That last week rain ehn, it wreaked havoc in Lagos.
I don’t know how it was in your area but ours, here in Oworo was the worst in a long time. You know how the rain started like yeye rain, the type that would not last 20 minutes and yet, the sky was so dark, it was night at 10am in the morning.
When the rain finished with us in Oworo, all the houses on our street were flooded, in short, the streets disappeared and the cars parked on the side were all floating as if the sea had come to us.
Many people lost a lot of their properties to the rain; mattresses, couches, clothes…you know, several things. But it was very tragic for us because we lost a beloved brother. Let me tell you our story.
Ik, that is ‘our’ brother’s name came from the east just this January. I call him our brother because we are from the same place in the east. He had apprenticed at our brother’s shop in the east and that our brother just sent him off without shi-shi so he decided to come to Lagos to try his luck. Abi what will man do?
He began to squat with us in Oworo and started doing second hand clothes trade which one of us introduced to him. He started small, small from the money he brought from the east and small time, his market was beginning to pick up. He has a place he spreads his mat to sell clothes close to that bridge.
If you know Oworo very well, you will know it is a waterlogged place. Even when the rains are not falling, the place has plenty of water because it is close to the sea and there are no drainages in that area. The ones we have are always blocked by dirt and plastic and waste that people just throw away anyhow.
So, when that rain began to fall, a person that is selling clothes for a living, he will be concerned that the bales of clothes he kept in the house will not get soaked, abi? that is Ik, I am talking about.
Because this is how he used to do it; he will buy from Katangua, he will bring them here and some of these clothes, he will rewash them because if customer comes and sees stains on the clothes, they will not buy. So many times, he will spread clothes outside the yard either to dry them or sometimes just to remove the smell from the clothes and one thing, again, when clothes have stayed tied together for long, it will begin to smell, no customer will buy clothes that is smelling like that. So that is why rainy season is bad market for people that sell clothes.
We were all here that day, under the bridge when the rain was beginning to gather. Ik was busy packing all the clothes he spread on the floor to sell. If rain is coming and you have no shop, that one too is trouble. So he was busy packing the clothes and hurrying. He said he was going to the yard to remove the clothes that he spread to dry and cover the one inside sack so that rain will not spoil market for him.
I was even telling him to call his brother Kenneth that has a chemist close to the yard but he said Kenneth went to Ikeja that day.
As I was saying o, by the time Ik finished packing the clothes, the rain was already falling, so we told him to come and join us under the bridge to take shelter after all, by the time he even treks to the yard, like another 15 mins or so, all his clothes would be soaked. He should just kuku wait because rain don spoil clothes.
He agreed o, at first. We were all there under the bridge; then the rain began to gather strength. Small time, even under the bridge was not enough to protect us because the wind was blowing plenty of things around and we were getting soaked as if we were not even under any shelter.
That was when Ik said he will brave the rain and rush home. He said he will hide under the houses on the way, until he gets to the yard. I pitied him because the way the rain was falling and flowing on the road, all the clothes he washed would have fallen into the gutter, maybe some would even have been carried away by muddy water and this is big market. So I didn’t even think I should stop him, I just said be careful o.
Ik was almost at the yard, in fact, he was already on the street when this mad rain, still falling and throwing things around decided to do something crazy.
It was there, three houses to his yard, when the wind picked up someone’s roof, down the street, and landed it on Ik!
Roof! On Ik! That was it. He died on the spot!
The clothes he was rushing to collect, his landlord’s wife had packed them for him, he didn’t know. That is what the rain did to us o.
The heat wanted to kill us and we say thank God for rain o, see us see rain trouble!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)