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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

OBALENDE...Sights, Sounds and Smells

Have you ever walked slowly through Obalende at any time before? Not hurried past because you did not want to be late for a meeting or program. Not driven past leisurely to while away time. But walked...?
Obalende is a very interesting place. You see all sorts of things, hear all kinds of stuff and smell terrible things...even from people.

You see them as you walk past in the morning. You see them in the afternoon, if you happen to pass the same way. You see them in the evening when you are returning. You see them at night...Obalende never sleeps!


The Dirty: In the morning, you see the homeless, the destitute, the drug addicts. You can see the grime on their faces. Smell them from afar off. When they open their mouths to speak to you, you know exactly what a skunk that has released its gas smells like! You can tell from their clothes too that they have not had a bath....A bath??? puh-lease! how's that possible? Did you not read "the homeless" part?

The Students: They are always everywhere in Obalende no matter the time. Some with their very dirty uniforms, some looking clean and pressed. some have shiny shoes, others have rubber sandals, some, tattered sandals and some even wear battered slippers. To School. 
I don't believe parents understand the importance of going to school early. you find these children washing plates and pots in their school uniforms, helping their parents, sisters and brothers before they go to school. I am not against them helping out, that should be encouraged. However, I am against children helping out with chores when they should be at school. When their mates are at school learning...

The Clothes: Obalende is the place you see all of them. Smart suits. Faded wrappers. Sharp Shirts. Torn clothes. Lovely ties. Over-sized clothes. Pretty skirts. Mini's. Breath-taking blazers. Tight pants. Exquisite dresses. Tight dresses. Beautiful pants. Did I mention the shoes?
flats, heels, mid-heels, high heels, stilettos, pumps, ballet flats, pam-slippers, slip-ons, booties, sandals...anything!!!


Car horns: The only time I ever heard my own footsteps at Obalende was when I was coming back from a Vigil. Even then, it wasn't only my footstep, there were other footsteps too. The vehicles blare their horns all the time for people, cars, cyclists, trucks and what have you to get out of their way. Not that the blared horns make a difference to anyone. Its all part of being at Obalende. 

Music: That is a constant factor too. Music. All sorts. Not the kind that soothes you. There are speakers screaming at every corner. There are makeshift stalls at almost every corner. People selling pirated albums can only sell successfully if they play their music. On one or two occasions, I have stopped at a stall to buy one CD or the other because of the music being played. They are loud and everywhere and can't be ignored. There are also people playing motivational messages, past sunday services messages, how to cook rice, pottage, soups, and what have you.
People: It is impossible to hear someone talk normally. You definitely have to raise your voice! Imagine the noise level when everyone present has to raise his or her voice. Now add the fact that its not just people talking, but people also hawking, calling out to bus passengers, hailing a cab from afar, just being boisterous...


Obalende belongs to no one and everyone. There are random sections that have been claimed by people who have an interest at stake. The bus drivers. The Cab owners, The road -side hawkers, The destitute. Each one is responsible for his own space ONLY.

The stench  from the unwashed bodies....
The aroma of food being cooked, stew, soups, akara, fried yam, buns, ...
The smells (not bad) from the fish and food spices being sold...
The open gutters that have become dump sites...
The over flowing bins littered all around...
The flies it all attracts...

Obalende...well, Its changing gradually. At least we now have places to walk on that is free from buses. Imagine, buses are now parked only at the bus-terminal...(fancy that!) and The BRT has even claimed a portion of the space for them selves...(well done Fashola!)
...Obalende never sleeps!!!


  1. Interesting piece dear

  2. Obalende, balende balende...2 more chance!

  3. I loved this read!!! u make me want to go to obalende!