Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Ok, so It's been over 4 weeks since I last updated and alot has happened since the 12 hour journey down south from Abuja to Ikom, Cross River State, so there will be a lot of catching up to do. First of all the drive was quite intense......Being squashe up in a mini bus with hardly enough room for us all, plus our luggage and no a/c or cold water was quite an experience but it was great! We were all in good spirits and excited to meet our new family. We arrived in Ikom at 7pm and were hosted by a severe thunderstorm. I decided the only logical thing to do was to stand with arms stretched out wide, head up to the sky and get soaked. The moment was quickly over when my host mum had arrived. After getting the luggage into the car being knee deep in rain we set of to my new house. The house is a gated compound and as we drove through the gates, a man with a belly the size of an overly pregnant woman, a face stern and fierce like a gorilla with a scar stretching wide across his cheek was waiting to greet us. Our host dad. We sat outside speaking to him but i couldn't understand anything he was saying.....He, like many of the locals had a strong broken English accent (some of the locals struggle to understand us). We soon went to bed and I sat there feeling 1 million miles away from home and out of my comfort zone which excited me a lot! Our host home has 13 people living in it (the mum, the dad, me and Abbas, 5 guys aged between 19 and 24, 1 girl aged 22 and 3 young kids). I only worked this out after 3 weeks living here! After 4 weeks of being in the house, we have spent so much time together and we get on so well. The guys and the girl my age always chill together at night and we have a lot of fun, were all very similar. There's about 3 hours electricity per night and the water supply isn't constant. However, we have a flushing toilet and a shower which is a luxury because most of the other group don't have them and have to use a bucket. Cooking is done outside with firewood and there are no electrical appliances in the house. I wash my clothes by hand and everyone was in stitches watching me 'try' to wash them. All the luxuries in England are not needed here and the household functions perfectly fine without them. The food is getting quite tiresome as there isn't variety. Plantain, rice, yam, gary, fish, goat, bush meat and indomie are pretty certain to be on the menu and everything is soooo spicy. All the volunteers live close and we get bikes everywhere. The roads are awful! pot holes everywhere and a lot of the roads are dirt tracks. Our house has visitors constantly and the locals are so friendly. Our curfew is 6pm which is very hard but were working on it to be later. In that aspect it feels like in 10 again because your not considered an adult until you leave home. Everyone usually comes round ours at night so It's not so bad. Living with this host family has got me totally immersed in the culture and already my perceptions of Nigeria have changed greatly and I have experienced so many things for the first time so everything is new and intriguing. Although i miss the comfort of home so much I'm really really really enjoy this experience so much and i still have a long time to go and i know that when i leave i will be heartbroken. Just thinking about it gives me a lump in my throat.