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A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 11:00pm On Sep 14, 2013
Hello brothers, greetings.

Simply put, I’m Tonye, a Nigerian, like most of you.

I would love to share stories of my West African tour with you and I hope this piece interests you and not bore you. Before I commence, here is a little background of the writer:

If all things had gone well, I would have been serving my country by now under the umbrella of the NYSC. I’m a Physiologist from the University of Port Harcourt. I gained my admission through Direct Entry (Basic Studies) thus I had no JAMB Registration Number. A disturbing piece of news that students without JAMB Registration Number would not make the NYSC 2013 Batch B train hit my ears sometime in March or so. I was frustrated as I hissed in anger, regretting why I didn't gain my admission through the "Front Door". I felt bad as I was going to lag behind my mates, I felt bad because the development was a delaying factor to my plans. But these feelings didn't last. It took me less than 24 hours to let go (though the sadness still hung somewhere deep in the matrix of my mind..)..

At this time I had a teaching job at a private secondary school.. I taught Mathematics, Biology, and Agricultural Science. I was also running a French Program at Alliance Francaise, a French body whose goal is to spread the language to the edges of the world. I was in VIP 3 (Class 3).

In less than a month I decided I was going to travel to Lome, Togo, for a "passive French course" in my wait for the NYSC board to come to their senses.

"Dad, I would love to travel to Togo for a French course" I disclosed to my father.

"Ok" He said as if he had been in the plan with me. Lolz.

I told the same to my mum, sisters, and brothers. By the Wednesday of the next week, I was on a PHC-LAG Arik flight to continue the rest of the journey with ABC Transport.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 11:54pm On Sep 14, 2013
About two weeks before I left Port Harcourt, I had a mild malaria attack. I was in my French class that day when it all started. A small headache launched the attack followed by the chills of fever. My comprehension pathway was grossly interrupted as my body battled to sustain normalcy. I gave up just before the short break as I left for home. When I got home that day I took a doze of paracetamol and continued almost immediately to my place of work. The symptoms were all gone at the break of the next day thus I assumed that it was all because of the stress.. (French school plus my teaching job). I was wrong.

Just immediately I checked in at Villa Park, the symptoms returned. My head throbbed, my heart pounded hard against my chest and if my temperature had been checked, I guess the thermometer would have exploded. It was an unbearable experience though I still retained my appetite as I ate heavily that night. What I still find difficult to understand was how I slept that night without washing my hands after the eba and banga soup meal..[thank God say rat no dey for that hotel]..

At six the next morning, a shivering me was already at one of ABC's metallic benches as I waited for the ABC snail..sorry..bus. It was a terrible moment, my tongue became a bitter cola factory, my eyes assumed a red colour, my strength was far gone, siphoned by the parasites of malaria. At about 7 they called our bus. I managed to go through the series of checks, I was also able to locate a pharmacy where I bought some drugs.

The battle against malaria wasn't my only problem. I also had the ABC slowness to deal with (though I was fully aware that it was for our good). Was it my aching head or did I really see a bicycle overtake our bus? I still wonder! I had a seat mate whose silence was to my advantage (no abuse intended). He is a Ghanaian, a dark young man of about 6 feet that seemed to be in his early twenties. The few times he spoke (I tried to start a discussion) my nose sent an emergency message to my brain ordering me to duck for safety. It was much later that he disclosed that he was dry-fasting.

ABC entertained us with jollof rice and chicken. All through my life I've been hearing of "chicken laps", I've never heard of "chicken armpit" (unshaved); but I've seen it - in the plate of rice I was served. That was all I could bear, I pushed the plate aside as I sadly channeled my mind to the roads of Lagos.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by Nobody: 6:15am On Sep 15, 2013
We want to read about your tour, not your life history! undecided

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:17am On Sep 15, 2013
Phema: We want to read about your tour, not your life history! undecided

Lolz..I'm getting there please...patience..

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 8:46am On Sep 15, 2013
LOME, TOGO

We arrived Lome late in the evening. I dropped off as the bus continued to Ghana. I called an "oleya" (their name for okada) and off we went deep into Lome, towards Village du Benin, Universite de Lome. We arrived there, I got registered, went to the hospital the next day, got treated, and I commenced school on the Monday of the next week.

I would love to see Lome as where I began my West African tour. Lome is Togo's capital, a small city that's about half the size of an average Nigerian state. As I would always say, Lome should be another name for "peace" - its people are about the most peaceful set of people I've ever seen. At Lome, one is always sure of his safety/security; free to walk the well-lighted streets in the night without any form of harassment. Their power supply is steady (of course! It's so small thus easy to manage), so is their water. The native language here is Eve (pronunciation: eveh), a language that seems to be spoken and understood by EVERY Togolese..(just saying).

On the day I registered at school, I paid for a room in the hostel at the Cite (pronounced "citeh" ). This was a mistake I would regret almost immediately.

The Hostel

Village du Benin (the name of the French learning centre) is an international platform where people from all parts of the world come to grab some French skills. They have various hostels for the countries that are represented, example, they have about 2-3 Ghana hostels (at the main campus). They also have a Nigerian Hostel (or prison?) but at the Cite, about 6-7 minutes’ drive from the main campus.

In 6 minutes (or so), my bike man rode us into the cite. The cite is another campus of the school but I'm not sure if there are classroom blocks here as it seemed like it was specifically for the hostels. A mixture of terribly old and some new buildings is the welcome view of the cite. As we forged in, I kept on praying in my mind that the Nigerian hostel should be one of the new buildings. Each time we approached a new building, I would ask my driver if it was here. I only had one response all the time I asked: a disappointing "no" that drew a question mark after the words of my prayers.

We took a narrow, left branch of the major road in the cite as we headed north-westwards. This was when I stopped praying as all the hostels in this direction are old, each with its degree of oldness. I started hoping in my mind that the Nigerian hostel should be one of the "not-so-old” buildings as it was obvious that I've lost out in my hope for the new hostels. My hope crashed as my driver turned right, heading to a building that would make a good object of tourist attraction at the museum! It’s the Nigerian hostel.

I swallowed hard. There were a few Nigerians on site, mostly Yorubas. They are students of “Traduction”, a French-English translating course. I said some “bonjours” as I greeted in the French tongue as we went in. My room was at the ground floor, to the left after the bathroom. My driver opened the door and we stepped in. That was the moment I decided that I was not going to stay there and I wouldn’t wish the devil himself to. My room (as well as other rooms) was a small square that can barely contain two of my walking strides (i.e. two steps wide or so). An iron bedframe lied at the right, a wooden table stood at the left leaving a narrow space in-between. There was a small wardrobe and a window that has more broken glasses than good ones. It seemed like we interrupted a “mosquito party” as thousands of mosquitoes flew to safety once we got in. The bathrooms? I’d rather bathe outside! It reeked of urine, eroded with dirty water (and urine?) and the toilet seats are white-turned-browns. I quickly dropped my box in the room and told my driver to take me to any hotel around. He took me to a Brazilian hotel (as I was told), Hotel Copacabana at Boulevard.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 4:18pm On Sep 15, 2013
Hotel Copacabana, Restaurant Tratorial, and Restaurant Nopegali

Hotel Copacabana is a Brazilian hotel that’s about 3-4 minutes’ drive from Restaurant Nopegali and 1-2 minutes’ walk from Restaurant Tratorial, Boulevard. It’s about 20-25 minutes’ drive from the campus and about 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. There is nothing special about this hotel, just the regular rooms of an average (in fact below average) Nigerian hotel. The TV channels are barely clear (in the rooms, the reception is better) and their water smells strangely.


The cheapest room at Copacabana is 15,000 CFAs (with the AC on) and 10,000 CFAs (without AC, just a standing fan). All I wanted was a place to sleep thus I wasn’t interested in their options. I paid 30,000 CFAs for a room (with the AC turned off) for three days (actually I stayed at this hotel for about 3 weeks).


“S’il te plait monsieur, can I have your number?” I asked my driver when we got to the room.

“Pas de probleme” he assured me as he gave me his digits. I slept a very deep sleep afterwards.


The staff at Copacabana were friendly. Often times I would go downstairs and have a nice chat with them. We talked mostly about Nigeria.

The name “Nigeria” is perceived differently amongst the Togolese. I remember asking my driver the first day we met if he would love to go to Nigeria someday:

“Monsieur, do you hope to visit Nigeria someday?” I had asked.

“Nigeria?! No! That’s a gangster country” he had replied almost screaming (not exaggerating); “Militancy…et…Boko Haram everywhere…” he continued. Some other Togolese would reply thus:
“Nigeria is very big, too many people..” And some would ask “Can I get a job there easily?”

I tried in the little way I could to work on what they all think about Nigeria. I always explained that there are social vices in every country of the world but they would always insist that Nigeria’s is a special case.

There are a couple of challenges I encountered at Hotel Copacabana. The hotel has enough mosquitoes to kill an elephant. It’s almost impossible to sit at the reception in the evenings. I always made sure that I fleeted my room most evenings as I didn’t want a reoccurrence of the battle I had with malaria. Another problem is the poor ventilation of the rooms. There rooms are almost always stuffy. The water that flows through their shower has a characteristic bad odor and the toilet of my room doesn’t flush properly. It was embarrassing. There was a day I called the restaurant to place an order and the lady at the other side of the call told me that she was alone and that she couldn’t leave the restaurant to bring my food upstairs. She suggested (politely though) that I come over to the restaurant. Lolz.


I think I ate from Copacabana’s restaurant about 5 times at most. Just a walk down the street (an adjacent street to Boulevard) is Restaurant Tratorial, a landmark in the evenings. It operates only in the evenings (from about 21Hrs or so). I would go to the restaurant in the evenings and have the waitress recommend a dish for me. This was the place I first had a taste of a typical Togolese dish. The first time I went there, I ate Togolese rice (cooked in 15-20 minutes) and tomato sauce (tasted like pure Gilo..lolz) with chicken (called poulet) plus pimor (green pepper). They don’t have an already-prepared dish (except chicken, meat, or beef); they prepare on demand. My choice of drink is always a bottle of Eva water (room temperature) as I’m not a fan of sugary drinks or alcohol.


A funny incident happened one evening when I went to the Restaurant Tratorial. I’m a man with a strong stomach. Unlike most of the other Nigerian students that keep avoiding the Togolese dishes, I welcome all a bras overts. Each time I went to Restaurant Tratorial, I would tell the girl to bring me anything available, as far as it’s a Togolese dish. Sometimes she tried to offer her advice about a particular dish and how it is eaten and most of those times I barely listened.

The previous evening I told her that I would love to eat garri and whatever soup they had. She nodded and we agreed that the next evening I would have garri and “soup”. I was there as usual. She walked down to my table in her white and black uniform.

“Monsieur, there are two kinds of…”

“- Don’t worry, just bring it as the Togolese eat it” I interrupted whatever she was about telling me. “You know me, I have a strong stomach” I assured her as she attempted again to explain “something” to me. We continued in this tempo for about two minutes and she gave up and left to prepare “what I ordered for”. I waited patiently in anticipation of some eba and a good Togolese soup. In about 10 minutes’ time she returned with a plate of RAW garri and some crazy sauce. I told myself that whatever my mind was suggesting was a lie, that perhaps it’s the Togolese style to bring hot water to the table after serving raw garri so that people can make the garri to whatever texture of eba they desire. I was wrong. This girl returned about 5 minutes later and looked at me in surprise.

“You aren’t eating?” She asked in a surprised tone.

It was then that I coded that that was the meal. “I’ll eat, in a minute” I replied as I managed to wear a smile on my face. This is what I call Togo 101.1.

Restaurant Nopegali is a large restaurant that features over eight different kinds of Togolese soup, eaten mostly with pounded yam (called fufu). Facing eastwards at Boulevard, the restaurant sits at the left with ECOWAS and Bank Togolese at the right about five minutes after the Togocel roundabout.

We got into the restaurant. There was a short, fat woman that stood behind a “case of soup”. There were about 8 large basins of different kinds of soup (pictures on the way). It was just what I wanted. I pointed to the soup at the right edge and the lady dished into a large bowl (almost like a small stainless steel washing hand basin). My driver placed his order and off we went as we picked a table. I ate a belles dents, I even ordered for extra. From that day onwards, I visited Nopegali almost every day after school before proceeding to Copacabana.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 6:41pm On Sep 15, 2013
Seeing if I can upload some pictures (don't know how to)

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:03pm On Sep 15, 2013
A dish I ate at Restaurant Tratorial. It's called "manioc"... The taste is exactly the opposite of its looks but I managed through...

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:07pm On Sep 15, 2013
The raw garri and sauce..

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:09pm On Sep 15, 2013
Nopegali's magic...

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:13pm On Sep 15, 2013
A typical Togolese salad..

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by Jayfalls: 7:37pm On Sep 15, 2013
Lovely experience. I enjoyed your story. Please continue.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 8:31pm On Sep 15, 2013
Jayfalls: Lovely experience. I enjoyed your story. Please continue.

Thanks Jay.. I shall... smiley

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by Naijalastborn(m): 8:38pm On Sep 15, 2013
Do you know cheap hotel in Cotonou?
Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 8:43pm On Sep 15, 2013
Naija_lastborn: Do you know cheap hotel in Cotonou?

Hello.. Not really. Haven't been there, just passed through..but I'm sure there are lots.. smiley
Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 11:58pm On Sep 15, 2013
Searching for an Apartment

Staying in a hotel was not part of my plan. My Plan A was to stay at the hostel, Plan B was to get an apartment somewhere in the city, close to school. In the second week of my stay at the Brazilian hotel, I found it rather too boring. I was tired of enduring the offensive smell of their water, tired of clapping my hands in applaud of mosquitoes, tired of the terribly ventilated room, tired of everything!


I had a discussion with my driver urging him to help me get a place in the city to stay, not too costly, not too far from campus. He went hard on the job for about a week but to no avail. He explained to me that most landlords prefer tenants that would stay for at least a year or two thus it’s quite difficult to get a place to stay for months.


In renting a house at Lome, there are two options. You may rent an already furnished apartment or rent an empty room and do the equipping yourself. The former, of course, is more expensive. My driver later found an already furnished apartment but it was way too costly and far from school. I turned down the option and pleaded that he should look for another.


I wasn’t getting luckier in getting an apartment; every day came with disappointing news from my driver. It was so frustrating. One day I had a discussion with Zika, a Nigerian student that helped me make my traveling arrangements (got her number from my teacher at Alliance Francaise). I shared my worries with her hoping that she would be of help since she was at Lome long before I got there (over 6 months or so). She disclosed that she was dealing with the same challenge. She had been in the hostel since her arrival but for some reason she lost her accommodation there. At that moment, she was hooking up with her friend, Katherine, another Nigerian. She suggested that we could look for a place together and share. It was a welcomed suggestion but the problem was finding that place.


One day after class (that same week), Zika and I were walking towards the back gate of the campus when we ran into one of her friends, a lecturer at my school. We call him Monsieur Alex. She quickly grabbed the opportunity and explained to him the difficulties we were facing. He told us not to bother, that he was going to help us out. Wow! I smiled genuinely as I appreciated him in obvious happiness. We continued to Nopegali (as usual), ate (she never liked their food) and then parted. I went to my boringcabana..sorry..copacabana to face the evening’s version of the boredom. As I walked through the reception I smiled at everyone (especially the receptionist). They must have mistaken my smile for being polite (I always wear a smile though) but truly, it was a smile of goodbye.


That evening Monsieur Alex called Zika and asked her to meet him up at Abe Maria (not sure of the spelling please) close to the Total filing station. She called me and we all went there. He took us to a large compound that has flats and rooms. We went upstairs, met with the landlady (oga landlord wasn’t around). She explained to us that originally the apartment is a four bedroom flat but they wanted to partition it thus making two different two-bedrooms. She said the delaying factor they had was money thus if we pay she would finish the job in about 5 days’ time or so. She advised us to make our decision hastily as there was a lady that was coming for the same apartment that weekend. I wasn’t having much money on me at that time but luckily Zika had over 200,000CFAs. We paid immediately and signed the papers.


The house is big and structurally beautiful though old. There are over 8 single rooms in the yard, two four bedroom flats downstairs and upstairs, and a platform at the top (in place of roof) for relaxation. Our apartment was in a messy shape but the landlady assured us that ca va aller as she promised to ensure the commencement of work the next day...

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 9:39am On Sep 16, 2013
...I returned to my room after we left the apartment. Again I smiled through the reception as I walked in, this time I shook hands with everyone (about 5 persons or so). My days at Copacabana were numbered.

The next day after class I went to the apartment with Zika to see the rate the work was done. I was pleased as I saw the workers work at a rate faster than the speed of light. The broken tiles have all been replaced (remaining just 2 or 3 at the passage and one of the rooms), the electricians and the brick layers were deep in their work too. I smiled and appreciated the workers as I left. I climbed upstairs to the platform. It has a nice view that gives you a feeling that you are on top of Lome. I imagined myself reading my novels there in the evenings and doing some martial art practice early in the mornings (when possible). There were about 7-8 lines for drying of our clothes at the platform.

I returned to my room at Copacabana even happier as my mind-clock ticked four days to go. Visiting the apartment became my routine every day after class and each time made me more pleased. At the third day, the paintings were complete but for the newly erected wall. My landlady explained that they needed to wait for the cement to dry before doing the job.The whole apartment was too untidy with tools, sand, cement remnants, and many other stuff. It was too rowdy for me to move in.

Realizing that I may not be able to make it as planned made Copacabana more unbearable. It became an inconvenience deep in my throat. I called Zika on Friday that week.

“Hello Zik” I said as she picked.

“Yea, Tony, what’s up?” (She calls me Tony)

Ca ne va pas!” I complained. “I can’t stay here anymore, I think I’ll change hotels”.

“T..wow.. I understand but you have to manage na, after all Sunday is here already” She encouraged.

“Yea but me no fit stay here till that Sunday o. I need to move. I go go Eda Oba”.

“T! That place is too expensive and it’s not worth it. I strongly advice against that. We are moving in on Sunday, you’ve been able to endure Copacabana’s inconveniences for about three weeks now, don’t tell me you can’t endure some more till Sunday” she said.

“Ok, I don hear. Later.” I do this always when I want "to cut short the long story", it was in no way an agreement to Zika’s logic (though I knew she was right). I decided to pay Eda Oba a visit.

Bonjour monsieur” I greeted the Oleya (Okada) I called at the street just in front of Copacabana.

Bonjour frere” He responded.

S’il vous plait can we go to Hotel Oda Oba?” I asked.

“Sure. Quatre ba (400CFAs)” he told me.

“No monsieur, too expensive. Trois cents (300CFAs)” I said. He nodded in approval as I climbed.

Off we went to Eda Oba.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 11:16am On Sep 16, 2013
Hotel Eda Oba

This part of my story is called Togo 101.2.

We arrived at Eda Oba in about 15 minutes’ time. I walked in.

Eda Oba is one of the top hotels in Lome. It attracts tourists and business men from all parts of the world. It has a beautiful architectural design and its location is perfect – about 10-15 minutes from the airport and 5-6 minutes from my school. The interior design is excellent. At the left were fancy chairs beautifully arranged around a table. There is a big television hung at the wall. I turned right, towards the receptionist corner.

Bonjour” I greeted as I released a smile.

Bonjour monsieur. Bienvenue. Comment allez-vous?” a young male receptionist welcomed me.

Ca va, merci” I replied.

“How may I help you sir?” He asked politely as he smiled.

“Ammm.. I would love to make inquiries about your rooms please” I said.

“Ok. Here please” he said as he handed me a leaflet.

The prices of the rooms were outrageously expensive. As I studied the leaflet, I discovered that something was out of place – the first option. It read: Single Room: Extra Bed – 15,000CFAs. This is the ONLY price below 150,000CFAs. It's about the same price as Copacabana’s rooms with the AC turned on but the whole of Copacabana isn’t up to the standard of the Eda Oba’s security post! I swallowed in mixed feelings, a part of me was excited that I could afford it for 2 nights and another part of me felt I wasn’t understanding something well.

“Ok” I said after studying the piece for about 30 seconds. “I would love to stay here for about 2 months” I said eying the first option (I just wanted to play around with him). “So, for two months, could you please tell me about your discount rate?” I requested.

“Sir, for discounts, you may have to speak with the Director please”. Hold on please.

D’accord” I said as I watched him pick up the telephone. He spoke with the person at the other end of the line for about 30-40 seconds.

“Sir, could you please follow him?” he said as he pointed at a young man beside him.

"Sure" I said.

We climbed two flights to the first floor. We walked straight to a passage and we turned left. As I followed him I swept the passage with a gaze of marvel, I was excited that I was going to get a cool place at such a price.

He pushed a big glass door as he stepped aside making way for me to walk in. I thanked him as I went in. Behind a table at the left was a lady that seemed to be in her mid-fifties. My guess was that her height is a little below six feet. She was wearing a black suit on a white shirt. She smiled at me as she offered me a sit.

Bonjour monsieur” she greeted still smiling.

Bonjour madame” I replied in obvious excitement.

“How may I help you sir?” She asked.


“Please I would love to have a room here. I intend staying for about two months” I replied.

D’accord” she said. “Which of the options sir?” She asked.

“The first option – the one for 15,000CFAs” I said.

I saw a change of facial expression on her face as I mentioned the amount.

“15,000CFAs?” She asked.

“Yes, 15,000CFAs, the first option” I said.

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t have a room for 15,000CFAs please”. My heart rate doubled.

“Pardon?” I said as my frontalis muscle rumpled the skin over my forehead forming ridges.

“Yes sir, we don’t. In fact none of our rooms are below 150,000CFAs per night sir(not sure of the price perhaps higher)” she said. My heart was sprinting faster than the legs of Usain Bolt. I swallowed hard.

“Sorry ma, I think we are having a misunderstanding here. Here on your leaflet is a single room with an extra bed for 15,000CFAs” I said fighting real hard to remain calm.

“Oh! That! Yes, the 15,000CFAs is not for the room sir, it’s just for AN EXTRA BED in case you are more than 2”. I wasn’t sure if my heart was still in my chest.

“Oh..really?” I said.

“Yes sir” she confirmed.

A phase of silence passed as she allowed me to make a decision. If only she knew that the only decision I was making was to figure out how to run out of the office without harming my pride. I cleared my throat as I shifted in my sit.

“So sir, about the negotiations for a discount?” She tried to lead me into the conversation.

“Ahmm…” I was looking for the right words “- ahmm, you know-“ I cleared my throat again “- I would have to get back to you please. I need to make some consultations. Can I have your card please?” I demanded as I managed to give out a smile.

“Sure!” She said smiling even more as she picked a card from her table and handed it to me.

“Ok. This is great. Expect my call please, I shall get back to you” I said as I gave her an assuring smile.

“Sure sir” She said.

"Ahmm..which of the numbers would you prefer me to call?" I demanded.

"Any of the numbers sir, they are all functional" she answered.

“Ok. Thanks. I’ll be going now” I said as I stood from the sit.

D’accord. A la prochaine” she said.

“Yea, have a nice day please.” I said as I managed to walk at a normal pace as I left the office.

When I left the building I turned to take a last look. It was then that I discovered that I loved Copacabana, my Brazilian hotel.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 11:23am On Sep 16, 2013
Hotel Eda Oba

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 7:24pm On Sep 16, 2013
So friends, How is the story going? Please feel free to make comments.

Merci.

Working on the next update...

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by Godson201333(m): 9:40pm On Sep 16, 2013
Lol I thought maybe you even senior me in west African tour ni.....So you just telling us everything that is happening in Togo alone.

no tell me say that tinny country dey threaten you!!

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by specialguest(f): 9:47pm On Sep 16, 2013
Subscribing* You have a lovely sense of humor monsieur Tonye001... The raw garri part got me laughing real hard cheesy and so did Togo 101.2 story. I would like to know what happened in the rest of your west African tour.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 10:03pm On Sep 16, 2013
Godson201333: Lol I thought maybe you even senior me in west African tour ni.....So you just telling us everything that is happening in Togo alone.

no tell me say that tinny country dey threaten you!!

Lolz. Keep reading bro.. Won't disappoint you... Thanks.. smiley smiley

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 10:05pm On Sep 16, 2013
specialguest: Subscribing* You have a lovely sense of humor monsieur Tonye001... The raw garri part got me laughing real hard cheesy and so did Togo 101.2 story. I would like to know what happened in the rest of your west African tour.

Big thanks for your comment.. More of my stories (and dozens of pictures) on the way.. Thanks for commenting... smiley

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 12:01am On Sep 17, 2013
I still felt that a change of environment would help ease the constriction of my vasculature. I really needed a change of environment, even if it’s just for a night. I was thinking fast in search of a solution of my plight. I decided to give another hotel a try. I called an oleya.


The day was already a very long and stressful one so I didn’t have any energy to start doing my explanations in French, I needed to fetch someone that understands English so that I could explain myself and what I wanted comfortably. Fetching a Togolese that understands English isn’t a difficult task as out of every 10, 6 or 7 can fumble their way through the language.


The oleya I called stopped.

Bonjour monsieur” I greeted.

Bonjour chef” he replied.

“Please do you understand English?” I asked.

He nodded boldly as a beam of relief flashed through my spine. I took about 2 to 3 (perhaps up to 4) minutes to explain to him what I wanted. I told him that I needed a hotel that isn’t too costly and that it shouldn’t be far from the campus (the general name for the university). As I explained he kept on nodding his head assuring me of his understanding. When I was done, he asked me to climb the bike as we drove off.


We drove around the city of Lome for about 30 minutes, passing over ten hotels that looked cheap. I said nothing as I assumed that he had a particular place in mind he was taking me to. I got uneasy when we were yet to arrive at a destination on the 40th minute or so.

Monsieur, please stop” I ordered him in French.

He stopped. I asked him where exactly he was taking me to.

“I didn’t understand where you told me you were going to” he said.

I almost fainted. It was just too much for one day. I needed a break badly. I paid him about 500CFAs or so (make him carry him trouble and mumuness go), got another oleya and told him to take me to my Copacabana.

I slept for the rest of the day.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by bknight: 3:35am On Sep 17, 2013
We drove around the city of Lome for about 30 minutes, passing over ten hotels that looked cheap. I said nothing as I assumed that he had a particular place in mind he was taking me to. I got uneasy when we were yet to arrive at a destination on the 40th minute or so.

“Monsieur, please stop” I ordered him in French.

He stopped. I asked him where exactly he was taking me to.

“I didn’t understand where you told me you were going to” he said.


I almost fainted. It was just too much for one day. I needed a break badly. I paid him about 500CFAs or so (make him carry him trouble and mumuness go), got another oleya and told him to take me to my Copacabana

grin grin grin so where was he going? What a dunce!

No other adventures? except hospitality (food/accomodation) troubles? No sight-seeing, didn't make friends? I'm a huge fan of adventure... Pls how much is Naira equivalent of 150,000CFA?

Nice thread! *following*

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 9:36am On Sep 17, 2013
Nopegali again...

Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 9:38am On Sep 17, 2013
bknight:

grin grin grin so where was he going? What a dunce!

No other adventures? except hospitality (food/accomodation) troubles? No sight-seeing, didn't make friends? I'm a huge fan of adventure... Pls how much is Naira equivalent of 150,000CFA?

Nice thread! *following*

Lolz.. No mind am..

More stories on the way...

1000CFAs is about 300NGN... smiley

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 2:12pm On Sep 17, 2013
...At last the all-important Sunday came. I got up early as I started preparing for church.

There are lots of Pentecostal churches at Lome. Most are pastored by Nigerians. I attended Winners’ Chapel, located at the Airport Road, close to Moov, a telecommunication company.

Church was great that day as the pastor preached hard on holiness. He preached in English as a translator delivered the message in French. The fliers (Prayer Banquet, etc) are available in both languages. I always go for the French option.

After church, I got an oleya back to my room to commence my packing. In no time I was prepared to leave Copacabana for good. I called my driver over and in about 30 minutes’ time we were off to the apartment.

The apartment is about 3-4 minutes’ drive from Ecole Kuvahey, a landmark at Lome. At the time I moved in, work was still in progress but the rooms and the bathrooms were ready. The demarcator they erected at the parlor was still yet to be painted and there were about two to three empty tile-slots yet to be attended to.

At this time, Zika’s friend (the one that was accommodating her) traveled to Nigeria for the recent Redeem program at Lagos thus Zika was literally alone in an empty compound (surprisingly, her friend’s landlady and the tenants traveled too to their various destinations). When I told her that I had moved in, she decided to move in too. That evening, she came in with few of her stuffs.

The two rooms of the apartment are structurally the same: large, tiled, light, no fan, and a large in-built wardrobe that has a big mirror at one of its surfaces. The mirror of one of the rooms was broken at a level below its middle mark thus only the image of the feet are seen if you stand before it. I picked the room with the broken mirror (so that Zika could use her mirror for her make-ups).

We didn’t need to buy much as Zika already had most of the house-hold materials (she was there about 6 months before me). Basically, we had: a 3kg gas cooker, some plates and spoons, two foams, a standing fan, 3 buckets, and other stuffs. Our parlor was empty, no curtains for the big windows, no chair, no table. Our landlady promised to provide us with two chairs, curtains for the windows and a table. It was a relief.

The cost of communication in Togo is outrageously high due to the absence of competition in their telecommunication industry. Unlike Nigeria that has over 4 or 5 telecommunication industries, Togo has just two –Togocel (government owned) and Moov, a branch of Etisalat. As a result of this, most Nigerians prefer using Ghana MTN whose network could be gotten close to the Ghana-Togo Aflao border. As an advantage, the campus is close to the border so getting the network isn’t quite a challenge. Our house too is about 30 minutes (or less) away from Ghana (there is a plantation due north of our house, beyond this plantation is Ghana. It’s always guarded by the Togolese Armed Forces). Zika has two blackberries, she uses her Ghana MTN sim card in one of them. The Ghana MTN network is always available at the platform upstairs.

The distance from our new house to school is about half the distance from Copacabana to school and the cost of transportation is between 200CFAs and 300CFAs. Life at school was fun. We had a Chadian (Ahmed), a young black American (David), a Ghanaian, and dozens of Nigerians in my class. All the lecturers are Togolese. School starts at 0800 hours and closes at noon from Mondays to Thursdays; on Fridays we close at 1000 hours.

Monsieur Ahmed (the Chadian in my class) is an elderly family man of about 40-45 years. He stands a few inches above six feet. He has a thick black mustache at the region above his upper lip and he always wears his glasses. He is averagely fair in complexion. Ahmed has a very funny personality and I was fond of him as we always sat beside each other at the front of the class. I see Ahmed as the most challenged in the entire class and I admired his efforts. It’s easier to learn French as an English man than to learn as an Arab. He always came to class with his Arabic-French dictionary and he never got tired of asking questions in class.

Ahmed has a funny way of speaking French. He could spend double the time needed to make a simple sentence in making that sentence. It takes patience to comprehend him when he speaks. As a result of this, he could put the whole class in a very long pause as he tried to ask his question.

One day in class, we were learning grammar. When the lecturer was explaining, Ahmed was busy playing around with his French-Arab dictionary as he searched for words.

“Please indicate if you have any question to ask regarding today’s class” he said as he summarized his lecture.

Immediately, Ahmed stood up (remember he wasn’t following the class) and we all thought he was going to ask a question but to our surprise, he walked to the board, pushed his face close to the board (his pointed nose was almost touching the board) as he tried to get the right spelling of a word. He remained like that for about 3-4 seconds as the entire class (and even the lecturer) watched and waited. When he was done, he turned, apologized to the class (by waving his hands), returned to his sit and resumed searching his dictionary.

The whole class broke into laughter.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by TONYE001(m): 3:37pm On Sep 17, 2013
Victoria is a young Igbo girl that was born in Togo, grew up in Togo, but schooled at Ghana. She is 17 years old, her height rests at the mid line between 5 and 6 feet (I think), she is fair in complexion, her shoulders are bent forwards, and she has a set of strabismus eyes. She speaks Ghanaian Eve, English, French, and Igbo. She stands to be one of the best students in our class.

Victoria was the first friend I made in class. I liked her seriousness and decency. She seldom goes out for break and she almost always stays back after class for another one hour everyday (she reads always).

David is a naughty American whose favorite sit is at the rear of the class. He is about the same height as Victoria (barely 2 years older than she is), richly black in complexion with a set of pure white eyes. It wasn’t difficult for me to figure out that David isn’t “one of our kind” as his style of speaking always gives him away. In a chat I had with him one day in class, he disclosed that he was visiting his uncle that works with UNICEF at Togo.

David speaks English-French and I find his style of mixing the two languages funny. I decided to tell him this one day.

“David, the way you speak French is funny to me” I disclosed.

“How do you mean?” he asked.

“You keep using ‘you know’ when you speak French” I said.

“How?” he asked again.

“For example, instead of saying: je ne peux pas venir a l’ecole parceque j’etais occuper chez moi (Translation: I couldn’t come to school because I was busy at home), you say: je ne peux pas…venir a l’ecole… YOU KNOW.. parceque j’etais occuper chez moi” I told him wondering how I would know he was busy at home when I wasn’t there.

“Oh..that.. Not my fault men…YOU KNOW.. I’m used to it” he said as we all laughed.

Often times, David made me wonder if it’s forbidden in America for students not to eat in class. I wondered why he kept on eating during class and not during break. Most times, he would hide bread in his pocket and pinch BIG chunks from it and then it goes into his mouth.

“Young man, eating in class is not allowed here please” a lecturer said one day.

The whole class turned to look at David. He just sat there, motionless like a thief caught in the act of stealing, with his mouth swollen with bread. His eyes blinked twice as he returned the stare of the class.

“Please leave my class and return when you are done” the lecturer ordered.

David stood from his seat as he bounced with sagged jeans out of the class.

Another time in class, David frustrated a lecturer. We were being taught how to express position of objects from a point of reference. The lecturer gave us numbers so when he asks a question, he simply calls any number he likes (within the range of course) and the person signifies and responds to the question. If the student is unable to answer the question correctly, he (the student) is asked to call any other number to answer the question.

“Make a sentence with - au milieu de - (Translation: -at the middle of-)” the lecturer demanded as he called number 23 (David).

Le ventilateur est au milieu de la classe (Translation: the fan is at the middle of the class)” he said.

“Beautiful!” the lecturer said.

At the end of the class that day, he asked again “Make a sentence with –au point de- (Translation: -At the edge of-)”.

He called number 16, a Nigerian. Number 16 could not make a proper sentence with the lecturer’s phrase so she was asked to call any number.

“Number 23” she said. It was David again.

Le VENTILATEUR n’est pas au point de la classe (the FAN is NOT at the edge of the class)”.

The class laughed as the lecturer urged him to try to use something else to make a sentence next time and not just fan.

The next day, the same lecturer came to our class after break. After the preambles (greetings and all), he asked a question to see if we still remembered what we were taught the previous day.

“Make a sentence with any of the phrases we learnt yesterday; number….37” the lecturer asked. That was my number.

I picked up my blue biro and my HB pencil, placed each beside my head and said “Ma tete est entre mon stylo et mon crayon (Translation: My head is between my biro and my pencil)”

The whole class laughed real hard as they applauded my naughtiness.

“Another sentence please. Pick a number” the lecturer said referring to me.

“Number 23” I said (I knew it was David).

He cleared his throat and said “Le VENTILATEUR n’est pas au point de la classe

The frustrated lecturer got angry and gave up his questioning as he went to the business of the day.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by ZubyStar1(f): 10:19pm On Sep 17, 2013
am enjoying dis,are u saying u ate all ids food alone?nice photos.

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Re: A Nairalander's Tale On His West African Tour by ZubyStar1(f): 10:22pm On Sep 17, 2013
“Bonjour madame” I replied in obvious excitement.

“How may I help you sir?” She asked.


“Please I would love to have a room here. I intend staying for about two months” I replied.

“D’accord” she said. “Which of the options sir?” She asked.

“The first option – the one for 15,000CFAs” I said.

I saw a change of facial expression on her face as I mentioned the amount.

“15,000CFAs?” She asked.

“Yes, 15,000CFAs, the first option” I said.

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t have a room for 15,000CFAs please”. My heart rate doubled.

“Pardon?” I said as my frontalis muscle rumpled the skin over my forehead forming ridges.

“Yes sir, we don’t. In fact none of our rooms are below 150,000CFAs per night sir(not sure of the price perhaps higher)” she said. My heart was sprinting faster than the legs of Usain Bolt. I swallowed hard.

“Sorry ma, I think we are having a misunderstanding here. Here on your leaflet is a single room with an extra bed for 15,000CFAs” I said fighting real hard to remain calm.

“Oh! That! Yes, the 15,000CFAs is not for the room sir, it’s just for AN EXTRA BED in case you are more than 2”. I wasn’t sure if my heart was still in my chest.

“Oh..really?” I said.

“Yes sir” she confirmed.

A phase of silence passed as she allowed me to make a decision. If only she knew that the only decision I was making was to figure out how to run out of the office without harming my pride. I cleared my throat as I shifted in my sit.

“So sir, about the negotiations for a discount?” She tried to lead me into the conversation.

“Ahmm…” I was looking for the right words “- ahmm, you know-“ I cleared my throat again “- I would have to get back to you please. I need to make some consultations. Can I have your card please?” I demanded as I managed to give out a smile.

“Sure!” She said smiling even more as she picked a card from her table and handed it to me.

“Ok. This is great. Expect my call please, I shall get back to you” I said as I gave her an assuring smile.

“Sure sir” She said.

"Ahmm..which of the numbers would you prefer me to call?" I demanded.

"Any of the numbers sir, they are all functional" she answered.

“Ok. Thanks. I’ll be going now” I said as I stood from the sit.

“D’accord. A la prochaine” she said.

“Yea, have a nice day please.” I said as I managed to walk at a normal pace as I left the office.

When I left the building I turned to take a last look. It was then that I discovered that I loved Copacabana, my Brazilian hotel. (lol)

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