Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today I Saw

Yes, we are now blogging live from Yola, Nigeria where I now work at the American University of Nigeria. We arrived in Yola Sunday, I went through orientation yesterday, and here I am at work. Sorry for the long hiatus but it is amazing just how involved a process it is moving to Africa...

One of the things I looked forward to about being here for the next three years is providing myself a real set of experiences in a developing country. Among the difficulties I have had as a newly-minted development economist has been the lack of such experience and relying on other people's accounts to understand "what Africa is like," as impossible as that actually is.

So without pretending to describe "what Africa is like," I am opening a new feature here on things that caught my eye in Yola. Mostly they will be part of The Other, yes, I know. Sorry about that. But this is what I saw on my drive to work today:

Today I saw a roadside shopowner - one of the dozens upon dozens lining the main roads - sweeping the red dirt off the road to make his stall more attractive.

Today I saw a fellow on a motorcycle - another thing there are dozens upon dozens of - whose passenger was holding up a wheelbarrow behind the bike (making it an in-line three-wheeler motorcycle).

Today I saw the Adamawa State extension centre. I'm going to have to go back to take a closer look.

Every time I'm on the road, including today, I saw the tire shack. One of the roadside shopowners has some motorcycle tires hanging from the wooden frame of his store and a small stack of car tires by it. For some reason it's the single most fascinating store to me.

Today I saw several pharmacies. The most interesting was named "Just Mediocre Pharmacy." Some people might be tempted to make a quip that there is real honesty in advertising, but that may not be assured; it could be a Pretty Terrible Pharmacy in disguise. I'm planning on visiting to find that out too someday.

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