Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arrival in Nigeria

We left Salt Lake City on the 15th of October after spending a wonderful week-end at Jeff and Angie’s with Shireen, Brett and family joining us there as well.  On Saturday we went to Provo and went to the cemetery and visited our grandbabies and afterward went to Diego’s for a Mexican lunch. The males went to the BYU homecoming game with Oregon State while the ladies did a little shopping.  Sunday we attended church (Gwen played the violin in the Primary program) and then had family pictures taken by Amy Pulsipher, who we have known since she was a baby.  On Monday we bid teary good-byes and were driven to the airport by Jeff.
When we arrived in Lagos, after a 16 hour flight, there were no signs telling us where to go so we followed the crowd and ended up in the wrong line with immigration officers glowering at us because we had such difficulty understanding them.  Finally we were moved onward and a very kind Nigerian gentleman that we had a conversation with in Atlanta handed us some Nigerian money to get a luggage cart because we did not yet have any nairas (Nigerian money).  We then encountered the travel person from the Lagos Mission who helped us breeze through customs.
As we drove from the airport the traffic was amazing… motorcycles weaving in and out with 3-4 people on each one (a form of taxi) and other motorcycles with covers (called kakas) as well as lots of small cars that made their own lanes and seem to follow no traffic laws.  There are many walled areas topped with razor wire.  Our mission complex is walled but razor wire on only one section.  Exterior doors require coded cards that are read electronically while the inner doors have at least four steel rods that hold the door securely.
Our apartment has one bedroom which is comfortable and air-conditioned except when there is no electricity…  This goes off at least a dozen times a day.  We have hot water off and on.  The kitchen had hot water briefly after one of the three plumbers, who came to fix our problem, flooded the kitchen and part of the living room.
We are thoroughly enjoying this experience…  and laugh over the idiosyncrasies of this country.  The African missionaries are wonderful…  and all the young missionaries are African.  We attended a zone conference, conducted interviews of the missionaries and have begun learning some of our administrative responsibilities.  We will be spending a lot of our time helping with the administration and organization of the mission.
Saturday we went grocery shopping with the two other senior missionary couples.  Grocery stores here are nothing like the supermarkets in the US.  We went to three stores and were unable to find many things on our list.  We have decided to wait until we get to the store to see what they have and then plan our menus around those items.   Food is 3-4 times more expensive than we are used to.  I saw a half gallon of ice cream for the equivalent of $30.  We are going to try going to a local fruit and vegetable stand that is in a safe area near our mission complex.  We are warned a lot about safety and are making an effort to follow the guidelines.  We are very anxious to see more of the country and are told that a driver will be able to take us various places.

Neighborhood from our window

Guard at our mission complex

Working with Elder Ampiah

Elder Adu-Gymfi (Elwood's co-worker)

Map - mission area outlined in black

President Karkari, our Mission President

Preparing for our grocery excursion

Typical walled in area (this is part of our mission wall)

How do you like the sidewalk?  There are none!

Part of a main street

Nearby neighborhood


  1. We love that we get to follow you on your mission! Thanks for posting so we can look forward to our retirement :)

  2. Wow...I kinda can't believe it! So exciting...I have to say, I'm a little bit jealous. :)

  3. Those pictures remind me of a leg of "The Amazing Race"! You guys rock!

  4. Your first entry from Nigeria was very interesting and enlightening. Can't wait for the next one! I am so glad you have this awesome experience. Love and blessings
    from Fullerton.

  5. Awesome! Please be careful. Have a wonderful time.I love your photos!