Tip #411: Training in Lagos, Day Three

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”  Clifton Fadiman

First of all, let me be the first to say to all of the women reading this email- Happy International Women’s Day!  According to Tricia, every country except the US celebrates it on March 8th. Each of my participants came up to shake my hand and congratulate me. Who knew?

Some of you have asked if I am taking a lot of pictures. The fact is, I am not out strolling- I am in a car at 7 or 7:30 a.m. for a drive that is anywhere from 30-60 minutes to get to the hotel when the training is sited. Then I am in a car at 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. to get back to our hotel. I tried to take pictures as we drove today and (1) got sea sick, (2) got a headache, and (3) got told by Ayo, our driver, that I should make sure no one saw me taking pictures or we would all be arrested. So I stopped.

When we got to the training room today, we found that all of the candy had been taken from the bowls. A bit later, we learned that the hotel staff actually sleep in that room! They had shown admirable restraint not taking the candy the first night.

We also lost the air conditioning for about an hour. Given that it was probably 100 F and 100% humidity outside, things got very very warm in a hurry. Just as we were going to move into another part of the hotel that had air conditioning, they fixed ours- and it was even better and cooler than it had been for the previous two days. Whew!

I am so thrilled by the participants. They are very astute and clearly have absorbed the accelerated learning concepts. They handed in their completed home practice assignment, which was to create a lesson plan avoiding the use of lecture- and they were masterful in their lesson design.

My one minor disappointment today was the fact that no one noticed I was wearing a pin in the shape of Africa and African earrings to match (which my mother brought back when she and Dad went to Africa). I felt very snazzy. Tricia suggested that perhaps they were so used to seeing this type of jewelry it didn’t register with them. Maybe.

On the way to the training hotel, we saw what must have been an entire family of 6 people on one scooter! I wish I’d been able to get a picture of that.

I also wish that I could get a few photos of the fishing boats on the water. In the morning, there is a mist or fog over the water- and the small boats are very graceful- similar to those you would see in photos of Japanese fishermen. Every now and then there is a boat with a square sail, but otherwise the boats are moved with long paddles from a standing position.

Additional random facts. The training hotel is using its back up generator to ensure that we don’t lose power, since the electricity goes on and off very frequently. It happened at my hotel this morning just when I was going to get dressed. It’s very hard to get dressed when you can’t see in front of you! But the power came on very quickly.

When it rains, as it did yesterday and today, there is a sudden downpour and you hear the thundering drops on the roof above you. It lasts for a few minutes and then stops. There are huge open culverts on the side of roads to take the water- or that’s what I assume.

Tricia informed me that the restaurant puts cream into the scrambled eggs- that’s why they taste funny and have an unusual texture.

when I get back to the hotel in the evening, the maid has turned down the bed, left a little reading light on and a chocodate on the pillow (a date stuffed with an almond and covered with chocolate). It is surprisingly tasty!

Yesterday, on the way back to the hotel, Ayo (our driver) explained that the sirens (more like buzzing beeps) we heard didn’t mean there was any difficulty- the police use their sirens to get through traffic to go home, not to fulfill any policing responsibility!

When I got back to the room this evening, the big floor lamp wouldn’t turn on and there wasn’t a bottle of water in the bathroom (to use for brushing teeth). I called and within 5 minutes got a return call telling me that both housekeeping and maintenance were on their way. They both came and remedied their respective situations for me within the next 5 minutes. Five minutes after that, I got a call to follow up and make sure that my needs had been met. What incredible customer service!

An embarrassing admission: when I conduct train the trainer programs in the States, I always tell participants how important it is to use examples that are relevant to their training audiences. Until I came here to Nigeria, I didn’t realize how difficult it is to even discover what might or might not be relevant. I used a pizza example to explain how to create learning goals and learning objectives- and although they do have pizza, the upper class of educated individuals do not recognize it as proper food.

I also provided what is supposed to be a meaningful sentence in an activity: “We go up north to see the autumn colors”- and that had no resonance for them. Then today I had to explain what bingo was. Luckily, they knew what a merry go round was.

I’m rethinking some of my training content for Jordan, based on this experience. I can’t imagine that they are familiar with those references either.

However, I must tell you that there are Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants all over the place…

May your learning be sweet.


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