Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another trip to the beach

Another beautiful day at the beach. Since I have already posted a number of times about the beach, I will just show a few photos of the vendors, kids, a new wood carving for sale, and Steve and the kids flying kites!
Lawrence, Steve, and Chris at the bow of the boat. Some of the local kids... all wearing clothes from the same fabric! Too cute!
Don having fun with the kids!
My new table cloth. I saw a new wood carving today that was quite shocking, but representative of the situation here in Nigeria. Boats filled with people and palm wine, is a typical tourist trinket but this one is different. It is filled with Niger Delta bandits with red cloth covering their faces, equiped with automatic weapons. In the center of the boat are the hostages from Shell, who are surprisingly small compared to the bandits (unless they are Shell children), and at the front of the boat is the suitcase for the ransom money. I was a bit shocked when I first saw this but I guess it is what it is... the state of Nigeria! Sam and Steve brought a few kites to fly with the kids and they were a big hit! Here he is with a shark and an owl (they are bringing them in). Bob bought a kite for us on an earlier trip to Houston and I forgot to take it to the beach! Urgh! Next time!

Kay - Thanks for the invite to the beach!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fabric Shopping in Lagos Markets

On the 26th, a few friends (and security) went shopping at two markets on Lagos Island, Jankara and Balogun Markets. This post focuses on Jankara because I have photos to show a bit of the experience. Our first stop was to purchase fabric used to make geles or headties, worn by Nigerian women as part of the traditional clothing. They are typically worn on special occasions, to church or a wedding, but some women also wear them to work. Here is a link to learn how to tie a gele. I can't wait until I have the opportunity to wear one and I will definitely post that picture! ; ) Kay is a quilter and she bought many used headties to use for quilts and to bring to friends in the US.
The stalls where we found the headtie fabric.
Below are some of the headties on display. A number of women and girls were running up to us to show us what they had, hoping to sell us their headties. Once a few were chosen (or a lot were chosen - Kay purchased 28), a Nigerian friend, Dupe, helped us look though them to get rid of any that had holes. They were sold for just over $1 each. I think Kay was in heaven!
Some of the kids in the market.
After the headties, we moved on to old and new adire (resist dye method using cassava paste). On the right is Kay and in the middle, down low is our friend Dupe, who took us to the market. The other two women (standing) were selling the fabric.
A picture of me with the women and kids of Jankara market.
Chris went along for the market experience and he did buy some fabric. Our friend Dupe is going to help him out by taking his measurements and fabric to her tailor to have a Buba, the men's traditional wear, made for Chris to wear to a wedding. Here is Chris with one of the women from the market. Chris was the photographer for many of the photos here (obviously not this one!).
SIDE NOTE: Jankara Market is on Lagos Island and consists of many shanty buildings with mud floors. The markets are occupied during the day but are empty at night when everyone goes home to rest. On the way to the fabric, we went through the juju market, but unfortunately no one would allow pictures, and neither would the guys slaughtering the cows. We must just be paranoid in the USA because here they just cut up the cow on a large wooden table, whacking away at it with a large knife, with bone pieces and other parts flying.... onto us while we were shopping! The meat, and every other part of the cow, is laid out on a table on display, no refrigeration necessary. One man was even shaving hair off of the skin, preparing it to be eaten. I must say that Nigerians really make the most of what they have! Many people in the USA eat the same parts of the cow but I think the butchering is a little more orderly and the parts are refrigerated. This is not meant to be negative, just an observation or comparison to what I am used to!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Nigerian Outfit

I am having way too much fun with the Nigerian outfits and now I need to get more fabric! Off to the market soon!

Joy, seen below in the picture with me, has been one of my clothing inspirations. Her fabric is not dyed but factory printed. My fabric is dyed and the pattern is created by folding the fabric in different ways when dying it.
Here is a close-up of the blouse so you can see the fabric and the style. It is really cute with the bunched fabric and tie in the front and the way the material scoops up toward the neck.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Missed my 20-year High School Reunion

Tonight I missed my 20-year High School Reunion. I also missed my 10-year reunion as I got the opportunity with Bob, his parents and his sister to hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stay at Phantom Ranch. What geologist would pass that up!

I have known about the 20-year reunion for a while but did not want to use my precious vacation time to go home. As the event got closer, I decided to go onto and post a profile to see who I would hear from. I started to hear from a few people which made me want to go to the reunion more and more. I was at least lucky enough to get on a distribution list so I was able to see pics of folks at the reunion pre-party (the day before) and at the reunion. A few friends that I had not spoken to in a LONG time also saw my email address and emailed me. I am very happy that they did. Thanks!

Next time I go home I am going to make the effort to see some friends that I have not seen in a long time and reminisce about all the great times we had.

I will really make an effort to go to the next reunion and so should you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My First Nigerian Outfit

Soon after moving here I bought some cloth and have been wanting to make a Nigerian dress to wear to work. I finally had someone make me one. It is two pieces but I know it is hard to see that in the photo. Most Nigerian dresses have a long skirt but mine is short because we only had 6 yards of cloth and wanted to make Bob a matching shirt (he does not have it as it needed to be altered). How cute! ; )

I wore the dress to work last week and I received more compliments than ever. All the Nigerians were very happy to see me embracing their culture by wearing their style of clothing. I am also slowly learning Yoruba, the local tribal language, and Pidgin English which makes the locals on the street laugh when they hear Yoruba words coming out of my mouth. Our driver is a great teacher!

I will get my next outfit from the tailor soon so expect another picture.

The cloth type is adire and it is made using wax (batik) or a starch, such as cassava (a major food item here), to treat the cloth in the areas that you want the material to resist taking the dye. The cloth in the photo above is made with indigo (blue) dye and is made locally using traditional methods.

Here is a close-up picture of the material.