A Community of Strangers

A changing society!

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Things are no longer the way they used to be!

I remember growing up in Iju suburb of Lagos State, Nigeria. Then, the neighborhood was like a community. Kids played together; the families all knew each other; there were things like the Landlords associations that met regurlarly for discussions; the sharing of Christmas rice from neighbor to neighbor that I used to look forward to. Those days, while my mom would be cooking white rice, I could look forward to receiving jollof rice from one of our neighbors, fried rice from another just as we’d also export ours. It was truly a community. We the kids played soccer together, cops and robbers, rolled car and bike tires, played with rubber bands, made paper toys and played till we got tired and went to our homes.

Fast forward to recent years, those things no longer exist. I don’t even know the names of MOST of my neighbors, yet it is still the same street; still the same neighborhood. So much as changed. I don’t see kids playing around like we did. There are fewer Landlords in the area now. Some are either dead or retired to thier respective villages.

Some of the reasons for this paradigm shift in attitude- this new trend, I suppose, is the influx and accessibility of disruptive techs- smartphones and the internet. And we have a population of youths in Nigeria. Some of them are students seeking apartments off-campus, some are recent grads, some are internet entrepreneurs etc. The landscape itself as changed; new and different style of buildings now exist in the neighborhood. That communal feel is gone. Iju has become so Urban- everyone minding his/her own business. I don’t even get to see some of my neighbors, I don’t know them, don’t know what they do, nothing at all. Of course, they in turn don’t know me! Now, we are all a bunch of strangers living in the same community. We are now a community of strangers!

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