Monday, August 24, 2009

Home by Maria Restrepo

We are finally back to the USA, what a trip home! Because of the rainy season, there was quit a bit of lighting and thunder before the plane could land in Kano to take us to Amsterdam, about an hour later they had landed and we had to wait a bit more for the rest of the storm to pass. This made us rush a bit in Amsterdam to get to our gate immediately. After the metal detector went off, and I was overly searched for some weapon (my watch) I forgot to take off, I was able to board the plane. Never mind that I had not slept most of the flight. I was pretty excited about getting home.
From Amsterdam to Detroit we had strong head winds which caused our flight to be not just 7 hours, but roughly 8 hours long. This flight was a bit rougher and my stomach was not handling any of the food/flying quite as nicely as it had the entire trip. Our last flight from Detroit to Indy was delayed just slightly, but we made it home safely!! It was so great to see friends and family again and share the many stories of Nigeria. I can't deny by the time I got home, food that I have graved, (steak, baked potato, milk, ice cream...) the entire time in Nigeria no longer felt like a good idea with my stomach being a bit upset. My stomach is having an adjusting time and I look forward to eating some good food soon.

I have truly in the past taken for granted all the little things (clean water, power, full pressure showers, food..etc) that we have at our disposal at all times. I absolutely walked away with an incredible experience, and so much knowledge of the culture, language and customs of Nigeria. Our fellow team member Onu, shared so much about his life and culture, it was invaluable. Having the opportunity to work with the Extension Agents there was a good challenge (to make me think more about how to approach examples and get the message across) We had the opportunity to speak with many about how their jobs work and what a typical day is like. Having the opportunity to teach them this technology will hopefully take off and be used solely. I hope that there will never be stories of anyone dying from eating cowpeas that were stored with chemicals again. It was a great experience and can't thank the team enough for the great trip. IITA truly was wonderful and a pleasure to work with.

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