The Floating City
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids|November/December 2019
If you put a fish on dry land, can it survive? That is the way we people here are like. We cannot live on land. Living on water is part of our culture.” -Noah Shemede, native of Makoko
Christine Graf

Makoko, Lagos’ largest slum, is nicknamed the “floating city.” It is located underneath the city’s most heavily traveled bridge, the Third Mainland Bridge. Everyone who crosses the bridge can see the slum. Government officials think it is an eyesore and an embarrassment to the city.

Makoko was established in the 19th century as a fishing village. It has grown a lot since then. Its six distinct villages are presided over by chiefs. Four of the six villages are water-based. The two others are located on land that surrounds the lagoon.

Thousands of small, wooden shacks make up the floating city. The shacks are crowded together in the water. Many are crumbling and patched with tarps. They stand on stilts that have been sunk into the muddy floor of the shallow lagoon. People use dugout canoes to paddle through narrow lanes of water in between homes. Some sell food and household items from their canoes.

There are no waste disposal or sewage systems in Makoko. As many as 15 households share the same latrine. Human waste and garbage are dumped into the lagoon. Residents have no access to running water. Drinking water must be purchased. Vendors obtain the water from boreholes (deep holes dug into the ground) in neighboring towns.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FACES - THE MAGAZINE OF PEOPLE, PLACES AND CULTURES FOR KIDSView All

Animal Central

From golden frogs to big cats to colorful birds, the national animals of Central America represent the geography and cultures of the region. For a quick sampling of creatures plain and beautiful, common and rare, read on.

3 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

31 Countries Biosphere

The Trifinio Fraternidad Biosphere Reserve is located at a spot where El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras converge. A biosphere is the layer of planet Earth where life exists.

2 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

THE LEGEND OF THE QUETZAL BIRD

A Mayan Tale retold by Pat Betteley illustrated by Amanda Shepherd

4 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

Semana Santa GUATEMALA'S HOLY WEEK

What if Easter preparations meant dyeing sand, collecting pine needles, and staying up all night to work on an art project that you knew would be ruined the very next day? Well, welcome to Guatemala’s Semana Santa, or Holy Week.

4 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

ME OH-MAYA!

The Maya are groups of people who live in parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Their ancestors created a great society. At its peak, from 600-900 C.E., the Maya civilization was more advanced than its neighbors in the Americas.

3 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

Playing Games Honduras-style

Would you play the same games in Honduras that you do in the United States? You might. Children in Honduras enjoy many of the same games North Americans do. They go fishing and shoot baskets. They play sandlot baseball—called bate (BAH tay). They fly kites and ride bikes. Their parents may go horseback riding or play golf or tennis.

3 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

LIVING A LONG LIFE IN THE Blue Zone

Most people would like to live as long a life as possible. No one really knows why some people live longer than others, but did you know that where you live can play a big part in how many years you’ll be alive? If you live in a Blue Zone, chances are that you will live much longer than people in other parts of the world.

2 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

ATTENTION WORLD: Belize Saves Their Coral Reef

Sea turtles float in clear waters, colorful corals hug the ocean floor, and aquatic animals glide among the mangrove roots. Welcome to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second-largest coral reef in the world (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is number one). Several years ago, this reef was in crisis, heading toward destruction. But the people of Belize fought back to save their reef’s health.

3 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a 51-mile long canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

2 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021

This is Central America!

It’s time to visit Central America. But first, it helps to know exactly where Central America is. Despite its name, it is the southernmost part of North America, which can seem a little confusing. It makes up most of the isthmus dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and has water on both sides.

4 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
January 2021
RELATED STORIES

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

HOW TO SAIL AWAY WITHOUT QUITTING YOUR LIFE: ADVICE FROM A COUPLE WHO’VE DONE IT. PATRICK AND SHEILA DIXON EXPLAIN HOW TO MAKE ‘HYBRID CRUISING’ WORK

10+ mins read
Yachting World
October 2021

Startups With an Unusual Fight

Often targeted by police, Nigeria’s tech industry works on ways to help protesters

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 09, 2020

Peter Uka

ABC to XYZ

10+ mins read
JUXTAPOZ
Fall 2020

Lagos Is Facing Its Bottle Problem

With plastic beverage container use doubling in three years, pressure to recycle is building

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 18, 2019

Los pumas de Patagonia

Proteger estos felinos de Chile ha tenido graves consecuencias para los ganaderos. ¿El turismo es la solución?

7 mins read
National Geographic en Español
Diciembre 2018

Is Lagos the Most Dangerous Party City On the Planet?

With Nigerian music influencing America hip-hop and EDM, Adam Skolnick travels to the world capital of Afropop and finds a city that's both captivating and conflicted. 

10+ mins read
Playboy Magazine US
April 2016

The Netflix of Africa Doesn’t Need Hollywood to Win

Does the low-budget, DIY, Nollywood-movie-streaming, "Netflix of Africa" have enough of a lead to hold off the real Netflix?

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
February 22 - February 28, 2016

Japan's former princess Mako, husband move to New York

A Japanese princess who gave up her royal status to marry her commoner college sweetheart left for New York on Sunday, as the couple pursued happiness as newlyweds and left behind a nation that has criticised their romance.

1 min read
The Morning Standard
November 15, 2021

THE KING OF AFROPOP

He’s the guy Drake and Beyoncé call up whenever they need a continent-spanning smash hit and now, Lagos’s own Wizkid is taking over speakers everywhere with the sounds of home.

10+ mins read
GQ India
October 2021

Terruño antiguo, nueva raíces

El espectacular Valle de Okanagan, en Canadá, emerge como un diverso y emocionante destino vinícola.

7 mins read
Food & Wine en Español
Abril 2021