Abakaliki Through my Eyes


So I am finally through with camp, getting accepted at my PPA and awaiting permit to travel. I think it is time for me to write down my thoughts and first impressions about the town which gave its name to a brand of rice that is to be my home for the next year.

  • Vehicles

Seventy percent of the cars here are Mercedes benz with over niety percent being the 200 or 230 regular. I have actually seen the old school Volkswagen beetle being driven. Not as many cars or new cars, should I say. Lots of old, beat – up cars ready to obscure your vision should you find yourself behind them.

  • Okada

The main means of transport and the number of privately owned to commercial are equal. I sometimes made the mistake of calling a privately owned one. Someone has suggested I check their footwear first but it doesn’t seem to be working. Lots of women ride okadas here too.

  • Dust

There is a lot of dust here even though it’s rainy season  and since I’m wearing my crested vest a lot, I’m doing a lot of washing. I now know why some people call it the dust of the nation…

  • Eateries

The next day after arrival was S’s birthday and we went out to Crunchies,  a beautiful place along Afikpo road. Quite nice in terms of variety, quality of food and pricing. We will be going back soon. There is a Mr. Bigg’s at a roundabout but I have condemned it to NTBE (Never To Be Eaten At). I think there is a flavours’ outlet somewhere but I haven’t seen it.

  • Offices and Industries

The town is not an industrial centre and most offices are government parastatals. Quite a few banks. But little else.

  • Other stuff

The people here retire early. Shops start closing as from 6 p.m and okada riders get off the roads at 7 p.m. Okada here is relatively cheap.  The first time I took one I thought – in my Lagos mind – that either the guy heard the wrong amount or he was trying to kidnap me.

P.S:  The main type of chewing gum here is Jenka and Jet chewing gum. When last did I see them? I live in interesting times.Jenka Wrapper

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