Friday, March 21, 2014

Naija American Girl Goes to Nigeria!

My last trip to Nigeria was 20 years ago!

After years of earnest desire, I finally got to go to Nigeria, and boy, was it a trip!  I was in Naija for the last two weeks of February and my trip was quite jam packed with all sorts of experiences. I spent the first week in Lagos before flying to Owerri, where my cousins picked me up and took me to our village in Isiala Ngwa in Abia State; from Isiala Ngwa I went to Umuahia, then back to Isiala Ngwa; when I left Isiala Ngwa for good, I went to Port Harcourt, was there for a day before going to Aba. I spent a night in Aba, then was off to Owerri to catch my flight back to Lagos and finish my trip there. Visiting, visiting, visiting was the name of the game. In all of that running around I saw the good, the bad, the ugly, the very ugly, the crazy, the ludicrous, the hilarious, and the strange. But my trip was a priceless experience that I am very glad to have, with the absolute best part being that I was able to see my family there.

I was able to meet family members I didn't really know before and see those that I've been communicating with for a long time. I heard all sorts of family stories and was able to share the things that happening on my side.
Highway sweeper on the Third Mainland Bridge
One thing I can say is transport.... Chineke meee! I am not used to having to board so many different methods of transport to get somewhere, but when in Rome... um, should I say, when in Naija, do wetin Naija dem dey do. Lol. So I rode everything from keke, danfo (bus), and the dreded okada (motorcycle) since that was what the people. A few times I was chanced to ride a taxi, which is usually a less hectic experience. That is, except if the taxi you are taking breaks down on the bridge from Lagos mainland to Victoria Island, the Third Mainland Bridge. That is exactly what happened on my fourth day in Naija.

Our taxi broke down on the bridge!
 When the taxi broke down, my first thought was, "What kind of thing is this?" It was during the morning rush hour, so the bridge was packed speeding cars, until the volume reached the point of a go slow (traffic jam). After getting over the initial annoyance, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to take pictures and remember the experience. As I think back on my trip, it was definitely one of the most memorable things that happened. When I think back on it, all I can do is laugh. I must have told the story a dozen times already. :) We got rescued from our dangerous position on the bridge by a passing tow truck who hitched us to the back and towed us to one of the side exits of the bridge where we were able to catch another taxi to reach Victoria Island. Once on VI, I was able so see some lovely sights.

Mike Adenuga building on VI
With my smallest cousins (Mom's side)
One thing I gathered from my trip is that Lagos is definitely what I would call an overcrowded city. If I was to live in Nigeria, it definitely wouldn't be my first choice, lie lie. I kind of like Umuahia, from what I saw.

While I was in Nigeria I was able to get my hair braided and two outfits tailor made, items on my must do list.

All in all, my trip to Nigeria was a successful one. I'll be back soon with a post on the funniest things I observed while in Naija.

Click here to see all the pictures from  my trip.

My cousins and me :) (Dad's side)