Dinner in Lagos

Ayotola was born in 2020, at a time of great change for humanity. 

As she looks back on her life with her family over dinner one evening in the 2050’s, what has changed since we took a Giant Leap?

“Remember the Racket?”

Ayotola and her mother are scrolling through old photos on Ayotola’s computer in her home office. Her mother squints at the screen, then puts her hands to her head and laughs. “Oh! The Racket! The smell, the noise! It was home, but…”

They reminisce about the little house where the family spent the first years of her life, in the slums of the Racket on the outskirts of Lagos. Ayotola remembers walking to school and seeing, far off on the other side of the highway, the shiny skyscrapers, brief glimpses of gated communities with their lush gardens and security guards. The Bubble. That’s where the rich people lived. It wasn’t fair.

The Bubble’s still there, but hardly anyone lives there anymore. There’s no need. New houses like Ayotola’s are small, but they’re comfortable. After the terrible floods when she was a teenager, the government invested some of the new climate adaptation fund in homes away from the rising waters. It’s still hot - too hot, too often, in Lagos, but the houses are smartly designed to stay cool on the hottest days, and the community solar installation keeps everything running.

Ayotola scrolls to another photograph, this time of a handsome teenage boy grinning and waving at the camera. “And Yusuf! To think he might have almost gone to Europe…”

As if on cue, her husband walks in. The rich smell of pepper stew wafts in behind him. “I’m glad I stayed to see Nigeria change. The floods were tough. And oh, those riots…when the Racket flooded and there was nowhere for anyone go! I was just about ready to follow the others. To Spain or France.”

“But it was a wake-up call to everyone,” says Ayotola’s mother. “You signed up for that training at the solar plant. They built those new houses. Finally started taxing the big shots with their private jets!” They all laugh. “And then all the big climate investments from, what do you call it, the World Bank. Now there’s enough for everyone. We turned it around.”

Yusuf closes the door as he heads back to the kitchen. Ayotola smiles.

“I was scared for a while, you know,” says her mother quietly. “Your father and I thought we might not be able to keep you in school. It was so expensive. We thought you might have to get married instead…you were so young.”

“Mama, don’t you think about it anymore. Let’s just be glad those Universal Dividend cheques started coming in! If it wasn’t for them, I’d never have got to university. But look at us now. Your daughter, an accountant!”

Yusuf opens the door again, wiping his hands on his apron. “Enough of this reminiscing! We have so much to look forward to. Now, is everyone ready for dinner?”

Ayotola was born in 2020, at the start of a decisive decade for humanity. In Earth4All’s Giant Leap scenario, global action on poverty and inequality, food and energy systems, and women’s empowerment have pulled us back from the worst of social unrest and climate chaos. A new era of equality, opportunity and potential for young women like Ayotola and millions others around the world has opened up.

We must make important choices in the next decade to ensure this scenario of wellbeing is within reach. Read the stories of the four girls in the Earth4All scenarios, find out how to get involved, or enter our Stories of the Future Creative Challenge and write your own future story.

Get creative and win!

We’ve imagined how Ayotola’s story ends if we make the five Earth4All turnarounds. Now it’s your turn! Read our interactive storybook exploring the futures of four girls, and imagine what life might be like in the coming years for a character growing up in your country. Write, draw, paint or film your vision, and you could win prizes and be published in our digital magazine! 

Read more stories

Meet Ayotola, Carla, Samiha and Shu in our interactive storytelling tool and discover how their lives change if we stay on our current path, or take a Giant Leap.