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