Monday, 22 March 2010

Buses, dust and goats

My new work routine has started in earnest, the toughest part so far is the morning commute – I get up at 6am and take an okada (motorbike) followed by a bus designed for eight people which usually takes twelve (like the tube, but more sweaty), then the staff Land Rover. The bus journeys are often very entertaining, one morning I was talking to the man next to me when his son leaned over to ask him something in Hausa, which was translated to me as ‘Are you a woman?’. Not many Nigerian women wear trousers and no jewellery – perhaps I should be making more effort?!

Last week I spent four days visiting communities with the education and health teams from HVC. HVC have built latrines for the schools, and were teaching the children the importance of hand washing, with a song and role play, which all the children found very entertaining. Here are some of the children from Pabawn village, who were very interested in me.

I woke up on Friday to a world covered in a grey haze, which means the harmattan has descended on Kaduna. The dust is visible everywhere, surfaces don’t stay clean for long, and the bike drivers wear covers on their faces to stop them breathing in the dust. The only benefit of all this is that the temperature has dropped to a very pleasant 28 degrees, which reduces the need for three showers a day.

This weekend was very chilled out,I mostly slept. Ruth, my colleague from HVC came over on Saturday to teach me to make Nigerian fried rice, she did most of the cooking, whilst I frantically tried to write down each stage. I also visited another volunteer whose cat has just had kittens, they are tiny!

I’m writing this from my office, where there’s a goat tethered to a tree in the middle of our compound which was a gift from one of the villages HVC work with. It’s been bleating away all day, and when I asked what would happen to it, I was told it would be eaten... no wonder it’s upset!


  1. Hi Heather.It all sounds amazing. Keep sending the blogs. By the way was it a harmattan or are you just behind on the dusting. tut tut. from Liz xxx

  2. Hello Heather, so nice to read through everything on your blog,you look very nice in the african atires, especially the one worn for the wedding. thanks for all the good work being done by yourself and colleagues in Nigeria, keep up the good work and God bless you all.from Miriam at the annunciation.xx