sobota 2. července 2011

Every day is for the thief - Teju Cole

    Pastor Olakunle strides up and down the stage. He is all energy. He stops, peers into the camera, holds up his bible, and breaks into a wide white grin. He breathes heavily into the microphone : God is good. God is goood. Pastor Olakunle is delivering a teaching to the faithful. This is a mighty word that the Lord has laid on his heart, praise the Lord. God doesn't want you to be sick, God doesn't want you to die. If only you would believe. You. Shall. Be. Healed. Praise the Lord. Our God is not a poor God, nor is he wretched. His true followers can neither be poor nor wretched.
    Pastor Olakunle is attired in a silk suit. His shoes are of fine Italian leather, his accent is American as befits a prosperous man, praise the Lord. Pastor Olakunle is intoxicated with the joy of the Lord. He jumps up and down. One more thing, he says, and this is wonderful : once you are walking in faith, you shall never be sick again. Yes, you heard it right. The Lord will banish all sickness from your life. Healing is yours, in the mighty name of Jesus.
    Pastor Olakunle owns several Mercedes Benz cars. It is not clear if he is living as victoriously as Pastor Michael who, as is well known, owns both a Rolls Royce and a Lear Jet, praise the Lord. But who also, inexplicably, has just died. The Lord, moves in mysterious ways. Nevertheless, our God is not a poor God, and Pastor Olakunle does very well. The Church of the New Generation is filled to the rafters, praise the Lord, and when he gives the word about permanent healing, a women in the audience raises her hand in awe and adoration of the mighty name,rises to her feet, swoons.

A young man decides to revisit Nigeria after a long absence. Ahead lies the difficult journey back to the family house and all its memories, meetings with childhood friends, and above all, an encounter with the paradox that is Nigeria.
 The unnamed narrator experiences life in Lagos : he is captivated by a women reading on a danfo, attempts to check email are frustrated by Yahoo Boys, he is duped while buying fuel. The grace and courage of a bereaved family friend makes a strong impression on him, and he is inspired by the new malls and cultural venues. The question becomes: should he stay or should he leave?

-Well paid?
-No. Not really. I mean, I live with my parents, so I can manage. But it's not great.
- What are we talking, a hundred?
-More like seventy.
I whistle. Seventy thousand naira a month, for a doctor in a private hospital. I hadn't expected it to be so little. That comes to five hundred dollars a month, a pittance. And there's no real adjustment to make for cost of living because, in Lagos, television sets, silk ties and car parts cost just as much as they cost elsewhere. This is the reality in an economy that is almost totally dependent on imports. A used car will set you back ten thousand dollars, same as in the US, and a new paperback novel costs fourteen dollars. Meanwhile, rent is not cheap, and thought salaries have risen, they have not kept up with the rate of inflation at all. It is difficult for the average Nigerian to live a middle-class lifestyle. And even those who by dint of profession or education have an income well above the average still struggle. And for those in the fifteen thousand, twenty thousand naira range, life is simply hell. A hundred and forty dollars a month is poverty, anywhere in the world. (knizka byla vydana v roce 2007)

Jaky je zivot v Lagosu? Precte si tuhle knizku! Kazda kapitola vystihuje presne denodenni zivot tady. Dozvite se kdo to jsou Yahoo Boys a Area Boys, co znamena 419, jak se sidi na benzinu, o nefungujici elektrice, o Armed robbers, o policajtech zastavujicich vas pro nic za nic, aby z vas vytahli nekolik stovek naira, o silene korupci, ale take o chudobe a zkratkovitem jednani mistnich lidi snazicich se o pouhe preziti. Knizka je o to zajimavejsi, ze ji napsal Nigerijec. A pak mozna i pochopite, proc to tu spousta lidi nenavidi a miluje zaroven, stejne tak jako my.

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