Friday, February 22, 2008

Harmattan in Jos

In a previous blog we gave you some indication of the rather unusually cold weather we have experienced the last two months. This cold weather is caused, at least in part, by 'harmattan', fine (or sometimes quite heavy!) dust blowing in from the Sahara, and covering our terrain like a fog or mist that blocks the rays of the sun. Sometimes it is accompanied by strong winds, and then one can expect the atmosphere to clear up soon. At the end of January the cold let up for about a week, and we thought it was time to put away our sweaters. But that was premature, indeed. In mid-February the cold came back with a vengeance; the winds are strong enough to seep right through the louvred window, which we close as tightly as we can. The winds can even make walking difficult.

Coming home from church in the southern part of Jos one Sunday we took a series of photos of the main avenues and streets connecting the south with the northern part of the city where we live. These photos were taken from the car window; we are coming down from a high point in the city, somewhat south and east of the centre. Usually we can see much of the centre of Jos from here.

We are approaching the junction where the road leading north out of Jos meets the ring-road to the east, a major artery that will take us past the 'permanent site' for Unijos. As you may notice, even on this cold and windy Sunday there is lots of traffic and business going on near the junction. The numerous motorcycles and also pedestrians occupying the road alongside vehicles, large and small, mean that this stretch of road is not easy for drivers to negotiate; in fact it is one of our least favorite stretches, though there is no alternative route to our destination.

We are getting closer to Unijos; you will note that the fields here are open. The university was given many acres of land, previously used in tin mining; these fields are pitted where the surface was denuded of minerals. But until the university finds a way of using the land for its 'permanent' campus many farmers still rent or lease the land, to grow vegetables.

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