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Understanding the Appetite of the Base of the Pyramid—The Talakawa Dance

Please, this is not a religious post. It’s an observation of a sociological phenomenon. Besides being a medical doctor and clergyman, I’m a social scientist with a Masters degree.

You will notice that the Chinese target the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), either by producing goods at affordable prices from phones, chairs, to electronics. While the multinationals target the base of the pyramid by packaging most consumables in sachets so that those at the BoP can have a taste of what the ‘rich’ consume.

My mother used to say, “Oviogberhe rhion oborifowho ko otarigho“, which means that the poor knows what is befitting if not for lack of money.

Those at the BoP are value consumers with little disposable incomes. In fact, they like enjoyment just like the rich, if not even more. They like good schools for their children. They like good public transportation systems. When I see them in shopping malls like ShopRite, I remember when I used to trek from Okere to K. Chellaram, near Goltschalk, around where the naval base is currently, just to buy Smarties chocolate.

It’s this same desire that propelled us to attend the same schools and read the same courses with the children of the elite. And by the grace of God, we are where we are. Then, there was social justice unlike today.

I did not use my Pentecostal or ‘religious’ eyes to look at these women having a little fun in the midst of their hard work. Their dance steps might not meet what I expect in church, but some of our church babes dance like this too.

Can you imagine how much of the desire to have some legitimate, morally-permissible fun trapped in them? The pressure of life in the Talakawa economy is more on women.

Yesterday, I prepared beans pie from my school canteen to distribute for the children of my workers, because sometimes they eat garri mixed with palm oil. There is so much poverty in the land.

In fact, one of the women fried garri till 3 a.m. this morning, and still came to work at this site. I paid N100,000 to the workers today, apart from those I paid for processing cassava. At least, there will be food on some tables tonight. They just needed to express the trapped desire for some fun despite the heavy burden most of them carry.

Don’t judge them with your church mind. Remember, there is that child in each of us.

Go check out their ages, they must be in their mid-30s to 40’s. With a little easing of the burden on these women, they will be healthier, more beautiful, and more productive. I am thinking of organising them into a cooperative so that they can have other small businesses to do, because they can’t continue like this.

Every nation and her leadership must, as much as possible, bring some joy to those at the BoP.

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God Bless You.

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