Fuad November 1st Day 41 Guinea

The First Half Is Done, Here’s What The Second Should Look Like

I had a lot of time to think about the first half of Jollof Road while Dr Camara was replacing my second drip bag two days ago.

I’m going to try to summarise it in one breath:

Day one saw us leave Lagos for Benin Republic. By the end of day two, we’d already seen Dantokpa – a pretty large market if you ask me. By day four, we’d had enough of land people, and off we went to a Lake Village. Snakes? We carried them like pets.

That’s one breath, but I’m not done:

In less than a week, we entered our next country – Benin’s more agile sibling – Togo. The first thing that hits you here is that their port works without causing traffic, even though they do more than Nigeria’s port. What we started with voodoo in Benin, we finished at the Voodoo Market in Lome.

At this point, what was the toughest part to navigate? French. Tosin is the blessing.

Ghana was a vibe, and as we left the country on our 16th day on the road, we knew for sure that it’d be one we’d be returning sometime in the future.

Day 17, and we were back on the French groove. This time, I wasn’t taking a backseat. J’aime Abidjan.

Perhaps, no night was more memorable for any of us than the night we had a taste Baba Muhammad’s Pasta, or when I met Ahmed.

View this post on Instagram

A random weeknight, few weeks ago — well, not random. Our #JollofRoad itinerary said we had to be in Abidjan that night, and that's where we were. There's this slapping food place — it's like Mai Shayii, but replace the noodles with spag, and the tea with cold coke. The food slapped, but the smell of the gutter was slapping Toke harder. I didn't even notice the smell, neither did Kayode. Tosin could manage. Anyway, the search for plate to bring back Spag for Toke led me to this guy. Ahmed. I dunno if there's a word for it, but I call it Language Roulette. It's this thing where I'm speaking whatever French I have, and the French person is throwing back whatever English they have. I asked for his name, it's Ahmed — everything sounds better to a person when you address them by their name. In between our broken everything, I told him I'm Nigerian, he told me he's Senegalese. I told him how I ended up on this backstreet in Abidjan. "I studying Physics for a year in Senegal," his English was better than my French. "Then I leave school." Why? Money. Money is why he didn't get that degree. We talked about force and pressure and temperature and physics things, and by the turn of the minute, I knew he was running low on English. He had a ring on. "Her name is Soda." Then I did that gesture of rocking a baby to sleep. "Ah, Thiane." I loved how he said their names so much that I wrote them immediately. I enjoyed talking to him, but I went there for plates. I asked him if he knew where I could buy since he doesn't sell. "Don't worry, you can have mine." "Thank you, Ahmed. I won't forget this." He just smiled. I asked him if I could take a picture of him to show my friends and tell them about his gesture. He politely declined. The only barrier between us was a burglaryproof gate, the type you'd see in neighbourhood shops. "How about a photo of our hands?" He liked that. So we shook, and I took a photo. And this happened. "Wait wait," he said as I started pulling my hand away. Then he pulled out his phone, and took his. "Bon nuit," I said. "Goodnight," he laughed.

A post shared by The Fu'ad (@fuadxiv) on

By the morning of the 23rd day, we made our first attempt to enter Liberia. We failed. The next day, we tried again, passing through treacherous roads, then making it into Liberia. We didn’t reach Monrovia until the next night.

Liberia is mud country, but Liberians have my heart. On our 30th day on the road, we met Surfers in Robertsport. Love those kids from my heart.

What’s the first thing I learned on our 31st day on the road? Everyone in Sierra Leone calls Nigeria big brother. The history is deep.

The last thing we learned when we were leaving on day 37? The best Cassava Bread can only be found in Waterloo.

And just as Guinea Fever was kicking in, Toke and I fell sick.

But it’s Day 41 today, and we’re pushing.

What does the second half look like?

More countries. More journals. We have a backlog of videos that we intend to close knock off over the next few weeks.

Still on the next few weeks, we’ll be in Guinea Bissau, then Senegal, then Mali.

Kayode and I want to give Timbuktu a shot – many people don’t think it’s a good idea. But I guess we’ll find out when we reach Bamako. Then there will be Burkina Faso, and Niger, then a re-entry into Nigeria and a trip back to Lagos.

The roads will be longer, the days will be hotter. But are we ready?

You bet.

Continue Reading

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.

Find Zikoko
wherever you are