There are no movie theaters or shops that are created for the sole purpose to entertain people. People here, for the most part, are busy with carrying on the daily tasks of living here. To get gas, it can take up to one hour of waiting in a line before your car is to be filled. I see at six in the morning, women with buckets on their heads walking quite a distance to get water for their families needs for the day (and this is in the town, not some remote village like one might picture). In preparing a meal, most families prepare a fire pit and cook over it, especially if there is no power in the moment. I just had a neighbor bring over an Easter cake as a "welcome to the neighborhood kind of thing" and she said she made it over a fire because there was no "light" when she was preparing it. It was absolutely beautiful, like you would see at a wedding, I am not kidding. I cannot even imagine what my cake would look like if I tried to cook it over a pit..... hehe. But, a meal alone, takes time and is part of their daily living.
When we first moved here, I was overwhelmed with the daily living and lack of "things to do" but the Lord honestly almost rebuked me in my heart as I looked around and saw hard working individuals who care for their families harder than I have ever had to care for mine, at least physically speaking. I now see that we are extremely blessed to be able to have the means to buy a vehicle, have friends that have a washer and dryer (most hand wash and dry their clothes), own a stove and live in a place where we have two guards caring for the safety of our family and home. It is as if the Lord has opened my eyes to a type of living that has always been around and I have been unaware. Where have my eyes been?
Now, to get back to answering the question of what we do..... we play a lot of games (sometimes by candlelight and the kids LOVE it), cards, we do occasionally watch a movie on our travel DVD player, we try to hike as much as we can in the area - we have so much to learn of this place, we took our kids kite flying the other day (a friend brought those for us as a gift), which was fun, our kids have learned and created lots of jokes (which I am about done with....), we work to help John (which I am sure he loves), and we just hang out.
Something that affects what John and I do as "dates" is there is a city wide curfew of 9pm. This has been in place since the riots in November. So, to go out in the evening is limited. Just the other day, we went to the high school musical (we were so excited, it was our first time "out" as a family since we had been here, in the evening) and we saw "You are a Good Man, Charlie Brown". The production was over by 8:30 and it was crazy seeing everyone rush out to get home by curfew. I am not kidding, it was a silly experience as even John and I were like, "Get the kids, we gotta get out of here before it is too late." The curfew is in place until 6am so it even affects our time in the morning of running. No one leaves until 6am..... Can you imagine living with a curfew as if you were living with your parents again..... It has forced early bedtimes and lots of family time. I guess as I answer this question I realize that overall, this is not a bad trade, huh?
Don't get me wrong, you will hear in our family, "What can I do?" and John and I have moments where hanging out just isn't cutting it, but again, we are learning and we are growing stronger as a couple and as a family, and just the other day, we realized that we are liking the fruit that is coming with our lack of entertainment. Again, don't get me wrong, as soon as we go to the USA, I want to buy some clothes, see a movie and eat out..... but for now, we are in Nigeria and we will take the fruit of strength in the Lord and as a family.
I hope this helps answer some people's questions. Thanks for your prayers.....