Welcome to Nigeria

Expat feedback on what to expect when you land in Nigeria

We have recently moved to Lagos recently and everyone we know is interested to know how is it like. Unfortunately, there is not much information on internet as you would like and whatever there is, you are better off not knowing.

I was among the fortunate ones who knew people living there and could be counted on for an honest feedback. So one thing which I was totally prepared for was the airport itself. Yes, this needs to be discussed! You need to be mentally prepared for it. The airport experience would be the worst part of your journey. The airport is dingy and gloomy. We were asked if we were carrying any new clothes??? Like is it a crime to carry them? And then they may ask for a token for their family.  It is NOT a compulsion. You can politely ignore their request or simply say next time.

Once you have left the airport, the worst part of your journey is over. The city, to be honest is cleaner than I expected and there is greenery around, so it is pretty decent. It is a big, thriving city; it took us good 45 minutes to reach hotel with no traffic. The traffic jams are legendary here, so once you come you will know what timings to avoid traffic hour etc.  

The city is expensive. I don’t think one could afford to stay in the island, (where all expats stay) and study in international schools if it is not covered by your company.  Eating at restaurants is also expensive. Just don’t think that since you are in Nigeria, things will be cheaper. Your grocery bill is going to be more because you further add duty and margins to it.

The only thing which will be cheaper and a huge blessing here is domestic help. Be prepared to become Martha Stewart in the kitchen as you will end up eventually making things you crave as they are not easily available or it is just more convenient. You will also be planning your annual shopping in your travels. So you will not only become an expert cook  but also super organized.

Now the silver lining to this, expat community is very welcoming here. These people will become your new family and you will make life long bonds with them.  The weather is pleasant all year round and there are very nice options for housing. So these friends and your home will be where you meet and entertain mostly. Haven’t explored many dining out options, but will definitely share with you when I have tried them some.

The price gap between the rich and poor will sadden you and even more so when you know it is an oil rich country with so much potential. Like any new country, it will take a while to settle. More so, because of security restrictions. But keep an open mind, have a taste of adventure , who knows you might end up liking it.

 

 

 

The Americanah Dream

Some stories are just meant to entertain you, but then there are some that entertain you , educate you and also move you . This novel #Americanah is a complete package. I have recently moved to Lagos, and as an expat this book gave an interesting perspective into the struggles of the black people generally […]

 

Some stories are just meant to entertain you, but then there are some that entertain you , educate you and also move you . This novel #Americanah is a complete package.

I have recently moved to Lagos, and as an expat this book gave an interesting perspective into the struggles of the black people generally and a life in Nigeria. The book touches racism, complexities associated with dark skin and Afro hair , income disparity and harboring the American dream.

The life of a Black living outside Africa comes with its own set of struggles , frustrations , double standards and stereotypes. The grass is greener on the other side, and each Black experiences this while trying to make a living abroad. Each black carries the burden of the entire race. Being from Pakistan , I can understand the obsession with pale skin , but one must wonder how it feels that in order to be regarded beautiful , it is imperative to change oneself, to conform to the idea of beauty which does not come naturally to you. Be it fair skin or straight hair . It doesn’t help much when even the global black superstars such as Rihanna , Beyoncé and Oprah have also conformed to skin bleaching and hair treatments.

I am an expat living in the bustling city of Lagos and I am simply amazed by how crazy expensive this city is . Each item you get elsewhere in the world , is more expensive here. And one wonders that the supermarkets and restaurants that one sees in the island* are only catered for the local elite and expats. If you are wondering which island I am referring to, the Island is simply an island within the city of Lagos connected by a bridge which separates the rich from the commoner. The rentals that one would expect to pay to live in one of the posh compounds within the island is equivalent to living in The Palms in Dubai, yes the same place where Oprah and The Beckhams have a water facing villa. So living in the island is a cocoon within Lagos which shields you from the harsher reality of the city.

This book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a must read and will make you more empathetic to the struggles of the Africans everywhere in the world.