I've been settling in this past week, going through orientation, and visiting places around Jos. I've also been unpacking and putting things away in my new home.
I'm living on one of the missionary compounds near downtown Jos, and right now I have just one neighbor. We look forward to having a few short term staff coming in later this spring/summer, but for now it's quiet. There are 10 one-bedroom units in this two-storey building, and we have a rotating group of guards that keep an eye on the place. I have a mango tree and an avocado tree outside my balcony, and in a few weeks they'll be ripe!
My kitchen--I'm loving all the counter space... and figuring out how to light a propane oven! That's my front door that leads to a covered walkway where we hang our clothes to dry. Thankfully, we have a washer, but many Nigerians do laundry by hand.
My room. Lots and lots of storage! Also the mosquito net to keep me malaria-free. My windows face East, so I get the African sunshine waking me up and not baking my apartment in the afternoon.
These butterflies are in my living room. The lovely colored pencil and calligraphy picture there was done by a kind friend of mine when we were going through missionary prep training together. After hearing my story and how God led me to SIM and to Nigeria, she felt that the phrase "The time is now" was appropriate. I couldn't agree more!
My kitchen table and eating area. The string and mini clothespins for hanging photos were already there, so I added all the photos of my friends and family to make it feel more homey!
Living room and back door. It leads out onto a balcony that connects the upstairs apartments on this side of the compound. I love having both the front and the back doors open to let the breeze come through!
Some of you may be wondering what things like electricity/water/internet/transportation are like here. First off, it really varies! As far as power (also called "nepa" by some. I think it stands for National Electric Power Authority), we prepay to load our meters. My compound has really wonderful power, and when it goes off, it's off less than an hour. We also have a battery system here to power a LED light in each room and provide 110V (USA power) to one outlet. Other compounds have much more inconsistent power, but have generators. I've been so grateful for the power so the fan in my bedroom can run all night (A/C is rare here, and even then it's just a window unit).
As far as water, everyone uses water filters to make sure the water is clean. Water supply is eventually linked to power, but our compound will likely always have running water since we have consistent power to pump from the bore hole (which also supplies the SIM headquarters building next door) up to rooftop tanks, so even when the power goes out we have gravity-fed water lines. I have lovely hot water for my nightly showers--provided I remember to flip the switch for the water heater a few minutes beforehand!
Internet here is provided through the telecom providers; the main three are Airtel, Etisalat, and MTN. Nigerian-made cell phones usually have 2 SIM card slots allowing the user to switch between carriers depending on how the coverage is that day. I brought my smartphone from the US with just one SIM card slot, so I'm using a single carrier for voice and data. As expected, my internet is slower than what I'd get in the US (usually E or H, both of which are slower than 3G), but it's much cheaper! It's about
N500 (Nigeria's money is called Niara. N500 is about $1.50 USD) for 1GB of data. All phone plans are prepaid, and you can find young men waving stacks of phone cards at most intersections or roundabouts. The two guys on the corner outside my compound come up to me every time I leave the gate, and I almost always tell them, "Not today!"
Transportation is fun here. Really! Most of the missionaries have cars, as do many of the middle-class Nigerians. There are also TONS of three-wheeled taxis called "kekes" that people use for short distance transportation. SIM has a handful of drivers that they recommend and that are reliable. The keke driver I use most often is named Ibrahim. He's on speed dial and I can ask him to "pick me" (no one says "pick me up" here) at a specific time the next day and he shows up! Kekes will stop often to pick up additional passengers along their route, so it's not uncommon to share the bench seat (which comfortably seats 2) with three or four people--or to have an additional passenger sharing the small driver's bench. Pickpocketing does occur easily on kekes, so Ibrahim allows me to "charter" it and ride alone. It's about
N200 for a one-way trip to the hospital where I'll be working.
...and the power just went out. Goodnight then!