When I got to the centre Eniola and her daughter Hazel were waiting for me. We sat and chatted for a while about my trip and the experiences I have had. They then suggested we went and ate locally (they do like to feed me here) as Eniola hadn’t got her car as she had hoped. We went to a Tetrazzinie and although I said I didn’t want much I some how ended up being the only one eating a huge fish and rice. Typically here people are so kind and persistent, It's easier and politer to acccept. It was so nice to meet her in person; I would have been disappointed to have gone home without the opportunity to do so.
We returned to the centre where the lovely Mr Dee took me up stairs and presented me with a hat that was made in Abuja and some beautiful material printed in his home state of Abeokuta in Lagos. As if that wasn’t kind enough he called the tailor and commissioned him to make me a Buba a typical African outfit for me.
We then went downstairs and all the staff had come to a farewell party for me, everyone in turn stood up and said some lovely things. I then had to get up and speak to them about my trip the enjoyment it has bought me and the friends I have been blessed to have made. They then presented me with a card that they had all signed and wrote some lovely words in. They went and found a photographer as they all wanted photos with me.
Eniola then presented me with even more beautiful material, yards and yards of it, she suggested I got something made for my husband too (he was very pleased when I told him later). We then proceeded to have sausage rolls (a bit like a fresher Gala, but still dryer than I’m used too) and coke for the party food. I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness, love and generosity. I couldn’t have wished for a nicer send off and I will take away such wonderful memories of today.
When all the fuss had died down, I asked if I could pop along the road to see Funmi and the family, to say goodbye to them. I walked along with young Funmi and Mrs Fashe. We went through the tailors shop front and went along a corridor where each room appeared to house a different family. We went into the small room which contained a double bed and the contents of the family’s belongings. There on the bed was the beautiful baby who had the most gorgeous big brown eyes and a mass of tight curls. Also in came her big sister who always manages to give the nicest smile ever when she sees me. As I was leaving the little girl said in Yoruba ‘I want to go with Oyibo’ everyone laughed and I held her hand and we walked down the road to the centre, her Dad then took her back home and she turned and waved (beautiful!).
A few of the girls and me stood out side and watched the world go pass. Then the men that sit at the entrance to the road (the ones that always greet me when I arrive) and another man suddenly started rowing. It was like watching African Magic (a TV channel that is full of soaps with angry African men on, acting quite badly), lots of raised voices not wanting to give in, as soon as one walked away, they would come back and start again. This went on for half an hour, in the end we went inside whilst they continued.
Back to my hotel, I will miss the wonky taps, the excitement of not knowing how many or how big the towels will be. The thrill of receiving my meal and finding out it’s not what I ordered. The adventure of trying to tell people what I require, in a language that doesn’t appear to be as understood as you would think in an English speaking country (but then again I struggle with Irish, Scottish and Welsh sometimes!).
As I skype home the internet keeps giving up, probably due to the torrential rain and thunder storms that are going on out side. Thankfully I came when they haven’t been too bad. Mr Solomon informs me that July and August they have rain most days. I cant quite get motivated to pack my bags, so I’ve decided to leave it till the morning as nothing has been planned for tomorrow anyway, and it never takes as long to chuck it all in to go home as it does to come. So it’s off to bed for the last time in Nigeria (well at least the last time for this trip!).