Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Didn't See It Coming...

Just when I thought I was a good judge of character and I thought I could figure people out...I realized that maybe ...just maybe...I could possibly be wrong...

Having staff in Lagos is almost a necessity....really....I am not joking.  When I first came here, people thought "Wow!!!" That must be nice you'll have a housekeeper/ nanny and a driver!!!"  Even I thought to myself,"How will I ever deal with someone driving me everywhere and having someone in MY house cooking MY food (well, I can deal with that) and someone in my house taking care of MY kids?"  But having staff  is crucial  to living in Lagos.  Everything I took for granted in the U.S. (grocery shopping, running errands, driving etc.) is a major pain in the @#* here.  The key to my sanity (other than my kids and my husband) has been having staff.  You all know from a recent post how I feel about my nanny, but the same has not always gone for our driver.  Fatai has been with us since we moved to Lagos, and he loves the kids and has driven us safely around the  crazy streets of Lagos. ( Something I know I could NEVER do! I would end up dead getting into a fight with someone who cut me off!) But, we have experienced many "peaks" and "valleys" with him.  I have to admit many of the "valleys" we have had with him were because I couldn't see the line between being a boss and a charity no matter how many times my husband warned me!:)

I may be stepping on a few toes by writing this post, but there is some truth to what people in other parts of the world hear about Nigeria.  There are scams going on here all the time...right under my nose....probably in my building even as I write this post.  People will lie to your face with a smile and ask for everything you can possibly give them and then come back and ask for more. I am afraid one of the "side effects" of living in Lagos is becoming a bit more cynical about people.  I wish I could look out the window of my car and see a person begging for money and not wonder if that person really needs money or if he is just asking for more and more and more.  I was pretty sure I could "figure" some people out.  I was sure I had Fatai figured out.  He had become like a family member...we knew his faults, and we had accepted him anyway.   That is until this morning...

The door bell rang at 7 :10 a.m. and Fatai was standing there.  I am not going to lie, I was thinking "Oh no! What does he need this time?"  I looked down in his hand and he was holding a dilapidated looking black plastic bag.  He had a big smile on his face and he said," I'm here to see Lizzy." He  pulled out a wrapped gift and a card from the bag and walked over to her and gave her the gift. She opened it up, and it was a beautiful Nigerian outfit complete with a little head tie!  I think in those few moments that Fatai was in our flat, a little bit of  the cynicism I had been feeling so strongly lately started to go away.  I really needed to see this!  I didn't see this coming at all!:)
Fatai and the" Nigerian Princess"


  1. I've been reading your blog off & on for a bit now (Poor memory stops me from sometimes going to blogs I love!)and finally have to comment. What a beautiful story. It made my day. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Tina! Thanks for your comment!:) It made my day too.:) It's the little surprises that happen in life that make everything worth it!:)

  3. I stumbled on your blog today...i am not sure what brought me here now but i have enjoyed reading it and sharing your experiences. You have a great heart Meredith and i wish you and your family all the best on your returned stay in the US.

    I am Nigerian and i like how objective you have been in each post. Thanks for a true unbiased reflection.