Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The 139th good thing about Lagos: A safe return on Nigerian Independence Day from a wonderful trip to Northern Nigeria

Happy Nigerian Independence Day! October 1st is the day that Nigeria celebrates its independence from Great Britain in 1960. They don't seem to make much of it here in Lagos, but I'm sure those that get a day off work enjoy the holiday. There was lots more celebrating done the past few days in Northern Nigeria as they celebrated Eid-al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, with Durbar festivals in Kano and Katsina. We had a great time seeing the incredible spectacle of the festivals, as well as other interesting sights in the north of Nigeria. I really enjoyed seeing more of this country than the limited views I get around Lagos. We just returned this afternoon and it will take me a while to organize my pictures and get some blog posts written up. But I'm excited to share with my readers some of our really interesting experiences. I've just loaded about 900 pictures (some video) on my computer. But don't worry, I will weed through them and only post some of the best on this blog.

This trip was made possible because of a long-time Nigerian expatriate from Belgium. Paulette has lived in Nigeria for 30-some years. She lived in Kano for 8 years in the 1980's. We took this trip, offered through the Nigerian Field Society, a group which organizes trips and lectures to introduce people (mostly expatriates) to the culture and sights in Nigeria. Paulette has led this trip to the Durbar 15 times now! She is someone with a good heart who deals with the many hassles of organizing these trips because she wants to help those of us who will live in Nigeria for a shorter time experience and learn about the culture. This trip to the Durbars really can't be organized by casual tourists -- only those with connections can get tickets. This first picture is of Paulette in front of a painting of some of the past Emirs of Kano pictured in their ceremonial costumes.
This next picture is of her in one of the rooms of the hareem in the palace of the Emir of Kano as we waited to meet with the Emir's second wife, a close friend of Paulette's. We had some great experiences that were possible because of Paulette's connections. She is really one of the good things in Lagos!
But for the next little while, I will make a departure from my list of good things in Lagos and will explore some of the good things found in Northern Nigeria!

No comments: