Saturday, February 14, 2009

GLO Lagos 5K Corporate Fun Run

The day was a bit overcast, good for a 5K run, but warm and humid. It was the GLO corporate run and we recruited a bunch of folks from work to participate, some that run all the time and some that don't but this has motivated them to. I was excited to be one of the people motivating others to get out and run or walk. We did try to put together a team of fast people and they did fantastic, taking first place and winning 1 million naira (~$6700; 150naira:$1) which will be donated to the Nigerian Heart Foundation. The team consisted of all men but we had one Nigerian woman Uche who should have been on the fast team as she performed excellently taking first place overall for women. I think I took 5th place for women but they are sorting out a computer glitch so I hope I get it (I should). The prize will be a Blackberry and 100,000 naira airtime (~$670). Friend Jonathan who was on the 1st place team also won 5th place overall for men. It was a great day. Everyone finished and had fun, which was the point of the day.

Picture before the run. Unfortunately not all team members are in the picture.

It was finally confirmed by video evidence that I was the 4th woman to cross the line... I am waiting for my Blackberry and airtime minutes. ; )

UPDATE: GLO presented he awards at a ceremony and I was asked to come to reeive my gift. It was presented to me as if it was a Blackberry (it was in a bag) and I trusted them. Big Mistake! They gave me a SIM card with no minutes on it and a USB wireless modem. One I realized I had been duped, I let them know and I was told they had no Blackberrys available (BS!) and that they owed me a 50,000 naira airtime minutes. I won't hold my breathe waiting on that!

Stay tuned as next weekend is the GLO Lagos Half Marathon.


Sugabelly said...

Okay, so I read your blog from beginning to end. All comments included, and I have a few observations.

1. You've been in Nigeria almost three years now, how come you don't have ANY Nigerian friends that you regularly socialize with? (Domestic or help staff and impoverished locals cannot be included - Nigeria is CHOCK FULL of Middle, Upper Middle, and Upper Class people that live on the Island just like you, so how come in more than two years you haven't made any friends with them?

Yes, Nigerians are hospitable, but it is extremely rude for foreigners to come to our country and then socialize with only themselves.. which is what I can see from reading all your blog posts. The only people you count as your friends are the other expatriates that you know.)

2. You might not realize this, but as far as pictures go, a number of your commentors were right. They might not have expressed it in the nicest of terms, but your blog (pictorially at least) is rather one sided. Are you saying that in two years in Nigeria, and living on the Island to boot, you have never been to a really nice five star restaurant and taken pictures? Have you never visited Terra Kulture or Bambuddah or 6 Degrees North or any of the couture stores of the great Nigerian designers? Are you saying that you never went to visit any Nigerians that lived in nice houses (and they are EVERYWHERE on the Island and all owned by Nigerians). I understand that it is a personal blog but when you are in a position where you are the only source of information to a group of people that do not know anything else about a place (your friends, family, and all the other readers of your blog)then it is important to present a fair and true well-rounded picture.

If I was not Nigerian, from your blog I would have deduced that all Nigerians are poor and live in shanty towns and do not have a reasonable standard of living, but that Nigeria is a great place for foreigners to have fun if they are willing to put up with certain inconveniences and socialize only with other foreigners like them.

Nigeria, like any other country is made up of different strata of society. There are the Mega Rich, The Rich, The Well-Off, The Comfortable, The Uncomfortable, The Poor, The Very Poor, and The Destitute. This is the same for every other country in the world, so to focus on only a few closely related strata is unfair. Had you focused on rich Nigerians only, I would still have objected.

In none of your pictures has there been a Nigerian friend that was an equal of yours, a situation which I think is quite rude. It is an insult to our hospitality to not make an effort to genuinely befriend Nigerians while in Nigeria, especially as Nigerians generally extend courtesies to foreigners that they would not normally to another Nigerian.

So, you can see how some of us might view your blog as having an imperialist slant, whether you meant it or not. Your pictures do not paint a fair or complete portrait, and this is what upsets and offends. Nigerians like me know our country inside out.

Yes, there is poverty, but there is also great wealth and beauty, and I don't mean just cultural wealth.

Most likely, had you made an effort to have some real Nigerian friends you would not have run into the toilet paper debacle and the many other tiny sticky situations you have so far.

I do enjoy your blog, and I think it is always good to document, especially when you get a change of scenery, but I noticed that you were surprised at some of the vicious comments you got from some Nigerians, and although I felt the same way, I decided to put my thoughts forward in a gentler way.

Our country is not one-dimensional or even two or three-dimensional, and so far you have shown it to be so.We are proud people; do not humiliate or belittle us.

Peggy said...

Hi, We might be moving to Lagos. I'm American, my husband British. He's already working in Port Harcourt. I'd love to ask you some questions. My email is Please email me if you have time. Thanks so much!!!

Lisa said...

Sugabelly - I appreciate your comments, especially since they were not as harsh as some of the others. While I feel a need to defend myself, I am not going to, or try not to at great length anyway.

I must admit that I don't have many Nigerian friends outside of work and my Nigerian co-workers, though I have a good relationship with them, have not invited me over. I would love to go to their home. I agree that my experience here would be different if I had Nigerian friends outside of work, but I don't and I have tried to make friends. Unfortunately the two weddings I have been invited to occurred on weekends I was out of town but I hope there will be another opportunity during my assignment here.

So far I have not found any Nigerians interested in camping, hiking, biking, sailing or swimming at the beach, the activities shared by me and my expat friends. I know the majority of Nigerians in Houston spend time with other Nigerians and not Americans. It is human nature to stick with what you know - language, customs, food, etc.

I rarely spend my money in 5-star restaurants or hotels as I feel they are way too expensive and not worth the money. The majority of times I have gone out to eat have been during work hours and I typically don't have my camera. I will try to remember to bring it next time. You may have noticed that I am not too big on fashion (I do like the Nigerian fabric and styles) therefore I do not care to go to a couture store here in Nigeria, in Europe or in the US. It is just not my thing.

My blog is about my experiences outside of work and those experiences are usually doing the activities I enjoy and what I encounter along the way. When the opportunity arises, I will do my best to capture a more representative picture.

It is unfortunate that there is not a better website on the internet to present a well-rounded picture of Nigeria and many folks moving here are relying on my website, and others like it, for info.


All4Naija said...

Take Sugarbabe comment with grain of salt. Have Glo given you your reward package promised you for winning in the marathon?

naija said...

i noticed what sugabelly noticed as well. I hadn't seen any pictures of the blogger with actual nigerians who weren't servants in some shape or form. What i will say is, yes, people do stick to what they know. but even though nigerians in america hang out with nigerians, i guarantee that the average nigerian in america can name at least ONE american friend that they have. I live in the states and have american, indian, chinese, french, etc friends. Yes, you may not meet nigerians who like to hike or surf. But if you really want to make nigerian friends, you might just have to start socializing with them in activities that they like. Try something new and maybe you'll be surprised at what you might find. Try attending a nigerian church. Join a society (that isn't just for expats). Visit Nigerian blogs like and see what events are going on. You can go to fashion shows or plays. Music concerts etc and meet lots of nice nigerian people. You don't have to go to 5 star restaurants...most nigerians dont anyway . and no one is saying you should befriend wealth nigerians who go to 5 star restaurants. but try to get past your awkwardness and reach out to them on their level.