Sunday, 26 August 2012

Thank You

Recently, DNW and Ibhade have touched on Blogger Etiquette.

Sometimes we need posts like these to remind us of how we should behave and treat others on blogsville.

On my part, their posts have reminded me to say a BIG THANK YOU to............:
- Everyone who visits my blog;
- Everyone who comments;
- Everyone who writes on blogsville and encourages other writers
- Especially to the 173 people who follow this blog.

You all make me feel special. May all our dreams come true and may all our talents never be wasted. Amen

I'll be back soon

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Immigration 101 - Part Two

(6) When immigrants wont let go of the past:

One of my favourite verses - Luke 9:62 -  in the Bible states 'And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God'

I love the simplicity of it because one can also apply it to different aspects of life:
- A new bride/ groom who still reminisces about old boyfriends/ girlfriends is not ready to build a happy home;
- A secondary school student who longs for the simplicity of primatry school is not ready to work hard;
- A mother who continues to moan that she misses her carefree childless days, is not prepared to be a good mother;
- An athlete who continuously looks over his/her shoulder - to check the competition during a race - is likely to stumble

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen Nigerians send money home to build mansions in Nigeria while they inhabit homes that can only be described as 'painful to the eyes'. Some send luxurious cars back home........which relatives end up driving on their behalf.

This situation is not exclusive to Nigerians. I have Indian and Pakistani colleagues/ friends who complain about same: Parents who built fabulous houses in their home countries..........while they have brought up children in very cramped accommodation.........all in the name of building a retirement home or showing their peers that they are successes abroad.

In my opinion, maintaining a link to one's country of origin should never be at the expense of one's dependants. An immigrant who spends more time wondering what s/he is missing out on in the country s/he not ready to build a successful life in his new country.

(7) When Nigerians/ immigrants refuse to adapt:
I am a true believer in staying true to oneself.....However, I am also believer in the saying 'Give unto Caesar what is Caesar and unto God what is God's'

One of the most difficult things an immigrant has to face is the need to adapt:
- Regarding Employment: A need to update his/her skills or education
- Regarding Finances: A need to understand that western society is generally a cash-less society (good credit rating is important)
- Regarding Education: A need to understand the education system if you want your kids to excel
- Regarding A need to understand the 'unwritten codes' i.e. what's acceptable or not

However, quite a lot of immigrants expect the society to adapt to them....Not going to happen.

Restricting all communication, socialising and interaction to the familiar (i.e. only your community) is not really helpful as one might never get to understand his/her new environment.

(8) When Nigerians do not patronise other Nigerians:
I am always frustrated when I see fellow Nigerians who do not encourage other Nigerian business owners. s  I am not talking about the businesses that deal in African food.....but the Nigerians who have other businesses.

Unfortunately, it seems Nigerians still prefer to patronize other nationalities when it comes to non-food transactions. I dont know if its a matter of distrust or envy but it amazes me when some Nigerians over here will pay double to someone else and then prefer to owe their fellow Nigerian.

(9) When immigrants think 'business' is a way out of dealing with 'the system': 
I have seen numerous immigrants decide to go into 'business' because they feel that is a way to avoid the 'system' or be independent. I applaud this choice as much as I despair about it. I applaud this because I believe the spirit of entrepreneurship means successful business owners will motivate others and break boundaries.

However, I do despair at times because some fail to realise that not everyone is cut for business.

More often than not, if you ask some of my fellow immigrants what kind of business they have in  mind, they are vague OR they base their business model on imitating someone else's business idea. Most don't think it through and the result is that most of these businesses fold up within a year. In my experience, a business MUST seek to address a need; MUST differentiate itself and MUST evolve to outlive its competitors.

The new phenomenon is that quite a lot decide to return to their home countries to start 'business'. I wont bore you with how many succeed and how many don't but believe me when I say that the vacumm left by a parent who spends most of his/her time in another country is not easy to fill.

I totally applaud the bravery of those who choose to start businesses - at home or abroad .........However, .my applause ceases in cases where the individual has chosen to invest huge sums in a business while they ignore the needs of their offspring.

(10) When immigrants forget about the other fingers:
'When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself'

Immigrants often accuse their hosts of everything - while forgetting they are guilty of same:
- Complaining about racism...........???: How is that different from tribalism?
- Complaining that your hosts make fun of your skin colour............???: How is that different for the preference for lighter skinned Africans?
- Complaining about white parents who dont want their kids marrying Africans........?:  How many Africans dont feel the same?
- Complaining about how expensive everything is over here..........:  I agree..........but that's why things work
 - Complaining, Complaining, Complaining ...........???: Just deal with the here and be your papa house be this so save your energy and hustle (This is not your father's house so save your energy and get a move on)

In the words of Vintage Nollywood ...........'To God Be The Glory' LOL
Stay blessed everyone

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Immigration 101 - Part One

* Immigrant = Someone who enters another country to take up permanent residence

As an immigrant, I find how other immigrants adjust and settle in their new countries very interesting.  I always try to take an objective view whenever I meet fellow immigrants who have a lot to say about their host country - good or bad......

However, there are times when my fellow immigrants/ Nigerians  living abroad make me shake my head in despair................Here are some of those times:

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are personal. Dont hate...appreciate:

(1) When a Nigerian/ immigrant living somewhere complains that there are too many Nigerians/immigrants living in a place:
Oh yes. I hear this all the time
'London is now like  Lagos'.....
'There are too many Nigerians/ black people in this city nowadays' .......
'I remember when we were only few Nigerians/ blacks in my area....nowadays, you see Nigerians/ blacks everywhere....'

Yes never fails to cross the speaker's mind that s/he is part of that 'surplus' number of people the s/he is complaining about.
I always feel like telling them that if they leave, that might help reduce the number by at least one.

(2) When Nigerians/ immigrants argue about whether USA or UK is better?
What exactly is the point? Imagine two adults arguing over which place is better to live. To be fair, it is often the US based immigrants that want to ram it down your throat - whether you like it or not:
'The roads in London are too small'
'In the US, our malls are bigger'
'That's God's own country you know..................'
Worse still are immigrants who return back to their country of origin and complain about those countries:
'Nigerians are so corrupt. You wont see this in London'
'Accra is boring, when I'm in New York, I go clubbing all night'
'Joburg is not safe.....when I'm in Germany I can walk everywhere all night'
....... It's such a bore.
My opinion is that one should make the best of wherever one is OR leave for a better place. Again, don't bore everyone with your propaganda.
I'm sure the Jews felt comfortable in Germany at some point. My belief is that any immigrant should never disown their country of origin because one never knows how their host country will change if a far-right government ever comes into power.

(3) When Nigerians complain that Catholic or Anglican churches abroad are boring:
To me, this is the same as an Englishman entering a Catholic church in Nigeria and complaining that the church is too noisy.
So you expect people who come from a culture that is traditionally quiet and reserved, to change because of you abi?
Haba, live and let live. If you prefer to worship with your compatriots, then do feel free to look for your nearest Nigerian, Ghanaian etc etc church. However, I believe that when one is choosing a place of worship, it should be more about how the place helps your spiritual growth - and not about how well your pastor can shout or the choir can gyrate to music. Anyone who chooses a church based on how loud their praise worship best advised to look for a Christian disco.

(4) When immigrants leave their values behind...
Moving to a new country is a big step and more likely than not - unless one's parents are really wealthy - one might have to make compromises with regards to where one lives/ works.

For example, if you were living in GRA Ikeja  - unless your parents are wealthy enough to maintain a similar lifestyle for you abroad - you are most likely to live in a Surulere equivalent when you arrive here. It is what it is.

However, this does not mean your values and aspirations should be compromised.
Unfortunately, this is what I have seen happen time and time again:
- Parents who choose to shove their children into just any school - without checking the school records;
- Adults who choose to down-grade their spoken English in an effort to appear cool;
- Parents who choose to suspend disciplining their children because they feel it is not done over here;
- Adults who settle for menial jobs when an option exists to retrain and get better jobs;
= Parents who focus on acquiring material things so they can impress relatives - while ignoring their children's needs etc etc
Change should NEVER mean a step backwards. Even when a person has to take a step backwards, s/he should never forget his background, values or dreams.

(5) When Nigerians/ immigrants feel they have to disown their heritage to 'fit in' :
I am always amazed when I see Nigerians/ immigrants who want to distance themselves from their country of origin.........:
- Fake accents; new friends; edited past etc etc
I have even encountered fellow Naija-born Nigerians who pretend they were born here ......... ??????!!!!! ..................As in, these are people I know can tell me the best places to buy Suya or moi-moi in Ijesha. LOL
The problem is that such actions have a way of making the person appear even more ignorant because when you start talking about things that happened in the UK in the seventies.........they struggle.

I have a Nigerian accent and I cant change it. Considering I spent 23 years in Nigeria before moving would be strange if I didnt have some 'Nigerian-ness' in my speech.
Nigeria has its issues and problems but it also has a rich culture and to deny my country of origin is impossible..............'If small pickin deny im mama, the mama fit deny the pickin one day' (If a child denies knowledge of his/her mother; that same mother might one day deny knowledge of that child)

(Part Two next week Friday. Till then .....Stay blessed)