Christine M. Adolf ’07 spent nearly two years in Nigeria as a Cuso International volunteer, exploring how she can use her background in business to empower people living in poverty around the world. This is her blog.
A year in Nigeria
I still find it hard to believe that I’ve finally arrived in my new home for the next year: Nigeria. After an extensive application, interview and screening process as well as a slight entry Visa delay, I’m happy to be settling into life on the African continent.
Developing my work plan for the year
It’s already the end of September and I feel like I just arrived. Well, they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve definitely been enjoying myself here thus far and feel incredibly grateful for this opportunity to live and work in Nigeria.
Sannu da aiki
The past month and a half has been very busy and very good. I spent just over three weeks going to rural communities with the Education, Secure Livelihoods/Agriculture, and Women’s Development sections of Hope for the Village Child Foundation (HVCF) to conduct research.
I spent my weeklong Christmas and New Year holiday in Calabar and Iko Esai, in the southeast of Nigeria, becoming even more aware of the incredible diversity within the country. It is hard to grasp the fact that there are more than 250 different languages spoken here in this one country alone. I had to switch from Hausa (spoken predominantly in northern Nigeria) to Pidgin English (spoken all over the country) to greet people.
Cross River State—The People’s Paradise
They’d told us that a couple of the key soft skills we’d need as CUSO International volunteers are flexibility and adaptability—so very true! I knew that in coming to Nigeria I was signing up for an adventure and the past month has certainly not disappointed.
Supporting the work of the Mary Slessor Foundation
Living and working in Akpap Okoyong, Cross River State is enriching my life immensely and continues to teach me about myself and the world in every new experience, challenging situation and delightful interaction. Most people here in the village are really helpful and friendly, so I’ve been able to adapt and settle in very well.
I’ve definitely settled into life here in Akpap Okoyong and it’s anything but routine. Sometimes I still try to be hyper-efficient and add too many tasks to my expanding ‘to-do’ list, but then a downpour begins (we’re well into the Nigerian rainy season) or the bus breaks down and the road is closed.
Living the questions
A year and a half after I first set foot on this incredible continent, I continue to be inspired and intrigued by the cultural diversity and overwhelming possibilities. I see creativity, hard work and enthusiasm everywhere, especially from the many Nigerian youth.
As I near the end of my time as a CUSO International Business & Management volunteer in rural Nigeria after close to two years, I inevitably find myself in a period of retrospection on everything that this experience has taught me. The lessons are endless.