Starting a business in Nigeria is hard!
In fact, its one of the hardest places to start a business in the world. Also, I am one of those people that normally like to do things honestly, but its almost impossible to do that here unless you have a million dollars to pay all the fees they charge for EVERYTHING. I also happen to be an organize freak and want my book keeping to be 100% exact but its almost impossible when you have to have in your books incorrect data so that the government doesn’t charge you a ton in taxes. I think my solution to this is just to continue to do my book keeping and let the Nigerians do their booking and just go for it. Luckily, our friend Jihad (who owns ECNX) has been wonderful in helping us understand how business works here. Here are the basics of what we are doing:
1. We are finishing becoming an NGO in the US and will then register as an International Organization working in Nigeria.
2. We still need to have a business under our NGO, so we are creating an entity under ECNX in order to do that. The reason for this is because 1- its costs about $2,000 it register a business here (money which we don’t have) 2- ECNX is a reputable company that can help us get loans, buy cars, and etc.
So far, all the work we have been doing is administration work. I am starting to get anxious to get back to working with the people and actually doing the work that I enjoy. Hopefully, we will be in a hospital by the end of the month.
Adam bought a motorcycle to help us get around. (He is going to kill me when he finds out I wrote this) Its kinda a cheep, crappy bike but it only cost $500 and its runs. Well, he brought it back to the office and jihad told him that he should get it serviced before he rides it because it wasn’t really rideable yet. Just like a boy with a new toy, Adam couldn’t wait a day and wanted to ride it home. It was about 10 at night, lighting was showing in the distance, the wind was beginning to come, and there were no okadas in sight for me to take home. So Adam suggests that it is a “good” idea to just let him drive me home. This coming from the guy who hasn’t even ridden the motorcycle by himself yet. Well, I lost my mind for a second and actually got on. Adam starts the bike, it stalls. He starts it again and revs the engine a bit, then it stalls again. This happens maybe 5 more times and I can see the men hanging out near us cracking up at the stupid oebos that can’t start the bike. Finally, Adam starts the bike, gets it in first gear, we lerch forward, the front wheel is off the ground, and next thing I know, my chin is to my chest, I’m laying flat on my back, and my legs are straight in the air. Well laying in the middle of the street in Nigeria is probably the dumbest thing you can do, so I jumped up and ran to the side before I got run over.
I got a scrapped hand and a bruised knee but no major problems. But obviously falling off the back of the motorcycle scarred the crap out of me so I started to cry in front of the Nigerian night guards. Wow, apparently women don’t cry here or something cause all the Nigerian men freaked out. One of the guys says ‘Oh sister, be happy!” It was just so sweet that it actually made me stop crying.
Good news though, after tuning up the bike, it runs much better now. Adam practiced for a few days and today, I finally got on the back of it with him. He is actually really good at getting us around and knows Kano really well. It is wonderful to have the freedom to go anywhere we want and not have to find someone to drive us. AND – I DROVE IT TOO!! We found a street that wasn’t too busy and Adam taught me how to drive it. It’s actually not that hard! I got the hang of it in a second and was riding all over the street. Now I just need to get brave enough to take it out on a busier street.
On the top floor of ECNX, there is a huge flat that a man from Spain is renting out for 2 months. He doesn’t speak much English so I think it was nice for him to meet someone that could speak Spanish with him. Well i use the word speak loosely here. But I understand maybe about 50% of what he is saying and he can maybe understand about 50% of the Spanish gibberish that comes out of my mouth. So it works out. We watched the Spain-Germany football game with him a few nights ago and he was so stoked for the Spanish win it was hysterical. He also really likes to dance. So picture a little Spanish man jumping up and dancing for the Spanish football team. Fantastic. It is also one of the funniest things to watch Jihad and him (his name is Perfecto) communicate because they basically just talk at each other and then laugh. Its a wonderful relationship.
Ok, if you have actually read this whole, long blog, i commend you for sticking with it. But hopefully this really nerdy video of me riding the motorcycle makes it all worth it.