SoapMission Africa - Pre-Launch

... I am just about ready to go to Nigeria. We have had one or two little concerns over the last week or so. We may be staying at The Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt. It looks great... and very unexpected since I thought it would be more along the mud hut lines but before I get too excited... the health and leisure page of the website shows a picture of a sofa... mmmm. It does say there is a pool, but when I checked all three locations that Google Maps gave for the same hotel... there wasnt anything that looked like a pool... satelite pictures might lie... but they sure dont look like the picture on the website!

One of our group found an online forum for ex-pats in Nigeria and asked for some information on the hotel. This was the response she got after she declined the invitation to have a male escort for the duration of our stay.

"The Presidential is a market place with semi government types and shadycharacters lolling on the sofas in the front area. I would not feel safe there."

Then we discover that food was not specifically mentioned in our contract, since we were supposed to stay in Government House (and where we may still be staying) where food would automatically be provided for us. None of us can really afford to eat 5-star prices for a fortnight... so we are crossing our fingers that we will be in Government House - no pictures of that at all but I am imagining a very colonial looking guest house type thing (!? Will update you all).

I start taking my malaria pills today... from everything I have heard about them I am expecting to feel very ill... but I am also taking yeast tablets and pro-biotic capsules which I hope will help to settle my stomach a bit... as well as make my blood not very tasty for mosquitoes.
All of that aside I am really looking forward to going. My only concerns now is whether my suitcase will be overweight. I am travelling light (for me). So, this is what I am taking:

Chemist supplies - plasters, headache tablets, probiotic capsules, anti-histamine tablets, re-hydration sachets, Yeast tablets, malaria tablets, home-made insect repellent, home-made insect bite balm, plug-in insect repellent, anti-bacterial hand wipes, two bottles Sun lotion factor 30, one tube aloe vera gel and one bottle after sun lotion and one flower remedy called Crisis!

Soap making equipment - stick blender, rubber gloves, disposable gloves, rubber spatula, 3 masks, calculator, thermometer, soap bible. Aprons, Safety Glasses and Goggles.

Clothes - three pairs cotton trousers, four day time skirts, one pair evening trousers, two evening type dresses, one pashmina, 6 cotton t shirts, one light cardigan, one swimsuit and cotton wrap, two pairs crocs shoes, one pair posh shoes. One ridiculous sun hat and one personal mosquito net (equally ridiculous). Discreet money belt to be worn under clothing. One pair of earings which I shall wear day and night, two extra necklaces which cost all of £1.50 (for two!) to add a bit of bling to my evening wear. Underwear for one week - I shall have to do laundry! And two cotton handkerchiefs.

Extra's - One MP3 player with podcasts of Radio 4's Comedy nights and some music. One book - Making History by Stephen Fry. Two bars of soap - one is a shampoo bar, toothbrush and toothpaste, one brown mascara, one lipstick, one green eye pencil, one jar home made moisturiser (which doubles as a make up remover), two washable muslin cloths which I use to remove eye makeup. One roll on deodorant. Oh and a comb. But not Billy Fergus who is lying on the bed among the stuff to be packed in the hope that I will forget and put him in the bag.
Oh and if I have room I need to buy some pencils... apparently there is always a shortage of pencils in Africa so whatever I take will be very welcome.

And my camera.... although I am hoping to have internet access, I will not have the 'gubbins' with me for transferring my photographs so all pictures will have to wait until I get home. But I really do hope that I can update my blog at least once while I am away. I have told my family that I will try to text them at least once every day, but if they dont hear from me, they should not assume the worst until the ransome note arrives.

And that, as they say, is that.... slightly sick feeling in my stomach right now... might be the malaria tablets, or excitement, or maybe I'm anxious... isnt it strange that the feelings for anxiety and excitement can be exactly the same?


  1. Good Luck jane! and safe journey.


  2. Thank you Julia... just weighed my case and it's too heavy... will have to chuck some clothes out ! Who would have thought this would be so difficult!!

  3. How exciting and scary, you are a courageous woman. Good luck!


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