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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Regaining my Sanity?!

For the last six weeks, I have been working with a friend of mine on decorations for a huge event held here in Lagos called Small World ( I had mentioned it in a previous post). This event is a HUGE fundraiser for many charities here in Nigeria. We started off with a decorating committee of about 6 women...but it dwindled down to just my friend and myself. Needless to say, with 27 countries represented and about 2000 people attending the event, we had our work cut out for us!!!:) The two of us had many painting sessions til about midnight or 1 a.m. Last week was the most emotionally and physically exhausting, though. The sun here in Lagos is unforgiving and the heat is almost unbearable. The entire event took place outside, so we were outside everyday last week getting things ready with the other committee members (operations, security, main stage,etc.). Saturday was the actual event and I was actually outside from 7:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. I kept applying sunscreen, but it would sweat right off. My friend and I didn't even take a shower the end of the day. The school where the event was being held said that we could take a shower there, but like so many other places in Nigeria, there was no water and no lights in the shower area when we were going to take a shower. So, we "showered" outside with bottles of bottled water. we were filthy! our skin was covered in dirt an my friend's feet were covered in dirt and mud. We couldn't help but laugh at the whole situation.:) We were so tired, but everything turned out to look beautiful. I just wished I could have enjoyed it a little more...but I was so tired. The Small World event did manage to raise 32 million naira for charity. Now, I need to regain my sanity...I am not sure whether to blame my forgetfulness now on Malarone, exhaustion or both!:) ha ha

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Everyday street scenes

Today, I was coming back from working on things for Small World. I finally rememberd to bring my camera with me in the car so I could take a picture of what I see everyday as Fatai is driving me down the street to the sight where I am working...never expected to see cows and goats in the middle of the street!:)

Random Happenings

A few things the kids have done in the past few days:

Jeremy: I was making him lunch and I asked him if he wanted apples or oranges. He
said,"Apples and oranges, please." I said," Pick one or the other." He said " The other.":)

Elizabeth: She was outside with Guy and Jeremy taking Bernie out. They took a basketball with them. The ball was too big for Elizabeth to carry and also be able to see where she was going. So, she did the one thing she sees all the time...she held it on top of her head and walked. She could see everything just perfectly!:)

Monday, February 15, 2010

No Wonder...

Last night, Guy came home from being gone for a week for a business trip. Being the "gourmet cook" that I am ( ha ha) I pulled out some gumbo Guy had made a while ago and defrosted it for his homecoming meal. ( Thank goodness he isn't picky about me cooking for him!) I went into the pantry to get out the rice, and opened up the tub we keep the rice in. I was totally surprised to find small black bugs crawling in the rice!!!! Yikes!! I went into the plastic bin which is sealed tight and had several bags of rice in zip loc bags. I was totally shocked to find bugs crawling both inside the bags and outside the bags!!! There was only one bag that there were no bugs inside. I immediately put that bag in the freezer and threw the other bags of rice in the trash.
This morning, when Happiness came to work, I told her about the bugs in the rice. She immediately said," Madame, you didn't throw the rice away, did you???" I told her of course I did. She said that she would have kept it and put it in a bin and waited for the bugs to crawl out. Then, she would wash the rice very well and then cook and eat it. ( I don't know about that!!) But, I did feel a little bad about throwing the rice away in the trash when she would have eaten it. Then she said ," Oh well, the gardener will find it when he goes through the trash today. He will be VERY happy." I looked at her a little puzzled. She said, "The gardener always goes through all the trash in the dumpster. If he doesn't, then, the garbage men will rummage through it. And, if they don't then, the security guards will." I couldn't help the sad feeling that came over me. I know there are hungry people out there...but I guess in my mind, I always thought they were "street people" people you see begging for food. But, these people were people who actually work on my compound. I suddenly felt really wasteful that I had thrown the rice away. I am sure that rice could have fed a family for a while. But, then I felt a little good that at least the gardener or the garbage men would have a "lucky day". This started me thinking about the state of Nigeria. The president of Nigeria was declared too ill to run the country about three months ago, so the vice president of Nigeria was declared the interim president. one of the national papers reported that the president was dead, but no one wanted to admit it. Another paper reported that the president was indeed alive. However, no one in the country has seen the president for three is he alive or is he dead??? no one knows. No wonder many people in this country lie to each other. No wonder people have to dig in the garbage for food even though they are considered to have "good jobs" by Nigerian standards. Their own government cannot even tell them the truth about their own president...let alone take care of the people in their country. It really makes me see things in a different perspective. You really can't judge a person until you have walked in their shoes. If I grew up here, maybe I would be digging in a dumpster, too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!

It is Chinese New Year's Eve today. Gong Xi Fa Cai !!! ( pronounced "Gung Hay Fat Choy"). Last night, the kids and I were invited to a traditional Chinese New Year Dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. ( Yes, there is a very good Chinese restaurant nearby our compound...if you can believe it.) Guy wasn't able to come with us because he is on a business trip to North Carolina. I wasn't sure what to expect. We met my friend and her three boys at the restaurant and there were so many other friends of hers there as well. It was so fun meeting all the people and there were over 20 children as well. My friend told me it is traditional to have a huge family style meal together. She even brought Jeremy a Chinese outfit from China for the occasion.:) Luckily my very good friend from back in Houston had given me an outfit that had belonged to her both kids were dressed for the event. They had so much fun playing with the other children while the adults got to eat ( after the children, of course.) I have to say that the absolute best event of the night was the traditional Lion Dance. The drums and the gong were so neat to hear. Jeremy was fascinated, and I now know of only one thing Elizabeth is scared of....the Lion Dance. After she was in my arms though...she thought it was pretty entertaining.:) We all got to touch the Lion's head at the end to have good luck for the coming year. I wanted to share some pictures with you of the great time we had last night. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you all!:)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

There is a very special event that happens every year in Lagos which brings people from all different parts of the world together. This event is called Small World. It is an event which is put together by all women from different countries. This year, 27 different countries will be represented at Small World. Each country group decides on a charity it would like to support, and the money made from ticket sales of Small World is divided evenly among the countries to give to their respective charity. The whole event is very fun ( I have heard). Each country has a booth which they sell food native to that particular country. There are performances from several different countries on the main stage. This year is the 15th Small World event. When I heard about it, I really wanted to get involved with it and help to support the women who put it all together. I became part of the decorations committee for the event along with a lady I met through Jeremy's class at school. Little did we know how crazy it was going to get as the date for Small world is approaching (Feb. 20). We have had many late nights up painting country boards, menu boards, and sponsor boards, cutting fabric, measuring, wrapping, etc. i have been telling alot of my friends and family about it, and I thought I would show a few pictures of what we have been working on so far. Now you can see what it is we have been working on while I have been burning the midnight oil.:)

Getting ready for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is approaching fast. We are getting ready for Jeremy's Valentine's party on Friday. Tomorrow, he is going to pass out Valentines to his friends at school, and on Friday, they will open them. This is the first year that he has filled out his own Valentines. I hope he remembered to make me one, too!!! :) A special thanks to our friends who were able to get valetines to us.:)

A Day full Of Happiness!

Happiness' birthday was on Monday. Jeremy was so proud to give Happiness a cupcake that he had helped to make. She was really surprised and smiled so big. How could her name be anything other than Happiness???

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Could it be true?

I have to say that yes....yes it is!!! I made chocolate cupcakes from scratch today, and the kids helped me make the frosting (also from scratch):) Tomorrow is Happiness' birthday, and the kids and I made her cupcakes. Jeremy also made her a birthday card. They were working so well together making the frosting that Jeremy actually suggested that I take a picture of them. Maybe there is hope for them in the kitchen...I think I was in another line when God was passing out the cooking gene.:)


I was makng Elizabeth a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day. I layed out the bread, and I was reaching for the peanut butter when something caught my eye. I looked down at the bread, and to my surprise I saw something yellow. I looked closer and saw that it was a hard kernel of corn. I have to say that I never thought I would see that in a slice of wheat bread!:) Only in Nigeria!:)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weight loss on a bus...

Today, while I was driving with Fatai ( after the protesters left at 1:30 p.m.), I saw this advertisement on the back of one of the public buses. It made me laugh...I have never seen a tummy weight loss kit....but apparently I can get one here!:)

Still Striking

So, the protesters were back again today. Yesterday it was kind of funny, but today it is annoying. Fatai took Guy to work and then could not get back in the compound. Which meant that I couldn't take Jeremy to school. I took a picture from our back balcony of the line the cars are in for fuel which is something else which is going on outside our compound. So, above is the line for fuel or as they say in Nigeria, "The queue for the foil." The "queueing" has been taking place since sometime in November. I am not clear on what is really happening. It seems that there is a combination of higher fuel prices and a lack of fuel at some stations which is causing cars to wait in line. If you ask me, it almost looks like hurricane season in Houston.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jeremy's Field Trip

I bet with a title like that you are expecting to see pictures of Jeremy's first field trip ever. Yes, that is what I was expecting to post also. His class went to a go cart place to culminate their unit on transportation (Yes, there is a place to ride go carts in Lagos...I was surprised, too.) I knew something was up this morning when Guy left for work and walked back in 5 minutes later. He told me that union workers were on strike and they had blocked the front gate (the only way in or out of the compound). So, he went back downstairs to check on the entrance and it had cleared. So, Fatai took him down the street to work. However, Fatai could not get back into the compound. The protesters were blocking the gate and letting no one back in. Needless to say, I had no vehicle to take Jeremy to school. It is just too dangerous to go out on the street here by myself; especially when there is a strike going on. So, Jeremy's class went on the field trip today, and his teacher told me in an e-mail that she would miss him at th field trip. But, if you look on the bright side, what other child can say he missed his first field trip because of a worker strike in Nigeria?:)

No one needs to worry about us, though. We are safe on the compound. I thought you may like to see what the protesting looked is actually quite funny.:)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mirrors for Sale!

I thought I would share this picture with you. I was driving home with Fatai yesterday, and I saw that someone was selling mirrors along the street. I don't think he takes too much time to look in the mirror. I think this area needs a little more than mirrors to help it! ha ha:)

What Makes Me Smile

Yesterday, a very dear friend of mine shared a video with me on Youtube. It was called "The Gift of an Ordinary Day". All of you moms could totally relate to it, and I highly recommend you also check it out. It was a mother sharing her thoughts on raising kids and realizing that the best gift of all is having an ordinary day with her children when they were small. I had to share this video of my kids dancing to my favorite song right now ( I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas). The song makes me happy, and seeing the kds dancing to it makes me smile everytime. The ordinary days and the cute little things the little ones do are really the best gift of all. I need to remind myself to open my eyes and take it all in because they will be all grown up before I know it.:)