So the electricity went off at midnight yesterday. As soon as the outage lasted more than 10 minutes and the estate generator did not come on, I knew we were back to the normal nonsense. You see, over the last 9 months the power supply situation in the estate has become increasingly worse. We started with roughly 18 hours of power, largely on generator as public power in this area is largely non-existent, then when everything went to shit with inflation and lack of diesel, the facility managers found an opening and instantly asked to reduce the hours and increase the tariffs. So anyway now we are at 14 hours guaranteed generator power at 200 naira per kilowatt hour. Even then, they turn off the generator at will for upwards of 24 hours at a time.
The implication of this is that even the wifi goes off, the fridge goes warm, the foods go stale, and if like last night there is no natural breeze getting into the room, the mattress soaks with your sweat and never dries. For me, I have never been able to sleep without adequate ventilation either through copious amounts of fast paced natural breeze, or through artificial means like AC and fans. Last night was thus, clearly torture. I managed to doze off at about 2am and by the time my stomach began to hurt and my head began to ache, I looked at the time… 3:48am. A part of me was praying it would be close enough to the morning so I can get up and go sit on the balcony. Alas.
The thing about laying awake for hours in the dark is that, for an adult at least, you have an uninterrupted life assessment. It is usually never fun. You start to do profit and loss calculations in your head. You suddenly remember all the opportunities you swear you should have gotten but didn’t, and usually end up generally feeling like you are not doing enough with your life. In Nigeria today, the despondence is even made worse by the sheer number of your old mates who are leaving the country in droves to restart life in a foreign country. You first try to convince yourself that your faith in the country was not misplaced, then you wonder if your life would have been different if you left when Bankole left years ago, then you look at what you have achieved by staying back here in the motherland and then conclude that all things considered (especially in the current moment with you in the dark sweating like a pig), you were a flaming idiot.
So here you are now, at barely 7am in the morning sitting on your balcony desperate for any whiff of wind to clear your head of constipated thoughts and dry your body of sweat, typing your thoughts away on your laptop knowing that somehow, your patriotism has taken a major hit. Whatever love of country made you think that this local lifestyle would work in the long term begins to fade. You know in your gut as your wifi goes off 6 hours after, that there has to be more to life than this. The end of the road for all your education, preparation and hard work cannot be this. Actually it can be if all you do is whine and complain but refuse to take the risky move of trying to change the trajectory. That is the truly hard part. But as I’ve often read, ‘if you don’t like where you are then move, you are not a tree’. Literally or figuratively, a change is due and imminent. And it starts now.