Sunday, July 31, 2011

Primary School Visit

Last week we had the wonderful opportunity of visiting a small "private" school that is directly behind the church office building.  We used to look out the window at the school while we were living in the large suite waiting for our small apartment to be repaired.

Here are some pictures out of our window:

President Cletus Martin, who works in our building and is in the Lagos Stake presidency, asked if we would like to attend the school and watch some of the Primary 6 (Grade 6) students "practice teach" their class as one of their requirements. He is the PTA president at the school. What an experience! The pictures really say it all--those of you at home just look closely at the facilities, the surroundings and the supplies you see---but look closer at the cute faces!

The front of the building:

The front door:

Classroom we visited:

3 to a desk:

Cute friends!

A picture with the "teachers"

We were then invited to the graduation ceremony that took place the next week where we were invited to sit at the "High Table" and be special guests at the ceremony (we think now that they thought we might give a large donation to the school because we are the "rich" white people).  What we thought would be an hour or so ceremony turned into 4 1/2 hours of celebration for 4 Grade 6 students and 4 younger ones--we were never really sure what the younger ones were graduating from!!  They do know how to party here!  There were many parts of the ceremony that were interesting........

Here is the outgoing Miss Fedamic--

And here is the new Miss Fedamic for the year 2011-2012!

There were many performances of poems, singing and dancing.  We just captured a few moments on video to share.  The first shows the students dancing to a current song--wouldn't you all love to have a teacher like that?  Notice the older man in brown who goes to the front and throws money to the dancers.  That happened all during the day...I guess it is how they raise money.  Just a note--these were only 5, 10 and 20 naira bills--and the largest bill they have is 1000 naira and it is worth $7.00!

Next is a clip of a traditional Yuraba dance as performed by the students:

Just a taste of another Nigerian experience! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Great Gobs of Egusi Soup!

 Yesterday our friend, Lyndia brought us a Nigerian specialty and one of their favorite things to eat.  How nice of her to share such treats with us!  She makes it for special occasions in her family and wanted us to experience some real Nigerian food!

So, first you start with Eba--which is made of cassava.  Sort of tasted like cornmeal to me.  It is the carbohydrate of the meal.  
 The soup can also be eaten with rice or pounded yam or foofoo.
 Being served right in our office!  Hot egusi soup with eba!

 I needed a lesson on just how to eat such a dish.  First, break off a little piece of eba (kind of has the consistency of play dough), roll it in a ball and dip into the soup!
 Then enjoy!
 This is the bowl of egusi--not sure of all the ingredients but it has many kinds of protein--stockfish, crayfish and beef that I know of.  The green specks are a bitter leaf that Lyndia showed us yesterday--they just looked like regular tree leaves to me but she told me she would wash it very well to get rid of the bitterness and then use in the soup.  There are tiny white seeds that she called melon seeds (I think that is what she said)--egusi seeds.  And--the binding ingredient is natural palm oil.  Lyndia assures me that this is the perfect food--has all the food groups represented--and would make us strong and healthy!
 And so we ate...............
 and ate.......
 and enjoyed???? 
It actually had a good taste but not something I could eat a lot of.  Lyndia was very disappointed when she came back and we had not eaten the bone (not sure if it was bone--sort of the grisel or tendon on beef brisket) as that is something they treasure!  Look how wasteful we North Americans are--we think bones are to throw away!  We have been intrigued earlier that, when chicken is served, most Nigerians eat many of the bones as well as the meat.  Again--making use of every little piece!
All in all--another great experience and a good journal entry!

Canada Day in Nigeria

Since we weren't home in Penticton to celebrte Canada Day at the ward pancake breakfast followed by a day of boating and ending with the fireworks display down by the Sicamous we decided to celebrate in our own way here in Nigeria.  Since it was Friday and the traditional "Cookie Day" that we started here we celebrated with Canada Day cupcakes instead of cookies.  Since it was District Meetings we shared with the missionaries--quite a hit as you can see!

Thank heavens there was a few left for the offices in the Service Center.  Our homemade Canada flags on toothpicks look pretty good I think!

To end the day we invited everyone in the Mission home for a Canada Day picnic--food was yummy and the company was great! 

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Food Fun!

 Last week we went to FHE with the Young Adults here in Ikeja Ward. They wanted to learn to bake from the Bakers-imagine that!! It presented some interesting challenges as there is not a real kitchen or a working oven in the church building.   Well, we backed out a little and asked our good friends and fellow missionary couple, the Meiers to teach these young people how to make banana bread--the ingredients are abundant here! Sister Meier makes wonderful loaves to give to the missionaries when we visit. So we had these wonderful young people mix it all up...then we fed them some already baked and took their dough home to bake for the missionaries. They loved it and had a great time--especially eating the final product! It is so interesting to me how such a simple thing can bring such happiness. It was a fun night!

Here they are getting started:

Working away.....with smiles!

Some of the group--fed and happy--and smiling!

Next, on Saturday I went to the RS Homemaking--or Activity--or whatever it is called these days.  We don't get to go to the Ikeja Ward here on the compound too often as we have been travelling with the mission president to many different wards.  But, dear Sister Gold invited us to the activity to make chinchin. I didn't really know what it was but decided I would find out! What fun we had!  We discovered that a young woman from the ward, Rose, was getting married next week and the RS sisters had gathered to make a traditional snack for her wedding.  Really--Relief Society is the same all over the world--sisters helping sisters!  First they mixed a very stiff dough of flour, eggs and such and then the fun began......rolling and cutting!

Sleeping babies pose no problem here...just keep on a rolling!
They even allowed me to help out!
The expert (Sister Gold) at work:

Next comes the cutting--into very long strips with the knife
and then into very little pieces with the scissors!

The bride-to-be happily helping!

Some of the finished product--before frying!

Next--all those pieces have to be fried in boiling oil!
This was a pretty slow process with such a little pot and so much dough so...they brought out the extra "cooker".  Can you imagine using this inside any church building you know????  The smoke was thick and I kept worrying that someone's skirt was going up in flames but it all seemed very normal to them.  Soon it had a boiling pot of oil cooking on top of it too!  And the cooking continued! 
(The sink doesn't have any water, so the blue bucket you see is used to haul in water from the outside tap.)

Here I am with the mother-of-the-bride bemoaning the blister I got from cutting! They really thought I was a wimp!  See what a couple of months of mission work does for you--soft hands!!

And yesterday we ate these delightful snacks--deep fried chinchin and fried peanuts (that I also helped make!) along with the meal of chicken and rice (what else is there in Nigeria??) 
at the wedding of Rose and Daniel. 

The happy families! 
Bride's brother, groom's mother, Daniel, Rose, groom's father and bride's mother. 
(Couldn't you see Mark sporting this father-of-the-groom outfit??)

More memories made---and lots of fun in the process!