* 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 oh................it 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 is........is best advised to look for a Christian disco.
(4) When immigrants leave their values behind...
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 here........it 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)