Danfo: My Melodramatic Experience In Lagos

It was my first week in Lagos. I had been away from Nigeria for a little over 5 years and I needed to have a feel of the Lagos fast life…a connection to my Nigerian-ness. So, I decided to ditch the uber app for a ‘Danfo’ bus ride on the way to visit my aunt who lived on the other side of town.

Danfo buses are yellow and black colored 15-seater buses that usually have shabbily clad conductors hanging on the door and calling out bus stop names to pedestrians.

I stood under a shade at the popular Ajah bus-stop as the sun was scorching and I really wasn’t interested in hearing my skin pop as it fried into bacon.

Yes, it was that hot! Well, I was the only one under the shade so maybe I’m exaggerating.

The first bus came, and out of nowhere, about 20 people rushed towards the entrance of the bus, struggling to get on before the next person.

Wow! Well, I wasn’t interested in staining my peach-colored blouse in a struggle to get on the bus. “Another one will come,” I told myself.

The second and third busses came, and the same thing happened.

I had been under the shade for an hour now and it was beginning to seem like I would remain there till night if I didn’t get up and join the next bus struggle.

I thought about the Uber app on my phone and how that would be a more comfortable option but I’m no quitter.

As soon as I heard the next bus conductor calling out to passengers, I charged towards the bus before it pulled to a stop and began pushing my way into the bus.

The first whiff of armpit odor hit my nostrils and I got distracted for one split second.

That split second was enough time for a woman dressed in Ankara to push me off with her big derrière. I missed my chance on that bus.

I decided not to get back under the shade this time to better my chances of getting on the next bus.

“Obalende! Obalende,” the next conductor bellowed as the bus pulled into the bus stop.

I rushed to the door of the Danfo at the same time as another man who was trying to push me off like the big derriere lady. No way I was going to let that happen.

I quickly jutted him with my elbow, climbed into the bus, and sat heavily on the hard seat. I winced.

“It doesn’t matter. You made it,” I smiled to myself as the conductor harassed a rider for not having the complete fare.

I turned to look around the bus and my ‘elbow-jut’ guy was seated behind me, looking at me unforgivingly.

Oops! Welcome to Lagos, I guess.




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