Hiromi will be leaving soon so she organised a leaving celebration at her house in Kagoro, in the south-east of Kaduna state. I didn’t have my camera with me, but Aine, Julia and Thessa should have some pictures.
Twelve of us appeared from various parts of northern Nigeria on Friday afternoon, meeting up at a hotel in nearby Kafanchan for dinner and drinks. Lots of people I hadn’t seen for a while were there, so it was a chance to catch up.
Hiromi had even arranged for a minibus to collect us from the hotel and take us back to her house. A few of us then made our way to a nearby bar for one last beer. We then managed to find somewhere for everyone to sleep, using the available beds, spare mattresses, karrimats and sofas.
Hiromi’s new housemate Nathan had only arrived in Nigeria the evening before and already his house was full of VSOs and one of them (me) sleeping on a mattress on his bedroom floor.
The next morning we were up fairly early, with most of us heading off into the nearby hills to visit a little village there. It seemed fairly cool when we started but we were all soon soaked in sweat. The start of the walk is along a viaduct built in the 70′s by the Kaduna water board, it carries the pipes from a spring/pond to the waterworks. After that it’s a fairly rocky path, levelling out and getting less rocky towards the village.
As usual, we were being passed regularly by local women and children carrying enormous loads up and down the hill.
Once we got up to the plateau at the top and passed through a natural arch of enormous boulders we were in the village of Dutse. The name means “mountain” or “rock” in Hausa and is a very common place name in northern Nigeria. It’s also very difficult to pronounce correctly, the “ts” is actually a sound that doesn’t exist in English, a sort of explosive, glottal-stop “s”, there’s a guide to Hausa pronouciation at UCLA’s excellent Hausa site.
We spent quite a while sitting in the sunshine in the village. There’s not a lot there but the views down on to the plains below were beautiful and the local children seemed to find us amusing. We could have bought fresh honey but nobody had brough anything to carry it in.
Going back down was much easier. Thessa, Nathan and I went via the market to pick up some akara for lunchtime snacks. Hiromi had managed to arrange (from up in the hills) for some water to be delivered so we could wash off all the sweat.
Hiromi also cooked for us, rice with Japanese and Korean curry sauces, a nice change from our usual food here.
In the evening a few people went out on reconnaisance missions to locate somewhere with cold beer (there had been no power for most of the day), eventually most of us made our way to a nice little local bar for a few bottles of Gulder (or Star). Beer always tastes better after an exhausting day.
Yesterday’s trip back to Kaduna was a little trying. We had to hang around in the motor park at Kafanchan for ages while the car filled. The driver wasn’t very good and seemed to have a disagreement with the staff at the filling station. Then we broke down not far out of Kafanchan.
We were glad when he managed to fix it, some problem related to the carburettor had been making the whole car stink of petrol. We then refuelled again along the way, with bitter complaints from the driver about the price of fuel.
It seems he was so unhappy about the price that he didn’t bother to buy enough, so we ran out at Maraba, just outside Kaduna. By a stroke of luck we were close to a filling station and they had fuel. More complaints from the driver.
By the time we finally reacher Kaduna I was hot and tired, so when the driver started taking both hands off the wheel to gesture while talking to some passengers I was maybe a little too forceful in requesting that he stop driving like an idiot.