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


First day in Limbe

Filed under: cameroon,friends,travel,VSO — kevin @ 16:00

Once it got light outside I kept peering out of the windows of the ferry to see if we were near land. Just before 7am we could see small Mount Cameroon (locally known as Etinde) appearing through the mist. Shortly afterwards the crew served us each a cup of tea and a cake. I stood out on deck for a while with Charles and Amy, watching the coast go by.
A conical mountain is just visible through mist across the sea

Around 9.30am we berthed in Limbe’s harbour. It took a while before we could get off, as everyone struggled to unload their luggage and negotiate customs. We just sat in the cabin and waited for things to calm down. We had to show our bags to both customs officers and soldiers and then settled down in one of the warehouses while Pete retrieved our passports from immigration. Pete is an exceptionally calm person and he managed to wear down the officials so that we got our passports stamped without having to pay anything.


To Calabar

Filed under: cameroon,friends,travel,VSO — kevin @ 15:14

On Sunday Indar and I had a very early start to get to the Cross-Country bus terminal over in Utako district. Most of the bus companies don’t run services direct to Calabar. The terminal was pretty chaotic, with no indication of which bus was going where. After a while we were pointed at the Calabar bus and it soon became obvious that luggage was going to be a problem.

Cross-Country have a fleet of Volkswagen minibuses with two seats beside the driver, a row of three seats, a row of two and the back row of three. Between the back row and the tailgate there is a tiny space for luggage. Nigerian bus companies don’t seem to have caught on to the idea of roofracks, so all our bags (and some of the passengers had a lot of bags) had to be squeezed in. This took a long time and quite a bit of arguing, with the guy loading the bags demanding extra money from some of the other passengers.

We eventually set off, at which point the driver admitted that he had never driven to Calabar before and was unsure of the route. We then stopped for fuel, the petrol station had the marvellous safety sign in the picture below.
SAFETY MEASURES IN CASE OF FIRE OUTBREAK / 1. Fire Alarm / 2. Use of Fire Extinguisher / 3. Use of Sand in the Sand Bucket / 4. If It Goes Out of Control, Run For Your Dear Lives to Safety Portion / 5. Customers Should Take Note of Their Vehicle Tank Location In Case of Fueling To Avoid Hazardous Situation


Off to Cameroon

Filed under: cameroon,site,travel,VSO — kevin @ 10:01

I’m leaving for Cameroon on Sunday, the rough itinerary is:

Sunday 18th – Abuja to Calabar
Monday 19th – get Cameroon visa from the consulate in Calabar
Tuesday 20th – travel to Limbe, Cameroon, probably by boat
Sunday 25th – spend Christmas on the beach at Limbe
Monday 26th – head for Buea and Mount Cameroon
Friday 30th – return to Nigeria
Sunday 1st – in Opobo for New Year

I probably won’t be checking email or updating this site much while I’m there, you’ll have to wait until I get back to Abuja, around the 4th of January.


Cows in the compound

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 15:16

Some of the staff at Radio House run a co-operative society that operates as a kind of savings scheme and allows them to bulk-buy things and get better prices. For Christmas they’ve bought a load of sacks of rice (stored in the office next to mine), two cows and a goat.
Two cows and a goat standing under some trees next to a house

The cows and goat are currently being kept in the compound outside their house, I suppose it’s the easiest way to keep them fresh until it’s time to divide them up.


More demolition

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 10:49

I went to UTC (aka Area 7 Shopping Centre), our nearest market, yesterday. Unfortunately the demolition people had already been.

I don’t have any photos of UTC before the demolition, so I’ll try to describe it. It is a large building open at the sides with small concrete shops inside. In the alleys between the shops lots of small stalls had been built, mostly printers, tailors and electronics repairers. More small shops and stalls had been built around the outside of the building.

Now only the concrete shops inside are left, the rest is all gone. This is very inconvenient for me (I don’t know where my tailor has gone to) and a disaster for the people who worked (and often lived) at the stalls.

It’s all part of the continuing efforts to “clean up” the Federal Capital Territory. The problem is that many businesses, such as selling fruit and vegetables and tailoring, don’t bring in enough money to cover the huge rent on a shop. The result will be that prices in Abuja, already high, will increase further and life will become more difficult for the majority of the residents.

The people behind these schemes are civil servants and politicians on vast salaries who shop in supermarkets and don’t realise that they’re destroying the city rather than improving it. They’re removing the few things that brought any life to Abuja, leaving only a wasteland of rubble and dust between the exclusive shopping plazas.


Back to Gurara Falls

Filed under: travel,VSO — kevin @ 15:09

We went back to Gurara Falls on Sunday, very different from the rainy season trip as you can see in the pictures:
Waterfall, dark skies, lots of water Waterfall, dark skies, lots of water

As there was much less water this time we could have a picnic on the beach and then go for a swim.

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