That Nigeria is a hostile environment for expats I will contest. ThatNIGERIA is for everyone, I can’t: it’s complicated, noisy, it’s occasionally chaotic and on the wrong day even Job’s patience would have worn thin.HERE are ten sorts of people who shouldn’t move to Nigeria:
- The impatientOh, my friend, you will wait. You will wait for the doctor, forWORK meetings, for friends to arrive for drinks. And it won’t be five minutes or ten, it’ll be an hour, two hours, maybe three. Maybe it’ll never happen. If you can’t wait, you can’t be here – sorry o.
- The germ phobicIf the very sight of a suya grill, much less the piles of rubbish on many roads in Nigeria’s major cities, will be enough to have you reaching for the hand sanitizer and rubber gloves, look elsewhere. Try Singapore instead, orBETTER still, don’t leave the house.
- Not so cuddly charactersThe average Nigerian handshake is long, considered and more obviously heartfelt than its efficient British counterpart. This is a place that likes a hug, a held hand, a biff on the shoulder. If you need a good acre of personal space and get stressed just thinking of the Tube, this Nigeria is not for you.
- Lovers of logicNigeria is where you will learn that not everything happens for a reason, and if it does then the reason isn’t a reason you couldn’t havePREDICTED in millennia of running probabilities. We’re not in Switzerland anymore, Toto.
- The uninventive expatThere will be days where you find yourself fixing a showerhead with a hairtie or hacking the kitchen doorknob off with a meat cleaver because you’re locked in (yes, this is us). Don’t be precious, do be creative: Brownies, Scouts and fans of MacGyver will flourish.
- The funny bone freeSomething extremely funny happens almost hourly in Nigeria. Many times it’ll be on the back of something extremely annoying. If you can’t see the former for the latter, life will be tough and you will spend your days in a rage.
- Solo artists…You want to sit and have a quiet drink by yourself? No chance, regardless of whether you’re on a plane, in the nail salon, in a taxi or waiting (and waiting) in the doctor’s surgery. Why sit in silence when you could be striking a deal orFORMING a friendship?
- …and those who get easily lonelyCOMPOUNDlife, a feature for many expats in Abuja and Port Harcourt, can be isolating. Especially if you’re moving without a partner, you need to be socially sure of yourself, and also not to mind being dragged into a world of gossip that makes Ambridge look cosmopolitan.
- App addicts Yourphone will not always work. Your internet may (like mine) crash between ten and 20 times a day. You might not be able to make time to pay for your monthly Wi-Fi in person. There will be days offline. Those unable to handle the digital detox hadBETTER stay away.
- The unadventurousNIGERIAis not the country you might fear from newspaper horror stories, but you need to beCOMFORTABLE with a good whack of the unexpected every day, whether it’s food so spicy you’ll think your guts are in meltdown or roads that feel more Mad Max than M25.