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[Nigeria]Nigerian glossary


My new wheels

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 14:48

A blue mountain bike
I decided shortly after moving here that a bike would be a good way of getting around the local area and going for trips into the bush. Last week I wandered into town to find the one shop that sold bikes with gears. Unfortunately it had vanished and people at several other shops insisted that bikes with gears don’t exist in Nigeria, I had obviously imagined the other shop.

After a while I found a little bicycle shop tucked away beside a motorbike shop, with a little old Hausa man who spoke very little English but managed to show me what thay had, including the magnificent Hamilton Storm 18-speed mountain bike. He refused to negotiate on price, but NGN 13000 was a good price anyway, so I bought it.


Getting to know Kaduna

Filed under: travel,VSO — kevin @ 08:58

When I move to a new place I like to walk around to get my bearings and develop a feel for where I am. So on Saturday I decided to go for a stroll around Kaduna.

After a morning of washing clothes I took a car to Kawo junction and then a minibus to the French Café. I had lunch there as a little treat after last weeks illness. They have a lovely bakery and even real coffee. The prices for the bakery products are reasonable, NGN 120 for a cheese croissant and NGN 150 for a mini-pizza, but they charged NGN 200 for a Sprite (usually NGN 35 in Kaduna) and NGN 300 for an espresso. Nearby was this sign:
Banner reading 'Visit the Tourist Capital of the World, Belarus, Your Next Sure Destination'



Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 10:49

On Tuesday I wasn’t feeling very well, it started with an entertaining case of the runs and then I just started feeling generally ill. I spent the afternoon sitting around my room at the conference centre, feeling achy and alternately hot and cold.

Yesterday morning things hadn’t improved, so I went to the NTI clinic. The doctor decided I probably had malaria, plus something else that had caused the diarrhoea. He gave me some tablets for the malaria, told me to increase my dosage of doxycycline to see if that killed off the gut bugs and sent me to the on-site lab for a blood test.

The blood test results came back this morning and it’s definitely malaria. It looks like it was caught early and the tablets seem to be working, I’m feeling much better today. I’m not sure if the taking my malaria prophylaxis every day has reduced the severity of the malaria or if it’s just luck, but I’ll certainly keep on taking my daily doxycycline.

I’m convinced the cause was the large number of mosquitoes in my room, due to the huge gap between the air-conditioner and the wall. I’ve been spraying bug spray around every night but as soon as it wears off more of them come in. I complained to the hotel and they did nothing. Instead I bought a newspaper and used it to fill in the gap, looks like it was too late though.

Getting malaria is probably some kind of VSO Nigeria rite of passage, like falling in a drainage ditch (which I haven’t, yet).


My new job

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 07:45

I’ve now been working for NTI for just under a week and am settling in. There was the usual tour and introductions to everyone, this time I took notes and pictures to help me remember who’s who. I have my own office (below left) in one of the lovely buildings at the NTI campus outside Kaduna. Each building is arranged around a courtyard, from the outside they look like something out of a 70’s sci-fi film.
An office with a desk, chair, filing cabinet and not much else A plant-filled courtyard in the middle of a single-storey building A single-storey white building with the Nigerian flag flying outside Single-storey white building with sloping external walls shading the windows

I’m living at the NTI’s conference centre, also on site. At the moment I’m in one of their suites, waiting for my permanent apartment to be finished. The conference centre is basically an on-site hotel and seems to mostly be used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for their training courses. Like many buildings in Nigeria it looks like it was very nice about twenty years ago but has since had little maintenance and basic services such as running water don’t work most of the time.
A large building shaped something like a truncated pyramid The front of a building with double doors and windows

On the other hand my room is quite comfortable, has a/c and a TV. The permanent apartment is another one of these suites, they’re currently building a kitchen and will apparently be ready in about two weeks. You can see it at the right of the photo below.
A row of single-storey hotel suites

At work I’m now thinking about my workplan for the first few months, working out what I need to know and who to ask. So far there seems to be plenty of work to be done and expectations are high.

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