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Monday, May 7, 2012

My Wake Up Call

This past weekend was wonderful!  It was full of children laughing, birthday parties, big hats and bigger smiles.  When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty good (other than the fact I have bus duty for the week).  Sometimes, I even forget I live in Lagos.  It's true. I start to feel pretty comfortable here.  My kids are happy at school.  I know where to find things here, and I don't panic when I can't (like I did when I first got here).  But, I was zapped back into reality when I saw two words...Boko Haram....on my Blackberry this morning.  A friend of mine who also lives in Lagos sent a forwarded message to me about a possibility of an attack near Lagos.  If this happened to me three years ago, I would have looked at the message and simply hit delete (not that I even had a Blackberry then!) and possibly thought that Boko Haram was something new on the menu at one of the local restaurants. (Yes, I can hear my Dad screaming across the ocean.  My poor dad always wants me to keep up with the latest news, and I sure wasn't that great about it three years ago.  I think it had to do with a one year old and an almost three year old I was potty training!)  After reading the message, my first thought was " I get about 50 forwards from various people a week, and I always blow them off."  I went to make my coffee, but I couldn't shake that certain something that was in the back of my mind.  I tried to forget about the message and go on with the morning.  I made Jeremy his lunch and made sure he got dressed and brushed his teeth.  Then, as I gave him a kiss good bye and told him I'd be on the bus and he'd see me there, it hit me!  I looked at his big brown eyes and realized that feeling I couldn't shake this morning was FEAR. I couldn't ever forgive myself if something ever happened to my husband or my children while we are here.  I am sure the forwarded message was not entirely accurate, but if it was being circulated at all and making just one other person besides me fearful...then it was working. And instilling fear, no mater how small, is the definition of a terrorist, is it not???

Sometimes, I get caught up with my everyday life here.  I start to forget about some of the true dangers of living in Nigeria. I even made Guy do some investigating at work to find out if there was a heightened security alert.  Thank goodness there wasn't!  Nevertheless, Boko Haram is real and whether or not the attack will occur or it won't, the fact of the matter is that group is in Nigeria, and we all have to be vigilant of our surroundings.  I am grateful for the message I got this was a good "wake up call" for me to enjoy living here, but at the same time, I always need to remember I am living here.  I need to be conscious of my surroundings not only for Guy and myself, but for our children as well.

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