"We will have to park here and continue on foot. During the rainy season, we won't have gotten this far. The people are waiting for us, let's hurry up."

I kept whispering to myself - "Are we still in Lagos?" 

There was not an inch of a good tarred road anywhere over the last 10 kilometers. We moved slowly towards the small group of people awaiting our arrival. 

They wore warm smiles and looked very confident as they welcomed us to their world with a population of 400 and counting.

I could sense their resolve to be content. They did not want too much just enough amenities like all the other local council areas within the centre of excellence.

Bounce News was part of ActionAid Nigeria's team that visited Wesere community in Badagry, Lagos, during its needs assessment tour.

The major source of income for the men is selling of coconut, the youths sells firewood, while the women sells moimoi leaves to earn a living.

They spoke to us about their challenges and their love-hate relationship with the rainy season.

The rains give life to their crops but locks them in cutting the entire community off from the rest of the world.

They also told us about the sleepless nights that escorts the rains and wild winds to their door steps.

Babies and infants are usually scared of the strange noises while the toddlers and much older children know there would be no access roads to school.

"It's simply flood water everywhere. We face the danger of being bitten by reptiles and other dangerous animals while we try to cross the 2 kilometers flood to the main road", one resident said.

No Water, No Hospital, One Well

These people need help urgently. Can you imagine walking for long hours to get clean water or access to a health facility?

Apa, another community which lies a few kilometers away, is where they must reach to get clean water and medical attention.

Wesere has only one well from which the people draw water. Some pregnant women resident here have to travel abroad to give birth.

“I gave birth to all my all children in Cotonou because the facility here is not good enough and they charge high,” a breastfeeding mother told Bounce News.

“I paid N10,000 at a standard hospital in Cotonou to give birth to this my daughter four months ago, but the local government clinic here will charge N3,000 for delivery, and then charge N6,000 for items like fuel, toilet roll, soaps and other things, making N9,000 altogether.

“I rather go for delivery in a standard hospital than here,” she added.

ActionAid Nigeria's Head of Resource Mobilisation, Andrew Mamedu said the organization wants the community to decide on their own, what their most pressing needs are before initiatives are set up to resolve them.

“We are not going to change the community in one month or one year and walk away, no. We are going to engage the village, and see what they can do on their own, what we can get the government to do and what ActionAid will bring on board.

“Gradually we will all work together and after one year, there will be some changes in the community, they will know how to do some things better by themselves, and there will be development".

The Lagos State government has a lot to do, and as a matter of urgency, needs to shift attention to rural communities if they plan to sustain the Mega Smart City project.

Eko Oni Baje o!!!

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