Next stop...west to Lagos, Nigeria. This is my first visit, except for an airport stopover last year.
My reason for the visit was the kind invitation of a new friend, Edith, whom I met on my flight last year to Addis Ababa. She works for the UN Security Forces in Darfur, Sudan. We stayed in touch, and she invited me to stop over this time...so I did, and am so grateful to receive her hospitality.
Lagos is a state, and also the home of the largest city in Africa, 60 million (nearly double the population of all of Canada!). Unfortunately, the infrastructure and transportation systems have not caught up with the population, so the traffic congestion is immense. One needs to calculate carefully how long it takes to get from one place to another.
Since I was there less than 3 days, I was not able to see many places. But what I did see was memorable.
The first has to do with the history of the slave trade in this region. Not only was it a major centre, it was also one of the points of departure for the trans-Atlantic journey to America.
So the first stop was the Badagry Heritage Museum. It was a site for preparing slaves for the long journey. Here are a few pictures:
Chains and fetters used to shackle slaves
Model slave ship--conditions were worse than inhuman; packed in along with--really, 'as'--cargo; charts of the layout of the hold where slaves were kept indicate the inhuman conditions; as high as 50% died before completing the journey; occasional revolts occurred, some partially successful
Artistic depiction of a slave in chains
Drinking basin--just imagine trying to drink from this communal cone-shaped basin, with your hands in chains and having to lean so far over when the water level drops low!