More Than Blood, “Badagry,” or Your College Degree…

by | Dec 30, 2023 | Crisis, Fail, Nigeria, Serendipitous!, Winter 2023: The Gulf of Guinea | 1 comment


With 2 full days in Lagos behind us, the 3 of us began our West Africa roadtrip westwards with a 2 hour and 45 minute’s drive from Lagos to Badagry.

About half an hour into the drive, Sapphire Residences texted me on What’s App saying they just found I had left behind a bunch of important stuff: 3 backup passports, 2 backup wallets containing all my hotel and airline credit cards, headphones, and business card holder in a bedroom drawer! The worst part is that I distinctly recalled looking at and not wanting to open that drawer this morning because I had actually convinced myself that I had not stored anything in there. 

Am I getting old? Lesson learned.

Luckily I already had two backup plans set up in case anything like this happened: My friend and monsooner, Karthik, has his family in Lagos and could always bring my stuff home. And Confidence Aguiyi, the Nigeria-based organizer of our roadtrip, already had another guide named Alex leading a tour in Lagos and would be joining us in Benin the next day. I went with the latter as to not bother Karthik any more than I already have, and within a few hours Alex was at Sapphire picking up my stuff and did a FaceTime with the Sapphire Residences staff to prove he was retrieving the items for me. Crisis averted!

Anyway, back to our road trip. It’s all part of a good story and the ability and relief of finding a legit resolution makes up for the booboo.

Founded around 1425, Badagry was borne from a handful of settlements where people lived along the Coast of Gberefu.



Badagry is also sadly known for its Ancient Slave Port, also known as the “Point of No Return.”



The site is symbolized by the Seriki Faremi Williams Abbas Family museum located at the site, which both pays homage and makes apologies for its complicity in the slave trade:



Up to 40 enslaved peoples were crowded into these rooms (now converted to museum exhibits) without any clean water and barely any ventilation from outside air:



Badagry was therefore one fixture of the slave routes that benefited from the ongoing trade conflict between Portnovo and Dahomey at the end of the eighteenth century, the latter of which tribe was profiled in the recent movie starring Viola Davis, “The Woman King.”

Enslaved persons taken during inter-village conflicts in West Africa were therefore auctioned off the coasts of Badagry:



We then walked a hot 5 minutes down the road to also visit the First Church and Storey Building.



Founded in 1845, named for being where the first group of missionaries in Nigeria had settled:



The heat being too unbearable for another 20 minutes’ walk, we drove to the Slave Heritage Museum where we had a quick half an hour tour of the slave trade here from its inception to its abolition.



More sobering than the topic itself was to see the reactions of other tourists in our group of African origins, as if I was recalled back to the time I had visited Auschwitz and witnessing the reactions of the Jewish tourists there.



After an hour here, we drove for another 40 minutes towards to the Seme border between Nigerian and Benin.



- At time of posting in Badagry, it was 31 °C - Humidity: 77% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy, muggy, thick as butter


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