Easter found us in Abuja, Nigeria this year. We were invited to attend the Mission President's Seminar for the Africa West Area. Gregg had been to Abuja and told me it was unlike any other city in West Africa. He was right! Downtown Abuja has wide roads, tall new buildings, freeways, and big green directional signs. I could hardly believe I was in Nigeria. It is clean, beautiful, and organized. It is literally a planned community.
The seminar was held at the Hilton hotel; easily the nicest hotel in West Africa that I've seen. It has 3 restaurants, a giant clean swimming pool, excellent workout facility, and a spacious room with a great bed and soft pillows. I also saw roses for the first time in Africa. There were roses at the front desk and on every table at the restaurant; beautiful longstem roses (I'm sure they are imported). They just made me happy.
The country is about 60/40 or 50/50 Christian/Muslim depending on who you ask. Nigeria recently held elections and Goodluck Jonathan won the Presidency. Is that a great name or what? He is a Christian from the Niger Delta Region in south Nigeria. Not all the Muslims were happy about it and there were some riots in the north, but all was peaceful in Abuja during our visit.
When we landed in Abuja, the scenery reminded us of Southern Utah. It was hot and dry and the city was surrounded by rolling hills, dry grasses, and red rocks; truly picturesque.
We also saw some amazing little birds named masked weavers. They are a yellow bird with a black mask across their eyes. They weave a round ball-shaped nest which they suspend from a tree where they raise their family.
One adventure led us to the Owessa Muslim Market in search of shawls for some of the women at the seminar (who were cold from the air conditioning at the hotel). It was probably the most organized market we've been to. There was parking. All the vendors were in a stall. Find what you want and let the bartering begin!
And the Easter Bunny visited me. I got a Lindt chocolate Easter Bunny; I never dreamed I'd see one of those in West Africa!