While the city is not rife with attractions for the visitor, I decide to see several local markets on my visit to Lagos. Since the situation in the city is a little tense, I ask someone from my hotel to join me, and he starts off well by negotiating hard with the taxi driver that is supposed to take us to Oyingbo market. We get badly stuck in a traffic jam on our way, but when we finally get out of the car, I immediately know I am going to like this place. Nigerians everywhere; it is a quiet day and there seem to be more people selling than buying. Both buyers and sellers are mostly women, and when we get to the very first market stall, the lady allows me to take a picture of the fruits she is selling, as well as her own self. When kids see me with my camera, they rush forward, begging to be photographed as well.
What follows is a stroll through the market, negotiating with people to have their picture taken, which often involves buying something from their stalls. It invariably brings on a lively discussion, best wishes from both sides for the new year that has just started, small talk about Nigeria, my own country, and big smiles which soon make me feel welcome. There seems to be little organization in the market: a fruit stall next to one with cleaning items, one selling fish next to another selling grains. There are a few stalls with traditional medicines, but the ladies see my white skin as an opportunity to earn a lot of money, and I refuse to pay their fee. Then, there are stalls with dried fish heads; judging from their size, the original fish must have been quite big.
It is remarkable how the market is dominated by women. Both selling and buying: most people you see here are women, with men doing the heavy duty work, like carrying goods from one place to the other. I do find the odd stall manned by a man, of course, but women rule here. One of the men has a stall with rolled up fish, tail in head, smoked and ready for consumption. My buddy buys one and starts munching away. There is a wide variety of people from all creeds and backgrounds, and thus the market feels like a happy melting pot of the diversity Nigeria has to offer. No hint here of racial or religious tensions that plague the country elsewhere. I notice a lovely lady with an enormous hat, and after a small chat, she asks me why we would not get married. Now, that is a good question!
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Oyingbo Market (Nigeria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Oyingbo Market. Read more about this site.