Across Another Ocean

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to be heading out across the Atlantic tonight to land in Africa. And I think most people will give me a little slack on that because, well, it’s Africa. I mean, aren’t most Americans taught to be a little bit afraid of the continent? Okay, maybe saying that we were taught that isn’t entirely accurate, but I feel as though I have been given a very negative impression of Nigeria. In fact, it is currently the top 2 place that the Government Travel Site warns US citizens not to go and the second to worst country to live in according to an un-bias research report I recently read. So…it’s not really boding well for the land of my love.

Nonetheless, it will be a new adventure. And I’ll learn to overcome the obstacles. In Colombia, in some ways, I feel like I didn’t overcome many of the obstacles, but simply found a way around them. To me, that’s not overcoming them. But for Nigeria, I don’t really get that option. It’s a country that I will likely be frequenting throughout the course of my life, so I better find some love and affection for it somewhere.

Everything I’ve read, not that there’s much out there, says that you love Nigeria for the people. You travel to Nigeria for the people. You return to Nigeria for the people. For their warmness and their openness. I might have thought I was white in Colombia, but that will be nothing compared to the whiteness I will be in Nigeria. But, so I’m told, once they get past the initial shock of seeing your white glare, they are some of the most welcoming people in the world. This gives me great amounts of hope.

And I can see these promises to be true. Lanre loves his country and he may be one of the friendliest, most open, nonjudgmental humans I have ever met. And if the people of Nigeria have even an ounce of his fervor for life and his country, then I can only imagine the love and warmth I will experience in Nigeria. I actually found these lyrics that have given me a source of comfort:

I had to decide.
Was I gonna play it safe?
Or look somewhere deep inside.
Try to turn the tide.
Find the strength to take that step of faith?

This is my now.
And I am breathing in the moment.
As I look around,
I can’t believe the love I see.
My fear’s behind me.
Gone are the shadows and doubt.
That was then.
This is my now.

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2 thoughts on “Across Another Ocean

  1. Rachel, I will be sending you so many happy thoughts for this trip!! I’m excited FOR you!! You’ve gotten to have so many amazing experiences and you’re so lucky and so much better off for them. Don’t listen to what (yes, you’re right) we’ve been taught to think about other places. EVERYONE told me not to go to Russia (Including the U.S. State Department), my family cried when asking me not to go, and I went anyway and every day I feel elated and sad looking back because I loved it and it meant so much to me. Nigeria will be the same for you, even if it’s not perfect (you know, don’t fall for any schemes about exiled Nigerian princes and such, for some reason we have a lot of those situations here with online apartment rental ads – don’t ask.)

    You’ve traveled a lot, you know to be safe and exercise common sense, plus you have the benefit of knowing people there. You’re so brave and adventurous, and excited as I am for you, I also envy you so much!!!

    Please take lots of pictures, and immediately start forgetting the bad things you’ve been told, learned, read, the subtle negative things people have planted in your head (I’m sure they’ve done it to you, same as they did to me) and just enjoy this for the experience it is.

    Don’t forget the pictures and stay in touch – will be sending you many happy thoughts. Have fun!!!!

    – Rennie

  2. It will be awesome. And it will no doubt be a short period of time before I am incredibly jealous! Much love and stay connected. Hugs for Lanre, too!

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