I have actually been to Abuja twice, Ondo state once - Akure town to be precise to check on my grand mum - and also Osun state, Osogbo where I spent a few days with an Uncle of mine who lectures in OAU.
It's not that I don't enjoy traveling but I have not had the cause to visit the North or South besides I didn't ever think of going to the North - of all places.
First: The Boko haram crisis in the Northern states
Second: Grew up with the belief that Northerners are unfriendly
Three: Had the impression that most Northerners/Hausas are illiterates and un-civilized.
I had to visit the North recently but it took God's grace and guts to actually honour the invitation.
As a matter of fact, many of my friends didn't want to me to go, they were like "what are you going to do there...." at some point I became discouraged but I had to fulfill my promise to my host in Jos, Plateau state.
I left Lagos on Wednesday morning and while leaving I felt like I was moving out of the Garden of Eden that God had placed me in, into a Lions' den.
My mum and brother saw me off the Train station at Iddo Lagos - BTW, traveling by train is kinda fun, though it's advisable to purchase the Sleepers or first class coach ticket if you really want to enjoy the trip.
There are three coaches in the train; the sleepers coach (where you have your bed, toilet to yourself, more like a self contained apartment), the first class coach (you don't have a bed to yourself but it's very comfortable too) and then the general coach (for the commoners, it's usually overcrowded).
The journey was supposed to last twenty fours but it lasted about 30 hours if not more.
My first encounter with the hausas was with a dude - David - he was so nice, he helped in obtaining my ticket and carrying my luggage into the train. I also met these three lovely kids, Sodiq, fatima and er---to think that I have forgotten her name, lol.
Oh there was a Yoruba woman in my coach, all she did through the journey was read her MFM (mountain of fire) prayer book.
|Day 2, I so wasn't myself, lol|
After having met some nice hausas in the train, I thought to myself that 'well hausas are not that bad".
When the train stopped in Ilorin around 5:30am on Thursday, I wanted to urinate but didn't want to use the toilet in my coach so I climbed down and looked for a spot.
There I saw a not-so-young man, he cleared his throat and asked "is there a problem" and I told him that I needed to urinate; he saw me off to a tree with his torch light and hung around till I was done.
Showing my appreciation, I said "you are so kind, thankyou".
He blushed and asked me to follow him...hun follow him to where?
I followed him sheepishly till we got a shed and then he said he wanted to buy me a drink; he entered the shed and began speaking hausa with God knows who.
He probably had good intentions but for crying out loud he's Hausa and I feared that he was probably trying to lure me to a place of no return, plus it was dark so I ran - ran like I was being pursued by a ghost.
He came out and was shouting, "come back, i only want to buy you a drink" but I refused, I ran back into the train.
The train further stopped at designated stations in Jebba - between Kwara and Niger state, then Zungeru and then Minna, Shakwata, Gwada (their food products are so cheap especially yams, imagine buying ten big tubers of yam for 300naira, in Lagos, one'l buy that for 2500naira if not more), Gwagwada, Tamburawa and Uguwar-dosa.
One thing I noticed about the North is that they have a constant electricity supply!
So like I previously said, the trip was supposed to last 24 hours, that is I was supposed to get to Kaduna on Thursday noon and board a 3hours bus to Jos from Kaduna but we got to Kaduna at around 9pm and getting a bus to Jos at the time of the night was risky.
I knew no one in Kaduna but I had to get off the train cos it was headed towards Kano.
That's how I met Mr. Abdulsalam Abdullahi, a very nice fulani man who resides in Kaduna; he initially offered to get me a hotel to spend the night but he took me to his home instead.
|somewhere in Lokoja|
All through the journey to his home in Birnin road - Kawo, Kaduna, my heart beat so fast! Not that I was scared but it dawned on me that I was in the heart of North - if Mr. Abdullai wanted to sell me off, I wouldn't know because I didn't understand Hausa, lol, oh to worsen matters, my phones kept ringing, family members and friends kept calling to know how safe I was when I wasn't even sure of how safe I was at the moment.
Oh by the way, there were police men and soldiers at designated junctions as part of their tight security in the state.
You see, Kaduna is a beautiful state - I saw beautiful homes and I saw good schools with good structural designs too.
At his home I met his wives but I spent the night at his hausa wife's apartment, she's a darling.
I ate Tuwo, and the next morning she prepared hot water for me to have my bath and ...she's so sweet! plus the children were amazing and beautiful too.
Mr. Abdullai dropped me off at the park at around 7:30am on Friday and I boarded a SUV Van going to Jos, it took a while before the vehicle was filled up but within the almost 45 minutes I spent there i found that the drivers, traders, passengers there were funny and interesting to be with, they made me laugh.
The way they sold their items would almost make you want to buy all their wares even though I was praying hard that there shouldn't be any bomb blast at the park while I was there, lol.
|Yours' truly and a friend I met in Jos|
The journey to Jos, Plateau state was long and boring, it was a four hours' journey but it was like it was never going to end - I slept, woke up, slept and woke up again yet the journey was still on.
At some point, I tried talking with the driver to know where we were cos the other passengers were asleep but he didn't seem to understand what I was saying, I had to speak pidgin, gosh I hate pidgin!
I arrived Jos safely at the Bauchi Park and the fellas there were nice too, they offered to carry my luggage for me and even when I had no clues on how to get to my destination, the keke napep drivers came in.
|Yours' truly and a sweetheart|
Spent two nights and three days in Jos, it was fun.
The weather in Jos is cold, really cold and not very sunny - I went to Bukuru, Balan Gwazo, UniJos, Plateau state house of assembly etc...and it was fun being in the midst of the people I once detested and had a negative impression about.
Oh by the way, life in Jos is so easy, unlike Lagos where we have to struggle and rush for everything.
For instance, vehicles/buses actually reverse to pick you up when you flag them down, you could even take your time while walking towards the vehicle unlike Lagos where you have to run after the bus or struggle to get in, lol and there is hardly ever traffic in the state.
By the time I left Jos on Sunday morning, I was glad that I had visited the city, and my conclusion about the Hausas is that their language is sexy, and they are NICE!
Lesson for the day is, don't always jump to conclusion about persons you have not met or had an encounter with, just because you have heard or read about them doesn't mean you know them so well but that doesn't mean that all hausas are good anyways, lol.
Can't wait to visit the North again!