16 June 2009

10 things I never imagined I would do - Part 1

Living in a new environment requires some form of adaptation to the culture, the people, the lingo and the general way of life.  Listed below are some of the things I now do which were alien to me about a year and half ago. Some of them, I never imagined I would do, not because they are necessarily bad or particularly mind-blowing, but because they were things that just didn’t cross my mind a few months ago. Some of them are choices I now make; others are opportunities I am taking. Some are good, some I am ashamed to admit, and some are simply neutral. The important issue is they are new things happening only because I changed my location from England to the United States of Nigeria.

1. Carrying a mobile phone – I had resisted carrying a mobile phone for over a decade.  It was my way of avoiding the relentless pressure of the different hats I wore in England. My take was that I could be reached at home and at work, I therefore wanted the privilege of the freedom in between both locations.  I must also say that it was easier for me to do this for several reasons, chief of which was that my work was less than a pebble’s throw from home. Those who felt it was ridiculous that I did not own a mobile phone and wanted me to carry one tried all kinds of intrigues including giving it as a present, asking those who are close to me for my private number, adopting psychological tactics etc. They did not realise that the only reason I did not carry one was because I wanted to manage the unnecessary pressure to which we are exposed in this age of technology and unreasoning and I felt that one way of doing so was avoiding a mobile phone.  

However, now that I live in Nigeria, I have found that carrying a mobile phone is a necessity.  I do not only carry one, I occasionally have to carry two because a service provider might decide to take a holiday on you without warning.  Am I feeling the pressure?  Hmmm

2. Storing fuel at home – In the past I used to condemn those who store fuel at home as people who were raving mad. Or how would anyone in their right mind store petrol, a highly inflammable fuel at home given its attendant safety issues? Nowadays, I have eaten my words and I reluctantly have to store petrol and diesel because you need them for generating electricity and also for your vehicle.  I have realised that this is the most convenient way to ensure life goes on without serious disruptions given the epileptic power supply and regular fuel scarcity. 

Although petrol has not contained its uncontrollable and temperamental appetite for catching fire, I must say I no longer think those who store petrol at home are raving mad.  Or is it that I have joined the mad crew? Hmmm. 

3. Taking regular cold showers – What do you expect? Nigeria is a few degrees north of the Equator so it’s summer almost all the year round.  Although I take the odd warm shower, you need a cold shower to be able to have a smooth and relaxed sleep at night, neighbourhood generators permitting.  I must say that this is one of the things I look forward to morning and evening.  In any event, I have always enjoyed standing in the shower as I get a lot of inspiration when I do.  It's interesting that cold showers and England don’t go together even at summer time, at least for me.  Hmmm. 

4. Raising my voice – I have to admit that I now do the occasional raising of my voice for which I am ashamed. Raising my voice at people was not one of the things I thought I was capable of doing. I have no excuse for this and I wouldn’t want to say it’s the people that made me do it.  However, before I am inundated with anger management experts offering their services, Iet me state that I have decided to politely walk away from workmen who deliberately do shoddy work knowing that all they have to do is 'say sorry', never mind the cost of fixing the mess they created.  I also now shut my eyes to people who drive as if they are possessed. I know it is difficult not to be frustrated by the myriad of issues in Nigeria, but it is my intention not to become what I shouldn’t.  Hmmm. 

5. Brushing my teeth with bottled water – This is more of a survival measure rather than an attempt to appear posh.  In my view, the cost of getting bottled water to brush my teeth is cheaper than the potential cost of typhoid. I have also derived a method of using water so judiciously well that a bottle could last for several days.  I did not start this way; I was content with the borehole water until I had a rethink after an incident which I guess I will leave for another time.   Hmmmmmmm! 

Watch out for Part 2!

 

17 comments:

dapxin said...

Its the Nigerian way.

The Nigerian will.

It all resonates with me perfectly.

Sola S. said...

Please stay true to what is good so that others will see that it is possible.
Jesus showed us men that it is possible for a man to be holy in this world.
We must show Nigerians that Nigerians can be decent in Nigeria.

Fajimi Robert said...

Dear sir,
Though this is Nigeria, I want you to glue firmly with the Lord Jesus and he will help you to consistently stand and be a pacesetter for others to follow. I am really following your articles and following them religiously, with respect to peoples actions in the world to you,it is a matter of spirituallity, Wait on the Lord, I say wait on HIM and he will DEFINATELY help you not to give up on some of these virtues that are eroding away from these generation.

Fajimi Robert
Lagos

Anonymous said...

I think its called induction. Well done for getting this far! L

Emeka said...

I would reserve my till I read the full teaxt. For now WELCOME home, Gbenga..

opeonifade said...

It is naturally convenient to adjust to pleasure, as against adjusting to pain. One proof that the Nigerian way is not the natural way!

But must this be what it means to be a Nigerian?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Nigeria!

Anonymous said...

This seems to be one of those welcome induction checklists that gradually breaks your posh instincts making you very flexible for the Nigerian way of life.

Or it could be another way of saying welcome back!!!

Anonymous said...

Your experience is really hilarious.It is not 'Niger Way' we call it 'Survival Strategy'. So Weeeelllllllccccoooommmmeeeeee!!!!!

Oloye Owopele said...

Comments awaits.

favour okikiola omowumi yusuff said...

Na wa o! this na nija, God Almighty will see you through and you can do all things through Christ who strenghten's you.

All things work together for good for you, there is a reason why you are going through this phase now.He will see you through for his purpose to be accomplished in your life.

favour okikiola omowumi yusuff said...

Na wa o! this na nija, God Almighty will see you through and you can do all things through Christ who strenghten's you.

All things work together for good for you, there is a reason why you are going through this phase now.He will see you through for his purpose to be accomplished in your life.

Kodjo said...

I'm from Ghana. I visited Lagos recently (see my blog). I have a question for you and my Nigerian brothers and sisters. What is the possible scenario for Nigeria to return to "normalcy". Under what set of conditions do you see the country coming back to normal. What has to happen? What I find lacking is the general debate about the current situation is a discussion of the possible solutions. Rather everybody seems to be adjusting to the situation. Understandable so. The Bible says "hope deferred makes the heart sick". Is it an impossible task to provide electricity 24/7 to a country that is endowed with almost infinite amounts of oil and natural gas? If not, what will it take? How long before we get there? Who needs to do it? etc etc...I'm just searching for answers here.

Bance said...

It will never be Normal We worry to much about Money and because of Selfishness we tend to aquire wealt through corrupt practices.

THIRTY + said...

Enjoyed reading this. A bit hilarious especially the petrol business and bottled water for brushing. I can just imagine you trying to stay calm with the posessed drivers on loose.

Anonymous said...

"I did not start this way; I was content with the borehole water until I had a rethink after an incident which I guess I will leave for another time." I am eager to read about your borehole water encounter.... when is this coming out?

Gerard said...

Well said kodjo. The problem is that most Nigerians DONT CARE ABOUT MAKING NIGERIA BETTER FOR EVERYONE!!!There is a ME,MYSELF AND I mentality that prevails. What is lost on most Nigerians is that, being relatively successful individually is not as good as being succesfully COLLECTIVELY.That is my observation. We could learn alot from Ghana. I will be visiting Ghana soon.