Monday, January 26, 2009

Home at last

Greetings from Awkunanaw. For those of you back home I would just like to inform you that it is ten o'clock at night and it feels like it is ninety degrees in here. That is with a ceiling fan running and both windows open. I have been in Enugu less than six hours and already I am sweating like a pig. I was not cut out for heat without air conditioning. So think of me the next time you complain about the snow.

So today was an interesting day. Aubrie and I took the bus to Enugu and it took eight hours. But I am really glad we took the bus instead of flying. I have traveled around North America, Europe, and the Middle East but I have never been to a place that seemed as foreign to me as Nigeria. I found myself overwhelmed by how different everything was and those eight hours helped me adjust. As Aubrie put it, the bus ride was like watching the Discovery channel. I was surprised how green everything is, since this is the dry season. It was also fascinating to watch the people. We saw women carrying baskets on their heads, men with wheelbarrows waiting for work, uniformed children walking what must be miles to school, and even people bathing in the rivers. The trip also helped me get used to livestock running wild, the pervasive litter, and the traffic.

I think now would be a good time to explain the rules of the road in Nigeria. (I would like to note that this is strictly my own observations and I don't know the legality of these driving techniques.) The first thing you should know is that I have yet to see a single traffic light in Nigeria. This makes it a little tricky when multiple vehicles enter the intersection simultaneously. Generally the right of way goes to the bigger vehicle such as the bus since it would come off better in an accident. However, it should be noted that the use of one's horn makes this rule null and void. A horn is used to indicate a driver's level of impatience and the likelihood that he or she doesn't care if they die in a horrible crash. So persistent honkers often get let in. Add to this the complete lack of lane lines, the horrible potholes, and the sheer number of suicidal motorcyclists and a simple drive can turn into a wild ride. I think traffic is the reason so many cars and trucks had slogans like "Pray constantly" and "Jesus Saves" painted on them. I certainly prayed for divine intervention when we were in traffic.

Random thought but I hope my malaria pills are working because I just swatted another mosquito.

Love from Africa,

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