Saturday, October 17, 2009

So, I gave the 'talk'

It was basically about my transition to America(college really), as an African student. I didn't do the Nigerian culture ish and decided to present this sort of talk at the last min, actually 4 hrs before. Believe me, there was more to say.
This is not the exact version cos I added and omitted some stuff, while I talked. I wish I did better tho.

read the sketch below------------------------
**Speak some Yoruba…**
I just spoke an adage meaning (**insert here**) in a language that is not called Nigerian. And definitely not called African. It’s Yoruba.

I remember my 'Coming to America' like the last meal that I just ate. Every time I felt the plane descending, I thought the pilot was about to announce landing. I was anxious to step on the land that supposedly flows with milk, Mariah Careys, skyscrapers and honey. I was eager to touch the American soil. Yet, I arrived at the smaller-than-expected airport and came straight to the **insert school name here** bubble in a town in the middle of nowhere....otherwise known as amazing ***insert town here***

As a freshman, who had only seen the campus online, the college's beautiful, yet confusing, layout impressed me. I don’t have to emphasize how excited I was about the dryers until they shrunk my clothes or the way the butt-wetting automatic flush toilets in **campus center*** welcomed me. But the number of ‘how are u doing?s’, that I got per day was uncountable.

My presence in gatherings did not arouse any peculiar interest, besides my name badge with an 11-letter word, **guess unusual Yoruba name**. I had to explain the meaning and origin of my name, which actually means a full sentence, God surrounds me. Then, teach folks how to pronounce my name with the right intonation, until I gave up and accepted the anglo-phonetized version. In the process, I get the ‘You have an accent’, I tell folks that my accent is Nigerian. Then, the ‘Oh! You are African, what’s is that fluffy snack eaten in Angola?’ or ‘You speak English so well’ pops up.

Initially, I explained that because I am Nigerian, I am not meant to know stuff about other African countries like what people eat in Somali or smoke in Burkina Faso because Africa is some huge continent, bigger than Europe. I'm Nigerian, and I only speak one out of the 250 + languages we speak in Nigeria and English, which is my primary language. I have told people times without number that even though, I am considered an alien, visa-wise in the US, I have been speaking English all my life.

Overtime, I eventually ran out of patience for having to give what seemed like endless explanations. I became nettled and wondered why some people had a single story about Africa. The type of Africa depicted on TV, the primary source of global information. The Africa that has nothing worth publicizing other than starving children, endless wars, roaming lions and funny-sounding languages. But after spending sometime, I realized it is the single story, according to Chimamanda Adichie, that most of us have in mind that gives us a picture of a group of people. Unfortunately, this is true for africa. for me, it is not merely a single...." it is not merely a single story for a group of people from a country but a continent. It is not my fault that I initially thought going to New York guaranteed my seeing a celebrity. It is not my fault that I didn’t know the lower economic class also existed in America.

Whose fault is it? The informant, who omitted some information and repeated the preferred information that gives a false image. Or the informed, who fails to inquire?

Nonetheless, It's been a year and I'm still going strong. The American experience has been thoroughly entertaining. The cold during the winter is definitely incredible; I still look forward to shoving through the snow, touching it and checking the weather every 12 hrs. I still try to be politically correct, by **school's** standards, when I communicate with people. Don't forget that my mind is colonized by the British? Yet, I dwell in the African realm. I look forward to where my name is pronounced with the right intonation, when I can wear my regular trousers and take a siesta on the verandah in December.

I have left my beloved Nigeria for 18 months now. Yet, I think of ***school's name**, as aggressive, eclectic, motivating but I am amazed at how she wraps you in her energy, sexiness, openness and fun spitting expletives at all irrespective of color, gender and musical preference, a feature, sadly missing in many other places that I've been. ***words of F-Iyanda***

I’m glad that I came.
--------
Je t'embarrase

20 comments:

SkinnyLegs said...

I love it!

iphyigbogurl said...

awwwww i love it yinkus!!!!!
xx

seems like u didnt even need any help anyways..... u had it!

TRYBES said...

Spot on..nice!

UnderCover07 said...

Pls tell me u got a loud applause at the end. I loved it, not just because it was interesting but because I connect to it. And I think most of us (Nigerians in Diaspora) can relate to it. It is our story.

Ok enuff mushy mushy...lol

Great work dear!

leggy said...

it was so on point...you captured the..'even though we miss naija..we r still glad we got the opportunity to come here'.loved it.

muyiwa said...

yeah very nice

histreasure said...

you did great..that was so real and true.

great job, so u can take up public speaking..lol

ShadeNonconformist said...

really nice...great job..

P'sy-A-wana said...

"Ajo o da bi ile"...sorry about the cold maybe i'll bottle Naija weather and send it to you lol...

Naija bad boi.... said...

hey...twas spot on nice meehn....

some chinese dude in my class asked me what/where was nigeria d other day...??!!#$%^%#@

i wonder why people think becos one is african, he or she cant speak english...wat do they wanna hear? mumbo jumbo? lol....nonsense...

did i say ur speech was nice? oy i did....lera...

Rene said...

so on point

Nice Anon said...

Realistic and straight to the point to the point.

Anonymous said...

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bob-ij said...

I totally love it. Nice one!

x!

Ebony~!* said...

good good good stuff! i can just picture you delivering the speech with a lot of emotions and all. teww mahd!

Myne Whitman said...

You did really good. This was a great speech. Good on you gurl! Take care.

lucidlilith said...

When i gave my talk it was about how much or my life is like the one in Things Fall Apart. But your talk is pretty accurate about a lot of Coming to America stories. If only we can do a documentary....

HYAW said...

you did well!

Ms. 'dufa said...

Awww.that was beautiful *standing ovation*

Good Naija Girl said...

I really enjoyed reading this talk you gave. I'm sure hearing it live would have been super!