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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stop, Drop, and Chill!

Since Guy left for port Harcourt on Thursday, things have felt a little different around here. I have to say that I really do miss having him around at night to help get the kids ready for bed.:) And, I am pretty sure they miss him, too. Elizabeth keeps asking me "When Daddy come back?" I tell her he had to travel. And then she just screams "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I swear we have talked about that at least three to four times a day and every time her reaction is the same...well, maybe not exactly the same...I think her screams reach a new decibel every time.:)

As many of you moms out there's tough when your hubby is gone for a while. Before you all start screaming that I have a nanny...what am I complaining about!!? I don't keep her all the time when Guy is gone ( or when he is here for that matter). I kind of like it at night when we can all have some time together alone in our flat. Yes, even as much as I love Happiness.:) Which means that I do the dishes (no dishwasher......I think if there was only one thing I could bring in my shipment would be the dishwasher!) and get the kids lunches ready for school the next day while Guy does the bath and snack time before bed.

But, that all changed today when Jeremy woke up with a fever and sore throat. I really wanted Happiness to come over and rescue me from my two whining ( but adorable) children. I haven't been in an actual math class for a while but I am pretty sure that:

1 sick 5 year old +1 antagonizing 2 year old+ 1 malarone clouded mom - 1 usually level headed dad x one 1800 square foot flat= disaster!!!!

That is exactly what I thought this day would turn out to be while Jeremy was trying to watch T.V. on the couch while his sister was constantly standing in front of him so he couldn't see or taking his blanket off of him and running away or going in his room and bringing out his toys to show him that she could play with them and there wasn't too much he could do about it...poor little guy! I thought I had finally gotten them settled so I went to take a quick shower. Gosh Darn that American Children's Tylenol!!!! It took effect pretty quickly, and I heard Jeremy and Lizzy screaming down the hall and finally into my usual 3 minute shower quickly turned into a 1 minute 15 second shower when the alarm of my daughter screaming at the top of her lungs went off! I have to ask, why is it that kids can play anywhere in the entire house...and mine always, always end up right next to me...fighting with each other? Does that happen to anyone else??? To make it bathroom is about 5 feet by 9 feet. Before I almost lost it, I actually took a deep breath and thought about what Jeremy had come home and told me about this week ( excuse me while I ramble on about something that seems like it is off subject but will actually lead somewhere in a minute.....I promise!) He learned about feelings this week...especially feeling angry. His teacher told him about "Stop, drop and chill!" So, I channeled my inner quiet place as the kids were running around me and ultimately pulled my towel off and I was standing there naked at this point. I told myself to chill and then I realized that one day, they won't be with me all the time like they are now......Yes, I could even think that as they were now using the towel I had on as a whip to whip each other around my feet.
After I was able to get myself dressed in the middle of world war three...we had lunch and then the kids had to lie down and take a rest (I guess I didn't mention that I didn't get into the shower until 11:45 a.m.) It took me that long to keep Elizabeth from bothering Jeremy.......for 1.15 minutes!!!

When they woke up, Jeremy begged me to go downstairs and play for "just a little bit". I felt his head and there was no we went for half an hour down to play. I really didn't think I would be sane by the end of the day if I didn't get down to that playground ......and fast!!!:) So, we grabbed the bikes and headed to the elevator. Just when things seemed quiet, they both started "freaking out" ( yes, that is what they actually said....but I think Elizabeth actually said "fweakin out!" because they thought the elevator would close on their bikes. That is when I said to myself," Why do I do this? This happens every time. Ok, Stop , drop and chill!" ( We live on the 7th floor of a mid rise each time we want to go outside and ride bikes we have to haul them in an elevator.....

I managed to get them calmed down enough for the elevator to get to the first floor and the "fweakin out!" started all over again! They were much better when we finally got down to the playground ( Yes, I had to haul the bikes down another set of steps) The kids played for a while and then we hauled everything back up again. ( please see the paragraph before last......the exact same thing happened again!)

Back upstairs for dinner baths and bed. We had minimal loss of food to floor and only a few spills of all in all, a decent dinner. After bath time, I put a short dvd in for the kids to watch and have "quiet time". I was in the kitchen cleaning up and when I came out, I saw Elizabeth in her dress up clothes dancing to the nusic on the T .V.
I had to stand there and laugh...I couldn't help but think of all the ups and downs of the day...the little zig zags that make life interesting. I finally, for the first time all day, felt completely "chilled out" as I was watching her and laughing. Who knew you could learn something from a pre-schooler?!:)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It Takes a Village

Tonight, I was getting ready to go out to eat with some friends from our compound, and I heard the kids out in the dining room eating their food. They were laughing and having fun. Happiness was sitting with them while they were eating and then, I heard her say," Jeremy, I already told you that you need to eat your food. If you don't listen again, then, you are going to time out." Two things went through my head at that time:

1) 18 months ago, I never would have had someone come in early to feed my kids so I had a little extra time to actually get ready. ( The mom guilt always took over, and I felt like if I didn't feed my kids and get them in p.j.'s before the sitter came, then I wasn't doing a good job as a mother).......HOW COULD I EVER HAVE THOUGHT THAT????

2)18 months ago, I would have felt like I was the only one who could tell my child he would go to time out for not listening. ( So, far from the truth now!!!)

Since I have lived here, I have learned alot about letting people help with certain aspects of my life. Some have been particularly easy to let go shopping, cleaning, laundry just to name a few. But, it was extremely hard to let go of some part of my job as caregiver to my children. It is one thing to have a babysitter come in and take care of your child for an hour or two. But, it is a completely different thing to have a nanny/ housekeeper in your home everyday all day. Thankfully, we figured out job descriptions early and Happiness is wonderful. But, there was always that pull at me that if I let someone else help me regularly with my children, that I was not functioning fully as a mom. And the question which went through my head over and over before moving here was "If I have a nanny, will the kids still realize that I am the mom?"

Towards the end of last year, I started thinking about that African proverb " It takes a village to raise a child." To my surprise when I researched its origins, it turns out it is a proverb from the Yoruba and Ibo regions of Nigeria...which just so happens to be right where I am today.:) The more I thought about it, I realized how true that statement really is. I find when I am able to take that extra bit of time to get ready instead of feeding the kids and bathing them and then trying to get ready for a date night....I feel more relaxed, and I am a better mom.:) And to tell you the truth, there has never been a question of who the mom really is.
I am learning that it is okay to let go of some of the control I thought I had with my kids.....because that was all it was ..the thought of control and the insecurities I had with someone else helping me with my job as a mom. It really is okay to let others into your life to help you when you need help. One person can't raise a child alone.....that's the whole reason a child can only come into the world with two parents. Couples and single parents alike need help from friends, family, or others in the community.
I really am blessed that I have had the opportunity to realize the truthfulness of this proverb. I am glad that I have realized it soon enough for my children to benefit from it. Not only do we have a nanny who is always here, but since we live on a compound, there are always other nannies and moms who are all around looking out for the kiddos when they are outside playing or at school. Jeremy and Elizabeth can see that others in the world are looking out for them and that the world is actually an okay place.:). They are also learning different views and what is acceptable to some is not acceptable to all. It truly does take a village to raise a child....the responsibility of even just one child is too big for only one person to handle all alone. And as you can see, I think the kids have adjusted to living among people who care for them in their "village".:)

Friday, February 25, 2011


My mom made it through surgery, and I spoke with her on the phone today. She is doing okay and wishing she could get back to life as usual, but knows that there is a long road to recovery ahead. Today is one of those days that I just feel homesick and wish I could be there with her. I read on a blog I am reading today that you should post blogs as if you were talking to your own sister or your best here goes! Some of you may not know (and please don't judge me too harshly)..but I am a total mama's girl.....I call my mom each and every day. (Yes, every day ...without fail...even from Nigeria!) We may only talk for two minutes( when she is literally on her way out the door early in the morning to water aerobics and I am getting ready to eat my dinner)....but it is just enough for each of us to hear each other's voice and know the other one is okay. And, I am almost ashamed to admit...but, this started even before I moved to Nigeria. It is a connection we have to each other..I just can't explain it. So, I have really been feeling the distance between her and I today......the distance of an entire ocean and continent separating us. I feel this distance often...I just haven't written about it. I feel it every time I want to call one of my girlfriends and realize that it is a great time for me to talk, but they are probably asleep. Or, the times I think I'll call at night ( which is afternoon for them) and wake up at 5 a.m. and realize I slept right through the time I should have called. ( That happens more times than I'd really like to admit)
At times like these, I wish my friends from the states could bring their kids over to have all of our kids play together. Today, I wished the grandparents could have seen Lizzy and Jeremy riding their bikes so fearlessly...
But, for today, pictures will have to do.
To my mom: I am praying for you and you know I love you...I will say a special blessing ( you know...THE BLESSING!!!) ha ha
To all my dear friends: I miss you all and even though I don't say it enough...I think of you all the so far away is hard some days ...and today is one of those days...
But, that is what tomorrow is look ahead and see what new things a new day brings!
O da aaro!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Off

I have been nervous all day today. My mom is going in today for her 7th hip surgery since 2003. I will be waiting up here very late tonight ( 9 hour time difference) for the call with my dad on the end of the line telling me she is okay. I am praying for no complications and a quick recovery. I was thinking about her this morning when I was taking Elizabeth to school, and I was feeling "a little off" today because my thoughts are of my mom in California...and my head doesn't seem to be here. Then, I saw something that made my head cock to one side. I saw a Disney sign which was advertising Disney decorations.....I don't know....but I don't think I would ever think there were Disney decorations in that store....
Later on, when I was coming home, I saw a car which was being towed by a truck. Before you ask me if I should just call it a "tow truck", you need to see the picture below. It is a truck that is towing something...but it is definitely not my idea of a traditional tow truck...
I started thinking, there are things here like what I am used to having in the U.S., but they are "a little off" ...they just aren't what you would, what better place than Nigeria to have a day when you feel "a little off"? I think Nigeria may be what the person who coined that phrase was thinking of when they came up with it.:)
Mom, if you get to read this, please know I am thinking of you, and I love you more than you'll ever know! I know you'll get through this!!!:) I may not actually be there...but my heart has been with you all day!:)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A World Away

Yesterday was another trip out to the beach with the Ishahayi Beach school Foundation. The students in this primary 5 class were so excited to receive letters from their "sister" class in the U.S. We started this program in November with a class in the U.S. ( A member on the board has a cousin in the U.S. who is a teacher and was very interested in having her students write to the children at the beach school). Since we can not mail anything out of Nigeria (it will most likely never make it to the final destination) the responses to the letters are a little slow. We can only send letters back to the U.S. when someone is traveling and can then drop them in the mail when they arrive back in the U.S. That didn't seem to bother the children at the school, though. They couldn't wait to read the letters from their pen pals.:) It is so interesting what fifth grade students write to each other. On of the American students asked the Nigerian students, " Why do you call soccer football?" One of the Nigerian students wrote, " My favorite food is pounded yam." These children are learning so much about each other and they are a world away from each other.:)

We are also working on our fundraising for the foundation. Last year, we had students from the school draw pictures and then we printed them and sold notecards to raise money. The notecards sold so well that we are going to reprint them with some new pictures for next year.:) Here is one of the older students drawing his picture on a pair of bongo drums.....there were no desks.:)

Here is a random chicken wandering through the school.:)

When we come out to the school, the smiles on the children's faces are so one can help but smile back at them.:)

Here is one of the women from the village bringing lunch to the school.

I had to snap this picture. This little one is one of the youngest at the school. Even though she looks like a raggamuffin....she is still so cute....even while she is shoveling her lunch into her mouth.:)

Lady Salami is the head of the school with five other teachers working for her.

Another exciting thing that happened yesterday at our visit was the teachers being able to use programs for teaching on the computers. No one can imagine how hard it is to get wireless internet access set up in the middle o a beach village( thank goodness for our tech savvy board members!), but after many months ( and much sweat) the computers are hooked to the internet and various educational cd's have been donated for the teachers to use for their classes. Yesterday was the first day the teachers got to come in the computer room and sit down and learn the different programs. The delight and the confidence in their faces to be able to learn about using the computer and the different programs were priceless!:)

All in all, it was a very worthwhile trip out to the school. It is so good for me to go out here to see the good things that are happening in Nigeria. This beach school is truly another hidden gem I have discovered while living here.:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Typical day

Last week, while I was coming back from taking Elizabeth to school, I thought I would take pictures of what I see out the windows of the car each day while driving through the streets of Ikoyi and Victoria Island. It occurred to me that i was starting to take the things I see for granted and I wanted to capture some of the sights that i try to tell my friends and family about. Although, these pictures can't give you the true flavor of actually being here....they should give you pretty good idea of a "typical day" here in Lagos.

Here is a woman selling bread in the morning outside on he street next to Elizabeth's school. I see many women just like her carrying the huge piles of bread along the streets. it really is amazing how they can take the huge pan down from their head, sell the bread and then place it back on their heads again like it is nothing.

Yes, this is a picture of a bus coming right at us as we were driving back. Remember my previous post about patience? Well, this is a prime example of how impatient Nigerians can be. We ARE in the correct lane...the car and the bus are trying to pass gridlocked traffic thinking they will get ahead...all it does is cause a MAJOR traffic jam. Below is another car thinking that he can just squeeze in...crazy!

Three Nigerian men on an okada literally weaving in and out between angry drivers stuck in a huge traffic jam.

Here is a crippled man sitting along the road side begging for many people are like that here...

Below is a picture of a market off of Falomo street....I am sure they would probably only give me the oyibo prices the way, since everything at the market is priced with the bartering system..there are two prices...the Nigerian price and the oyibo can guess which one I get!:) ( note: I would never even have considered going in a market like that when I first moved here...but now...why not??!!)

Here are some posters which have been placed around the city because the Nigerian elections are happening here in April. I am sure I will be posting more about that when the time approaches.:)

I really am not too sure what this building is, but I see it everyday when I come back over the bridge from Ikoyi to Victoria Island. It says, "Afrika Center Lagos", but I am not sure it has ever been used for anything.

Sorry for the reflection in the picture, but I wanted to take a picture of Ikoyi from the bridge...and we are heading back to V.I. Unfortunately this is the only way back and forth to if there is an accident or something else...the traffic can be backed up for hours...

No...I don't know what in the world is hanging out of the back of that public bus....and yes, that is a small girl riding an okada to school....without a helmet...

It still makes my stomach drop to see kids riding the okadas without helmets or riding and okada ...period! I didn't have my camera ready when an okada went by with a woman who had her small baby strapped on her back...
And, finally, no day would be complete without seeing the random men on the side of the road peeing! As a matter of fact, I would think there was something wrong here if I didn't see a man on the side of the road taking care of business!:)
When I talk to my mom and try to describe the things I see is so hard to put it into words. When I first arrived here..I think my eyes must have been as big as saucers and my mouth probably hung open all the time. I am glad I don't have that reaction really has been wonderful to have this experience. I think we all can take things for granted in our daily lives...and I had no idea how truly blessed I was to live in the U.S. until I moved here. The newness of Lagos has worn off...but, the realization of how lucky my family is crosses my mind each and everyday. For many people, these pictures are of a far off place that many people will never visit. For me, they are just pictures of a typical day.:)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Today, after dropping Elizabeth and Jeremy off at school, I needed to stop at the bank ( for the Beach School Foundation). I wish I could bring my camera there to take a picture of the entry way for you because it really looks like you are entering into the set of Star Trek. Seriously, when I walk inside the cylinder which opens on one side while it is playing classical music
( which, by the way, doesn't even remotely go with the ambiance of the bank) you are literally "trapped inside" praying that the other side of the cylinder will open. It really is a miracle I haven't been trapped inside there yet. But, the only thing that always goes through my head when I enter it is ( besides praying that it does indeed open up) " Beam me up, Scotty!" After the other side opened, there are about 5 - 10 Nigerian bank workers who all greeted me with huge smiles, but didn't get up to move. Thank goodness I had been there before and knew which teller I should go to. I handed over my money for deposit, and that went pretty smoothly. Then, I had to make a withdrawal. ( Just a side note, the signatures on a check written in Nigeria have to match the point that you would think they were photocopied...but, no one ever signs their name exactly the same way twice. I found this out the hard way a few months back when I forgot to put a curly tail on my s and they rejected the check!) So, I was thinking in my head, " Oh no! What did I do this time?" I could feel the people looking at me...and I was very aware that I was the only oyibo in the building at that time. The lady told me the system was slow and I should take a seat. So, I went over and sat down in a chair which had the leg duct taped on and the stuffing coming out. I just sat and watched the people in the bank. There were about 5 bank workers standing around one of the tellers talking and laughing. I saw the lady who had been helping me walk over and laugh with another man who worked at the bank. I was thinking, "What is going on?" I wanted to just get this done and over with. Being in a bank in Nigeria is not always the safest feeling in the world. Then, I saw a sign which kind of made me said " Trust us ( the bank"s name) with your salary." The words "trust" and "bank" in Nigeria just don't go together. I had a smile on my face as I read it and then noticed that a Nigerian woman sitting next to me was looking at me...and I felt funny because I wasn't sure if she saw that I was smiling at the sign. Was she taking that as an insult? My mind started racing. Then, I thought the safest thing to do is just sit there and pretend I had some important e-mails I needed to check on my Blackberry.....funny how, that thing is always lighting up with junk e-mail and this time...there was not even a sale from the Gap e-mail to read. Five minutes passed, ten minutes passed, 15 minutes .....I looked up and the woman was still talking to the other man. Finally, I stood up and told her I needed my check or the money, but either way, I needed to leave right then. I felt like I was going to blow a gasket just watching everyone talking and laughing and not working. A funny thing happened after my little outburst, my money all of the sudden appeared!!! It was a miracle!:) As I was about to walk through the space portal with the classical music to get back out to my car, one of the workers said, "Thank you , my sista!". As the doors to the portal shut, I had to laugh. Just the other night, Jeremy had said ," Thank you , my sista!" to Elizabeth because she handed him a toy while they were taking a bath. ( I think he is really turning into a Nigerian!)

I walked out to the car and saw that Fatai was completely blocked in from all sides. I wound my way through the maze of cars and managed to wedge myself into my car. Fatai got out and I heard several drivers yelling at each other in Yoruba ...I was guessing they were telling each other they had to move because we were blocked in. Fatai got back in the car and said, "Don't mind them, they have no patience."

I thought to myself, patience was what I was going to need today. Patience is something that comes in very small quantities in Nigeria. If you don't move your car 5 seconds before the light turns red( if cars actually stop at the red light) will hear about 10 cars honking. If you don't get off a bus 5 seconds before you need to, someone is going to trample you. Maybe people in Nigeria are trying to remind themselves about patience ( or other virtues, for that matter) when they give their children names like Patience, Blessing or Happiness ( you know I am not kidding about that) so that every time they say the name they remind themselves what they should have. All I know was that I was about to run out of it today.

After the bank, I had to go and pick Elizabeth back up from school and when we got back home, she threw a two year old fit because she wanted to take her shoes off before washing her hands ( I have no idea why she was so mad...I hadn't even had the chance to tell her to do either one). All I know is, if she would have been born in Nigeria...her name would have been every time I said her name I would remind myself that I needed more.:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Today was declared a national holiday here in Nigeria. It is a Muslim holiday called Mawlid al-Navi. This day is the prophet Muhammed's birthday. Since Nigeria is mostly a mix of Christian and Muslim ( according to Wikipedia, the Muslim religion is dominant in the North, mixed Christian and Muslim in the South west and middle, and primarily christian in the South East and South South) both Christian and Muslim holidays are often declared here. I was mistaken yesterday when I said today was Eid. Eid means "a feast, festival, or holiday". ( I guess it could be called Eid...but that is not the correct name for the holiday today.) We were not very sure about when this holiday was going to occur exactly. This holiday is always the same day on the Islamic Calendar because it goes by lunar phases. But, it varies every year on the Gregorian calendar ( the one we use) because it is based on the solar calendar. Because of the difference in the calendars, the day moves about 11 days every year on the Gregorian calendar. It can also vary from country to country depending on if the moon has been sighted or not. Needless to say, for this type A personality girl, it is still a bit annoying not to know exactly what day a holiday will be declared. We didn't know until last Wednesday, I think, that today was going to be the actual holiday. I am learning a little more all the time about the Muslim religion. Fatai is Muslim and so are many of the other drivers and guards here on our compound.

Since it was a holiday ( the kids were out of school) Guy and I decided to go with two other families on our compound to the beach with the kids. All the kids are about the same ages ( 5 and almost 3) so it is great when they are together.:) The only way to access the beach we are going to is by boat, and fortunately our kids are so excited to get on a boat and see everything.:) I know I have gone out to the beach and posted pictures before, but I thought I would take a few more pictures this time to show you more of what I see as we are going out there and coming back:) The picture to the right is the Lagos Yacht club...yes, you are seeing correctly....there is garbage in the water right there.

I love to go past the port because it is always interesting to see all the different places the barges are coming in from with various shipments. The one above is from Hamburg and the other one is from London. Sometimes, when I am here, I feel a little disconnected with the rest of the world. It is kind of comforting to see these ships from other countries.:)

They do put barbed wire around the outside of the ships to try to prevent any theft from people coming up along side the ship and climbing it. This ship is from Valletta.

These ships are from Hong Kong and Monrovia.

After we pass through the port, the surroundings start to get a bit more quiet. In the small villages around the harbour, fishing is the main occupation of many men in the villages. Another way that the men can bring in money s by dredging for sand. There are many areas around Lagos which are "reclaimed land" which is the process of "reclaiming " land from sea or riverbeds. The men here are dredging sand with a bucket ( a painfully tedious job) and they will fill this boat until it can't carry any more sand and take it to sell it to someone who needs it to build up land from the water.
Here is a small village built along the the harbour.

In the same village as the picture above, you can see men repairing a boat Since fishing is one of the only ways the people in the village make money, it is an entire village who will help one man repair his boat.:)

Lizzy really enjoys the ride out to the beach.:)

When we arrive at the dock, the women and children from the village where we go to the beach come down to greet us and carry our things to the beach hut. I am still shocked that the men of the village allow the women and children to carry our things. They do not do not help with carrying any heavy loads...but that is one of the times I have to take a deep breath and say to myself " I know this is another culture...and I need to respect that." Some of you may be asking, why don't you just carry your own things? That answer is simple. The women and children from the village want to carry our things because it is a way they can bring money into their village. If we were to carry our own things to the beach hut, they would see that as us taking a job away from them. We dash( tip) them for carrying our things.

Here are a few children from the village. I recognize some of their faces from the beach school I help with. When I first came out to the beach, I would look at them and feel sadness. I guess I still feel a little sadness when I see them in just their underwear....but then, I see their smiles....and they are beautiful smiles. This place is their home and they love their home.:) When we arrived there today, Jeremy's friend said ," Where's the ground?" I asked him what he meant. He said," I mean where is the hard ground? How can they live here?" I told him that they don't need hard ground because they don't have a car out here. I think that blew him away that people lived in a place they could only get to by boat.:)

Jeremy and his friends, Olivia and Erik, took a little rest on the lounges.:)

They all had a great time playing in the sand.

The children from the village were playing a game with sticks they made into something which resembled a hockey stick and they were hitting a coconut back and forth. My friend asked them where they learned to play hockey...and they just stared at her...I guess that wasn't what they were playing.:)

Lizzy found a tiny coconut.:)

I took the kids down to the water today, but didn't bring my camera while I had them down there. The waves here are so rough, you just never know when one will come out and sweep you off your feet. Life jackets are a must even if you are only going in up to your ankles.....I am not kidding when I tell you that all of the sudden a wave can come up past your waist when you weren't even expecting it. I wanted to get a few pictures of the water. I like to come here because I know that across that ocean is my family and friends....and it is so peaceful here. There is something comforting about the roll of the waves and the wind that somehow makes me feel close to everyone back home...even though at the time I was standing here today it was the wee hours of the morning and everyone back home was sound asleep.:)

Here is a picture of the covered area where we usually have lunch.

I was standing next to someone's fishing boat when I took this picture of the waves rolling in.

We brought some lollipops for the children in the village. They love them, and I think it is a great way for Jeremy to learn how to share with others. The great thing about Jeremy is that so far, he hasn't asked me why some of the kids are only in their underwear. I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing.....I prefer to think that he just knows that everyone is different and different people in different places look, act and talk differently.:)

We stayed at the beach for a few hours and then packed up to head home. We walked back through the village to get to our boat. Here is a picture of someone's home in the village.

Here is a picture of the the Ishahayi beach school. This is one of the schools that the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation has supported. This school is very close to my heart. Since becoming a member of the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation, I go with other members of the foundation out to the school about once every other month to see the teachers and students and find new ways to help them:)

These two little guys were standing off to the side of the path. I think they had heard we were handing out lollipops and were waiting their turn to get one. I wish I could just pick them up and take them home with me...they are so cute.:)

Here is another house in the village...behind the fence.

Here are more children from the village. They had followed us out to the boat dock.

This little girl is carrying her baby bother ( I did have to ask her to make sure it wasn't her own baby) around on her back ( which is a typical way of carrying a baby around with you here in Nigeria). It is amazing to me that there really isn't a sense of adolesence here in the villages. A person is either a child or an adult...and this girl is seen as an adult by her family who can take care of her baby brother.

Heading back down the baot dock to get back on the boat.

Tired and happy kids ready to head on home.:)

Lizzy just couldn't keep her eyes open any more.:)

Here were some more men who were dredging for sand to sell....I really cannot imagine having this job.

Here is a picture of one of the many ship wrecks I always see when we go out to the beach. I am not sure, but I think that some people from the nearby villages who have thier own boats may live on these abandoned ships. The ships literally just sit there in the water and rot.

On the way back, we also saw another barge... heading back to Greece, I think.

I had to try to get a picture of the market under the bridge ( I promise I will get a better picture of it another day). This is the market where Hapiness goes to get all of my produce. I try not to think about that every time I go over that bridge to take Elizabeth to her school!

And shortly after the market under the bridge, we are back at our comfortable flat. I know I just posted about this the other day, but I still feel like today I also saw two different worlds. Just thirty minutes away from where I am living in Lagos, there are people who live in a village only accessible by water whose only means of income is through fishing. They have no indoor plumbing and no running water...and I am sitting here typing this post in my air conditioned flat with a cool glass of water I just poured from my water cooler.
Jeremy told Guy the other day "People are the rainbow of life. Everyone comes in different colors and they are all beautiful!"" He learned this at school from his fantastic teacher. I thought to myself today as I was looking at the people in the village with their the risk of sounding too much like a "Pollyanna" ...that is so true. Never did I think I would ever feel a connection to people in a small village through a school I help with. Never did I think I would be walking on a beach on the west coast of africa. I have to say that living here has truly opened my eyes to the beauty in people from many different places.:)