Five weeks to the day after arriving in Abuja for the start of my VSO placement and In country training I was back. I decided my sooner than planned return journey to Abuja would not be by bus this time and that I would pay for myself to fly. Clearly in Nigeria the cost of flying is far out of reach of the ordinary Nigerian and so this was a very different experience all round. It also blew most of my additional ‘travel’ fund that I brought with me from home but I still think it was worth every penny to avoid 12.5 hours crammed into a sardine can on wheels and to be subjected to a roadside search. Although the check in experience at Uyo Airport was quite special. I had to accompany my bags when they were scanned at the check in desk through a door that was marked ‘No entry, authorised personnel only!’ so that if anything suspicious was identified in my luggage I could unpack the bags to show them (flashback anyone?).
Anyway I arrived safely and met my new housemates at my new flat and got to unpack all over again, this time with no tears, hooray! We went out to get some supplies later in the afternoon and I got my first gander at my new neighbourhood, I already know where to get my fruit and veg thanks to Susan one of my new housemates. It sounds very odd but at the bottom of our road there is a sort of big yard behind a fence and inside are the men selling the fruit and veg, you go up to the gaps in the fence and tell them you what you want and they bring it you and pass you order through the bars!! I’ll take my camera next time, I’ve never bought food like this before but it was surprisingly good value for money compared to Calabar. I was expecting everything to be more expensive here with it being a capital city. We also went to a supermarket and yes they had corned beef but alas no gin, sad times. I’ll have to hunt for that elsewhere as I had to leave my previously purchased bottle behind in the very capable hands of two VSOs who I know will enjoy it just as much as I would have!
So my first impressions of my new home are very positive ones and I’m about to hit the sack at only 9pm as it’s been a very long day, it started with a phone call at 4.50am from the taxi driver informing me he was picking me up at 6am instead of 6.30am, thanks for that! Tomorrow I go into the programme office to find out more about my placement which I’m really excited about, onwards and upwards as they say.
Ooh in a totally unrelated but very noteworthy point can I just say well done to Torquay United for beating Bristol Rovers yesterday and giving every gulls fan the satisfaction of seeing Paul Buckle lose lose his first home match against the team he left in such a nice fashion at the end of last season. Brilliant and indeed highly satisfying!