With no rush this morning, I didn’t set an alarm and decided to sleep as long as I could. That lasted until about 7:30 am. I got around and went down to breakfast – my last breakfast at the hotel as there likely won’t be time tomorrow.
Afterward I came back to my room and began to tackle the tasks I had at hand. The power is inconsistent, going off and on periodically. Every time it shut off, within a few moments I’d hear the large diesel generator start up (sounds like a large tractor-trailer motor) and then the lights would come back on. Then there would be a flash as the hotel switched back to the power grid, and momentarily I’d hear the generator shut down. It is the never-ending dance to have electrical power in every place that at least has a generator.
One member and his faily live in Ughelli, a village a bit over an hour’s drive out from Benin. I’ve been there in the past, but times have changed, and several members advised me that it is not wise for me to try to make that trip this time.
That highway is one kidnappers and mercenaries are frequenting. Just a week or so ago a vehicle was stopped in daylight, and the occupants were kidnapped and held for ransom. Typically they will ask for 100,000,000 naira in ransom (which translates to about $137,000 USD). And since my face stands out a bit here, they feel the likelihood of an attempt to kidnap me would be even greater. I’ll abide by their advice.
So instead we arranged to talk by phone. Our conversation lasted nearly an hour as we talked about family, and the concerns and challenges he is facing. I tried to be as encouraging as possible, always pointing him back to the fact that our Father is still on His throne, and He promises never to leave us without help.
Since I wasn’t terribly hungry, I just ate some of the snacks I had in my room and worked on through lunch.
Late afternoon my final visit for this trip came. It was so noisy in the lobby that we went out to the covered patio to talk. With fans going and the “waterfall” of the pool also going, it wasn’t much quieter, but it was the bet we could do. And we talked for nearly 2 hours.
By then it was getting dark, and he needed to get back on the road because he has more difficulty seeing to drive after dark.
Even though I didn’t go anywhere today, and it was not a physically taxing day, I’m still amazed at how tired one can feel when the day is done. I went down for dinner (fish and chips tonight) and returned to my room to begin packing and getting ready to depart tomorrow.
Tomorrow will start a very long day. From the time I enter the airport here in Benin City until I land back home to see my Bride’s smiling face, it is going to be just about 30 hours of flying and layovers in various airports. But it still beats making the trip by wind driven boats and horseback!