Living in a new country brings in new experiences and gives you insight to unique culture and norms. I have been observing things around me and thought I should share it with you .
One thing which you cannot ignore while living in Nigeria is the availability of booze , like everywhere! Be it at any grocery shop big or small, restaurant, coffee shop or even a street side hawker. I am only grateful that it is not available in school cafeterias. Needless to say, Nigerians like to have a good time! While doing groceries, I have struggled finding brands I am familiar with , but rest assured you will have no problem finding your choice of poison. The liquor aisle will be fully stocked with all possible choices. Here you will find street hawkers selling small bottles filled with some liquid. Initially I thought it may be some kind of massage oil , but later got to know otherwise.
Moving on to another interesting topic is how the Africans celebrate deaths The funerals are grand and festive and people wait months to a year to bury their loved ones. Funerals are basically a celebration of life as the spirits transitions from this world to another. It is also believed the soul will not rest in peace and unsettle the family in the household if not sent off properly. Families pitch in or take loans to perform the funeral rites. This itself puts a lot of stress financially and emotionally. In some cases, families sell their properties to have a funeral befitting the deceased. Ironically it can be said more importance is given to the dead than the living. Families unable to have proper send off are labeled poor and spoken ill of. The rich have rites which can easily last over a week . Families gather from far and wide and during this week long celebration, there is abundance of food, drinks and music. Regardless of class, a proper funeral is expected and it is not something which can be taken lightly. It is not surprising that this tradition is being capitalized and has turned into a lucrative industry.
You have not lived in Lagos unless you have experienced its’ crazy traffic. I was told prior moving to Lagos that law & order situation deteriorates during the month of December. As we move closer to Christmas and holidays , robberies tend to increase and generally you are supposed to be more careful of your movements. People come from other towns to shop and hence you will experience more traffic all month long. Things tend to improve as the year ends.
Life in Lagos can be as good or bad as you choose to make it . Yes, there are restrictions and frustrations for expats but there is also a silver lining to it like, professional growth, comfortable housing , domestic help and warm expat community. It is just how you choose to see it. Glass half full or empty.