1. It’s a beautiful morning

The shrill of my alarm wakes me up

‘Oh no!  Not now, I need some more sleep’

It takes my head a few seconds to realise

‘Oh shit! I have a bus to catch’

I run through my morning activities

Rinse my mouth, stroke my tangled hair

My bags strapped to my back, I take flight to catch my morning bus

Arriving the park just in time, I get settled in

‘It’s gonna be a long ride’,  I whisper to myself

The bus leaves late

‘Why did I rush?’ I wonder

‘My journey of a thousand miles begins with one tyre roll’

And then we’re off

Oh the journey of a Nigerian pilgrim!


The first few hours seem completely uninteresting,

I keep myself busy listening to the rhythm of the tyres

I count the palm trees lining the roads

I envy the animals trotting by the roadside as my butt aches of sitting

I slowly drift into Neverland as sleep steals me

Oh the tiredness of a Nigerian pilgrim!


The grumbling of my stomach wakes me up

I’ve not eaten anything today

I look to the left and see hawkers

‘Agbado! ‘ ‘fried yam! ‘ ‘bush meat! ‘

They all knock on my window

My stomach seems to let out a happy shriek

But my eyes decide to look beyond the meat

Dirty clothes and hands with bare feet

Picking their noses and scratching their hair

‘Better to stay hungry than contact diarrhoea’

I say to myself in sad realisation

Oh the hunger of a Nigerian pilgrim!


It’s almost like the bus is crawling

Why must the roads be so winding

Passing thought the remotest of settlements

People of diverse cultures and different lifestyles

Laughing away their sorrows in the local bars

Others gambling away their month salary

Strange looking food sold by the wayside

Children bathing in the village river

Older children washing clothes by the banks

Oh the realizations of a Nigerian pilgrim!


I shake my head at the Government

Roads deteriorating, cars stuck in mud

The rich escaping with the cushion effect of their Jeeps

Drainages overflowing, abandoned cars by the wayside

So-called police checkpoints

Stooping so low for N20 bribes while harassing the upright

Oh the sorrow of a Nigerian road pilgrim!


As I slowly drift back to Neverland

I imagine a future so bright

Where the children of the rich choose the roads over air

Where the fine scenery of the wayside

Invites everyone both far and near

I imagine a country so great

With no accusations to make

Of a wicked and heartless Government

A dream that starts now with you and I

Oh the joy of a Nigerian pilgrim!

IBRAHIM Gladys Zugwai