Debbie writes... We are now
in Nigeria and I have been pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and
kindness of the local Nigerians. Yes, the police are a nightmare and there
are roadblocks every few kilometers - which is really annoying. We chose
to travel via smaller roads vs main motorways, to avoid the really dodgy
police. This worked well and we seemed to get the 'not-so-nasty' police.
Luckily so far we have not had to pay any bribes - touch wood it lasts
another few days until we get into Cameroon.
Last night (Sat 30 Apr) was very special for me - we had driven through a
little village and parked up in the fields for the nights. Some locals
stopped and invited us to spend the night in their village - parked up by
the church/school grounds. Being polite, we told them it was not necessary
- but they insisted. So we drove back to their village - which was
gorgeous. Once we had parked up, a number of locals came over to us to
find out how we were doing and whether we needed anything. We soon had an
audience of little children watching us as many of them had not seen
whites before. (This is true in many parts of Nigeria!) That night a
security guard patrolled the area to ensure we were safe. The next morning
a number of people came back to make sure we had a good night and wish us
well for the rest of our trip. As we were about to leave, one of the young
men gave us a lovely poem he had written for us, wishing us good luck for
our future travels. This really touched me and I felt truly overwhelmed by
such kindness and generosity. This is really true of many of the Nigerian
locals - they do not have much, but will give you anything they have.
Often as we drive past little villages and we wave to the people/children
- their responses of sheer delight at seeing white people is so rewarding.
They shout and wave and have huge white grins on their faces - it is so
lovely to experience.
The other day a young girl (15yrs) and her mother walked past us as we
where getting up in the morning. We had been bush-camping in a remote part
in Nigeria. She had NEVER seen a white person and was in total awe at
seeing myself and Martin. She grabbed my arm and said "I have never seen a
white person". She rubbed my arm, touched my hair and held onto me as if I
was going to run away. It was really very touching!
I can go on and on writing about all my wonderful experiences in Africa -
it has made me appreciate my life so much more and also value the life of
those in Africa. It is a real humbling experience.