No water, running in the desert and getting PUBLISHED!
on Hysteria in Nigeria (Nigeria), 11/Apr/2012 18:47, 34 days ago
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Another blog post full of a whole lot of waffle…I’ll start with the really exciting news first (well, I was excited anyway!) – our journal article got accepted for publication, so all the hard work and submitting about 600 different versions was worth it. I’m not quite sure this qualifies me as a published author, but I’m going to keep pretending it does anyway.I have even more respect than I did before for the crazy people who do the Marathon des Sables through the Sahara desert. I was feeling very lazy the other day so decided to go for a run, but the temperature was pushing 42 degrees at the time. It wasn’t a pleasant experience; I truly thought I was going to have a heart attack. I almost considered selling my iPod so I’d have money for a taxi home. One lady I passed along the way looked at me and said “Oh Oyibo, sorry sorry sorry”. I might refrain from any more running until it cools downa bit.And on the subject of heat, I thought I’d got used to the temperature here by now, but recently nights here have been a little unbearable. Our electricity has been off a lot meaning no fan, and so I’ve been getting up numerous times each night and pouring a bucket of water over my head before going back to bed again. A couple of nights have been spent trying to sleep on the floor as the tiles are about the coolest thing in the flat when it’s that hot. Poor Squirt is feeling the heat as well - I keep finding her lying in the shower. And because the electricity has been bad, the water has been even worse as they need electricity to pump the water. It normally comes on from Monday to Friday, but over the past two weeks I can count the number of times we’ve had water on one hand. So when I came home last Thursday and found the man from the water board disconnecting our water I was less than impressed. I asked him how he could disconnect something that was never on anyway, but he said until everyone in the building paid their bill it would be disconnected. So I begged. And when that didn’t work I told him if he disconnected it I would follow him back to the water board office with the bag of dirty washing that wasfast taking over my room and use their water supply. I think I scared him, but it worked and he left it on. I also now have his phone number and he told me to call him whenever we don’t have water. He may live to regret doing that – this was almost a week ago and we’ve had water once since then.We got in a cab home the other night and even though we’d already negotiated the fare, the driver tried telling us that we should pay more because we “must have money because we’re white.” We explained we don’t have money, we’re volunteers, so he said “But you must have air conditioning at home, so you’ve got money.” So we explained wedo not have air conditioning, we do not have a generator, we do not have any of the things he probably thinks we have. And you would think we had told him that we were living in a shack, “You don’t have air conditioning? You must be hot all the time. You come here to our country to help us andwe don’t give you air conditioning?” So then from trying to get more money off us he changed to saying he wanted to write to the President and tell him what a disgrace it was that we don’t have air conditioning. I tried explaining that I think the President might have slightly more pressing matters to attend to than our lack of air conditioning. I was glad to get out of the cab. Although he still tried the standard “when you go home to UK you take me, or you bring me clothes and books for my baby” line.My Abuja Cat Sanctuary is flourishing. Cat Two’s kittens are now 6 weeks old, running around, and also require feeding twice a day. How I went from saying I would never have any pets here to feeding 6 cats is beyond me. But one thing is for sure; I need a job, as my volunteer allowance doesn’t even cover the cost of me living in Abuja, letalone me and 6 cats. If anyone wants to sponsor the very first Nigerian Animal Shelter then let me know, I’ll willingly run it.And FINALLY. This small health and safety risk caught my eye the other day. Never before have I been so glad that my job doesn’t involve me having to climb scaffolding.