Small Steps in Nigeria

     At the moment when I’ve been packing my bags I felt I’ll lost them somewhere on my way. For example on the airport in Frankfurt, where I need to wait and change. They’ll pack my luggage to the wrong plane. Or basically they’ll leave it in Krakow or Frankfurt. Then I’ll have only my carry-on luggage. I will be standing alone at the airport in Lagos walking around and wandering what should I do in this situation.

     After almost seven hours in a plane we’re landing in biggest city of black Africa. From the very first moment I am struck by heat. I explain myself that it’s only in this narrow and short jet bridge. At the airport I think it’s that hot because of huge amount of people, but it’s just half an hour more and outside… Outside I’ll feel this pleasant, delicate wind from Atlantic Ocean. Oh well… I’m afraid I’ll wait looong time before I experience this cool wind.

     My luggage was waiting for me. After ten or more minutes both my suitcase and backpack was in my hands. Airport was definitely less modern than the one I left, but I didn’t mind. I was too curious about what’s on the other side of this huge, concrete building.

     Outside King, ICYE Nigeria worker was already waiting for me. Around him was a lot of people. Some of them was wearing clothes from fabric called ankara. This are colourful and full of patterns. Others had typical “western” clothes. And of course some people were surprised when they saw me but most of them was just waiting for theirs relatives.

     From the very first moment we catch good contact with King. We drive through streets of Lagos in his car with AC. What a relief! On the left side I saw group of boys playing football. On the right side there was never-finished concrete building. Along the road I could see series of posters with actual president of Nigeria - Muhammadu Buhari.
     We drive through market. I see women with huge circle trays full of snacks or bread on their heads. A lot of man with board full of jewellery, sunglasses or sweets. Market is full of people. Some of them are talking and laughing. Others are bargaining or walking around cars and offering everything what you can sell, cleaning car’s windows or just asking for money.

     In that point I realized what I forgot and probably will never get back. Cultural shock. I lost it somewhere between airport in Frankfurt and Lagos. Everything around seems to be so normal and natural to me.

     I don’t know how long I’m going to keep my rose-coloured glasses but till now everything seems to be very good. Lack of electricity for couple of hours it’s not a big deal. Participating in this crazy traffic everytime leaves me with cheerful amazement and architecture just makes me wonder “How is it even possible?!”

     My first week in Lagos, Nigeria is finished. My host family is wonderful and except me they have seven “children” from five till twenty-six years old. Most of them are somehow related with my host parents but not all of them.

     They’re careful with my independence, especially at the evenings. Let’s face it. Lagos isn’t Berlin or Rome. But we make small steps. I already use danfo - yellow buses driven by crazy lagosians. Picture of my, oyibo, in public transport give a smile to many faces on my way.

     I start working in Action Health Incorporated. It’s a big non-government organisation focused on adolescent reproductive health. Thanks to my studies and experience they assigned me to the team focused on “Teenage Festival of Life”.

     It’s really interesting to observe work and organisations in other continent. Working in African NGO is nothing like work in Polish or Spanish NGO. I am still learning how should I call people on higher position than mine or which clothes are formal enough.

     If you, dear reader, thought that I’m wearing safari hat, big boots and khaki shirt every day you’re wrong. Lagos wears high-heels, colours, shapes and patterns.