Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy (secular context) Halloween! AND Ghana for the weekend?

Halloween isn't a holiday celebrated here outside the...well, rich and well traveled as well as expats from Western Countries. You see, witchcraft here is no laughing matter. The spiritual is real and taken very seriously here. That said, many people here have probably never even heard of Halloween. So Happy (again, secular) Halloween is being directed at friends at home. Be sure to post numerous pictures of your fancy costumes. 

Well, as some of you know, I recently just turned 28 which strikes me as very odd. Amy did an excellent job making it a special day. She woke me up to breakfast - Blueberry Pancakes and scramble eggs on wheat toast! Yum. She got me a Starbucks cup and some coffee as well. I also got other gifts from my parents and a close friend of mine. We even got to go home before 7pm to have some delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. All in all, it was a really good day and kudos to Amy for making it happen. One knock on Amy's birthday achievement is the card...butt ugly! But her excuse was that options were lack...bla bla bla...I think it was payback for not getting her a card on her birthday. 

Birthday Breakfast!

My Birthday Card from Ames

My Mom sent a cake as well!
Also in the last couple of weeks, Amy and I are once again a proud Aunt and Uncle as the Postericks welcomed a baby girl, Emma Joy and I am sure I will also have to fill the role as her favourite Uncle and of course it's a role that I am used to. But this is about the Posterick Family! And this is on the cusp of them opening Signet Coffee Roasters. So Mazel Tov all around.

I think that's all I have to share. I feel like I should have more but I apparently don't. I mean I could grip about the conditions of the roads that keep us in traffic for 3,4,5, hours going home (a ride that should last just 30 minutes). In fact, my single biggest challenge everyday is how to get home safely BUT God is in control and so far, we are doing well. The rains came back for October and they have been worse that the July rains...hard to imagine but it's true. They aren't as frequent but they are heavier. The good news is that the dry season is about to start and we should be good till May next year. 

Oh, there is one more keeping with having a bunch of holidays every year, we are set to have another 2 days off, next week to celebrate the Muslim holiday Eid-el-Kabir. I don't know a whole lot about it. All I know is that we get some days off and if Amy can get a visa this week, we will be heading to Ghana by God's grace. I also know that there are Rams everywhere for sale. So hopefully on my next blog, I'll have pictures from the Gold Coast.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Happy 51st Birthday = Heightened Security...and a Walmart Sighting?

Today is October 4th which means I am 4 days late in wishing this (as some would put it) overgrown baby of a country, my country Nigeria, a Happy 51st birthday. Well, it is more of an anniversary of Independence really because the country itself was actually formed (politically as a state) I believe in 1912. Now before all the questions of fireworks and patriotic displays start, I just want you to know that we aren't into all that. Sure there's a parade and we get the day off work and school, well, in this case we got the 3rd of October off because the 1st was a Saturday but that's where most of the comparisons with the 4th of July end. Well, that was until recently...

We now share a sense of elevated security around special dates. Now for full disclosure, since Boko Haram became a house hold name here after several attacks in the North, security has gradually and steadily increased around Lagos especially witnessed at the airport. Recently it has been witnessed even closer to home. For those who don't know (and without giving specifics to the actual location), we live close to the Embassies of many countries and one in particular with perhaps the most to lose in the event of a "sitiation" is the US Embassy. On Sunday, Amy and I went on a walk around the neighborhood, something we hadn't done in a while and lets just say, it looks like perhaps, our street is a tad bit safer. Now we had noticed extra policing of the waters around us when using the boat home but I hadn't noticed the streets yet. I would love to share a pictures with you but to avoid looking like a scout, I only took 3 of the exact same thing and I will share one.  

Hopefully the picture speaks for itself. Now incentive to put down my photography equipment a.k.a. my phone was the presence of at least 3 dozen uniformed and armed personnel roaming the streets. I was cordial and glad Amy was with me or I reckon I would have been questioned a few times considering the fact I was wearing mostly black. To some, it might be unsettling to see so much fire power in less than a half a mile walk but it didn't bother me. For me, it means that if all you want is to break in and grab my TV or the two Naira I have on my night stand, you would be walking into a hornets nest. 

We also witnessed something during our day off that made Amy smile and I must admit, it gave me a taste of home. Some of you more financially conscious in terms of what corporations are doing around the world may know that earlier this year Walmart was given the go ahead to finalize their acquisition of South African based retailer, Massmart. Massmart is also a parent company of a retail outfit (Game) with presence in Nigeria, specifically, the Palms Mall at Lekki where we stopped by yesterday. While looking for battery backup for Amy's treadmill, we saw this...


Well, as it is said here, Walmart, you are welcome!