Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Chief is in town!

Firstly I'd like to apologise for my rushed and crappy entry yesterday. I have more time in the cafe today and it's the middle of the day. It was starting to get dark yesterday when I was typing, and we're not allowed to be out after dark here.

Also, please feel free to email me any news as I really want to know how everyone is. I'm logging on to my hotmail and there are no emails for me, which is a bit rubbish! So, buck up and get typing because I am missing you all. I don't care if it's really boring, don't underestimate how much it means to me to hear from you.

I can't believe I forgot to tell you that yesterday we went to a nearby village where the chief for the whole of the Nassawara state lives. He is basically a very important man. As we arrived in the village there were a group of dancers to meet us and we all joined in. It was amazing. We than had to take our shoes off to go into the chiefs palace where we were very warmly welcomed. We each had to introduce ourselves and I said thank you on behalf of the team.

As we were leaving all the children from the whole village were there and wanted to touch our hands. It's like when you see celebrities going to Africa and all the children crowding around them - that's exactly how it was for us! I was completely blown away.

So, our living conditions are ok. We have to bath from a bucket of water and the toilet is a hole in the ground. It's all very character building stuff! I got locked in the bathroom the first time I went in, and as I was trying the lock the biggest cockroach crawled from out of the side of the wall and I almost had a heart attack! Cockroaches are something I have to get used to. All our clothes have to be washed by hand and that is such hard work. My host Mum helps along with my counterpart whom are used to it.

Today the chief whom we met yesterday came to an official community welcome in Lafia. He actually spoke to us, which we are told is a great honor. There were loads of people about and We all introduced ourselves. I was last in line and I said "Ina Kwana your highness", which was met with huge laughter! I said good morning to him in Hausa which is the main language spoken here. People always laugh at me when I try and speak Hausa, but at least I'm trying! I also said "Nagodi", which is thank you which was again greeted with lots of laughs!

Tomorrow we are going to a football game and Monday is independence day so we have been invited to meet with the first lady of the state. We start our work placements on Thursday and on Wednesday we have our first Global Citizenship Day run by our program supervisors. The theme will be HIV and AIDS. There are lots of slogans about the place saying "Conduct not condom, abstinence is best. Aids is real". Lets just say I think this issue may divide the team as there are a mixture of religions and beliefs.

Anyway, I am having the best time and I can't wait to get stuck into my work placements!

Lots of love xxx

Friday, 28 September 2007

We have arrived!

Hello everyone! I have finally got access to the internet! It is incredibly slow - but working none the less!

We spent the first few days in Abuja meeting the rest of the team and doing training. It was really good to get to know everyone - they are all such nice people! We even had a pool where we were staying, so we were very lucky as it was a fantastic way to cool down.

We arrived in Lafia yesterday adter a long, cramped and hot bus journey. I have my first experience of squatting for a wee in the Bush which isn't an experience I want to repeat! We arrived in Lafia which is a very poor place. It is very hard to describe the types of conditions we were wtinessing people living in. You will see by my pictures, but lets just say things are pretty bad for these people.

After arriving our host homes came to pick us up. My counterparts name is Diane and she is absolutely beautiful! She is so lovely and we are getting on great. Our host mum picked us up and she is great! We are to call her Mama. She is 61 and a very happy lady. She lives at home with her 2 children and 2 grandchildren who are 10 and 11 - and very cute!

I don't have time to write a lot as the server keeps crashing! So quickly I will say I am missing you all very much! The weather is rather unbearable and we are all constantly sweating. I think the clohes I have brought aren't suitable, but they will have to do. I am looking forward to starting work. I'll be working at a school and at something called Edu link which helps people with health issues, HIV and Aids awarenes, teaches people knitting and sewing (I'll need to learn first!!).

Sorry this entry seems a bit jumbled up, but time is short in the cafes over here but I will try and write another better entry soon.

Abi x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Predeparture Nerves!

Hello everyone!

This is just a little note to say I have now created my blog for my big adventure! I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update it, but I will when I can.

I'm feeling very nervous and excited about the whole experience and can't wait to get started. The packing is going well and I have made lots of lists about my stuff which makes me feel better (diagnosis of OCD not needed thanks!).

We are off to London on Friday for some training then we fly to Nigeria at 10:15 on Sunday. We have recently been told that we will be making most of our journeys while out in Nigeria on motorbike!! Not only this, but we are expected to make space in our luggage for a helmet that we will be fitted with! I will just have to wear it - at least I'll be protected in the event of a plane crash!!

I will try not to make this blog to boring when I do update it, so do log on occasionally to see if I have been up to anything interesting!

Bye for now! x x x