Allyn

Posts by agaestel:

  • Taste, Scent, Trade
    January 19, 2016 LAGOS, Nigeria—In early December, Christmas materialized across Lagos. Office buildings transformed into gleaming beacons of the season, bedecked in detailed patterns or whole sheets of twinkle lights. Street vendors hawked Santa hats. Parties proliferated. Crime spiked. Urban transplants worried how they would finance a flamboyant family reunion on their return to the...

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  • Hepatitis: The Road Trip
    “When I had the test yesterday I told the guy, ‘God forbid, if you find HIV in me, please, don’t give me the news, just give my parents the news…because if you tell me I might just go straight and commit suicide.’” Abraham,[i] a small time real-estate agent and sometimes used-car salesman, was recounting what...

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  • Fool’s Gold: On Oil and its Discontents
    Oil is at times called “black gold” because, like the metal, it is precious. Its discovery spurs avaricious rushes and crowns a nouveau-riche class in garish ostentation. Numerous books, films, and artworks have documented the familiar, shimmery promise of the commodity; and the predictable disappointment that follows. The peripatetic Polish foreign correspondent, Ryszard Kapuscinski, wrote...

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  • How Long is Now? Lagos’ fast-evolving architectural landscape
    LAGOS, Nigeria – May 1st, International Labor Day, was a public holiday in Nigeria. In Lagos Island, partying police officers were sprawled in plastic chairs beneath an overpass next to the stadium. Vendors hawking cigarettes and beer lined the curb and called to passengers in the bright orange buses inching past the revelers. Past the...

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  • Talk That Talk: On Narratives and Elections in Lagos
      LAGOS, Nigeria–Election day dawned cloudy and cool in Lagos; an odd tranquility filtered through my window. I heard birds, and the wind, rather than the normal honking and hawking—the ambient sounds that permeate the air here, fueling what seems to be endemic insomnia among its residents. The silence was particularly notable after the clamor...

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  • Portrait of an Improbable Politician
    By Allyn Gaestel AG-1 / NIGERIA / FEBRUARY 2015   LAGOS – Comrade Agbodemu Ishola Musbau strode through Ebute-Metta, a bustling neighborhood of concrete block homes interspersed with fading colonial houses, their deep brown, mint green and mustard yellow stucco walls stained with watermarks and exhaust fumes. Weaving between bright yellow vans and golf carts—the...

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