Wednesday, May 26, 2010

only Kate could almost incite a riot in Yola

So I have to share this story because it's so outrageous, but this is my outrageous life, right?  I would like to say this story is out there and unusual for me, but it's not so out there and not so unusual.  This one is really out there, but stuff does seem to happen to me all the time here.  All the time. 

Today was going okay.  Yeah,  I was a little scattered this morning but the afternoon seemed to be going pretty well.  I was on my way to swim practice with the guys and we were waiting to turn left into the club in the 'people mover.'  (For those of you who don't know, the people mover is my car, a green Peugeot station wagon 307).  A Black Toyota Tundra (I've been noticing this truck, I like it, and have been wondering who the owners are, they are expats, but not sure who) was making a right outta the club parking lot and I was waiting for them to exit fully before making my left to enter when this achaba/okada (motorcycle that is a taxi) decides to overtake/pass me from the LEFT (I was trying to make a left mind you) and hits my mirror and spins outta control  The THREE dudes on the bike are now on the ground and their bike is still on and wheels are still spinning to beat the band!  I drive into the AUN club entrance at the point and the guard, who's not dressed in his guard uniform closes the gate on me!  The guys (swim team crew/my boys/my family) jump out and check on the guys on the ground and open the gate for me. 

This is when the wahala begins.  The crowd is gathering.  The mob mentality hits.  They see my guys (AUN students + Kate + accident = Money/Naira/Dollar Bills) and begin to go crazy.  Shouting ensues.  Bottles and rocks get thrown.  Eventually, Labaran comes and takes the injured Three Stooges away to the Pharmacy and clinic.  The gate gets closed and we enter the club.  I think all is good at this point. 

I go inside and two slight problems arise, but nothing this Kate can't handle.  My favorite sandal breaks.  Well, this is Nigeria, the land where all can be fixed and cheaply and fast!  Then the pool is filled with students.  Student who seem to be enjoying themselves and look like they have no intention of getting out because the Swim Team has practice.  So I know I am about to have another fight.  We decide to be generous and share the pool.  I move them to one side and they accept it quite easily and graciously.  And then round two begins...

Mohammed (sp?) the Chief Security Officer of AUN comes up to me and asks me to get out of the pool, in my suit, mind you and drags me through the club out to the front of the club, still in my suit, mind you.  A man who I have met once before (he's quite well dressed and is Fulani) says to me, "Madame Kate, don't worry, it's all taken care of.  I paid the men, I bought them a new bike, they are fine. Please do not worry."  The CSO is shouting at me, he won't let me get a word in, and then he's on the phone with the President and lying to her.  At this point, he hasn't heard my side, he assumes I hit them because, I am stupid White woman, right?  Also, he hasn't seen or heard the side of the Three Stooges either.  Anyway, he informs me that the mob was going to attempt to burn down the club.  He shouts and shouts.  He won't listen to me.  I was reminded of my place in Nigeria.  I am a woman.  I must submit.  I must be quiet.  I must back down.  These are all things I cannot accept.  For those of you who know me, I can't accept these truths.  I just cannot. I try and speak over him, the Bohunk in me comes out, I'm still in my bathing suit with my fat jiggling thighs out for all too see.  Nigeria has made me more prudish than I ever was in the US.  Eventually he lets me explain.  I speak to the President and I explain to her what happened.  Then I go inside and thank Jauro for his kindness for taking care of the matter, he's His Excellency's Atiku Abubakar's head Security Officer.  I go and we continue swim practice.  This is all in a days work for me and this is only a little unusual for me here in Yola. 

Life is so different here for me.  I never have a boring or dull day.  Never.  This should not discourage those who want to come to Nigeria or to AUN.  This is Kate's life.  Not everyone has such an exciting one.  I am after all the Princess Di of Yola, or so, the last Lamido used to call me.  This is my Nigerian Life.  I am Kate, the one and only in Yola.  In Yola I am unique.   I am one of a kind.  I matter.  These are my people.  I do all I can for the ones I love and I take care of them.  I matter so much that I almost incite burning riots.  But then we all know that both Islam and Christianity teach peace and tolerance.  So people were tolerants of idiotic achaba/okada drivers and peaceful towards us Aun'ers and Madame Kate, thank both the lords!



  1. I can totally picture all of this in my head. I sometimes have trouble believing that I was in Nigeria with you and everyone else a year ago. It feels so surreal sometimes. I'm glad you and the Club made it out unscathed, and I hope you're surviving the heat!

  2. Good heavens, Kate!!!! What a story!!!!
    Glad you are ok....