Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Deb in Nigeria 6

Deb in Nigeria 6

On March 12, 2012, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on Deb in Nigeria 6

Today had all sorts of excitement, starting with a fire alarm at 3:25 a.m. I grabbed a hoodie to put over my nightgown and my purse (with passport and id) and headed down the four flights of stairs. When I got there, I was the ONLY one in sleepwear- only the staff was there, in their suits. They told me it had been a false alarm. Then came the dilemma of how to get back upstairs to the fourth floor (since you can only go down the stairs to the ground floor all the doors to the other floors have no knob). I finally found someone who would start the elevators, then I ended up in an unfamiliar part of my floor. The way I needed to go was blocked. A guard came and opened the doors (which has been closed for the fire alarm). I must have wandered around for a while until I finally found a hall that looked familiar. This is really not a very large hotel, I was just all turned around. After that, it was difficult to get back to sleep.

Coincidentally, in the morning I turned off the air conditioner (it gets absolutely frigid by then) and immediately could smell wood smoke. I could smell it all the way down the hall. I mentioned it to the front desk. Then, as we were driving, I smelled the same wood smoke odor again. Tricia told me that the mist/smog around us was partially wood smoke from fires for cooking and for burning trash. That smell had probably come through the vents in the hotel.

On the way to the office, where I was to do the training, we were rear ended. Luckily, nothing was hurt except our serenity. The man driving the errant auto actually came to apologize to us. That was very nice.

I wore my Nigerian dress and jewelry, to great acclaim. I somehow managed to trip on the long skirt only once all day. Hurray! I notice that Nigerians are very pleased to see me wearing a native costume and compliment me. I had been concerned that they might take affront seeing me in their dress.

The room for the training was very long and narrow, with heavy long wood tables in a narrow u shape. I pushed two of the tables together so the participants could have a grouop setting. Then discovered that there was no LCD projector. However, since there were only four participants (Tricia joined Ben Ben, Kazeem and Bassey) I was able to simply show them the Power Point on my lap top.

Yes, Ben Ben did come to work and Tricia had a very frank conversation with him before the training. He then actively and helpfully participated in the business counseling fundamentals training. It was only later, on our way back to the hotel, that Tricia told me Ben Ben had never seen my email. Apparently they buy internet cards the same way we buy calling cards- and he hadn’t been able to get to the store that weekend.

She also told me that he was very angry and felt attacked during the training. I can certainly sympathize with him. It wasn’t until Tricia told him that he had disappointed her, me and his peers that he really paid attention. He had thought that I was the only one who didn’t accept his lecturing.

Tricia told him that she had serious doubts about his commitment to participatory learning and he assured her that he would conduct the train the trainer in a participatory manner because the materials were written that way. Hmmm…

Among a number of options being discussed about how to handle the train the trainer program, one raised by Ayo (female head of the project in Nigeria) was to pair Ben Ben with Diji (who is a big, blustery, bright man who reports directly to Ayo on the health side (versus Tricia on the business and finance side of the project).

In the meantime, bless Kazeem’s heart, he started to figure out how to download the videos from my camcorder. I’m hoping he was successful. I sure don’t want to work on them in any way.

Oh, one other less than stellar part of my day was when lunch was delivered. Someone misheard me say that I didn’t want any spices, instead getting me the hottest spicy food he could. Needless to say, I had very little for lunch. Luckily, I had commandeered an apple and a pear at breakfast, so I managed to assuage my hunger to a great extent. The fellow felt terrible about the misunderstanding. Hopefully, I’ll get something less volcanic tomorrow!

Interesting factlets:  There are oodles of women and a few men sweeping the highways (yes, the same ones where everyone is drag racing and trying to be in the same lane!. They wear either neon yellow coveralls with neon yellow brimmed hats, neon orange, or red. Clearly, the idea is that no one will be able to miss seeing them. They use small brooms and sometimes wear masks over their mouths.

I saw what appeared to be a palm tree way up high next to two cell towers. It is fake, intended to somewhat camouflage another cell tower. When I asked Tricia why there were so many right next to each other, she explained that most people in Lagos need two cell phones because the lines are often too busy to get through on one or the other.

Well, I still have a lot of work to do tonight, so I’m going to sign off.


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