I'M HERE AND I'M SAFE!!
I flew out on Thursday, March 15 and arrived in Amsterdam at 2 in the morning Canadian time, and 7 in the morning Dutch/Nigerian time. I sat in that airport for 4 and 1/2 hours waiting for my connecting flight to Lagos, Nigeria. There were no problems getting on that plane, and I was blessed with having a South African commercial diver to talk to sitting on my right, and an empty seat on my left. We landed in Nigeria at around 7:30 pm, and I was greeted by one of the CHIPROM workers and Mrs. Idowu, who helped me and Mr. Idowu carry our bags to the car. (SIDE NOTE: I was a little worried that there would be problems with my luggage, but I was blessed and had everything transported to the right places and did not lose anything!)
That night, we stayed at a hotel in Lagos because the drive to Ibadan is 2 hours long, and the roads are treacherous at night because there are no street lights on the highways.
We left for Nigeria around noon, and arrived at CHIPROM at 2 in the afternoon. The driving was pretty crazy, but I will blog about that another time! I was introduced to the children, who sang a song to welcome me, and then set up my room that night. I had fried plantains with ketchup for supper, and went to sleep in my newly painted room.
My room has two beds in it (the one is to the right in the picture, with my suitcases on it). There are three windows because it is at one end of the volunteer building, and it gets a pretty good breeze if the windows are open. To keep cool (because frankly, it's hot here) I put the fan on and leave it blowing on my face all night long. However, the electricity is very spotty in Nigeria, so sometimes I wake up all sweaty and gross because the fan turned off sometime in the middle of the night. There are definitely a lot of things to get used to here!
As for the other CHIPROM workers, there are 6 "mommies" who work on a rotation schedule. When I arrived, I met three of them, and this Monday afternoon they switched, and I met the other three. The reason they have this schedule is so that they can go back to their homes and take care of their own families. These ladies sacrifice a lot of time to be with these kids!
And that brings us to the kids. They are wonderful! Sometimes, they just start praising the Lord for no reason! One of the kids is named Sunday, and his nickname is Pastor Sunday because he loves to preach about God so often. Can it get any better than that?
Anyways, I am growing to love it here. There are a LOT of things to get used to, but at the same time, I need to constantly remind myself why I am here. I am here to serve the Lord, and to do that by serving these children. If that means that all I can do is play with them for a few hours in a day and help them with their homework, then that is what it means. Being a North American, I crave a schedule and a task. However, here the schedule is very fluid and changes quite often, and because of the language barrier (most people here speak Yoruba as their first language) I am often left in the dark about what's going on. But I have to be patient and learn to deal with it. And I also need to remind myself that I have a lot of time to figure this stuff out. I still have 80 days!
I would like to say to all my family and friends that I love you and your support. If I'm ever feeling useless or confused as to why I am here, I think about how many people have affirmed me in this calling, and all the love and support that was given to me. I'm on the right track, but it's not an easy one, and I thank you guys for encouraging me to continue doing this.
I promise to take more pictures of the kids for the next post! And don't be afraid to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have!