Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nigeria: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Dear all,

Nigeria is a complicated country. With all the ingenuity and tenacity I've seen in the people, plus the vast amounts of money I see being spent (almost all on frivolous things), I am a strong believer that Nigeria has the ability to solve its own problems.

So, these are some of my impressions about Nigerians.

The Good:
Children. People love kids here. I've seen scary guys with AK-47s bouncing babies on their knees and entertaining any kid that comes by. Everyone seems to love kids, and there's definitely 'the village raises the child,' where everyone is in charge of teaching kids the straight and narrow.

The Bad:
Every day. Literally, every day. Someone runs a scheme by me. All the time. Even when the scheme doesn't even make any sense, people tell me them with a straight face. Someone who's job it is to handle Nigeria's vast wealth asked me if I could 'arrange' for computers for a school he is helping. He offered to transport me to the school, put me up in a fancy hotel, etc. I pointed out that if he spent that money on the computers, then he wouldn't have a problem. :/

The Ugly:

I can't really decide what to put in this category. One third of the people I talk to just sit around all day, literally waiting for money to rain from the sky. Another third is busy spending the money that they took from the people/got from raining from the sky. The remaining third seems to doing their best, working hard, and having something of a normal life.

I can't decide if its worse to sit, do nothing and have nothing happen (including not go to work, not go to school, not do anything). Or if it is worse to loot and plunder, buying ever more ridiculous things, but not spending anything on maintenance, or the community.

My advice to you:

Nigerians are extremely engaging and gregarious people. If you want to work here or be effective here you have to have a good sense of humor. Starting conversations with a joke will get you far. You also have to make sure you are productive when there are delays or things change, otherwise you'll go mad.

Goodluck to the Nigerians and Nigeria ;)


1 comment:

  1. I know this post is ancient in blog years but I wanted to let you know that these and others are truly helpful. I'm considering applying to a job in Nigeria and this is helping me to get a better grip on what it would be like to work there. Thank you for that, great work!