Saturday, December 25, 2010

This time of year...

Whew! Finally have a chance to get my fingers to a keyboard..... Happy Christmas Eve everyone, and Merry Christmas in advance. It's been a busy few days, but some happy ones.

On Monday I took my last test EVER as an undergraduate student..... WOOO HOO!!!!

Tuesday, December 21st marked my one year bloggiversary.... One year bloggin', oh yeah! I remember how my journey to becoming a blogger all started....

It was 2008 and I was in the beginning stages of my self-imposed Naija discovery. Mostly I was Youtubin' it up on all the latest and greatest Naija tunes. I took a particular liking to Faze. The first song I heard by him was 'Need Somebody' and I was from then on hooked on the dude. Lol. I loved the reggae beat, the the storyline of the video, and Faze isn't hard to look at either, quite a handsome fellow. Hahahaha....

So I began listening to all-things-Faze and I eventually cam upon 'Letter to my Brother.' In the beginning he uses the phrase "Khaki no be leather." Though I know now that it means that something fake can't be compared to the real thing, I was puzzled at the time. After spending some time trying to figure it out (months, I think), I typed the phrase into Google and found exactly what I was looking for.

A blog post titled "Khaki no be leather" was one of the Google results. I clicked on it and found what has now become my favorite blog: Good Nigerian Girl  , or Good Naija Girl as she's now called. The blog post explained exactly what I wanted to know, but after that stayed around to read her other posts and I found myself tickled, smiling and literally laughing out loud. Good Naija Girl so eloquently writes about experiences that many Naija girls raised outside Nigeria share. I could relate to many of the things she wrote and I kept coming back to read about what she was saying.

When I was getting ready to start my blog, I emailed her to let her know I had been stalking her for over a year ( Lol) and that she was my inspiration to start blogging. She responded to my email and was so friendly. Now I consider her my big sister in blogging. :)

A couple weeks ago Good Naija Girl held a contest on her blog: the first 15 people to request would get a specially-made Christmas card from her in the mail. I got mine two days ago. Thanks GNG!

Lovely, isn't it? The message inside is just as nice. :)

Well, I've done all my shopping and wrapped all the gifts I bought (unlike last year when I was up 'till 4am wrapping). I've written the blog I've been itching to write for the last few days and my sisters are over here joking that Santa Clause is coming.... Lol. It seems to be Christmas. Which means there's nothing left to do but to wish you all a Merry Christmas. God bless you and your families. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

9 Things I learned outside the classroom

We've all heard that you can't learn everything in a classroom. Things you learn outside of the classroom can be just as important, sometimes even more so. Now that I'm done with undergrad (almost, still got two tests; go figure! o_O) I realize that there were plenty of things I learned outside of class that I consider valuable:

How to parallel park
It's funny, because I almost failed my road test because of parallel parking. But during freshman year of college, I learned how to parallel park BY FORCE! Hahaha....At my school parking is crazy expensive. I'm talking $3 a day or $200 a semester for a parking pass. Highway robbery! Lol. After my first few months of paying for parking daily (it was $2.25 then) I saw cars parking for free on some side streets and I joined them. I remember the first day I parallel parked. I texted my best friend, I was so excited. Lol. You have to walk farther to the main buildings on campus, but it saved me a lot of money. And built some necessary exercise into my routine. Lol.

How to speak pidgin English
I just dey listen to my friends wey dey for this place. And e get many videos for Youtube wey I just watch and pick am small small. :)

A ton of gospel songs
Freshman year I was part of my school's gospel choir. Drama in the ranks was my main motivation for leaving, although I still sing in my church choir.

I've learned how to get all over the place in Michigan without getting lost. A trait inherited from my dad. Lol.

A few words in Creole
Courtesy of my trip to Haiti.

How to function when my emotions are out of whack
Sometimes I really question my stability because of the range of emotions that I can experience in a short period of time. Lol. But I'm always able to pull it together and do what I gotta do. Usually. :)

What my real values are
I've had opportunities to do things that would have benefited me, but would've been wrong. I've also been in situations that really tested my beliefs and values. I'm glad to say that I came out of them with my integrity intact.

The value of real friends
There's people you know will always be there for you. To me, that's the definition of a real friend.

That God will always come through
I've learned that God is faithful, that He is merciful, and that He is powerful from firsthand experience.

So it was a productive four years, in and out of the classroom. I wonder what life lessons I'll learn next... Hmmmmm....?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I graduated, naps and all!!!

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday the ground was clear; by the time I woke up this morning, heavy snow covered the ground and continue to fall as my family and I made our way to my graduation. I was still on time though!

When I first started at Wayne State University, I thought it would take an eternity to finish, but here I am, a four years later, and I realize how fast it went by. It's almost scary; I feel just as young and tender as ever, yet I am now a Bachelor's degree holder.

It's funny because strangely enough, I didn't feel that excited, initially. Heck, I was more excited for finishing simple high school!! Lol. I think it's because I realize that this is only a small step in my journey. There's sooooo much I still want and need to do. Nevertheless, I am grateful to God for allowing me to see this day. I know much more is in store.

But for real, I even forgot to make time to get my hair done for graduation! These days I been rocking a frohawk-type 'do mainly because I haven't had time to get it done or coerce someone into doing it (my mom and my sisters can do hair. I, for some reason, cannot. Lol). But I never planned on going to graduation with a frohawk! Lol.

It was all good though. I just put on my graduation cap and let it be!

My sisters and "anty." Naija people, you know how we do
My parents and my uncle. He's actually blood related, my dad's brother. Lol.

Nappy, but happy. Lol.
As I've said in blogs past, my next step is to attend a school where I will learn video, graphics, and web design. But thinking back on my undergraduate years, there were so many opportunities, events, and people that shaped my experience. It's mindblowing to think of it. That's a whole 'nother blog in and of itself! I'll have to do that one next.... :)

But for now, I have to end by saying that the Lord is good, and His mercies endure forever. The milestone marked today  is only a reflection of that fact.

Now I have to get back to writing my last paper!

In the meantime, look at this video of some adorable African kids!! My sister put me up on it. Lol.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big Shout Outs!

On the right hand side of this page when you scroll down, there's a little box with the heading "Live Traffic Feed." It lists the last 10 people that have landed on my page. It even shows the website they came from. I added it almost two months ago and since then it has said that visitors to my blog have come from such diverse places as Iceland, Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Nigeria, Ireland, Scotland, Cameroon and cities in states all over the United States. I'm not sure if the thing is accurate, but if it is I'd like to shout out a big
H E  L L O !
to all you lovely people from around the world! I think it's so cool that you stopped on my blog and hopefully something you read here makes you laugh, smile, or think. I've been on a mini hiatus because of one killer paper that I'm working on in order to graduate, but I shall return shortly with more of my thoughts.   : )

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Final Stretch

Graduation in 10 days
head spinning, in a daze
This thing has gone by oh so fast,
compared to how I thought it'd last.

I'm fighting now, to finish strong
Can't worry about things gone wrong;
Just gotta make sure these last ones go right,
the end and beyond is in near sight.

Dear God help me
Cause heaven knows,
the end presents the rockiest of roads
But that's OK, I have determined,
That for victory, I am predestined.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nigerian American Girl?

I came across the news that the Nigerian Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, has condemned the use of the word 'Naija' in the place of 'Nigeria' two days ago. I wasn't sure it was true until I went back today to search for it on the internet, which confirmed it.

I'm like, "What?" Wahala dey o. I mean, I the whole thing is silly. I respect Mrs. Dora Akunyili. That's Dr. Professor Dora Akunyili to be exact. (You know Naija people and their titles. Lol). From a project I've been working on for a while, I know that she has done a lot for the country. She has helped remove a lot of fake drugs from the market. She also spoke out at a critical time earlier this year. Her words were instrumental in the peaceful continuation of power in Nigeria, when Goodluck Jonathan took the presidential seat instead of a military takeover. But COME ON! Really now.........?

As a Nigerian born in the United States,  I see the word Naija as a cool way to refer to the country and it's people. There's nothing negative about it. But apparently, Dr. Professor knows better than me and all the people who use the word. Just read this article on the matter. But my question is, how can you tell people what to call themselves?

In a country where so many things are going wrong, the government should be happy that people can still find something to feel good about: a name coined by only-God-knows-who, but that cuts across ethnicities and status. She's afraid that this 'corrupt' verison of Nigeria is unpatriotic. "We have to stop this word because it is catching up with the young," Prof. Akunyili said, according to the article. Catching up??? Hahahahaha.... It has spread profusely. Even for America, self, I dey take and begin to use am. I am the  

Naija American Girl
and that will never change.

Abeg, the woman should sit down for there and try to find a real problem to solve, not an imagined one. Or maybe because Nigeria's problems are so great she decided to settle for a smaller task. But I'm not feelin' it.

That's what I think of the supposed condemnation of 'Naija.' Abeg o.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 ain't over yet

The leaves have fallen from the trees, the radio stations are playing Christmas music, and I've taken to tea drinking: the end of the year is upon us! As I sat at a restaurant after church today with some friends, I listened as they marveled about how fast 2010 has gone by. The year really has flown by. I can clearly picture this time last year and I remember everything that happened..... but the year's not over yet! Before this year is out I want to:

Visit my cousin in Ohio
Go shopping to augment my wardrobe
Type all of my hand-written poems
See a play
 Go ice skating
Have more friends visit my church
Read a good book
Bake cookies
Get together with my three friends from high school

All things I've done before (except ice skating). Just small simple stuff that will create nice memories and happy feelings. Lol. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's festivities automatically come with this time of year, so they're not on the list..... What do YOU want to do before the year is out?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I said 'I wanna go to Naija," my mom says, "No, no, no" ...... Lol.

When I graduate in December, I'll have about two months to entertain myself before I start my new school.  I'll still have my part-time job, but other than that, I'll be free. Thinking about this fact, a novel idea surfaced: Why don't I go to Nigeria? I mean, as a Naija American Girl I don't  think it's right that I haven't been  to Naija since I was about..... ooooooohhhhh............... 6 YEARS OLD!!! I am now 22.

That's me in the neon jumpsuit. (I have my mother to thank for the ridiculous get-up. But it was in style then, I guess???? lol) I'm there with my dad and my cousins. Check the date in the bottom right corner. Yep, it's legit. Over 16 years ago.
Money's been the main reason why my family hasn't visited as often as we should, though my dad has been back more often than all of us. My parents send home money frequently though. So I was thinking, why don't I go back and visit my family? See my grandparents while they're still alive. See my uncles, aunties and cousins. Get more familiar with a country I claim to care about.......Sounded like a good idea to me.

After thinking about it for a few weeks, I brought up to my mom. She was like, "I don't know o.... It's dangerous...." Then she started talking about how my dad's family lives in the east and that people are always getting kidnapped there, and armed robbers, and though her family lives in Lagos, my dad's family won't be happy if I don't visit them, but that if I go, I should fly to the east and not go by road because there's a high chance that armed robbers will strike and that when people see armed robbers on the road they jump out of their buses and cars and run into the bush, and on and On and ON! My mom even said that she would only go back home now in the case of an emergency. She told me to wait. I'm thinking, wait until when?

The thing with me is that once I've decided that I want to do something, it's just a matter of time; more of 'when' than 'if''.

I've been trying to plan a trip to Naija for the longest time, it seems. In my discussions with my dad, he's basically said OK, though I could still detect worry in his face. That's how it generally is with my parents. My dad really gives me room to try new things and get new experiences, even if the circumstances are a little uncertain. My mom, on the other hand, thinks of all the things that could go wrong and comes up with a long list of why I shouldn't do whatever it is. She did the same thing when I told her I planned to go to Haiti. I this area, I tend to be more like my dad.

So right now the question for me isn't "Should I go to Nigeria?" It's "How can I get the money for the ticket?" My action plan is going to be to save as much as I can (after I pay some outstanding *cough* obligations *cough*). Maybe my dad can supplement the rest.... It's long overdue.

I'm not thinking of winging it or anything. I plan to take plenty of safety precautions and stay close to those I know. Of course I'll make sure to do losts of praying and fasting, like my mom suggested (lol). But in the end I do believe that the good Lord will allow me to go and come back in one piece.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And the beat goes on...

Just when I was getting ready to throw my hands up in the air and scream, "I'M DONE!!!" when I graduate in December, I've come upon other plans............. I'm continuing with school! I didn't think I'd do it, but I found an opportunity that I think is really worth it.

In December I'll graduate with my bachelor's in journalism. That's all well and fine. But I don't have a lot of the skills I want. Skills that I feel would really take me to the next level. I think I've gotten the basics of writing, but in today's world of journalism, you need more than that. So I'll be attending Specs Howard School of Media Arts when I graduate. I'm going to learn video production and editing, graphic design, and website design. Really cool stuff. If you can't tell already.....I'm excited!!!! The school is a hands-on kind of place and that's what I need. Theories and postulations annoy me. Give me some real life dealings!!! Lol.... The program is only one year, so I know that it will go by really fast.

P.S., I really, really, really love my friend Adora, who helped me figure out why I couldn't post pictures for a while.....I was in HTML mode!!! I guess Blogger switched the default up on me!  It's really the little things that mean something to me. A piece of candy. A phone call to say hello. A funny Facebook comment. Helping me figure out my blogging frustrations. Yeah.................. :) Thanks Adora!

Me and my awesome friend Adora!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feeling Poetic

Today, for no apparent reason I'm feeling rather poetic. Maybe it's cause I just got out of my psychology class, where today's topic had to do with differences between males and females, sexually, emotionally, mentally and otherwise. That got me thinking about relationships...then love...which got me thinking about poetry because so many people write love poems...... But I usually don't. Lol. Anyways, here's a little somethin' somethin' that came to me.

The tide is turning,
a fire is burning,
it's getting hot
and pride is learning -
To give it up
and trust again,
If only I'd find
my long lost friend.

Games grow old
and I am told
that in good time
all things unfold;
the only question now is, "when?"
this long and drawn-out match will end.

Chidinma Ogbuaku 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sumo Wrestling in Nigeria?

I was on the Africa section of, a subsection of their World section, when I found this story. At first glance at the title I thought it was just speculation, but once I clicked on it I found out it was real: Sumo wrestling in Nigeria.

(For some reason I'm not able to post pictures or link a few words to another page at this time)

Anyways, what do you think? Sumo in Naija? Lol......

Monday, October 11, 2010

Naija people dey shine

Good day to ya! I haven't written since Nigeria's Independence Day, but I trust that all the Naija people out there had a lovely one. Frustration set upon me that morning as the video message I made refused to upload before I had to leave the house. My day was so busy that I never got a chance to do it, and to me, uploading the video a day late woulda been kind of tacky. October 1 na Independence Day. I no fit load am for October 2 and come with one kin tori. Lol.

Anyways, that day the Naija students at my school held a celebration for Nigeria's 50th Independence. It was a really great event (click here for pictures). My dance group, Igbo Cultural Dancers danced and a local Naija hip hop group, Darkshades Entertainment, rocked the house. We also showed a mini video of the country's history and had a game of Jepoardy, among other things. We had quite a few Americans and other non-Naija people at the event, so it was pretty cool.

I'm really developing a love for sharing Nigerian culture (the little that I know) with non-Nigerians. Almost three weeks ago the we danced at an event held by a group called the Afrikan Village. Most of the members in the group are black Americans who are interested in African culture. They loved our dance, and it was our first paid event! (Woo hoo!!!). On the 22nd of this month we'll be dancing in an American play. I'm really excited. :)

We can shine a positive light on Nigeria (and her descendants) by being positive examples of excellence wherever we go. Many around the world see Nigeria as a country of scammers and terrorists, plauged with poverty and instability. But when those of us who are working hard to reach positive goals stand up and be counted as Nigerians, the country can be associated with better things. My Naija people: we must to dey shine. You never know who's watching.

A friend of mine shared this story, 10 Things You Can Learn From A Nigerian, from the Atlanta Post on Facebook. Just goes to show my point. Naija people dey shine. :)

I leave you with this. Hot, ain't it?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nigerians and the American Dream

Students in schools all over America are often asked to write about the American dream means to them. We are taught that traditionally, the description of the "American dream" was having a nice little house with a white-picket fence, a good job, a spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog. These days, people often describe it as having the freedom to be who you want to be and the opportunities to get there. People who came from poor backgrounds and go on to achieve greatness are said to have achieved the American dream. From grass to grace, as Tuface would say.

A big part of the American dream is having the freedom to live your life the way you want to. If you want to go to school: go. If you want to work all the time at the local grocery store and save all your money for a car: do it. If you like to drive through streets and pick up things that people put on their curb as trash: you're free to do so.  If you want to pack up and move to California after you graduate high school to try and become the next biggest thing to hit the screens: go right ahead and try. The American dream says that you can make it.

When it comes to higher education, the American dream tells you to study what you love; work hard and you can eventually get to where you want to be. Whether you want to be a world-renowned artist, a doctor, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the sky is the limit. I totally agree. I believe that whatever someone wants to do, they can to it if they are determined.

Many Nigerians who are the first generation of their family in the United States do not understand the American dream. For them, the decision to come to America was to provide a better way of life. Their definition of a better life: more money. This is somewhat understandable. Feeling a sense of responsibility to the family left behind in Nigeria, these people want to enter a field that will pay them very well so that they can help. They often go to school for medicine, health sciences, engineering and law: fields that are known to be high-paying. They force try to get their children to study these fields as well. There's nothing wrong with advising people what career path to take. And there's nothing wrong with taking that advice if you have no ideas on what you want to do. But when a young person has a burning passion to do something, I think they should be given an opportunity to try. Assuming that someone is not going to be successful in life because they didn't study medicine is silly. It's unfortunate when parents force their children to study something they aren't interested in. It has bred and epidemic that I like to call the "Nigerian Nurse Syndrome".

So many young Nigerian and African females (at least that I've met) are all going to school to be nurses. It's hard to tell whether they decided to do this because they have a genuine interest in the field, they have come to believe that it's the only way to make it, or they've been forced into it. And so many African women find themselves in various levels of the nursing field because of it's flexibility and the income it generates. This is understandable. The problem is that dreams are often abandoned as people pursue money. The result is usually an unsatisfying life. I personally know of a woman who spent over 15 years pursuing a nursing degree while working as a nurse's aide. After many unsuccessful attempts, she is finally going back to school for what she wanted to do in the first place: fashion. How did she get in the nursing loop in the first place? Her husband convinced her to study nursing when they first got married because she could make good money, work flexible hours and not put the kids in daycare, blah, blah, blah.... She reluctanly agreed. Who knows where she would be now if she would have stuck to her original plan.....

All I'm saying is that everything happens for a reason. It's not an accident that people have certain skills, talents, and abilities; they are God-given. These natural talents are good indicators of what a person would excel in, if proper care is given to training and development. I think that Nigerians, especially older ones, should embrace this portion of the American dream and be more optomistic of what their children can accomplish if given a chance.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Movies and More

When it comes to Naija movies, funny ones are my favorite. I'm not too fond of the ones where someone does juju to have power over another or where someone poisons a person they're angry with and kills them. One time I watched a movie where a woman was cheating on her husband and poisoned him so that she could be free to live with her lover. As the her husband was dying from the poison, he started reminding his wife of how much he loved her and the woman was so sorry for her actions. The man of course died. I can't tell you how angry I was after watching that movie!!! Lol.... The movies where a man or woman fakes love to steal money from their lover are very annoying. And I especially hate the ones where things go from bad to worse and end on a bitter note (the overall summary of many of these movies). I guess growing up in America and seeing movies where things usually ended up good in the end has spoiled me. I like movies where thigs end up good, or at least where the good outweighs the bad.

I was thrilled when, almost two years ago, I stumbled across the higly popular "Osuofia in London." If you're not familiar with the movie, it tells the hilarious tale of Osuofia, a villager, who goes to London to collect an inheritance his late brother left him. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. If you just type the title in Youtube, the whole video lineup will come up. Otherwise, here's the link to the first clip. The main actor's name is Nkem Owoh and any movie with him is usually funny. I stayed up until 4 'o' clock in the morning watching this the first time, laughing through most of it.
(Left) Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Right0
My favorie actors to watch though, are Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme. Though small in stature, the duo are both grown men. A quick Google search wil reveal a wealth of information on the two and how they met. In movies, they often play the role of mouthy, mischevious boys. I can always get a good laugh from any movie they're in. From Lagos Boys, to Onye Obioma, to Awilo Sharp Sharp (where they played a small role) I've never been disappointed.

A few weeks after I came back from Haiti I found myself watching one of their movies and I was struck by something....

To me, Osita Iheme really looks like Alton, a  little boy from an orphanage in Port au Prince that I can't forget. Take a look:

In the span of only a few days, that little boy really grew on me. I still find myself thinking about him and everytime I do, I say a prayer for him. It's funny because Alton, about 5 or 6 years old, acted like a little man when I first met him. He walked around telling the other little kids what to do and wouldn't let me carry him. But by the end of my stay in Haiti, he clinged to me and whined everytime I tried to put him down.I still remember one moment when I was playing with him. I was holding him, and I said "Alton, mwen bebe," which means "Alton, my baby," translated from the Haitian Creole. He replied "Oui," (pronounced: we) the word for 'yes' in French and in Haitian Creole, which is based on French. My heart aches everytime I think of that.  I pray for his well-being and that of the other kids at the orphanage and I'd really like to see him again and be able to really help him... Maybe even adopt........? Time will tell   : )

At an orphanage in Port au Prince.
 I'm squatted, holding Alton.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Na wetin you do when wahala dey?

Pondering the perplexity of my personal palava
Leaves me wandering in worry at the wicked wahala;
I can dwell in despair or huff and say "Haba!"
But I tire for that one,
I go leave am for my Father.

-Chidinma Ogbuaku aka Naija American Girl

Friday, August 27, 2010

Internet Romance

When it comes to relationships and such,  I'm pretty old-fashioned. I believe in the guy being the one to initiate things in the beginning; I believe in abstaining from sex until marriage. I believe in getting to know someone on a face-to-face basis, letting the relationship grow to a point of maturity where both people involved feel very comfortable around each other.  My old-fashionedness has served me pretty well: I've been able to avoid most of the heartaches and pitfalls that plague the average young lady my

As a condition of my old-fashionedness, I do not believe in online dating. At all. I don't mind having conversations with someone I don't know online. That's cool because you can make contacts in places you've never been to and learn interesting new things. But when a guy online wants to be more than friends, I'm always skeptical. Its hard enough getting to know someone you see often, let alone someone you never see. It's cliche, but people can be whoever they want to be on the Internet, so you never know who you're really talking to. It's one thing when someone you know and love moves away and you use the Internet to keep in contact. But developing love over the Internet???? I don't think it's possible. You can't love someone you don't know, and you can't really know anyone on an Internet basis alone.  It's fine if you initially meet someone on the Internet, but  you need that face-to-face contact to really know who you're dealing with. And for me, if someone lives too far away, we needn't start anything on the Internet cause the face-to-face thing probably won't happen, ya digg? :)

I'm suspicious when a guy (and he's usually African, Naija almost always) comes at me with flowery babblings of how he sees a potential for love that will shake the mountains (or some nonsense like that) between us. I'm like, "What? You like my pictures and that's why you think we should get married?" Hahaha... No, I have stopped dignifing their messages with a response because honestly, it always leads to a pointless debate that can never change my mind. Neither do I degrade them with rude comebacks because they're still humans beings and I will always respect that. But do they really think they're going to make me fall in love over the computer screen so that in a few months time I'm typing, "Yes, baby. I love you so much too; let's get married"???? Hahahahaha... Yeah right! Get the heck outta here!

 And especially when it comes to African guys, and especially those that live in their respective countries, I always think they're after one thing: GREEN CARD!!!! Lol... It may or may not be true, but I'd rather not take my chances.

You may wonder why I decided to write on this topic, me: the Naija American Girl who never talks about relationships or anything even remotely related. If you go to the Facebook page I have for my blog, you'll see why:!/pages/Naija-American-Girl/216419493860?ref=ts.  This dude was bold! He posted his own on my wall instead of sending me a message like the others. He had me choking with laughter!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Native Attire

When I was growing up, you couldn't catch me dead in traditional Nigerian clothes. I don't know what it was: the pattern of the clothes, the contrast between them and the American clothes I wore everday, or the oversized styles my mom would sew for us. Either way, I never wanted to wear native attire. It's not like my mom wanted us to wear them to American events. It would only be when we were going to some Naija event or our old Redeemed church that she would want us to wear native, once in a while. But with so few options and so much struggle, we rarely did.

Over the years though, a transformation happened. I think it started in the 9th grade when we had to do a project on an African or Asian country, and I of course rushed to sign up to do Nigeria. The day of the presentation I wore one of my mom's big robes and the headscarf to match.

Since then I've worn traditional clothes to fashion shows, presentations at school, and Naija events. Most of the clothes are big on me because they're my mom's. But I've really come to appreciate the beauty of traditional Naija/African clothes. Before the year is out I want to get some dresses and skirts made so I can be styling and profiling in native gear that fits me really well.... Hehehehe..... ;)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Nigerian names in America

My friend posted this as a note on Facebook. It made me laugh, so I though I should share it. :) By the way, I agree with the writer.

Oh yes, I'm on the case of the Nigerians in my neck of the woods. Why not? They keep on giving me reasons to write about them. My goodness, they never cease to amaze me. This group of Nigerians are very clever in many respects even when it comes to abbreviating their fine and meaningful Nigerian names to English names in an effort to avoid identification as a Nigerian or simply to avoid been asked to pronounce their names over and over by their American host. Most Nigerians with long native [first] names know exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes, it takes several minutes before our American friends could pronounce our names and given the fact that some do not have the time nor the patience to guide these Americans through the pronounciation of their names, they resort to very un-orthodox English abbreviations which invariably eliminates the fine meaning of their names.

So let's take a look at some of these names whose abbreviations I have heard over the years and which have been adopted by some of the Nigerians in my neck of the woods. I am sure you have heard them too:

1. Babatunde---------Barry. This means the Jazz legend, Barry White, is actually Babatunde White.
2. Adebayo----------Baylor. Come on, now. Is Bayo so difficult that we have to adopt "Baylor" as its abbreviation?
3. Chukwuemeka---------Mickey. Could you imagine, Lt. Col. Mickey Odumegwu Ojukwu? Or Disney cartoon character called Chuwkuemeka Mouse?
4. Tamunoami-------Amy. Why abbrievate such a beautiful name?
5. Adenike-------Nikki.
6. Nwankwo-------Wanny. Could you imagine, the football commentator shouting at the top of his lungs, "O' Wanny Kanu has just scored for Nigeria." "Wanny who?", fans would ask.
7. Kayode-------Karl. So Karl Marx was actually Kayode Marx.
8. Taiwo-------Tyrone. God help us on this one.
. Oladele------Dale. Oladele sounds sweeter, doesn't it?
10. Oladapo-----Daps. He must have gone off the deep end when he adopted this abbreviation. What happened to "Dapo"?
11. Tijani-------Tikki. Get used to Tikki Babangida of the Super Eagles.
12. Abdullahi--------Abby. Hmmmmmm.
13. Olusegun-------Lushia. President Lushia Matthew Aremu Obasanjo of Nigeria. Interesting.
14. Uchenna-----Cheney. Vice President Dick Uchenna of the US. So a Nigerian is VP of the US. Very good.
15. Chinyere-------Chimerie. How about "Chichi?"
16. Seye----------Shawn. It might as well be "Shenaynay".
17. Adebanjo-------Baggy. What a laugh.
18. Garba----------Gary. Why not just call it garri as in eba?
19. Haruna------Harry. This is not far-fetched, but isn't Haruna a unique and sweet sounding name than Harry? There must be a 100 million Harrys in this world why add another?
20. Tamunokuru----------Kerry. Now, this name means, "God's power." The abbrievation, "Kerry", has done injustice to it.
21. Ipalibo------Libby. O sweet heavens, what is happening to Nigerians?
22. Tonye ------Toni for female and Tony for male. Hmmmm, why not just leave it as it is?
23. Ikechukwu-------Ike as in "Ike Turner."
24. Yetunde------Yetty. Oh Lord.
25. Omorodey-----------------------Moe. What "Moe"?
26. Ajike------Jake. What then is the short version of Jacob? "Jike"?
27. Oluwole------------Wally. Whatever happened to Wole like in Wole Soyinka?
28. Ronke--------------Ronice. Is Ronke really difficult to pronounce? Even for Americans?
29. Olufemi------------------Lulu. Give me a break.
30. Osazee--------------------Zigi. I'm dying of laughter.
31. Olatunde-----------------Larry. Am I hearing right? Larry for Olatunde?
32. Tohan-----------------------Tobby. Sounds like the name of a family dog back in the 80s...
33. Yinka------------------------Kiki. Please, let me hear something. What "kiki"?
34. Eberechi--------------------------Bebe. Don't underestimate the creativity of Nigerians.
35. Ngozi-------------------------Goslet. I am shaking my head on this one. Mine! Mine!!.Mine!!
36. Uzomah---------Zouk. Isn't that a type music that originated in the Caribbean?
37. Kehinde----------Kelly for women and Kenny for men. What then is the abbreviation for Kenneth?
38. Modupe----------------------Molly. "Molly" as an abbreviation for this beautiful and sexy name? If you ask me I would its takes the appeal right out of it.
39. Tamunoboma-----------Boomer. Why don't we just call them "Boomerang"?
And last but not least...
40. Rotimi-------Tim. What an insult to such a fine and enchanting name.

Hey, friends, if you are one of those fortunate to have a Nigerian first name, I say leave it the way it is or abbreviate it to something meaningful like "Femi" for "Olufemi", "Ana" for "Adanna", "Ugo" for "Ugochukwu" or "Emeka" for "Chukwuemeka", etc, and let others learn how to pronounce it. Afterall, if they can pronounce with ease jaw-breaking Polish and other names like the name of the head basketball coach of Duke University, Mike "Chef-Chef-Ski", something like that or the general who led the Gulf war, Norman Shwa-something or movie star and husband of Maria Shriver, Arnold Sh..., you know the rest, why not yours. This might be the only identity you have, a reflection of your culture, value and meaning. So I say, don't let them take the easy way out. Let them pronounce it and pronounce it right. They owe you that much. YEAH!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's been a long time, friends!

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the Earth.............. I'm back!!! Lol.... Yeah, summer has been wildly busy, mostly because of this summer job, but I think I'm shifting back into school gear, so I will be around more often.

Last time I talked to you, I had just been back from Haiti. Now that I've been back for over a month, I still think about my trip everyday. An article on my trip is featured on my friend's blog,  Olamild Entertainment.

The purpose of the trip was to bring medical care on the island of La Gonave. But for me, it was to open my eyes to how people were living in a part of the world I had heard so much about.

 I met so many people, most of who didn't speak English. But I was able to connect with them. I'm not sure what it was, but I felt comfortable sitting amongst the people, with or without a translator, and trying to communicate.

I think it all started on the first day in on the island when I was trying to talk to the children in Pointe-a-Raquette. Kids, by nature, are very curious, so while I was observing the what was happening as translators helped collect information from people who came to see the doctors, some of them stood around me. I greeted them with a "Bonjour." Haitian Kreyol is based on French, and many  of the words in the language are similar to French, or the same as in French.

In Haiti, people assume that anyone who looks like them speaks their language. From the time we reached the airport in Port au Prince, people were walking up to me, speaking Kreyol, to which I could only nod and smile. Lol... So from my greeting, the kids thought I spoke Kreyol. Before long I learned how to say "I don't speak Kreyol" and "I speak English and a little Spanish." :) But I was able to find a way to communicate with the kids. It started by writing down simple math problems in my notebook. I handed them my pen and let them complete the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. From there, I had them teach me some words in Kreyol by drawing a picture of an object and then having them write and pronounce the word for me. Then I taught them the English translation. It was lots of fun.

In the mountain town of La Plaisance, I met a group of boys who performed some praise songs for me. They were led by Jin Will, the guitarist. From them I learned a beautiful song.
Here's the video:

I also met people who I'll never forget, like Jania, a mother of two who was the first to come to the clinic area with her sick baby, before everything was fully set up. She was trying to explain to me that her son was sick, thinking that I was a doctor. Through a translator, I told her I wasn't a doctor, but that I would make sure she got to see a doctor. From then, she told me I was her friend. It was pretty cool that one of the guys there didn't speak English, but Spanish. Jania talked to him in Kreyol and he translated for me in Spanish. Those Spanish classes in high school and college were worth it!

I'll also never forget Milien, who was hired from the island when we needed more translators. Milien had studied English at school in Port au Prince and was in law school when the earthquake happened. He said that he lost 6 family members in the earthquake. His school was also crumbled. He decided to back home to the island and try to wait  until it was rebuilt while trying to make money with different businesses.

Most of all, I'll never forget Alton, a little boy I met at an orphanage in Port au Prince, where we stayed for one night before going to the island and also when we came back from the island. At first, the little boy ran away from me, but after interacting with the kids more and passing out stickers and other little things, he was stuck to my side, always wanting me to carry him.

There I am crouched, with Alton in my lap.

I had fun playing with those kids. The littlest things made them so excited. I started making fans from colored paper, and they had a ball with them. I saw how they were so grateful for the smallest things. The kids at the orphanage are fortunate because they actually have somewhere to live, food to eat, and someone to take care of them. But besides the basics, they don't get much else. The ladies who help there only have enough time to clothe and feed the kids and teach them their school lessons. The kids don't get the extra attention that their parents would have given them. So they cling to you when you show them a little love. It kinda broke my heart when I had to leave.

Overall, my trip was awesome. I definitely plan on going back to visit, bringing helpful things with me. I learned so much, and I really think that this is something I would like to do very often. I guess I'll just see where God leads me...

Monday, June 28, 2010

So much to say, so little time

Man oh man, I'm in the process of writng about my trip, but I gotta go to work....Instead of leaving you empty handed, enjoy this video I took in Haiti on the island of La Gonave, it's a praise song.

And here's the second album of pictures!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back from Haiti

Hi friends! I've been back from Haiti for a few days. I have so much to say, but in the mean time, here are some pictures I took there. I'll tell you all about it later.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Haiti Bound

In a few hours I'll be heading to the airport to meet with the rest of the people going on the trip with me. It's official: I'm Haiti bound. I'll try to update if I have service and a laptop to use. If not, I'll be back in a week! Your prayers would be greatly appreciated. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup 2010!

As a Naija girl born and raised in America, soccer (football) really wasn't my thing. Even the fact that I call it soccer shows you how Americanized I am. Lol.

I don't really play sports, but my favorite one to watch is basketball. And I don't even watch basketball that much now that the Detroit Pistons are a shadow of their former selves. But I remember watching my dad play soccer at the all African 4th of July picnic and my mom warning him to take it easy cause he's not as young as he used to be. Lol.  I also remember that my dad wanted me to try out for the girls' soccer team in the 6th grade, but I decided not to because I didn't want to. Hahahaha.....

Anyways,with all of my African friends so excited about the World Cup this year in South Africa, I decided to peek in on the first game to see what I could see. Of  course I wanted South Africa to win over Mexico, but I guess we had to settle for a tie. When I started watching, the score was still 0-0. I dozed off, and when I woke up, it was 1-0 with South Africa in the lead. I saw when Mexico scored, and I saw that crazy shot where the guy from South Africa hit the goal post instead of getting the ball in the goal. I was kind of amazed. I mean, the bar is so narrow, but the ball hit that instead of going in the net. E be like say the Mexico team dey do one kin juju wey dey make the ball wey suppose enter net no dey enter. LOL!

My favorite thing of all was seeing Desmond Tutu dancing when South Africa made the first goal. I didn't get to see it when it happened but I saw it on replay. It was so cute! :) I was sad though, to hear that Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter died in a car accident. That man really has had a hard life but has managed to come out of it without bitterness. Truly a great man. I pray for comfort in this time of sadness for him and his family. And I can't wait to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on July 18. More on that later.

Anyways, I will support any African team when they play non-Africans, but it comes time for Naija to play, I hope say they dey beat all other teams well well! Even South Africa. :) It is great though, to have something positive that is bringing Africans together and putting a positive spotlight on Africa.

By the way, did you see the Shakira music video of the official song for the World Cup? I love it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

YOU can help make the trip even better!!

Here are most of the people going on the trip. As you can see, not all of us are Africans! :)

Hey, so our trip to Haiti leaves in exactly one week. Our group plans on doing a lot of great things for the Haitians when we go, including:

-Taking many medical supplies and medications to give excellent medical care
-Buying food supplies for the people
-Bringing clothes, toiletries, and other supplies for the people

We already have a good amount of supplies, but the more we can get, the more impact we can make. Each of the people going is just packing a carry-on donating their two luggages to be filled with the equipment we're taking.
If you would like to help out with these things, you can donate right here. Every little bit would be greatly appreciated!

If the button doesn't work, click the address below:

The cost of the trip is pretty high, so some of the money might also go to airfare and accommodations. My personal thanks in advance to every kindhearted person who decides to give. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's becoming real.....

Though I haven't talked much about it, my trip to Haiti is still in full effect. After waiting and starting to get nervous, three days ago my passport finally came. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Really, I wasn't even as nervous as my dad, who demanded to know if my passport had come every day when he came back from work...Hahahaha.... I'm still praying and believing that the grant money from my school comes in time for the trip.

Anyways, yesterday there was a gathering for everyone who was going to Haiti and that's when things started to become more real. We met with a representative from the organization that we're partnering with, Rays of Hope for Haiti. We got a briefing on what to expect and a packet of information with helpful phrases in Creole. We'll also have translators and security traveling with us, which is quite awesome.

The trip is a medical mission, so most of the people going are in the medical field. My job will be to photograph each child who comes to the clinics we set up. The pictures will be used in a project that this church does, where they fill a shoebox with nice things for the child and ship it back to them. I will also be chronicling the medical help being provided. I expect to get lots of great stories.

I'm really excited. After meeting all of the people going on the trip yesterday. I'm confident that some great work will be done, people's lives will be changed, and I'll have a great time in the process.

 I always thought that the first place that I would go once I got my passport renewed was NAIJA to see my family there, but I guess God has different plans for me. I'm still trying to find a way to get to Nigeria this summer, but in the meantime, I won't turn down this opportunity. I pray that everything goes well, and I believe it will. I leave Sunday June 13th and will be back on the 21st. I probably won't have Internet service there, so I'll have to tell you all about it when I get back. With lots of pictures, of course!

Just for fun: The last time I had a valid passport was when I went to Naija as a little baby of 6 years old!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Michelle Obama Comes to Wayne State!

Summer is in full effect and  with it, many busy plans and a short, less-than exciting class. So this past Wednesday, May 26 when Michelle Obama came to my school and was due to speak during the time I have class, what do you think I did? Boring class......Michelle Obama.....Boring class....Michelle Obama.......I think you know which one won. Hahahaha..... If it makes it any better, the class was four hours long and I went to the second part of it. Anyways.....

The First Lady was in town for a rally to encourage mentoring. Of course, she was wonderful and inspiring. I expected nothing less. My favorite part of her speech was when she told young people that their job was to focus on their education, not playing video games or dropping beats. Hahahha, had me cracking up! Someone must have told her of the epidemic of young wanna-be rappers in Detroit. She said there's a time and place for everything, but that education should be the first focus.

At the rally were also Magic Johnson, Spike Lee, Kimberly Locke and local Detroit business owners and politicians. They all talked a little about how they got where they were and the people that had made a difference in their lives. It was quite a star-studded event at little old Wayne State.  I didn't have a good camera with me, but the Detroit Free Press had some pretty awesome pictures. Here's my favorite.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Vision: A New Model for Change

Though sad, the recent news of President Yar'Adua's death in Nigeria didn't surprise me. He'd been sick for quite a while and with no appearances or statements from him for such a long time, it was clear that his sickness was severe. His passing will no doubt be sorrowful for his wife and entire family, as the passing of any human being is. But it got me thinking.......

In Nigeria, Africa and many parts of the world, presidents come and presidents go. Promises made for an improved life for their constituents go unfulfilled. For many leaders, the office is seen as a means of personal gain and they fill their pockets and hidden bank accounts as their country's infrastructure, economic and educational systems continue to crumble. People wait in desperation for the change that is needed to take place, but it comes slowly, if at all. Often the change is for worse instead of better.

The changes that are required for the betterment of life of people in Nigeria and all over Africa require major financial investments. Generally, in the civilized world, the government would be the ones to make these investments, realizing that it is for the eventual good of the whole country. As we can see, that is not happening. But what if there was a new model for change? What if, instead of waiting for the government to make the major changes needed for survival and advancement, another sector made a commitment to help their country?

I have a vision. And in it, the country's wealthy: musicians and movie stars; businessmen and CEOs; athletes and all else with the means to do so take it upon themselves to do something. But not just to do something: to change their country in a big way.

What's really required is a change of heart. Those with the means must care so much for the well-being of their fellow human beings that they are willing to give of their abundance of wealth. For most of these people, much of their wealth is due to the patronage and support of the average citizen. In a sense, those who get involved will be "giving back." But it will require a lot more than speaking to kids about the importance of education and supplying food for the homeless, though those could very well be components of the plan. But what I envision is bigger than that. I'm talking about hospitals and schools. Community development centers to educate whole villages in everything from common health care to skilled trades. Companies employing people in cutting-edge fields like sustainable energy. My vision includes all of this and more.

The task is too daunting to target a few celebrities and charge them with the responsibility of change for the better. It is one that will require the hundreds and thousands of a country's wealthy to commit to the change.

It is my dream to one day start an organization that facilitates this kind of change. Organize the wealthy of a nation and get their long-term commitment to help their country. City by city and state by state, the nation can change. I would of course want to start with Nigeria, but my vision is really for all of Africa.

Waiting for government to bring change is futile; those who know the work that needs to be done should just do it. In time, one hopes, the government will follow and do what it should. But change cannot wait until then. It must begin now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Naija American Girl goes to Haiti!

 Haiti, 2009 (courtesy Ebere Azumah)

Hello my people! It certainly has been a long time....I've definitely been slacking on my blogging game, mostly because I was trying to finish the semester of school and plenty of running-arounds with my African group on and off campus, not to mention graduation parties and what not. Anyways...

One of the biggest things I've been working on this semester was the possibility of following a group, Africans in Medicine, to Haiti on a medical missions trip.  The group went last year and already planned on going back before this year's devastating earthquake. My goal is to follow them and cover their trip as a reporter, taking lots notes and pictures to show what people there are going through and what a few medical students from Detroit were doing to help. It would be the ultimate experience for a journalism student preparing to graduate this December. When I got the invitation, I was so excited and knew I couldn't turn it down. But I faced some major problems: Getting there and buying a high-quality camera and laptop for the best journalistic reporting would require lots of money. Money that, as a college student, I didn't have. I applied for an Undergraduate Research Grant at my school, and all thanks to God, I GOT IT!!!! So I'm going to Haiti y'all!!!

This trip will no doubt be life-changing. I know I'm probably going to see some things that will make me want to cry; but I am truly grateful for this opportunity. And I really pray that AIM is able to do some good work for the better health of the people in Haiti. That's the most important thing.  I will be SURE to keep you guys updated during my trip, from June 13 to June 20. If you would like to help AIM raise money for the trip for supplies and medicine, you can visit the website here and contact Ebere Azumah at Also check out our group on Facebook here.

Some AIM students with children in Haiti (courtesy Ebere Azumah)

Monday, April 26, 2010


This past Saturday evening I was glad to have the opportunity to just chill at home. The TV in the living room was tuned to CNN and I ended up watching Planet in Peril with Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta. It was interesting at first, but then, I found myself getting angry. Here's what happened...

They followed men hunting for bushmeat in Cameroon and Central African Republic. The men were trying to find meat to bring back to those cooking at home. I guess they were going further and further into the bush because of food shortages. The reporters were traveling with a man who studies zoonotic diseases, diseases that can jump from animals to people. The man said that he was concerned about the meat that the men were capturing, saying that some of the species of monkeys carried certain viruses that could be deadly for humans. They also showed a market where the meat was sold, and showed what a big-seller it was.

I didn't have any problem with any of this. They were merely showing people trying to survive: hunting for food; cooking it; selling it. It's the next section that got to me.

They started talking about AIDS, saying that it's an example of a zoonotic disease that jumped from monkeys to people. They said the disease probably started when someone who came into contact with bushmeat had their blood mix with the blood of a monkey, maybe while butchering the animal in Africa somewhere............I was like WHAT?!?! As far as I know, AIDS is still a disease that is being researched; no one really knows its origins and what can stop it. I was so mad at how the report just casually said it, as if it has been proven.

I know that AIDS is ravaging Africa in a really big way, but I really hate negative stereotypes. Until it has been proven, I would prefer that CNN and others not assume that AIDS came from Africa. And even if it does one day surface that AIDS originated in Africa, it will hardly matter anymore; it has become a worldwide problem. More important is finding a cure than placing blame on wherever it came from. I really hope and pray that I live to see the day that a cure for the disease is discovered and when it is, that it is made available to all. How terrible would it be if greed would cause those with the cure to make it unavailable to many because of high prices? God forbid!

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Background

So, this semester I'm taking a class that teaches you how to build a website. It's probably one of the most useful classes I've ever taken and I'm definitely going to be able to use all that I learned for years to come.

Anyways, in that class I learned that dark backgrounds can be hard to read and even depressing. I don't know about the depressing part, but after thinking about it for a while (months, literally) I decided to change the background. Hope it's easier to ready. And not depressing. Hahahaha....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Buddies in Business

Being an entrepreneur is a great way to have control over your income. Instead of depending on someone else to tell you how much money you can make, what you have to do to make it, and when you can make it, you can be your own boss. I'm trying to get myself into the mindset of an entrepreneur. My Meat Pie Girl business could be doing better. Being in school makes it kinda hard to make those things everyday. I wish I could sell the recipie to some huge company and get a huge monthly revenue. I'm talking global, cause those things are really good! Hahahaha.......That would be ideal.....Lol. A girl's gotta have dreams, right? I know it's possible, though.

Another one of my dreams is to write books: biographies of people with interesting stories; poetry; a memoir of my family's history (after I get the whole story down) and so much more. An author is another form of an entrepreneur: they produce words and sell them in the form of books for what they feel is a reasonable price. I am definitely working towards this goal every day. It will come to pass in my lifetime. And the church says...........AMEN! :)

Anyways, a few of my friends have businesses of their own. I think they're all awsome.

Take my friend Chinonso, for instance.
It's kinda funny calling her my friend because I feel like we're more like cousins. She's just a few years younger than me and we grew up together. Lots and lots of memories. :) It was kinda sad when her family moved from Michigan to Ohio almost two years ago. But we still keep good contact, so it's all good. (Special shout out to her: Hey Nkwocha, remember "Come back hia. What chapta are you from?" LOL!!!!)

Anyways, Chinonso is the proud owner of a hairbraiding business, called Naija American Enterprises. Now, the name used to be Braidz by Nonso, but the girl changed it. She jockin' on me, the Naija American Girl. Lol. Chichi (short for Chinonso) can really do some hair. She was looking for a way to make some extra money and she found it using one of her many skills. That's always an awsome way to start a business.

Another one of my friends, Gael, has a business of his own too. Gael and I both go to Wayne State and are members of the Wayne African Student Society and he's the only person from Burundi I've ever met! Anyways...his business, Gael's Gift , sells all kinds of great gifts, from household decorating items to jewelry and a lot more. For our African group's Christmas party we did a secret santa and he gave my sister a gift card to his website. She bought some pretty cool jewelry. His business is cool because you can access it from all over the world.

And then there is Ms. Elizabeth, founder of so many African organizations in Michigan, known by most Africans throughout the state, and owner of Eliscoco Ventures African Entertainmaent. This business does it all! Not only does it sell Nigerian and African movies, music, magazines, books, and so much more, they also do catering and ushering services for events. I've seen Elizabeth and her team in action at many local events. They does the job, ya dig? Lol.....Eliscoco Ventures is definitely a superbusiness run by a superwoman!

As you can see, young Africans are taking over!