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


The Last King of Scotland

Filed under: films,VSO — kevin @ 09:38

I was in Abuja at the weekend and had to stay for a meeting on Monday. As it turned out Monday was a public holiday (announced on Friday), so the meeting was moved to Tuesday. A whole day to hang around in Abuja, marvellous!

Karen and I occupied some time by going to the cinema, to see The Last King of Scotland. This was at Abuja’s (fairly) new cinema inside Ceddi Plaza, operated by a subsidiary of South African company Nu Metro. It’s just like a real cinema although we were reminded we were in Nigeria when the power went off twice and we had to wait for somebody to go and start the generator.

The film itself was very good. From a VSO perspective it’s interesting to see the changes in Nicholas Garrigan’s outlook, as shown through the use of colour and music in the film. He starts off thinking everything is lovely, colourful and full of life and has little tolerance of the more cynical outlook of Sarah Merrit.

Forest Whitaker as Amin is incredible, convincingly showing both the charm and menace of the man. Too many films turn those kind of characters into comic-book bad guys, without showing how it is that they manage to attract their followers.

(Stop here if you’ve not seen the film and don’t want to spoil the ending) (more…)


Hausa wedding

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 10:28

A few weeks ago Aliyu, who used to clean my office and who seems to have been redeployed to gardening, appeared in my office and handed me an invitation to his wedding.

On Saturday I put on one of my Nigerian outfits, including an appropriately Northern hat, and crossed the road to Barikalau, where the wedding was taking place. Barikalau is a dusty and spread out village directly across the expressway from NTI, many of our staff live there.

I took an okada because I didn’t know the street. Of course it turned out that the rider didn’t either and he spoke no English at all. We eventually found a large crowd of men, sitting in the shade on mats up against a wall.

I joined some of the other NTI staff and eventually Aliyu himself (in the pink outfit, see how the wrapping paper on my present matches) came and sat with us:
A group of men sitting on mats in front of a mud-brick wall.

After a while some people handed out bags of pure water and then a little later kola nuts, sweets and dates. Some prayers were said and that was it.

It seems that somewhere indoors the representatives of the two families were making the formal agreement over the marriage and bride price, the groom isn’t involved. One of my colleagues explained that the women had been having separate ceremonies for a few days by this time, which sound much more fun.

Aliyu even got one of his brothers to give me a lift back to NTI, a little over half an hour after I’d left.

Powered by WordPress