A NICE-AFTERALL EXPERIENCE (19 days in Balogun Market)

A NICE-AFTERALL EXPERIENCE (19 days in Balogun Market)

Kayode – the great photographer

Why?
Why me?
How was I going to cope?

These were the thoughts running through my head when I saw the email; I wasn’t completely oblivious of the fact that there was a possibility of me being sent there. I was part of the group conversation but deep down I kept hoping and wishing it wouldn’t be me; that somehow the search will be moved to somewhere else instead of Marina. Oh, how I wished….
As the day went by, I didn’t want to open my mail or look at the new email pop-up notification at the bottom right of my computer; but really, how long was I going to ignore other important mails just because of one mail? So I summoned courage and clicked the Microsoft Outlook icon, slowly perusing through my inbox to find the mail; finally, there it was. Dear Lynda, you have been advised – see mail trail below.
It was a very long mail trail with concurrence from top management; I took my time to read through and one thing was left out in all that long conversation – duration. Usually when you plan to go somewhere and want to book a flight, one very important thing you must do if it is a return ticket is to pick your departure and arrival date, isn’t it? So my trip was planned, destination and departure date was stated; but I did not see a return date or length of stay in the mail trail. Ah….wahala!!! With speed (the phone almost fell off my hands), I picked up my cisco phone and dialled 9126 and the first thing I said was, “Tobi, I don’t understand”.
Tobi is my direct line manager, cool and calm young man so when he heard “I don’t understand” from the other end of the line, he started laughing and said, “oya, what don’t you understand?” I replied, how many days will I be gone for? PS: when I asked this question, I expected to hear 5 days. Tobi continued, “it will be for only 10 days”.
 What??? 10 days inside Balogun Market??? Ewooo!
Ah Tobi, so this is how you have decided to punish me abi?  Tobi’s laughter increased to a higher pitch, he laughed so hard and it pained me so much….then he said “Lynda, you will be fine, I trust you”.
Let’s pause for a second….
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt that you were being punished or that God was unfair to you? Have you faced some challenges that made you question God’s love or think God has forgotten you?
Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV) – Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
 
So, back to my story…
From the email, I was to resume at Balogun  effective immediately, so the next day I headed to

Balogun, some people (Nonye a.k.a Yellow Chilli) deceived me that the EC is on the road side and I didn’t need to bother about the market brouhaha. Imagine the shock when I discovered that it was situated inside the market. I can stand in front of the office and buy everything I need to make soup or stew – there was snail, stock fish (okporoko), ice fish, smoked fish, crayfish, shaki, beef, pomo, pepper, maggi etc. Before I set out that morning, I reminded myself about one of the things I learned in 2015 which was to stop complaining. In times like this, you only have two options – complain about the situation which you cannot change, be a total nuisance to the people and face the risk of being labelled as an incompetent staff that is not flexible OR accept management’s decision, take it in good faith and go make your impact felt in another location. Of course you already know which option I chose (but I complained small, like 7% cos I’m still human)

What was my experience like?
There was an uncertainty of what to expect because the only person I had worked with before in that EC (for only one day) was on leave and she is the one I came to relieve. So I didn’t know what to expect from the people, the customers and the environment. Let me start from the people; the reception was very warm; everybody was willing to help me settle in, they were kind, courteous and friendly. In summary, the people were awesome. The environment – being a market, didn’t disappoint me as the traders were busy with their day-to-day routine; a little bit of shouting when they are arguing and their tenacious/aggressive marketing strategy of harassing touching you to buy their goods, whether you want to buy or not. The EC being located in the market means about 85% of our customers were traders inside Balogun market; one significant thing about them was that they come in very impatient, sometimes angry and want everything to be done sharp-sharp. My “nna-bros” people and the “iyalojas” don’t have time to listen to your English – “nwanne sùòrò m asùsù m ga aghòta, ôyibo gi êrika” (speak the language I will understand, your English is too much). One iyaloja said she does not have time to listen to that lêkpà and her English, that she will pour petrol on me. I had to ask my Yoruba colleagues what she meant after she left because everybody was laughing. Another thing I observed is that they don’t read the words in SMS transaction alerts (I guess because the English is too much), they just look for the figures at the bottom of the message. Sometimes I spend up to 20 minutes trying to explain SMS alerts and how their balance became what it is (maybe banks can send SMS alerts in customer’s language for easy understanding). One “nna bros” almost slapped me because he was looking for where his N50,000 disappeared to – upon investigation, I noticed he receives alerts for both current and corporate accounts in one phone. He received alert for his current account and was adding the balance in the alert to the recent deposit into his corporate account. I wish I can detail the several incidents that occurred with customers, maybe in another article.  Balogun was indeed an experience….. when I left Marina, I was told 10 days but after the 10thday, I realised the person was actually on leave for 19 days; that meant 9more days. Well, I did same thing I did before –accept the situation and make sweet lemonades.
God knew you even before you were conceived and knows how to put the pieces together to form the fantastic life you’ve always dreamt of. Sometimes he takes you through a journey, allow you to face some tough situations because he is preparing you for something greater which you cannot see now. You just have to close your eyes and take a step of faith. Even a mother allows her child to face some difficulties knowing that those times will help mould the child in the future; if not there will not be places like boarding schools where mummy knows that the food will never be like hers, the bed is not comfortable to roll and enjoy the sleep. Oh, how can I forget the torture you go through as a junior student before your senior days… mummy knew about it and yet she still sent you to boarding school for six years.
My first article in 2016 was “Keys to Achieving Your 2016 Goals” and the number one key was to increase your capacity by investing in yourself. If you haven’t read it, pause right now and read it before you continue. About 60% of one of my projects this year will require me to go into the market to purchase some materials (Balogun is known to have the best material) and my thirst for great quality means I may need to make the purchases myself. If you know me, you will definitely know how much I dread Balogun market; so imagine how I felt when it dawned on me that I will spend the first 3 weeks of 2016 inside the zone I dreaded most in Lagos Island. I told God to help me identify the areas I needed to increase my capacity and invest in; it took me a while to realize that Jeremiah 29:11-12 was working in my life and I didn’t recognise it.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (MSG)
(11) I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (12) “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
How sweet it is to study the bible in The Message translation, you will literally feel like God is sitting right in front of you with his arms wrapped around you and encouraging you. God was investing in me, he knew that sometime in my future I will need to be coming to this market; knowing how much I hated the market, he devised a different strategy that I couldn’t oppose just to help me get comfortable in the environment, learn the routes to and from the market and also to understand the people in the market. My Balogun experience ended on Friday and I am grateful to God for taking me through the journey, the opportunity to render service and the wonderful people I met.
Few pictures of the people and location are below…. 
Mr. Paul… I never randomly meet people from Isialangwa North but I met Mr. Paul (the head of security) who knew not only my village but also all the borders
Mr Daniel.. he is the first person to see my surname and immediately knew I was Ibo

Kayode – the great photographer

About the Author

lynnvillle
There's more to Lynn than meets the eye; visit "ABOUT ME" page for more details. I hope you enjoyed the article.

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