Sunday, 14 March 2010

New house, new job, new city

I arrived in Kaduna on Wednesday, after saying goodbye to the 17 other volunteers who were heading to placements across Nigeria. Apart from those who were meant to be going to Jos, who are staying in Abuja, all VSO’s are currently banned from going to Jos, or the vicinity, and it’s very far away from Kaduna, so don’t worry about me! It’s very sad news though, and a frequent topic of conversation here.
My new house is in the centre of Kaduna, close to a three other VSO volunteers, and I'm sharing with another VSO called Richard. The house is pretty basic but comfortable, with water most of the time, and electricity irregularly. Here's a photo of the living room for my mum on Mothers Day:

An unfortunate consequence of being in such close proximity to the Kaduna River is that we are sometimes visited by rats, but since three were killed by Richard's proficiency with the trap I bought from the UK there haven't been any others. And there's been no need to practice killing cockroaches with flip flops yet, but watch this space...
I went into the offices of Hope for the Village Child for a couple of days last week, all the staff were very friendly and welcoming. On my first day we went to one of the communities HVC work with, Kaso Sarki, which was about an hour journey on very bumpy roads in a Land Rover, to score them for the HVC 'cleanest village' competition. Whilst there I managed to make a small child cry because they'd never seen a white person before - this has happened a couple of times since then and will probably stop being funny soon, but not yet.
My first few weeks at HVC will involve more visits to communities, and time spent talking to the staff, to make sure I understand how they work, and how I'll fit in.
We visited the large market in Kaduna yesterday, and I practiced my haggling with limited success, accidentally stumbled across the meat section which contained lots of parts of animals that I’d never seen before (goats feet seemed popular) and bought a few things for the house.
Yesterday afternoon I met up with more VSOs and after a picnic in the park we tried out some of Kaduna’s bars. So far Kaduna seems like a great city, its hot (currently 32 degrees inside the house, much hotter in the sun), and that makes it hard to do as much as I’d like to, things have to be taken slowly, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Thanks for your comments on this blog, and all your emails, it's great to hear from you.

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