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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wild Ride

I have taken a small "blogging break" these past few days. Please bear with me on this post as I have no idea where my thoughts will take me...

It all starts with the old saying "Good things happen to good people".  I have been pondering that quote wondering if there is any truth in it. I thought about it long and hard and realize that good things do happen to good people ( and "bad" things, too), but usually the "good" things we really want are the big things and we usually don't take the time to notice all the little things which happen around us every day.  But, it's those "big " things which pull at our heart strings and can make us leap with joy when they actually happen or knock us flat on our butts when they don't.    And, my heart is breaking for someone who didn't get the "Big" thing she was waiting for...

When I first moved here, I was wide eyed, nervous and scared.  It was all kind of like an adventure in an unknown far off land.:)  After all, none of my family was ever going to come and visit us it really is a kind of far off land in their eyes.  I remember trying to figure things out and seeing everything with fresh eyes.  I saw all of the need on the streets while sitting in my air conditioned car.  My eyes were wide and my heart was aching for the people I saw who really had nothing...

Then, I moved into the "realization phase".  Which is to say that I realized I really lived here.  This was not a long vacation or  some dream world (or nightmare...depending on the day).  I was the new oyibo and was taken advantage of  a few times.  I realized that  I. lived. here.  I joined some charities to help people in need here. The groups I work with are wonderful at giving supplies and teaching those in need how to better themselves.  I felt (and still do feel) like I am helping here.

Now, I am realizing that no matter how much you help here, there is a culture which makes Nigeria all its own.  There are different views on many different things.  I realize that when I  came here, I was trying to teach people in need the way we think in the U.S. and the way we do things in the U.S.  But, I was forgetting their views and their way of life.  Family structures are different, and the value of human life is different. But, that is part of what makes Nigerian culture beautiful in its very own unique way.  I started to feel that there was a thick line drawn between my way of life and the life of people from this land.

Then, yesterday, I realized that one need that every culture has is the need for comfort, acceptance, and understanding.  Just a simple hug, and a smile can mean the difference between a day full of tears and a day full of hope. I have been on this "wild ride" of feelings since moving here, but I am realizing that the basic needs of people here are the same.  There isn't a black line drawn on the ground but more like a smudgy gray line where you can't really see where it begins or where it ends.  So, at this point in time on this wild ride, that is where I  am...somewhere in the shade of grey.

Since I moved here, when I see stories on the news of people from this part of the world, I realize that they are not so different and those lands aren't some far off place.  Things aren't so scary.  The people I see have the same needs as myself, my husband and my children.  Everyone wants "good" things, everyone wants to be happy, and everyone wants comfort and acceptance...even my friend from this far off land.

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