Nigeria Blog Pt. 2 – A Nervous Arrival
I was nervous. I had encountered Immigration Offices in foreign countries before and been turned away, but this was my first time in Africa. They checked my temperature, and I prayed that my motion-sickness related fever would go away. The lady studying my passport put an Ebola warning sticker on the back cover and waved me on, looking very disinterested in my fidgety self.
I smiled thinking that was it! I’d made it in! Then I turned the corner and saw 3 other checkpoints awaiting me. They each barely glanced at me and my bent up passport, except for the woman at the last desk. She looked at me, pointed to my mom and asked,
“Is that your Mother?”.
I answered. She broke into a wide grin and said,
“She is so beautiful, you are lucky!”
Then she also waved me on.
I was in at last! I looked up to see people winding about in a perfect example of African culture. No one seemed to be in a hurry, and everyone spoke as if they had known each other a lifetime and not just the length of a plane ride. Thick consonants and long vowels washed over me, as people nodded in respect to one another. I heard the words Daddy and Mama applied to people who were of no relation to each other.
Nigerians were proving themselves to be kind and abrasive, respectful but curious. After 45 minutes of gathering bags and walking through the airport, we exited to find ourselves the object of stares, pointed fingers, and mild shouts. Most had never seen a white person before, so the exclamations were that of shock and awe. They knew we existed, but had never been close enough to shake our hands.
We waited for our host to come and get us, and we watched our guide and friend (Dr. John Laoye) interact with the airport staff. I found out we were given much favor with Customs. Everyone called him Daddy, and asked for his blessing. You see, His father was a King. That makes him a Prince. This promptly gave a blessing. All the while they gazed at us tentatively, daring only to ask a few questions.
Much later our car pulled up, our host greeted us, and we moved on to the next step in our adventure.