My extended trip to Calabar has been nice but I am ready to go back to the village. There is a huge difference between choosing to stay in Calabar and being prevented from going home. I realized I had a meeting on Tuesday with one of ourfunders so I thought I might as well stay until that was finished, no sense in going up for a day and coming back the next. The massive traffic jam finally cleared up on Sunday resulting in a smooth flow of traffic (a four day traffic jam). We wanted our truck to go up Monday to drop the supplies intended to go up last Friday and then we have some tourists that have paid for transport to Rhoko Camp on Tuesday and back again Wednesday. These people have apparently flown toCrossRiver specifically to go to our field site.
The following day we heard that the fuel tanker strike was projected to last two weeks. I had some errands to run and found makeshift ‘gas stations’ all over Calabar. You couldn’t walk 10 ft. without seeing someone with a petrol container on their head; either selling or stocking up. When I returned to the office I heard even worse news. The national power company was planning on going on a strike as well. I’ve already commented that the national power company is a total embarrassment to Nigeria so I don’t know why the workers think they need higher wages. We literally have electricity maybe 20% of the time and frequent power surges fry electronics and send shocks through computers, fridge door handles and anything else you might touch. And without the infrequently available national power(called NEPA), people would be expected to rely on their generators. This combined with the fuel tanker strike is a real disaster for residents of Calabar. Fuel prices will skyrocket, transportation prices will skyrocket, everyone will be feeling the lack of air conditioning and fans and perhaps this will even lead to a rise in crime. Either way, it’s a total mess.