The Roads

The roads around Jos. What a drive!!! Road to Ampang Market

Along a Road in Jos

But what do the roads mean? The roads connect people with work, friends,family, places to go, worship and each other. But are they not just roads? NO!!! Let me explain.

The roads here have no marked names. The names may have been there in the past but they do not exist anymore. Directions are given by “turning by a business, church, etc.” and everyone “sort of” knows where you mean. There are no numbers on homes and the homes are not evenly spaced on these roads but one home may be behind another. How do you find someone…possibly ask a neighbour or have a good memory or pray for help.

There are no street signs indicating normal traffic flow. There are no lines on the road, stop signs, yield signs, or rate of speed signs. There are traffic lights but they do not work…a police officer has a booth in the middle of an intersection and vehicles obey the officer. The other option are intersections with no police prescence. These intersections require drivers to determine who will go first…its not a situation enjoyed by defensive drivers as you will never get anywhere.

Which vehicles are common? The most common is the 2-stroke, 100HP Jigeng motorcycle. These drive on the left of the road, the right of the road, and down the middle of the road. Drivers generally do not wear helmets and these are used for taxis. Motorcycles are not given priority by autos…accidents are common. Peugot cars are the most numerous (late models with lots of dents and cracked windshields) as well as Japanese cars. There are no General Motors products. The lory drivers tow their trailers with stock and people who jump on the back of the trailer while it is working.

Drivers pass on the left, right and while oncoming traffic is getting close. Be prepared to hit the shoulder when neccessary. The shoulder is usually as smooth as the road…potholes are everywhere.

At this point we are still alive. Please God, keep us safe and steer our cars as we travel the roads of Nigeria. Be our copilot and help us as we see our neighbour on the side of the road.

It would be a good idea to wear a seatbelt. As a passenger, it is easier on the nerves to look out the side windows and not straight ahead…I have a feeling that is how I will see my neighbour.

Jim Friesen

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