HOW DO I SLEEP SOUNDLY AT NIGHT?
I recently moved into a new apartment before travelling to Nairobi Kenya to take part in the Africa Youth Climate Justice Caravan, which traveled from Kenya to South Africa to attend the Climate Change Conference. I only spent four nights in my new flat before leaving the country. After been away for about six weeks, some reality started dawning on me. When I went to pay for my rent, I remember the landlord jokingly saying “everything is ok but the whole neighbours generators are at the back of the house”.
As the days passed on with the usual erratic power supply in Nigeria, I could not believe what would become a regular nightmare. The house has six flats and four of the flats have a power generating set, with both the old and rickety ones and the small but noisy ones. My flat is on the ground floor with all the generators close to my windows. The noise from the generators is like that from a sawmill and the fumes from them gradually find its way into my room. The pepperish sensation that woke up me up made me realized, I would have been suffocated by carbon monoxide been emitted from these generators. I parted my window curtains to allow for some fresh air but now mixed with generator fumes. I now understood what happened to families that are found dead in the morning, who died due to carbon monoxide suffocation. Usually some people would say they were attacked by evil spirits or their dinner was poisoned. But that is far from it.
Nigeria with a population of over 160 million, have erratic power supply, and this make an average Nigerian who live in the cities and towns to make use of generators. These generators which prices ranges from the lowest been sold for about hundred dollars, mainly have incomplete combustion engines. The fumes from the generators has led to the death of some people in the recent past with those trying to avoid theft at night putting the generators inside their homes, shops and other places where they could have physical contact with the generators. It makes most people their own government, as they are saddle with the burden of providing power for their different needs.
For me, do I tell my neighbours to remove their generators from the back of the house to the front as that is where it has always been, or adapt to sleeping with the sound of a sawmill as my ringing tune and pray I don’t get suffocated by the carbon monoxide, or I pack out of a newly furnished apartment and look for another? As a journalist, I can’t be caught dead with carbon-monoxide poisoning because I know the implication. So how can I sleep soundly at night when there is no power supply?