Whenever I go to Nigeria, I always visit Abia State in The East. 'The East' is classified as the areas in Nigeria where Igbo people reside, including; Owerri State, Abia State and Anambra State to name a few.
You'll notice that it is a common trend for Igbo people to visit their village each time they go back to Nigeria. Whereas Yoruba people are more likely to reside in Lagos State - which is one of the most popular destinations in Nigeria.
I am writing this blog post to help fellow IJGB's (I just got backs) to know what to expect when visiting the village, since you’ll be in for the culture shock.... and there certainly is one.
Disclaimer: This blog post is written based on my own village experiences and everyone's experience differs.
1. DO NOT WEAR YOUR BEST SHOES 👞
The roads being mostly sand is not a major culture shock, but nonetheless you will experience a much bumpier ride than when you are driving in Lagos or Abuja for example.
Some of the roads have been graded and tarmacked, but most of them have not. So this is no place to where your best shoes. Make sure you have a pie of cheap flip flops to wear around that you don’t mind getting a little wrecked.
2. BUY THINGS ON THE ROAD WITH CAUTION
Similar to any other part of Nigeria, you will be able to buy almost anything on the road. When I say on the road, I literally mean you can be in your car and sellers will come up to the car offering you their goods.
This is low key one of the things I really admire about Nigerians. Everyone is hustling from dusk til' dawn trying to get it by any means and it's inspiring to see.
However, it’s important to take safety precautions when you’re visiting any part of the world and the village is no exception. Do not wind down your window too low or have valuables so obviously on display.
3. BRING A PORTABLE TORCH LIGHT OR LAMP
Unfortunately, the rural areas of Nigeria definitely drew the short straw when it came to light provision.
In comparison to Lagos Island where there is light 24/7, do not expect that in the village. A lot of the houses in the rural areas are powered by National Electric Power Authority NEPA which comes and go as it pleases.
However, you can also ensure that your home consistently has electricity if you have access to a generator. This lifestyle of consistent light is associated with luxury and wealth in the village.
Whilst this is still affordable for many IJGB’s that visit back home, you may still encounter issues with your generator which can cause you to be in complete darkness for hours on end, so taking a portable torch or lamp along with you just in case would be a great idea.
4. MOSQUITO REPELLENT
There are a lot of mosquito's in the village and other wildlife. If you want to limit discomfort when visiting, then investing in a good mosquito repellent to fight off any unwanted bites is highly recommended.
The mosquito's in the rural parts of Nigeria are known to be the cause of malaria. Hence, applying a mosquito repellent will help to reduce your chances of contracting such a disease.
*Extra unnecessary information that my biology teacher friend is imposing on me as I write this, so I will now share with you* - "Malaria is caused by the plasmodium virus which is carried by the female anopheles mosquito. These mosquito breed best in warm temperatures" -@nike__xo
5. POWER BANK (X2)
If there is one thing that is an absolute must when visiting the village, it is to bring a power bank (or two). If there happens to be no light in the village for whatever reason, then you can also bet that without a power bank your phone will die.
This is not only unsafe, especially if you aren't with people that you trust, but it is also highly inconvenient if you wish to make and receive calls.
6. MALARIA PREVENTION
As well as investing in a good mosquito repellent, it's also important to take preventative measures in order to combat malaria, should it arise. These preventative measures would involve wither taking Malaria a course of malaria tablets, or getting various treatments prior to travelling to Nigeria.
7. LOAD YOUR PHONE WITH DATA
Along with the lack of electricity in the village, compared to the abundant light provision in the cities of Nigeria, you may experience difficulties when using the WiFi connection.
When I was in Lagos, Nigeria I had no issues with WiFi in hotels or anywhere that I visited really. However, in the village access to WiFi is seen as a luxury and therefore I did not have as much access in the places I visited.
This meant that I kept my MTN sim card topped up enough so that I was able to access data whenever I wanted, regardless of whether there was WiFi or not. This was very handy and kept me feeling connected.
8. SAVE IN THE CITY, SPLASH IN THE VILLAGE
One thing I absolutely love about the rural parts of Nigeria is that things are super duper cheap, in comparison to Lagos for example.
For instance, getting braids done in Lagos costs approximately £22, whereas getting the same hairstyle done in the village could cost only £5. Although in the UK either price would be a dream come true, since we pay about £60 minimum for such hairstyles, money saved is money earned and you can certainly live it up like the rich when visiting the village so make sure you save your coins so thsat they go further in the village.
I hope that these tips help you to enjoy the village as much as I do! If you have any extra tips please leave them below.