Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Queen's Palace

During my first few days in Nigeria I was given the nickname 'Queen of Jigawa!' This was because I was the first volunteer to be sent to Jigawa, the furthest, hottest and most Northern State. When hearing that I was going to Jigawa, Nigerian eyes would widen. All they could tell me was that it was 'soo far' and 'soo hot!' I was also being sent here alone, with my closest VSO an hour and a half away, whilst most others had support of other VSOs in their towns.

When I finally moved into my accommodation I realised that I was the Queen, as I had been given the most wonderful house to live in. Nigerian colleagues say that they have never seen such a house in Jigawa. So my house is nicknamed 'The Palace.' (It was even called a castle by one.)

This is the entrance to the palace. I am stood with the driver who 'picks' me in the mornings. One of the watchmen are opening the door for me in the background.

Jenny and Simon, visiting from Kaduna, are enjoying a G & T on my well. . . until a cockroach came and sent us indoors. The banana tree behind them is apparantly too small to fruit this year. The TV doesn't work yet, but I'm told I just need to register. I have a huge disk in the garden so I can buy a card for more channels.

This lovely kitchen has running water, a large fridge, a huge freezer, and a larder. The larder reminds me of my childhood readings of Enid Blyton. I did have large furry visitors the last couple of nights though because I left a bag of flour on the worktop!

The house is large and fully furnished. The 3 double bedrooms all have onsuite bathrooms! (Imagine the bathrooms looking a bit run down like the kitchen.) It is amazing because so far my electricity supply has been very good (I think because I am in the posh area of town), I also have aircon and fans in all rooms. When the water stops flowing I press a switch in the garden and it pumps water from the well or this other sort of covered swimming pool water storeage, so I am supposidly never going to run out of water. . . although I am constantly expecting my water and electricity luck to end soon!

But the most wonderful thing about my palace is the garden. It is truely magical, full of trees, bushes, flowers and wildlife .

For the fruit trees alone, there are no less than 4 mango trees, 2 banana trees, grape vines, 3 date bushes, a pawpaw tree, 2 orange trees, plus many others that I haven't heard or tasted yet.

I even have a 'secret garden' in which you have to open the gate and duck under the arch. I have now bought chairs and tables which are under a thatched covering inside here. In here, you are hidden from anyone who enters the high walled and guarded compound :0)

To get to the kitchen I have to go outside through a little courtyard that has a delicious smelling jasmine tree.

At the moment I am living alone, but soon another VSO will come a join me - a man from Uganda.

PS - Check out the weather on the right hand side of the page: Harmattan has arrived, which is the season where the winds bring dust from the Sahara desert. It was very misty today with a light breeze.


  1. Wow Lucy, love the garden. No excuse for not getting your 5 a day!
    Think you will get some visitors.
    Not suprised about the state of the schools if the teachers are so poorly educated. How long are they trained for? Is there anything you would like sent over?
    Keep up the grand work.
    Much love

  2. LUCY!! I am having major issues with my phone and cant find your email address so I hope you get this. I dont know if you're receiving my texts but just wanted to make sure you know I'm not ignoring you!!!

  3. Hi Lucy!

    Looks like you are having a fantastic time as Queen on Jigawa!

    I have really enjoyed reading all your blogs so far. I check your page every day for new ones and even find myself reading the old ones again- because when I do, I feel so inspired!

    We will all be thinking of you at Christmas and New Year :)

    (can you believe it's that time of year again and you've been gone this long?!)

    Lot of Love

    Ashley and Jessica

    x X x