Well little did I know when I arrived to Lagos the life I knew abroad was going to come with an unbelievable price tag. Believe me, I’m not naive. I expected some change but nothing compared to what I actually experienced. My previous visits were on vacations which was short and sweet. I would visit friends and family all over, go to social events, do some shopping, and lay out on private beaches, meditating. These experiences lured me back. Being a fashion designer, I sometimes pulled inspiration from the different cultures. When the opportunity came to move to Lagos, I hopped on it. I was filled with so much inspiration and new energy…ready to conquer this part of the world.
As I began to learn the system here, I realized that all the things I use to take for granted like having electricity constantly, internet access, customer service, security and good health care were all considered privileges with a hefty price tag. And, though, you pay for them, it doesn’t mean it’s going to function well either. Having lived in a city like New York that is structured and efficient makes it hard to deal. I quickly found out through interacting with the locals daily that lying, scamming and prejudging people was a way of life here. For example, when you enter a market you are immediately prejudged by the seller based on your appearance and accent. If you are new in town like me, you already know they are going to hike the prices up. You go back and forth with the seller trying relentlessly to come up with a reasonable price point, even when you do get it you might later find out the price you paid was double its actual worth.
People here are so hungry that they will go to any length for the sake of survival. All my thoughts are how can we change this lawless country? I try to do my part by re- educating people that there are other ways of life. I truly believe that each one of us can make a difference if we don’t give up. Taking a phrase from OBAMA” Yes we can”. It might not be in my life time but maybe in my kid’s life time.