Returned from trip to Abuja for a meeting with colleagues from other states. Writing this by torchlight as the power has gone so may be a short blog!
So we got to the airport and went to pick up our tickets. Why the long delay? No electricity so they had to write the tickets by hand! I also noticed their unique luggage system-one poor man dragging each piece out of the airport and onto the tarmac then as you get on the plane you show him which is your piece to check it's there!
We stayed at a good hotel and at last I could ebjoy a warm shower and even have a bath. There was lots of food too so I could make up for lost time and eat things like lettuce and apples! It was also good to meet other volunteers and share stories. I went to the VSO office and finally got some living allowance but Lea still has not had his due to our problems with the bank. Then I met Nova and we had a meal in Dunes. Dunes is also a shop and it felt a bit like being in Aladin's cave after the shops here. There was so much choice but a lot out of the reach of the VSO allowance. I did treat myself to some conditioner which was nearly a whole day's allowance but desperately needed and not available here. I also bought two Mars bars which were also desperately needed! Then I had to get a taxi back and in the dark! Nova was very helpful and made sure the driver knew the way and got me a cheap price but as I set off I remembered the warning about not going out alone after dark and how people pretending to be police were getting into taxis and then kidnapping the occupants. Needless to say I sat in the front with my eye on the door handle ready to jump out if the need arose. It didn't and the driver was great.
The next day I met Lilian, John and David who were running the meeting. They are great people. Lilian is more my age and used to be a VSO so knew how things were. She took Lucy (another VSO) and I out for a meal, insisted on paying for it and provided us with a taxi driver she knew so we felt safe going back. I really enjoyed the meal and our chat. I got the driver's number too so I can call him when I next go to Abuja. Quite a lot of volunteers are having problems here especially with bank accounts and three have had accidents on okadas. I brought my helmet back but am very unsure about using the okadas as the roods here are so bad.
The meeting was really useful too and good to know what other states are doing and how far ahead Kwara is. It was really well run too and Lilian is clearly well respected.
The plane was only delayed by an hour and then it was back to my no ac accomodation and limited food selection but Lea had bought coconut juice which went well with the Mars bars and it was good to see him and Jayne again.