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Thursday, September 29, 2011

It Keeps Getting Better...

No, not really...but if you know how sarcastic I'll understand what I mean:)

Before you read this post, you may want to settle into a comfy's a long one today................

It's raining again...and today I woke up, sent Fatai a message that I would be taking Elizabeth and a friend of hers to school on Ikoyi, and got Jeremy ready to catch the bus downstairs ( to his school).  The morning seemed to be going okay and then, I went downstairs... (insert DA DA DA ...getting louder and lower with each DA!)

There was no car; there was no Fatai; but there was a Jimoh ( my friends driver) with both car seats for the little ones in the back of his car.  Given that I haven't been having the best few weeks here....I could feel my blood starting to boil.  Just the other day, I had told Fatai that my friend's driver would be taking Elizabeth to school and to please put the car seat in my friend's car.  When I came out that day, Elizabeth's car seat was  nowhere to be found ( and neither was Fatai!)  So, today I had a car seat...but it was in the wrong car....are we ever gonna get it right?  So, of course, I pulled out my phone and proceeded to dial his number and I had no!!!!  I saw that the text I had sent him never went through I guess it wasn't really his fault...but I just needed someone to feel the brunt of my frustration.   I went with my friend's driver to take the kids to school since it was "my day". 

(Just in case you're wondering, Fatai did show back up and told me he was stuck in traffic taking Guy to work).  After that, I had to go to the network office for my cell phone to figure out what was going on.  Yesterday was the last day to "register" your phone here in Lagos. I am really not sure why we have to do this, I have heard rumors that it has something to do with an unofficial census, others say that it is a way for the Nigerian Communications Commission to combat crime?  I have no idea( and I have done no research on the subject)....but I went ahead three weeks ago and registered in the parking lot of a local grocery store here.  Then, I was worried it didn't really register so I went back on Friday and sat in traffic (and a huge line) to verify.  They said " no problem!"  I was worried because if you don't register, your service would be shut off.  Living here without access to your phone is a scary prospect....actually, it gives me shivers just to think about just never know what can happen here. But, alas, all my good efforts to "do the right thing" were to no avail.  My service was cut off today anyway, and the real zinger is my network office couldn't even tell me why.....they said, "Sorry, madame, it is a problem with the network."   "What the #$@!?", I yelled," But you are the network...THAT IS WHY I AM HERE!!!!" Okay, so I didn't really yell that, but I was sure thinking that in my head and hoping the man was picking up on my telepathic vibes. I am pretty sure he wasn't though because I don't think his face flinched at all when he looked at me...

 I did what I was supposed to, and I was still without service in this crazy city.  They told me it should be fixed by sometime after midnight tonight..I guess we'll see...

On the way back to my building, there were two trucks in front of my car when we were trying to get back inside the gate.  The guards were yelling at the drivers and the drivers were yelling at the guards something in Yoruba.  The guards for my building kept putting their hands up to tell us to wait.  I was pretty fed up at that point and just got out of the car and walked a little ways down the dirt road and walked through the the umbrella...with no cell service...

I went upstairs quickly (I decided to chance getting in the elevator even though the power was out...AGAIN!!!) and tried to pack my suitcase for a trip which we are leaving for tomorrow (but couldn't because the power was still off, and I couldn't see in my closets). I tried to send emails...but couldn't because the power went out 7 times in the 40 minutes I was up in my flat and our UPS's can't keep up with the outages the modem and router kept going out...

I got back in the car again to go across the bridge to get Elizabeth and her friend from school.  At one of the stop lights, I saw just a fist come up to my window and knock on it.  I knew exactly who it was.  I couldn't see his face, but I know he was there.  There is a man ( not that old..maybe 20) who walks around on his hands and one leg while the other leg swings free in the air and is all shriveled.  He was begging for money. I don't even know if it is the same man I had  have seen before (because I just couldn't bear to look at him is just so sad)...there are so many people like that here...

I read a book in the car while I was waiting because I got there about 40 minutes early...but always have to leave early because the traffic is so unpredictable.  I fell asleep while reading the book and scared myself awake to find Fatai in the driver's seat sleeping right next to me!!!!!!! What a frightening picture that must make to see my driver and me sleeping in the front seat of the car while I am waiting for Elizabeth's school to get out!!!!! Yikes!!!!!

Got the kids and drove back over the bridge and got stuck in terrible traffic trying to get to our building.  It turns out that the traffic jam was caused by some man who was wearing an official looking uniform but actually looked like he was trying out for a Russian ballet troupe from all the twirling he was doing in the  middle of the dirt road...

Got back home dropped the kids off and then had to meet a friend of mine who I have been trying to meet for the last month for lunch.  The timing just never worked out.  I was already late when we arrived at the restaurant....and Fatai drove me inside what looked like a construction zone.  We kept driving around following concrete trucks and dump trucks.  Well, all I can say was that it looked like a construction zone because IT WAS A CONSTRUCTION ZONE!!!!!   I realized we were in the wrong place about one second before we even entered, and said to Fatai," I can't believe that they let us in here!!" He said, " Maybe they thought you are a worker, Madame."  I looked at him while he was driving and really thought he had to be kidding...but he wasn't...he never even flinched.  ( Mental note: I need to work on my style if my driver thinks I can pass for a construction worker.)  We got out of the construction site and finally found the restaurant to meet my friend....

After lunch , I figured my luck had been so bad today that I wasn't going to chance going anywhere else.  So, I looked out the window at all the cars driving down the road by my building and I thought about that man who knocked on my window today.  I thought to myself," Does his mother know he has to beg for money? And, if she does, how does she feel about that?" I can't imagine being a mother in a situation like that and having to have your son beg for money. How would that feel??
 I can't think about that....that hurts too much.
 Then, I thought about a paragraph I read in the book I was reading today ( Book number 6 in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series : In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith) 

He writes:
"There was so much need, even in a fortunate country such as Botswana; it seemed as though the reservoirs of suffering were never empty, and no matter what progress was made, there would always be people for whom there was no job, or no place to live or not enough food.  And when you became aware of these needs, especially if they were being felt by those who had a claim on you, then it was hard to put them out of your mind."

You only have to insert Nigeria where it says Botswana.  I realize that every country has needs and needy people...but I had never seen anything like what I see here everyday until I moved here. Last week, one of the cleaning ladies got on the elevator, and when I looked down at her feet, she was wearing the slippers I had thrown in the trash. I wouldn't even give them to Happiness because they were so worn out.   I don't know what is going on in my mind these last few weeks, but please bear with me if you can.  Maybe it is just that there is so much need here, and I don't know if anything I can do can even begin to help all the needs I see here everyday.  I used to feel that I found my niche by helping at the beach school...but is that enough??? I'll work my way out of this funk...because that is all it is...a funk.  Now, let's wait and see if my cell phone works soon!:)  Until tomorrow...Ayo ni o!! ( cheers!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Love Nigeria

*********WARNING....this may be construed by some readers as a whiny post....and I have tried really hard for the last two years not to write a whiny post....but I can hold back no if you don't want to hear whining...don't read any further*********

These past two weeks have been hard....really hard....actually, they have just been the pits!!!!  I have really tried hard to just write about the funny things that happen here ( well, maybe some scary things) but I have really tried darn hard not to whine (on the blog at least:)).  But, then I thought, if I don't write when I feel fed up here then I am not really portraying a true picture of living here.  Because let's face it, if you live in Nigeria you are going to have days or weeks when things just don't seem that great.  These past two weeks have been filled with bank visits, lawyer visits, a sea shipment sitting in customs ( here at the port) not having a clue when it will be released ( It has been there over two weeks now...and I know it can take up to six weeks or  more...but every year it still drives me crazy!), and other issues here that can only happen in Nigeria....I really feel like I have been beaten up by Nigeria these past few weeks.

Right now, I am longing to hear the acronym UPS being uttered as a phrase which indicates a huge brown van will show up at my door with a wonderful package...not a UPS (uninterruptable power supply) to keep Elizabeth's and Jeremy's lights on when the power goes off  thirteen times a day.

I am longing for smooth paved roads so I won't get whip lash every time I venture more than a few feet from our building in our car...

Road right outside our building.....still in the rainy season here...when will it end?

view of the same road from my balcony...can you see the purple??

I am longing for grass for my kids to run in and a playground for my children to play on.

I am longing to feel like I am making some kind of difference here...because these past few weeks I really feel like I am not...

I am longing for the day I won't walk into a grocery store and they are completely sold out of peanut butter (which happened to me last Friday at Shop Rite) sold out of peanut butter???!!!!! Really!!!!????

Then, today, Elizabeth brought this home from school...

I am not going to lie....a tiny piece of me wanted to wad it up....but then, I really had to laugh out loud!  I thought to myself, "That is so Nigeria!"  just when you think that things may be at their lowest...something funny will happen...and for me today, this was it!  This week, Jeremy and Elizabeth are learning about Nigeria for a Nigerian cultural celebration for Nigerian Independence Day on October 1. 
The funny things is, I know she doesn't really know what she traced, but I know she really does love is her home.  She doesn't really know "living" anywhere else.  For me, I feel like the outsider most times and I am trying to fight my way in.  Happiness told me today, "Madame, Nigeria won't beat you up, you'll beat it up!"  I don't know about that,  but there is always another day...and if there is anything Nigeria has taught me at all, it is that you absolutely have no freaking clue what each new day will bring!:)

Monday, September 26, 2011

La Vida Loca

A Facebook friend of mine who also lives in Lagos found this video on Youtube and posted it on her wall, and I just had to share it with you also.  It gives you a really good idea of things that happen here everyday.  Except for the part about Juju....I have to do some more investigation on that.  I do know since I have lived here that there are some Nigerians who do believe in it though.  I hope you watch this video and can see a little window into the world which has become our home these past two years.:)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rule No.1 in the Expat Handbook

When you go on your first expatriate assignment, the first few months are spent being a little homesick, a little overwhelmed by culture shock, and a little overwhelmed with all the different people you meet.  One thing which is true about the expat community no matter where you are is that it is a very tight knit group.  Mostly because we are all sharing the common bond of being away from family and old friends. There is that "we're all in the same boat" attitude.   That is a really good feeling when you are in a country you don't know anything about.  After a few months of living in a new country, something happens that you never expect....actually it kind of sneaks up on you and you almost don't realize it.  This sneaky litle thing is the fact that you make some wonderful friendships with other expats you meet.:)  But, every expat knows that no assignment is forever.....and that dreaded "g" word comes up again and again...

IF there was ever to be an expat handbook written....the first rule would be:

 "Get used to making some wonderful friends, but knowing you will have to say goodbye".

Now that we have started our third year here, I have had to say good bye to some sweet friends I have made while living here.  This week, one of the very first people I met when I moved here is moving away to Holland.  Her daughter was Jeremy's very first friend ever at school here.  I still remember him coming home from his first day of pre-K and he told me, "A really nice girl played with me today!"  I asked him her name and he said he didn't know.  So, the next morning, he pointed her out to me on the playground, and she told me her name.  And after that, I met her mom, and we became friends.   Not to mention her son is in school with Elizabeth.  It's funny sometimes how small insignificant things like two children who happened to play together on the first day of school were able to link me to a very sweet friend here in Lagos.:)

So, now, it seems, it is my turn to say good bye to some really great friends of mine (and Jeremy and Elizabeth, too).  We went to a combo birthday party today for both of my friend's children before they leave on Thursday.  The kids had a blast!:)

I guess that is all part of the life of an expat.  But, then I remember rule No.2 of being an expat:

 " You are almost certain to cross paths again.":)

Lizzy jumping with her friend who will leave next week

Jeremy and his very first friend in Lagos:)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What can Roads Teach You?

Tonight when I just sat down to open up my email....I got about the third email from the U.S. State Department in the last two weeks telling all U.S. citizens living in Nigeria to have a heightened sense of security, and to be aware of surroundings or suspicious activity. I am not trying to downplay some of the real "facts of life" about living here...but I just don't like to dwell on the fact that there was a suicide bombing in Abuja a few weeks ago.  I really try to focus more on the funny and positive things that happen while I am here because I would be lying to everyone if I told you my friends and family were "thrilled" when I told them my family is moving to Nigeria.  For their peace of mind  (and my own), I tell about more about the quirky different things about living here rather than some of the dangerous parts.  This may not be one of my more upbeat posts...but it is a real picture of Nigeria.:)

I have been reading a book series which I mentioned in a previous post called The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency  by Alexander McCall Smith. For those of you who are not familiar with the series, it is a fictional account about a woman (Mma Ramotswe) who opens up her own detective agency in Gabarone, Botswana.  I am so glad I started reading this series after moving to Nigeria or Africa for that matter.  So much of what the author describes in this book rings so true for Nigeria as well.  If I would have read the books while I was living in the States, I wouldn't have understood or had a true appreciation of  the way the author describes Africa in general. 

One of the paragraphs which grabbed my attention today is:

"Roads, thought Mma Ramotswe, were a country's showcase. How people behaved on roads told you everything you needed to know about the national character.  So the Swazi roads, on which she had driven on one frightening occasion some years earlier, were fraught with danger, full of those who overtook on the wrong side and those who had complete disregard for speed limits.  Even the Swazi cattle were more foolhardy than the Botswana cattle.  They seemed to lurch in front of cars as if inviting collision, challenging drivers at the very last moment.  All of this was because the Swazis were an ebullient, devil -may-care people.  That was how they were, and that was how they drove.  Batswana were more careful; they did not boast, as the Swazis tended to do, and they drove more carefully."

I read this paragraph about five minutes after Fatai was "playing chicken" with an okada on Awolowo Road.  To get an idea about driving in Nigeria and what the roads are like...just substitute Nigeria everywhere you see Swazi in the above paragraph.   You really can tell alot about the character of Nigeria just by watching the people on the roads.  No one wants to wait...because they think they may miss an opportunity.  No one wants to "follow the rules" because there may be a better faster way.  I just didn't realize that I could be warned about the true character of a country by reading this book.  I don't even need to have any emails sent to me by the state department....I already know the dangers which are here...just by observing the roads...

(For those of you who may be thinking that I am in some way being rude or not telling the truth about driving on Nigerian roads...then, you must not have ever lived here.)
okada going the opposite direction of traffic

bumper to bumper traffic with okadas whipping in and out

"Conductor" hanging out of the bus calling out the route.  The bus never stops...people just have to literally hop on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

24 Hours

Many of you may not know or understand what I am writing about in this post, and that is okay.  I felt I needed to write this today to document a "first" for me while living in Nigeria.

24 hours ago...things weren't so bright here in this part of the world.  There was lots of trouble brewing with something very special to me.  Let's just say I got my first  real true taste of how difficult it can be to get things done in Nigeria.  Paperwork, lawyers??? My head felt like it was legs were like jelly, and I thought I may throw up at any moment.  I had heard things like that could happen here, but I had never been a witness to it...or been part of it...

But, what a difference 24 hours can make!  Wonderful friends who made call after call to find the right people and the right paperwork, talking to a Nigerian lawyer ( also something I never thought I would do), and finding the right paperwork can take all those jelly legs, head spins and flip floppy belly away!:)  I have always heard the saying "What a difference a day can make!" but until today, I don't know if I quite believed it.

(Just a side note...another first today was when the elevator opened up and a  Nigerian woman who cleans our building walked on wearing the pair of really ratty old slippers I threw away two weeks ago.  I know people go through the trash we put in the dumpster, but I have never been witness to someone wearing something I threw away.)

Thanks to all of my friends over here who helped to pull everything together to make sure we won't have to go through yesterday again!!!

Laugh at me, shake your head , or  do what you will...but for this midwestern small town girl...this was a first:)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Small World

On Friday, Guy turned 38!  It's his third birthday he's had in Lagos...and honestly, I can't believe myself how quickly the time has gone by. ( Although, there are some of those times when the time here seems to go by sooo slow!)  Two years ago we were the "newbies" here, and now we are embarking on our third year here.

For Guy's birthday on Friday, he wanted just us and the kids to go to dinner at his favorite Indian restaurant.  Who knew that there would be an awesome Indian restaurant right here in Lagos??  We have been coming to this restaurant since we first got here, and I remember thinking " I can't believe that this food is so good!"   The kids even had a great time....especially, when Jeremy recognized a little boy from his class who was there eating dinner with his parents.:) 

No...we don't have another child...we just ran into one of J's friends at dinner.:)
 Then, On Saturday, we had some of our old and new friends come over for a "Day After" birthday party for Guy.  I never thought I would have people from Singapore, Colombia, Sweden, Nigeria and the U.S. all in my house at the same time.....I didn't realize two years ago that that could happen in Lagos.:)
Happiness and the kids:)

trying to light the candles:)

Sorry for the blurry pic....but do you notice more purple?
All of the adults:)

We ordered food from a Thai restaurant near our building...yes....I said a Thai restaurant!!  I never thought I would be saying that I love Thai food in Lagos....but I do!!:)  We had a great time with everyone...and as I was going to sleep last night I kept thinking to myself what small world we really do live in...people in my flat from all over the world, restaurants in Lagos with wonderful food from around the world, my kids going to school with children from all over the world, and Guy and I making friends here with people from all over the world.  Things that I once thought were so foreign and out of touch aren't really that way.  I had to laugh a little bit because I had to move to Lagos to figure that one out.:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Out of the many (and I do mean many!) things I have learned while living here is that there is one sport that can gets hearts racing, blood pumping and tempers it's not American is Football as the rest of the world knows it.....for my American friends...a.k.a. soccer.  This is just one of those times that I realized I was living in my own "American bubble" and didn't realize how much soccer really is part of the rest of the world.  I know the U.S. has a soccer team, but no one stays up for Monday night Soccer!  This sport is quite possibly the biggest in the world, and as a typical American, I was oblivious to this fact until I moved here.  When the world cup was held in South Africa last would have thought it was in Nigeria. The amount of advertising and pride that the world cup for football (soccer) was going to be in Africa was so exciting to all the African matter what country they were from.  In our old compound, when there was a game could hear the drivers yelling at the small 12 in.x12in. (or 30.48 cm x 30.48 cm.....yes, my fellow American friends...the rest of the world also uses the metric system....something I struggle with every day I live here...I don't think I can ever get my American brain to figure out the metric system!) Anyway, back to the point at could hear the drivers yelling at the television during the game.  I won't even tell you how loud it was when Nigeria played Ghana!!!!

This past weekend, Jeremy started his third season of Football, and he has really come a long way.  I was thinking how awesome for him that he was able to start playing soccer in a country which loves the game!  Click here to see pictures from his first season playing here.  I have to admit, though, it still doesn't sound right when I call soccer is soccer and football is football.  I guess no matter where you live...your roots are always with you.:)

E Kaale!  ( for now) :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lizzy's World

If you ever want to know what your child sees each and every day.....just give her (or him) a camera, and let her take some pictures of what she notices.:)   Here are some pictures of things that Elizabeth took pictures of from the back seat on her way to school....just thought I'd share.:)

woman selling bread off of her head and man with cell phone recharge cards

people selling things on side of the road

not sure


more okadas
Even though we have lived here for two years, the crazy drivers and the way the okadas buzz in and out of traffic is still surprising to me.  But, to her, it is completely normal.  She doesn't notice the hazy skies or the fact there is no real grass to be found anywhere.  Lagos is her home, and I thought I'd share a few snippets of what she sees each day out her window.:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Latest Acquisitions

I thought I would share my latest acquisition of African art.  I saw these paintings when we were out at the beach last week, and I just had to have them.  I can't explain it, but if you have ever seen a piece of art which "speaks" to know what I mean.:)  I think one of the images which will always stay with me long after I leave this African soil is the image of women carrying things on their heads whether they are working selling things or if it is just Happiness bringing the laundry up from downstairs on her is almost an iconic image of what I see each and every day here.

The paintings I bought are of Hausa women.  For more information on the Hausa tribe click here.  The Hausa tribe is one of three major tribes which inhabit Nigeria. ( The three  main tribes are Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba).  I didn't even know the paintings were of Hausa women until Happiness told me when I showed them to her.  I asked her how she knew and she said it was from the dress of the women in the paintings.  They are wearing "wrappers" as Happiness calls them which are wrap around skirts.  They have an exposed mid section and they are wearing bangle bracelets which she told me are very typical of Hausa culture.  She told me the women are probably carrying a type of custard in their baskets which they make and sell to people...

All of that information is great to know...but to me..they are truly a symbol of Nigeria.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let's Pray

Today, I was at a meeting with some other expat wives when one of them shared this "prayer"with me.  It rang so true and made me laugh...I just had to share it with all of you.  Some of you may have heard it before...but for me, today was the first time for me ...

The Expat Wives' Prayer

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient expat wives who are doomed to travel this earth following our loved ones through their working lives to lands unknown. We beseech you, oh Lord, to see that our plane is not hijacked or doesn't crash, our luggage is not lost or pillaged and our overweight baggage goes unnoticed.

Give us this day divine guidance in our selection of houses, maids and drivers. We pray that the telephone works, the roof does not leak, the power cuts are few and the rats and cockroaches even fewer.

Lord, please lead us to good, inexpensive restaurants where wine is included in the meal and the food does not cause dysentery. Have mercy upon us Lord if it be the latter, make us fleet of foot, to make the loo in time, and strong of knee in case we have to squat. Also give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand.

Make the natives love us Lord for who we are and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods. Grant us the strength to smile at our maids, even though our most treasured dress resembles a rag or they take bleach to clean our well-admired Persian rug.

Give us divine patience when we explain for the hundredth time the way we want things done and Lord if we ever lose our patience and thump them, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak.

Dear God, protect us from so-called "bargains" we don't need and can't afford. Lead us not into temptation for we know not what we do.

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in nightclubs. Above all, please do not forgive their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

And when our expat years are over Lord, grant us the favor of finding someone who will look at our photographs and listen to our stories, so our lives as expat wives will not have been in vain.
Source: Unknown
© Held by Author

I really had to laugh after reading this.  Even if you are not an "expat wife", if you know me...then you know that some of the things said in this prayer are true.  And to think...some days i think that no one understands me....all I have to do is read this!!!!! I wish I knew who the author was....I would LOVE to sit down and have a glass of wine with her!!:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kind of Like Family

I have been reading The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency book series, and I am loving it.  The stories take place in Botswana and although I have never been there, Alexander McCall Smith ( the author) seems to be able to transport you right there.  I can almost picture myself sitting outside on the veranda on Zebra Lane with Mma Ramotswe drinking a cup of bush tea (but I have to admit, I really have no idea what bush tea smells or tastes like).  The way he describes the scenery and the people is amazing.  So, if you love a book that can pull at your heart strings, has a little mystery, and lots of laughs, you really need to check out this series...if you haven't already.

As I was reading the books, I noticed there were several comments about Nigeria.  There is one mystery in the first book about Nigerian men (which I won't give away), and there are several of which is:

"When they died, good people,such as Mma Ramotswe's father, Obed Ramotswe, were undoubtedly welcomed by God.  The fate of the others was unclear, but they were sent to some terrible place-perhaps a bit like Nigeria, she thought-"

and another

"Sometimes, she thought that people overseas had no room for Africa, because nobody had ever told them that African people were just the same as they were.  They simply dikd not kow about people like her Daddy, Obed Ramotswe, who stood, proudly attired in his shiny suit, in the photgraph in her living room."

and another

After the heroine of the story, Mma Ramotswe, finds out that there is a possibilty that we all share the same DNA from the first humans discovered in east africa:

 "She had no views on Eskimos and Russians, but Nigerians were a different matter.  But Mma Makutsi was right, she reflected, if universal brotherhood-and sisterhood- meant anything, it would have to embrace the Nigerians as well."

At first when I read these lines in the books, I was laughing.  I can totally see where the author is coming from.  But, then I thought about it some more.  I realized that Nigeria really has that connotation about it.  I thought about what I thought of Nigeria before I moved here.  Many of the things I thought did come out to be true...but, not everything.  I didn't expect to find such a wonderful stewardess as it dangerous if I may even think of her as a friend??  I really didn't think I would ever want to raise my two children here....but look at them now!
August 2009

July 2009
August 2011

August 2011

I guess what I am trying to say is Nigeria isn't all that bad.  As  a  matter of fact, I think , for me, it is like a family know what I mean.  Only you can make fun of that person, but if anyone else "outside" the family makes fun of him, you get upset and defensive. I guess after reading those lines in the books...that's why they kind of stuck in my head and really made me think.   I never thought I would ever think of Nigeria "like family" but I guess it has grown on me. And, like a family can definitely get on my nerves at times! When I ask Elizabeth if she remembers ever living in Houston...she has no recollection of living there at all.  She was just 15 months old when we moved here...and to her, Nigeria is home.  Jeremy loves it here, too.  So, in a way, I guess Nigeria will always be a part of our family.:)  So, remember, when you do read many of the "bad" things about Nigeria...there are some good things here, too.:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eid ul Fitr

It seems really weird that only two short weeks ago school started up again and then, this week is punctuated with two holidays smack in the middle of the week.  This week, Muslims all over the world celebrated Eid ul Fitr, which marks the end of Ramaddan.  Click here to find out more about this huge Mulsim holiday.  Since moving to Nigeria, I have had my eyes opened to so many different and new things.  One of the many eye opening experiences I have had here is realizing that Islam is second only to Christianity in terms of the number of people in the world who practice it.  After Christianity and Islam come Buddhism and Hinduism.  Click here for more information of the populations of the four biggest world religions.  It's funny how I grew up in the U.S. and thought I knew so much about the world, but it is humbling how ethnocentric I was.  I always knew there were people of other religions, but like so many people, I really never knew anyone of a different faith than me.  So, while living here, I have met several Muslims and have learned a little more about their culture.

Although we are not Muslim, we did find a way to have fun over the two holidays this week.  Yesterday, we braved the wet weather ( which came back again after the short August seems we are still very much in the rainy season here). We ventured out on the boat to the beach with the philosophy of " If it's bad weather over here...the weather will be great at the beach!" which has always held true every time we have gone out there....that is, until yesterday...

But the company was good, and the kids LOVED it.  We even had a small lesson on sharing with some of the children from the village.  We had a few extra beach toys which Elizabeth and Jeremy decided to share with the children out at the beach. :)  They are learning life lessons here which I really didn't learn until i moved here as an adult.

We flew kites...what can I say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!!! When life gives you wind and rain...use the wind to fly a kite!!!:)

playing with the children from the village

Lizzy flying her kite:)

Children from the village loved the beach balls:)
Over the past two days, I have learned to understand another religion just a little bit more.  And understanding something which we don't know about is what helps us to explore the world a little bit more.  Even though I am not Muslim, I can see a bit more into their world.  So, Eid Sa'Eed ( Happy Eid!) to Muslims all over the world.