Went to Oro, about an hour’s drive from Ilorin – by bus. Time to face my demons, though some of the drivers are quite pleasant! The trip was as much for a change of scene as anything else, though it was useful to see Kwara State College of Education where there is a possibility I may be working, eventually.
Nearly two hours after getting on the bus, we were dropped at the roadside in Oro, and after a quick drink in a bar before we caught some bite or other, we asked for directions and, to the disbelief of the person we asked, refused the offer of an okada and started to walk in the direction indicated towards the College. Almost immediately Caroline tripped and fell, grazing her wrist and knee, banging her head and covering herself in dust. Immediately a small crowd of people came across, offering help, handkerchiefs and sympathy – it was very touching and we were very grateful for their concern. ‘Perhaps now you will take on okada’, was the advice from our friend. When we again tried to explain that we preferred to walk in order to appreciate the town better, he gave up asking – even offered to pay for us – and escorted us through some short-cuts and alleyways most of the way to the College. It wasn’t far, but walking any sort of distance is not something that Nigerians would choose to do, it seems. What could have taken only ten minutes in fact took about half an hour with all the waving and acknowledgment of greetings that accompanied us on our way.
Oro is an old town with many rather quaint but shabby old buildings – difficult to put a date to. There are plenty of old churches too which are probably worth a visit on some future date.
The usual carpet of debris and burning pyres of garbage with attendant goat lined our walk to the College, but once we had climbed the hill to the fairly impressive arched gateway and been allowed in by a guard, we were in a neatly laid out and fairly tidy complex of classrooms, auditoria, offices and lecture halls. There was plenty of seating beneath shady trees where no doubt would-be teachers would spend their free time discussing weighty educational matters and recent Premier League results (though not necessarily in that order!) This site is destined to become something of a showpiece, a model teacher training facility, a centre of excellence. I could see the potential in the site. I hope it happens and I hope I can be part of it – especially the discussing of weighty Premier League matters beneath shady trees bit!