Shaaki Is To Lagos What Ham is to London

It is cool that people get to go abroad to study or do business. It is also cool that people travel to experience the world, different cultures and appreciate them. What is not cool though is people getting back, and wanting the same culture or experience to happen in their home country.  Primary focus of this blog post is on African returnees, with emphasis on Nigeria, because it is my home country, and I can relate. 

So you go to America to study for 5years, or you go on a business trip to Italy, or even go on a 2week holiday to London, then you get back to Nigeria  and make outrageously retarded statements like “it is so difficult to get good hamburgers in Lagos“, or “our cook cant even prepare common Spaghetti Bolognaise” Wait. How is Spaghetti bolognaise common in Nigeria? Do you go to Johnny Rockets in America and ask for Ofada rice? Or do you go to McDonalds and say to them “Oh why dont you sell shaki and ponmo with fries?” No you don’t. So why are you asking for NewYork in Ekiti?

I read about a primary school, acting a play about a Nigerian Christmas in the village. All the typical fun of slaughtering chickens and sharing jollof rice, and getting gifts from “father christmas” was there, but then it began to snow in the play. Snow howwwwww? Whereeee? In Ilesha or Dutse? Why are you re enacting snow in a city that has never experienced it? Is snow now the definition of a perfect christmas? So you experienced snow when you travelled last christmas, and suddenly you want it to snow here too?

It is totally acceptable to want stuff, stuff that are cross culture. I want pomegranate, oh well, it doesn’t grow in Nigeria, so agabalumo will have to do. I can’t however take my anger out on the farmers, and wonder why they don’t produce pomegranate. It doesn’t grow here. End of story.

Now if you honestly feel that Spaghetti is the one meal that you can’t do without, hire a chef, but if he’s Nigerian, and you expect him to be so great with pasta dishes, you are gonna have to give him time to transform his egusi making hands to pasta. Better still, make it yourself. Google is your friend. After all if you didn’t get to travel, you wont even know that Bolognaise was a meal.

They say when you are in Rome, behave like the Romans. So the same way you adapted to the London cold, is the same way you re adapt to the Gwagwalada sun. People prepare for trips to Europe with jackets and sweaters and what not, then get to their own familiar terrain, where they know so well, and still ask – why is it so hot? Asking why the weather is so hot compared to Europe is pointless. It has been hot like this since before you were born, and it will be hot like this after you have passed. The weather won’t change because of you.

Almost same logic for celebrations like Halloween. Although some people might argue that celebrating Halloween can be cross border, and you can choose to celebrate it wherever you are. But I don’t see Americans celebrating and promoting the Lagos Eyo festival. I don’t even see Nigerians celebrating eyo when they travel. So what’s the deal? If you think you want to celebrate halloween when you are there, it is your choice absolutely. But don’t come and ask why we are not trick or treating in Ibadan. Indians have their Diwali festival. Festival of light. They light all sorts of fire crackers and fire works. They literally light up everything in their homes, you can almost go blind.  So does that mean that after visiting India, or schooling there, I should light up my house for Diwali when I move back?

Everyone in Russia has a large coat. They don’t wear it because it is fashionable, they wear it because it snows, and it is freaking cold. If you wan’t to re enact snow in Nigeria, you better just start wearing the coat that compliments it.

Its great to travel and experience new things, but the individuality of peoples action, norms, fashion, culture or tradition is what makes it unique in the first place.

Have your say in the comment section though 🙂

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Boye says:

    Totally agree. It’s tempting though, to think that the foreign experience be re-enacted there instead of vice versa, partly because you always think ‘there’ is better than ‘here’ and ‘here’ had better live up to the more sophisticated experience.

  2. bharyour says:

    But why is it so hot in this Ghana though? Can’t they do something about it? I believe it’s a sign of underdevelopment cos when I was back in London…

  3. oluchi says:

    Well said, Tope. As usual, so many nails have been hit on their heads.

  4. Motun says:

    Madam, yes all is true and well said, but calm down ehn, don’t let them make you angry, don’t mind (winks). Good job

  5. S.A Shittu- Alamu says:

    “Shaaki is 2lagos….” is a good write up, and interesting reading. Young woman, you are gradually becoming a great humorist. keep it up. Your style of touching many sub-themes within a single write up is very engaging. It is a demonstration of open mindedness and a desire 2know. In order 2keep this up, you need 2do more and more exploration after all, d result of hard work is more hard work. Well done my girl!!!

  6. bharyour says:

    We see that comment o. “Well done my girl!”

  7. @MielP says:

    I love the humour in this:))) Its so easy to adjust to good life. But I’m sane enough to remember the word adaptability. Shaaki is to Lagos? Really? I think its “Ewa-goyin is to Lagos” oh.
    Do a piece on phony accents too. How some people travel to Togo or Haiti or some obscure country and come back with American accent beats me.

    @bharyour it should have been “our girl” abi what?:D

  8. Cognitive says:

    So I am reading this on a bus somewhere in Manchester and I can just imagine these words dropping straight from your mouth. Hilarious especially because I have seen it all on close range. I think the Halloween one baffles me the most, I can’t understand it. MielP’s suggestion on you writing about phony accents reminds me of kubwa camp, where people who schooled in Malawi, Cotonou, Malaysia were speaking ‘Innit though’ english, it wasn’t until a soldier slapped one I knew he was even Yoruba. Nice piece Tope, thanks for making laugh this morning too. 😀

  9. T Odunsi says:

    Lovely piece Tope, very hilarious. I love the way you drive home your points using extreme opposites, very figurative…..snow in dutse, that would be the day!

  10. Joyce says:

    Well done Tope. I love the piece.

  11. Dee says:

    Oh why dont you sell shaki and ponmo with fries?” lol…tope u are hilarious. how come u seemed so quiet wen i knew u den at No 48 Aswan?….nice write ups though. use ur blog to chill after a hard day’s work

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