Monday, June 22, 2009

Things I have learned in Nigeria

Just because you are in Africa, doesn't mean there is a lion, elephant, or giraffe nearby.

It is not a good idea to fetch water in cargo shorts. The buckets catch on the pockets and then you end up slopping water all over yourself.

I thought living in a convent might be like the Sound of Music, without the nazis. It was nothing like that. Living with nuns was actually a lot of fun.

Malaria is more fun the second and third time.

The part in the Wizard of Oz, where the Wicked Witch starts melting always seemed far fetched to me. After spending time in Nigeria's heat and humidity I think it is entirely plausible that someone could melt.

Murphy's Law is alive and well. Anything that can go wrong, will probably go wrong. This is especially true when it comes to travel in Nigeria.

Pineapples do not grow on trees.

It is acceptable and sometimes necessary to start laughing without knowing why.

Roosters do not crow at dawn. Well, they do but they also crow at all hours of the day and night.

A baby is never too young to be tied on someones back and carried around.

If I had to choose between running water and electricity, I would rather have electricity. Although having both is preferable.

Eating bugs is a crunchy but not all together unpleasant experience.

Just because a cop is looking for a bribe, doesn't mean you have to give one.

Haggling over prices is an art form. It can be a long and frustrating process but in the end it is very rewarding.

The fastest way to tell a goat apart from a sheep is to look at the tail (goat tails point up and sheep tails point down).

During my entire time in Nigeria (not counting the airport) I saw a total of 18 white people. Six of whom were SNDs and four more were other religious. I am relatively young, unmarried, white, and a woman, which made me an especially rare commodity. Now I know what it is like to be the minority. It was fun at times, other times it earned me special treatment, but often times it left me feeling exposed and uncomfortable. In the future I will have more sympathy for anyone who is in the minority, whether because of their gender, race, age, or culture.

Being homesick for a place that is not your home is much worse than being homesick for your home. You can always go home.

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