Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 6° 27' North- Lagos, Nigeria

Hello Harmattan!


This is a view of Lagos this afternoon.  That isn’t rain or fog.  That, my friends, is the Harmattan.  We’ve been told that it was coming many times, and today it arrived.  Every year the trade winds shift about this time of year, and a strong dry northeasterly blows down over the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea.  It brings with it very fine dust from the Sahara.   At times, the dust is so bad that airports unable to operate safely.  My first impression is that it is nice for the humidity to drop for a little while!

For contrast, here is a view of a sunset taken from the same spot a few months ago.


  1. Great blog about your experiences. There is a chance that my family and I will have the opportunity to work in Lagos at the Consulate. What are your impressions about the schools in Lagos (AIS?)? If i were to get the position, my kids would be entering 6th grade (boy) and 11th (girl) after we report. We are up for an adventure, but school and safety are concerns. Any insight you can provide would be appreciated!! Thanks – Cal

    • The schools in Lagos seem good overall.Almost everyone attends AISL a few attend the French school. We have had a a bit of an adjustment just getting used to the International school system (I think they give too much homework) and school in general as my children were homeschooled prior to this post.The school tests very well academically. I would say that over all people love the school. Many families extend because of it. The facility is old, but they are building a new one. The class sizes are small but large enough to offer experiences for the kids. My 2nd grader has 15 students in his class(there are 3 other classes),3 classes of 20 in the 5th grade, and 40 students in the 9th grade. The high school is smaller. I believe there are 30 seniors graduating this year. It is an IB program. I think the size is perfect. They are all on the same campus so my kids can see each other during the day and it makes it convenient for events I want to attend. They offer Spanish and French beginning in Kindergarten and add Arabic at the high school level. Grades 5 and up have guitar or band if desired. They have a good art and music program for all grades and really emphasize it. Grades 7 and up are required to bring their own laptop to school every day. Good sport teams- swimming, basketball, soccer, volleyball and I think baseball. No track. Their after school programs are amazing. Elementary and middle school offer about 20 different after school activities from art to gymnastics, fencing, chess, soccer, cooking, drama etc. Pretty much anything you can imagine. They are very affordable compared to the US, about $5 each day you attend.You could never do fencing or gymnastics in the states for $20 a month. If you have a child really involved in one activity they can choose to take it multiple days. High school also offers activities but most of the time the teens have settled into their sport or club of choice by that point. There are volunteer organizations, young UN, art, drama, music and sports. My boys also attend Boy Scouts and have private music instruction. You really can find just about anything here. The school bus returns every half an hour to pick up kids from after school activities and keeps doing so until they are all home which means parents aren’t stuck in traffic picking up kids. It is a dream! I feel like they are very very safe. I won’t go into details here but even with a parent pass it is a multi step process to enter the school. It can get annoying actually but I understand why they do it.Really my only complaint is they don’t love parents hanging out on campus, once again security. So sitting in on a students class would be difficult. The teachers have been great and responsive to my questions. Sometimes communication from administration is lacking about school events but they are improving. It is a long day school from 7:30-3. They don’t offer any special accommodations if your child has an IEP so because of that there are some families that have to home school. None of the schools here will take those students. Over all my kids are very happy we just had some growing pains getting used to all the change.

  2. Thank you for your detailed reply – its great to learn more from someone who is actually there right now. Sounds like there are plenty of opportunities at AISL in terms of languages, the arts, and sports – which is what we would look for. Again – thank you for the insight, its been very informative and helpful.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.