Saturday, June 26, 2010

O, dear blog readers, the end is drawing near.  
I leave Nigeria for the United States in less than two weeks 
. . . and I still have so much to tell you about my life here! 

Let’s start with this: my housemates and I just returned from a trip to Calabar in eastern Nigeria.  It was beautiful.  Wonderful.  Awesome.  I am now wondering why I was smart enough to get into graduate school but not smart enough to choose the nice part of Nigeria to study.  JK, western Nigeria.  Kind of.  

I have to admit that it took a trip to the east to help me realize that 'interesting' is not the only positive adjective to describe Nigeria; it can also be beautiful, peaceful and relaxing.  Traveling home on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, it occurred to me how much the insane population density of western Nigeria effects how people live and move and relate to each other - in ways that ratchet up the intensity of day-to-day interactions.  And yet I like the challenge of living in Ibadan; it is endlessly fascinating to reflect on how both the remote and more recent past have shaped this society.  Also - you never run out of things to complain about.  How convenient for those of us who enjoy such a pastime!

Back to Calabar, where I traveled the Delta creeks by boat, swam in a waterfall, visited a drill monkey sanctuary and knocked back a few shots of locally-distilled gin . . . all in the name of research.  One of the fun things about visiting a new region was seeing the different foods it offered.  We ate delicious suya covered in a groundnut spice, tender chicken pepper soup and whole roasted fish, basted in a sweet pepper sauce.  We also found some new fruits that we can’t buy in the west: lychee and an ugly brown nut with velvety skin.  When you pry it open, you find that the flesh is a brilliant orange.  We couldn’t figure out the name of this fruit, so we call it orange nut fruit.  Creative, right?!



In conclusion:  Nigeria is beautiful.  The fruit is amazing.  Lychee tastes like candy.  Towns with trees and sidewalks are nice.  A lot of people live in this country.  They deserve to have a functioning government which can sustain an expanding economy and provide social services.  The end.


  1. The orange nut fruit looks very intriguing. What did it taste like?