Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Eddie Murphy as Doctor Doolittle

Didja ever read the children's book Doctor Doolittle?  Remember, the magic man who could speak to animals?  It's also been made into movies as well.  Anyhow, not only could Dr. Doolittle speak with animals...he also lived with them.  Lions lounged in his living room.  Parrots perched in the parlor.  Snakes slithered on the sofa.  Kids loved the concept of a zoo and house rolled into one...what fun!

Well...guess what?  Every one's favorite children's book came to life in Central Nigeria last week.  The rainy season is from April to October, and it smashed records this year, surpassing the previous high set in 1948.  This resulted in the Benue River spilling its banks and flooding dozens of cities and hundreds of towns built near the important waterway.  While it's true...floods occur everywhere...however, in Central Africa they are particularly dangerous.  Because along with the dirty water comes hippos and gators!

The mighty Benue River has burst its banks.
"There is now a hippopotamus in my house!" cried Makurdi resident Wuese Jirake. "My house is still inundated with the flood waters above my waist."  It isn't just hippos.  State media reports that "crocodiles, snakes as well as other dangerous animals" have been reported.  They simply swim into peoples' homes, stores, offices...even libraries.  (Who knew hippos could read?).  It looks like the dangerous animals are gonna stay awhile too...unfortunately, local weathermen have more rain in the forecast.

All toll, some 140,000 people have been displaced in Nigeria.  The death toll currently stands at 148...but it will undoubtedly rise.  See, along with the dangerous animals, torrential waters carry deadly diseases as well...all of which  are difficult to clean up afterwards.  The dire situation is putting pressure on the government in the capital, Lagos.  President GOODLUCK JONATHAN (his real name) and his CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) coalition government want to help... but they have been cautious allocating funds to agencies wrought with corruption and graft.

While it's fun to remember the crazy world of Doctor Doolittle, the real issue here is the unique ecological problems Africa faces.  Simply put, the other five continents have it easy.  The are located within favorable latitudes.   This means they are blessed with large swaths of profitable forests and fertile grasslands.  They have long, navigable rivers and coastlines suitable for harbors.  They don't have to deal with things like the Sahara: The world's largest desert which continues to grow at an alarming rate.  Nor do the other continents have to deal with crazy hippos who swim into your kitchen.

Here's the DUNER BLOG'S solution: Have Nollywood TV producers in Lagos make a reality TV show about the disaster.  We'll call it SNAKES ON A SOFA, and then everyone could see firsthand the differences between Africa and the rest of the world.  Are you listening RYAN SEACREST?

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