You may ask yourself – why should I go to Nigeria? Well…I can’t answer you this question but I can tell you why I went to Nigeria:
In 2010, I had already been to Peru and China. After that west-east trip, I wanted to go to another country I’ve never been to and get to know a culture that is different from everything I’ve known before. Besides, the picture of Nigeria in Austria is a very bad one…one that contains nearly all the prejudices a country could have. From drug dealers, kidnappers to murders I heard nearly everything. Yes, there are those people but also in Austria. They are everywhere – it is not country wise. I wanted to go there and see the reality. I wanted to see another picture than it was drawn in Austria. I wanted to get to know new people and live for a while in another country.
Within the 10 weeks I spent there, I saw a complete different picture. Yes, there are poor people and, yes, there is corruption. I won’t deny that. Yet, I met amazing people. I met people who made me think, step over my borders and learn more – each day. I am more patient now and I learnt to take life as it comes and make the best out of. A very good friend told me there, “Nigerians hardly complain – they take life as it comes and make the best out of it.” It is true. I got inspired and learnt how to work with another culture. I adjusted easily but I still had to learn some rules of life. Fortunately, I didn’t have many problems with the food when I came there.
I was working for 10 weeks on a project called “African Young Entrepreneurs”. Already on the first weekend I spent there, I was travelling to Abuja in order to meet other interns from Nigeria and take part in the Global Village. I got to know not just Nigerians but also Chinese, Taiwanese, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Netherlands, German, Korean, Greek and Danish people. I learnt from them and they learn from my side. It was not just an exchange of culture but also of ideas, experiences and great minds.
I went to a conference as facilitator and attended another conference with over 300 people. People with huge potential and energy. I had the feeling of having a positive impact on so many people..
On one of my last Saturdays in Nigeria, we went to a waterfall. For the first time in my life, I stood under a waterfall – a wonderful moment which I shared with around 10 other people – interns and Nigerians. Around a week before, I went out with Psquare – something most Nigerians wait a whole lifetime for.
I don’t regret any minute I spent in this beautiful country – with all the good and bad sides. You enjoy the good sides and you learn from the bad ones. The latter one just makes you stronger. Those ten weeks didn’t just make me stronger but also grow and expand my personal borders. This time brought me wonderful friendships – friends I can count on. All in all, it was an unforgettable and wonderful experience.
If I would go back in time and somebody asked me if I would spend my summer 2010 again in Nigeria, I can just say “YES”.