Thursday, 5 August 2010

Welcome to Nigeria: First Day Drama

We have been constantly told that the biggest threat to our safety whilst working in developing countries is from road traffic accidents.

Following my first Nigerian lunch, and first tour of the capital city, Abuja, I was involved in a huge car accident! A car travelling at remarkable speed, through a massive cross junction which had 4 lanes in each direction, with no working traffic lights, or traffic warden directing the traffic, crashed straight into the front/ drivers side of the bonnet of our car. If they had crashed into the door, I think one of us would have been killed. Everyone is very lucky to be alive and to have no injuries at all!

Shocked and shaken, the 4 of us new volunteers were then sent back to the safety of the hotel in a taxi with: several cracks in the windscreen, no seatbelts in the back, and with a driver weaving in and out of cars at the speed of 100kph! Also none of us had a phone, no Nigerian money and no VSO emergency number!

3 hours later, after the police had arrived, drawn a map of the crash on an A4 piece of paper, both drivers finally agreed and signed the picture, and both cars towed to the police station, the VSO Programme Manager returns to the hotel (via taxi) to check on us.

The driving here in Abuja is really bad. Each road is anything from 3-6 lanes wide in each direction. They squeeze 4 cars into 3 lanes and the Toyota truck squeezes through gaps that I wouldn't even think my mini could fit through! They drive fast, and very close together, not just to the car in front but also to the left and right of you.

I have definitely learnt my lesson about road safety, although not really sure how I could have prevented that crash, plus I am going to carry all of the above on me at all times, including my first aid kit.

Having also been involved in a minor car crash in the UK the previous day, I urge everyone to be extra careful on the roads. Thanks!

Lucy x


  1. Wow... Two questions for you:
    1. What was the car crash in the UK?
    2. What's the food like? (One-track mind, lol...)

  2. 1. It was a on the Homebase roundabouts. Only a small scratch on the cars.
    2. Food is ok so far (except for one Nigerian dish), not as hot as I expected.