Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Travel update

It is hard to believe that it has been more than two weeks ago since we left Canada; so much has happened in the meantime. After two overnight flights, first from Toronto, and again from London, giving us very little sleep, it was good to arrive in Abuja. The flight with BA was more economical than others, but meant a rather long and tedious day waiting in Terminal 5, the new BA terminal at Heathrow; unlike the older Terminal 4 where we used to arrive, there were no comfortable chairs on which to rest; the builders obviously wanted us to keep moving, or shop at their ritzy shops with overpriced goods! Once in Abuja, our driver wasted no time in taking us to Jos, where we arrived before noon. 

For the first three days we stayed at the CRC guest house, and soon settled in. The day after our arrival we already welcomed three of our doctoral students, and we saw the other three not long after, during the following week, when we had moved back into our old house at the university. We discovered that while we were away, Chikas, one of our students, had been successful in her application to finish her studies in Germany, and we were able to congratulate her on a handsome scholarship! And Dauda, one of Wendy's students in New Testament, has also made progress on his research at the South African university of Kwasu Natal, and will be able to finish doctoral work there. So it now looks like we still have responsibilities for two students, Adrian for Cosmos and Dennis, Wendy for Kate (who is only in beginning stages of her work), and Rebecca.

Us, with our doctoral students Cosmos, Kate, and Dennis

We are still listed as faculty in our department at Unijos--disregard the spelling of Adrian's name, which happened repeatedly

Wendy was able to spend considerable time with Rebecca Dali, who was also able to make the first of three required presentations. It went quite well, and we are thankful for this. 

Rebecca at her seminar, from left to right: Chikas, colleagues Ibrahim Musa, Umar Danfulani (former HOD), Danny McCain, Musa Gaiya (former HOD also), Dennis, Wendy, Rebecca, Adrian, Kate, and colleague Pauline Lere

We spent about two weeks back in the house we used to occupy, which has been used by IICS colleagues who are in Jos from time to time to teach, or take a break from their own locations. It felt somewhat strange for us to be back in the home where we spent the last six years. The basic furniture that belonged to the university was still there, but most of our own belongings were gone; we sold them when we left about eight months ago. So at first we had the impression we were just camping in the place where we had lived so long. Yet there were enough of our old things left for us to feel at home again after a few days. It was also helpful that some IICS colleagues stayed with us for several days. By living together we got to know them better than we had before.

During these weeks it was a special joy to have Angelina helping us, and to welcome our longtime helper, Julie (and her daughter Sharon) back to our house again too. 

Jos itself had not changed much, except that we noticed many buildings burned down in our area of Northern Jos, including several churches where we had worshipped. Zaria Road, a main artery from the North to the centre of the city, had changed the most, since it was being widened. In addition, parts of this road were lined with hulks of hundreds of burnt out cars and trucks, including a few fire engines. These businesses were owned by Muslims. Other businesses owned by Christians were destroyed as well. Although many churches had been burnt, we saw no mosques that had been leveled, although there may have been some. The latest Jos crisis was supposedly political, but many people wonder why, then, so many houses of worship and businesses were targeted, but no government buildings? Many people we talked to in Jos have theories about the reasons for this crisis, which was much worse than the one in 2001, a few days before 9/11, but no one knows for sure, and it is by no means clear also who was responsible for organizing the killing and burning. A number of commissions were immediately formed to analyze the recent crisis, but even so the answer will not necessarily emerge. The report of the commission that examined the 2001 crisis has never been published.

Below are a few more scenes from the devastation in Jos during the riots last November. It includes scenes of the burning of buildings, cars, and Trinity Anglican Church (where we worshipped for a few years).

1 comment:

Ellie said...

Hi Adrian & Wendy: Good to hear that you have arrived at your destination safely. Did you know that Erin Carter from our church here in Willowdale is volunteering as a nurse with CRWRC in Mwanza?