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April 2002 and December 2004

Lagos streets of Lagos Lagos National Arts Theater National Arts Theater - stoneart
National Arts Theater - mosaic Lagos Lagos Lagos queuing up outside Lagos harbour

Arriving in Lagos, leaving the airconditionned airport the heat takes your breath. Groovy .... to me at least.

But I've skipped to talk about the difficult path between the airplane and actually being able to leave the airport. The - Nigerian! - passport of my husband did not look right to the authorities. The first one wanted $ 20 ....... the next one $ 10 ....... you learn very fast: The only thing you must fear in Nigeria is the authorities!

Lagos looks like the second world war has ended only yesterday. It is difficult to make out which houses are about to fall apart and which ones are not yet finished building. But the colors and activity make up for it. This city is awake 24 hours a day. Nothing special, you'll say, so is New York. But this is different as the streets are just as crowded as during daytime and you can shop anywhere and anything even while being stuck in the - almost constant - traffic-jam. They come to the window and offer you anything from bread to handychargers - from yam to underwear. You name it - they've got it!

Import became more difficult (time-consuming) since the governement decided to do 100% check of all ships coming in! That control does not mean, you won't be able to import but you have to bribe for each thing now. On one of the photos above I wanted to show the boats queuing up at the horizon, unfortunately you can hardly see it!

Heading to Orlu to see the family we took an ABC-Bus. A very comfortable way to travel, in airconditioned buses with toilets. The only place I can actually live with airconditions as anywhere else turning them off is the first thing I do.

It was Iyke's first time back to Nigeria after four years. As the family has moved house since then, home to him was like to me: New.




Family .. not quiet competeI received a warm welcome by the Moneke-family who had to wait a long time to finally meet me, although we got to know each other by writing letters over the years. Dada
I got six brothers in law now, all of them charming, fun, caring and helpful.

In a family without daughers, sons are able and used to cook . . . for example my favorite Nigerian dish: Moimoi (black-eyed beans-cakes). . .


. . . to iron, to clean . . . no machos in the family
. . . correct, good reason to envy me for my husband :-)
Water is not scarce in Nigeria, only the government is not capable to deliver it. water storage

The solution is a water-tank behind - or on top - of the house, water is being supplied by truck:
Although it doesn't look it, the water IS clean water supply
Talking about supply by the governement: Looking at the wiring, are you suprised that phone-connections are unreliable . . . often impossible? phone-wires

Not to mention NEPA, who is not capable to keep up the electricity-supply for one day at least. Interesting enough: When the governor travels to Orlu - Orlu has electricity. Just like before the governor arrives, the roads are fixed - OVER NIGHT! I've seen it happen, it is true!

Corruption and nepotism is what keeps Nigeria from developping into a secure and comfortable state. They lack nothing - except decent politicians!

Streets can look like this: washed out street damaged street or like this: street wehn the governr comes


Travelling to Kaduna where we meet the Igwe The Igue a man of many words yet limited tolerance who will give his blessings even to those who don't want it The Igue giving his blessing
The Ibos are proud of not having a king. In spite of that in Kaduna they have chosen an Igwe. This might have to do with the fact, that Kaduna - in the north of Nigeria - is an area ruled by fundamentalist Moslems (applying Sharia-law, although it is against the Nigerian constitution). Although the Ibo-community is not a religious but a tribal one (Biafra), as most Ibos are Christians, the religion plays a big role as well.

Lady pounding yamBack to the food-subject: Freshly pounded yam is the best

Preparation of suya and you shouldn't miss the suya: Beef or Lamb bits turned in a hot spice-mix and grilled on the fire, served with onions.

On the way from Kaduna to Abuja you can buy vegetables, most beautifully presented in the middle of nowhere . . .
vegetable street-sale
Federal House of AssemblyAbuja, the new capital of Nigeria is - unlike Lagos - all neat and proper. We shall see how long for. There is a lot of building-activity going on and living-costs are high.
  Abuja Hilton Abuja The land is mostly flat in Nigeria, which makes the Zuma Rock very special: Zuma Rock

Wholesale market in Aba

Tailor's at Aba

taylor at worktaylor ironing trousers
The cost of material is almost the same as in Switzerland, while labour is embarrassingly cheap.


excitement amongst the studentsexcitement amongst the students My mother in-law is a teacher. When I visited her school, the kids went frantic. The Queen would not have received more attention than I did.

  teacher "at work"The school also runs a farm. This teacher is posing for the photo only though (!) class-roombaby in class-room
Every age-group finds it's
place in the classroom...
The students Whether teacher or student .... everybody wants to be on a picture The teachers

. . . what would they think of being on the internet?


Christ church Ntueke Boy, going to church makes you hungry: My little niece taking a break.  
  Christ church Ntueke Paying respect to the Bishop of the Christ church, unlike the Igwe he is a modest and very tolerant man.
Although people move away, they always stay attached to the village they originally come from and return to gather at times like Easter. family-members in the village
  welcome-ceremony clay-house
Grandma's house is being kept as a memorial of the way houses used to be built.
  If kolanuts are not handy, the ceremony is done with a fruit called garden-egg.    
  Our present to the village-people: The poor goat did not live much longer, I'm afraid, as this was two days before Easter. leading the goat inside

In return we received a white turkey. I named it Snowflake and set it free to round around the compound. Snowflake the white turkeySnowflake is probably the first and only turkey in Nigeria that has a name and is kept like a pet!
Only as long as it was under my protection though, after I left, it too ended in the pot.


A traffic-jam in Nigeria is - to Europeans - almost an event:

traffic-jam Note: This is not a one-way-street .... somewhere ahead there is a mass of cars facing the other direction.


  If necessary the police will smash car windows and beat up drivers who keep closing up the left lane ... it was not possible to take pictures of those sceens though (!)



The wonders of nature:
red dragonfly: Red and green lizards:


Nigeria is a colorful country and worth a visit. "Your are free - this is Africa" is what you are told constantly - yet African freedom is not like European freedom, remember that at all times! I hope you enjoyed the little insight I tried to give you here.


This country is so multifaceted, If you have an open mind you will have a swell time there!

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