June 29, 2021

A day in the slum: My unforgettable encounter in Makoko

A day in the slum: My unforgettable encounter in Makoko

By Arogbonlo Israel

It’s a bright and sunny morning with positive vibes and energy as I dashed to Oko-Agbon neighbourhood, in the infamous Makoko floating slum, what a place to be.

Inside Makoko, little wooden shacks on stilts were seen sitting on top of dark water full of household rubbish, including needles and human faeces, producing suffocating smell of rotten fish hanging in the air.

It’s indeed the Venice of Africa.

On getting there, I could not behold what my eyes saw. The environment looks so unkempt and dirty with kids sailing canoes to survive the shackles of the street.

Out of curosity, I asked one of the residents what could be their major health challenge in the area and to my amazement she said;

‘Oga, we no dey sick because this water dey comot yama yama’ meaning ‘The water drives away all forms of diseases’. What an hilarious response!

Following my observation about their living condition, I decided to come up with medical intervention aimed at reaching out to the kids in the area.

The medical outreach is important since the environment is polluted and prone to germs as a result of the poor attitude of the people towards personal hygiene.

I started with massive publicity and also talked to few friends to get support for the children.

Most of the people I discussed the programme with supported us either in cash or kind, which was enough to get some of the needed resources to conduct Malaria test for the kids and their parents.

READ ALSO: Makoko residents get free medical aid courtesy HEAI

On the D-day, which happen to be my birthday, I was amazed by the number of people that came for the outreach. The residents were so excited to receive us.

The programme started a bit late due to some logistic reasons, but it’s really fun as the kids composed melodious song in Egun to merry with me.

I couldn’t imagine dancing to the Egun melody with my two legs moving in succession as my hands swing to accompany the song. It’s indeed a beautiful moment for me.

After the testing, we distributed some gift items to the kids who were all excited to receive the token we brought.

We took photographs alongside the professionals who conducted the test. This experience we forever linger in my mind.

Arogbonlo Israel, writes from Lagos

Vanguard News Nigeria