The weeks seem to fly by! It is now well and truly Harmattan and people are feeling the cold! I saw someone with a padded Jacket and Mary brought a blanket to work! I am, of course still hot! Well it is still 36° by 11 o’clock! It is a bit cooler at night and we do have a cover on the bed now-a shiny silver bedspread in fact, left here by a previous VSO. The biggest problem is all the dust and sand brought in by the Harmattan wind. Our verandah was covered with it and my shoes look brown instead of black. Lea washed the curtains which previously looked orange but in fact are several shades lighter!
We are real VSOs again and back in our house minus the generator but with geckos! Now Jayne has gone we have lots of space so I have put my Pilates exercises in her room and am using her bed as a mat as I don’t fancy lying on the floor so that I can demonstrate the moves to the cockroaches! It is my New Year resolution to do Pilates every day. I have been a bit lax-sorry Tanya-but I do find it hard doing them in the heat and finding somewhere to lie down was a problem. However no excuses now and so far I haven’t missed a day. I have got to do something as my clothes are getting tight with all the rice, yam and akara I am eating. First day back at the office I was told how robust I was looking and how fat I now was-this is actually a compliment! Then this week, Bello asked me how old I was and said, “I think around 50 or maybe around 60”-so I have also resolved to try to put make-up on. This is quite tricky in the mornings without NEPPA or Jayne to tell me how I look! We have bought an ironing board so at least my clothes should look smart. I am not telling many people about this or I will have to wash it. “Wash”, I was told, means to have a celebration-bring in food-for getting something new.
This week I went to see how the SSIT were doing delivering the training to the SSOs who then train the heads at cluster groups. It was indeed going very well and I was very impressed. I stayed most of the day and enjoyed the lively discussions. It was much more interesting than school development planning I have done in the UK-we should definitely adopt some of the energisers and the group tasks are done with real enthusiasm. The lunch was good too-jollof rice, plantains and chicken and the training center is set in lovely grounds. As I stood outside after lunch with the sun on my face, looking at the gardens and talking to interested participants I thought about my colleagues in England doing yard duty in the cold and rain.............
I also went to a leaving do at SUBEB where pounded yam and goat soup was on the menu. Needles to say I made do with a coke! The director was wished a happy retirement without pain and with more energy so he could serve Nigeria even better and then given enormous gift wrapped boxes which no-one knew the contents of. As it is not the custom to open gifts in public I can only guess the contents. My quest to discover where the story books are and to obtain the books in SUBEB continued after the do and I now have another department to visit!
At last I finished the lesson plans-hurrah! I had only a short time to celebrate as Sue has found 75 more for me to do. I also have to do a workshop on Phonics at Oro college next week. It is a three day training so I am quite busy researching and planning for that. I also have to chair the technical team meeting tomorrow, arrange a meeting with directors in SUBEB and think about the induction for the new VSOs so I expect this wek will fly by too. We are looking forward to having new VSOs as Lea and I are the only ones here now so it will be great to have some company.
Sue is back and we have had a great weekend. Yesterday we had a good play with her girls and a great Indian meal followed by Dance wii which is great fun. Today Lea watched the derby with Sue-bit risky as he is an ardent Liverpool fan and Sue is Everton but fortunately it was a draw.
Disaster struck my laptop. The lid will not close properly so I am Hoping Katherine’s friend has been able to fix it as it is a real life-line. Sue has let me use hers and I have a net book but really need the laptop.
I am going to post the cockral who need to learn to tell the time. He lives in the shed at the back of our house and starts about 2am and continues until it gets dark. He has a really angry face I think you will agree. Some cattle were being driven down the road by a Fulani and I did think of snapping them except the leader looked about to charge when I stared at her and in fact, led the herd down the side road I turned into much to the Fulani’s annoyance!
Another culinary achievement this week was the soda bread I made. I spent nearly an hour at Yoruba Rd market asking for bicarbonate of soda and was shown bottles of soda but eventually found a shop that sold it-even though the container turned out to be half full! We had to get my phone calculator to convert grams to ounces for the VSO Chop Recipe book and use peak dried milk but it worked and is very nice especially with the strawberry jam my daughter sent me via Sue.
Lea is making a map for the new VSOs and has found some new little walks of interest. He found the flower garden which is like a mini rainforest where the bats hang out-not my favourite creature so He will be taking them there on his own! We have roped him in for the lesson plans while the schools are closed so he can come to the office which will be good.
My project for the house is to try to remove some of the junk from the yard outside, ie: the old toilet and desk, then get some compost and plant some seeds. Benga, our neighbour, already grows garlic and tomatoes so will ask him to help.
The children round here are now calling me Aunty Caroline which is so lovely and we have made friends with the vegetable shop man who got me some delicious paw paws and let me try the red bananas ata special price because I am his regular customer now-I still haggled for a lower price though and he dashed me two cucumbers. His stuff is really good and we have had great pineapples and runner beans this week.
On that happy note I will switch off my head torch and heat up a pan for my bucket shower and go to bed!!!