By Daphne Visser,
Undergraduate Philosophy, Childhood and Education studies
This summer I was given the opportunity to travel to Nigeria to intern with Ripples USA. During my stay I have kept a dairy that i want to share with all of you. In this way I hope to be able to take you along on my journey and inspire all that want to help empower the African village women.
Even though it was still really early the sun was already out. I had not slept much that night, as the great day had finally arrived. After some lashing, my Backpack – my old companion – was finally safety secured on my back and I was ready. I said my goodbyes to friends and family and embarked on a journey that would change my perspectives as a person. At the airport, baggage control was passed easily and it took little time before I was on my way to Lagos, Nigeria.
During my internship I was given all kind of tasks, which challenged me, but helped me develop my skills as well. It was an amazing experience to meet the people about whom I had heard so many stories, to experience their life and learn about their culture. My first steps in Lagos were still a little unsure; it took me a while to understand the culture of this unknown place. I was luckily guided by a loving and warm-hearted team who helped me to adjust quickly. Time flew by as I worked with the Sewing Team in Lagos and the Ripples Nigeria team to map the processes of our Sewing Project, aimed at scaling up their operations to start exporting to the USA. And before I knew it, we were already on our way to Ogidi, the village in Kogi state where I would have my first experiences as a Teacher.
Ogidi is – especially in comparison to Lagos – a quiet, compact village, with little traffic. The people that I met during my short stay all made sure that I felt at home. I soon became the village’s Oyinbo (white woman) and I couldn’t step one foot out of the guesthouse without people calling me out and greeting me with a smile. They there wasn’t even one day that I wouldn’t be called out on the street with a smile. From a distant acquaintance, who had made the travel to Nigeria before me, I had already heard about the warm hospitality of the people of the country, but the kindness that the people of Ogidi showed me surpassed all my expectations. It was in Ogidi that I learned most about the Nigerian culture for hospitality and kindness. I was even able to pick up some Yoruba words.
To be continued..