I saw something interesting today. My occasional bus ride to work when I want to beat certain traffic and not get stopped on the way for it, yields me delight every time! Today I had mixed feelings and this is why.
After I got into the vehicle, followed by two other ladies, the last occupant was a girl-child with her school bag, carrying her brother with his school bag behind him and they sat by the door! I could hear the mother’s plea to the Conductor not to leave the door open. But we know in Lagos, it is style to leave the door open, hang on the door or behind the vehicle answering calls as the driver speeds on as if chased by a demon! STYLE!
What the Conductor did was to block where the children sat with his body (his head was in and derriere jutting out for stability) as he collected his charge and gave change. Being concerned for the child, I kept asking him to shut the door, he politely ignored me, at some point the lady beside the girl-child took the brother and positioned him in front of her and it felt a little safe. When a passenger got down by the next stop, the Conductor moved her into a better location. Phew!
Before that move, we saw her brother collect money from her and tried bending down from his tight spot but the lady held him up. He tried it again, this time his sister did the same too. We noticed that they were sticking their balance (apparently for lunch or snack or transport back) into their socks, to prevent it from being stolen! Hmmm. LOL. See wisdom.
Why am I saddened?
She fell asleep during this trip after her relocation to a better seat. I started imagining what time she woke up to prepare for school. I imagined the long trip to school. I imagined how she will ‘drag’ aka ‘compete’ with other bus users (who are going home tired and not in a pleasant mood to allow a child get on the bus before them) for a space on the bus home pulling her brother with her (and their bags). I wondered, why they had to travel this distance to attend a public school unaccompanied, when they had other public schools near their home they could attend.
You might argue that this one is cheaper. But by the time you add the cost of transportation to and fro, the different hazards on the road, you will agree their parents should have a re-think.
Guess what, He is 3 years old and she is 9!
Pix credit: Child Abuse
©2017. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.