Some weeks ago, I met this lady in Zaria, Kaduna State of northern Nigeria. At first glance, I knew she wasn’t African but I was shocked to learn that she is an American. Seeing an American in Northern Nigeria in the last few years is almost like catching a crab in the desert. Nearly impossible with all the fear of bombing and kidnapping.
I don’t blame them, though.
After the intimating and petty introductions, we get to talking about books and writing. She shows me a couple of Nigerian books she’s gotten. I noticed most of them talked about politics. Then she showed me her American books and I noticed most talked about food. That’s how I knew she newly arrived in Nigeria and will be leaving soon. They never stay-only the Lebanese and Chinese do.
The discussion shifted to food. I have no idea why Americans talk a lot about food. I only know that the part of the body that the English man calls mouth is called a ”Pie Hole” in Americanese. Well, keeping a blog educates me a bit. I simply tell her I prefer fruits to many other foods. She didn’t like that. She wanted to meet a ”Real Nigerian” that eats lots of chilli. I assure her that I also do that.
”A yoruba man that doesn’t eat pepper is weak”.
Then she tells me about our good organic fruits that she’s tasted in the last 2 weeks. I’m a graduate student and I didn’t even know our fruits where different from American fruits. Like we have organic oranges and they have inorganic oranges….something like that. As a Naija boy, you don’t easily show what you don’t know. I listen to her VERY WELL as she explains the processing and genetic ”mutilation” (sounds like circumcision, right?) the fruits undergo to become tastier and seedless.
Then I remember that I’ve actually heard of stuff like that when I used to visit a pharmacologist in LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital). He was working on making such fruits. This is something they are already eating in America, and they’re obviously tired of it. I just hope they won’t get tired of accepting the LGBT things too.
Anyway, I learnt the benefits of our organic fruits which many of my friends don’t like because of the number of minutes it takes to remove the seeds. She is staying in Abuja for a few days before returning but she tells me the most important part of her feeding experience is the good fruits she has eaten in Zaria, you should taste the water-melon here.
It made me wonder how many good things Nigeria has but doesn’t appreciate and how much Northern Nigeria loses to the constant fighting and killings. We probably even lose the opportunity to have people who will appreciate something about us.
Anyway, there’s another spin-off story of my meeting with another American in Nigeria some years ago and I’ll love to share that one. Just remembered it now because of something I encountered on the net some hours ago.
RIP….The Fourty Two Angelic little children of Federal Government College, Yobe State murdered in their hostels by He Who cannot be Named.