Though some things are the same, it truly is a different world in Nigeria.
Our house, like most homes there, had a high mudbrick fence and a gate around it, and at night it was protected by a “watchnight” (as all the night watchmen call themselves). The watchnight has his own little hut by the gate, with a bed and a fire to roast corn on, and keep himself warm.
Our watchnight’s name was John. He was a serious fellow who was carrying two spears the first time I met him. He’d had occasion to use them too; one of them still had blood on it from the last fellow he had hit, trying to climb over the wall. Another day he had a bow and arrows, and he warned me about the arrows, as they were tipped with poison.
The church’s watchnight was named Agabus. One day he was telling me how to get to his village, which is a fair distance away (on the way to Warwar). So then I told him how to get to our home in Manitoba by plane, through Abuja and London. Then I had a thought, and I brought out the little plastic globe I had in my office and showed him that. Well, that was a real revelation to him, as he had never seen one before. He was most fascinated by the Pacific Ocean, which he felt was a very great river, and he wondered if canoes could traverse it.
At one point he asked if there were other countries above us, pointing up to the sky. So then I explained (as best I could) how the earth is round, and that from where we are the people in some other countries would actually be under us. We both found the whole exercise very enjoyable and a lot of fun. We talked about the different vegetation in Canada from Nigeria, and how the one is further from the equator and so is much colder. I don’t know how well I explained it all, or really how much Agabus understood, but it was eye-opening for us both.
Education in Nigeria is improving all the time, but it has a long, long (long!) way to go. It is one of the three priorities that we have in our partnership (along with evangelism and community development). It will help Agabus and John only indirectly, but we believe in time it will serve to lift the whole community up.