Funny how I couldn't get OUT of Detroit to save my life, but I managed to get to Nigeria on time with NOT A SINGLE delay. Clearly Delta needs to get it together.
Anyway, after a morning of stress and tears I arrived at the airport around 10:30 am. Had to pay excess luggage fees for one of my bags...I just couldn't fit 5 months of my life into 100 lbs. so I had to go to 70 in one of my bags. Most expensive $150 I ever spent. Also, Mercy told me on Thursday I had to bring an extra bag with medicine for Uromi. Just when I thought I was out of the smuggling business I was forced back in! Of course since it was for the Foundation I didn't have to pay the $200 extra bag fee out of my pocket.
After I checked in I went to have brunch at Patachou. I love Patachou and thought it was fitting for my last meal! Then, surprise of all surprises, my bestie Josh came and surprised me with a visit! It was nice to take my mind off of being sad about leaving, because with Josh, there's no talk about emotions. This is why I love him.
I got through security no problemo, boarded and flew to New York (JFK). I only had an hour layover so I hustled to my gate and called Ange. We boarded shortly after that and we were on our way to Nigeria. In the past we stopped in Dakar and let people off (but we didn't get off the plane) but apparently they've changed the flight because we didn't stop. The flight was right around 12 hours. The other awesome thing was that the flight was only half full so I could spread out a little bit and not have to sit by anyone!
I ended up watching 3 movies and getting about 4 hours of sleep. I watched Date Night (so funny), Invictus (unexpectedly awesome), Valentine's Day (pretty good). I don't know what motivated me to watch Invictus...as I usually don't like movies that revolve around sports, but I'm so glad I did. I think my main motivation for watching it is because I love Nelson Mandela & I love Morgan Freeman. And I think South Africa's history is really interesting. Now that is a sports movie that I can get behind. That is what sports should be about. If you haven't seen it of course you have no idea what I'm talking about, but trust me, it's more about Mandela & his coming to power than about sports as a topic. I highly recommend it.
We arrived in Abuja around 9:30 am. I had tried all week to see if I could find someone in Abuja to purchase my flight to Benin in advance and to have Naira ready for me. I could not find anyone to save my life. I was pretty sure I would be fine doing it all by myself, but my American-ness was paranoid that I could not purchase a ticket for a flight 3 hours after I landed. Luckily I didn't have anything to worry about. I had some Naira left over from last year and I used that to buy a SIM card & minutes for my phone. I then checked in with L to make sure she hadn't found anyone to help me in Abuja, went to the Money Changing Station, switched some money, went and bought my ticket, checked in, went back to pay for my excess luggage, and waited for a while until I could board.
I slept the entire 45 minute flight from Abuja to Benin. I got off and got my luggage and had a very enthusiastic welcome from L and some American guests she's been housing. The 2 females are recent graduates in nursing who have been here for 5 weeks shadowing in the M's hospital and the male is here as a full time University student. He is familiar with them because he attends L's father's church in the US. They are very nice and helped me to feel at home.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't tell you that a Nigerian popstar was on my flight. I, of course, did not recognize him BUT I did know who he was when L told me. She said "Hey, some Nigerian singer was on your flight! When he walked out all the younger people were screaming 'D'Banj!!!'" And I actually know who D'Banj is! If you've ever been in my car you've probably heard "I love that booty" which is by him. Brush with fame and I didn't even know!
After we left the airport we went straight to the M's compound. They are housing me in one of their guest houses which is very nice. I took a shower and came over to the main house to hang out. Shortly after coming over everyone left with F to go somewhere. I decided to take it easy and do some emailing and such. After about an hour everyone came back and we chatted, ate, and then got into a fierce game of Monopoly, much to my delight! No one at home ever wants to play so when they asked if I wanted to I was thrilled! It ended up lasting FOREVER because the kids were adamant that they wanted to be L. They didn't but it took about 3 hours for them to admit it.
After that we've just been winding down which gave me some time to check emails and write this blog! I'm gonna have a quick late bite to eat and then head back over to my room and get some shut eye! I've been feeling a little bleary since mid-way through the Monopoly game but I want to get on a good schedule so I'm trying to stay up a little.
In the morning we are going to church and then we'll find something to do for the rest of the day. Oh, I also spoke with Father John, who is the person who runs the Children's Home in Uromi and helps manage our chronic disease clinics. I am probably going to go to Uromi next Saturday. I have a busy week ahead. Laurie wants me to participate in Staff Training & Orientation at the University and that is M-F of this week from 9-4. I'm excited to jump in feet first. I already met 2 people today who dropped by the house to chat. Starting to gather my contacts and get moving!