Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Pandam Game Reserve
We left early on a Saturday morning to drive 3 hours to the Pandam Game Reserve on the Lafia-Shenden road, about 60 km east of Lafia. It was the usual outside of the city excursion with me, Gordon, Bryan, Lana, and Lulu (the dog). We packed a cooler of food for lunch somewhere along the way and had a easy driving experience roundtrip, despite going through at least 5 potential altercations with 'nail boys' and uniformed Vehicle Inspection Officers. The dry season is coming to an end in Nigeria, within a month it should begin raining again. In the mean time, it is incredibly hot, at least 40 degrees Celsius each day and very very dry. Most grass and bushes are brown and dead while the trees begin to shed fruit and produce beautiful flowers. And, most important of all- it is MANGO SEASON! At the Pandam Game Reserve we went in a nice canoe ride in an old dugout. We paddled around for about 3 hours, saw a hippopotamus, and many birds and ducks. There were also these fresh water jelly fish, of which we thought only existed in salt water. They were tiny little things and the locals did not even have a name for them. It is amazing the people we run into here with Red Sox gear. At least Gordon did not buy the shirt off this fisherman's back like he did to the wheel barrel boy at Utako Market a few months back. A picture was simply good enough for evidence of international fans. These people are harvesting yams, which grow for about 1 year in these large dirt mounds. We stopped at this quarry that we have passed by several times on previous trips, just to observe what goes on there. It was interesting watching the process of production. All work is done by hand. To create the thin slivers of granite, they build a hot fire on top of the rock and then it breaks off in thin slices, which is very valuable.