A City Called Jalingo

18 May 2024

Hi Bulb Family,

Apologies....I have been off base for a while hence the inconsistencies.

Here is a brief of my past few days.....

A Journey Through Taraba’s Capital

On a brisk Tuesday morning, I embarked on a journey from Abuja Airport, bound for Yola Airport. My destination was Jalingo, the capital city of Taraba State, where I was scheduled to undertake a site visitation and evaluation for a landscape project. Little did I know, the trip would be an adventure in itself, offering a glimpse into the vibrant life and challenges of this northeastern Nigerian city.

The Journey Begins

Upon landing at Yola Airport, I was greeted by the warm and humid air typical of this region. The clock struck 5:30 PM as I hopped onto a standby truck, my chosen mode of transport for the next leg of the journey. The truck, though far from the comforts of modern vehicles, was my gateway to Jalingo, a city that had long piqued my curiosity.

The road from Yola to Jalingo was an experience unto itself. For over three hours, we navigated a path riddled with potholes, making the ride bumpy and exhausting. As night fell, the road seemed even more treacherous, with the truck's headlights barely illuminating the craters ahead. Despite the challenges, there was something enchanting about the journey—the vast open skies, the distant mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, and the occasional villages that dotted the landscape.

Arrival in Jalingo

It was well past nightfall when we finally rolled into Jalingo. The city, though cloaked in darkness, buzzed with life. Street vendors were still plying their trade, and the sounds of the evening filled the air. Exhausted yet eager, I found my way to my accommodation, ready to rest and prepare for the days ahead.

Purpose of the Visit

The primary purpose of my trip was to visit and evaluate a landscape project situated in the heart of Jalingo. As a landscape designer, this project was significant—it promised to transform a piece of the city into a green oasis. I had two days to come up with a design and set the concept in motion.

The first day was spent touring the site, taking in the lay of the land, and understanding the specific needs and desires of the local stakeholders. The heat was intense, but the enthusiasm of the local team was palpable. They spoke passionately about the project’s potential to beautify the area and provide a communal space for residents.

Back at my temporary base, I began sketching out designs, incorporating elements that would reflect the natural beauty of Jalingo while offering practical benefits like shade and recreational areas. The challenge was to create a space that was both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable, using materials that were locally sourced and environmentally friendly.

Budgetary Concerns

One major challenge quickly became apparent: the cost of transportation. The journey from Yola to Jalingo had not only been long and arduous but also expensive. This expense was eating deep into the project’s budget, raising concerns about the feasibility of some planned elements. As I pored over the figures, I wondered if I might need to apply for variations to ensure the project's completion within the allocated funds.

Exploring Jalingo

Despite the tight schedule, I was determined to explore the city. This was my first visit to both Yola and Taraba, and I was keen to experience the local culture and landscape.

Jalingo, nestled at the foot of the Mambilla Plateau, is a city of contrasts. By day, it is bustling with activity—markets thrumming with traders, streets filled with the sounds of motorbikes, and the air thick with the scents of local cuisine. By night, it transforms into a quieter, more introspective place, where one can hear the distant calls of nocturnal creatures and see the stars shining brightly overhead.

During my brief sojourn, I visited the Jalingo Market, a vibrant hub where one can find everything from fresh produce to traditional crafts. The market is a microcosm of the city’s diversity, reflecting the rich tapestry of cultures that call Jalingo home. I also took a short trip to the Lamido’s Palace, an architectural marvel that stands as a testament to the region’s history and heritage.

Thanks for Reading!

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