Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The 134th good thing about Lagos: A visit to Lekki Village

The next stop on our Saturday trip was at Lekki Village. This was a smaller village than Orimedu, also next to the beach. The historic interest with this stop is the remains of the "Regis Aine Factory." The pillars that you see in this picture are pretty much all that is left that is visible.
There are some bricks that formed the foundation of the original building that are now covered with overgrowth. But many of the building's bricks are now part of the foundations of huts in the village. You can see some in the base of the hut in this picture.
The factory was occupied by French traders who would bring in tiles and bricks from Europe and loaded their ships with palm oil, which was Nigeria's major export and resource before the other kind of oil was discovered here.
The beach was really lovely -- a little quieter than our previous stop.
The village also had some friendly residents.

Of course, more goats.

And graves away from the houses and also right beside them.

The children again were glad to see us, though a little more reserved than at Orimedu. As we were sitting by the beach eating our lunch there were a couple of boys that walked by us repeating over and over "How are you? I'm fine." They were obviously practicing their English language lessons.

This short video clip is of a group of children who, as our group was walking by, were shouting repeatedly "Oyibo! Oyibo!" (their word for white people).

During our lunch break, our security guard, automatic weapon strapped to his back, worked hard to knock down some coconuts from the tree. A local used his machete to hack open to the fruit inside. I went for a taste, though I don't much care for raw coconut.

We were pleased to find public toilets open by the village school. It was basically just a hole in the ground, but it was nice to have a door to close while squatting.

In the village center was the old school house, which dates from the mid-1800's.

Nearby the school was a concrete plinth which used to have a wooden cross rising above it. It was a "sanctuary cross," a place where slaves could take refuge. The slave trade was continuing here, mostly by the Portuguese, after 1861, though British boats were patrolling the coast in an attempt to stop the trade of slaves. If a slave --or prospective slave --could reach the sanctuary cross, they would be safe. It's kind of sobering to realize that these villages along the coast were situated where they are not just for fishing access and for ease of trade in goods -- but also for trading in people.

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