I asked some friends to share stories of neighbours who have impacted their lives or influenced their choices. Some of these stories may make you shed a tear or smile, but they restored my faith in humanity.
- We lived in the same compound as a mechanic village. It was very noisy--the clangs of tools, car engines and brawls amongst apprentices, but it was also one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I listened as the head mechanic admonished his workers with tears in his eyes on how his life would have been a lot better if he had listened to his parents and how they (his apprentices) had a second chance to make their lives work. I watched as they worked together to fix a car, calling each other when they reached a difficult point and celebrating when they hacked the solution. I observed as they punished fraudulent workers. Every December, they had a get-together with matching fabrics and caps where they slaughtered a goat and shared food with everyone. - Kikelomo, Lagos
- I knew they were trouble the day they moved in. Everybody was whispering about loose women moving into the compound. Nobody truly knew what they did but profiled them by how they dressed and the fact that they were young single women living alone. People didn't like them, and they didn't care. They were defiant. Every weekend, they woke the compound with music and dancing. My parents got into a fight one day, and they came to drag my mom out of the house, defending her and threatening my dad. Children loved them because they would stop parents from hitting too hard. They coordinated clean-up activities. They fought NEPA officials and stopped them from cutting the power supply. They were free women. Growing up in a strict Christian household, I knew I wanted to be like them when I grew up. - Motunrayo, Abuja
- At some point in my life, my parents couldn't afford to pay my school fees and my younger sister's. They would lock us in the house and warn us to be very quiet so the neighbours wouldn't know we were home. We had this neighbour who lived right behind our house. He was an 'okada man'. He would go out as early as 5am to earn from the hustle and bustle of Lagos mornings and return to rest in the afternoon when it got hot. He heard us making noise one day and asked why we weren't in school. Kids as we were, we told him the truth. From that day until we returned to school, he would come back for his midday rest to teach us basic Mathematics and English through the window, reading from any old textbooks he could find. He imitated school - break times, morning devotion, closing prayer etc. Our parents never found out, but it was one of the activities we looked forward to every day. - Olusegun, Ibadan.
- The neighbours I grew up with are majorly responsible for my love for and taste in music. First, there was Iya Aisha, the woman who owned the beer parlour across the street. Countless times, my parents would forget to drop off the house key for my siblings and me after school, so we would go to Iya Aisha's shop to pass the time. She entertained her patrons with sounds from Jesse King, KSA, Salawa Abeni, Adewale Ayuba and K1. Those songs were banned in my household. We only listened to Don Moen and Agatha Moses. My mom caught me singing Yungba Yungba word for word one day and banned me permanently from Iya Aisha's shop. And then there was IK. I never met him, but I knew my brother went to his house often to play games. My only interaction with IK was really with his loudspeaker. Every weekend without fail, IK would play songs from Backstreet Boys, Nelly, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Usher, Ashanti, Notorious B.I.G etc. I got so hooked that I saved my allowance to buy a lyrics book so I could sing along from my room. - Tofunmi, Lagos
- This is the story of how I got my first tech job. I used to live in the same compound with the CTO of a tech company. One day, he asked me what I was doing and if I had a job (I was at home because of the ASUU strike at the time). I explained that I was home due to the strike. He asked me what my goals and aspirations were, and we talked about that. Shortly after, I resumed his office as an intern. I didn't have any experience or relevant qualifications. He gave me an opportunity, and I ran with it. I'm deeply grateful because, without that job, I would not be where I am today - working in tech. - Bankole, Lagos
- My parents and I lived in a two-bedroom flat in Lagos circa the early 2000s. One day, we went out, and it rained heavily. The roof leaked. The entire apartment was soaked, and it was late at night. We had no place to go and no one to turn to. Our neighbour saw my younger brother sitting on the balcony crying and asked him what had happened. After hearing the story, he went in to meet my parents and asked that we stay at their house for the night. My parents refused (out of shame or pride, I don't know), but he insisted. We ended up staying for a week while our things dried and we could move back in. It was the nicest thing anyone could do for us at the time. Anytime I remember this story, I cry. - Fehintola, Lagos.
We would love to read more stories like this about neighbours who impacted your life or influenced your choices in one way or the other. Share with us @spleetafrica on Twitter! 💚
Need a new place to call home? Head over to www.spleet.africa/spaces to rent your next space and enjoy flexible rent payments to match your schedule. 🏡 💚