Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Daily Hustle

While talking to a friend of mine about work, I used a phrase common here to describe it; Hustle. And he responded saying yes, people don't work here, they hustle. And that is the truth. The GDP growth here (for the nerds) is 7.8% but unemployment rate is kindly said to be 19.7%. Underemployment rate is significantly higher and it isn't uncommon at all to run into people who are doing jobs they had absolutely no training for but it was the only job they can get.

Driver around the city in the middle of the day and you will most definitely run into a lot of people standing on the side of the road doing nothing because they have nothing. But you will also run into a majority of people trying to do anything to survive. From selling peeled oranges or cooked meat to laborers working on the street side to folks selling cell phone "credit" while others are trying to wash your windshield while you drive. There are still tailors that walk the streets and shoe shiners that hang around high rise buildings trying to do their thing for a buck.

We that would be considered middle class often find ourselves in the offices till the wee hours of the morning to then take the treacherous journey back home. Leave work any earlier than 8pm and the traffic that awaits you is enough to make you want to walk instead. The hustle and mentality extends even to the Über rich live and they themselves live an unhealthy life style of working ridiculous hours.

Kenneth, our driver navigating through traffic

Amy trying to avoid the camera

Any study on what radiation does to babies?

Public Transportation

Religion is big business here

Riding in the back of the truck

"Okada" bike soliciting business

Flooding from just a light shower

That road is actually worse than it looks

Morning Traffic

One too Many A's
So yes, Lagos is a crazy city. The weather occasionally doesn't help. For example, yesterday, we had to go to work by boat because the traffic level when it rains hard is unreal and it had been raining all night long. We got to work on time but few people actually did. So while Lagos might be nuts, it does have some very hospitable people. People like to greet one another only about 50 times a day. I find out just how American I am when I try to go straight to the point when I make a phone call and the person on the other line wants to take the time to ask me about my day. To which I usually reply, "Man, the hustle..."


J.bryaniii said...

dude the gdp would likely triple if you could just get somewhere in a decent amount of time!

Ugo said...

No kidding! This city is certainly beyond the overpopulated level. On the weekends...the roads are relatively open and I wish they were like that all the time. But then, no one will need a driver..