Monday, May 16, 2011

Cheesecake and the Ambassador

The American Women's Club of Lagos hosted a luncheon to celebrate Women's History Month and invited the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria along with many other dignitaries.  
The Civic Center was decorated in American and Nigerian Flags -
a combo of red, white, blue and green.  Small flags were on every table and each guest received a small pin with both flags represented.
My job was protocol, which had to be the best job ever.  I was in charge of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.   I was briefed by the security team before the Ambassador arrived by boat and then met him on the dock along with the US Consul General and the Vice Consul.  What a priviledge!  The Ambassador flew in from the capital, Abuja, just for this event.  We did a 'meet and greet' in the boat house with other dignitaries of Nigeria and I was able to meet them all.  I don't have pictures in the boat house for obvious reasons, but I would have loved to snap a few close ups!  I didn't think it was appropriate for the protocol person to ask them to pose!   
However, we were allowed to take pictures during the speeches, which was nice. 
The Ambassador explained his role of diplomacy and answered the audience's questions. 
The Consul General also spoke briefly and it was interesting to learn more about their duties.  When asked about their biggest challenges, they talked about local content (more jobs for locals and less for foreigners) and the work they do to promote US business interests in Nigeria.  
The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan) was scheduled to attend, but was unable to come at the last minute.  However, the wife of the Nigerian Speaker of the House gave a welcome and sent greetings from the President's office in her place.  I love her colorful national attire. 
Her Excellency, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan (Deputy Governor of Lagos State) also attended. 
 These two ladies were also dressed beautifully. 
I'm not sure who they are, but they sure looked pretty!   :) 
The person that I most enjoyed meeting was Chief (Mrs.) Oluremi Tinubu (in the yellow skirt and head tie), who is the recently elected state senator from Lagos and the past first lady of Lagos State.  She was so personable and we had an enjoyable conversation.  I was able to be her "protocol' representative on the way out and she gave me a big hug at the door.  She invited me to visit at her home anytime, so you just never know when I might drop in!  :) Her husband is very well known as the ex-governor of Lagos state and currently the head of one of the major political parties in Nigeria.   I pass their house daily and it is always crowded with poor and sick people who are asking for help.  They always provide for them and they are loved by the people here. 

  The lady in red is the wife of the Consul General, Kathleen Stafford.  She is so gracious and hospitable and is perfect for the role!  She hosted a table full of other consulate's wives from France, Sweden, Egypt, Italy, Lebanon and Spain.  

The lady with the short hair is Nike (knee - K) who is a prominent artist in Lagos.  She had heartfelt words of gratitude for the ladies of the American Women's Club since they have supported her work through the years, bringing her from poverty to success. 

The lunch was certainly inspirational and I enjoyed being right in the middle of the action!   And....we had CHEESECAKE, which is big treat in Lagos.   Since a 4 oz block of cream cheese here runs over $10 US, we don't get this often, so I enjoyed every bite!  Other than the dignitaries, I think that the cheesecake should have been top billing!

1 comment:

Diana said...

Wonderful pictures and documentation of the event. Thanks for sharing!!