Learning one’s lesson while swinging at the rate of the swell is not something impossible in Nigeria. On the coast of Lagos, the most crowded city in Nigeria and one of the most populated ones all over Africa, pupils can attend a floating school in a neighborhood called Makoko. This part of the city is located on Third Mainland Bridge, close to Clinic Road.
The shanty town that became a school
Unfortunately, Makoko’s fate may not change radically, but this is perhaps the beginning of something positive for the slum. Once a village of fishermen in the eighteenth century, Makoko turned into a shanty town peopled with approximately 500 000 inhabitants. People who live in it nowadays are still missing basic and necessary elements such as electricity or access to drinking water.
Things evolved positively in 2012 when an architect called Kunlé Adeyemi decided to build a floating school in the neighborhood. The construction was conceived for Makoko’s children and approved of by its inhabitants. Kunlé Adeyemi chose to have the school built on foundations made with plastic barrels, a school that would have three floors, that would be safe, and that would be built up in order to resist to a rise in the water level.
Now erected, the floating school can host more than a hundred pupils. You can find classrooms, a workshop and a game area in there. Everything started from scratch since the school was conceived with the material that could be found in the surroundings, not only barrels but also wood and bamboo.
If Makoko’s school is not a touristic attraction strictly speaking, it is a way of promoting local initiatives and showing that some great things can be done with few resources. And on top of that, you will not see a school which floats on the water every day!
Sources: Atlas Obscura, Hachette Livre, département Marabout (2016)