Living In Enugu: The Coal City
LIVING IN ENUGU
I was born in parklane hospital one of the biggest and most popular hospitals in enugu located in gra. I spent the first 5 years of my life in Independence layout, an upscale neighborhood in enugu metropolis.the neighborhood was very serene and calm, I attended (good shepherd nursery & primary school) a popular Anglican run school in the neighborhood. living in Independence layout was relatively boring as most of the other houses around mine had tall fences around them Making it difficult for me to socialize, I didn’t even know if kids my age lived around me, and most of the time, I could hear my neighbors but couldn’t get to see them. the neighborhood was actually beautiful, with properly designed and constructed houses, tarred roads and functional drainages,
there were Even functional street lights that lit up my neighbourhood and government workers usually came to trim the grass .
when I was about 6 years old, my family had to relocate from Independence layout due to the high cost of living (especially the house rent).
Read: Living In GRA Enugu
My father found and rented a 3 bedroom apartment in Trans Ekulu, behind the popular dhamijah road. The building was a large block of flats and it had a rather small compound as was typical of most compounds In the neighborhood.this time around, I became more familiar with my neighbors as the houses were much closer and connected to each other.the houses were mostly apartment buildings (block of flats), and bungalows, there was usually heavy traffic and noise in the morning due to the amount of commuters jostling and hustling to get to their work places and the nights seemed to be busier and noisier as bars, beer joints and suya spots dominated the major streets especially the popular dhamijah road.
Trans Ekulu had many privately run nursery and primary schools, and a federal dental college, as well as many small businesses like grocery stores, dry cleaners and a number of large churches especially the popular saint Mary’s Catholic Church and the St Andrews Anglican Church in hill view.
Life in Trans Ekulu was very communal, the youths formed independent football teams and played Street championships in large fields, and I constantly ran into primary school classmates and old neighbours Even after we relocated to another estate (the former CBN staff housing estate) within the suburb.
Also Read: Independence Layout Enugu
Within this period I graduated from primary school into the popular federal government college Enugu (popularly known as FEDI) in Independence layout. I shuttled between home and school Every morning and evening as a day student, the process was exhausting as I had to take a Keke napep twice and a bus ride once before I got to school, but the experience was worth it. While commuting in the morning, I had to pass through major landmarks in the city, like the polo park shopping mall, Otigba junction, Okpara Square, Enugu State House of Assembly, Enugu State Government House, The Enugu mall.
While in school, I had classmates who came from Achara Layout, GRA, Coal Camp, Obiagu, Abakpa, New Haven, Asata and all other major neighbourhoods in Enugu, and through interaction (which included following them home sometimes) I ended up getting some experience of what living in their neighbourhood was like.
I took significant remark of the fact that new Haven wasn’t really different from my resident Trans Ekulu, It was a melting point for people of all social classes in Enugu, and had some of the finest bars, beer joints and local eateries in town, as well as popular churches (St mulumba parish, abakpa was notorious for it’s noisy and jam-packed neighbourhoods. the residents consisted of mostly the middle and working class, with a very little percentage of the upper class inhabiting a little section.
Uwani, New layout, Maryland, Zik Avenue, and Achara layout could not really be described as being middle, lower class or affluent surburbs as people from all categories had a place in them.
Also See: The 10 Best Neighborhoods To Stay In Enugu
Agbani which happened to be home to many educational institutions especially those of higher learning like ESUt, Renaissance University etc was predominantly occupied by students, academicaians and professionals in other fields. it also had it’s fine share of commercial activities in the form of offices and wholesale shops in full operation.
Emene was predominantly an industrial/residential area with many new housing estates and factories springing up. Obiagu was the biggest and most popular ghetto in Enugu.
GRA was a highbrow area, consisting of predominantly residential neighbourhoods, and a handful of commercial establishments like banks, government offices like the Enugu sme centre, the state secretariat, recreational centres like the Polo Park Shopping Mall, New Berries Park, Enugu State Golf Club, Magic Garden, Enugu Sports Club and Restaurants like the popular crunchies, Mama Onynye, Emily, Celebrities etc.
Both residents, indigenes and visitors all attested to the fact that cuisine in Enugu was awesomely exceptional. there are varieties of local, continental and intercontinental dishes to be tried from numerous exotic eateries and restaurants like roots restaurant and Cafe in Independence layout, to ntachi osa in new Haven. there were also varieties of popular street foods to try out in enugu, from fried potato chips and pap to “direct from the pan” Akara and bread, Abacha, Agbugbu and Ji to the ever popular Okpa, available in virtually every corner of town during the early morning hours,and sold steaming hot ( especially to hurrying commuters who wanted to start their day with the right nutrients). One could hardly get stranded in enugu, as there are danfo buses and Keke napeps with the signature color of yellow who shuttled between all the bus stops in the city on a daily basis. there are also yellow taxi cabs, popular around the polo park mall area,who could help visitors navigate their area of choice within the city and the residents get too their preferred destination, though their services cost way more than the commercial buses and rickshaws(Keke).
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Recreation in enugu was no joke. there was a cinema open to the public 7 days a week at the polo park mall, there are a good number of shopping malls (ShopRite, game, Roban stores, spar), gamehouses, pizzerias, lounges clubs(panda in gra etc) alongside hundreds of other smaller bars and joints where residents could unwind for the week or after a demanding day at work.
By the time I was 18, I had a significant number of friends and relatives studying in various British and Montessori curriculum operated primary and secondary Schools as their emergence had become rampant in the state. there were also an abundant number of cost efficient private schools scattered across the surburbs of the state. Enugu also played host to some historically significant educational institutions at both the secondary and tertiary level such as Esut, UNN, College of Immaculate Conception and Holy Rosary College.
Some of the biggest and most popular hospitals in Enugu were the Esut Teaching Hospital in Gra, the Unth in ituku ozalla, Annunciation Hospital Emene, Ntasiobi in Trans Ekulu, Orthopedic among others.
Enugu would have been described as a seemingly perfect Nigerian city had it not been for the water scarcity induced high cost of living, which the running springs of ninth mile(where water tankers refilled and resold in town) could not properly address.
Nevertheless, Enugu is generally a peaceful, city with highly civilized residents and proper social amenities (at least According to Nigerian Standards), and is regarded as a place where those who made money from the other commercially focused states in the South East, came to spend, or enjoy it, due to its abundance of fine pieces of real estates, recreational facilities and generally serene atmosphere.