Day 15: Final Days…
Set off early this morning for the drive from Eket to the airport at Uyo passing through some spectacular villages and countryside.
Akwa Ibom Airport in Uyo is a probably the most chilled airport I've ever passed through.The airport staffs are friendly and helpful and our short flight to Abuja even leaves half an hour earlier than scheduled.
There was a huge storm last night with a great deal of rain. It feels fresher this morning andmuch less humid. In contrast I arrive at Abuja to that familiar wall of heat as I step off the aircraft - close to 40c again.
Not as hazy today as my last time here.
It's off to the hotel, a quick change, then we call in on UNICEF to update them on our trip and discuss plans for the work we'd like to do together.
I leave feeling positive: I think we can offer a lot. Our local partners in Calabar are already implementing many of the practical aspects of the SAFEChild model and I think we are well placed to offer the technical support to local authorities to build capacity in state government ministries.
There is a funding challenge: we will need to put in funds to any project but potentially this offers an opportunity to achieve greater impact.
Friday prayers, really busy!
Small disaster: I need to top up my Nigerian phone and manage to put in the wrong PIN code from the top up voucher, not once but over and again until I receive a message from the network that my SIM is blocked. My fault, I needed to put my reading glasses on and didn't! So, it takes me an hour to sort it out with the very helpful people at the MTN office: really, every time I've had a problem here people have been so kind and willing to take time to help. That's a story about Nigerians you don't hear enough about.
Finally I'm sorted and able to phone an old friend at the Foreign Office now based in Abuja, Andrew Fleming. We meet for a curry at a place he recommends and it's one of the best meals I';ve had on my trip and absolutely delicious! It's nice to catch up, find out what’s going on informally. Next time we'll meet some more of Andrew's colleagues and tell them more about our work in the Niger Delta.