We went on a three-week holiday to Nigeria but ended up spending four weeks! We had a really lovely time visiting with family and friends. We covered a lot of mileage both in the air and on the road travelling to Port Harcourt, Omoku, Itigidi, Calabar and Lagos. The boys enjoyed running around unhindered as well the attention they got from various relatives and friends.
On Thursday, the 15th of April, we made our way through the notoriously long traffic queues from Lekki phase 2 to Lagos Murtala Mohammend International airport to catch our 11pm British Airways flight back to the UK. That morning we’d heard on the news that the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, had erupted and was spewing out clouds of ash into the sky. We kept a close watch on the news and checked the BA website at regular intervals to make sure this wouldn’t affect our flight into the UK. The website continued to report that the flight would leave.
Just as we got to the airport, the flight was cancelled till further notice. We were given a letter which had been hurriedly put together by BA stating that we needed to call their customer service line to rebook our flight. When we did, we were told that the earliest flight we could get was the one departing Thursday the 22nd of April – a whole week later.
We were a bit bemused at the lack of information and uncertainty of the situation. It was very unsettling for everyone. Mo Cushla had been due to resume work on Friday the 16th. The boys had had their fill of being on holiday and were eager to get back home to their regular routine.
I heard stories of people who’d been on holiday in far-flung locations and found themselves penniless with no access to funds or family/friends to help out. Others were stranded at airports for days, barely getting a meal a day and not being able to have a shower, as they’d been transiting through some European country only to find themselves caught out in the chaos that ensued following the closure of European airspace. Yet others spent several hours and days trying to get to their destination via alternative means of transport and had many tales of woe at the exorbitant prices they had to fork out to do so.
In the extra unplanned week we spent in Lagos, we felt like our lives were playing out in the UK while we were stranded in Nigeria! However, we were blessed to be around friends and my sister (at whose house we stayed in Lagos). They were excellent in making sure we had a good time. They took us out to meals, provided transport for us to get around, got us access to Ikoyi Club where the boys were able to swim and generally made sure we were comfortable. To them, we are eternally grateful.
We’re back in our home now and trying to ease back into our routine. This means you’ll be reading a lot more from me. I will try to capture our experience in Nigeria in another blog post so watch out for it.
Tara for now