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:
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.
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.