Thursday, 24 November 2011

day 4 in nigeria - go slow


today has been the epitome of total chilled-out-ness.  which was nice - for me, given i had nothing really to achieve - not so great for people trying to be productive. it was also jumaat prayer. which was also good. but now it's gone 11pm, and there's still a plumber in our house.  whilst it's nice that he's sorting out the taps, so that we don't have to keep carrying water from one room to another, i would just rather he goes home, and comes back another day to finish.  he's been here at least 5 hours. which is just ridiculous.  if i were him, i would no longer be doing my best work.  i get the impression he's feeling the same way.

the day started before 7 am. again. with lots of waking up in the night. again.  at one point, i found myself just sat up in bed, staring at the full moon.  and also wishing the rooster around our way would learn when dawn is, and stick to crowing then.  it's going to be weird if this whole getting up early business actually becomes a habit - my body won't know what's hit it.  it could be quite an interesting change, though, becoming like a regular diurnal person.  though, to be honest, i doubt there'll ever be anything either regular or diurnal about me, so no real worries there.

weirdly, i am kind of getting used to the rhythms of life here (or at least, my holiday version of it) - up just after first light, and making the most of the (relative) cool of the morning.  feeding and talking to the two chickens in the back, doing a little cleaning, having a cold bucket bath, and being open for visitors by 9am (this morning, my uncle and the latest suitor - the less said about that, the better. suffice to say, my objections kind of fell on deaf ears). 

my mum and aunt disappeared at about 8am, off to the offices of NEPA (national electrical power authority) - well, now called 'power holding company of nigeria, limited' which doesn't have the same ring, nor memories of cries of 'ah - nepa!' when the light (electricity) gets taken, and 'up nepa' when it comes back.  they spent a few hours there yesterday, in what sounded like a semi-kafkaesque quest to sort out electricity for my mum's school, including being informed they'd been sent bills which it later turned out had never even been created, and being told they needed to come back to speak to 'the senior media manager'..?  their trip today was a bit shorter, and a little more productive, but the saga is still ongoing.

jumaat prayer was at a mosque a 5 minute walk from the house.  for various reasons, i've kind of fallen out of going to our local mosque at home over the past couple of years, and i do miss certain bits of being part of that community.  there can be something really uplifting and comforting about taking part in communal prayer, so it's been nice to be able to experience that since i've been here, with family frequently around.  today, there was the added extra of the mosque, which is just this small hall, very simple but kind of beautiful with its plain tiled floor, and cool pale walls.

the afternoon involved a load of people coming round to fix various electronic things (again, for the school) and me falling asleep (catch up for the past few nights, i reckon) and waking up to the sound of the plumber (who has just now finally, left) hammering the bathroom wall, and my cousin (another one) here with her youngest son.  it's felt like a whole 'nother day again since the evening.  total go slow.

late last night, i heard the sound of some sort of procession outside - i looked out to see a group of boys and young men passing by the front of the house, carrying lighters, lanterns, and every so often, letting off what looked like blowtorches.  i grabbed my camera, and my cousin took me out to follow what turned out to be something called 'candle-night'.  whenever one of the local 'street boys' dies, the rest  have this procession to commemorate, carrying lights, chanting, and every so often letting off flames from canisters of 'fleet' (insecticide).  it was slightly raucous, but fitting, somehow, to mark the death of someone still so young - very much 'rage against the dying of the light' - and fascinating to see from the outside.

tomorrow we head to alagbado - the place where my father's house is (he brought the land years before he died, and my mum has had the house built/finished, and now expanded, since he's been gone, so that we have somewhere fully of our own.  mixed feelings about that.

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