Every morning when I set off for work there are a gaggle (collective term) of taxis waiting at the corner of our road so I never have hail one down to get work. Every morning I have no problem getting myself a driver who will take me to work for the usual price of 250 naira but this morning the drivers weren’t playing ball, what they didn’t realise was that neither was I. The first one point blank refused to come down from 300, so I told him fine I’ll go ask the guy parked next to him. When I start negotiating with him he wants to find out what his mate quoted me and they start conferring and he says 300 as well. I then said “Fine I’ll get another car” and walked to the roadside and hailed a taxi, at this point they both start beeping their horns and trying to get me to come back I just turned around and said “Jog on dudes, Jog on” and got into my taxi for 250. They clearly had no idea what I’d just said to them but I was not in the mood for being messed around this morning and that much they knew. The lesson, never mess with the Oyibo on a Monday morning she won’t play ball.
In some ways I can understand why they try and get more out of you, there is a general belief here that all white people are very wealthy and in the area where we live there are lots of embassy buildings and big houses behind compounds, so it’s probably fair to say that they believe we can afford that extra 50 naira. However every naira counts, especially when we try and ‘save up’ for treats at the British Village or the like.
Speaking of which, there has been a menu change at the British Village and yesterday I treated myself to the very English dish of gammon, egg and chips and there was absolutely no guilt whatsoever attached to eating it. At the rate I’ve been losing weight the clothes I brought with me are now beginning to hang off my hips, it’s only a matter of time until there’s a terribly embarrassing ‘Kasia the Flasher’ incident. I need to find a tailor me thinks…
Back to today’s events, I was presented with a bag of ‘chi chi’ ??? I need to look that up. They seem to be little deep fried sweet biscuit things, I was kindly given them by someone in the office who said that his wife wanted me to have them which was very lovely. I was expressly told they were just for me and no one else but of course was expected try one there and then and then felt awful that I couldn’t share. So as soon as he had left the room I offered them round, they are clearly very popular as they went by the handful, probably why I was told they were just for me!
I also unexpectedly had to deliver a workshop today. It was something that I had asked to do and had planned myself but the date kept changing, mostly because no one was ever in on the dates we had it planned for (a hint maybe?). So I came in today expecting to be doing it tomorrow at 10am and at lunchtime was summoned to the main office to find the two chiefs waiting for me and then told to sit down. I felt a bit like I was in trouble for something and then they asked me If I would deliver my workshop now as most of the staff and volunteers were in. After a momentary panic I realised I was as prepared as I could be anyway so away we went, once the laptop and projector were set up of course.
I’m pleased to say that it went really well, once again during the introductions I found myself reinforcing that I am not looking for a husband. Once that was established I went over the expectations of the placement, “We have high expectations.” Good, to know. I then led a ‘Forcefield Analysis’ exercise looking at helping and hindering factors affecting the organisation’s current fundraising efforts and finished up by emphasising this is a partnership and I need them to work with me as it’s no good leaving me to work alone until next July I need to be able to share my skills with the staff.
The best bit of the whole session however was when the ducks living next door and I mean literally in the room next door started quacking during the introductions. As some of the ladies who were quite quiet anyway were telling me their names and jobs everyone did that thing when you hear something unexpected of looking around to see if you are the only one hearing it. Turns out that a family had been staying in one of the empty rooms in the offices over the weekend and brought their ducks along too. That goes on a list of things I did not expect to see at work today/ever.