As of now, six days into my stay in Nigeria, it feels like two months have passed. This is not because we have completed many tasks, drastically improved our language skills or seen many new places in Nigeria. No, in fact we haven’t done much of that at all. Things go slow here. I don’t know if we are on schedule, behind schedule or ahead of schedule because our plans change by the minute. The places we need to go, people we need to greet and forms we need to fill out are plentiful, but everyday it takes a few hours of us sitting around our Language Center to figure out exactly what needs to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am really enjoying my time here so far, but it’s a completely different pace of life than I’m used to at home.
Today, the four of us arrived at the center from our respective host family houses at 9 a.m. We all slept or worked on our laptops in the Lounge/TV room for over 2 hours before we were given directions. The four students and Gabe, one of our teachers, all got in the University of Ibadan van to go around to all the different departments and greet the department heads and professors to realize that the back tire of the van was stuck in the dirt. We all got out of the van and stood around for 35 minutes while the men figured out how to push it out. With a little rope, a massive truck and the hands of 8 men, we succeeded!
From the center, we went to the library to attempt to register for our library cards. After 10 minutes of sitting in a man’s basement office and greeting all the people he brought in to meet us, we found the librarian we needed to talk to. He gave us pink cards and said we needed to type our information on the cards. So we drove to the computer station and waited 10 minutes for Gabe to type our info on the cards. Then we returned to the library, gave him our cards, paid the librarian 100 Naira each (about $0.80) only for him to tell us we needed to return tomorrow to get our cards laminated. So it goes in Nigeria. We wait and wait to find out we need to return again tomorrow.
A similar situation happened when we went to open bank accounts the other day. We deposited our money and left without an ATM card or account number. Apparently the bank is going to call us this week to tell us to come get our cards. Our Nigerian teachers and friends aren’t worried, so I won’t be worried… yet.