Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Weekend Respite

I've been going gung-ho for over two months straight, and was so thankful for the chance to take a break. My boss, Karen, treated both new teachers, Sam and myself to a night away. Although I only went away for 24 hours it was still quite wonderful. We stayed at IITA, which is a research center for tropical agriculture here in Ibadan. New  species of rice, yams, and cassava are developed and bred at IITA, to withstand some of the heartier climates and regions. Although they do a lot of research the Nigerian government is so disorganized that it can't process the research, so seeds are often sent to Antarctica to a seed bank.

This place was sort of an oasis in the middle of a crowded and dirty city. With its sprawling lawns, green trees, lake and hiking trails, it really feels like you've stepped out into another world.

I found myself breathing in deeper, just to get clean air that wasn't polluted with petrol fumes.

Our afternoon was spent reading by the pool and later went to get pampered with a pedicure and massage at the salon.

We got to walk around and explore, and just enjoyed the fact that it was the first time walking around anywhere after dark since arriving in Nigeria.

There are so many different trees an animals than I am used to, so it's always fun to just sit back and observe. Outside of our bedrooms, we noticed a large flock(or herd, colony, cloud???) of bats around the pine trees outside of our room. We probably watched them for a half of an hour, fascinated by the creatures. It was better than watching an episode of Planet Earth  because we were seeing them firsthand. These bats were nothing like the little things we have back home, they were much bigger. When they were in flight, their wingspan looked like it was around 12 -15 inches long!

As fascinating as the bats were at 9:00pm, they lost some of the appeal when at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, they were still outside screeching as loudly as ever. In fact, the didn't leave until dawn.

Sunday morning we rented bikes and explored the grounds for an hour.

We rode around the lake, fascinated by some of the trees, birds and insects that we saw. 
(Giant ant hill) 

Our running joke when we saw anything different from the norm, was to just put the adjective, African before it. "Wow, look at that giant African ant hill!" Or "Check out the size of this African millepede!" And, " that tree looks so African."
Rice paddy
We saw several trees by the lake that were inhabited by beautifully bright colored yellow weaver birds. The nests were so incredibly detailed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment