Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“It’s going to be two years since I arrived in the United states in a few months’ time. I had an opportunity to come over here for a program but I didn’t even seize the opportunity immediately it came to me but eventually I did. The program that has brought me here is for six months but as you know as is the qualities of humans, we are curious beings. I became curious to see what this new land had to offer me: the exposure, knowledge, connections – everything. I can tell you that it has been a wonderful experience since I got here.

Being here, I get to see first-hand a lot of things that I have learned in school or read in the papers. Being here, I see how really a country should treat her citizens and how the citizens are meant to relate with the state too. It is so real, here. Two years going and I can tell you that the experience has been wonderful. I have had weird experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I was at home too. Let me share one with you.

Early last year, while I was working in a store, there was this white man who always came by the store to patronize us. He was a really nice man and every time he came, we’d have light chats and stuff like that. Then one day, he told me to not bother driving down to work anymore. He offered to always give me a ride back from the store to my house. Me, I calculated how much I’d save on gas and so I agreed. Then he began to take me to work and back and we became really close. He was such a pleasant man.

We were in his car one day, he told me he was gay and that he’d love us to have something together. For a minute, I was stunned. Quickly, I said to him: “look at my face, do you see the marks on my face?” He nodded. Then I told him, “I’m from Africa and there, what you’re suggesting is forbidden. In fact, if you touch me, you will die.” Immediately the guy began to apologize. It freaked him out that there was the chance that he’d die if he touched me.

You know, that’s not a kind of experience you’ll have if you were in Ibadan. Ibadan is a highly conservative society so you don’t have an open display of affection by gays but here in the US, the society is liberal, you can be anything you want to be. In fact, my neighbours are gay. So, I have learned to be a decent liberal-conservative. I have learned to be accommodating of people and try to see the good in them.

I miss home a lot. I miss everything about Ibadan. I think about Ibadan everyday. As I sit down here talking to you, I miss home. Right after secondary school, I went to Lagos and stayed there for a little while. While there, I made up my mind that Ibadan was the only place I could live in Nigeria. Nowhere else can be home for me except Ibadan. Even when I got a job in Zenith Bank in Lagos, I refused to pick up the job. That tells you how much attachment I have to Ibadan.

I miss my friends, I miss my local government – Akinyele. I am from Ikereku, Agoro village. I miss everyone in my village. I miss my friends in the Polytechnic Ibadan…I miss my UI friends too. This question is moving me to tears already.”

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