Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Blues

Feeling blah! And I don’t know why! Maybe this is something that everyone who moves to a new place (or in my case, old-turned-new) goes through. I long for the things that were familiar to me and rail against the unpleasant bumps in the road.

The “bumps” for me would be the inefficiencies I see everyday, causing so many resources (peoples’ minds and talents included) to go to waste; the overt aggressiveness of many people I meet, which somehow lives in perfect harmony with an overall lackadaisical attitude about life; the establishment of rules, which don’t seem to serve any purpose other than just being there, and the expectation that you obey these rules without question; the deference to older people as being wiser and thus worthy of your respect (How does this follow? I meet so many stupid, older people everyday.); the insane traffic in Lagos, with every driver trying to be ‘smarter’ than everyone else and so contributing to increasingly gridlocked roads; the perpetual lack of electricity, which means that, although you might pay your bills faithfully each month and indeed be harassed by PHCN for not putting up a copy of your receipt on your gate as proof of payment, you still have no electricity far more times than you actually do. And besides, how much work can you get done when you are constantly switching over from PHCN to the generator and then back again?

And the list goes on …….

Well, this is life in Nigeria. Some days are definitely better than others. On some days, I remember all the reasons I wanted to move back home. And on others, I’m just spilling over with impatience and rage.

Life goes on nonetheless.


Pilgrimage to Self said...

I wasn't too surprised to read your blog entry today. I was kinda waiting for it to happen. I think when we live abroad we start to forget the hardships and constraints of living in Nigeria and begin instead to romanticize it. We develop selective amnesia, remembering only the sunshine, the beaches, the lovely pottery and artwork, the wonderful weddings and parties and of course, family. We get carried away by the 'holidays' back home - when everything is visiting people and generally 'jollofing'.
But moving back is a whole different ball game. Nigeria never, never fails to slap you in the face after a couple of months (if you can stomach it for that long, for me my rude awakening normally happens in the arrival lounge at MMA!). I tried the moving back to lagos senario right after I got married, but, I no go lie, I knew it was a no go from the start ( it was here I had to implement the cunning of a fox, the wisdom of Solomon and the stealth of a cat to bring my husband round to my way of thinking :-)). I missed, missed, missed the life I had built up for myself here in the UK. And after about three months I packed my bags and returned to England. My husband soon followed.

Like I say to people, I have no illusions about Nigeria. The harsh reality of lving there is still too FRESH in my mind to even contemplate a return at this point in my life. I think my husband won't mind returning too much, but if there is only one thing I stand my ground on, it is on this issue.

Take it easy and go jeje and don't close the door on a possible return to the US. Chin up!

uknaija said...

Yes, I know the feeling...but the truth is everywhere has its problems and its down days. I always say to people who want to emigrate or who want to go back to think carefully about what is MOST important to you and then decide where you want to be on that basis. So hang in there and always remember all the reasons why you decided to move back in the first place.....

Jeremy said...

Dear Ore

I've lived in Nigeria for 2 1/2 years and I've been through the pain barrier you are going thru. It does get easier once you get the hang of it - though I dont think I could live in Lagos again! Anyway- if you drop me an email I can link you up with some lovely intelligent technology-loving progressive people in Lagos: nobodadi at Jeremy

Jeremy said...

ps - my partner and I created - this will help to link you up to other worlds in Lagos.

Everchange said...

I guess I should be preparing for my shock as well. It hasn't really hit me yet, but maybe because I am not back for good, not at this moment at least, and I already have an exit strategy for about two years from now. That doesn't help you much though! I hope it gets better.

Ore said...

Thanks, everyone for your kind comments.

It's funny, though. I had absolutely no illusions about life at home - or at least, so I thought. I used to visit home every year when I was away, so I assumed that I would settle in much easier than most. Who knew?

Most of the times though, things are cool and I'm okay. But, some days, I just get so mad.

I'll hang in there, because I know it'll get better. And even when I'm more acclamatised to the Nigerian environment, there will still be rough days.

Jeremy, thanks. I will drop you an email.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! My sister and her family live in Boston and are beginning to make moves`to come back to Naija, i try to do what i can to encourage the movement of jah people back home. I'm working on a project htat you might find quite interesting and am on the lookout for a tech savvy webdesigner to work on it.If you email me on, we can arrange to meet up some time, Yetunde

Ayoola said...

Oh, all you ppl complaining about Nigerian/Lagos life. I agree life is very tough here depending on how much or how little money and contacts you have. And I defnitely have to agree with the person who said everywhere has its down days and good days. Ore has obviously been having a couple bad days I guess.

But let's keep it all in perspective. I guess one's happiness in Nigeria partly (note I said "partly") depends on what you want and making an effort to not let it all bug you too much. I lived in Boston for six years and to use pilgrimage of self's expression, it never failed to slap me in the face with some new cold shock of reality, the coldness and informality of the people most especially, so I'd trade all their ease of transport, constant electricity and water, endless cable channels and shopping malls for the comfort and love of my family here, shitty roads, infuriating traffic, epileptic power supply and all.

Like I said, it depends on what you want and how you choose to handle life here. But all that said, I'll be first to admit, I'm probably luckier than many other Nigerians, but I still have to deal with many issues of the Naija factor too o!

Please I encourage all Nigerians abroad to move back as long as they plan to actually work hard and do something good for this country not just try to cash in on whatever and aim to be big girls and big boys. My fellow Nigerians (incl my lovely sister who owns this blog), we can get there.

Imasuan said...

Ore, i recently moved back to Lagos after eleven years in the UK. I can relate to all that you are going through. In the six months that i have been back,
I have had my fair share of problems, i have been cheated out of money, been harrassed by area boys and had to deal with mercenary lagos people (guys and girls). Inspite of all this, i still belive i made the right decision to come home.
All i can suggest you do is take on board all that you consider positive about this country. If you are a fan of the arts (like myself) go watch the plays, go to the art galleries, visit the exhibitions and the art villages. Try as hard as possible to avoid and ignore the negative aspects of life here. Try to focus as much as possible on your reasons for coming home.
In my case my mind is made up, i am not returing to the UK, i am here to make things happen and i strongly believe that i will achieve my objective. Be strong and weather the storm, i'm sure it will work out well for you....

Anonymous said...

Hello Ore,

I came across your blog a couple of months ago and have enjoyed reading it and following your experiences in Lagos. I am also young Nigerian female who turned 30 in December and can relate to your situation in many ways.

First of all, with regard to the difficulties that you are facing at the moment, I will simply say, hang in there. We all know that Lagos can be a difficult place to live in, at times and there are challenges to be faced on a daily basis but this is certainly not unique to Lagos/Nigeria. One is bound to deal with the ups and downs of the particular place in which one chooses to reside. Remember that you obviously evaluated the pros and cons of making the move back home and STILL chose to do so.

You will be fine. Keep your head up, try to remain focused and immerse yourself in as many activities of personal interest, as possible.

Thanks for the great blog. I will keep reading and enjoying it. Best of luck to you.


Ore said...

Yes, oh, life anywhere definitely has its ups and downs. I definitely made this decision to come back home with my eyes wide open and I don't plan on going anywhere (unless life has a different plan for me).

There are a lot of positive aspects to life in Lagos, and where there are negatives ..... well, we can all try to do something to help alleviate these.

Thanks again for the comments (and compliments).

yaye said...

hey Ore , just like everybody else I enjoy your blog very much so..I think you are really brave in your return back to Africa after so long in the Western World..but it seems like it's a great experience for the most part of hang in there...and enjoy it:)