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Up on the road: online Diary Nigeria – October, 15th 2017

Photo: Valerie Pobloth/Isabel Dückert.

October, 15th – Osogbo

We spent the night at Nike's guest house at the outskirts of the town Osogbo. The owner of it is the lovely artist who we met last week in her gallery in Lagos. We are very happy to be here now, since the guest house is quite an upgrade to our normal accommodation in Ibadan. Breakfast is served in the garden and the staff is bringing two big tortoises to entertain us. You may think tortoises are those slow boring animals, how should they entertain us? Well, not this ones. Right here at breakfast we are observing an unforgettable hilarious scene, when one of the tortoises crashes straight into the buffet of our security men, which look totally helpless in their military uniforms armed with their big guns. We interpret this as the revenge of the tortoise, since one of the guys was pointing his gun into her face earlier. So here a quick advice as a side note: Never underestimate the power of a tortoise ;)

Recovered from the attack, we head to Old Oyo National Park, a 2500 km2, where we hope to see some Nigerian wildlife such as monkeys, antelopes, elephants and buffalos. Unfortunately, we overestimated local roads: the distance that theoretically could be covered in an hour, is taking us twice or three times longer than expected. Therefore, we do not have time to visit the park before it gets dark. Moreover, the office employee tells us that the end of the rainy season (which we have right now) is a bad time since the jungle is too thick to spot animals. Plus in the previous years a lot of animals got poached, which means there is not much to see. In contrast to South-African countries, Nigeria is still not that touristy and wealthy to take care of animal protection. Hence, all we manage to catch a glimpse at are couple of ostriches and tortoises that live on the office premises...

However, this is not too much of a problem as the ride is an adventure in itself. Because we are mainly taking backroads through sleepy villages, the road is either quite bad or not existing at all. Therefore, we trust our driver's experience and skill to bring us back home safely. At one of the trickier points along the way, we spontaneously show our gratitude by chanting a traditional German folk song that roughly translates to: „a cheer for our bus driver“. Likewise, we are quite lucky because one of the security men contributes to our road-trip entertainment program as he proves himself to be a talented singer. The resemblance to his idol Shaggy is almost uncanny and you can catch some of us singing: „I wanna show the nation my appreciation“ for the rest of the day.

Safely back at the university, we are invited to have dinner at Prof. Igboanusi's house this evening. His hospitable wife and three daughters prepared an amazing dinner. Typical Nigerian dishes that we already know quite well were accompanied by novelties such as coleslaw salad, pumpkin leaves that taste like spinach and suya – spits of beef. The Igboanusi family was also very considerate and adapted the spiciness of the food to our European taste so even those of us who do not eat spicy food enjoy the dinner a lot. While eating, we also discuss the diversity of life in Nigeria: from religion to corruption, from science to politics.

Text: Sandra Hesse, Anna Korneva und Valerie Pobloth
Online gestellt: Alina Grünky
Kontakt zur Online-Redaktion: onlineredaktion@uni-potsdam.nomorespam.de

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