As a North American who has spent over a decade in Nigeria, I realized I should state this publicly more often because I think it most every day: Nigeria is f***king amazing. Nowhere else can one test the boundaries of what is possible better than in this country.
What would be considered national emergencies elsewhere barely register in Nigeria. The so-called rules of the financial markets are ignored, twisted and shattered here but people continue on with grace and joy. Electricity goes off randomly multiple times a day yet people’s energy is constantly high. Imagine what your life would be like without electricity for one week, and know most Nigerians have been without it for weeks at a time since they were born. Terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11 have happened every year for the past 7 years. Still this remains a nation where people will smile, engage and offer assistance more often than not. If any peoples are ready to survive the end times, it is those who were raised in Nigeria.
Every large city has traffic, but in many Nigerian cities a hold-up transitions into a shopping mall. Delicious popcorn, questionable mousetraps, Suzanne Summers thighmasters, real puppies… Where else can you be cursing under your breath in a traffic jam and a random stranger brings you a PUPPY?
Sick of reading long rants about how persecuted your great-uncle is or what a terrible restaurant some random acquaintance went to? Strangely in a country where people have every reason to complain, there is very little of it, especially wrt trivial matters. Why? My theory is most Nigerians generally do not have time for such nonsense, and complainers are not entertained even by their own mothers. Most Nigerians I have met learn early to put up or shut up. Do you have any idea how refreshing this is coming from a culture where cynicism is treated somewhere between an aspiring profession and a god given right?
To be honest, sometimes I think that Nigeria is this fantastic secret carefully guarded by Niger Delta militants, Boko Haram terrorists and internet scammers. But I also realize this would ignore the massive endemic issues that make life a magnitude harder for most people here. I realize that as a relativity rich white person, I get treated better and have a different experience than many. I realize this experience is not everybody’s cup of tea. But for those who can see past the problems to the opportunities, there is not really a better place to be than Nigeria.
By Monica Samec