Lagos baptism

I am grateful for many aspects of the job in Nigeria, the least of which is not the quality of management, especially from an ELO perspective. From the top down, there is consistent concern and support for first tour officers (I don’t think we have any second tour). The nature of the post means that we end up getting more opportunities and responsibility than others at larger or better staffed posts might get but there is also a clear and conscious effort to ensure that we are getting as many experiences as possible. It does put pressure on the interview scheduling but I appreciate that we get called off the line occasionally to work as a site officer or do some public outreach.

Right now I’m in Lagos as a beneficiary of an entry leve officer exchange between the embassy and consulate. For me it’s a chance to see how a larger consular section works and for the Lagos folks it’s a chance to see an embassy. I know a few people down here and it’s refreshing to see them and of course I’m happy to finally get to see Lagos.

Undoubtedly it’s a developing megalopolis with “have to see to believe” traffic and roads. But since I’ve been here, I’ve seen an amazing side of the city. I didn’t bring my camera adapter for the iPad and will have to wait till I get home to post pictures, unfortunately. On Saturday an Eminent friend and colleague took me out to this particular beach that is strewn with abandoned ships. We were there at low tide and could walk along the firm clean sand below the tide line instead of among the literally tons of trash at the high tide line. There were massive ships beach and buried that were very impressive to see. Salvagers were dismantling a huge tanker with nothing more than acetylene torches and pickup trucks.

There was also an old lighthouse obviously built by the British. It was only 4 or 5 stories tall but gave a tremendous view of the beach, the huge crowd of ships waiting to load or unload their
petroleum, and the squatters village just off the beach. We walked through the village and saw authentic village life (no electricity, garbage and goats everywhere, corrugated metal shacks, little shops and stores and other enterprises all over). It was pretty neat and got the anthropologist in me all excited again.

Yesterday we went out to a nature preserve and walked through forest, savannah, and wetland (albeit dried out at this point in the dry season). There was a troop of monkeys that was pretty neat to see. I climbed up into a canopy top blind that really made me uncomfortable. It was solidly built (by Chevron, I think) but there we too many people in too small a structure too high off the ground for me to relax. Good experience though.

We ended the day by retiring to a local bar with margaritas, pizza, and jalapeño poppers. We watched a Nollywood video that was pretty good in spite of the low production quality of the sound. I’d been staying at the Eminent Friend’s place over the weekend but checked into my hotel and had my first day of work in Lagos today. It went pretty well but I miss my coffee press.

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1 Comment

  1. Larry

     /  February 28, 2012

    Wow, sounds very interesting!!! The ships would be cool. I can relate to your nervousness being in the blind!!!


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