When many people leave the shores of Nigeria, you hear them spewing curses on Nigeria when they suddenly have a paradigm shift, experiencing how things efficiently work in other countries. Yes, we all have those scales of mediocrity fallen off our eyes and we can’t wait to say ‘tufiakwa‘ at some thoughts of things going on in our country. That said, it is still our country. I’ve always been patriotic but some things just weigh me down, still I believe Nigeria can be great. As we approach the independence day, I can’t help but itemize a lot of things I miss about the country which we have taken for granted. This is picked out from my experience in Saudi Arabia and Grenada, so if you are in a country where the Nigerian community is massive, you might not really feel the extent of my pain. As usual my posts can be a satire or on a lighthearted note while dishing out truths so don’t be too serious reading this. Just relax! So here are some things I think we take for granted:
- Walking casually into a Hair Salon or Nail Salon: Okay, for me this is a big deal. In Saudi Arabia, I remember how I toured round the district just to get a hair relaxer, then went through another puzzle to get a salon to straighten my hair. With the conservative rules and all, I lost hope just visiting one. From dark frosted glasses for privacy, to women-only restriction, I didn’t want to imagine how cult-ish it would look. So I ended up always straightening my hair and it just wasn’t a good experience. Getting to the Caribbean life, I found out it is so expensive to do hair here in Grenada. Its equivalent in Naira is about 12,000 Naira. That what na?! Their techniques are undeniably great, my hair felt like butter after a hair appointment. They really care for the hair…. but 12k?! I just started thinking about how easily we got our hair relaxed in Nigeria at most; 1000 Naira. Fixing weave extensions are even worse, an equivalent of 25,000 Naira and this is without the weave. Hian!!! Can I pack this money and put in ‘brown envelope’ and give my Mama that will bless me, please. Thank God for wigs. Next time in Nigeria, they ask you to pay 2,500 Naira to fix your weaves, don’t just argue. Give it happily and buy them snacks on top (If they are nice). For nails, you have to book an appointment here. I just started missing all the ‘Chichi’ and ‘Nkechi’ that will just do my nails in a heartbeat.
- Our Distinct Taste Of Home Food: If you live in the UK, especially London, this might not affect you because Peckham’s got your back but on this side of the planet, I’m beginning to hallucinate and all I see is Naija food. If you read my previous post you would know that this is a big deal for me. I’m all open with my adventurous tastebuds, however when you substitute Ugwu leaves with Spinach, that’s how the journey of deviating from home taste starts. I’ve looked for Waterleaf and I bought something that looked like it, let’s just say, that won’t happen again. Before I came here, I decided to have a lonesome lunch at Jevinik Restaurant in Port Harcourt. I never finish their meal but that day, I took it upon myself and finished the Eba and bitterleaf soup placed before me. How I drove back home so stuffed was a miracle but I did that to satisfy my tastebuds one last time. Well, the taste has elapsed and I need more Naija food. Nigerian food doesn’t come so frequently here and it’s also expensive. I know the next time I visit, I will just stand in the middle of Creekroad Market Port Harcourt, twirling and smiling (with Handel Messiah’s Hallelujah playing in the background) as I see my Ugwu, Waterleaf, Ukazi, Uziza, Dried Fish. Chai!!! I’m crying here.
- Our Weather: I hear it’s been raining a whole lot in Nigeria but if you compare it to what’s going on around the world, I’d take the rains anyday. It’s supposed to be the rainy season this period in the Caribbean but all I see is Sun from dusk to dawn. This sun is not funny. It is super hot. I feel the Caribbean just has a seat closest to the sun. Then when it rains, it is unpredictable. We’ve had several hurricane warnings and I can’t help but see how blessed the Nigerian Climate is. Nigeria does not have natural disasters just man-made ones. Lol. Naija is indeed lucky.
- Our Nollywood Industry: I’m telling you if ‘Aki and Pawpaw’ step into this island, there would be pandemonium. This is how much they love and watch Nigerian movies. They appreciate even the old nollywood movies that we dare not watch for its poor quality. One guy told me here that I reminded him of one of the ladies in “Blood Sisters”. He was referring to Omotola. The movie she acted with Genevieve Nnaji. I took that as a compliment. Call any movie you can remember, they have watched it Part 1,Part 2…Part 10. Lol. They have even watched those that you’ve not seen. Mostly old nollywood movies though. It reminds me of how we loved Indian movies those days.
- Our Music Industry: A lot of our indigenous musicians (even budding musicians) don’t get deserving accolades but trust me, in Grenada, every shop, Van, Mall etc is blasting a Nigerian song almost every time I pass by. The sense of pride that takes over me when ever I hear it, makes me want to dance at the spot. Sometimes, I just go and tell them they are playing my country’s song. Ask me the name, I don’t know. If I was in Naija, I might not even care about it but hearing it blast through the speakers just makes it golden. Nigerian Gospel Singer, Sinach, is so heralded here. Everyone sings her songs and when she came to perform Live in Grenada, the roar from the stadium was unbelievable. I was like, “See our Osinachi o!”
- Our Accent: Just the way, we love other people’s accents and want to toss our accent at every chance we get, that’s how they marvel at ours and want to talk like us. They say it’s beautiful. Awww, tainkyo! *batting eyes*. So the next time you want to ‘ashwree ashwree‘, you are doing that at your own risk. What you have, others want.
I know a lot of things ain’t going right yet with our country but also know that other countries have their own demons. There are things that are golden that you can’t take away from Nigeria; the richness in culture, the happy people, the style and cuisine. I wish and profess good things for Naija and you should too. So here are some few areas I know we take for granted in Nigeria. Do you know of any? Please share at the comment section.
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