• Final Days in Africa

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    I am thinking I should write some final words on African soil. Try to capture these last hectic days and my thoughts on this adventure in Africa. I know it has not completely sunk in that leaving in a week may mean never seeing this city ~ this home ~ ever again. In farewell to this season of my life I thought I would have a two-part good-bye to Lagos…

    ( Main view from my living-room check out the mold growing up the side of the house) 

    The first being the complaining ~ so glad to put this crazy behind me. I have wanted to show a more honest side to our life here for the last three years. But when you are in the middle of something challenging you know is not going to change anytime soon ~ well I have chosen to look on the bright side and try to stay positive. I would love to take more pictures of our dilapidated compound but in no way would I want to be disrespectful to our company. Lets just say it is lower then the very ~ very lowest standards of Canada. I have after all these years finally taken (some very hurried) pictures of the most frustrating parts of my home.

    (Entrance to our home. Love the dirty paint and bright green mold, top left!)

    Living hear has it’s set backs. It is an incredibly dirty city. Trash is literally everywhere, burning and simply just rotting under the hot sun. It almost always stinks. I remember this summer we were driving through the rolling country hills near our home in Canada, and Marion made a statement “Canada is so clean” she said it as if it just dawned on her how polluted Lagos was. Since then she has had a very difficult time dealing with the garbage and smells of Africa.

    (Dryer vent running through my pantry...during laundry my pantry heats up and spoils my food)

    Another very challenging part of living in Lagos is working with staff… oh I know you are all thinking ‘sure Rose life is so hard having a house maid and driver…’ well honestly it is hard. It is not like having help in Canada. I have had two house staff in my time here and have had to fire both because of obvious theft. My last one just this week, days before I am leaving! They are moody, challenge everything you say, if it takes me one hour to clean the main floor I will have to allot five hours for my staff to do the same work. It is often more of headache then a help!
    With my driver I am constantly feeling like there is a game going on of how he can outwit me into getting something from me.

    (Black Mold!)

    Which leads to the third challenge of living in Nigeria. Nigerians have a worldwide reputation of being hostile and aggressive. Among each other and with foreigners. I have found the navigation of culture incredibly overwhelming. With three years under my belt I can honestly say I feel no more adjusted in understanding of this culture then when I first arrived.

    (Note the toliet...why oh why did they tuck it beside the sink?)

    Another huge stress I think every parent living in Nigeria carries is the weight of health and wellness for our families. Even with a large company like ours the medical system is terrible! At least every day I have a moment of fear of the ‘what if’. Roger and I agreed a while back that if anything happened from a broken bone to a heavy virus we would fly out to Europe and get treated there, which is honestly way easier said then done. For example sake, just recently we had a friend who suffered from a serious concussion and was blacked out for ten minutes. The Doctors here prescribed her antibiotics and vitamin C. I could go on and on with the ‘crazy medical story’ list. But would rather save those for face to face. I will sigh large and gratefully with relief once I land in Europe and know that stress is off my shoulders for good!

    (Giving us six inches of leg room...)

    To wrap this up…

    Last night Roger and I were saying that when you live in Lagos, you wake every morning wondering what the day will bring. There is always something that comes up that surprise and bewilders you. You simply can not plan too much in advance. The only success in succeeding in this country would be to have the attitude of rolling with the onslaught of daily punches!

    When it is over you realise you were much more adventurous then you ever could have imagined, and are capable of things you never dreamed you were capable of. I am sure I will look back on the challenges of my time here in a hazy ‘as if that really happened’ attitude.

    I am glad it is almost over!

    For next time tune into the ‘amazing so I glad I had this chance’ part of my West Africa adventures…

    I am off to tackle more madness in preparation for our house sale tomorrow! Somebody ~ anybody wana come and help me before I start pulling my hair out? Oppps too late!