Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adventures In Nigeria

Welcome To Nigeria

The airport:

As was mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to revisit Nigeria for two weeks, it was definitely an eye opening experience filled with interesting conversations and multiple adventures.  I hope to share some of my moments with you for the next month or so.

I arrived at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos on a Nigerian Saturday evening.  I had spent quite a pleasant flight with a Nigerian married man with a ring on his finger who wasn’t averse to flirting while sharing stories of his sons in South Africa.  That was interesting considering that I was left with the impression that if I was open to it, I could be his run girl for the duration of his trip in Nigeria.  Fascinating.  We got off the plane and passed through a  partition in which the  air conditioner was working which was deceptive considering that Nigeria and particularly the city that the airport is located is notorious for its non functional PHCN facility that often runs with the aid of generators.

At first, I was in shock at the fact that the AC was actually working, this shock was reflected in the faces of fellow Nigerians entering that partition while those who did not have any fears of sharing, definitely spoke about how that area was last year, with its leaking roof and its bucket below to collect water.    I kept quiet wondering if Nigeria had decided to step up to its place on the continent and have working amenities like its counterparts with less revenue. Alas, it was just a dream, as we entered into the border control part of immigration where we were greeted with hot air, no fan and a welcome to Nigeria  sign that definitely welcomed us in.

Passing through border controls was very organized and the workers were very pleasant.  They went out of their way to actually welcome you into the country and it was time to get our boxes.  Since, I did not have any Nigerian currency with me, my dear plane friend was kind enough to pay for the trolley which was a sign of the generosity that many Nigerians in the Diasporas are known for.  Our suitcases took a while coming in but it eventually did and it was time to go to where our family members were waiting for us.

On my way over, I was stopped by a lady in what seemed to be a military attire, she asked me to give her ‘something’ considering I had  two big boxes, a carry on and my handbag.    I had nothing to give her, I mentioned that the boxes had toys for children and suspecting that she could be a mother, I mentioned that little children were all waiting for their toys.  She instantly forgot the boxes and asked for ‘something’ else...I mentioned that all I had was my 50 naira change and I could give that to her.  She did not want that but she eventually let me go through.   I had some help getting my boxes outside to where my family was waiting.  

Again, I saw the blatant disregard for our currency from the person who helped to push the trolley who wasn’t interested in receiving Nigerian money which was equivalent but rather begged for foreign currency. 

I got home to a black out.  Welcome to Nigeria.

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