Well, in my experience, this saying rings true for most people who grew up in Nigeria and now live abroad.
It is when you have left home for some time that you truly begin to appreciate some of the simple things you took for granted - like suya; goat meat that actually tastes like goat meat; the earthy smell of sand after the rains; the feverish preparations for Christmas/ New year; the taste of jollof rice cooked over fire-wood; the ability to nip to your tailor and have an outfit specially created for you ................. *sigh*
You might have noticed that I have only highlighted the good memories *smile*
Well, that's a deliberate choice as I prefer good memories to bad ones. This is because the bad memories come alive whenever I return to Naija. *smile*
Anyway, before I digress......one of the things I have done to remind myself - and my kids - of my 'roots' is to give them traditional names. Each child's name was inspired by the events around his birth. I always love explaining what their name means to them because they then have a story to tell their inquisitive friends.
Like my kid's friends, I am also fascinated by the meaning of people's names - and the history behind the names. This is because I often feel that a person's name gives some insight into the parents' thought processes at the time the child was born - What the parents felt like.......What events occured around the time the child was born.........What the parents hoped the child would become in future .......etc
Why these names???.....when we have soooo many beautiful Nigerian/ African names to choose from???? Even if one has to choose a western name, I would think the choice of a meaningful one would be better?
Don't get me wrong, I am not against western names. Indeed, my Catholic parents baptised me with an English name - along with a sackful of traditional names. However, I do find it difficult to understand how some Nigerian parents would prefer to name their precious children after things/ people that have no relationship to them, their culture or their background.
A fellow Nigerian (resident here) once told me that he felt that my decision to give my kids traditional Naija names was wrong! According to this man, such names would 'hold them back in the western world as teachers and future employers would be biased against them whenever they saw their names'.
When he said this, I defended myself vigorously - saying that their names were chosen because they expressed............in our native language..........exactly how hubby and I felt at the time the kids were born!
I really wish I could run into that man again....to ask him if he's heard about how the name 'Barack Obama' has been an impediment to the personal and professional growth of a certain gentleman from Hawaii!! *smile*
Do let me know your take on this - traditional names or fashionable western names - what's your preference?