Monday, December 5, 2016

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Bonjour Tout le Monde,

So in today's post, I will be talking about the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of my home of birth: Nigeria. I would like to say that these are my personal thoughts and I hope that they will be respected. I believe that it is our responsibility as upright citizens to love our country but to also be critical of it. It is not beneficial to the population or the nation for one to turn a blind eye to the faults and weaknesses of their country. Through discussions, I believe that we can collectively create plans and ideas that will address the various issues within each and every one of our countries. For those of you who are also Nigerian, please comment and share your thoughts below. And for those of you who are from other "developing countries", please comment and share your thoughts as well. As for the rest, feel free to do the same. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

There are so many things to say in this section. The best part about being in Nigeria was the feeling of familiarity and being back home. At the end of the day, despite all of the complications and problems that a country may have, it is still home. At the end of the day, Nigeria is my home and I will always hold it in the highest regard. It has been a bit difficult for me all of these years not having family around. That wasn't the case when I was home. I had family everywhere and it was beyond amazing to be around them. There were so many kids calling me 'auntie' or 'SB' (sister Blessing), and that was very special to me. I was happy to speak with aunts and uncles that I haven't seen in ages. They told me stories of the village and the times that I was young. You can't buy moments like that. Along with that, I was awed by the sense of community and the amount of happiness that I saw. Yes, as we all know, Nigeria is labeled as a 'developing country'. Everyone knows what that implies. Despite it being a 'developing country', the people were some of the bubbliest, funniest, and happiest people that I have ever seen. It got to the point that I had to sit back and wonder how these people could be so happy. It then dawned on me that they had something higher and deeper to believe in. They believed in God and their family. God is with Nigeria and he will continue to bless my country and one day, the full potential of Nigeria shall be reached. I long for the day that I will be able to be back home and once more walk the streets of Port Harcourt. Now, apart from all of those sentiments, clearly the food was great. I mean, for those of you who have never experienced or tasted Nigerian cuisines, you are truly missing out. My taste buds burst every day from the elaborate dishes that were presented to me. It is a miracle that I did not gain weight while I was there. I think it's because of the heat haha. Overall, Nigeria is a great place.

Now, before I begin, I would like to say that these are my humble opinions and my readers are free to disagree with whats being said. I just hope that it will be done in a respectful manner! On that note, let's begin! The biggest issue that boiled my blood was the amount of corruption in Nigeria and how this affected the education system, the healthcare system, and the police force. To me, education and healthcare are undeniable human rights and necessities, irrespective of status, class, or cultural affiliation. In regards to the police force, you start to wonder how much corruption has compromised the safety of those that are meant to be protected by upright police officers and officials. Yes, corruption exists everywhere, but it hurts to see it rear its ugly head everywhere you turn. I had the opportunity to speak with students and healthcare professionals. Check out the interviews here! After speaking with them, they all said three things:

1. Healthcare professionals cannot perform to their fullest potential due to the lack of funds needed to ensure that they have the appropriate tools and technology needed to treat their patients.
2. The various hospitals and clinics are severely understaffed. We all know the implications understaffing presents. An optometrist told me that 2009 was the last time that they hired new optometrists. It has been 7 years. Along with that, 200 patients are left in the hands of 8 optometrists. At the end of the day, you wonder how they do it.
3. In regards to the education system, they do not feel as if they are being supported. There are numerous hoops that one must jump through to ensure that they are able to acquire an education. They also need more resources and finances. 

So with all of that, I am left weakened by the state of my country. During my time there, I saw children as young as 13 years old working as gatemen and 'hawking' on the streets. That brought tears to my eyes. I thought of my brothers and sisters. Children are the future of every civilization, community, nation, etc. Therefore, it is our duty to ensure that they receive the opportunity to at least have basic educational rights. How do we expect to end the cycle of poverty when children are forced to fend for themselves and their families at such an early age? At times, these children will 'hawk' the streets from sun up to sun down. When do they have time to worry about school? You know what I found amusing? A doctor in Nigeria said, "I expected that more people would be coming to the hospitals." How can someone worry about coming to the hospital when they are thinking about how to pay their children's school fees? How can someone worry about coming to the hospital when they are the sole breadwinner of their family? How can someone come to the hospital when they don't have enough money to afford those services? This is where the issue lies. Therefore, it is our responsibility to do something about this. No, it isn't something that can be done in one day, but we all must try to tackle this issues in our own little ways. As stated previously, Nigeria is a blessed country with a great amount of potential. As my brothers and sisters continue to go out into the world and become more and more influential, remember to come back home and help those who are less fortunate. I believe in Nigeria and I know that as we grow, we will tackle these issues and create a more equal country.

All in all, I am pleased and happy. The future is bright.



A proud Nigerian.

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