I face a crowd of 250+ K-5th grade children at the American International School of Abuja and explain how they, through a run/walk they take a part of, have helped children by giving them livestock, school supplies, and medicine. I can’t help but smile when I see their little faces showing excitement and wonder and I can almost see them planning how they’d do more during their next walk/run. To finish the celebration, the children’s choir dances and sings “Living Your Dream”, inciting clapping and dancing from the crowd as we watch on. Super cool!
With the sun getting hotter by the minute, Linda and I head out of the school and into town, where I witness something I have never seen – cars going in the reverse direction on a round-a-bout. WHAT!? We are toodling along, driving at a decent speed when we get on a round-a-bout that is constantly in motion. On my left, a man gets out of a car and starts making his way to the edge of the road. I am not too overly concerned for his life, as he looks sure of himself, but I do fear his vehicle is going to cause a massive accident, as other cars (including ours) realize his is stopped and they swerve out of the way. It is at this very moment that I see cards coming on to the round-a-bout, in the wrong direction! I don’t mean to, but I gasp, and Linda bursts out laughing, telling me this is illegal, but even the cops do this. Miraculously, I don’t witness any accidents, but I am astounded that I don’t.
After a little shopping for AFCA’s auctions, it’s time to eat. Naturally, I am all about eating something local, so we decide on suya. For $4.85, we get chicken and beef, along with masa, a large baked, soft, rice cake that has been cut into slices and which serves as our bread. I am grateful for the masa, as the suya is spicy and the masa balances things out. The beef and chicken arecovered (COVERED) in spices – ginger, chilies, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and everything else that is good. It’s grilled, chopped up, and wrapped in tin foil along with the masa slices. Amazing!
Now, it’s off to exchange some dollars for naira. Linda makes a call as we approach a road lined with Muslim men sitting and standing under trees. There’s at least 30 men, all wearing white robes and hats, keeping out of the sun, waiting for business. Business has now arrived in the form of Tanya Weaver! The man Linda called approaches our vehicle and exchanges my dollars in the flash of an eye. He smiles through his white beard and heads back under the trees to wait for another client and we head back home where Linda has a surprise.
An oblong blop of semovita is placed on a plate, with three small bowls of soup for tasting. The soups are traditional from the east part of Nigeria and Linda is introducing me to her food. How cool is this? I break off a piece of the soft semovita, roll it in a ball with my fingers and dip it into each soup.
Banga is a nice soup – quite spicy, with tiny bits of fish and some vegetable I don’t recognize. Super nice soup that requires a glass of water due to the spice.
Orha is a vegetable soup with tripe and other internal parts of any type of animal. The soup I am tasting now is made with cow and it is incredibly good. I am not a huge fan of the chewy intestines, but the flavor is fantastic.
White soup is very fishy tasting, with a spicy kick. I am not sure I am a fan.