Sunday, May 3, 2015

Five good, five bad, Lagos version

As part of the foreign service bloggers group I thought I would belatedly join group of bloggers posting about the pros and cons of living and working overseas - in my case, that means in Nigeria. Then I thought, "I'm in the middle of language trIning and my brain is fried, why reinvent the wheel?" So I decided to poach from old me. For a list of five(ish) good things about Lagos, just check these old blog posts. Incidentally, I really need to finish my list of eight reasons to bid Lagos high. Any day now...

And just a note, I am aware that some of these sound a little Pollyanna-esque, but keep in mind that they were written while I was still at post and aggressive optimism turns out to be my primary coping strategy - that and Lagos does actually have lots of good qualities and it's annoying to see it get such a relentlessly bad rap.

As for the "bad", I'm sure it's nothing unexpected, but here goes:

1) Restrictions. Let me just repeat that, restrictions, restrictions, restrictions. In case you didn't know me as a two year old, I do NOT like people telling me what to do, and being given a list of no's right off the airplane was incredibly frustrating to me. 

2) Along those same lines, it can be difficult to get a sense of the 'real Nigeria'. This is not one of those quintessentially African posts where you get lots of singing and dancing and cultural immersion opportunities. I assume all that is happening out in the parts of the country outside our safety net. Hopefully CLO can turn that around sometime soon!

3) You don't have easy access to nature. I fixed this by joining the yacht club, but no one else did and I can only imagine that was a big morale killer for many people.

This is getting depressing.

4) There aren't really day or weekend trip options - at least nothing that doesn't require pretty extensive clearance and planning - so there's no escaping the grind of Lagos when you just need a break.

5) Ok, so most of the above are just variations on the theme of being restricted and cooped up. So for a little variety, let me just add that Nigeria is very much a developing country and that can make life kind of exhausting, just across the board.

Really, though, just so it has been said, none of these should be deal breakers if you have actually joined the foreign service with the intention of serving where you are needed. And believe me, Lagos needs you! (Free guilt trip for every reader!)

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