On Saturday, I was having a drink with my fellow British volunteer, Richard, and he said it was our six month anniversary, a little confused, I asked for clarification, six months since we arrived in Nigeria. Yes six months ago, Richard, Heather and I stumbled off a flight from Heathrow to Abuja at 05:30am into hot hot Nigeria.
Well hot hot Nigeria, has become cold wet Nigeria, it goes down to 22°C at night and I have a blanket on my bed! The obvious question of course is what if anything have I achieved, or if you are VSO, have I “shared skills and changed lives?”
I’m a bit of a realist about what I expect to achieve, I even have a document at work that I add to occasionally called “Small, small achievements!"
So here is a list of achievements…..
1 – Skill shared, I helped Ugochi prepare for her telephone interview for the Climate Change Media Fellowship, you can read about it here and here
2 – Languages – very basic greetings in Pidgin and Hausa, ina kwana, ina auni, lafia, how dei, I dei fine, well done, sannu.
3 – Inches lost around my waist, at least that is what the tailor told me last time she measured me, and probably at least 3 inches gained on the length of my hair, as I haven't managed to achieve a hair cut yet, next months challenge!
4 – States visited, I live in Abuja, which is in Federal Capital Territory or FCT, the Centre of Unity, but I have been to Kano, Centre of Commerce, Kaduna, the Liberal State, Nassarawa, the Home of Solid Minerals, where I met the Deputy Governor, and Niger, the Power State, where there were still power cuts! Look at my map to see where I have been.
5 – Church services attended - Family Worship Centre, Baptist, Methodist, Summit, Redeemed, these are marked on my Abuja map.
6 – Oibo I love you! – Well actually I didn’t count but a certain number of men have claimed to be in love with me, want to marry me and so on!
7 – New outfits, one of the great things I’m enjoying about Nigeria is buying fabric and getting it made up, pictures here.
8 – Exercise, 4 times running, 4 times swimming, rather poor for six months I know but it was very hot when we arrived, and I’m working on it, but I have lost three inches!
9 – New types of food, egusi, vegetable soup, bitter leaf soup, pounded yam, eba, semovita, jollof rice, suya, shawarm – I will write about food another time, but if you would like to you can look at this great blog post by Richard, a different Richard!
10 – Haven’t made it to 10 yet! – but I have passed one module of my MSc since I have been here.
Mmm well let’s hope that after 12 months I have some more concrete achievements to share with you.