Things have been busy of late, so I haven't been blogging much. That’s what New Years' Resolutions are for though! I've been in two countries since the Seychelles and am just preparing for my next (Sudan).
To finish my description of Lagos, I said I would give more details about my job as Vice Consul. This meant passport issuing and helping British nationals in Nigeria. Part of passport issuing was determining claims to British nationality for Nigerian citizens. This was pretty complex, depending on where and when they were born, their parents' and sometimes grandparents’ nationalities, amongst other factors.
Consular work is one of the most publicly visible things that the FCO does. Unfortunately, we sometimes meet our customers during the worst time of their lives. For example, my colleagues were dealing with a recent and sudden death, as well as the kidnapping of British citizens working in the oil-rich Niger Delta in the south. This was my first opportunity to do a purely consular role and draw on the vast experience of others.
The British Deputy High Commission Lagos, to give it its full title, also deals with important trade relations between the UK and Nigeria and has a huge visa operation, one of the largest we have in the world. Despite the difficulties of the environment in which staff were working, the fact that so many people I spoke to had extended their postings showed how stimulating they found it. And where else would you see a naked guy cartwheeling into the morning traffic?!
I'm writing this blog in Georgetown, Guyana, having arrived a few weeks ago from Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad & Tobago. Neither of these places was as I'd imagined beforehand and I have learned a fair bit about them in a short time.