Before I traveled to Nigeria I informed my friend Sandra who had previously lived there and she was so excited for me. “Nigeria is amazing, you will love the experience!” she said. It was the first positive response I had received after telling anyone I was going to Nigeria. Everyone else’s first reaction was that I should be cautious about Boko Haram and Juju. So I had mixed reactions when I was going there, I was scared but also excited.
After spending 2 weeks in Lagos I have to say, Sandra was right! Nigeria is amazing! It has a very rich culture. The food is healthy and absolutely delicious! From the plantain to the bean cake and bean porridge (they make a lot of stuff with beans), to their roasted cassava and lots of fish… & of course the jollof rice! I am not crazy about spicy food but I love jollof rice!!! The people are bold, outspoken, fashionable, charming and undeniably good looking. They also LOVE MONEY! Oju Kokoro(This is an informal saying which I learnt refers to the big eyes of an insect. They use it to describe their love for money because “they have eyes for expensive things”). Nigerians will spend obscene amounts of money on anything that is “designer”.
Initially, I had thought of writing about how Nigerians love money a little too much and how they should tone it down a little. But after coming back to my own country, Kenya, I realized that we are no different! We love money just as much! The only difference is that Nigerians are bold enough to say just how much they love it while Kenyans pretend we are not as money minded. (Better the honest wolf than the wolf in sheep’s clothing…)
The point here is: We all love money! Kenyans, Nigerians, other Africans, Europeans, Americans, Australians, Asians and even the residents of Antarctica. Money enables us to pay our bills, eat good food, buy presents for our loved ones and even take a holiday from time to time. Unfortunately, this love for money is making us lose track of what is really important in life. Families are fighting for inheritance and marriages are crumbling. Men and women are busy looking for “sponsors” who can maintain their lavish lifestyles and as long as they succeed in getting these sponsors, they are being referred to as “role models”. How can we prevent our great love for money from making our relationships fail and our society from being destroyed?
Well, we need a way to remind ourselves that there are more important things than money. I have 2 suggestions:
- Give back to the community, even if you do not feel like you have much to give, just give. It is often when people go out of their way to help those who are most in need that they realize just how lucky they are to have the “little” they have. Think about the billionaires out there. Why are they all philanthropists? They must have realized that even with all the money they have they still need to do more to feel fulfilled, to be happy.
- In our relationships, we must find ways of enjoying each other’s company without having to spend any money. I challenge all couples reading this not to spend money on dates or presents for at least the next 3 months. (I would also say no spending money on airtime or internet but maybe that is pushing it 🙂 ). LEARN to enjoy your partner’s company without spending a single dime. I would suggest exploring nature as one of the activities you can do.
I realize that we may need to do much more to be able to fully control our love for money, so let’s consider these 2 suggestions as a starting point.
We need to take back control over our thoughts, our emotions…& our love for money!