Monday, August 17, 2009

Hello from Kwara State

Wow! I can't believe we have been here for 11 days now. I am on a team with Maria Restrepo (from Purdue) and Onu Anyebe (from IITA - the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture - here in Nigeria.) We've completed 4 out of our 5 "Train the Trainier" sessions so far, and we have one more to go.

We traveled over 7 hours yesterday to go from Abuja to Ilorin (in Kwara State). The view along the route was great. As close to "jungle" as I've seen. Very hilly. It reminds me of the hills in Brown County, with the vegetation from Florida. Anyway, we arrived safely and got checked in to our hotel about 5 pm. Unfortunately, the power was off when we arrived. This hotel runs their generator from 5 pm to 9 am in case the power is off. And my room had an AC unit and at least cold running water, so I'm a happy camper.

Today we had the Kwara State training session, with 20 extension agents present. We finished in good time, at about 4 pm. So we have time to visit this cyber cafe before dark. Then tomorrow, we will take about a 4 hour trip to Lokoja in Kogi State for our last training session.

Along our trip yesterday we had to dodge a few goats and thousands of potholes. Twice we saw vehicles pass 3 abreast - and it was a 2 lane road. Needless to say it was an interesting trip. This state is a mix of Christian and Muslum so we see both mosques and churches. Since yesterday was Sunday, we saw a lot of families walking to and from churches.

I've been talking to my family pretty regularly via our cell phone. We bought a local phone (only $25) and we can add minutes as we go. We estimated it costs about 35 cents per minute to call home, so it is definitely worth it.

The people here have been polite and very friendly. I will miss that part the most.


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