Expat (IN) Nigeria? Get it? No, ok we'll explain. It's a play on words on 'expats in Nigeria trying to 'expert' Nigeria. We think it's pretty witty don't you?
This is a segment on the site where we talk to different expats living in Nigeria about their experience in a bid to show how varied their situations are and also dispel or reinforce myths.
Today's' guest is a 58 year old Scottish man who used to be a rev but is still doing the Lord's work albeit in a different form. He's also holding out hope to marry a Nigerian woman and we honestly don't blame him.
When was the first time you heard of Nigeria?
In the early 90’s I befriended a wonderful Nigerian family in Khartoum and they took me in as one of their own. The warmth and love of this family made me fall in love with Nigeria.
If we put our reputation on the back burner for a minute, Nigerians are actually amazing people. Did you worry about coming here?
Since I was going to Maiduguri via Lagos and Abuja I had some concerns around the area of personal security. However, I work all over Africa so I am well equipped to deal with most situations that can arise. Secondly, I only had positives vibes with Nigerians that I had met and interacted with so I was comforted by this.
Despite these concerns, why did you still come?
No one should leave this earth without first visiting the largest country in Africa. The vibrancy of Nigeria was too attractive to miss. I had to come, wanted to come and I need to come.
Awww, shucks, we hope your visit lived up to the vibrancy you had heard of.
Yup. Love Nigeria. Its speed, colour, various smells, the vibrant and loving people.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where are you originally from?
I am originally from Scotland. I tell people I am Scottish by chance and African by choice. I am a trauma specialist and I have spent my entire adult life in East Africa. My wife is Kenyan and my kids were born here.
We hear you told your wife you’re getting a Nigerian wife, how’s that plan coming along? Lol
My philosophy in life is that anything that is good, more is better. How beautiful would it be to have a beautiful Nigerian wife but how practical it will be is another story for another day
We can tell you for free you'll have a lot on your hands. Is this your first expatriate experience?
I have worked all over Africa and beyond so it is just another feather in the cap
We hear you’re doing something in the North? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes I work in NE State particularly in Maiduguri. I LOVE working there and I really love the people. Despite, war, conflict, religious intolerance at times, extremism, poverty and the likes I still love this place. People are so kind and welcoming. Plus my work contributed to bring hope and tolerance to others and this makes me very happy.
LOVE to hear it. How long has that been going on for?
I have been in and out of Maiduguri these past 5 years
What are your thoughts on the North since you’re there often?
It’s a place of intense suffering but a place of hope. Despite the kidnappings, killings, horror stories, pains and difficulties many Nigerians are still able to smile, get on with their lives, remain composed and balanced and still remain hopeful.
It's a blessing and a curse. Have you been to other states in Nigeria? Which is your favorite and why?
I have of course been to Lagos and Abuja. My Nigerian family are in Lagos so I have to say that I feel happy there. However, I find it is interesting especially at the airport in Lagos whereby people tend to resolve issues by shouting a lot. It’s not my way of resolution but in Lagos it seems to work for some people.
If we don't shout how will you hear us?
Your base is in Kenya, you’ve lived in Sudan and you’re shuffling in and out of Nigeria, what are the major differences?
The differences are great. Sudan is hot and dusty. Life is hard there and freedoms are restricted. There is also religious intolerance. Nigeria is a wonderful place with beautiful colours all around. Nigerians know how to light up a room both male and female. Kenya is my chosen home and I just love the life here.
What does your daily life look like when you’re here? (weekends inclusive)
My life is all about conducting stress management, trauma healing and awareness workshops. I also do a lot of one on one counselling sessions. I feel my work is about making sense out of non-sense. People suffer needlessly at times. My key theme is minor shift – major change. So, if you change the way you think you can change the way you feel. My work usually involves weekends so no time for pleasure though work is so enjoyable I don’t need a break from it.
That change the way you think thing is so hard but true. How would you describe the life of an expat in Nigeria from your own point of view?
I don’t mix with expats so its hard to answer. But Nigerians are fun, warm, good to be with. Wherever you are with Nigerians you will have fun. Plus food is good.
What a few of your favourite Nigerian meals?
Enjoyed jollof rice and chicken the most plus yam.
Any recommendations on places to check out in Maiduguri?
City Star restaurant.
What’s been the biggest cultural shock till date?
Once in Lagos airport as I passed through immigration to get my bags checked, there were two security officers. The man said who would like to pat you down. I said to him I don’t understand? He said if you wish my pretty colleague to pat you down nicely it may cost you a bit of money. Nowhere in the world is this service offered hehehe – it's truly made in Nigeria.
Lobatan! We would ask which option you chose but we trust you. What’s the hardest part about living here?
When away from family I miss home greatly but I enjoy the moment no matter where I am.
Do you have Nigerian friends or do you hang out with the large expat tribe we have in the country?
I have many Nigerian friends and ONE Nigerian family that I easily call family.
Do you have any beliefs that hold you back from fully adapting to culture here?
Best & worst thing about living here?
The people are the best and the worst is having to leave.
Awwww. Can you communicate in any of the local languages? If yes, say something
I speak Arabic so at times I meet Nigerians who speak Arabic too and I like this. My Nigerian family learned Arabic very well when they were in Khartoum. I enjoy especially speaking with Habbuba (Grandmother) even though she is still young and fit.
Willing to move in Nigeria or can’t wait to get the hell out of the country?
I have been asked to live and work in Nigeria but I doubt my Kenyan wife will ever allow that. I would have no problem at all living in Nigeria. Nigeria is a beautiful country with beautiful people.
Low key we believe her number one reason would be so you don't make good on that 'marrying a Nigerian woman' bit.
Before we let you go, we hear you used to be a rev, what was that like and why did you leave the holy calling?
I spent 20 years of my life working in the church. I loved this part of my life. But God called me to enter into a healing ministry and so I had to find new pastures to do this work. I therefore did not leave the calling as such but merely answered Gods call to heal and transform his people. We are called, chosen and sent. I feel I have responded well to my calling.
Advice for expats?
Marry a beautiful Nigerian woman and make sure she is from a beautiful family too. You wont go wrong…
100% .Any last words?
Covid 19 has messed up two of my trips to Nigeria. May it soon pass, may we all be safe and may I return back to beautiful Nigeria.
Our only question is who's going to get our Scotsman a Nigerian wife?
Let us know what you thought of his story. Also if you have any questions you would like us to add for the expats, be sure to let us know.