OK so I have been in Nigeria a few days now. I guess it’s okay (excluding Nepa) . Must say that one of the best things about living in Nigeria is that there is a house-girl who prepares food for you whenever you are the least bit hungry, plus you don’t have to do all those silly little chores you would normally do at home because they are determined to do them for you. Initially I was hesitant when one insisted on washing my plate and cleaning my room but I guess I’m kinda used to it now. What most surprises me is that many of the housegirls I’ve met are happy and in good-spirits, diligently undertaking the tasks demanded of them by their ogas (aka slave drivers) without the least bit of annoyance. I don’t know about you but if someone was barking orders at me (and I mean barking because Nigerians don’t know how to talk quietly) every second of the day; telling me to sweep the floor, clean the toilet and wash the plates all simultaneously, then impatiently grumbling if I stop for a second to catch my breath, then I would be in a bloody bad mood!, yet many of them seem to take it in their stride. But I guess many of them come from impoverished backgrounds and are used to worse? or maybe they are just so grateful for a place to stay and the chance to go to school that nothing else (let alone the way they are treated ) matters. Regardless, I found myself slipping them notes here and there, and trying to make friendly conversation; although conversing with someone who knows minimal English, is completely flabbergasted by your accent, and is so unused to someone taking the time to engage in jovial chat, really isn’t easy.
Anyhoo.. one of the first things I did once I reached naija was fly to Abuja where I had to register for NYSC. LORD HAVE MERCY the process was so damn long! my blood boils thinking about all of the unnecessary chaos. To do the simplest of things I found myself moving from queue to queue, room to room and building to building. There was one point when I was queueing in a room filled with other aggravated people and the person serving us decided that gisting with her friend was more important than doing her job. She just held her hand up, silencing the poor individual who was explaining their unfortunate situation, then lay back in her chair and proceeded to laugh merrily and ramble in her native tongue. When she finally remembered that she was in fact AT WORK, getting paid to do a job that she sure as hell wasn’t doing, she reluctantly continued, all the while complaining about being ill and acting like she was doing us a favour. KMT. NAIJA OH, they know nothing about good customer service! Anyhoo..after 6 hours of queueing (Can u imagine???!!); during which I had to go to a law court and get an Affidavit from the most incompetent and illiterate people on Gods given earth (Can you believe I had to type up my own form as the lady lazily lay back in her chair just watching), I was finally able to go home to the family my aunt had arranged for us to stay with.
The family was really nice but some ignorant comments made by the ‘man of the house’ really bugged me. Lots of things that were said seriously offended me but as I’d been severely warned by my parents to be a good Nigerian girl that’s respectful to my elders, I bit my tongue and decided to hold back the onslaught of abuse that stirred in my mind. Basically the discussion was about the roles men and women play in society. I’ve never really seen myself as a feminist but I found myself zealously arguing for the worth and value of women; basically I was told that the man should be the provider and master in the relationship, to whom the woman should obey and submit to, if not this woman was an inadequate wife. Obviously this pissed me the hell off, Lord knows that a relationship is a two-way thing and both individuals have the right to put forward their views and compromise, no-one should be forced to submit to anybody, but according to this narrow-minded individual if a man compromises with a woman then he is not a man! After listening to this Chauvinist regurgitate complete and utter filth, he concluded the rant by jokingly stating that he was very happy that he didn’t send his children abroad, because then they would turn out like me!, hahahahahahahahaha, but wait more abuse was to follow; apparently Nigerian women are all promiscuous and wayward, and even though many of them have jobs, their real work starts in the night when they open their legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Such foolishness had me thinking; does this guy think so disrespectfully about his mother, Wife and daughters?, and do many Nigerian men think like this? if so then I better arm myself for many vicious battles.