Friday, July 1, 2011

Nigeria! ...once the hiccups are ironed out...

It's been more that 6 months since I left Uganda, and life has been interesting. I have been arts-and-crafting, reading, job-searching, and getting really bored! I was putting pressure on my former employer to find me some short-term work (for those of you who don't know, I got engaged in December, and getting married in August!) for a little income, and a little sanity. I told them I was available after September for a long-term mission, to which they replied, "Well, what about a short four-week assessment?"

I was interested.

It took several emails to actually find out where this assessment was - Nigeria - and when they wanted me to go (asap?). The assessment had been originally scheduled for January, but was postponed to wait until country elections passed. ACF started their work in Nigeria a little more than a year ago, and as I was to find out, one of only three major NGOs working in the country. With such a huge country (about half the size of Alaska, which is big for an African country), how could there be so few organizations working there?

The assessment will be a four-week assignment working with the Food Security and Nutrition teams to assess the water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) situation in Northern Nigeria. I will be based in Damaturu, and by the time I arrive, all the new local staff should be trained and work starting to begin. That is, when I arrive.

I was supposed to leave for Abuja on the first of July, but my passport came back from the Nigerian Embassy empty - no visa, no note as to why, nothing. Just the money and my photographs and the passport. I called my organization in New York and overnighted my passport to them, hoping the Nigerian Consulate in NY could help. The weekend went by and no news. Finally, a week after I was supposed to leave, FedEx knocked on my door at 7am, passport in hand (visa inside!). I was leaving that night.

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