Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Roads in Dutse

Dutse is a small rural town, in a rural state so I am told that it does not represent the whole of Nigeria, but on my first day here when I saw an ox and cart go past my window and I knew I was in Africa!
I thought this blog post would help to give you an idea of the town that I am living in.

You can expect to see anything on these roads, from a donkey laden with piles of sticks ridden by a haggled old man to a large green tortoise crossing the road! (I really did see one once. I was asking the driver so many questions about it that he thought I wanted to go back and ‘pick it!’)
This is the main road in the town. (It is usually busier than this.) You can see the trucks, cars, motorbikes. . . You may also see lorries, bicycles and tractors. There is no pavement so you just walk along (carefully, as at any time, any vehicle can come straight at you, usually a motorcycle) in the dust at the side. I was terrified walking along the roads at first because if you imagine walking along Bournemouth seafront on a sunny day in August and there are crowds of people passing you by in both directions, well this is how close the motorbikes and cars drive past you. I was really worried for my feet being ridden over at first but I am used to it now. This main road is swept by women everyday and as you can see it is in a good condition as most of the roads in Dutse are. Also amongst all the traffic you find can men pushing wheelbarrows, usually full of large containers of water that they are transporting to homes from the well. Be prepared to stand aside for a herd of cows (with horns), sheep, goats and chickens. These dirt roads were treacherous to walk down in the rainy season and are strewn with rubbish. You also see the lizards running everywhere here. This was the road to the guest house where I lived for the first couple of months. You always witness vehicles in this state with numerous number of people on the back. It is a common sight to find ones toppled over on the side of the road. But this doesn’t stop the Nigerians though as they just load everything back in again and continue their journey. This was my view from the guest house window. Everyone dumps their rubbish in a pile on the side of the road. (The rubbish pile in on the left, behind the sign board.) You can find people sifting through the rubbish and goats and chickens eating it. Sometimes a truck comes to take the rubbish away and put sand on top, then a new rubbish pile is made in a different location. Other times the rubbish is burnt. At the sides of the roads they have these big drains to catch the rainwater. You often have to balance along the wobbly planks of wood to reach a shop. They drains usually get clogged up with the rubbish and then you see some poor boys standing up to their knees in sewage, sifting it out.And finally, this is the road to my house, Gida Goma which means 10 houses as there are 10 houses on the street. The building in the middle is the mosque for the men to pray in. My house is just behind the tree on the right with the motorbike parked outside. I am lucky to be living in one of the posh-est streets in the town!

So this is a small glimpse of the town, Dutse, that I am living in. It has taken me a long time to get used to the roads and the way things look but now, although I still don’t understand how the traffic works, and I don’t think I could ever drive on these roads - it is not strange to me anymore.

1 comment:

  1. i laughed at the remark below

    "I am lucky to be living in one of the posh-est streets in the town!"