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


End of In-Country Training, Start of Work

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 10:04

After our return from placement visits we had another couple of days of in-country training before travelling to our placements yesterday.

Some of the volunteers had fairly long journeys ahead of them, although Mary, Peter and Geraint were relieved to hear that they would be flying. In my case a Radio Nigeria car picked me up from the hotel at 8:30am and I was being greeted by the Director of News at Radio House shortly afterwards.

My house isn’t ready yet, due to delays in getting the budget approved, so I’ll be staying at the Rockview Hotel until it is. This is across the other side of Abuja, very close to the VSO Programme Office and the British Council. According to rumours it even has a swimming pool.

Everybody at the radio station seems very friendly, I’m suffering from the usual overload of introductions, so I can’t remember most of the people’s names.


Placement visit to Sokoto

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 20:13

On Friday I set off with Phyllis, a serving VSO volunteer from Kenya, to visit her placement in Sokoto, in the far northwest of Nigeria.

The idea of the placement visit is that new volunteers can pick up some useful advice, get practice at some of the things they’ll need to do in their own placement and see a different part of the country.

Phyllis sitting on her sofa, with a lit candle beside herThis is Phyllis sitting in her living room, the candle is still lit because the power has only just come back on.



The First Few Days

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 19:49

It’s been a interesting few days, lots of new things to take in but Abuja is already starting to feel less strange.

I’m currently on In-Country Training. Yesterday we have filled in lots of forms, visited the VSO programme office, visited the British High Commission here to register and become members of the local British Council library. The picture below is of the street outside the British High Commission, the poor visibility is due to this being Harmattan season, caused by dust being blown from the deserts to the north.

Outside the British High Commission in Abuja, showing the dusty air

Today we went on a trip to Nyanya market, to give us some practice in haggling, social chit-chat (which is very important here) and speaking Pidgin.



Arrival in Abuja

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 11:40

This is just a quick message as I’ve got to head off to lunch.

We arrived in Abuja yesterday morning, got through immigration and customs without any trouble and were met by local VSO staff. We’re staying at the Crystal Palace hotel in Abuja, huge meals and air conditioning, luxury!

Internet access is trickier, I’m currently using the internet cafe at the hotel, but I should be able to get access from my room in the evening.

We didn’t do much yesterday, exchanged some money, bought local mobile phone pay-as-you go cards and went to a party at the Irish embassy.

More later, possibly with some pictures…


Terminal 4 – 7pm

Filed under: travel,VSO — kevin @ 19:06

After a late lunch with Mum and Dad at Edinburgh I said goodbye and got the 1610 shuttle to London Heathrow.

I’m now stuck in Terminal 4, my flight to Abuja doesn’t leave until after nine. I’m very, very bored. I’ve wandered round the shops, I’ve had a coffee.

There aren’t enough seats, it’s too hot and the keyboard on this BT internet terminal is atrocious (but at least it’s cheaper than using the WiFi hotspot).

Time for some more wandering and maybe a pint…


Almost ready to go…

Filed under: family,tech,VSO — kevin @ 22:53

I’ve spent a while this evening packing up some of my stuff, ready to set off for Nigeria tomorrow. Today has been quite relaxing, a trip to Perth with Mum, Dad, Clare and my little niece Eve (picture below). We had a fantastic lunch at Kerracher’s, a fish restaurant above a fishmongers, the scallops were especially lovely.

Eve sitting outside in her pushchairEve in her pushchair, not happy that I’m distracting her from watching traffic

I was also very impressed by IBM’s technical support today. I phoned them yesterday to report that my laptop’s hard disk was sounding unwell and a replacement arrived around lunchtime!

Powered by WordPress