Tuesday morning, Elwood and I went with the mission president to visit several branches and groups of missionaries in our mission. (Whenever the mission president leaves Lagos, there is always an additional vehicle that accompanies the one in which he is driven. Again, because of security issues. In case one vehicle breaks down, he would not be subject to highway bandits, which are quite common here.) The president interviewed individual missionaries while we trained them on planning their time, appropriate missionary behavior, dedication to their work, etc. We traveled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; returned on Thursday, and then traveled Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
I know we should be used to the highways in Nigeria... giant pot holes, drivers continually changing and creating extra lanes, okadas (motorcycles providing public transportation) weaving through traffic, people casually walking with small children or animals in the middle of the road, and hawkers carrying large loads on their heads attempting to sell their wares to passing vehicles. I must admit that when our driver decided that our side of the divided highway was too congested and headed up a steep embankment to the other side, facing oncoming traffic, we became a little nervous. He drove along the side of the road until the appropriate side was a little clearer, and then cut across the steep divide and back into traffic.
We first went to Abeokuta, which is about 3 hours north of the mission home, for our initial meetings. On Wednesday morning we awakened to find that we had no water. We called the hotel desk a couple of times to inquire when the problem would be fixed. The second time they told us that we would have water in 15 minutes. Sure enough, 15 minutes later we heard a knock at the door and were handed a bucket of lukewarm water. As we frequently say, "Welcome to Nigeria." We pressed on to Ijebu-Ode and then returned to the mission home on Thursday.
That afternoon we went to the village of llewo-Orile. There is a church branch in the village as there are not enough members for a ward, even though there are about 10,000 people living in the village. We examined problems with the church building as well as a potential apartment for missionaries. When we stopped to get the key to the building from the branch president's house, he was preceded out of the house by a chicken. Frequently, goats and chickens share space with families. This village is on the church list to have a bore hole as their only water supply is a stream, which is used for washing, drinking water, etc. They now carry water to their homes and to the church in buckets on their heads for all needs.
Friday evening celebrated three senior missionary birthdays. Went to the Jade Chinese Restaurant... Was great and a real treat since we rarely go out in the evenings because of security issues.
On Saturday we left for lle-lfe for more interviewing and training of missionaries. We drove through lbadan, which is the second largest city in Nigeria. It seemed very much like Lagos with makeshift market stalls, small houses, battered looking apartment buildings, many shanties, open ditches along the side of the road for waste water, and gas stations with no petrol. As we continued on, we saw many fires by the side of the road as people were burning their trash. Roasted plantain mixed with spices, a delicacy, was sold in some areas. Went on to Akure where we spent Saturday and Sunday nights. While there attended to the usual missionary business and other church activities as well as attending church. See pictures below for some adorable children that wouldn't leave our side on Sunday. Drove home Monday, which took a little over 4 hours bouncing from one pothole to the next. Glad to be home.
Woman street sweeper. Very typical in Nigeria. They are everywhere.
Kids playing in stream in llewo-Orile Village
Village kids at play
Villagers resting under the shade tree
Carrying water from the village stream
Bathing, playing, washing, going to the bathroom, and getting drinking water from the same source
Fruit and vegetable stand. These are everywhere.
Cattle in a pen next to the house
Woman and a goat in front of the church in Akure
Victor and Victoria, former branch president's children and Elder Brown
Children with Sister Brown
Victor and Victoria and Elder Brown. They were intrigued with my watch
Big cattle yard outside of Lagos