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Steve Cisler

Abe Waldstein was my travelling partner during this trip. He remembers it in much more detail and probably more accurately.
Anyway I read over your Nigeria posting in Digital Commons. So here is what I remember (I may have written something on this to my parents at the time, by the way; as I wrote before, I know where the letters are. They're perfectly safe. I just can't get to them until I'm back in Burlington). Did the two Ibos pick us up in outside of Kano or outside of Kaduna? I'm not sure. I know we spent a night at least in Kaduna and I think they dropped us in Minna so we would be on the train line. We spent a night there and realized that the train option made no sense.

I vaguely remember talking with some British guy there who explained how the Ibos who ran the local cold store had been massacred in Minna. We hitched from Minna and got picked up by a British guy in a beat up old Holden who dropped us after nightfall at the bridge. It looked as though we would be camping out at the bridge for the night with the masses when the soldiers at the bridge prevailed on this Hausa guy that you describe to take us with him. I don't think a word was said during the whole ride. He dropped us in Ilorin. I remember waking up at the Peace Corps hostel (I think it was) the next morning and thinking Ilorin looked pretty good.

Between Ibadan and Lagos we were in the US Embassy daily shuttle. A US official accompanied the official pouch. I believe he sat in the shotgun seat and kept the pouch under his feet in the wheelwell. We got stopped at the last checkpoint just before entering metro Lagos. I remember us all getting out of the car but I don't remember why.

The way I remember it the discussion over the pouch took place out in the open. The US official was explaining to this Nigerian army private the niceties of international law and the privileges of the pouch. I think the pouch was even placed on the hood of the car in the meantime. The soldier listened patiently but, maybe just to keep his hands occupied while he was listening, pulled a grenade off his belt and pulled out his bayonet and began playing with the pin on the grenade with the bayonet, kind of loosening the pin you might say. At that point what I remember was you and I started to put a little distance between ourselves and the festivities. I remember feeling a little panicky but congratulated myself on well I maintained my self-control as we simply ambled down a little rise maybe 15 feet away from the car. You seemed calm enough as well although I think we both agreed this whole controversy did not concern us. We hadn't gotten very far when a Nigerian police corporal who was more up-to-date in recent developments in international law came up and told the army private everything was OK. And so we went into the city. It was raining cats and dogs by the time we got there and we spent most of the day in the basement garage of the building where the shuttle dropped us. We may have walked around downtown Lagos for an hour or so after the rain cleared (I remember looking around the Kingsway) before we had to hop on the shuttle back to Uncle Bodie's.

That's how I remember it for whatever it's worth.

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