Sheila and I have been in the United States now for six weeks. I was recently telling someone that after four months locked up in our apartment, we developed quite the COVID19 response plan for leaving our house. It included sanitizer, antiseptic wipes and a mask. Whenever we entered a business place in Johannesburg, we would have to sanitize again because every business required you to wear a mask and sanitize before… Read More

I don’t often travel back to Alabama to celebrate Thanksgivings. I remember going back to Alabama in 2003, 2004 and 2016 (work event that took place around Thanksgiving). However, I have always found myself surrounded by family and friends despite not going back to Alabama. After arriving on the African continent, I spent Thanksgiving 2013 in Rwanda, 2014 with friends in Nigeria, 2015 in Rwanda (I was planning to propose to my… Read More

1. Our Wedding…what else do I need to say! I married the love of my life and have been enjoying the past seven months of marital bliss…and we were touched by all the friends that traveled from the US, Europe, Thailand, Kenya, South Sudan and Nigeria to celebrate with us! 2. Vartan and Lauren’s Wedding…Vartan has been a great friend for the past thirteen years…he slept on my couch for three months… Read More

It’s been hard waking up since getting back to Nigeria. Maybe I am still trying to shake jet lag or maybe I just miss being in the United States (mixture of both). For two weeks, Sheila and I crisscrossed Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland visiting family and catching up with friends. It was a whirlwind tour for Sheila as it was her first trip to the US and… Read More

I mentioned in a blog a year ago that when I was preparing to come to Nigeria, my colleague “googled” me to learn more about me (https://fredayinafrica.com/2015/01/29/i-googled-you-when-i-heard-that-you-were-coming-to-nigeria/). And, as I admitted in that blog, I often “google” myself just to see what the world-wide-web is saying about me. Say what you want to say, but I would like to keep the information that the world-wide-web is putting out about me positive and… Read More

On August 16, I not only celebrated my recent promotion to Country Director but also my 36th Birthday! This is the third birthday that I have celebrated on the African continent. In 2013, I celebrated my birthday after only three days in South Sudan. My co-worker organized a cake and impromptu birthday party with colleagues from IRI and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). I made sure to get a photo of the… Read More

Two years ago I arrived in South Sudan – sight unseen. I was taking a step on faith that I would be able to handle a new environment and a new job. It was my first time living outside the United States and on top of that, I was starting a new position. I had never even met any of my “future” colleagues in South Sudan. Navigating the Juba airport was a highly… Read More

Its hard to believe that two years ago I was making the rounds in the United States saying good by to friends and loved ones as I was about to embark on a new adventure in my life. It was a difficult time because I was essentially giving up my community of friends and proximity to my family for unknown challenges and opportunities on the African continent. And while the transition was… Read More

Today, I entered the beast, better known as the Balogun Market in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is one of the most populous cities in the world serving home to over 19 million people (about two times the population size of New York City). The Balogun Market is a large and noisy outdoor and indoor space that is made up of stalls along complex and confusing aisles. The market is known for its cheap… Read More

I had planned my Monday (January 6th) several days in advance to make sure I would be well rest for the 4:30am kickoff. I initially planned to be sleep by 8pm. However, the hotel I am staying in – the Villa Rosa Kempinski has turned down service and I was not sure how to decline the turndown service as there is no hang tag for the door. So I waited until the… Read More