3 days – 3 years


As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody’s individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.

-Yo-Yo Ma

I am 3 days from the end of my 3 year tour in Lagos, Nigeria.  It has been as amazing as I have expected it to be and as good as any other place I have had the pleasure of living and working.  The people are magic and the country is unfound gold.  Yes, there were ups and downs.. good people with bad….like every where.  Unlike everywhere, there were electrical outages, random housing alarms, floods, bacterial and parasitical infections, needing to leave 10 hours ahead of a flight to ensure you get to the airport in time to fly out, and of course chaotic traffic issues.

However, if you open your eyes, heart and mind to what is around you, you can find the smiles and the warmth that exist beyond the frustration, image or object that is directly in front of you.  When you can do that, you will find that as different as everything is around you, at the core of it all, it is still very much the same of who and what you are.. just people in a random part of the world trying to make a living and a life.   You will find that you have become a part of a life that at times had seemed incomprehensible and that life has now become a part of you.

When I arrived in Nigeria, I was considered a tough manager who was too hard on the people I was managing.  My expectations were too high and I did not cut anyone any slack.  A year into my position, I held an awards dinner for my staff because not only did they meet my bar but they surpassed my expectations for achieving a cohesive and high-functioning team.  Before I could even present my award to my team, they stopped me and actually gave me a speech at how much I positively affected their lives and their work.  The team lead started out by saying, “My oga (big boss), when you arrived it was like a hurricane…” another team member shouted out, “MORE LIKE A TSUNAMI!!!” This brought chuckles but also earned me the affectionate nickname “Tsunami Sam”

On Friday they gave me a shirt and told me that on Monday, my very last day of work here, we would all wear this shirt.  I am proud of my team and proud of myself for breaking down walls, changing hearts (mine as well).. and leaving Nigeria on a super positive note.  I will miss Nigeria with a passion.  I basically say this at the end of every tour.. and I basically mean what I say.  Nigeria I will miss you!!

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One of the girls even drew a pencil sketch of me.. amazing…

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I will end with some photos of my last few walks.  I will miss … not miss … some of the hazards of walking on the sidewalks.. not really sidewalks of Lagos.  I hope you have enjoyed my visions of Nigeria as much as I have enjoyed sharing some of my experiences here.

And off I go!!

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.   – Steven Wright

I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.   – Olivia Newton-John

Even more exquisite


After a over a year in Nigeria, I was finally invited to a colleagues wedding.  I have heard the hype about the color, the fun, the dancing, the noise, the chaos and I have to say… it totally lived up to every rumor.  It was an amazing, loud, chaotic, and colorful event.

It has so far, been the highlight of my time in Nigeria. Let’s start with a few facts I mostly discovered at the time of the event.

First off, it’s not mandatory, but apparently it is very common for the bride’s family and friends to wear the same color of fabric as the bride and the same goes for the groom. They do this to identify who belongs to who.  In my office, we were offered an opportunity to buy the bride’s colors as she was our colleague.  So about 25 of us from the office dressed in the brides colors.   Despite the fabric color, the designs were all so beautiful and completely and uniquely different from each other and made to fit our own style and body..

Raining money.  This is not something that only happens in Nigeria for sure.  The money dance crosses cultures.  However, in Nigeria it seems that money rained down at many random points during the wedding ceremony.  The DJ bid out his services, children brought forth money, the couple danced down a row of guests and ended with family members tossing money at them while they danced and money just seemed to be collected throughout the event.  People usually rained down small amounts each time but it was a fun way to show your love!!

A few changes of the bride’s clothes

Pretty much anyone can wander into or out of one wedding directly into another.  I know this because I accidentally did it.  There were at least two weddings going on in the same area.  No one blinked an eye when I walked in, walked halfway through the hall, realized I was in the wrong place and walked back out.  It’s no wonder due to the constant commotion and chaos going on in every directions, dancing, drinking, eating, and talking.  Walking in and out of buildings and different rooms.  Changes of clothes and random musicians passing through.  Then there is the paparazzi – don’t ever tell me you don’t have any photos after attending a Nigerian wedding.  There are even professional photographers hanging out in the parking lot that will later sell you a photo of yourself…and yes I bought one.

Head gear and professional make up.  Not only are Nigerians dressed to a T, they have their heads professional wrapped and their make up professionally applied.  It can take hours just to put everyone’s make-up and headgear on.  It is not taken lightly.

Food and music and chaos.  All of it, ever kind of it and don’t forget the dancing.  I was so honored to be invited to this event and it is one of the things that I have been able to experience in Nigeria that I will NEVER forget.  I hope that I am able to attend one more wedding before I leave.  It was such an exhilarating experience and made me feel very close to the people I work with.

Lastly, I survived…I was even asked what part of Nigeria I was from.  More than one time.  Who would have thought..

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A woman who has not been twice married cannot know what a perfect marriage is. – Nigeria

Special posts that seem to align:

Some life, Banquet, Hey you, that night, Someday,  Invitation, socks and gloves, la petite, the affair,

 

Geeking out – Transport


There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.

If there was a way to really travel by spaceship every day, I think I would choose that.   Or by train.  If not a spaceship, then a train.

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A lot of nerds aren’t aware they’re nerds. A geek has thrown his hands up to the universe and gone, ‘I speak Klingon – who am I fooling? You win! I’m just gonna openly like what I like.’ Geeks tend to be a little happier with themselves.

Patton Oswalt

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O.K.  So I’m a geek.  Most people do not know the depths of my geekiness. However, it’s out of the bag now.  Every chance I get, I will choose random and interesting events and adventures.  I will choose to dress up in play clothes over dressing up in work clothes.  I will choose to transport myself to another dimension rather than transport myself through the mundaneness of daily life.

Nearing a half century on this planet, I am finding it easier and easier to transport myself to places imaginary, to power up and shift into turbo while I live long and prosper.  Though I sometimes wish Scotty would just hurry up and beam me up, I know that would be highly illogical and nearly impossible to boldly go where no man has gone before, but you can’t stop a girl from dreaming.

Comic Sans, Lagos, Nigeria

Some other interstellar things to think about and quotes I really like from all of my geeky travels.  How well they apply to our current state of affairs.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn; “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda; “For everything, there is a first time.”; “Please let me know if there’s some other way we can screw up tonight.”; “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”; “Do not grieve, Admiral. It was logical. The needs of the… many outweigh… “…The needs of the few.” (…Spock grimaces, nods.) “…Or the one.”; “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi; “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader; “How do I feel? I feel old — worn out.” “…Then let me show you something that will make you feel… young — as when the world was new.“; “Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo; “You’ve never really faced death, have you?”;“But good words; that’s where ideas begin. …Maybe you should listen to them.”;“He’s so… human.” (She shudders.) “…Nobody’s perfect, Saavik.”;  “This is a new day, a new beginning.” – Ahsoka Tano“Well, once again, we’ve saved civilization as we know it.” “…And the good news is, they’re not going to prosecute.“; “...No; not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity; I know nothing.”;“I like to believe that there are always possibilities.”; “So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.” – Padmé Amidala

Orson: The report, Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?
Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.
Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.
Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one. Isn’t that zenlack?

Other interpretations on transport I enjoyed.

Transport ; Looknwalk; Figments; Ladylee; TVOR; Travelrat; Closetoyou; Sonya; Shooting; Geriatric; Cloudywings; Renegade: Roamingurbangypsy; Naomi; Later; Silverstreaks; Ron

Two days on, One day off – Accra, Ghana


I was lucky to have an opportunity to participate in a very quick trip to Accra, Ghana for work with a short half day to tour a few markets.  It was interesting to compare Accra to Lagos in the area of food, style, art and living.  So much was familiar with just enough differences to make it quite interesting.  I’m hoping to be able to go back and see some of the people and places outside of the city.  I hope you enjoy.

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust

I don’t like landscapes. I like cities. Lots of cities. I like buildings. I like streets. Dario Argento

Posts I liked

LandscapesMostly Monochrome Whitby stenoodieFrom Hiding to Blogging The Sunrise on Early Spring at Minnesota; Doublewhirler New Zealand’s LandscapeMittened Hands Winter DesertOffbeat and Quirky by Henri BauhausAlpine Village – Through the Lens ….on pets and prisonersCee’s PhotographySteve Says… The Kelpies: Never Look A Mythical Water Horse In The Mouth Unless You Are Taking A Photo… Inherently Adventurous Halfway de Wets Wild Landscape {mary’s chaoticwhitespace}Landscape – CinematographySomewhere In Between – Life Confusions;  Jackobo’s Photoblog Mirror WatersReflections for my Soulscillagracethe15thday the landscape of my youthLost in Translationla parole a été donnée à l´homme pour cacher sa pensée landscapeHX ReportTHE ICONOPHILE The detail is in the devil

What is normal – Lagos Part 2


“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
― Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

It’s easy to get caught up in how normal or abnormal a different life lived might be.  I would like to think that in general I live a fairly normal life.  I get up, do my stretches, eat breakfast, go to work..work..toil..worry..stress…eat lunch…work some more, come home, eat dinner and go to bed.  It’s my routine and I’m comfortable with it.

In the process of doing what I do, I will sometimes pass by lives, actions, ideals and philosophies that sometimes feel incredibly abnormal.  I might at times feel saddened by the brutality of it all, the abnormality and chaotic nature of it all.  I have to force myself to put the brakes on because what is normal to me now, might have at one point not so long ago, appeared to be very abnormal.  This life I lead right now often presents to me situations that do not feel normal at all.  When I visit some of the places I visit, a part of me screams inside my head that, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!”

I have to ask myself what is normal?  What is routine? Who am I to make that call?

So Makoko Stilt Village part 2.

We visited the village in a traditional canoe which allowed us to see more of the area and see how this community really lives.  We visited a maternity ward, a school, passed by local markets and we were able to get an authentic feel for the lives being lived here.  To me interesting and lives uniquely lived.  There is no argument to that statement.  Except maybe to the people who are living that life.  Their routines are no more abnormal to them than mine is to me.

It is brutal, it is beautiful, it is every shade of black and white.

The more I travel and the more I see, the more I realize that in the middle of every single place I visit, exist regular people doing what is normal to them.  They all have a voice and they all have a story.  It’s crazy that I have to remind myself of this so often.

But on the other hand, in the midst of the chaos, you find normal people. You find people who are willing to risk their lives to tell you what they saw, even though they have no dog in the fight.

John Pomfret

Other routines.