Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nigeria 2012 - Day 5 (1/25)

I couldn't fall asleep until about 4 in the morning, so when my alarm went off at 7:30 I reverted to my 3+ snooze habits from home.  I was eventually ready around 9, and went to my parents' room.  We waited for my mom's sister to arrive at the hotel, then we took some things down to meet her.  By 10 we all hopped in a car with the driver that my dad had arranged for through Vin and began the drive to Awka.

The drive was an interesting and at times scary experience.  The "express" road to Awka (actually the Enugu-Onitsha Express) looked like it used to be a divided highway with 2 lanes in each direction.  However, for most of the way one side was unmaintained and undrivable, so we were left with adjacent (unmarked) "lanes" in each direction.  I use the term "lanes" very loosely because of the way that people drive - passing the slow cars (and super-slow) trucks was sometimes like playing chicken, and we were sometimes 3 wide across the roadway.  And then there were the times that people would get extremely impatient and begin passing on the unpaved shoulder.  Needless to say, I feared for my life; and especially since the 3 of us in the back (me in the middle) did not have seat belts on.

The approximately 40 mile drive took about 75 minutes.  This was due to a combination of things: bad roads, congestion, and police "checkpoints" every few miles (I wanted to take a picture of a checkpoint but I was too scared that this would lead to us being pulled aside).  We didn't have any trouble getting through the checkpoints (I guess we didn't look like kidnappers or terrorists), and did not have to pay off any officers.   An unrelated observation I made was that many vehicles, especially the tractor trailers, had decidedly Christian decorations.

We arrived at Ma's family's house around 11:15, where preparations were being made for the funeral events (which were to last 3 or 4 days).  I met Chinwe's daughter, Ebele, and a few other family members.  Pa and I stayed until about noon, then we headed back with the driver. I was able to use a seat belt this time, but the drive was still a little scary.

We arrived at the hotel a bit after 1, at which point I switched rooms (having only scalding hot water in the tub was getting a bit old).  Pa then ordered yam porridge for the two of us for lunch.  After eating we had one of our deep conversations that we have from time to time (these talks sometimes lead to life decisions).  Around 4:30 I went back to my room to do some reading.  Then at 8 I went back to my dad's room to polish off the leftovers for dinner.  We watched some news and some soccer on TV before I called it a night a little after 10.
Some pictures from the trip:

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