I went to visit his Royal Eminence, the Emir of Bade, whose palace is in the town of Gashua, to pay my respects and offer a small gift of Badminton racquets and shuttlecocks, I explained my presence in his kingdom and answered his questions. With his permission I offered a Christian prayer for wisdom, long life and the welfare of his Kingdom. This is the normal act courtesy any foreign visitor might fulfil.
However, things took a surprising turn. His Eminence stated that he had something for me. It was a fine “Baba Riga” (not sure of spelling) outer robe and a special cap. He then pronounced a title for me – Dan Bature M’Bade – an honour which means something like “European son of the Bade Emirate” and was very much more than I was expecting. This means I have a lifetime connection with the Emir.
He particularly charged me to tell people that Bade is a safe, peaceful haven for visitors, secure and open to all. I can testify that this is the truth and will publish it willingly. Here are a couple of pictures of my investiture. More will follow.
The Alo River at the end of the Dry Season
The Busy Lagos Street Junction
On the road to Damaturu near the airport
It is a quiet Monday after preaching for both English and Hausa meetings at ECWA Gashua. Ali, our house cook prepared an excellent egg and salad double sandwich but I can’t photograph it. It is already gone. Delicious.
The heat is up in the 40°s so a rich sugary Malt drink settles much better diluted 1:2 with cool SWAN water.
Nigerians are conscious of the diabetes problem and Maltina have gone for the health angle by adding vitamins and calcium. It does taste marginally less sugary than some brands. Or am I subliminally affected by the clever marketing?
Late afternoon on Friday Prof Andrew invited me plus anyone on the staff for a bus ride into the desert. We went north to a place not far from the Niger border. Here are some pictures.
When the temperature is hovering round 110 °+ and there is any sort of breeze under the tree is the place to be. This was the Gashua ECWA Church youth group in session.
Oops. I left N3,000 in the trousers I gave for washing. About £10 I estimate in UK money.
Fortunately, Mrs. Ali gave me the notes before hanging the trousers to dry. They would probably be papier maché by now.
So I carefully peeled them apart. It is fortunate that things dry quickly in this arid heat so they should still be spendable. Some of the notes in circulation are amazingly moth-eaten so my money laundering should be successful.
Friends in UK may have heard about the unsuccessful suicide bombing in Maiduguri and might worry about me. Firstly, Gashua is very peaceful. Secondly, sending untrained little girls is a sign that the insurgents are in big trouble and unable to mount serious attacks. I am in more danger from travelling on the roads: fatal accidents are frequent. We pray for safety on every long trip.
There are lots of road-blocks but they are not much of a nuisance and they deny use of the roads to troublemakers (robbers and other criminals as well as terrorists) so I am grateful for them. We had roadblocks in earlier times but they were mainly an opportunity to augment salaries of police, army and border police. These days seeking bribes is much reduced.
There have been horrors in this region in recent past but we hope more displaced persons will get back home safely to rebuild and grow crops in the rainy season which is about to start.