Thursday, 22 July 2010

More trips to Bida

Second “jolly" to Bida.

The following week I returned to Bida, this time no driver so we used “public”. “Public” transport in Nigeria, starts from a “Motor Park” (I haven’t quite worked out how to pronounce this I missed the stop on the bus on Saturday because I said it incorrectly something like MotoPak is probably more useful). Arriving at the MotoPak, you are surrounded by people trying to get you into their car, but once inside it is relatively organised, the next car to each destination having a signboard on its roof.

Then it is a matter of agreeing the fare, and waiting for the car to fill, and completing the form with your next of kin, in case you die on the way, and the less said about Nigerian driving the better!

On this trip we were “on expenses” so my colleague paid for an extra seat meaning we got to sit two across instead of three across in the back seat. On my return from Bida to Minna, I paid for two seats, meaning I got to sit alone in the front seat instead of two people, yes I am serious for an hour and a half journey.

The other thing about having no driver was that all our travel in Bida was by okada, this is the name for motorbike taxis, and since VSO insist that volunteers wear a helmet, it gave the locals something to stare at other than a oiybo (white person) on a bike. Its a great way of seeing the town as well.  In this photo I was in the car looking at the okadas

Of course no driver meant no trips to the out of town beer supply, in the evening, although a couple of times, my colleague passed me a black plastic bag containing one beer bottle, and I wasn’t taken to the Sharia court.

Fortunately no rats in my bedroom, this time my colleague had a rat in his room, and saw several in the dining room. I just dreamt about them instead!

Anyway enough about transport and rats, what about our work, well some challenges arose, getting the stove insulation to stay in the stove, and finding suitable cooking pots. (More later)

Day trip to Bida

Third trip to Bida, this time with the Swiss Embassy and GTZ. On this occasion I went with my boss, and a driver in an air conditioned car, and was dressed in my best Nigerian outfit so I was smart and my head was covered. The trip was good but revealed some problems with our stove design as GTZ (stove experts) asked questions about our combustion chamber. The next day I met with my manager and an international stove expert, and we discussed how to move the project forward. So now we are looking for another stove expert to help us finish the work and an extension from the Swiss until the end of November. No rats, and no beer on this trip!

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