A look back

13 Jun

I was looking back through a diary that I kept whilst I was teaching at a summer school in rural Nigeria in 1998 yesterday. We had found that the students had many misconceptions about England (as expected!) and of course we had misconceptions about Nigeria too, it was a learning experience on both sides that’s for sure. We had asked the pupils to write a short essay on their thoughts on what living in England was like, and I found a piece written by a 13 year old girl, which is just lovely:

My name is Ezinne Mba. I am living at Unwana in Afikpo LGA Ebonyi State. I am 13 years old. While I think that England is different to Nigeria is because the white people from England look very smooth and walk as fast as a hare. England is cold and is a paradise, and their flag is quite different from ours. Another thing is because they do not wash their clothes by themselves and do not travel by ten toes [on foot] but travel by aeroplane and their hair is as long as a tail, and England is as beautiful as an angel and their body is smooth as an egg. England is a big country and everything in England is cheaper than ours, for example like rice, beans, tomato, clothes and so on. Our money is in Naira and theirs is in Dollars.

I remember the class had a really good conversation about the differences between where we lived; wages, cost of living, housing, education etc. That whole Nigerian experience was just amazing. I met some amazing people including some who had never seen white people before, saw some wonderous things, ate some…interesting food.

Now I’m getting itchy feet again. Need to plan the next thing! Suggestions on a postcard please!

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