to leave that we realised it was raining, it was also already around 8pm so pitch dark. Four of us ventured to the main road where we hoped to find a taxi, at one point ankle deep water was flowing across the road.
We found a taxi going to Mokola or roundabout, a central location in Ibadan, from here we were due to go in different directions me to UI, and them to Bodija. I was busy negotiating for the guy to take us all the way home, my fellow passengers were complaining, it’s too expensive we’ll just get another shared taxi, look out of the window I said do you want to step out into that lake, don’t worry about the money! They agreed.
It’s hard to describe it now, but it was hairy, I know that cars can get stuck, float away, and people can get carried away by fast flowing water, and of course, you don’t know what is under the water, or in the water, and it was dark!
Eventually we got home safely, and I paid the driver and entered my dry house, washed myself with running water, and was able to enjoy electricity. It made me realise how heavy rain can be dangerous, disruptive, or just unpleasant, and if I like most people, was unable to pay extra, I could have been stranded in pouring rain until the next morning.