I have lived in two African countries, one of which I was born in – Nigeria. But I also spent a decade or so in Botswana. So for me, The Motherland is not just one place. I am as Nigerian as the day I was born even though my family and friends tell me otherwise; I’m often teased as “the girl without a home” or a “global citizen.” I guess I sort of am but I’ll always carry the Motherland that is Africa in my heart wherever I choose to be.
Maybe I’ve just been missing my family a lot lately but I’ve had Africa, the Motherland on my mind a lot lately too. See Africa is a very big place – it’s a continent as I so often like to remind people. But there’s something that ties African identity together, something that makes me very proud to be African. It’s something that transcends language and speech; it just is. Anyway, because I’m an emotional-cutter, here’s a post about just some of the reasons I love and miss my Motherland.
1.The warmth of the people
I know Americans get tired of hearing this but a lot of Americans really are cold compared to people from African cultures, and other cultures as well. Africans are warm people – we go out of our way to make others feel welcome; it’s a part of who we are. I miss being around that.
Notwithstanding that when I went to Nigeria during Christmas one time, I fainted because it was so hot, I really do enjoy being warm. Now this is my fault for choosing to live in Chicago so I guess I can’t really say it’s only a Motherland thing. But there is still something about that scorching African heat. Too bad I can’t stand it for too long anymore.
Oh how I miss African food. Sorry America the food here is crap. The way food here is produced just leaves much to be desired. And sure I still cook once in a while but not as much as I should and African spices are ridiculously expensive here. I miss the spiciness and the taste and the love in which food is prepared.
African parties are basically a weekend affair. First of all they won’t start on time. Ever. Second of all, they won’t end on time. Ever. But whether it’s a wedding or a christening or a promotion or a party just because you could, Africans know how to put together a celebration.
5.The sense of humor
I’ve tried to explain the African sense of humor before to non-Africans. It doesn’t work. Our sense of humor resolves around making fun of ourselves and each other and talking about how our parents “disciplined” us or the way African guys approach women. I don’t know, you either get it or you don’t.
6.The straightforwardness of African guys
I never thought I would ever say this but I do miss how straightforward a lot of African guys are. There is no silly playing games or staring at you without doing anything or claiming to be intimidated. As a girl with three older brothers, this is how African guys are raised to approach women: You like a girl, you go and tell her, and there’s no wasting time. (You can see why I legitimately just don’t understand most American guys in this context.)
7.The happiness of the people
For a place where people have a lot to be grateful for, the truth is I find that many people in this country are very unhappy. It’s exhausting to be around sometimes. Most African countries do not have the comforts of America in a lot of ways but people are contagiously happy despite this. I like living here, I do, and I am very grateful that I am here but sometimes I miss how happy people are in the Motherland – it’s the kind of happiness that comforts don’t bring. It’s authentic happiness from gratitude and community and neighborly love. And I guess no matter where I choose to be, I’m grateful that I learned this from my Motherland and will take it everywhere I go.