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Racism, Misogyny, and a Cobra in the Bath

  After we left the Middle East, scouting round for something else to do, my husband met a man who owned a small civil engineering consultancy in West Africa, nominally fronted by a Ghanaian with political connections. Chris was offered a job in charge of their office in Accra, with oversight of contracts in Nigeria as well. If he was successful, he would be offered a partnership. He relished the opportunity to work for himself and Africa sounded very attractive. But the position was conditional on his wife’s social suitability, as the job would entail a lot of entertaining. I had to be vetted.      I left the children with a baby-sitter and went to London for this ordeal by misogyny. We were taken out to a high-end restaurant for a meal. I wore a yellow silk shift dress I’d made myself – very simple but displaying an intricate gold collar necklace that had come from the jewellery suekh in Dubai, courtesy of one of the Sheikhs. My apparent metamorphosis from gawky girl to young

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