Lockdown Stories Of Nigerians Around The World
‘Take lots of pictures’ is how we often bade someone farewell when travelling, trillion of photos are taken yearly of people, landscape, meals, food, atrocities, but in these days of isolation, in some part of the world people have only their windows as the eyes to the outside world.
Amidst the compulsory lockdown of major cities around the world, the images and stories are redefining the new realities of an emerging lifestyle. Photographs are inescapably a memorial art and documenting these times is very crucial. In this slowly paced moments, out of the flow time and lockdown, some moment and scene deserve to be well-preserved.
From Milan to New York to Bujumbura, all the major roads and popular places are empty, everyone is observing the social distancing, in a government’s effort to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID -19. Photographers are taking this opportunity to capture the emptiness.
A decent photograph of an empty street looks similar to any other decent photograph of another empty street; lonely, unpremeditated at the same time gorgeous. Such photos are becoming popular online; easy to shoot and having a reliable dose of nostalgia. This new lockdown lifestyle means one thing-stay indoor! Everyone is staying indoor including Nigerians who by nature are very outdoor people and scattered across the world.
So how are Nigerians coping around the world? In Italy where the death rate is the highest in the world with about 81,259 deaths, Ibrahim a Nigerian, works as a stock manager at a local supermarket. In times like this, such jobs are in a surge of demand.
‘I live in Sondrio, two hours from Milan, I could still go out to work because my job is considered essential, but can’t go out to see friends or breath some fresh air, my little daughter feels sad about this. If you must go out you need to fill a form and state why you are going out, it must be for an important reason… or you will pay a fine or go to jail’
In the comfort of her balcony in Lagos Nigeria, Marathon runner Dayo who is on a mission to run a marathon in every country with a record of being the first African for running marathons in the most number of countries took a challenge and ran 42Km half marathon in thousands of loops around her 7m balcony. It took her eight sweaty hours.
‘This is the first time in a long time that I am spending the long weeks in the same city and I have no travel dates insight. My 2020 marathon plan was to run 20 marathons in 20 different countries. I have managed to run 5, 4 have been cancelled so far. Who knows how many more will get cancelled? ‘
“It’s less stressful. I wasn’t concerned about productivity but technology has made things easier for such times. I keep the same 8-5 schedule and can also go for a walk, cook at home and stretch as much as I want. I don’t longer come back home super exhausted. I am enjoying this new norm and probably will continue like this when all this is over.’
-Patrick- A Nigerian Engineer
Warri, Delta State Nigeria
‘She woke up ready to go to school, we tried to explain to her why schools are closed but she couldn’t understand why’
-A Father of two
‘Things have changed rapidly over here. It’s a total lockdown. which is frankly necessary to lower the rapid rate but the virus is still progressing. The supermarket is still working and well-stocked. People are only allowed to go in three at a time. Every staff is equipped with a mask and gloves.’
Shomolu Lagos, Nigeria
‘As a photographer, being outdoor is your way of life and also your means of livelihood. I want to go to a different part of Lagos to document this “unique Lagos” we might never get to experience again, but it is too risky. You can be arrested on your way out.’
‘I had my final two weeks of class via zoom, currently working on my essays for the term. I am taking things one at a time’
-Kingsley MBA Student, Oxford University
‘I have been looking for volunteer opportunities but I’m not able to go out far. I go out for runs once in a while. Moreover, the downside of working from home is the tyranny of work–you end up having to work 24/7 because this time, it’s not about whether you were at the office, it’s whether you were able to deliver on a project.’
-Gbenga, Digital Advertisement Strategist
‘It’s a total lockdown here in Moscow till April 30, buses are still running and most of the Rich Russians have fled the city for their countryside dachas.’
‘We can go out once a day for a walk or to a nearby park. Most of the grocery stores are still working, the school is closed and the only means I communicate with my other group mates for our group work is through zoom.’
-Emeka, Masters student, Imperial College London.