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19 Things I Learned In Nigeria - Travel - Nairaland

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19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 5:52am On Feb 13
This was really interesting read and kinda Funny lol.

Source is from waitbitwhy.com
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 5:53am On Feb 13
There’s not really a more jarring travel experience than spending two weeks getting used to being in Japan and then going immediately to Nigeria. They’re opposite places in almost every way places can be opposite. Even as I was checking my bag at the Tokyo airport, the woman saw where I was going and looked at me like, “Seriously though what’s your problem?”

I don’t know what my problem is. But I had apparently decided to leave the world’s most pristine, orderly, safe place to go to a place that was not those three adjectives, and there I suddenly was, standing in the middle of Africa’s biggest city, trying to not die.

But we’ll come back to my situation in a minute—let’s first get oriented on Nigeria.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 5:59am On Feb 13
being sibling #10 of the Adebayo Family

Before we get into what I learned in Nigeria, here’s who I learned most of it from—

The best way to learn about a foreign place is to get to know locals, and I got lucky in Nigeria. Through a friend, I was put in touch with a 31-year-old Nigerian guy named Femi, who offered to pick me up at the airport when I arrived. This turned into Femi taking me under his wing for almost the entire trip, showing me around Lagos, having me over to his apartment, sending me with his brothers to stay for half a week with their mom at their childhood home, introducing me to a bunch of other locals, and answering my roughly 12,000 questions about life in Nigeria. Convenient.

I stayed with different members of the family during the trip and got to know a few of them pretty well—it’s a mom and her nine kids, who range from the ages of nine[1] to 32. After growing up in a tiny village, four of the siblings now live together in a small one-bedroom apartment in Lagos, and three others live in the smaller town of Ife with their mom in a one-room apartment. Both apartments are paid for by Femi, the second oldest sibling and the oldest guy. He was getting ready to start college when their dad got sick and died at a young age. Femi dropped his plans and started working as a professional driver to support the family, something he’s still doing a decade later, and his siblings say he’s like a dad to all of them.

And because it happens to be a ridiculously hospitable family, I just stepped my ass right in as their 10th and least useful sibling, which gave me a much better insight into life there than I normally would have gotten. Here’s what I learned along the way:

19 Things I Learned While I Was There

1) Nigerian children like to express the shit out of themselves on the airplane.

2) Just because two people are fluent in the same language doesn’t mean they can easily communicate. As a former British colony, Nigeria’s official national language is English. In reality, most people’s first language is their local Nigerian language and English is a second language they’re often fluent in but sometimes not as comfortable speaking. And many less educated Nigerians don’t speak English at all.

Femi and his siblings speak fluent English but with such a different accent to mine that sometimes when they’d speak, I wouldn’t be sure if they were speaking their Nigerian language (Yoruba) to each other, or English to me, and I’d have a little panic while trying to figure it out.

4) The country’s power goes out 10 times a day on average. Which means it happened over 100 times just in my visit. The first few times it happened it jarred the shit out of me, and I’d be like “Oh would ya look at that!” before realizing that it’s really lame to make a big deal about it and what everyone else does is just continue the conversation without any acknowledgment of the situation. If you were lucky enough to be in a hotel or restaurant, a generator would bring the power back within a few minutes. But when I was in Femi’s or his mom’s apartment, the power would often stay out for hours. No one knows how long power outages will last—they can be as short as 30 seconds and as long as three days.

So there were a number of times I’d spend a full night in a room with six people, eating dinner and talking for hours, and the entire time we’d be in the dark without being able to see each other’s faces (this was fine until I tried to play with a two-year-old sitting near me before I realized that her hand was intensely liquidy with I’m not sure what and I had no way to wipe my hand off and then had to continue eating my meal with my hands, which is the traditional way to eat there).

The power issue makes most Nigerians seethe, given that they believe the government has more than enough wealth to fix the problem.

While we’re here, another infrastructure debacle that got some angry eye rolls from the people I met is the condition of the highways. On a drive from Lagos to nearby city Ibadan, a 10-mile stretch of road took us about four hours to get past because the amount of cracks and potholes in the road created utter gridlock.[2] Amusingly, a stretch of gridlock is called a “go-slow” in Nigeria, and part of a Nigerian go-slow is utter lawlessness, as cars do insane things like drive over the median and weave around cars going in the opposite direction to speed up their drive. To spice things up, apparently police officers sometimes come walking through the gridlock and mug people—I was told to keep my phone out of sight for this reason. I offered a glimpse of a few go-slows at 2:42 in the
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 6:02am On Feb 13
It turns out that being white is a conspicuous quality in Nigeria.
At one point on a car ride, I saw this written on the truck in front of us:


There was that word again. Oyinbo. I had assumed it was a slang way of saying a friendly “hello,” since that was what people on the street kept saying to me as I walked by. To confirm, I asked people in the car with me what it meant. They smiled. “It means white man.”

Well would ya look at that.

I thought about it and realized that since leaving the airport days earlier, I had not seen even one other white person.

And I sensed that the more rural a place we were in, the more surprised people were to see me. In small towns or villages, when someone would see me walk by, they’d look at me, then look away, then do a sudden double-take and with wide eyes and big smile, they’d get the attention of the other people with them and then they’d all look at me with wide eyes and big smiles—delighted and amused at the rare sighting.

I’m sure with a history of European occupation, race is as complicated an issue in Nigeria as it is anywhere else, but as far as my own experience there, I sensed no negativity at all—only exceptional friendliness—including the roughly 2,500 times someone called me oyinbo during the trip, which never came across as carrying any hostility.

(Quick pause for experienced Sub-Saharan Africa travelers to patronizingly pat me on the head.)

One other funny thing that kept happening is kids would regularly study my hand or arm or touch (or pull) my hair, which Femi’s brother explained was because they probably hadn’t ever seen a white person up close before. Here’s an example—and I’m not sure why my arm looks like a corpse’s arm either so don’t ask:

Read the rest on his Site here -

Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by Shibaraba(m): 6:12am On Feb 13
Go and read the rest yourself. Even csc501 handout that year no plenty like this

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Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by good4all40: 6:48am On Feb 13
Instead of you to put everything here so that this beautiful epistle will be moved to the promise land (front page), you are here directing us to another link.

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Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 8:36pm On Feb 14
Instead of you to put everything here so that this beautiful epistle will be moved to the promise land (front page), you are here directing us to another link.
my brother that work long oh, and i dont have a smart phone. You may finish it yourself too, with the pics and everything you know, Nothing bad in that. smiley Let's give the brother some traffic too wink
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by 1Sharon(f): 11:03pm On Feb 14
Lol at the oyinbo part
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:23am On Feb 25
Lol at the oyinbo part
Yh he was very Gentle on Nigeria IMO
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:26am On Feb 25
(6) A guy I met told me that he had no full siblings but over 20 half siblings because his father has seven wives.
I just needed to tell you
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:27am On Feb 25
Nigeria is not a good place to be gay.
In January 2014, President Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which jails people for 14 years for gay marriage and 10 years for “other violations of the law.” And if you keep quiet about your friend being gay, that can get you 5 years of jail time. As soon as the law was passed, the police started arresting people.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:28am On Feb 25
cool A baby’s arm can also serve as a handle.
I kept seeing people pick up a baby or toddler by the arm and displace it to a new location in that manner. This didn’t appear to hurt or bother the child at all and is both hilarious and practical. I’ll be adopting this practice for all future dealings with children.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:29am On Feb 25
9) A lot of people think President Goodluck Jonathan is stupid and blame him for allowing terrorist group Boko Haram to wreak such havoc.
Boko Haram is a militant Islamist terrorist group that has been killing and kidnapping throughout Northern Nigeria for the last five years, killing over 2,000 civilians already in 2014. Their name is oddly specific, meaning “Western education is forbidden,” their goal is to turn Nigeria into a hard-line Islamic state, and their leader wants to kill a lot of people. You probably remember hearing a lot about them when they kidnapped over 200 school girls in April, before the news got bored and moved on to other things.

As for the president, A) I learned that Goodluck and Jonathan are both a common first and last name in Nigeria, respectively, and B) He’s a Lyndon Johnson—i.e. he was the vice president but after the president died he took over, and has since won election, and the people I talked to think the original president would have done a lot better at dealing with Boko Haram.

And while we’re making overarching statements about Nigeria based on a tiny sample size of personal opinions I encountered…
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:31am On Feb 25
10) A lot of people think that most of Nigeria’s super-wealthy are selfish, greedy, and far more interested in protecting the status quo and their elite position than in improving the country’s future, and this is disastrous because they have great sway over the corrupt government’s policies.
Yeah yeah I know, this is exactly the problem with your country too—but something tells me your country’s corruption/inequality issues are less extreme than Nigeria’s
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:32am On Feb 25
11) Nigeria has a prolific film industry called Nollywood.
Nollywood puts out two hundred movies a week, topping the output of Hollywood and coming in second only to Bollywood.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:33am On Feb 25
12) Education is revered in Nigeria
Education being revered is a pretty universal concept, but it’s especially valued in Nigeria. One piece of evidence for this is the 2006 US census finding Nigerians living in the US to be “the highest educated ethnic or racial group in the country,” with 17% having a master’s degree or higher.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:34am On Feb 25
13) Left hands are taboo.
Given that I’ve encountered this exact taboo multiple times before in the Middle East and Asia, you’d think I’d have it down by now, but I messed up at least five times by doing things like touching my food with my left hand or handing something to a person using my left hand, getting scolded for doing so each time. The idea is that people there use their left hand for all things dirty, and the right hand is kept clean for things where cleanliness matters. And after spending a four-day stretch in a rural area with no access to soap of any kind, I understood why this wasn’t just for the hell of it—it was an important health practice.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:35am On Feb 25
14) Men holding hands with their male friends is not taboo.
A product of the American system of taboos, I was jarred when I was walking alongside Femi and he started holding my hand. And I’m not talking about the milder mitten-hand grasping position—this was the full interlocking fingers position. In my experience, the mitten-hand position is mainly for dating couples and parents/kids with maybe a few other applications, but the full finger interlock is only for seriously dating couples. I finally gathered the guts to ask Femi about this, and he told me it was a very normal thing to do with your friends. Later, his brother would do the same thing to me. This time I was prepared and just got into it because Bleep it, I’m in Nigeria and we’re holding hands and this is what’s happening.
Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:38am On Feb 25
The Only thing You Actually need to play ping pong is a ping pong ball

Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:41am On Feb 25
You Can Fit up to 20 Chickens om top of your Car if you ever need to

Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:43am On Feb 25
Framing this Baby's Face with a Cloth is a Fun Activity

Re: 19 Things I Learned In Nigeria by oboy81: 1:47am On Feb 25
18) When it comes to corruption and scamminess, Nigeria has a bad reputation for a good reason. For its entire modern existence, Nigeria has had a problem with crookedness, and it spans from the top to the bottom of society:

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