Friday, October 15, 2010

Kaduna Heeby Jeebies

Now I am in a small town called Kaduna north of Abuja. I have internet access that barely lasts a second at a time, so I’m not sure this posting will even work. I’m afraid I can’t post photos with the strength of this connection. I also can’t seem to log in to my email account, although I’m able to get to the blog site. So if you don’t get any emails from me over the next couple of days, it’s nothing personal.

Today we spent the day in a small town further north called Zaria visiting schools and talking to crowded halls of noisy students who appeared to not be listening at all. However, after the session was over they pressed close to us and asked us their questions individually, each and every one of them stunning me with the strength of their vision for their future. These students live far, far away from what we call comfort, with broken windows in their schools, toilets that don’t flush and have overflowed, and where the afternoon classroom temperature is 100 degrees. I could hardly stand delivering a two hour session under those conditions. I have the greatest respect for the teachers and students who endure it all day, every day. What is obvious is that despite the conditions, real learning is going on here.

I had a massive disappointment the other day. My friend Fanta (hi Fanta!!!) was going to drive from Cotonou, Benin to visit me in Lagos. I was out all day on tour around different schools and expected to see her when I got back to the hotel around 6, but she wasn’t there. It turns out she wasn’t able to cross the border into Nigeria without a 500,000 Naira bribe, which is about5 3,300 dollars. The other choice they gave her was to leave her own car and driver and make the rest of the journey in a taxi. Nigeria being the somewhat dangerous place it is, there was no way she was going to do that. She made the wise choice of returning to Cotonou, but both of us were so disappointed it turned out that way. So close yet so far away, so they say. The good thing is that Fanta is safe.

So right now I’m staying in a somewhat creepy hotel in Kaduna – safe but creepy. It’s the kind of place you can imagine spiders running around at night while you’re sleeping. I checked the bed carefully for bedbugs. We only have another night here and then we’ll be at the Hilton in Abuja, which is the most extravagant hotel in Nigeria. We spent a very short night there last night, and it was HEAVENLY. And now I’m in a town where guys are herding goats down the main road of town, and where I saw someone cramming live chickens into the truck of his Buick.

Just curious – is the Chilean minor story the only freakin thing on TV the world over? It’s the ONLY thing on TV here 24/7, and the ordeal ended two days ago!!

Ok, all, wish me a peaceful, bug-free night.

No comments:

Post a Comment