I’m in Africa! Since I was a child, I have wanted to come to this amazing continent. I am simply thrilled to be here.
My first impression of Nigeria is that it is a country burgeoning with hope. Everywhere you look buildings and roads are being constructed. In Abuja, the capital and where I am working, the red earth is being shaped to accommodate the large influx of people moving here to work for the government, embassies and NGOs.
I arrived just 12 days ago during my new school’s spring break. I had finished my Myanmar school year at the end of February and then flew back to the US. I spent a wonderful three weeks in beautiful Oregon where it was cold (to me), and after a 25 hour flight arrived in Abuja where it is hot, hot, hot!
I am happy to report that hands down, I have never been treated with such inviting warmth, support and immediate friendships as I have here at the American International School of Abuja. Even the immigration and customs officers at the airport were smiling, inquisitive, offering to help and generally joyful. Crazy!
And it didn’t stop at the airport. The Curriculum Coordinator who had been covering the 4th grade class I am taking over for the rest of the year, has been nothing but accommodating; helping me transition into the classroom, driving me everywhere to get myself settled and acquainting me with the surroundings and new friends.
I have already been to a pool party (around the pool at my apartment compound), a bush bar (outdoor, under a thatched roof, beer bar) an Indian restaurant, a German Riding Club dinner and a HASH (Hash House Harriers). And today a lovely Nigerian woman came to our apartments and gave us massages. Nice!
As to the school, it is great. It is a K – 12 with about 500 students. The administration is wonderful and organized. The current principal is the founding principal (20 years!). They have a wonderful library with computers and loads of books as well as a librarian that gives the kids weekly lessons. A computer lab, an olympic size pool, lots of playgrounds, a stage in the cafeteria… My assistant, Ms. Lucia is a dream. She is wonderful. She is very respected here and her smile is effusive.
My 20 students come from seven different countries. Here is a list of their names as I just love the sound and mix of them all: Demateide, Saidu, Amber, Kenya, Omer, Abigail, Othneil, Kambili, Rai, Emmanuella, Hope, Kofo, Lucy, Gabe, Proshun, Theadora, Davide, Fred, Tomer, Halimah.
I will get a better picture of them – but here is a quick snapshot of the class:
As many may know, Nigeria is also having troubles with different factions causing serious harm to others. It is mostly in the north. From what I have been hearing from locals and expats, the main reason for the in-fighting is the current president is a Christian and it is apparently time for a Muslim to be president. I have been told that as the country is nearly 50/50 Muslim/Christian that it is expected that when presidents change, so should the religious conviction of the new one in office, keeping it equal-ish. The current president (a Christian) took office when the last president (a Christian) died in office. He is now running for re-election.
Here are a few shots of what I have seen so far. I am told that taking photos is not looked upon favorably, so I mostly likely will stick to my iPhone for photos while I am here, so the images aren’t as sharp. Also it is the Harmattam season – when the winds from the Sahara desert kick up and fill the sky. So the air looks like massive pollution, but it is mostly from the Sahara that is just north of us – kind of cool actually! 🙂
More to come. I’ll be here until early June. Then back to Oregon to start a hybrid (on-campus/online) graduate program in Geography and then next fall heading to Guangzhou, China to teach secondary Humanities. A fun few years ahead!
I’ll be back with more photos and insights soon. Take care!