Our schedule in Nigeria doesn’t allow for much free time, except we do have some time on Sundays and in the evenings to spend as we choose. Here are some things we’ve done during our down time:
MOUNT BALDY HIKE
This little mountain is located about one mile from the hospital compound. Mount Baldy is what Abby calls it since it’s pretty bare. It’s a relatively short hike, but pretty steep. The hike starts off in a bushy area that the locals regularly burn down in order to make it passable by foot and easier for hunting. In fact, we passed a section of bush being burned on our way to Mount Baldy.
There is one stretch of the hike that was steep we were nearly crawling on our hands and knees on the way up. Thankfully, the hike is mostly on this black rock which is very grippy. It reminded us of the slick rock in Moab, Utah.
At the top, there were some nice views of the surrounding bush.
Jay climbed up a tree at the top. We asked him to please be careful as we did not want to have to carry him down the mountain if he got injured.
This next picture I took looking back up at John and Glenn on the way down gives some perspective on what it was like to hike down. In my opinion, going down something steep is scarier than going up.
The pictures look hazy because of the harmattan (sand blowing in from the Sahara Desert). Several days during our time here the harmattan has been so bad that my eyes get all red and teary and it looks like I am crying. I have to tell people that I’m not crying, it’s just the harmattan getting to me.
HOSPITAL MOUNTAIN HIKE
There is another small mountain that sits right behind the hospital compound. We hiked up this one as well. It was easier hike, not as steep, and provided nice views of the hospital compound and the town.
The Birdseye view gives you a sense of the size of the hospital compound. All of the buildings in the following picture are part of the hospital compound (and this is just a zoomed in picture of part of the compound). What you can’t see in this picture is the new outpatient building site – it’s hidden behind trees.
The following is a picture not zoomed in. You can see the hospital buildings in the middle, to the left of that are the residences on the hospital compound (most are hidden behind trees). In the upper left hand corner of the picture is Titcombe University and in the upper right hand corner of the picture is the town of Egbe.
EGBE RUNNING CLUB
Upon arriving here, I was excited to find out that Abby had started a “running club”. We go on short runs in the evenings – 2.5 to 3 miles. Sometimes it is just Abby and I with maybe one other person and other times it is 5-6 of us all running together. We run on the little dirt road that goes from the hospital compound toward the dam. The runs are tougher than I would have thought – just running in the heat after working in it all day makes it hard. But on top of that, the road is hilly and uneven – pretty much like trail running. Nonetheless, it feels great to be out there running, to get the heart rate up and get those endorphins flowing. There is a really cute picture of Abby and I during one of the runs, but I will have to add that to this post later as I don’t have a copy of it yet.
BASKETBALL AND PING PONG
Just like I was excited to find out about the running club, Jay was excited to find out about the basketball court and ping pong table on the compound. Both were popular activities with the guys.
Jay’s hair was pretty long by the time we got to Nigeria. After a few days of working in the heat, he decided it was time for a buzz cut. Thankfully, Abby cuts Mark’s hair here and was willing to help Jay out.
Abby’s sister Erin is here now and brought pedicure stuff in her suitcase! One night, we had a girls night (me, Abby, Erin, and Dr Laura) and did pedicures together. It was a lot of fun. The work and dirt here are hard on your feet, getting my feet scrubbed down and cleaned up and having a fresh coat of nail polish on my toes was long overdue.
Our housemate Chris (who is here for 6 months) brought a laptop and movies to Nigeria. One night, we watched a movie on his laptop. Having been without a TV for several weeks, that was a special treat!
As with other places on our journey, we’ve used down time to do reading. During our time here, we both read “Tread Upon the Lion”, the incredible story of Tommy Titcombe (the missionary who came to this area a hundred years ago – more about him to come in a future post). I’ve also been making progress on Les Miserables – great book, but a long one! Jay is reading EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey, which he borrowed from Mark & Abby.
POST DINNER CONVERSATIONS
A number of nights, we’ve simply stayed late at dinner, talking with people. It’s always interesting to meet and get to know people during your travels, and I think even more so when you are volunteering together. And, of course, we’ve really enjoyed our conversations with Mark & Abby and just getting to spend time with them!