Lying low in Lagos

Quite some time has passed since my last entry and in many ways life has transformed in such a way, that it was a stranger who was last here as the author. In the time-lapse, I have been back to England to undergo a full knee reconstruction, which turned out to be of a much greater extent than anticipated once I was under the knife. Quite frankly, the interior of my knee was a shambles, and it needed a huge tidy up and rebuild.

I was heavily reliant on support and thanks be to the Gods, (or the higher powers that be), for the fact that I am deeply blessed to have angels in my life that stepped right up to this, aiding me in more ways than I had possibly imagined ever needing. Not least of all with mobility, but also with feeding me when I was unable to stand for long, supporting me to wash and also to help me stave off the demons that the pain kept drawing in.

My return to Lagos was a bumpy one in numerous ways and it was a challenge for me to still be so reliant on others, whilst I know the people here so little. That said, I needn’t have worried. My driver, Ojo, almost burst into tears when he met me at the airport; shocked as he was, at the sight of me coming out of the gates in a wheelchair, and in a full leg brace. He has been a real crutch (haha, fun with a pun) since then and it has been nice to have this caring aspect in my daily life. Likewise, the expats I share a building with, have been so hugely open-hearted towards me, providing me with many meals, keeping an eye on me and offering help with food shopping and general pick-me-ups.

I have now been back for just less than two months, with the roller-coaster of recovery being ongoing and transformative. It is quite something not to be able to just get up and walk around, whether it be to make a quick drink of water, to pop out for some fresh  air, (hmm, I use that phrase loosely given the awful quality here) , or to move from one side of the room to other when I am teaching. The longer I am stationary, the higher the pain level, and with the Lagos traffic as it is, this is one of my current life challenges.
Continue reading “Lying low in Lagos”

Returning to the roots of those who have walked here before us

With an increasing frequency of more universal messages arriving to my ears, I feel a oneness and inherent belief that despite the whiteness of my skin, my source is here within the lands of Africa. In fact, colleagues of mine this past week even said as such; “are you sure you aren’t really African Miss?

From this, it makes complete and natural sense that my mother should have made the difficult (yet well-worth it) efforts to meet hectic visa requirements and end up here in Africa beside me, albeit for only 10 days (due to her busy schedule and multitude of commitments). In the 1940s my grandfather was here in Nigeria, and some 70 years later, so now has been his daughter, beside her daughter in fact. She brought with her letters of people who loved my grandfather for his kindness, and she was able to see firsthand, what the difference is like for life here in comparison to wherever “there” may be.

In some ways, it was such a rushed time having her here, having only landed here myself some two weeks prior. Of course, the initial intention had been that she would have been beside me sharing my affair with Uganda. But come she did, regardless of where the “here” now was. Thankfully, due to my adaptations to African ways of living from my Ugandan time, I was able to adjust relatively quickly and speedily to my new surroundings, such that by the time she arrived, it was smooth enough for her and I had many things in place. I have not yet really traversed the lands, but I rapidly began to suss out the ways of them and be able to support my mum with the intense adjustments she had to make from being in the UK to being here in Nigeria.

Continue reading “Returning to the roots of those who have walked here before us”

Now. New in Nigeria.

Life twists and turns in so many ways, and almost a year ago to the day, I interviewed for, and made the final decision of, a move to Uganda, East Africa. Now, in 2017, I move forwards to another moment in time and find myself landing upon a new lily-pad – this time by the name of Lagos, Nigeria. This was a highly unexpected and unforeseen move, for various reasons, yet here I found myself, treading the waters of footsteps that have gone before me …. even those of my late grandfather, who worked in this country (though further along the coast) as an engineer over 60 years ago. In this change of an un-designated and thus un-mapped story of my wanderings, I walked forwards towards a new wabi-sabi; discovery of beauty in imperfection; the acceptance of the cycle of light and death.

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Continue reading “Now. New in Nigeria.”

The time thief. By what can it be measured?

Just less than six months ago, I sat, bewildered and uncertain, as I boarded a plane from London Heathrow to Entebbe, Uganda. My heart ached in ways that I hadn’t felt for eons of time and my inner excitement was stirring yet confused. And I found myself stepping onto the East African soil for the first time. I watched as a silent observer to my self, how I responded to all that was occuring and I reflected on the passing of time, wondering what on earth this concept really means to us all, when it can vanish in instants whilst it can also expand out into unknown and at times, inconceivable lengths. Continue reading “The time thief. By what can it be measured?”

Relishing the source of friendship, mother earth, and opportunity

Repeatedly during my time here in Uganda I have pondered upon time, as a transient and inconsistent concept that spans out across moments like lifetimes, and makes others fly past so fast that I have to pinch myself to know whether or not it was real or imagined. With my recent injury and some other hecticness of life and its practicalities, time and I have been embroiled in deep conversation once more.It became clear that I needed to play with it somewhat, in order to celebrate the arrival of christmas in one of the ways I had been wanting; to be with some of my beautiful new (yet old – our souls have known each other for eons) friends, I had to recalibrate the calendar and bring yueltide forwards. Change was yet again on the horizon, as has become the most constant of happenings in my living breath and I was no longer set to be returning to Uganda after December. My heart was aching, yet it was not the time for sadness. Continue reading “Relishing the source of friendship, mother earth, and opportunity”

Making the best of a mishap, Milege calling…

With my knee being so vulnerable and unpredictable, it has been a little troublesome to move around and enjoy the spirit of Uganda in ways that I have been doing previously. However, the approach of the Milege festival, hosted at the beautiful Botanical Gardens, Entebbe, has been a goal for me over this episode. Come rain, shine or fall (hehe excuse the pun), I was determined to get there providing it didn’t feel like it would be a setback for my physical health. As I knew that the set-up that it would bring to my mental health would be fruitious and rewarding. One of my closest Ugandan friends was part of the crew, and although sadly another one was unable to attend (due to performing in another amazing festival in Rwanda; talented young man that he is), it was important to my heart to get there, even if it meant me sitting on a chair for the whole time.

I had visited the Botanical gardens on my very first day in Uganda, so I already knew about the magic I felt in that place. And I so wanted to absorb more arts, culture and music from the Ugandan people. Continue reading “Making the best of a mishap, Milege calling…”

Seizing the day, Sipi-style

Uganda is an incredibly diverse country.  There is some massive wealth here in Kampala, and from those in  the west, (from what I hear; this is the president’s land).  The rainy season has barely touched us here in Kampala, and there are some 50 districts across the country that have people dying from famine due to the arid lands caused by this lack of water.  Meanwhile Ugandan friends in the west send me reports of torrid rainfalls, putting a stop to all best laid plans and causing damage to property and lands.

It fascinates and intrigues me how there can be such diversity in a land-locked country, that in comparison to others, is not that huge in size. In my time here, I have actively sought time and space to explore its different corners as best I can. Sickness put a stop to it for a few weeks, and although I have developed a wonderful community of friends (better named as part of my family in all honesty), I was itching at the bit to get back on the road. Continue reading “Seizing the day, Sipi-style”

A search for tranquility … a discovery of mishaps

Work has been very busy here, and although I have been used to having a half-term break between the September – December school term, my current workplace here in Uganda does not have that.  So the idea of working straight through from August 15th to December 16th was quite a change to my routine.

Needless to say, when we received a very last minute email to inform staff that we had Monday 12th September off, due to Eid-al-Adha, I felt a huge excitement wash over me and a huge smile landed itself on my face.

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I began the long weekend with a Braai, enjoying time with new friends as the fire slowly roasted our meat and the smell of delicious tastes wafted through the air. Continue reading “A search for tranquility … a discovery of mishaps”

What does time really mean?

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Only a week ago, I was walking barefoot through the green fields of the South Downs, with people I love dearly.  I am now sat in a tropical garden in Entebbe, Uganda, alone.  Yet with these people and more, in my heart and thoughts.

I arrived here at 5am on Friday 29th July, feeling disorientated, bewildered and curious.  And time has been fluctuating through many continuums ever since.

Whilst at the airport still in the UK, I was struggling to catch my breath due to the enormity of the change I had created for myself, when a tiny, beautiful, little baby walked over to me and just held onto my finger, looking me straight in the eye for a passing moment.  That to him, probably felt insignificant and minute.  Yet for me, caused time to stop, for a while, and my breath returned.

Continue reading “What does time really mean?”