Monday, June 25, 2007

Nigeria Dreamin'... Yellow T-Shirt

Three of us from Hands at Work recently spent 10 days in Nigeria, partnering with Hope for AIDS in Lagos and Kano Mercy Initiative in Kano. We had an amazing time with relatively few instances where I would have liked to bury my head, or in this case my t-shirt, in the sand. One of the projects of Hope for AIDS is training 200 pastors in HIV awareness and how to start a home based care. There are 4 groups of 50, and each training is 3 months long. We were able to speak with the second group and attend the graduation for the first group. It was here that I committed my faux pau. Since I had anticipated spending most of our time in the slums, I brought very little for nice clothes. My wardrobe consisted of 3 skirts, which I rotated, and several t-shirts. On this particular day I was wearing an old kids club shirt (see photo at above right)... bright yellow, baggy, with a sun front and center and the words 'Smile, Jesus Loves You'. Lynn, our ring leader (or "my boss" as Rex affectionately called him), was not feeling well and needed to stay back from the graduation. He had chosen, rather unwisely I might add, to eat cow bladder two days before. I admit this was probably not what caused him to get sick, but I like to pin it on that. Lynn would have been the one speaking and handing out certificates, but in his absence that task fell to me. Now, I want you to know that before we left for the graduation I asked Rex if I should change. He assured me that what I was wearing was fine. We arrived to discover 50 pastors dressed in their finest. All of the men wore 3-piece suits and all of the women wore stunning gowns. I just looked down in disbelief to see a smiling sun staring up at me in bold yellow. To make matters worse, right before things got underway a professional photographer entered to take pictures of the festivities. She photographed everything... as I spoke, as I received an award on behalf of Hands at Work, and finally as each and every pastor received their certificate. They will all have a memento now of their special day, complete with me in my t-shirt.

Anyone who is planning a trip to Nigeria, be warned... they dress nice.

The conclusion I have come to is that really, this is all Lynn's fault. If he hadn't gotten sick this never would have happened:). I will write more on our adventures in Nigeria in the days to come!!

Today is Independence Day in Mozambique, so we are enjoying a public holiday. Among other things, I plan to spend it exploring this land that I love, writing in my journal, and reading. Hooray for public holidays! But first I would love some good conversation, so it's time for me to go and pester Sarah and Brooke until they get out of bed. Happy Mozy Independence Day!!!

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