Archives for category: Nigeria

One of the most striking differences between Togo and Nigeria is the availability of electricity and water. In Togo we complain if it goes off for an hour. In Nigeria, they’re thankful if it comes on for an hour. But those who live there quickly learn to be philosophical about it. As one of them said “Let’s be thankful: We still have gravity.”


We’ve come to the half-way point in our four-week tone orthography workshop here in Jos, Nigeria. I’m working with five Gworok speakers to develop a way of representing tone in their newly developed writing system. I’ve never heard anything quite like this language, with its contrastive single and double labialization, palatalization and spirantization. And an elusive tone system where the patterns seem to twist and turn as we listen to them. Two speakers frequently pronounce words with different tones, and a single speaker sometimes pronounces tones one way on Monday and another on Tuesday. We’ll get to the bottom of it, but we’re not there yet…

During one of our morning devotions at the workshop, someone suggested we should pray for rain.

Then one of the older Nigeria participants stood up and said “First, we should go out and plant ten trees for every one we have cut down, then ask God’s forgiveness for not taking care of the environment, then, yes, by all means, let’s pray for rain.”

Jos used to be the centre of the Nigerian tin mining industry, and the Anglican church here is called St Piran’s.

This afternoon, after submitting 25 supporting documents over the past month, I was finally granted a Nigerian visa. I fly on Saturday, and we begin the tone orthography workshop on Monday. Hurray.

Still no news about my Togolese Residency Card, without which I can’t get a Nigerian Visa to help on staff at the tone orthography workshop in Jos. Only 11 working days left…

I am in Lomé playing the Visa Game. In order to get a Nigerian visa for my trip in May, I need to apply for a Togolese Residence Card on Monday or not at all. It’s a tall order to get the 15 required supporting documents together before then, but I’m doing my level best. Any ideas where I can get a current UK criminal record check in a single working day?

I call it the Visa Game because at Wycliffe UK we used to do a simulation with this name for newcomers. Cue lots of bewildered, half-crazed recruits wandering dazedly from one obstructive office to another. What we never managed to simulate successfully was that those offices can often be hundreds of miles apart.