Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Nigeria Notes part 14: November 7, 2013 - A Day in the Capital City of Abuja

Thursday, November 7, 2013
We got to sleep in this morning.  We didn’t get up until 7:45.  The hotel room we were in was in such a shambles!  It was almost laughable!  It seems to be the general state of things in Nigeria, once good and solid and right but now falling into decay.

There was an AC unit but it didn’t work very well.  This hotel also uses low watt bulbs… to mask the conditions or conserve energy?  The bed barely fit in the room.  Penny had to sleep against the wall.  The comforter was pretty; a fluffy gray with a black floral design  on it.

But the bathroom!  The door didn’t fit the opening.  It was a little way too big, or was hung crooked so that it never could be forced shut.  There was a shower hose in the tub but it didn’t work so we used the buckets for water, conveniently placed in the tub to take bucket baths with.  There was a window just outside the enclosed tub that had a very flimsy curtain that made me feel unsafe.  But Penny wasn’t concerned and with my kind of tired, I conked out pretty quickly.

Breakfast was a delightful surprise!  On the menu they had “Cornflates”.  A welcome taste of home.  bob had bowl too.  IG had an egg and salad club sandwich, like the one Bob had had the night before.  They said it was really.  What was really good was those cornflakes!  

Corn "Flates"

We found out that our flight to Owerri was pushed back from 11:00 to 2:00.  IG was quite upset as that meant that we’ll be considerably late for the crusade.  He tried to contact as many pastors who would attend as possible but people will certainly be left waiting a long time for us.

In the meantime we drove into the center of Abuja to go to a branch of IG’s bank.  Nan Jankowski had money grammed him $1400.00 and he was able to get the cash in Niara.  Penny and I went into the bank with him, which was pretty culturally stunning. We parked on the road and only Penny and I went with him into the bank.  We had to go through a large metal gate that opened onto the road.  It was heavily guarded by armed officers in black uniforms.  Then, when we got to the door of the back we were confronted (I wish I could say we were greeted, but they were quite fierce looking!) by 2 more officers with more rifles. (AK47s)  The one officer looked to be about 20 years old or maybe younger and had a scary scar down his right cheek.  There was nothing friendly about them, their eyes being cold.  We each had to be wrung into the building, first going through one door that was remotely unlocked and door closing behind us before we could ring for the second door to open.  Once inside we were treated to blessed air conditioning!  There were long lines of people waiting to get to tellers.  We climbed up a flight of stairs to talk to tellers on the second floor.  It took quite a while, while IG spoke to a woman behind a counter.  Penny and I didn’t mind a bit!  We sat in the cool and enjoyed a little people watching and conversation.  Once our business was concluded we went down the stairs and out the door, which, once again had to be unlocked remotely.  I smiled at the young man with scar, thanking him for his service and although he did not smile back, his eyes did.

A Nigerian Policeman

We drove to the airport, arriving quite a bit early.  Poor Darlene!  She had to climb three flights of stairs to get to the waiting area!  Then when it was ever time to board the plane she had climb back down those three fights and up the steps to the plane door.  I think we all suffered for her.
The stairway poor Darlene had to climb up and down.

In the meantime we waited.  I bought 2 large bottles of water and box of McVitties Digestible Biscuits. (Quite nice!)  I think I got took, though, as they seemed awfully expensive.  but I didn’t haggle.  I should have!

We sat for a couple of hours.  I got some knitting done.  There was an adorable little red haired girl sitting near us, maybe 3 years old.  We wondered if her distinctive hair would make her a treasure or an outcast.  She sure seemed loved by the adults who were with her.

We also met 2 German nuns who help run an orphanage nearby.  They were on their way back to Germany.  I can’t remember why.  They both spoke good English.  We asked about their work and offered to pray with them.

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