Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 3

It seems that the worst of the crisis is over. We heard a few random gunshots from 6-7 a.m. There is a lot of traffic on the main road outside our compound.

Some friends from the north side of town made it to our compound on the south side early this morning. We are so grateful that the violence in their area did not continue through the night.

We now have a city-wide curfew from 6 p.m. til 8 a.m.

Angela, who sought refuge with us, briefly returned to her home this morning. By the look on her face, I knew the devastation was significant. Her home was not burned, but so many homes around her were still burning this morning.

So far we have heard that two of our staff members had their homes torched.

We are being creative with the food that we have. I have actually enjoyed the challenge of coming up with nutritious meals from the bits and pieces of food in my kitchen and freezer. We had banana muffins and Russian tea for breakfast. For lunch we'll have 5 bean soup with some bits of meat from the freezer. I just dumped in what was left of our taco salad (mainly minced meat and beans) from a few days back. I did pick the wilted lettuce out. (I'll see if my in-house food critic notices. Tobi is extremely perceptive when it comes to food. He's only 8, but he can tell if I've used margarine or butter in food preparation. He much prefers butter.) I'm also making whole wheat dinner rolls. We'll have a tasty deep-red Nigerian drink called zobo with our meal. We had made it for Thanksgiving and had a lot left. I think we'll eat outside on the picnic table. Serving lunch to 12 today.

I will send food out to the guards as well. Normally they buy lunch from vendors who are close by. They probably wouldn't think much of the above soup I mentioned. In Nigeria, soup is something you eat with your fingers, not with a spoon! We made okra soup last week and I have just enough for two people. We will serve it with a starch called gari (made from ground cassava).

In Nigeria when eating at someone else's house, it's not polite to completely clean your plate. You're supposed to leave a little bit on your plate. A few days ago when I gave Angela's son a plate of rice, I told him to finish all of it because we can't waste food. When he had a bit remaining, I saw him ask his mom with his eyes if it was really ok to finish all of it.

Bayo is on his way from Abuja now. He has been there for the past 6 days. He had planned to return Friday morn, but was unable to due to the violence. I texted him my shopping list. Stores are starting to open in Jos, but some prices have quadrupled. Prices will come down somewhat, but will probably remain high for quite awhile.

During this crisis we have never felt personally threatened or in harm's way. If we had any trauma, it was mainly just the mental stress of having our city under seige and having to plan ahead in case the crisis escalated. The general population of Jos has faced incredible hardships. Unfortunately there has been much loss of life and untold property damage.

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