I have this thing where every other day I miss a place, a city, a location.
Often times it’s London, sometimes Washington, or Houston, other times it’s Lagos. How do you miss a place you haven’t visited since you were 13? Well, quite easily.
Over the last year, I’ve been itching to return to my birthplace Nigeria, which I left aged two and revisited 11 years later. I desired to reconnect. To reflect. To do jaiye jaiye (naturally, I’m Nigerian). About a month ago, for just short of three weeks I had the opportunity to satisfy my heart’s craving and witness what I like to call “New Nigeria” for myself.
“The concept of home is a fluid state.”
“New Nigeria” is a term I coined to give expression to the emergence of the new opportunities, new scenery, and renewed hope in a country in the middle of tense times. Despite the ongoing corruption, continual gaping space between the rich and poor and sheer wahala going on in Nigeria, I found that at the best of times there are treasures all around if you look hard enough; from the young hungry entrepreneurs, to the richness in the culture. From what seems like an inherent zest for celebration, to the growth of the Lagos art scene. The designers, painters, singers, photographers, roadside hustles, okada drivers and even the stunters.
Living in one city but being in love with another has taught me one thing. The concept of home is a fluid state. It’s not as fixed nor as black and white as the city you happen to inhabit. Sometimes you can spend a large portion of your life somewhere, and it still not feel like home. Sometimes you can spend 3 weeks in another and feel more present than ever before. And often times home can be found in multiple locations. All of these realities are ok. And so, Nigeria is my home from home, wherever that is, or whatever that may feel like.
Here are just a few snapshots from the first week in Nigeria, spent in the slower-paced Abuja and Lafia. The perfect calm before the turn up that was Lagos. For some snapshots of Lagos, feel free to head over to my Instagram page.
Until next time, odaro.