in iHub, Nigeria, Umati

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram would have noticed that I’ve been in Nigeria for the last couple of weeks. I’m here on a work, helping capacity building and providing technical support for a project that is looking to replicate our, iHub’s, Umati methodology for monitoring dangerous speech online.

My friend and editor told me that he was expecting a blog post when I got back but I’ve been thinking about it and it sounds like too much of a chore to try writing a post on a whole month, so I’d rather write a series of shorter posts that capture some of the things I have to say.

This post will talk about a couple of things. First is the weather, it’s hot and dry. It was the very first thing that I noticed when I arrived. I left Kenya really early in the morning, like at 4 am, so that means I was at the airport at 2am and Nairobi nights are always cold.
I had a two hour stop in Addis, Ethiopia and just something to mention about the airport there is the lack of WiFi. What’s with that? Also what’s with airports charging for WiFi? People already pay a shitload for tickets and it’s unlikely that anyone is going to come to the airport to mulch off the free WiFi given all the security measures there. Any way it wasn’t warm enough for me to chuck my jacket and airplane cabins are really cool but arriving in Abuja it wasn’t 5 minutes and I was uncomfortably warm.
I’ve been asked to describe what the weather has been like and it took me a while to get it right, because I can’t really say it’s hotter than Kenya because you wouldn’t want to be out walking in the middle of the day there either, but somehow this felt different and it was the dryness of it. It’s almost total. It’s weird, and Kano State, where I am now is even drier.

Second is how they drive, no not the traffic which they are apparently famous for I’ve not gotten in any jam I felt was particularly bad, maybe they only exist in Lagos? Just the way they drive. They drive on the wrong side of the road, the right. It’s been giving me a headache these past two weeks, I just can’t get used to it. They need to start driving on the right side of the road, the left.

Finally something you’ll notice almost immediately is how they like to hoot at each other. I’m over taking you, hoot. You’re over taking me? Hoot!!! You’ve stopped to take a turn? Hoot!!! I want to stop to take a turn? Hoot!!! I’m at your gate. Hoot!!! Someone is crossing the road two kilometers up the road? Hoot!! It’s really annoying, it grates on your nerves but I’m finding that it begins to fade in background. I’m almost used to it. Almost.

That’s it, for now. Peace!!!

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