As in……{Living like a local no be small thing o}

I decided staying in a village will make me miserable, plus I was rejected at the school I was posted to. According to the school’s principal, I wouldn’t cope at the school because I am a foreign trained student. So I began the process of getting re-posted to Ibadan (the capital of Oyo State). I was naive enough to believe this process would be easy and straightforward but I was dead wrong. First, there was no office or person/official in charge of this. I was at the head office in Ibadan every day for 2 whole weeks before I finally got an official to accept & approve my re-posting. I was very lucky – he (the official) only accepted my application because I schooled abroad. All my other friends that schoole d in Nigeria either had to bribe or bring their influential parent before they could get anything done.

Before & AfterI began apartment hunting – a tortuous process. All the apartments I saw were very disgusting. I wasn’t asking for a lot – I just wanted a decent place with running water. In January, I had to pick the best of these apartments. The apartment had two rooms, kitchen, bathroom and no living room. The bathroom and shower were not tiled so we had to pay for it to get tiled #1stworldproblems. There was running water, constant electricity & it was located in a very safe neighborhood. I shared with another girl.

I loved my Job at Ibadan; I was posted to a research institute – Nigerian Institute of Social & Economic Research. My boss was amazing and engaged me in several research projects. I had few friends in Ibadan so I should be happy right? No, I hated Ibadan. It was way better than the village I was originally posted to but still wasn’t the city I would want to live in. In Ibadan, there are no places to hangout during the day, no malls or interesting sights and there were plenty extremely aggressive people. The city had no flavor to it, just plain, big, dirty and very ugly! I went to Lagos every weekend so as not to die of boredom. At the end of January, I got a call – the happiest call since I moved back to Nigeria. I was re-deployed to Lagos!

So February, I was busy completing registration out of Ibadan, subletting my room and beginning registration at Lagos. The only disappointment I had in Lagos was I wasn’t allowed to work at a research institute. Lagos corpers have just two choices – working in a school or at the local government (county office). I was posted to a local government. At the office, I was told by my boss that there was nothing for me to do so I shouldn’t bother coming to work L. At that point, I started brainstorming projects I can do, no way was I going to be a bum.

Tarkwa Bay BeachIn Lagos, I began to grasp my new life. Many people consider it fun,   interesting or exotic to ‘live like a local’. This is true if the country you are living as a local is NOT your country of origin. I loved my experience living like a local in Colombia and Honduras. Living like a local sucks for me in Nigeria because I lived here for the first 17 years of my life, I have family here, I have ties here. It is simply not exotic!

With the national service program, we are paid an equivalent of USD$125 per month. I have never lived on $125 a month. The least I’ve lived on is $400/month (in Honduras) and Honduras is way cheaper than Nigeria. A bulk of my money is spent on transportation – Lagos is similar to Houston, Texas in that if you don’t have a car, getting around is complicated.

I keep myself busy and sane by taking French classes; online courses via Coursera and exploring Lagos & surrounding states. Also, am partnering with an Educational organization to launch a Summer Camp Program in Nigeria. The camp is scheduled to hold in August. Check out our website Summer Camp Nigeria.

To be honest, the move back to Nigeria has not been an easy transition for me. It has been a roller-coaster; some weeks I’m depressed, others am just fine. I continue to network and explore Lagos. Another thing I do is to organize fun trip (Team FUN) with a group of people from my network. Many Nigerians don’t travel within the country and there are expatriates interested in seeing the country. So monthly, Team FUN visits new places. So far, we have gone to Tarkwa Bay beach and Olumo Rock, pictures coming soon.

As in and no be small thing o are common slang used in Nigeria. No be small thing o means it is not that easy. As in is used in the same way Americans use ‘you know what I mean’.

Victoria IslandBelow is an interesting interview I went for in Lagos……this happened last month and I want to believe am over it by now.

Background: my friend calls me up for a job she thinks I would be interested in. The company needed a recruitment agent that spoke Spanish. It sounded like a good opportunity so I forwarded my CV (Resume). The Operation Manager gave me a call – enjoy the conversation

Operation Manager: Good Afternoon, may I speak to …..

Me: I’m doing fine, and u?

Operation Manager: fine as well, I am calling about the recruitment position. What religion do you practice?

Me: Excuse-me

Operation Manager: What religion do you practice?

Me: I have no religion

Operation Manager: You have no religion?

Me: Yes, no religion

……call drop (me thinking, what a jerk, he hung up on me because I have no religion!). A few minutes later, my phone rings

Operation Manager: hmm, would you like to come for an interview? By the way, sorry the call dropped, poor network service

Me: Sure. When is the interview?

Operation Manager: if you can come in today, that will work fine

******fast forward to the interview********

AbeokutaI was lead to the interviewing room. There were 3 women and 1 man already in the room.

As I enter the room, the man begins saying a prayer. The prayer included the ‘casting out of demons’, ‘sanctifying the room’ and several chanting along these lines. It went on for about 5 minutes. During this period, I was confused. Then I thought maybe he’s on the phone. After he stopped praying

Me: Hello. I’m Kunbi. I hope all is well

The man: yes, I’m **** ***** and I’m the Operational Manager. I was praying to cast out the demons you can with. Since you have no religion and your hair is dreadlock. All I need now is Holy Water to completely cast out the demons. So tell me, how come you don’t believe in God?

Me: (400% shocked) Oh, so that was what the prayers was all about. God and religion are not the same thing.

Operation Manager: so what happened to make you not have a religion? You schooled in the U.S.A, right? It must be the American influence. Here in Nigeria, you must have a religion. Without a religion, you are lost. You are like a headless chicken without direction. And your hair, you will have to cut off the dreads within one week of working here.

Me: okay, your opinion. Nothing is going to make me cut off my hair.

Operation Manager: No, it’s not my opinion. It is a fact. You see, I win souls for Christ. I was responsible for my best friend becoming a Christian, now he is very dedicated to the church. I just pity you because you are unfortunate without a religion. The man that will marry you will be so unlucky because he will end up with unfortunate person like you. Do you wear heals, make-up, dresses, skirts? You see your problem is, you are too simple.

Me: [my mind suddenly goes blank, as I can’t believe what I’m hearing, so I shrugged my shoulders].

The Operation Manager went on to say more inappropriate and offensive stuff………………..then offered me the position……At that point, I was ready to leave. I had been trying really hard to mentally erase all he said to me but without much success.

After this interview (my first in Nigeria), I cried. I felt so belittled and couldn’t do anything about it.

Until next post……………………………….

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About The Adventures of a Nigerian-American

I love to experience new cultures and explore the world. My family calls me ‘Ajala the Traveler’. Ajala is a Nigerian who lived in the 1950s. It is said that Ajala loved to travel and has visited all the countries in the world. Several legend and myths have been woven around his personality and travels. It is also claimed he traveled using a scooter, a truck and on foot. He rose to fame when a song was written in his honor by a Nigerian musician. The song begins “Ajala travels all over the world…” Well, am not Ajala nor have I traveled as much as he did but I do LOVE to travel. At every opportunity I get, I never hesitate to hop on a plane or international bus. As of June 2016, I have been to 55 countries . When I'm not traveling, I teach.

Posted on June 20, 2013, in Nigeria and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Wow! I’m so surprised. This cannot be happening in 2013. I hope everything gets better

  2. Moving to Nigeria is not easy at all but I won’t realise that fully until the end of the month. Hope your NYSC is going well. That interviewer is something else.

  3. I´M SHOCKED! this happened for real?!
    The only thing I can say is that I apologize for this guy´s reaction…. there are Christians that are just…. not really smart :-/

  4. @Tobs, Nigerians take religion to a whole new level. It takes over their ability to reason….
    @Naijabrit, just 4 more months of NYSC :). It’s going aiit.
    @Angie, yo tambien…..but that chapter has passed

  5. LOL @ “You see, I win souls for Christ.” Wow! I lost of how many US employment discrimination laws he violated there. Sorry to hear how stressful things can be out there.

  6. Sorry kunbi, that interview must have been quite depressing. Cheer up tho

  7. I hate the way Nigerians force their religious beliefs on people……So annoying,that surely wasn’t an interview more of an interrogation process..Who is he to define who you are;kmt I am actually more angry than you right now.I recently moved back to Nigeria and what I experience just irritates me daily and I cannot stand that common sentence’ Welcome to Nigeria’ or ‘this is Nigeria for you’ arrrrrgggghhhhh does my head in…..
    Well done trying to keep yourself busy in crazy Nigeria ;Team FUN sounds interesting pls can I get more info about it

  8. @Henok, all types of discrimination is so accepted here unfortunately….thanks 4 more months of the national program then am done……….
    @Tosin, it don pass, I want to believe that I’ve moved on as well…….
    @Lola, I hate those sentences as well. I also hate when am told, ‘well you are not really Nigerian’. I’ll send you an email about the Team FUN this coming week. Next trip is to Badadry (most likely first sunday in July). Thanks for reading and no let Naija drive you crazy o. One love

  9. my jaw dropped. I can’t even believe that mess AND then he offered the job!!! I cant believe that.

  10. Hello,
    My name is Josh and I work with LEGO.
    You mentioned summer camp and I am wondering how we can do something together.
    send me an email to………

  11. Hahaha @ ‘I was praying to cast out the demons you can with. Since you have no religion and your hair is dreadlock. All I need now is Holy Water to completely cast out the demons’.

    As an employer I personally believe that religion has NO place in the work place

  12. Well You must have felt very bad I would have cried if I was in a position like that. But anyway that is just how life is, some people are just like that 🙂
    BTW I think you are awesome

  13. Lol. Funny but very offensive. I think you should have mentioned the Interviewer’s name. He needs to be put to order because he’ll keep belittling people. Such an a***

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