11 Jan

Christmas in Nigeria

Well, the dust has finally settled after Christmas, actually quite literally as our house help was away for the best part of 2 weeks!   For me it seemed quite uneventful, yet fun/  It was odd hearing songs about dreaming of white Christmas blaring out from stores in town.  That particular song always reminds of hanging out in Devon during the summer, a certain collection of friends (you know who you are Dave!) would sing it at full volume for basically no reason that I can remember, except maybe that it was in fact the middle of summer.  I am discovering that a lot of Nigerians long for things that are from America or Europe.  They often think that the US and Europe are better places and they think, behave and have the things they do, then life will be better.  So you find churches that have adopted our way of singing, you find people who love to watch 24 – let alone every village displaying the latest English premiership scores.

Christmas seemed a bit more low key.  There are hundreds of £ spend on decorating the streets.  I didn’t feel as if my toes were going to drop of as I shopped.  People here in the city often head out to the village to be with their extended families, have a nice lunch, not too dissimilar to us at home.  (we even managed to see the queen on youtube a few hours after her broadcast).  There isn’t I don’t think the same level of materialism surrounding Christmas as there is at home.  We certainly didn’t’ have a stack of gifts under the tree, we were very blessed to come home to a wee parcel on our door step one evening and we our selves and almost filled a small stocking for each other.  We gave Dan a new bible his first full text – he loves it, he feels like nothing is missing from the stories now!  He also had fun building a Lego helicopter set that had made it through the post (again you know who you are Dave!).

We made it to a Christmas eve service held on the school basketball courts, it was slightly odd needing sunglasses on Christmas eve.  But then the bomb threats started , and at 1100 peace was broken then a church was attacked in the city.  There is a write on on BBC, but it was an unusual thing to be concerned about.  The day we celebrate Jesus, the prince of PEACE coming to earth, there was a lot of security and tension around the city.   We headed up a block to be with some friends fro lunch, it was strange not to have turkey or roast potatoes or cheese and biscuits (oo i miss stilton!), or in fact no Christmas pudding.  It wasn’t’ strange with with our friends who also just arrived in Nigeria a few months ago, it was totally okay for us to talk about home, and what we missed and the people we would normally be with and family traditions and various things.  It felt very natural normal, dare I use the word -nice.  They are friends that we have got to know well and are comfortable around, sharing the struggles of settling into a new place and doing things for the first time, we really appreciated them having us over and allowing us to be family.

Fortunately there was no other trouble in town over the holiday period, but we are now 2 days into a national strike focused on the price of petrol that has gone from 65n to 140n over night last week.  Os far so good, still calm around town.

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