Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lagos Marathon Registration Extended with Excellent Prizes

From the website:

The 2nd Glo-Lagos International Half Marathon comes up on February 21 2008 and is a 21.098km race. Cash prizes totaling over N35 million are up for grabs in the half marathon with the winners (male & female) getting $50,000 each. The introduction of second level prizes for the first six Nigerian finishers in the race has raised excitement among local runners and increased the demand for registration materials. Globacom is offering a brand new Kia Picanto car for the first Nigerian male and female winners. The second set of Nigerians to finish the race in the male and female categories will get N1,000,000 each. Globacom will also cap the special provision for the Nigerian runners with N750,000 each for the third Nigerians in the male & female categories to finish the race.

Registration deadline extended until February. Stop by a GLO location or Register Online.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Goat Detained Over Armed Robbery - Lagos, Nigeria

Bob ran across a gem of an article this evening. Read for yourself!

Goat Detained Over Armed Robbery

I have not heard too much about black magic here though I have heard a few stories... and I have walked through a JuJu market but they would not let me take any pictures.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sample of a few grocery items and the cost here in Lagos

I ran out of cereal so I made a trip to Goodies Supermarket to pick some up, along with any other items that might catch my eye. I ended up spending $10 on cereal, $6 on Crystal Light (4-pack) and $5 on Nesquik chocolate drink mix.
To determine the US$ equivalent, I used the current exchange rate of 150 Naira to the US dollar. A few months back the exchange rate was about 120 Naira to the US dollar. If I bought these items a few months ago it would have set me back $26, but this week it set me back a whopping $21. I think this would have cost about $14 if I had bought it in the US.
This grocery chain is owned by some Lebanese people. I sure wish my money was going into the hands of Nigerians!

Life in Nigeria - No Complaints!

On a recent post I was asked for advice by a family who is considering moving here. They essentially asked what the pros and cons are of life here. I was a reluctant to post based on a recent negative comment I got on the blog, but what I post is just my opinion based on my limited experiences over the past two years. Prior to coming to Nigeria I had traveled to few other countries so I can only compare my experiences here to what my life has been like growing up in the US.

As you know from my blog I do not have any children but I do know many folks who live here and do. There is a good American International School that goes through grade 11 and a British Junior School and High School. The kids take part in many sporting activities; just like at home... soccer (no American football), baseball/softball, etc. The kids (and parents) have the opportunity to interact with kids (and parents) from around the world, an opportunity anyone would benefit from.

The positives of life in Lagos - Nigerians are very family oriented and most people are very friendly. You get to learn about a new culture and travel to places you might not travel if you did not live here. A safari is a MUST do and I highly recommend that the families get out to see Nigeria, it is an amazing country. Go to the Nigerian Field Society website and check out the trips and talks section. They do run kid-friendly trips. The weather here is good, it does not get too hot though it can be humid (not as hot and humid as summer in Houston) nor does it get too cold (coldest in Lagos is this time of year and the temperature drops to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit).

The negatives of life in Lagos - Based on my experience or discussions with expats, many things that should be easy to take care of seem to take lots of effort and follow through. Some people (maintenance, for example) won't respond to you until you ask over and over again. I must say that I have had similar problems in the US with cable TV or telephone companies. The infrastructure needs work but with so many people living in Lagos I can see how it can be very difficult to manage. Most apartment complexes that I have been in (not many) have constant or intermittent plumbing problems and dehumidifiers run 24/7. To have power all the time (which many Nigerians do not have), generators are needed therefore there is always the hum of generators running… and horn honking. The traffic and the driving style here is challenging and to me there seems to be no order to it. I do not drive much as I am not aggressive enough and we have a driver to take us to work and back (most expats do for security reasons). The only other issue is access to the goods you are used to though you can get most things here, at a cost. I ran out of cereal so I need to shop for a $10 box of cereal today!

I struggled with posting this as I really have nothing to complain about. Unfortunately many expats who come here focus too much on the negatives and not enough on the positives. I think I tend to focus on the positives!

I hope this helps!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach... again... but never boring. As usual, the shifting sands exposing new parts of the wreck not seen before. An upcoming post will show how the beach has changed over the last two years.
Beautiful palm trees in the background, beach hut and umbrellas on the left, boats along the beach and plenty of trash on the beach.
The group relaxing in the shade. Pictured from L to R is Joanne, Gord, Kevin, Ingo and Sheryl.
Kids from the village standing in front of their cassava plantation.
One of the boys next to the water well.
Some of the people from the village
The people that help us carry our stuff to the beach.
A close up of momma and her baby.
I have many photos of this woman and her baby. I will print all the photos shown (and more) and take them back on my next visit as I always do.
Sheryl and GordIngo and Joanne
Kevin and Lisa
Sand for construction is collected by hand from Badagry Creek. The sand boats start off empty and are filled up over the course of the day by a few men with small buckets. Lucky for them the water is not too deep (I don't think). Pictures taken at about 10AM.
By 2:30PM the boats are partially filled which requires our boat driver to drive by slowly so that the sand boats do not take on water and sink! Once filled they boats are towed to their sales point and the men move the sand with shovels. These men work VERY hard.
Partially sunken ships, like the two on the right in the picture below,
are a common sight in the Lagos Harbor.
While there are nice boats in Lagos, I think this is one of the nicest ones I have seen to date!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Local Markets

Last Saturday, Jan. 10, Joanne, Lynn and I went to Lekki Market. Joanne needed to get some gifts and I had not been in a while so I wanted to see if there was anything I needed (OK, wanted). I bought some book ends and I later found out Lynn did too! I also bought some DVDs! Shhhhhh! Here is a photo of one of the fabric stalls at the market. The colors are so vibrant and there are so many styles that it is overwhelming and beautiful.
Today, Jan 17, a group of us (Dupe, me, Joanne, Chris, Peggy, Fred, Kay and Sam) went to Balogun Market to get some fabric. A cornucopia of fabric (from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali and Indonesia and more), lace and embroidered fabric can be found on Balogun St., and on surrounding streets/alleyways. Balogun St. has more than just fabric... it has anything and everything.
The fabric stall where I bought my fabric (see below). Dupe, our guide, my friend,
masseuse and designer, is the one on the right.
Picture of me in front of the same fabric stall.
I was on a mission to get some fabric to go with a fuschia blouse I had recently purchased online. The options were endless but I was looking for something versatile, something I could wear with more than just the fuschia blouse. Below is a picture of my Ghanian fabric which I purchased 6 yards of for 1800 naira ($13 based on 140N/$1). I willl post a picture of me in the shirt and skirt when it is complete!
The market off the main street.
Picture taken from the stall above.
Piture taken from same stall looking the other direction.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Helmet Law being enforced in Nigeria

A helmet law is now being enforced in Nigeria, as of January 1. I hope the okada rider above was just making a joke and was really not using this bucket as a helmet (notice the extra helmet on the handlebars) but I hate to say that this is probably his helmet (maybe the other one is to small or is for his second passenger). Most riders now have something on their head but unfortunately not anything that would protect them if they have an accident. Lots of riders have construction helmets or other helmets that do not fit properly. Many news articles (NPR, BBC, Reuters) say some Nigerians were wearing fruit on their head but I did not see that, nor do I believe it. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the law to no longer be enforced. My next task is to try to find good helmets for our driver's wife and Nigerian friends that we know take okadas often as we really want them to be as safe as possible (riding an okada is not safe).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Summary... 2009 Plans...

2008 Travel Summary
We had a busy year and are happy to be here in Nigeria as we have many great experiences here in country and in our travels within Africa.
We travelled within Nigeria to many places including Osogbo, Kano, Abeokuta & Ibadan.
We hiked Mt. Cameroon in Cameroon, then travelled to southeastern Nigeria.
I visited Benin Republic, Togo, & Ghana.
We visited Namibia.
I travelled to Houston to deal with Hurricane Ike damage to our house.
We went to South Africa for work (rough, I know!) and had a few play days there.
We visited Ethiopia.
Overall I stepped foot in 9 different countries this year. Unfortunately Bob was unable to go to Benin, Togo & Ghana as he had to travel to Houston for business. He did go to London to visit family on a trip back from Houston so he was in 7 countries.

That record is going to be hard to beat!

2009 Tentative Travel Plans
Camping in Nigeria in various locations
Benin Republic
Eastern Nigeria / Western Cameroon
US to visit family since we did not go in 2008
Maybe another trip... Mt. Kilimanjaro?