AFCON Diary 3: Friendly mosquitoes and bike accident

AFCON Diary 3: Friendly mosquitoes and bike accident

Anytime I travel to a country in sub-Sahara Africa, I am always keen to observe the breed of mosquitoes that inhabit those nations, especially seeing that I live in an area where mosquitoes are my friends.

Garoua is at best in the extreme parts of an unfancied nation and to combine that to the current dry season, it is expected that a biting experience would be the order of the day. Quite so?

My very first night in Garoua was a roller coaster one which culminated in an unorthodox night rest. On arrival at our pre-booked apartment, it became evident that the apartment was not yet completed.

Although last minute efforts were made on it to make it available, some essential parts such as windows, window nets, doors and lights (in some rooms) were not yet fixed, at least for the first night.

While all of us camped in one of the should-be sitting rooms (eight of us), I observed the mosquitoes which were enjoying themselves, welcoming us to the city of Garoua with their scary music and average height flights.

I noticed they were quite fat and largely friendly since they had refused to perch on anyone but the walls and floors. Regardless of that though, we were wary of the fact that this could change at anytime, who knows perhaps they’ve been configured to behave this way.

After dispersing to our uncompleted rooms, I slept regardless of their presence because of the excessive stress. However, I woke up the following morning having no feel of being bitten by mosquitoes but my roommate (Wale Quadry) killed one mosquito, filled with blood and the question was: Whose blood?

In the following days, we continued to hear testimonies from compatriots about the friendliness and cunningness of the Garoua mosquitoes, the unrejected enemies.

Garoua, home of Okada

One of the first noteworthy things once you enter into this city is motorbikes (called Okada in Nigeria, but Motor in Garoua). I can boldly say this is a city where Okada outnumber vehicles. They’re too numerous.

On my arrival in Garoua, I had a first taste of the hazard of their motorbikes when a rider attempted to snatch one of my colleagues’ phone but she was very lucky as she held the phone (iphone 13 promax) firmly and coincidentally moved her hand. That was an eye opener for me.

Credit to their riders though, as much as they speed the Okada way, they do apply brakes at every junction and not head into it as sometimes seen elsewhere. That was what saved me from a serious accident just four days into my stay here.

Was heading to my apartment from the Stadium a day after Nigeria’s first game and I must say the rider was the most calm and well-behaved one I’d encountered here. Getting to about 100 metres to my apartment, my rider calmly veered into the street and guess what, an exuberant rider showed up from nowhere and rammed into us.

The saving grace, like I said earlier was that my rider was barely moving after entering the street, so the effect of the other bike (who also tried to apply the brakes albeit belatedly) was minimal after the collision. My rider was just looking at the other guy as he picked up his bike and didn’t even say sorry or anything.

I was fortunate not to have a fall in the process of the collision, jumping away like a skier in the Ontario snow.  The experience didn’t deter me from using the fastest means of transportation here though as there is hardly any other option.

The diary is back after a break due to circumstances beyond my control (😆) but I make a solemn promise of dishing it out every two days till I leave Paul Biya’s land. The next edition intends to look at an interesting observation in Cameroon.


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