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A shocking tale of how drainage systems get blocked

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.



(a) The bus is chortling down the road on its way to Beju. You have bought some boiled corn to stave off the gnawing hunger in your belly. Your journey is still long.
You hurriedly peel off the black plastic wrap. You fling it out the window. It grazes the yellow painted bus briefly before taking wings and soaring off into the hot noon.
In ten bites, you have finished the first one. The road is jammed with impatient vehicles honking for the lights to go green. The corn cob drops to the black road in one swift unthinking motion.

(b) The boy hawking pirated CDs, maybe frustrated that he is yet to sell any, kicks the cob out of his way. It rolls underneath the bus, emerges on the other side. And then stops beneath the yellow three-legged contrivance.
The lights go green and the cob is soon forced to the short edge of the kerb. It is one foot ahead of the gap in the edge that water flows through when it rains. And it remains here for an hour or two.
On his way to pray, a young man kicks it into the gap. It’s a flimsy kick, really. The cob is finally away from the never-ending hooting horns and exhaust fumes that have scarred it considerably.

(c) Plop! It drops into the waiting marsh of black water garnished with emptied sachets, plastic bottles, pieces of cloth, weeds, paper plates, a glossy magazine. And largely fine sand.
It is waiting and moving, painfully slow, that it takes the cob two hours to arrive at the huge open gutter on the next street. How it managed the bend is unknown as its peers have already gotten stuck. No one notices.
It is time for the evening prayers, the cob manoeuvres itself into the large canal opposite the state hospital. It has become quite the expert. A crowd of dirt looms ahead, unmoving.

(d) There’s just a tiny weeny space open and the cob would fit in with its long side. Sleek. Its chaff is gone, bruised and scraped by the concrete gutter walls and scraps of plastic and metal it has met.
All goes well, the drop into the Ungo river is anticipated, the cob advances tremulous inch after inch. And as swift as it began, it ends. The sound of midnight echoes to the outskirts of town where it is.
Turned slightly to the left, the cob is stuck and so is everything else that has been emptied into the streets that day. And everything else dropped after that. Little wonder the rains flood everything.

N.B – plastic wraps = nylon or leather as commonly known in Nigeria. Places mentioned are fictitious.

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo