Even 9 was too early to leave, so this gave us a nice chunk of time to talk. We were able to talk about the state of the congregation and the needs. There were also several things I needed to reimburse him for, including his transportation to and from Lagos to fly to Kenya for the ILP. We sorted all of that out, and I was able to replace to him the money he’d sent, as well as provide a little for assistance needs in the area.
We STILL have not been able to open a bank account in the name of the Church. I have never heard of regulations so intense as these before! The bank officers apparently go through our constitution and by-laws with a fine toothed comb, and there is one line in the constitution that needs to be changed before they will allow us to have an account. It is in reference to he trustees for the Church – two of which reside in the US.
When it was time, we set off into the humid heat to the shop Mrs. Bridgette Aghimien (Osas’ mother) runs near the center of Benin City. She and her husband first opened this shop close to 45 years ago, in the same tiny space it still occupies. Originally Mr. Aghimien sold drinks and snacks from the shop, but as he saw different needs, he slowly turned it into a building supply shop, which is what it still is today.
In the middle there is barely room for three chairs, where we could sit and talk out of the sun (but also out of any breeze that might stir the air). I looked around at boxes and bags of nails, screws, hammers and screwdrivers, various kinds and shades of paint, some iron and sheets of roofing tin in a couple of different colors.
I thought most shops would be closed on Sunday, and they confirmed that many are, but their customers all know they are closed on Saturday, and most will wait till Sunday to pick up whatever they need rather than go to some other shop. Customer loyalty is a good thing!
Mrs. Aghimien was born in a village a couple of hours away, and met her future husband when she came to Benin for work. Soon afterward he heard Mr. Herbert Armstrong on the radio, and became very interested. He was baptized in the mid 1970’s.
But she wasn’t quite ready yet, and she wanted to study more and be certain. By the time she was, the ministry in Nigeria had changed, and there was no one to baptize her. There were several who worked with Nigeria, but due to circumstances I couldn’t quite understand, the minister(s) who were here were not baptizing anyone. So she waited.
As it turned out, she had to wait 25 years to be baptized – finally being baptized with her older daughters in 2004! She never waivered in her faith, just had to wait until there was someone who could and would baptize her.
We visited quite a while, and then it was time to go. We have the windows down on Osas’ car because moving hot air is better than still hot air! We drove across town to the highway that would eventually take us to Lagos if we went far enough. Near the edge of town we turned into a neighborhood in which the second family I wanted to visit lives.
When I say neighborhood, I mean deeply potholed dirt streets with small houses and shops crowded along both sides. But it becomes a warren of these streets, which all look the same, and Osas was not sure which one to take to find the right house. So he called, and the man and his wife drove up to meet us so we could follow them to their home.
I’ve been there once before (but I couldn’t have found it again either), and it is a comfortable home. He built it fairly recently, and he did so with lots of windows that all open so you can catch whatever cross breeze there may be. It was rather pleasant inside!
As is almost always the case, she had some food prepared for us, and we ate and talked for some time. Their three boys were in and out, but always very polite and respectful. The youngest had just turned 6, and he was extremely proud of the small digital watch he had received!
They have chickens, and he was telling me about a snake that got into their chickens. The dogs and chickens were all sounding off, so he grabbed a shovel and ran out to see what was going on. He found the snake and killed it, but wasn’t sure what kind it was. Clearly it was venomous, because the chicken he’d bitten was dead by morning.
I did a quick search of venomous snakes in Nigeria, and came up with quite a disturbing list! By the pictures it seems most likely it was some kind of a viper, but it makes one want to watch carefully where one walks, knowing there are that many really nasty snakes in this area!!
By the time we needed to leave, even the nice breeze through the living room couldn’t keep the sweat away. None of them seemed to be bothered, but I suppose they are used to the heat. If they came to my house in January I’m sure they would be bothered much more than I am!
We bumped and slalomed our way back to the pavement, where we continued the same procedure over, around and through potholes, speed bumps (like there is much need for those) and other vehicles across town back to my hotel.
By now it was late afternoon, and Osas needed to get back home. He has not fully recovered from his trip to Kenya last week, and feels he just needs a day to rest up and regain his strength. Since I don’t plan on going anywhere on Monday, my last day here, I suggested he stay home and do just that. I have some phone calls to make, some office work to catch up on, and one visit who will be coming to see me at the hotel. He agreed, and left to go home.
With the exception of the things I just mentioned, tomorrow will be a slower day. I try to build one or two of these into a trip, because very often there is something unforeseen that comes up and needs attention. This provides me with he time to do that. And if nothing happens to come up, it still isn’t bad to be able to slow down just a little. No matter how long my trip, I never do feel like I really catch up on rest until after I get back home.