Crossed Fingers and Twiddled Thumbs in Abuja

January 2, 2008, Chancery of Democratic Republic of Congo, Abuja, Nigeria

I’m hungry, thirsty, and hot waiting more than two hours for a guy to show up here at the Chancery for the DRC here in Abuja. A couple of days ago, I picked up the visa form which is now completely filled out, accompanied by copies of my travel itinerary, bank statement, and hotel reservation. This fellow really got on my nerves by telling me to wait here for him to arrive within the hour. I was paying a taxi driver by the hour to chauffeur me around town to the Niger Embassy, where I picked up my passport because they still haven’t given me a visa after give day’s wait, to the Internet Cafe, to print out the hotel reservation, actually to a second Internet Cafe because the first one had no power and a broken generator, and finally here to camp out at the Chancery while this guy finishes some mysterious unnamed business before, the guards assure me, coming here to help process my visa application. He had asked me to get a letter from the U.S. Embassy for the visa application, so I visited the Embassy on Friday and they told me it’s closed on the last Friday of the month, and of course everyone is closed over the weekend, then on New Year’s Day. Anyway, I think the guy is here now (see January 3 entry).

Abuja for Visas

Lagos, Nigeria

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Abuja, Nigeria

I’m in Abuja, Nigeria, trying to get an onward visa for Niger, plus a visa for Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a quite modern city designed along the lines of Washington, D.C. I’ll have to stay at least over the weekend, and possibly until the new year to get the visas.

Best of all, I managed to get the power adapter for my laptop in Lagos. I had a scare when I forgot the password I had used to lock the laptop. When using it everyday, it was easy to remember the password, but after a two-week break, I had no idea. Fortunately, the Dell guy who sold me the power adapter noticed that there was a password clue in Windows XP, and after thinking about my clue for quite awhile, I got a clue and remembered the password. So now, I’m catching up on a couple of weeks of computer updates and researching and writing a lot in my hotel room at the Q Palace Hotel here in Abuja.

Olumo Rock Warriors in Abeokuta

Abeokuta, Nigeria

On Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, there are traditional markers commemorating warriors who fought to defend the Egba people.

Main Shrine, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Main Shrine, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria View Over Elevator Shaft, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

City View, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Sign for Odan Tree of Doggedness, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Remains of Odan Tree of Doggedness, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Sign for Resting Place of Sonni the Osi of Itoko, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Lisabi (pronounced Lishabi), was an Egba warlord and a great hero. He led the Egba people in war defending against Oyo Kingdom. First ones to win against the Oyo. Then people of the town betrayed him. He went to the Oba forest where the ground opened up and swallowed him. The chain he held is still there in the forest. Every year the people hold the Lisabi Day festival there.

Other warriors commemorated on Olumo Rock include: Alatshi, Shudeke, Lamodi, Ogunbono, and Okunkeno, who became the first king of Abeokuta.

Warriors Commemorated on Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Sign for Ancient Route to Top, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

View of City, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria View of City, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Jumbled Boulders on Summit, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Sign for Iroko Crown Tree on Summit, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Iroko Crown Tree on Summit, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

View of City, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria View of Summit, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria View of City, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Not commemorated there because she was a woman is the Amazon warrior Efuroye Tinanbu, Yalode of Egba.

Abeokuta means “under rock? where the Egba hid during the war. The rock also afforded an excellent view of the surrounding countryside, making it easier to defend the location.

Egba Wartime Hideout, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Holes for Grinding Pepper and Other Things, Main Cave Chamber, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Sign for Main Cave Chamber, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Odun, as in the Odun River, has a variety of meanings, including “sweat?, “iron?, etc.

Sign for Hidden Orisha Obaluaye Chamber, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Guide Named Praise Ademola Oladepupo, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria Guide and Manager From Hotel in Town, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Guide Named Praise Ademola Oladepupo and Guide and Manager From Hotel in Town, Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Nigeria

An Olumo Rock guide named Praise Ademola Oladepupo (pictured just above) provided this information.

Nollywood Film Plots

December 24, 2007, Heritage Hotel, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Plot elements of Nollywood films–

  • Male honor, public humiliation
  • Gifts among family members, particularly from men seeking daughters in marriage
  • Sin of sex outside marriage
  • Evil of non-Christian devil magic
  • Overriding importance of marriage and marriage into “good family?, to the point of parent-forced marriages going awry, children escaping arranged marriage for love marriages
  • Evil aunt taking care of orphaned nieces, abusing them over her spoiled daughter
  • The wealth and vice of the big city, the modern ways in conflict with tradition
  • The prevalence of fraudulent activity (419 law, FCEE agency to counter fraud)
  • Bandits and violence
  • Foreigners as bandits, negative influence on Nigerians who travel abroad
  • Submission of women, women like children, only to serve and comfort husband
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Value of foreign education in business
  • Importance of flashy car, especially Mercedes (sensual car cinematography)
  • Pregnancy and miscarriages, but little of early childraising
  • Lack of funds for life-saving medical treatment
  • Hysterical grief of women at loss of loved one
  • Tendency to pair lighter-skinned women with darker-skinned men
  • Importance of forgiveness for past wrongs

Osun Sacred Forest in Oshogbo, Nigeria

Oshogbo, Nigeria

Oshogbo (or Osogbo), the “city of peace” never dominated by foreign rulers, has a river that runs through it which the residents worship as the Yoruba goddess Osun.

River View, Oshogbo, Nigeria

I saw this amazing sacred forest, the Osun Sacred Grove, reportedly the original settlement of the founders of Oshogbo starting more than 400 years ago. Now a long-term Oshogbo resident in her 90s, Austrian artist Suzanne Wenger (or Susanne Wenger?) helped over the years to restore the grove with fantastic Yoruba sculptures and was ordained as a priestess of the cult of the deity Obatala – the god of creation.

UNESCO Sign for Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Entrance Gate for Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Entrance Gate for Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Entrance Tunnel for Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Mosaic in Entrance Tunnel for Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Wooded Path, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Ceramic Pot, Probably Altar, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Clay Mound, Probably Altar, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Gnarly Tree by Sculpted Wall, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpted Wall, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Thatched Ceremonial Home, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Nigerian Tourists in Front of Thatched Ceremonial Home, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Nigerian Tourists in Front of Thatched Ceremonial Home, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Art on Pillar of Ceremonial Platform, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrines by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Lush Vegetation by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Offerings at Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Tunnel Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Tunnel Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Possibly a Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bridge Across Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Water Receptacle at Top of Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Wild Tree Branches, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Wild Tree Branches, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Magic Mushrooms, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Well-Rooted Tree, Osun River Bank, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Phallic Energy of Well-Rooted Tree, Osun River Bank, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Swirling Eddies in Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bamboo by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Tree With Vines Dangling Into Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Lush Vegetation by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Lush Vegetation by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bamboo by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Shade Under Bamboo by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bamboo Cluster by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bamboo Grove, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Mossy Foot at Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Stone-Studded Ceramic Pot at Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Ritual Ceramic Pot in Woods Near Chair Sculpture Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Tree Lichen or Nest, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Toward the end of the visit at the main grove, I returned to the area by the Osun River and near the ceremonial dwelling, which was a kind of palace. The residents didn’t want me to take pictures unless I paid lots of baksheesh. I had already paid to take pictures when I paid the admission fee, so I decided to let the pictures of the palace go and take pictures of everything else instead. 😉

Sculpture Shrine by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine by Osun River, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

I found some more sculptures and shrines on my way back to the entrance.

Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Shrine, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Meeting Building, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Carved Wooden Door, Meeting Building, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Another Meeting Building, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Carved Wooden Door, Another Meeting Building, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Carved Wooden Pole, Another Meeting Building, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

At the entrance to the grove, I found out there is another whole area down the street that I hadn’t seen, so I broke out some more baksheesh to see the place.

Chameleon Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Chameleon Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Closeup of Sculpture, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

After leaving the portion of the grove, I saw lots of sculptures alongside the access road on the way out.

Sculptures on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Probably Fungus on Tree, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Artisanal Building on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Artisanal Building on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpted Wall, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrines on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Bloody Animal Sacrifie, Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Bamboo Grove, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Monkeys Hiding in Vegetation by Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Monkeys Hiding in Vegetation by Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Tall Trees by Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sculpture Shrine on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculpture Shrine and Hollow Tree on Access Road, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Entrance to Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria Sign at Entrance to Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

Sculptured Wall at Entrance, Osun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria

I have located a place in Lagos to replace my lost laptop power adapter, so… Life is good! More after I get my laptop working again.