A lazy day yesterday as we relaxed in the house before an evening stroll round the island. On a map, we’re on Snake Island, named so because of the shape, but the locals call it Ibasa Village Island. There are very few vehicles here, which is some relief considering the absolute chaos that goes on in Satellite Town and beyond. Buildings are going up everywhere, including huge spaces that Ojo says will be a Mall, but they look to me like they’ve just stopped building them.
The sand is lined with footprints of locals both adult and child and of the myriad goats, dogs and chickens that run around everywhere. We passed the ‘Wonderful Video Club’ shack selling videos, with a DJ blasting out remixes of early 2000s American pop tunes (Nelly, early N.E.R.D and the like) as if he were in a packed out club. He had the classic DJ pose and one ear on/one off with his headphones, well in to it. His audience were 2 baby goats and a small family shop.
There are graves dotted around the island, usually either bare concrete or covered in white tiles. The name and dates are written in to the concrete on the side or over the top of the grave. Historically Yoruba insisted that ancestors should be buried at home; a practice banned by the Europeans. Home burial is a sign of profound respect to Yoruban ancestors, as burying them away from home is seen as throwing away a family member to some strange land. If buried in the compound they remain part of the family. These old traditions are in a constant fight here with Christian and Islamic traditions.
Greetings of ‘Oyinbo’ filled the air as we strolled. The kids have a song that goes “Oyinbo pe pe, Oyinbo pe pe, how are you” and some have even incorporated some dance moves in to it. It basically just translates to ‘really really white, really really white, how are you’. A long concrete path through some bogs and water took us to the next village of Ibeshe, which has a large sandy football pitch in the middle with a circle of houses and shops around the perimeter. Ojo was saying the lads playing football were debating whether to ask me to play with them and if I said yes to go easy on me. Luckily I was never asked because I’m crap at football.
Back at base as the sun set and some delicious Yam Porridge before I finished my book and started another one. We played some Afrobeat and one song, Ole, is about being lazy, which I thought suitable for a lovely and relaxed day on Ibasa. Friday is due to be the exact opposite.