Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Mountain of Death here we come...

It was the Nigerian Field Society Abuja Chapter quarterly meeting last night. Although I wasn't feeling too pukka, I was determined to go. The meeting takes place at the Abuja Horse and Country club. So I mess about trying to find the AHCC for an hour - going down a track into nowheresville outside Abuja and driving past a roundhouse church with a bright orange neon crucifix on top (I then had a David-Lynch-in-West-Africa-moment: tropical velvet), then going down an even more remote track right by the side of Jabi lake and getting stopped by flashlight - What are you doing here a voice barks behind the torch - this is a military base! I turn on the helpless lost oyinbo patter and wangle my way out of the place.

Eventually I find the joint. Lots of posh and almost over-nourished Berger looking horses in stables that some/a lot/most would be proud to fashion into a home. And a bar with pictures of young oyinbos on horses. Nyah nyah.

The Abuja chapter is an odd ball yet merry assemblage - some Austrian guy who came here in 1991 and stayed, he now does the cctv/security for the President (confirming that there are in fact three lions and a giraffe with the run of the place near the villa). A bloke from Lancashire who does hospitals. A German anthropologist (the one whose essay I sent you) who knows all about Lake Chad and the people that live there and Roman, the 19th century looking American honcho of the Abuja chapter.... and on and on. Another geez with a teutonic air (I vented to him as soon as I arrived about the directions, so maybe he didnt get the best of me) provided 10 large format gis maps of Abuja - as spatial pot latch. Very nice - but where to put it? Before you make any comments, yes there were Nigerians there - although it does retain a whiff of a colonial air. But nice warm friendly lets study the flora and fauna colonial, not let's nick all the ivory and raid Benin/keep the Elgin Marbles colonial.

Roman talked us through the recent trip to Sukhur, which sounds endlessly fascinating. The men in this stone-age mountain kingdom in the far North-East sleep on bamboo beds, the women sleep on the floor. If you want a drink, they run down the other side of the hill to Cameroon to fetch it for you. To spend any time there, you have to have a before-and-after ceremonial with the King.

A couple of free beers later, I got up and did my Chappal Waddi dog-and-pony: about ten hands went up immediately. Me! Me! Me! Me! I think I got the crowd horny for some Gashaka Gumti action.

Long story short: we're on. We're off to the Mountain of Death at the end of March next year..


Anonymous,  6:42 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

I'm based in Lagos but am well up for a trip up the mountain of death. Please let me know if there'll be any space and if so how I can sign up!

I'm often on your blog trying to find interesting things to do in Nigeria. I just wish there was a decent website which gave a proper listing / info of places to go. At Xmas i'm selling out and testing Sao Tome thanks to Aero but quite fancy a trip to Jos and Yankari as well. I can't find any contact number for Yankari at alll. Any ideas?


Anonymous,  11:17 pm  

Responding to all the negativity which emerged a couple of posts ago and doing your bit to put Nigeria on the 'wildlife' tourist map?

But seriously, there isn't much info on the website about this walk. Do they organise trips regularly? How much does it cost? Do groups need to be a certain size? I would be interested in hearing more if you have details to share, and I'm sure others would too.

Jeremy 3:27 pm  

anyone interested in coming along - just drop me an email:



Anonymous,  2:10 am  

Decided tonight that am part of troupe...been humming "off to see the wizard" since...

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