Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Who’d a thought that this broken and fragile heart could be a well."

Today we are leaving Owerri. I came to Nigeria to see Mary Ann as well as to scout out the area for our April 2009 Mission Trip where we will help dig a borehole and other things. We are headed to Onitsha which is where her friend Victory lives with her husband today and then tomorrow will come back through Ihiala, which is where the borehole will be constructed.
And we are traveling on our own. Calvin will be taking us to the bus park - which is where you buy tickets for which bus you want. Typically, busses are really 12 passenger vans that they pack full with people and stuff and they will stop at any time to pick up passengers! But this company, ITC(Imo Travel Center), have both 12 passenger vans and larger and they will only pick up in their official parks (very safe for 2 white girls to travel in). So Calvin helped us get our tickets and then we got the two front seats, which is good cause we weren’t packed in and we had plenty of air with the windows open.
And we headed north towards Onitsha by 10:30 a.m.…the road for awhile was pretty smooth and we passed a Disney Resort on the way out of town. There really was something called a Disney resort but the only person we have asked so far has no idea what Disney stands for to know if they are connected to “the” Disney. Let me know if you know!
These busses pass many locations where kids and adults swarm up to the car trying to sell water in bags, cashews, bananas, oranges, gari and more…and as soon as they saw me and Mare – they would yell “onji oncha”. So we would say “Good afternoon” and then say no to buying anything as they swarmed the van. It does seem that most of the people on these busses do buy snacks and cold drinks on the way pretty often though, but we didn’t.

We got to Onitsha by 1:00 p.m. – Victory came and picked us up in the ministry vehicle(van) with a driver. The traffic in Onitsha is even crazier than anything else I have seen. Cars, vans, people, motorcycles are all battling for space on thin roads. People carrying goods on their head and in their hands to sell to every open window they can find. AND potholes all over – so the cars swerve to miss them or drive slowly to go through them which throws off the traffic as well!

We headed to Victory’s house which is in the same compound as the church that her husband works at, which is pretty big. After a refreshing drink, we went with Victory to a local Catholic Seminary where she is teaching a weekly course on Aids/HIV Prevention awareness for pastors. Wow, that was interesting. It was another example of how different their culture is from ours. The men in the class were struggling with ideas that wouldn't even be an issue in the U.S. We spent the rest of the afternoon at her house – talking, napping, snacking…I have been fighting a cold most of this week and today it has felt the worst. So I welcomed a 1 ½ hour nap, I honestly felt like sleeping most of the day. I have to say though, it is crazy hot here! And even though there are fans in each room…it still feels stuffy. This is one of those times it would be so nice to get out of the skirt and wear comfy shorts! But not here in someone elses house! At 6:00 p.m. Victory said she was going to the revival in the compound – which started around 4:30 p.m. with very rousing music…so she brought out head coverings and Bibles for all 3 of us and we walked out. And as I am finding – we kind of create a bit of a disruption wherever we go…so we ended up in the best location to see the people, dancing, music and speaker. I was able to take some pics of the kids dancing. The music had a latin sound to it – but most of it was in Igbo so I don’t know what they were saying. This has been my favorite worship music experience so far. Their band had about 12 people in it! So fun! But 3 hours later after lots of prayer, preaching and singing – I was so hungry and so tired and still didn’t feel well. We finally left right before 10 p.m. One of the things in the Nigerian Culture is to make a full meal for your guests no matter what time it is, so at 10:30 or so, we were eating the dinner that Victory made for us. I jumped in the shower(yes, they had running water!) right before the generator went off at 11:00 p.m. (Their power(Nepa) wasn’t working last night). Got into bed and had one of the hardest nights I have had since I hiked on the Appalachian Trail…I think I was sweating constantly and just couldn’t sleep more than 30 minutes at a time. But I made it.

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