Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hopping on One Foot, Lost in Abuja

For all of you wondering, Diana and the kids made it here in one piece!  They arrived Monday evening, safe and sound.  Now, we just need to get them to sleep through the night!  Last night, two out of four made it most of the night without waking up.  Upon arriving at a new post, families are required to take part in a health briefing at the medical office in the embassy.  I signed the family up for a briefing at 2p on Tuesday, the day after the family arrived.  Yes, I know they were going to be a bit jet-lagged, but I figured we'd be able to make an appointment at 2p!  No matter how tired someone is, it's 2p.  Yeah, you see where this is going.  I dragged Alexis out of bed at noon, the boys out of bed at 12:30, and barely got Diana out of bed at 1p.  Even though they were out of bed, they were not moving.  We trudged into the medical office at 2:20p - only 20 minutes late.  Then Sawyer realized where we were - in a doctors office - and the screaming began.  There were no shots, no blood being drawn, no rectal thermometers; but the trauma had already taken place and Sawyer knew all those things were possibilities, and he wanted everyone in the embassy to know he wasn't happy about it. 

The next day was about as much fun.  After two luxurious hours of sleep, I once again dragged everyone out of bed to go to the kids new school, where they took examinations which determined whether or not they were admitted to the school.  So no pressure.  But not big deal; Alexis' test only two about 2.5 hours.  How does hopping on one foot three times qualify you for kindergarten, you ask?  I don't know.  But you now owe money to the "Question Jar."  What is the "Question Jar," you ask?  Put in another 160 Naira and I'll tell you.  In one of the offices at the embassy, whenever something ludicrous, ridiculous, or just plain stupid happens here, if someone from that office asks "Why?" that person owes money to the "Question Jar."  The money goes towards office parties, and I heard they have had a some good parties! 

Feeling proud that my children are coordinated enough for school in Nigeria, I decided to support my wife and drop her off that evening at the local running group - about 15 people there.  I introduced her to the one person I knew from the embassy, determined the run would take about 40 minutes, and then took the kids to the store for some cleaning supplies.  Figuring Diana would need a couple of minutes to stretch out afterwards, we returned after about 50 minutes, only to find a group of about 5 guys.  They said they were the first to return.  My acquaintance was there, so I asked him if he had seen my wife.  He said he had, but that it had been some time.  Knowing she had an upset stomach before leaving, I decided to get the kids out of the car to give them a quick snack.  After about 10 minutes, it was beginning to get dark and I was starting to get worried.  At about the time I was starting to get the kids cleaned up and in the car to go search for Diana, she came jogging up, looking as though she was having a hard time breathing.  At first, I thought it was her asthma.  After a second, I realized she was hyperventilating because she was upset. 

Diana then described to me how, unbeknownst to me, the group did not stay together during the run.  Initially, she had kept up with the fast group, but then decided to take a quick break.  She walked for a minute with a couple of the others in the group, got some quick directions, and was off again.  A short time later, she realized she was lost.  No money, no phone, no map, no idea where she was.  She tried to back-track, but ended up wandering around for quite some time.  She was fortunate/blessed to come across a Nigerian who yelled at her that her white friends were in a specific direction.  And she was blessed a second time to accidentally turn down the correct road and end up back at the parking lot where we were waiting.  Understandibly upset.  Pretty scary for her . . . and for me.  Moreso for her.  After a few hours she conceded she would be willing to try it again.  We'll have her better prepared next time.   

Yeah, I bet you thought one of us was actually hopping on one foot while lost, huh?!


  1. Scary!!! Glad she made it back safely. I'd be hyperventilating too!

  2. haha lost in africa. so awesome.

  3. Oh my gosh. And Diana is one tough girl, so for her to be upset, it must have really been scary! Glad you made it back okay. And seriously? Foot hopping? Now, if it had been cart wheels, that MIGHT have been more understandable. Those really separate the cream from the skim milk. Just ask Trey.