Zuma Rock and So Much More

Another great two weeks here in Abuja, Nigeria.  I continue to be so happy here.  The people, the students, my new colleagues… all just wonderful.

Last weekend a few of us ventured out to the infamous Zuma Rock – a monolith protruding from the earth that is 2,400 feet high.  Stunning in its awesomeness.

From different angles it has completely different feels, energy, faces… on one side it looked like the mountain Richard Dreyfruss from Close Encounters of the Third Kind created in his backyard.

Zuma Rock 3As we walked slowly around its base – took us about an hour to make it all the way around – we encountered a few villagers here and there.  The area around it was primarily small farms of yams and papaya trees.

Women Tubers Zuma Rock
Harvesting Yams
Zuma Rock Boy
Young papaya farmer
Zuma Rock Boys Swimming
Boys having a fun swim
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Really hard to capture in a photo how steep and large it was. This sloping area was only on one side. Most sides just went straight up from the earth.
Zuma Rock People
Yam farmers
Fun rocks and caves
Fun rocks and caves

As we made our way home, we drove through a village teeming with life.

Zuma Rock Donkey on Truck
Donkey (he is alive – I saw him move!) being transported atop a lorry
Zuma Rock Goat Market
Goat market
Zuma Rock Hawker
Roadside hawker

I also went on another great HASH last weekend.  On our way to the site we went through a very poor village but with tons of happy faces – I snuck some photos from the car:

IMG_1948 IMG_1949 This time I joined the running group.  Wow!  Super hard.  I think we went uphill in 100 degree weather with no shade for well over an hour.  Crazy hard.  Everyone was dying. But I took some shots (again these are with my iPhone) whenever I could of what was around me as I ran (trotted, crawled, walked…).IMG_1956IMG_1958

Such great satisfaction when we reached the top.  The view was amazing.

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Water/Beer truck at the top!

 

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Me, John (from Tanzania), Tamara (US), Teri (Canada)
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Abuja

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Then on our descent back to our cars, I again tried to go with the runners, but the decline was too much for my knees, so I ended up walking – caught all alone between the runners and the walkers.  And it was magical.  Our route back took us through that same village.  All alone, this crazy, sweaty, white chick wandering through a small town in the middle of Nigeria. You might think – scary, but NO!  I was greeted with the biggest smiles, the warmest energy, children running circles around me giggling.  I finally felt like I was truly in Africa.  I was so filled up with such happiness.  I didn’t take any photos as I didn’t want to spoil the wonderfulness.  But I did capture some when I got back to the cars – just before the huge storm hit.

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Sunburst as seen through my sunglasses in front of my iPhone lens

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This last week at school was a crazy one.  It was the 20th anniversary of the school so there were lots of festivities.  We had a flag parade:

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Flag parade finale – 40 nations represented by our students.
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PTA and Ms. Amy, Head of School, at time capsule ceremony

On Friday the students were released early and we had a party with local food and Nigerian music.  The parents were boogyin’ more than anyone.  The booty’s were shakin’ like I’ve never seen before.  It was fantastic.  We danced in the hallways for a couple hours.  Really fun.

Only 6 weeks left of my fun time here.  I’ll write again soon.

Have a great week.  Gretchen

 

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