There are different ways in which courage manifests. Sometimes, it is in leaving, moving forward. To see more and tell more. Maybe be more. There are those who have come from outside Nigeria—even Africa—to make this trip. There are also two who have had barely a week to prepare for the 50-day trip ahead. Some of us have had months.
It is not yet 10 a.m. on Friday but we are both tired. From waiting. And from the early morning Amala consumed. I am surprised when she, Lesedi, says they have a similar meal in South Africa. I forget the name now. Not really. I just can’t translate the click in the pronunciation to text. The 2012 Invisible Borders team is still in Lagos, but we’re already making attempts to cross borders. Of food. Language. We need to cross other borders faster. Some of us are eager to set out, while others want one more day. We have put this to debate twice. It has been decided that we will remain in Lagos till Sunday morning.
Rewind to Wednesday and a meeting fixed for 1 p.m., moved to 2 p.m., and commenced at past 3 p.m. It was the first time the entire 2012 team was meeting. There was, at first, the tentativeness; the toes-first-in-water moment. Soon we were talking in groups of twos and threes, and then the meeting started. Emeka talked about Invisible Borders; the vision, past trips, and the present. Amaize Ojeikere, a founding member of the collective, was there also. He is not going on the road trip, but he was there to lend his support, answer questions, and make us laugh. There was boli and epa, and there was the first debate on whether to take off on Saturday or Sunday. Saturday won.
The 2012 edition of the project officially kicked off on Thursday, August 23, with a press conference held at Frameworks. It did not start on time. There’s an app for being early, it’s called an alarm clock. I think we need an enforcer, preferably a woman. All three women have been on time since Wednesday. Emeka introduced the project to the press and answered their questions. There were also one-on-one interviews with some team members afterwards. We were off to a good start.
Fast forward to the present… which is now past. When everybody arrives at Frameworks (Novo has gone ahead), we take off for Kelechi Amadi-Obi’s studio. We are scheduled for a photo shoot for the magazine he publishes, Style Mania. The shoot goes well; and, beyond that, we learn more about each other. It is our first time in the van together, but, unlike most first times, it is not awkward. We get back to Frameworks and equipment is handed out. There is the second debate on when to take off. Sunday wins.
We have Saturday to say our goodbyes, pack our bags, and head out on this journey. I am an addict of journeys. Sometimes I want to freeze time, just keep going, seeing, writing, being more. I have 50 days to do that. I have 50 days to write what I see and feel, and to attempt to get into the heads of the photographers and see what they see also. But I shouldn’t say “I”. Emmanuel and I will be doing the writing.
Welcome to Invisible Borders 2012. The journey is the destination.