Money and me

Nitty mentioned that Nigerian culture is communal while American culture is more individualistic and I couldn’t agree more! In Nigeria you basically don’t have to do anything alone unless you want to: raising kids, paying for your child’s wedding, building a house—you can pretty much expect family members to help you with these things (or is this just in my family?), whereas you’re more on your own outside of our continent. I remember my mom telling me how she tried to have at least one of her children in Nigeria so she could get help but it wasn’t meant to be. A Nigerian friend who lives in Canada mentioned this same lack of help as one of the reasons (not the only reason) that she was planning to limit the number of children she has. Continue reading

Banking in Nigeria

While I was in Nigeria I went to a bank in Akure, Ondo state, for the first time and it was a little different from what I’m used to, both good and bad. I wasn’t trying to open an account or do anything complicated: I simply wanted to withdraw money from an existing account. My main branch (which I’ve never been to, by the way) is in Lagos and I was in Akure. I had opened the account from Canada and do not have a debit card.

In-person banking
First of all: the security. I’m certain the Lagos airport doesn’t have anywhere near this level of security! There was a security guard at the bank’s entrance and he asked my mom and I if we had a mobile phone or other questionable objects. When we said yes, we were asked to take them out of our purses, put them in our hands, and walk—one at a time—into separate capsules that looked like they could transport us somewhere. The capsules closed behind us and presumably scanned us before the capsule door on the side of the bank opened, letting us in—well, not exactly! My mom got in but I must have walked in and out of that capsule five times, and I had to empty my purse before realizing that some of my belongings were a no-no and had to be locked outside the bank in some available lockers. Now I understood why Continue reading

Confession: fear drove me to Nigeria

A couple of people asked me why I went to Nigeria. Most of the time, I told them I was going to visit family (which was true), and sometimes I told them that I was going because my mom was going and I didn’t want her to go alone (also true). But what I didn’t talk about much is that I didn’t want my mom to go alone because I was afraid. I was afraid that she might become ill or come to harm, that I wouldn’t be there, and that I would forever feel guilty about that. My decision to join her on the trip was totally motivated by fear.

It started innocently enough: Continue reading

On greeting people and saying sorry


Whether or not you’re Nigerian, you may have interacted with an older Nigerian who was not particularly tactful: they told you what they thought regardless of how it might make you feel (I guess older people, regardless of culture, tend to be a bit more plain spoken). I’ve talked about tact among Nigerians before, and a particular incident involving my grandmother’s neighbour and my weight. Generally speaking, Nigerians aren’t shy about Continue reading

Wearing Nigerian clothing outside of Nigeria

Nigerian ankara skirt

I like wearing Nigerian clothing outside of Nigeria. One thing I always bring back from Nigeria is freshly-sewn clothing, most of it in colourful ankara fabric, and on rare occasion, something in the more expensive lace material. While I’m in Nigeria I tend to lose weight thanks to limited access to sweets, more walking, a reduced appetite, and tons more sweating. Months after my return to Canada I have difficulty fitting into my new clothes due to my reintroduction to a more sedentary life and to my true size!
Continue reading