Poor people are vile says Joy Isi Bewaji

Poor people are vile. Y’all can get mad if you want, but I’m standing right here and I’ll say it again. Poor people are vile. There’s an unfinished building over the fence, next to my house. You know how someone had the grand idea of building a duplex and they tell him if he ever finishes building that house, he may die. A subtle threat from village people. Ok, I’m being too dramatic. Maybe dude just ran out of cash and ran off to Atlanta or Egypt to live a less stressful life.

So it’s an unfinished building. But this did not stop people from living there as tenants, paying rent to only-god-knows-who. Families live here – men with hair on their chests, women with big breasts, and chatty school children. It’s incredible. They had to roof blocks to create the idea of home. This, however, is where the humility ends.

These poor people fight everyday. It starts from as early as 7am. It’s a pattern…Firstly, one woman wakes up and starts loud prayers where she sentences all her “jealous neighbours” to hellfire. Bitch, you live in an uncompleted building. Who the fuck is jealous of you? Be quiet. The rest of us on the other side of the fence need to sleep.

You would think my rent will afford me peace. Whossai! Lekki phase 1 kee you there! So anyway, she prays that everyone will see her excel. If only she will just get up, shut up and go excel in peace without reminding us she is about to “blow” every other week. Yawn.

poor people are vile says Joy Isi Bewaji

Next up is the “morning fight”. Someone always ticks someone off. They spew bitter words. It’s usually between a “married woman” and an “unmarried man”. I never get to see their faces, as I am still in my bed, trying to enjoy that early morning sleep residue that begs to be enjoyed.

But I can tell, from the voices, who is angrier. It is always the “married woman”. The “unmarried man” is always cautious but he doesn’t back down. Nobody backs down. Poor people like these distractions in their lives because, heck, there’s not much to do anyway.

The married woman manages to throw in the number of kids she has and the number of years she has been married as her qualification for respect.

This humbles the not-so-bright unmarried man as I begin to hear the stutter in his voice, as if he is not worthy to confront this goddess with a husband and children. He is aware of her accolades, of course, since they all live in the unfinished construction. But a stern reminder never hurt anyone, I guess.

They finally get to a juncture in this fight where her children jump out from only-god-knows-where to remind mummy they are late for school.

Fight over. Next is the “singing man”. He sings all the folklore songs in Africa and it’s not even midday yet. Later, the “choir mistress”. She’s going to sing all the church songs to remind all her neighbours she is not one to mess with. She’s got Jizos by her side. Halleluuuuuuu!

I get up and step out on my balcony. To watch the last dew of the morning licked by the sun. I look over the fence to the homes of these people – the debris, the rusted roofs, the scum on unpainted blocks. And I wonder why “pepper-dem” is something poor people invest in with all their might.


Woman. Journalist. Writer. Blogger. Non Conformist. Rebel. Daring. Creative. Amazing. Unstoppable.

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