Tuesday 18 March 2014

Die. It's Easy.

It is probably for the best that Nigerian hospitals don't have the manpower to perform routine autopsies on the unusually deceased, because the sort of Cause of Death reports we would receive would be the stuff of a truly macabre imagination. In Nigeria there are a thousand ways to die, many of them too amazing to be anything but stark reality.

You can die from a two-year old misdiagnosis given at a government hospital, or from an asthma attack because there is no oxygen, or from an asthma attack because the nurse won't listen when you mention she is overdosing you, or from an asthma attack when your inhaler turns out to be fake. You can die by falling from an old crane with maintenance issues on a construction site, or a truck driving into your shop when its brakes fail on a bad road. You can be T-boned by a speeding trailer on your way to NYSC camp, or in a plane crash along with all your classmates because there is no water for the Fire Service to save you with. 

You can die when the power goes out while you're in surgery, or when your doctor lies about your child being breech so he can charge you extra for a (subsequently botched) Caesarean section. You can die when a plane falls out of the sky into your house on a quiet Sunday, or when long-forgotten bombs go off in a military cantonment kilometers away, or for maybe being gay. You can die when a building collapses or when your pastor sets you on fire. You can die when your aunty decides you're a witch, when your husband stabs you 76 times, or when you are forced to marry your rapist. 

And you will be forgotten, eventually, by everyone but those who loved you before you died. No one will care enough about how you died to make sure nobody else dies that way, because this is Nigeria after all; people die all the time.

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