Thursday, September 25, 2008

The 136th good thing about Lagos: No rain to spoil an afternoon social event

It's nearing the end of the rainy season here in Lagos, but we still get rain showers most days. On Tuesday the American Women's Club had our big fall opening social event, an afternoon membership tea, on the grounds of the Consul General's residence. The residence

has lovely grounds and it's on the water (I'm sorry the pictures I got don't show off the beautiful setting). We had tents set up to cover the displays and serving areas in case of rain, but there wouldn't be a good solution for cover for all the guests if the heavens opened. I was on the committee for the event, so I was over there for the day helping with the set up. Though there was a brief sprinkle and the sky threatened, we ended up with a pleasant breeze during a beautiful event. Our hostess was the Consul General, Donna Blair, a black American woman. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Renee Sanders, was in Lagos and had planned to attend, but she got detained in meetings. She is also a black American woman. We had as a guest the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, who took great interest in our charitable activities. So women in leadership are well represented in Nigeria at present. (This is a bad picture of Consul General Blair and the Princess looking at some displays -- they are both in purple.)

I arranged for singers to perform the Nigerian and US national anthems and I accompanied them on the piano. I enjoyed learning the Nigerian national anthem. Like Americans with "The Star-Spangled Banner," most Nigerians are just familiar with the 1st verse of their anthem. But I asked our singer to also perform the second verse -- the words are so optimistic and hopeful. I really want this for their country:

"Arise, O Compatriots"(Nigerian national anthem from 1978-present)
Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey
To serve our Fatherland With love and strength and faith.
The labour of our heroes past Shall never be in vain,
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.
O God of creation, Direct our noble cause;
Guide our Leaders right: Help our Youth the truth to know,
In love and honesty to grow, And living just and true,
Great lofty heights attain,
To build a nation where peace and justice reign.

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