A Good Start in Nsukka

by Dr. Michael Bitz / Oct 15, 2013 /
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Aside from some excess baggage fees, my flight from Lagos to Enugu was smooth and comfortable. My new good friend Obiajulu Emejulu met me at the airport with a university car and driver for the 45 minute-trip to Nsukka, where I will be staying for the duration of my trip.

I could see on that drive Nigeria's growing infrastructure with many construction crews building the road amid wandering goats, swerving motorcycles, and intrepid people.

 

On the Road to Nsukka, Nigeria

 

Upon arrival at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Obi immediately took me on "courtesy calls" to meet the college dean. A courtesy call is a rather formal meeting where people address the dean one by one, standing and asking for his permission to speak. But the dean was very warm, and he offered me a traditional plate of kola fruits, which we all tasted. It was very good, like a slightly bitter cucumber.

 

Over a plate of Kola fruit, at the University of Nigeria Nsukka

 

I didn't know what to do with the stem, so I put it in my pocket--a story that I later told the group of teachers I met that afternoon. They got a good kick out of me presenting my kola fruit stem to them. The workshop included approximately 30 elementary and secondary teachers. They were enthusiastic to learn about the Comic Book Project; I introduced the program to them and then worked through the opening activities. They did great work, which I know will continue on as they bring the project into their classrooms. I will be with these teachers for two more days before delivering the keynote speech at the Reading Association of Nigeria's national conference.

 

Working with teachers at the University of Nigeria Nsukka

 

I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I am being treated like a royal here. I am staying at the college president's guest house, which is a gated and guarded compound that features a personal driver and, get this, a private chef. I was hoping to drop a few pounds while here in Nigeria, but that's clearly not going to be the case. Ramy is a wonderful chef who is creating delicious vegetarian meals for me. I could get used to this!

 

At the University of Nigeria Nsukka

 

 

 

 

Dr. Michael Bitz is the founder of the Comic Book Project (www.comicbookproject.org), where he helps young people write, design, and publish original comic books as a pathway to literacy and creativity. He is currently in Nigeria at the invitation of the Reading Association of Nigeria and the Ford Foundation's Institute of International Education, and will be working with teachers and students in Nsukka and Owerri to help build creative pathways to literacy through the Comic Book Project.

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Dr. Michael Bitz