As I contemplate travelling to my home country Nigeria this December, I cannot help but contemplate on the bittersweet experiences I have had in the hustle and bustle of the Lagos metropolis. The food, the noisy crowds, the transportation system, the erratic power supply, which no Nigerian ever forgets, and the struggle to make a substantial living are facets of a Lagosian’s life. Sometimes, it seems like it may be difficult to adjust to life in Eko after a fifteen month sojourn in the United States, which brings me to the reasons why I want to go home.
With the passing of each day in the American city I reside in, I can’t help but notice that I am a very exotic fish in this sea of people. The questions just do not stop pouring in. What kind of meat do you eat in your country? What kind of pets do your country men keep in their homes? You see, I move with friends that are very deliberate about their choice of words, so they try to keep away from the “popular” questions that range from do you have naked people that still climb in Africa and do you live in the wild with lions and tigers at your beck and call?
I remember the first time I attempted to answer “the meat question.” It went like this: “We consume different types of meat from the cow, goat, dog, snails…” My list halted when I saw the expressions on my friends’ faces, so I decided to focus on the cow, which was a huge mistake. I went on to describe the tastes of Pomo, “Shaki”, “Fuku”, “Roundabout”. My response was covered with a blanket of silence as everyone seemingly turned to what they were doing prior to my bizarre revelation. I sought to redeem my carnivorous image by searching through the internet for the “common scientific” names of these meats and I shared this new piece of information with them, but the damage had already been done. I briefly chuckled to myself as I considered the thought of telling them about the “Isi-Ewu” and “Nkwobi”, joints in Nigeria, but I decided to spare them the part two of my “horror” tales.
I have greatly digressed, which is a usual occurrence for me. Nostalgia tugs at my heart as I recall hopping in and out of the red and blue BRT buses to commute from the mainland to the island and vice-versa. Scenes of the irrational CMS bus conductor harassing women, men, and children for 20 naira keep replaying in my head as I reflect on those lazy days that I refused to take the 10-minute walk from City Mall, Onikan to the US Educational Advising Center. Sometimes, it feels like I am losing my hustling spirit, but do not get me wrong for things do not go smoothly here. However, nothing compares to Lagos atmosphere.
Definitely, there will be many changes in Lagos when I return and I hope on a positive note. Also, I will return a changed person who is eager to learn more about my surroundings and the people who occupy them. Don’t be surprised if you see me armed with my notepad and pen at every passing second (except when I’m asleep), taking notes about the types of meat Nigerians eat and adequate answers backed with evidence for whatever question I may be asked when I return from my December homecoming.
(Image via LindaIkeji’s Blog)