|A store in the mall, with black manikins of course ;-)|
They were carried out by members of "Boko Haram". Their aim - to instill Shari'ah law throughout Nigeria - is not popular among the general population, Muslim or Christian, so they gain attention through sporadic bombings. Nigeria's latest terrorist group was giving Nigerians a new reason to be afraid, Southern Christians a new reason to hate Northern Muslims, and Northern Muslims a new reason to be defensive about their faith. It is not as though they can't stand each other, on the contrary, the Muslims and Christians coexist well with each other, and are happy to do so. But there is always the random act of violence, usually spurred by propaganda and/or powerful people with ulterior motives, that rocks the steady boat of peace. To be honest, Nigeria's tumultuous history of Muslim-Christian hostility is complex, caused by numerous events dating all the way back to colonialism, and since nobody wants to deal with it, it is tucked away and labeled confusing - foolish to attempt an explanation for.
|Black soup & Pounded yam. Looks can be deceiving OK?|
|On the bus|
My favorite thing about rural Nigeria is the trees. Not because of their artistic loveliness's or their great contributions to the planet but because people can gather under them to socialize. The largest trees got to spread their generous branches over groups of people, young, old, male and female who would sit, fanning themselves, laughing and making small talk. One village woman had on a green t-shirt with the words "Talk less, say more" paired with a traditional wrapper. A wrapper is a beautifully designed African cloth, wrapped around the waist to form a long skirt. Somehow, these phenomenal women manage to tie it in such a way that they can still take long strides as though they are wearing trousers, without showing a bit of skin. Besides the extremely green trees, deep red earth and clear blue airs, something else stood out about this southern Nigerian village. Unlike in the sophisticated city of Abuja, the village allowed for small errors such as misspelling the name of your business. "Fate Medical Center", I was informed was supposed to inspire faith, not dismay. A large wall had graffitied on it "no yourinating please" and the local eatery offered "soft drins" and "supergetti" instead of their rightly spelled counterparts. After she glanced through the menu, I heard a woman at the next table yelling at the waiter for their lack of professionalism.
Nigerians are a very "say it like you mean it" kind of people. An "uncle" I met held back none of his thoughts as he grinned at me, looking from head to toe commenting without reserve on how "sweet" I looked. I met a young couple who I was related to and as I took their picture for memories sake, the lady did not hesitate to tell her husband to change his pose because, and I quote "you will spoil the picture if you look like that". While it made things a little embarrassing if you happened to be on the receiving end, at least you knew exactly what everyone was thinking. It was hard to come across a fake smile or hear an "I love you" in that light, airy voice that belies its honesty. When it came to interpersonal relationships, at least the kind that don't involve money, the people just didn't know how to lie.