Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Ofuani (Country home, Ubulu-Okiti, Delta State, Nigeria).

This picture reminds me that there is beauty everywhere and in everyone. There are countries that have been written off, but I have learnt to turn a deaf ear to stereotypes and information that have negative impacts and can turn one’s judgement into an essay of bias notions. In my home, we have the potential to be beautiful but sometimes it seems like we are afraid of our light, and all we can do. In fact, I attended a book jam recently where the host asked us to explain in our own words what we thought the quote for the day meant. After debating and discerning, that the Author meant sometimes people are afraid of how great they could be or having to live up to high standards, which we all know is very difficult and demanding, some of the members couldn’t help but laugh with wry humour. To them the Author was talking to us. They felt defeated, asking when things would change if ever. I was the youngest person in that room that evening and somehow I had the confidence to give a poem talking about my love for my country. A country is only failed when its citizens no longer believe in it.  A country is a thing, and its citizens are the ones with the power to choose if it will be an important or useless entity. There was a time in my life, when I really felt lost. My family travelled a lot to different countries, so it was really no big deal to me then. I could not understand why people yearned to be citizens of other countries when those other countries had their own problems to deal with. Either way I joined. I disliked going to my village or involving myself in country activities.

 Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Ofuani (Country home, Ubulu-Okiti, Delta State, Nigeria).

2 years ago, my Dad forced me to come to the village with the family. Of course I was reluctant. I was still very young and very ignorant. By the time we arrived, I was amazed by what I saw. I saw everything in a new light.  From that day till now I have been really proud to call myself a Nigerian because it wasn’t Lebanese, German or Swedish architects that made our village as  beautiful as it could be, it was Nigerians. Maybe if we believed in ourselves a lot more, tried harder to see all the things we can accomplish as one, we would indeed be one of the top countries we admire so much.

How have my views changed?

Quite honestly they have not. Being in the U.S. has only helped me develop them further and living here in order to receive a solid education has reinforced my beliefs. The grass does indeed look greener on the other side but I say  and ask truthfully, if we want our grass to be as healthy and luscious looking as that which we envy why don’t we adopt practices that help the growth and progress of ours?

I have come to realize that a human being is a human being anywhere. A little over 7 billion people, all unique but the same. People ask me if moving here was difficult for me? or if I experienced culture shock? I am very privileged to be able to say no to both of these questions. In my opinion I am yet to move anywhere officially and my home will always be in Nigeria. As for culture shock, I experienced no such thing but what I did experience did shock me. In my country, we are all black and hopefully proudly Nigerian but what I have seen here is that there are different interpretations of being American and even the concept of freedom is ambiguous. Note that I say none of these things to offend anyone but simply to state that nowhere on this earth is without its flaws or imperfections and to demonize a country or its people because it is perceived to be more flawed than others is as silly as letting someone’s skin colour, sexuality or gender define them.

I only wish for there to be true love, respect and peace amongst all men, women and children and to live in a world where respect is sincerely earned and not withheld or given for the wrong reasons. If I was to state a reason why I blog this would be at the top of the list; to give a voice to those who are either too afraid to speak or face confrontation for the views they hold.

I am now a year away from being considered a young adult, still with a long way to go and a lot to learn. One’s freedom of speech should not encroach on another’s freedom/rights/bring verbal harm to their person. Once again, I hope this inspires other people to want to be a part of their country’s development and see it get to where it should be in all aspects.

Written: Friday, July 27th 2012.

Updated 1st: Tuesday, February 25 2014.

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Comments
  1. moskeda says:

    Thanks for the pingback!

  2. Don says:

    Thank you for your link to my blog. Much appreciated. You sound like a real gift to your country. It’s people like yourself with the kind of belief you have that make all the difference wherever home is.

    • camgal says:

      Thank you so much Don, that means a lot. Your post was awesome by the way. I only hope I will buttress my beliefs with my actions because that is what will truly make the difference :)- Camgal

  3. With young ones who have the capacity for critical thinking, there is hope for Nigeria. Thank you for reaffirming my premonitions about the potentials of our beloved country.

  4. LAND OF FUN says:

    This is simply lovable !

  5. […] recently updated Home is where the heart is. Feel free to revisit it via the link and leave […]

  6. Joe Bradshaw says:

    A beautiful and expressive post loved the sentiment expressed “I only wish for there to be true love, respect and peace amongst all men, women and children and to live in a world where respect is sincerely earned and not withheld or given for the wrong reasons.” Thank you for being you! :) Joe

  7. the Author meant sometimes people are afraid of how great they could be

    I think that sums it up perfectly, I think people are not so much afraid of change as they are afraid that they might have to be the ones to bring about the change they want to see, that they might have to step outside their comfort-zone and challenge someone or something in order to make their world or country a better place, there is always that little but powerful voice in the human psyche that says ‘You’re not good enough to do this, people will think you are stupid and crazy, stick with the status quo’. And sometimes that voice wins out, but it’s the ones that ignore that voice that make real changes in the world.

    I’m always reminded of the opening lines from a poem by Marianne Willamson:

    ‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
    but that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.’

    • camgal says:

      Thank you :) and you have a solid point there. Honestly when I was updating this post, I was mincing words because the voice in my head that Christopher Titus popularly refers to as one’s inner retard, would not stop saying how insignificant what I have to say is or will be. We all need to tell that negative voice to quiet down or we’ll never get anything done :). Like in the movie about Steve Jobs, there was a quote that said it’s the crazy ones that cause change :)

  8. Hala J. says:

    This post hit home with me. I could have replaced “Nigeria” with “Lebanon” fairly easily. (One of my friends is a Lebanese who grew up in Nigeria, actually. I know you’re more than familiar with my people…though I’m not sure how we’re viewed there. God knows I kinda wanna slap them when I’m in my own homeland).

    Of course every country has its flaws, but the difference is when people make the effort to rise up and make changes. If all we have is a self-defeatist outlook, then I can only say we get what we deserve.

    • camgal says:

      Really? That’s nice to know. I tend to stay away from collective views because you can not judge an individual by where they come from…but I suppose that’s only human reasoning kicking in. Personally Lebanese people I have met have been decent and nice :).

      Yes, every country does and the sad truth is as you’ve put it. Thanks for leaving a comment :)

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