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Dangerous loaves (1)

By - - [ ]

BUTTER Roll bakery looms like an unfinished painting; vignette of a hub without a name.

Its filthiness strikes you at first sight. Hard noises hit you from the entrance, precursor to the factory’s baking rites.

The ghost-like quality of the bakery’s exterior on a Thursday evening, conflicts with its infinitely diverse yet monolithic work stations – inside, a handful of labourers share common tasks and soiled workspaces.

A network of cobwebs hang jarringly from the dusting ceiling. Beneath the roof, Festus Alabi aka Payen, a mixer, cuts a torrid sight. Shiny rivulets of sweat travel from his armpits, to drop through his sleeveless vest, into the mix of flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt and ‘improvers.’

On the factory floor, the production starts with Alabi, who dumps the mixed dough on the roller operator, two paces behind.

The operator, a middle aged man, feeds dough into a mechanised roller. Like his younger colleagues in the bakery, he is unclad and drippy with sweat. Occasionally, he pauses from his task to wipe the sweat off his face, thus splashing showers of perspiration on the ground and into the processed food. There are no gloves on his hands nor is he wearing an apron. Few minutes later, he lifts the dough, now a sticky mass, and moves from his workstation to dump it on a steel platform, used for traditional moulding and cutting of the processed meal.

Immediately, three young boys attack the giant gob of dough, with consummate speed and skill. Pounding on it with their bare fists, they flatten and roll it to contentment.

•Placing the power generator in the same room as the mixer and roller exposes the dough to Carbon pollution
•Placing the power generator in the same room as the mixer and roller exposes the
dough to Carbon pollution
Amid the flurry, one of the trio pauses to rub the lower end of his back, scratching his finger deliriously across and within the upper part of the groove between his butt cheeks. Relieved, he resumes his task, dipping both hands into the sticky dough, flattening and rolling it with the same fingers he used to relieve his butt itch.

Watching from a distance, the master baker hastens his fellow labourers on their tasks; sidling across the factory floor with exaggerated grace, he monitors the workers’ organised ruckus.

Within the bakehouse’s choked architecture, teenagers toil with aging and more experienced labourers to turn one and a half bag of flour into freshly baked loaves.

The following day, a gaggle of women sit impatiently on worn out benches, like chickens roosting on an old fallen log. They discuss soaring bread prices and turf wars while they await the master baker’s call for the risen and freshly baked bread. At the latter’s signal, they leap from their benches and swarm around him, crowding the entrance.

A privileged few force their way into the bakery; having placed dibs on the bakeshop’s early batch of scented loaves, the master baker lets them have their pick from the first batch.

Gradually, the rabble of retailers begin to thin out, each retailer balancing their erstwhile empty trays, now filled with bread, on their heads as they march off to jostle and sell to consumers on the streets.

As they march off in brisk, purposeful steps, some of the retailers make a detour bringing out branded nylon packs to repackage and rebrand the loaves, in their business names or the identity of bosses they answer to. Some, however, wait till they get to their point of sale or makeshift stalls by the sidewalk.

The bakery stands as a crystalline mirror of several handfuls, dotting the expanse of Agege and Alimosho local councils, revealing all their convoluted facets, monumental incoherence and shimmering vitality.

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7 Comments Nigeria News
Olite1996• 8 months ago
God help us
Iyamahsolomon• 8 months ago
ANOINTING• 8 months ago
Nice one
iammicharles• 8 months ago
Where are the inspection officers?
Raymond• 8 months ago
Abidoun• 8 months ago
innkayobami• 8 months ago

(Go Up)

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