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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Directions

I am sure the guy who was operating this crane was really wishing that he had read the manual on how to operate this machinery. This was a scene right outside Guy's office building.


Maybe he wasn't paying attention when his teacher was teaching the class about weight and that lighter pieces of machinery can't pick up a heavier pieces of equipment. This got me started thinking about directions in general. It would be so nice to have a direction manual about how to deal with drivers, people on strike...and even my daughter...

Tonight, she picked up a paper and asked me what it was. I told her it was a set of directions (on how to play one of Jeremy's games). She said, "For me?" I started laughing...I really wish I had directions for her...that would make life so much easier if my children came with a direction manual. It's ironic, though. When we have directions for something, we really don't use them. But, when we need directions, they are nowhere to be found.:)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family in the U.S. You can see by my little pilgrim and Native American, we are getting into the spirit of this holiday.:) I miss being in the U.S. for this holiday. Obviously, it is not a Nigerian holiday so it is not observed over here. It is just another regular day. Last year, Thanksgiving fell on the Muslim holiday of Eid ( which is also a Nigerian national holiday), so Guy had the day off work. Today, he left for work at his regular time. But, we are going to have a fantastic turkey dinner tonight with some friends on our compound. (Yes, we brought a Butterball back in our suitcase from the U.S. It has been thawing for the last three days):) I have to remember all the great friends we have made while we have been here and give thanks for that! After all, it is Thanksgiving.:)


The kids made some decorations for Thanksgiving which we hung on our door.:)

You always know the Holiday season is coming when you are in Lagos. No, there's no snow......or I guess you could say that it is the Nigerian form of snow.....harmattan. Harmattan ( the dust that blows in from the Sahara Desert) comes around this time every year. Usually I can look out my kitchen window and see the Atlantic Ocean. Today, I came into the kitchen and couldn't even make it out through all the harmattan.:)
As I close, I want to tell each and every one of you how thankful I am for all of you. I look back over this year and treasure all the great memories I have had with my friends and family and look forward to the upcoming year and all the wonderful things it will bring. Happy Thanksgiving!:)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yes......I can!

Just in case some of you think I forgot how to use a stove....I wanted to show you that I can still operate one.:) I had Elizabeth help me make Rice Krispie treats the other day. ( I did have to look up the recipe on the Internet , though. It had been a while since I made them.)


She really likes to cook, though.....
Maybe coming to Nigeria wasn't such a bad idea. At least Elizabeth likes to cook...maybe she can cook for the family when we move back to the U.S. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

You know you are in Nigeria when...

You have to blow dry your hair in......your kitchen!!! Yes, that is where I ended up today after plugging and unplugging the appliance I use everyday. It all started with pushing the button on the blow dryer in my bathroom....and it didn't work. It turned out that the outlet just doesn't work anymore. So, I went to the kids' bathroom and everything was working out just fine, when POOF!!! a spark shot out of the outlet and the blow dryer turned off. That was it for that outlet...and the adapter. Then, the search was on for another adapter. After one was finally located, the last place I could go and dry my hair was yes....my kitchen. The only good thing about drying my hair in the kitchen was that I could be entertained by all the crazy okada drivers I can see out my kitchen window.:) On top of that, Elizabeth was up way too early this morning which was evident by her constant whining and refusal of putting on her Belle, Cinderella or Princess Jasmine panties......of course she wanted the Princess Tiana ones ( which were the first ones I pulled out of her drawer and rejected I might add!). I think she is getting up so early now because she is in her "big girl" bed and is not "jailed" in by her crib.:) Between her and the quest to blow dry my hair today, I was ready for a glass of wine at 7 a.m. No, just kidding......but never underestimate a great cup of coffee to make yourself feel better.:)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crazy!

Last night, I was up with a sick child. Jeremy had a fever and I was up every four hours to check on him and give him medicine. Needless to say, I was exhausted when I finally had to get up for good this morning. I felt a little crazy until I was looking through some pictures I took from the car last week, and they made me realize that my life isn't as crazy as I sometimes think it is.:)

I thought I'd share these pictures with you. The kids and I saw this truck carrying bulls "to market" as Fatai says. Elizabeth looked out the window and asked me "Why the cows fallin' down?" Sure enough every time the truck stopped ( which was a lot in the traffic we were in) the bulls would fall forward on top of one another. Jeremy asked me if they were hurt. I am sure they weren't feeling too good. I am not sure what he USDA would have to say about the transportation of these bulls.


I'm glad I don't have the man who is sitting in the back of the truck's job.:)

This made me laugh out loud when I saw this public bus. This is an example of a true Nigerian exhaust system. It comes complete with a chain to hold up the muffler.:) So, I now realize my life isn't so crazy after all. Sometimes I think what I see here is crazy, but for many Nigerians, it is just life as usual.:) Maye if I stay here long enough, I'll start to think like a Nigerian........on second thought...nah!:)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Lagniappe

Elizabeth: The other morning, I turned the T.V. on for the kids. I saw that a show they really like , "Penelope K. By the Way"was on. I said, "Oh look, it's Penelope K!". Elizabeth looked at me and laughed. She said, "Mama say LMNOP!" It's funny what kids think they hear. Maybe when I tell Jeremy to go and get dressed, he hears," No, really , stay on the couch and watch T.V." You never know.:)

I wanted to share this video of Jeremy swimming the length of the pool here. He has been working so hard and has had a wonderful swimming teacher. He has come so far in the last year. He went from being afraid to being away from the ladder to swimming the length of the pool and diving (I will get a video of the diving to post another time):)


video

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sand and Coconuts

This past weekend, we took another beach trip with some friends from the compound. it was fun to see the kids play in the sand and jump in the waves. Although the beach is so rough, (we didn't really venture in past our ankles with our life vests on), it didn't matter to the kids. They had a ton of fun looking for sea shells. We even saw a few little sand crabs . ( Jeremy wasn't too happy about that.:)

"Ambassador Elizabeth" always makes sure to say "hi" to the village children who live at the beach. She and her friend passed out candy to the children. It was really neat because the children also go to the beach school I help with. They all have such beautiful smiles.:)

Playing with the children from the village.


The "big kids" a.k.a. "The Daddys" managed to climb on top of each other to get a few coconuts down from the coconut tree. The kids thought that was the coolest thing they had ever seen.:)
Lizzy and her buddies.:)It's funny how kids always want to play with what they don't have. Jeremy loved playing with the coconut while the little boy from the village loved the beach ball.:)
It is always fun to take the kids out to the beach. Even though they don't even know it, they are learning so much about the world. They are learning about differences, culture, families, etc. It is so nice to see my kids play with the kids from the village. Too bad the rest of the world can't get along as well as these children. Who knew you could learn so much from a place with sand and coconuts? I think we could all learn a lesson from our kids.:)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Never...

I have been thinking about writing this post for a little while now...I think about it everyday when I am in the car driving by and looking at all the interesting things happening outside my window. A few weeks ago, I started thinking to myself all the things I never thought I would do...and I came to realize that I have changed... at least a little...some for good and some not so good...since I have moved here. And, as I was thinking about these things, the word "Never" kept entering into my mind...

I never thought I would see a giant Avocado.

I never thought I would see a small baby ride an okada.

I never thought I could ever witness such destitution and helplessness.

I never thought would see grown men riding around on skateboards because their legs were so shriveled and crippled.

I never thought I would ever look away from someone who was begging for something..anything I could give them.

I never thought I would ever teach teachers basic first aid.

I never thought I would ever leave my children an ocean away from me.

I never thought I would have my own personal staff.

I never thought I would come to think of my stewardess, Happiness, like a member of my family.

I never thought I would ever sit in a room with a person from Colombia, Sweden, Argentina, England, and South Africa all together at the same time.

I never thought I would teach beach school children how to compose a letter to write back to the U.S.

I never thought I would ever walk away from a vendor and not buy something over the difference of 100 naira.

I never thought I wouldn't believe things a Nigerian man tells me.

I never thought I would live in a third world country.

I never thought I would live on the continent of Africa.

I think living here has changed me a bit. I have to say, some of the things I am not so proud of, and alot of the time I feel terrible that I can't help everyone I see on the street. I guess the old saying is right...you should never say "never".


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back to the Beach

Well, at least to the beach school.:) I had to take a picture of this shipwreck that was on the way to the beach. It is crazy how so many ships are left to rot in the water here.:)


Here are a few pictures of some of the students at the school. They are always so excited to see all of us when we come out. They have such beautiful smiles to welcome us to their school.

The Foundation is starting a Pen Pal program with some students in the U.S. to write to the children at the beach school. It was really fun putting my "teacher cap" back on to teach the students about where the U.S. is and where Nigeria is. We read one of the letters from the students in the U.S. and talked about what the children at the beach school would like to tell the children in the U.S. Then, we talked about the parts of a letter and how to put it together. I can't wait to pick the letters up when we go back and send the letters off to the children in the U.S.:)
Recess time! It is so amazing to me to see the boys kick the ball barefoot in the sand. They are really fast. It was a really great trip out to the beach with all the members of the foundation. It does say in the book "Nigerian Gems (which we sell to raise money for the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation) that in Nigeria , education is still thought of as a privilege. It is strange to even think that way coming from the U.S. I think many times, we take education for granted. We think of it as a right. I have to count my blessings I was born in the U.S. There is so much need here in Nigeria, and sometimes I really feel overwhelmed with what I can do to help. But, today was one of those days that I really felt like I am helping here...even if it is in a very small way.:)