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#Pulse36 Day 13: Yenagoa, the one road town

Leaving Imo State, it was mostly about the people we left behind than the places.

Chris asked me what was most memorable about Oguta Lake.

“Ekene,” I said. Our boatman. The one who calls God first when he has problems, and calls Oguta too. “So if one doesn’t answer, the other one will.”

Yenagoa, the one road townplay

Yenagoa, the one road town

(Pulse36)

What will Oguta Lake be if nobody drank from her, or ferried across her? Or never ever needed her? Would this lake be as important to us? Will it have stories of gods?

The past few days have showed how important people are to places. If you showed up at a rock, it’d be just a rock.

But if you show up and find someone there, and that person tells you stories of how the rock protected his ancestors. The rock suddenly comes alive. It becomes Idanre Hills, the home of Idanre people who lived atop for 700 years. It becomes Olumo. Mambilla. Ogbunike.

We headed for Yenagoa

with a cough and full stomachs. We kept an open mind on what to expect. I’d heard about a school in Nembe, one of the riverine communities in Bayelsa State.

My friend who served there said the children of the chiefs and fishermen all learned in the same classes, under the same conditions. As a consequence, they had good teachers, and good facilities.

And it had me wondering, isn’t this the obvious solution to Nigeria’s education problem? Maybe when it becomes everyone’s problem, and not just the problem of the masses, our education problem will be solved.

Yenegoa has one long road from one end to the other, like a spine. The road branches into dozens of streets, like ribs.

The road is significantly higher than the buildings that flank it and there’s a reason. Most of Yenegoa is swampy. And swamps require a lot of sand filling before anything can be built on them.

Not much happens on Friday in Yenegoa. Clubbers go clubbing. Worshippers go for vigils. People sleep in, and that’s that.

Yenagoa, the one road townplay

Yenagoa, the one road town

For dinner, we tried out market square, a mall, and it’s the best thing that’s happened since we touched down in Yenagoa.

We went be bed hoping Yenagoa has something awesome to show us.

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