Sunday, November 11, 2007
The 91st good thing about Lagos: Getting a shipment!
In Houston in May the movers packed up a sea shipment of our household goods to send here to Lagos. We were allowed 2 lift vans (which are about 7 ft long by 7 ft high -- don't remember how wide... ). It doesn't sound like a lot of space, but it really was plenty. Our shipment sat in Houston for a couple of months before they could get clearance from Nigeria to get it on the ship. Actual transit time to Lagos was only a few weeks, but then it's been sitting here waiting for the right papers, waiting for a dock workers strike to be over, waiting for someone from the company to put the pressure on customs people to release it -- the latest was that it was being held hostage in a past due bill payment dispute between Graebel movers and Panalpina. After a heated email from us about the absurdity of requiring us to put pressure on Graebel to pay their bills and some people from the company making threats about getting lawyers involved -- Panalpina decided they could release our shipment. It was delivered Saturday morning and we were so glad to finally receive it -- total time almost 6 months from packing to delivery. Boxes had been opened for inspection by customs. There may be some things missing -- we haven't got into every box yet and still need to check things off our detailed inventory. But every box on the packing list arrived and it actually seemed to be in pretty good shape. I've heard lots of horror stories about shipments sitting out in the rain and arriving green with mold. No problems here -- things were dry and in pretty good shape. It's such a pleasure to have my digital piano here! It doesn't compare with my baby grand at home, but it's so fun to be able to make some music! I really just want to sit and play the piano for hours. But there are boxes to unpack and things to organize and I need to find places for lots of things. The company doesn't allow any shipment of food (we're a bit jealous of other companies here that give their employees a big annual shipment of food and goods). But we shipped lots of toilet paper and paper towels (which are very lacking in quality here) and laundry detergent (which is very expensive -- a box that may cost $6 in the States is around $45 here). Of course, there's a renewed awareness of the enormity of things that we Americans feel we need to manage our lives. It's a big contrast to how most Nigerians live. In some respects, it's great to live simply and with a minimum of possessions. In other respects, I'm looking forward to using my salad spinner!