The year's gotten off to a good start for me. This is the time I was contemplating visiting in Nigeria, but I'm still here in the States. Things didn't work out, so I'll go when the time is right. Everything happens for a reason...Hopefully though my grandparents could come and visit before then; that would be awesome.
When I was little my grandmother (dad's mom) visited us from Nigeria. She stayed for maybe two years. She only spoke Igbo so it was hard to communicate with her and I was too young to realize the importance of trying to. She was over 90 years old and had lived through Nigeria gaining independence from the British, the Biafran War, and so many milestones in the country's history. But to a kid of 10 and 11 it didn't mean much.
|My grandma with me and my two younger sisters at the hospital after my youngest sister was born.
I remember being annoyed when I had to walk slow with her holding my arm because she was a little frail. How silly and impatient, but that's the mind of a child. Now I realize what a living treasure people like that are. And that's the main reason I wanted to go to Nigeria so bad. My dad's mother has been dead for over 10 years, but my mom's parents are still alive and well, though they are of course getting up there in age. I really want to see them both while that is still the case.
Almost three years ago one of my mother's youngest brothers died from malaria (or so the doctors said) in Nigeria. She was so surprised, so sad when it happened. I remember her first telling me when she found out. She started crying, which made me cry too. It was sad to see my mom like that. I imagined what it would be like to lose one of my siblings. The worst part was that she hadn't seen any of her family in over 15 years. I started to really realize the importance of prioritizing what's important. Family is important, and even though when they are overseas it takes extra effort, it's worth it for children to have interaction with their grandparents and of course their uncles, aunties and cousins.
I now understand that people don't want to go back empty-handed; they don't want to go back unless they can do so in style like a big madam or a big oga with lots of money and goods to hand around. They want to be able to build a house for the family. They don't want to be looked at like a failure. While I understand all of this, not seeing one's family for such a long time is not acceptable. In my mom's case, and so many others, it's the expensiveness of the plane ticket that has kept her away for so long, but even that can be overcome with careful budgeting and saving.
Either way, I have made it my personal mission to visit Nigeria as soon as I'm able. For now I will help out from here in the little ways that I can and continue to educate myself so that I can do some big things for them one day. God knows best. In His timing, it will all happen.