Sep 16, 2007

Math ... And The Lagos Survivor

A survivor in Lagos must understand simple, complex and "Naija" mathematics, and he must learn how to use them all to his advantage. If you disagree, how else would you explain these scenarios?

Rent for a standard shop in Lagos would cost anything from N10000 - N50000 per month and a would-be shopkeeper is required to pay 12-24 months in advance depending on the location. On the other hand, a used Volkswagen Beetle costs N25000 - N40000, is portable, and can carry your market to where the audience is ... and that's how I came across this mobile and portable Audio CD shop on wheels complete with an amplifier, a speaker, showglass and sales girls! Unfortunately, I couldn't take too many pictures before the "sales manager" became suspicious. Now that's a survivor ... to say the least, and he knows his Naija math and how to manipulate it to his advantage!

This picture was sent in by a friend ... a fellow freelance (cellphone) photographer. It brought back memories of those arithmetic questions in primary school. Questions like "If it costs N40 to carry 1 tire from point A to point B, how much will it cost to carry 4 tires from point A to point B?" Alas in Okada Arithmetic (a subset of Naija Math), the answer is neither N160 or N40. This young man in the picture below will pay something like N60 / N80 to convey those 4 tires. The price will also depend on his haggling power. Now look what he's gained. He gets his merchandise to his location faster and will have saved N100 - N120, money which will make a lot of sense in Iya Basira's buka where he'll have his lunch. Another survivor, another mathematician.

Typical rainy afternoon in Lagos. Mr Someone was very angry. Whenever it rains, the traffic in Lagos increases exponentially. He would use up a lot of time and fuel for his truck in transporting his cassava from his farm in Mowe to his house in Iyana Ipaja. He usually did two trips on an average day, but the rains and the unavoidable subsequent traffic jams would not allow for two trips. So what does he do? He decided to do some math. He would transport two truck loads of cassava in exactly the same time and using the same amount of resources it would take to transport one load. Well, I happened to be driving behind him in the rain, and I'm sure his truck did not share his thoughts. The bumpers were almost touching the road ... but again, Mr Someone was true to his words ... and took 2 loads of cassava to Lagos in one trip. After all, it's not his fault that there's traffic, is it?

If cars could talk ... I wonder what this one would say.

On this note, I'd like to announce my return to Blogsville. I'm sorry for the long absence, it was due to circumstances beyond my control (seriously). Thank you for staying tuned, and waiting for me. I return a survivor and I know my math. Have a nice week.

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