Back in Maiduguri

I have just arrived back from two weeks travelling on the occasion of the exhibition of the works that have come out of the British Council workshop in Kano I attended before Christmas. The exhibition entitled ‘Celebrating the Traditional Crafts of Northern Nigeria’ was held at Terra Kulture, a culture centre with restaurant and exhibition space on Victoria Island, Lagos. For the moment, just let me say how happy and grateful I am to be safely back in Maiduguri. I mean, I have done the nine to ten hour journey between Maiduguri and Abuja before and actually really enjoyed watching the landscape slowly getting less dry, lusher and more tropical the further south we get. The only thing I ever seriously worried – other then the pain in my back and legs – was the speed with which these cars manoeuvre these streets full of bigger and smaller potholes. And, as a matter of fact when Nabil and has Lagos based friend urged me to take a flight from Abuja to Lagos and back rather then a bus because the road wasn’t safe I didn’t really take them serious. It was more to appease Nabil who even told me he’d rather give me the money for the flights and know I’m safe then having me take the bus that I finally took a plane (using my own money, of course). Irony, irony, it appears that the car I took from Abuja on my way back here only narrowly escaped some armed robbers on the supposedly safe road between Damaturu and Maiduguri. In fact, I learned a young girl was shot. And that only a few minutes drive after an army check point. Had we left the motor park half an hour earlier, had the driver known the road (he usually serves the Abuja-Sokoto road and had to be directed by the passengers) and, hence, driven faster … I don’t even want to think about it and I’m just immensely grateful to be safely back in Maiduguri! For the moment …




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