Caboose

Also on Caboose: Journeys Antarctica, Kerguelen Islands, South America, Turkey, Cameroon
[Nigeria]Nigerian glossary

29/5/2006

Happy Democracy Day

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 17:00

Today was a public holiday, so Simon and I decided to visit the park. It’s officially called General Hassan Usman Katsina park, but the gate you enter through is Gamji Gate (Kofar Gamji in Hausa) and some people call it Gamji park instead.

The map at the entrance makes it look like the park is huge but once you get inside you realise it’s actually quite small and run down. There’s a pool with some crocodiles, probably the only ones remaining in a town named for the crocodile river, and three scruffy ostriches.
Stagnant-looking pool with a few small crocodiles and a large concrete ornament Two ostriches behind a fence
(more…)

25/5/2006

Rainy season

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 07:59

Rainy season starts a bit later here in Kaduna, the first rain was a few weeks ago but there have been long gaps between rain. It seems to be getting more frequent now.

Here’s the view from my kitchen step a couple of weeks ago, taking while it was raining. On the right is the same view today, it’s amazing how quickly everything has turned green.
Trees and brown grass Trees and thick green grass

I’ve not been updating this site much recently because I’m quite busy at work.

A week away from Kaduna

Filed under: friends,travel,VSO — kevin @ 07:54

I spent last week at the VSO office in Abuja, updating the “Welcome Pack” that new volunteers get on arrival in the country.

Some of the materials inside were in serious need of an update, especially the guide to Abuja which had been written over five years ago. Abuja has changed a lot in the last five years, particularly in the last year or so with all the demolitions.

It was slightly worrying when I asked for an up-to-date list of volunteers in country and was given a list that included people who left weeks ago and others who haven’t arrived yet! The electronic copies of welcome pack documents were scattered all over the network, making it difficult to be sure I had the most recent one.

While I was doing this work I was living in the VSO guest house, a small building on the VSO compound. This was obviously originally intended as the servants’ quarters (“boys quarters” is the local phrase) for the house that is now the VSO office. There are two small bedrooms, one used for storage, a toilet and shower and a filthy kitchen.

Bob and Karen were very kind and invited me round to dinner three of the nights, so I wasn’t even tempted to use the kitchen.

On Friday a group of us headed up to Jos, to meet Fathers Noel and Leo (the Kabba Boys) at the PW camp. It was Leo’s birthday, so we celebrated with a few beers.

On Saturday we had lunch at AfriOne in town and then half the group stayed to do some shopping while the rest of us went back to PW to watch Munster beat Biarritz in the rugby.

Nicole had bought some plastic “Hello Kitty” tennis rackets, various people tried to play but Ronan and Noel managed best:
Two men playing tennis with children's bats on a gravel car park

That evening we went to a restaurant owned by a German called Walter, who had been at PW on Friday night. The restaurant, Felak’s, is in the bush just outside Jos and the food was fantastic. We had leek and potato soup, chicken with lovely deep-fried aubergine and cake with cream for dessert. There was also plenty of fresh bread and cottage cheese to go with it all.
People sitting at a table

The next morning Noel and Nicole went hiking, while the rest of us lazed around or attended Leo’s Mass.

After a lunch of pizza and pasta people started heading back home, Bob gave me a lift to the motor park and I then had what seemed like a very long journey down the incredibly potholed road back to Kaduna.

2/5/2006

Surveying

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 11:45

Today I’ve been wandering around the NTI campus with my colleague Isaac, trying to solve some problems with our wireless network. This has involved using a laptop to take measurements of signal strength, as you can see in the picture:
Two people measuring wireless signal strength with a laptop, standing on a dusty road in front of a gate

Saying goodbye to Janita

Filed under: friends,VSO — kevin @ 11:40

On Friday night we met up at the usual place, PDP. This was apparently once the local secretariat for the dominant Nigerian political party but is now a bar. It’s one of the few bars in the (largely Muslim) north of Kaduna city. It was a bit of a special occasion because Janita was leaving us, travelling back to Abuja and then home to the UK.

Here’s a picture, Janita is in the middle of the group next to Victoria (headmistress of the school for deaf children):
A group of people sitting around a plastic table with beers

Powered by WordPress