Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Conversation with a Nigerian expat

I recently got my first reader e-mail.  Exciting in and of itself, but she also turns out to be a Nigerian studying in Jaipur, Rajasthan.  We've been e-mailing a bit and I've found it really fascinating.  She was kind enough to let me post parts of our conversation here.

J:  Hey, I'm J, saw ur blog:  "who ran away with her bf to India" thats really funny.  I'm a student in Jaipur so if u ever come to Jaipur maybe we could meet and just say.  I've been here for almost a year and I totally agree with u on every thing.  Incredible India!  :)

S:  Thanks for writing!  That sounds cheezy, but  I'm really glad that you did.  I  know more than just my friends and family read the blog, but it's a great mystery who they are and where they come from and just wonderful to hear a stranger is enjoying it. 

I don't know a lot about Nigeria.  Since moving to India I read a lot more about the developing world.  One of the founders of Tech Crunch spent some time there and had a lot of interesting posts about it (http://techcrunch.com/tag/nigeria/).  How does the infrastructure compare (electricity, internet, roads)?

J:  About Education, what ur saying makes alot of sense.

But honestly, there is no place like home.  I discovered in India u have to pay for electricity as u use it but back home u just pay monthly no matter hw much u use.  Internet, when I left abt 2 years ago was very dull and except u had enough money pay for internet u ur home u'll hv to go to cybercafes.  But right now almost all my class mates are on facebook, my teachers neighbours, etc so I guess its improved alot...trust me.  Roads are same but the governor of the state I'm from is trying his best with traffic lights and less potholes.

I think everything is getting better back home but the kind of news I hear of Nigerians here just makes all the good seem bad and like nothing's worth it.  Thats why they "sent us here" to experience a culture other than ours and bring back something to develop the nation.  But no matter what I prefer Nigeria to the Indian food, mentality(the way they think) and reception of foreigners.  Remember there isn't a perfect place on earth.

I'll tell u a story of what my pastor went through when he first came to India.
Here it goes.....

It all started in Nigeria, when he and his friends just finished their bachelors degrees and they were seeking a way to further their studies (like get a masters or whatever) and they didn't wanna do it in Naija (This is vernacular for nigeria, I'll be using it often so get used to it).  One of the three friends got a scholarship to the US and the other to the UK.  This is where the funny tale begins.

After all the prayers and hardwork of my pastor he only managed to get an admission to India, another struggling third world country.  So he decided to just check it out. when he came down from the plane at Delhi the smell greeted him first (I don't know if u've noticed that India as a country stinks.....really bad).  So he said to himself a common smell should not make u turn around, u have to be a man and see things for urself.

Meanwhile he had his return ticket which would expire after 2weeks.  He knew nobody, managed to stay in a hotel eat horrible spicy food and i'm pretty sure he didn't have enough money in his pocket.  He called his elder brother that he was coming home besides he was a manager in a company and he just signed for a really big contract.......he was thinking why people who say I'm going India think its heaven.  This was Then...Right now he's the one telling us that we should try to see the good side of "Indians".

S:  Yeah, Nigeria kind of gets a bad rap in the press.  Hopefully most people can see that good stuff rarely gets reported. 

I'm not sure I've ever had Nigerian food.  I've eaten at Ethiopian restaurants in the US - love!  But that's mighty far away from Nigeria.  What's like the quintessential Nigerian dish?  Maybe I can try to make something similar at home.

J:  I think u like food, correct me if I'm wrong.  About a Nigerian dish, I don't which would be easy for you.  Maybe Jollof rice or coconut rice.  I really don't know cos with eat soups with: garri,amala, fufu or loi-loi, lol.  The names sound funny, but don't laugh.  The soups are:

Okro soup: okra, maggi cubes, red chilli, crayfish, beef,fish, mutton or anything u like,water,onions(regular), stock fish....so many things u can't find in India.

Egusi soup: egusi(melon seeds), pepper,maggi cubes,onions,etc. but I know u'll ruin it if u try cos I still don't knw hw to cook this perfectly.  I need to learn harder cos the way to a man's heart is through his stomach-proverb.

S:  You're wrong, I am correcting you, I love food.  And I'm sure I'll bastardize it, but I'm going to try anyway.  Sounds like some of that is doable here, but I'll definitely need Maggi cubes, which I bet can be ordered online and shipped.  I'll post about the results!

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