Sunday, 18 March 2012

Goodbye Yola

It is with sad and heavy hearts that we have to bid an unexpected farewell to Nigeria. We will miss all those we have come to love in Africa and pray that we can return soon. Thank you for reading my postings and sharing in our adventure. Our short time living in a poverty stricken country has taught us much about hunger and desperation. We encourage any who have read this blog to find a way to share your abundance. There are a lot of starving people in this world and many ways to give. God has truly blessed us by giving us this great experience, we pray He will bless you too.

From Yola with love,

The Austin's

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

We are back!!

Visiting the US for Christmas was great! We even wore our Nigerian clothing to church. Check out our family photo ...

But now, we are back!! And happy, too! On our way to Yola, Emma and I spent a day in Abuja where we visited a mall with some crazy Christmas decorations. I think it's a Christmas reindeer, however, I'm not exactly sure why he is posed this way. But hey, Emma looks super cute!

One of the first things we did was go food shopping at the market where we got some help getting stuff to the car. There are boys like this one all around the market who will "wheelbarrow" your supplies for you. Dauda is also in the picture saying 'WeeHoo' - let me explain. In an effort to teach him the concept of sarcasm, I have instructed Dauda to say 'WeeHoo' ( in a high girlie voice) every time I tell him we are going shopping at the market. The more times that I can get him to say it, the funnier it is. We know how much men love to shop, and Nigerian men are no different.

We also went to the grocery store where a row of interesting teas caught my eye. It was really hard to get a good picture because I was laughing so hard.

I also came home to find that Umar had helped Alan finish up some laundry. He pressed my pj's and carefully placed them on my bed. Anyone out there ever slept in freshly ironed jammies? I didn't think so ....

I wanted to share some scenic photos. This is a picture of a mosque that I posted earlier last year with a rickety scaffolding around it. Can you believe how nice it is coming along?

This is the Friendship House (we think it is a hotel). The sign is the best part - I hope you can read it - it says, "where hospitality ends."

Here is a large statue of a Calabash bowl. These bowls are made locally by the Fulani tribe out of a large seed pod. These pods are hollowed out and then designs are either painted on or burned into the outside of the bowl.

This is one of the few restaurants that we frequent. Actually it is the only restaurant that we frequent besides the AUN club. I have also included a photo of the menu, which is fantastic. The chicken shawarma is yummy!

In Nigeria right now it is the dry season. There are terrible amounts of dust in the air blowing in from the Sahara Desert. They call it Hammerton . . . We Americans call it 'Hammer Time'. Just for fun!

And finally, it's time to introduce you to Wandu and Simon. This is Wandu, he belongs to our neighbors Craig and Christina. He is quite naughty, but super cute.

And this is Simon, he belongs to us. We just got him 5 days ago and we love him already.

He doesn't talk yet, but he will soon. We will let you know what his first word is, but I'm hoping for Mommy. Bye bye!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

More visitors, a Christmas party and henna

We recently had a visit from Yuramma (another guard) and his family. This is him:

And his beautiful wife.

And his oldest daughter. . . Belief. Her hair is wrapped in tiny black wire and then twisted on her head. Her mother did all three girls hairdos.

Then Benevolence. I asked Yuramma how long it took his wife to braid her hair and he said it was easy, it only took about 5 hours.

And Beloved. Sometimes Nigerians put eye makeup on their children for special occasions. Mostly eye liner, but these girls had their eyebrows drawn in. I'm not sure why and I didn't ask.

All together. A beautiful family.

We also had a super fun Christmas party with all our house help. First, Umar fed everyone roasted chicken, jollof rice, salad and fruit. You would not believe how much food these guys can put away. Two platefuls each piled 4 to 5 inches high. Amazing! Then we watched "Knights' Tale" (which they had never seen but really, really loved). They were on the edge of their seats by the end and all yelled out loud when the bad guy lost. Of course we had cookies and then dancing and gifts. Everyone had a great time. By the way, Nigerians do not like to smile for pictures, so you can tell how much fun they had. (Plus I threatened to take the cookies away if I didn't see some teeth. Hee hee hee)

Emma and I decided to get some Nigerian henna done before we came home, so Alan's secretary Aisha found a girl in Yola and off we went. Here is Aisha . . . And Emma's hand . . .

She did a beautiful job!

and all the kids came out to see the Bature.

Nigerian children are so beautiful!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Motorcycle skills and much, much more

In trying to come with a catchy phrase for these 2 pictures I toyed around with "Now that's using you head," and also "the Doorman" but I finally settled on, " Keeping an open mind."

This picture would have been more impressive if I had gotten my camera out faster because it looked crazy from behind. In case you can't tell, that is a car windshield that they are transporting. My favorite part of this shot, however, is the fact that BOTH men are looking behind them . . . At what I don't know. So who is watching the road?

The next few pictures are of kids in their school uniforms. I probably see at least 20 different uniforms every day so this is just a small sample. They love to wave at white people. And Emma and I are super white!

We have had some more visitors. This is one of our guards named Phillip
and his family.

The boys are Nathaniel and Barnabas. Nathaniel loves to draw. These pictures are for you Aaron!

Phillip is a great dad, but what I love about him the most are 2 things.
#1. Whenever he is happy he jumps up and down. A lot!
#2. He tries to bow whenever he hugs me and unless I want to put him in some kind of a headlock/ hug thing, I have to grab his shoulders and stand him back up. Every time!

We also had a visit from Habu ( yes, you pronounce it like Abu from Aladdin). He is our gardener, and this first picture is of him wearing my reading glasses while trying to read the Skittles package to see if they were made in China. When he saw this picture he said, "Yes! I look good!"

And here he is with his brand new wife, Farida. They have been married about a month. When Habu saw her for the first time it was in a grocery store and he thought she was beautiful so he bought her groceries. That convinced her to give up her phone number and the romance began. Take note boys . . .

This is a shot of another guard named Isaac. He was dressed for church and looked super handsome, so I made him come inside to "capture him" as they say here. He's giving his parents and grandparents a copy of this picture for Christmas.

We have also made many more friends. This is Christina, (sitting in the market with Umar) she lives next door, teaches entrepreneurship and is known far and wide as "the Chicken Whisperer." (details forthcoming)

This is Lillian from Cameroon. She moved here with her husband Julius and they will be moving close to us in a few weeks. Yeah!!

This is Joe, Craig and Christina in their robes at the Founders day celebration. Craig is the one who likes to wear his cowboy boots with his Nigerian outfits.

Joe is leaving us soon and we will miss him a lot! Good friends are always missed. FYI - Emma and I will be home on the 10th of December for almost a month with Alan following a week later. See you soon!