Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This is Nigeria

(From June 14 ish)

We flew into Abuja at about 5am. As we touched down, I read a very sweet note from the lovely Ijeoma, welcoming me to her country. That was the first of many welcomes I received. I was excited by the smells as we got off of the plane. It smells like Chad here. As we walked out to baggage claim, I was pleased to see a large UNAIDS sign advertising for free HIV testing. There was even a person standing there promoting it. Yay public health! 

By midday when we arrived in Jos, I had spilled pineapple juice all over myself (did manage to drink some of it though; it was really good), we had been sideswiped by another vehicle (think bumper cars; no lasting damage), and we saw a really beautiful rainbow. Once we arrived in Jos we had a delicious lunch, followed by a trip to the king’s palace and the governor’s compound to say hello and thank you. That was exciting. I’ve never seen a king in person before. While we were waiting at the aforementioned places, we scored a few mangoes, which we enjoyed very much! 

It was close to evening by the time we started for Jengre. There were about 10 of us, and we were all really tired so most of us slept on the way. We got in to Jengre at about 7:30 pm. It was dark, and I had been asleep. I woke up as we were coming into town, and there was a marching band playing. We got closer and our leader finally decided we should just jump out of the still moving van and walk up the road. So we did. It was so amazing and beautiful. The band was playing, and the women and children were dancing on the sides of the road and came to walk with us. We walked in the light from the headlights of a police car, and tried to dodge the puddles. There was a little bit of lightning, and it started to rain, which just made it more magical. The band played until we got to the hospital, where we stopped and were able to get out of the rain while they continued to play. The kids held our hands and the women went out to dance. It was so special, and so beautiful. We felt very welcomed. 

After spending some time dancing with the children, we were able to use a very nice pit toilet, and eat dinner. After dinner we were deposited at our respective places of residence, and we finally got to sleep. It was so nice to lay down and sleep, that I didn't even notice how hard the bed was until morning when I was getting up. 

This is Nigeria, and it is a very lovely place.