So dusty you can taste it

I think I’ve swallowed half of the Sahara since I arrived in Kano in northern Nigeria on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the harmattan haze. Fine sand and dust hangs thick in the air over the city along with air pollution. Poor visibility led to my flight on Saturday being diverted back to Abuja, then a few hours at the Sheraton Hotel before boarding a bus for a Nollywood film filled trip to Kano.

So, how about a thirst quencher after taking 32 hours to reach Kano from Bonn? Well no, my hotel is dry. Kano is the capital of a sharia state in Nigeria. Alcohol I’m told is available in some bars within the small Christian Sabon Gari quarter. No problem, I’m not groaning yet. I’m taking comfort in the Lebanese style coffee that my hotel does serve.

I’m in Kano with a colleague from Deutsche Welle training Nigerian radio journalists. It’s a diverse group drawn from both private and public radio stations and includes journalists from nearby Jos and Bauchi – cities that have recently experienced violent political and religious tensions.

I hope we have time to explore Kano. It’s a city steeped in history lying at the crossroads of medieval trade routes. I’m also on the look out for the book Across the Sahara by Sir Hanns Vischer – the first education officer in Northern Nigeria during the British colonial era. Vischer completed an epic journey from Tripoli to Bornu in 1906.