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Day 1 - First Impressions of a Developing Nation

24.02.2012

Have you ever wondered how foreigners experience Nigeria on their first trip to the country? If yes, then this is the blog to follow in the next few weeks.

My name is Lars and I have been employed as a Business Development Manager in Seismonaut Africa since July 2011. Up until now, I have been working from Seismonaut's offices in Denmark, but in the next two weeks I will be visiting our offices in Abuja, Nigeria for the first time. I will  be blogging on Seismonaut Africa's website to keep you updated on my experiences.

Abuja by night 2

February 22, 2012 - Day 1

I arrived with British Airways in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 5.15 AM after a trip without any trouble. However, the smooth travelling ended when I went to the carousel to pick up my luggage - or should I say, the lack hereof. Apparently, my luggage had missed my flight, and there was no chance of it getting here today. Besides my personal things, my luggage also included supplies for another entrepreneurial business in Abuja, The Nordic Villa (a small boutique hotel in Jabi, Abuja), making it even more crucial that it gets here as soon as possible.

Besides the missing luggage, my first day here in Nigeria has been awesome! I was picked up in the airport by Nwaya Collins, the Regional Manager in Seismonaut Africa, and we drove (on excellent roads) into Abuja city centre, where the hectic big city life and the honking cars contributed to the impression of a city in fast-paced development. Improvements on the infrastructure, building cranes and high buildings caught the eye no matter where I looked. All in all, an amazing city - and a lot more European than I expected (expectations that have been built through conversations with fellow employees in Seismonaut Africa, literature on the bad Nigerian infrastructure and a visit in India in 2010, which I naturally compared my experiences with).

After driving through Abuja and hardly waiting in traffic, we finally arrived at my "home" for the next few weeks, The Nordic Villa, where the employees looked forward to meeting me - "Mr. Lars". The Seismonaut Africa offices are set in the same building as The Nordic Villa and for that reason, a tour of the office and hotel was in order. The staff here is so friendly, and I felt at home straight away. The tour ended with a continental breakfast in the hotel's dining room before a much needed nap.

The original plan was to begin work with Collins straight way. However, we decided to postpone this a bit, so I could go shopping for new clothes instead - seeing that British Airways had chosen to leave mine in London. Accompanied by Fortune (yes, that's his name), an employee in The Nordic Villa, I completed a minor shopping trip in the shopping malls and returned with N100.000 (€480) worth of European priced clothing.

After completing this blog post, I will go out for dinner with Collins and Fortune as well as embrace myself for the challenges and impressions of the next few days where Collins and I will travel to Lagos. Here, I will participate in Nordic Days, a conference the Scandinavian embassies in Nigeria have set up . But much more on this later. All in all, I can only say that my first impression of Nigeria and especially Abuja is positive and promising. Now, if only I can have my luggage.

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