A Week In The Life: 10 Must-Read Stories Of 2021

December 21, 2021

A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.

2021 was a long year. I know it and you definitely know it. I wrote my first “A Week In The Life” story of 2021 on the 5th of January. It was about an interstate driver who had a girlfriend in almost every Nigerian state he visited. This awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, larger-than-life, yet commonplace story would set the tone for some of the episodes in the series.

As the year comes to a close, and with over 36 stories under the “A Week In The Life” flagship, I’ve picked 10 of the absolute must-read stories in this series. These stories were picked based on their ability to inspire awe, make you pause and think, or simply to make you appreciate the mundane.

Whether you started reading this series last year, this year, or even last week, here are some stories that deserve to be read twice:

1) A Week In The Life Of An Orisa Priestess Trying To Guide People To Their Destiny

As someone who has had struggles with faith, I found the conversation with an Orisa priestess fascinating. Not only was it eye-opening learning firsthand about Yoruba religion, but I also got to hear her talk about destiny, spiritual bodies and how Orisa priests/priestesses guide people on the right path.

The part of the conversation that sticks is where she says the work is a passion and not a job. I’d pay good money for her to teach me how to have that approach to work.

Satisfy your curiosity here.

2) One Bumpy Semester Made Him Drop Out Of School, Now He’s A Cattle Seller — A Week In The Life

This story makes me angry because it gives you a front-row seat to the failures of the Nigerian education system. It chronicles how the Nigerian approach to mistakes is always costly.

But the most inspiring thing from this story is that despite all the challenges, the subject still has faith in better days ahead. How? why?

Read here to find out.

3) I Can Spot Fake Watches Just By Looking At Them — A Day In The Life Of A Watch Repairer

When I think of quiet dignity, I think of horologists or watch repairers as they are popularly called. With almost 10 years of experience fixing watches, I enjoyed geeking out and asking the horologist about everything watch-related.

PS: I may have enjoyed watching him work a bit too much.

Read here.

4) The Cupping Therapist Who Believes In Modern Medicine: A Week In The Life

I’m sure you’re asking yourself what cupping means? and no, it’s not that type of cupping you perv.

Cupping is a form of alternative medicine practice that involves making painless cuts on the skin to remove toxins and our subject talks about the health benefits of cupping, why she enjoys her job and how she makes alternative and modern medicine work for her. 

While writing this story I couldn’t help but make this joke: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but cupping excites me.” I’m sorry. Read more here if you’re interested in learning about this fascinating job.

5) I work Two Jobs But It Feels Like I’m Not Working — A Day In The Life Of A Forklift Operator

I like this story a lot because it gives an overview of an easily overlooked job that plays a crucial part in all of our supply chain processes. For context, forklifts are used in lifting everything from beverages to food to medicines.

How do you become a forklift operator and why does someone choose to become one?

Read here.

6) “We’re All One Sickness Away From Poverty” — A Week In The Life Of A Caregiver

The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is a medical practitioner who has been taking care of a sick parent since last year August. He tells us about the frustrations of the healthcare system, the mind-blowing financial costs and the emotional tolls an illness exerts on a person.

Catch up here.

7)  I Don’t Have Any Human Friend —A Week In The Life Of A Zookeeper

As a zookeeper, you spend more time with animals than with humans. What happens when your job becomes your life? Well, if you’re like Mr. Emeka, the subject of this story, it means you have no human friends.

How must that feel? Start here to experience what it feels like.

8) When I’m In Front Of A Camera, I Feel Like Wizkid Or Davido — A Week In The Life Of A Pornstar

Forget everything you know because this story will challenge it. After failing to get into Nollywood, Juliet, the subject of this story decided to go into acting porn. She talks about the stigma involved in her job, not being ashamed to show her face in her videos and how powerful she feels in front of a camera.

According to Juliet, “During video shoots, I tell my men that it’s acting we’re acting so they shouldn’t get carried away thinking it’s their girlfriend they’re fucking. I also make it clear that they must not cum in me —  they can cum on my laps, face, tummy but not inside me.”

Read more here.

9) A Week In The Life: The Alaga Iyawo Who Dislikes Parties

The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is an Alaga Iyawo. These are women who host Yoruba wedding ceremonies, sing songs of praises, double as MC’s and serve a host of other functions. She talks to us about not liking parties even though her job revolves around them, the challenges she faces in day-to-day life, and what a perfect retirement looks like for her.

If you enjoy parties then you’ll enjoy this story.

10) I’m The Only Woman At My Job — A Week In The Life Of An Oil and Gas Engineer At Sea

The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is a process engineer at an oil-producing facility. Process engineers ensure that the process of crude oil production from collection to processing for sale runs smoothly. What this means is that they spend a lot of their time solving problems or preventing problems from happening.

Our subject tells us about being the only woman at her job, life at sea, and what it takes to extract crude oil.

If you must read anything today let it be this story.

Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life ” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, fill this form.

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