“After 30 hours of traveling I took my first step in Nigeria at the end of July 2013. I was warned about people in the airport, especially the immigration officials, but nothing mentionable happened. On the contrary, after my first encounters with Nigerian people I was astonished of the kindness and helpful attitude, which everybody seemed to share”
I traveled with another student from Finland, but he is a Nigerian so obviously he made things a lot easier for me, but still hospitality was really touching! I didn’t really get a look of Lagos before we traveled the following day to our destination: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. First couple of days I also got to know a person who highly influenced my stay positively in Nigeria: a Masters Student called Dewunmi quickly became one of my best friends and really made effort to make my stay more pleasant. Don’t get me wrong, all the people really helped me with everything and I still feel I couldn’t really express my gratitude to everybody but maybe this text reaches out to all those people! But Dewunmi was really an amazing person; I actually envy him for being so productive, open-minded, clever and passionate towards life: he was the first person to show the true nature of Nigeria
I settled down more quickly than I thought, ASUU was on strike and that created some challenges for my studies but at this point I can say that it didn’t have a bad impact on my stay. Few weeks passed and I got used to the weather and cultural differences: I totally fell in love with the nature, which to me was breathtaking. You Nigerian people are lucky to have surroundings like that every day! Finnish people are shy and I consider myself as a quiet person, who really needs time to make real, actual friends – and because of what I had heard about Nigerian people I thought it would be almost impossible to make trustworthy friends within three months… How wrong I was! Young people of Nigeria generally turned out to be the friendliest, most honest and helpful bunch of people I have ever encountered! I don’t know how long text I’m going to write, but if I’d start to list all amazing people who made my stay in Nigeria the best experience of my life, it would probably make this text so long that I could finish writing around the end of this year.
Of course some people became closer than others, I’m planning to keep in touch with these people and hopefully we’ll see again soon enough. Luckily this more global world provides the tools for us stay in touch! And yes… I also fell in love, not just to Nigeria but also to a Nigerian girl. I met really wonderful girls throughout my stay, which caused people to insist that I should marry a Nigerian… Eventually I met this amazing Idoma-girl. She’s another good reason for me to come back to Nigeria as soon as possible! My apologies to Yoruba-people, I learned your culture and even little bit of language, but it looks like my future wife won’t be Yoruba after all – but if it’s up to me, she will be a Nigerian!
Like I wrote earlier, there are not many resemblances between Finland and Nigeria so I was a bit concerned how I would cope with all the cultural differences – my concerns were proven ridiculous. It took time for me to learn things, but once I did I was able get even better experiences of Nigerian culture, coming mainly from Yoruba-people. I think your own cultural features are amazing and very fascinating: I hope from all my heart that you Nigerian people won’t forget your culture and its aspects! Keep them with you wherever you go and whatever happens in your country. We Finnish people have lost some of our national identity; don’t let that happen to you.
I found it unbelievable how happy Nigerians were no matter what was going on, but sincerely I’ve never seen so happy people in my life. Somebody could become a millionaire if the secret of that attitude you have towards life could be bottled! Personally I believe that your healthy and functioning social relations mixed up with your faith is the origin of the happy and out-going mentality Nigerian’s have. I hope that when Nigeria builds the infrastructure like we have in Europe, it doesn’t affect on your mentality because it seems to me that more easy life becomes, the more immoral people will turn out. By the way, I found my spiritual side in Nigeria too: the way you cherish your faith is amazing! But I still won’t dance at church, the people in God’s Love Tabernacle International Church possibly noticed… Also I’m really grateful that I was able to attend a total of four Yoruba weddings and I saw how marriage is still a big deal in Nigeria – I feel ashamed of my country that this institution has lost its meaning here in Finland. But no worries for me, I’m going to marry a Nigerian!
- Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa:Official visit to the US, July 25-28 1961
- A Finn’s Perspective of Nigeria (Beautiful Place, Beautiful People) PT.3
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- A Finn’s Perspective of Nigeria (Beautiful Place, Beautiful People) PT.1
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Dewunmi tweet feed