Trip to Nigeria...cultural differences

Hey everyone, just thought I'd write a quick blog about my trip to Nigeria( I went for a month, dec to jan) and what I experienced while I was there.I went to Nigeria for 2 of my cousins weddings, they were held in two different cities, I traveled to Lagos( a large city in the southern part of the country) and benin.I did wear my wig when I was there and it got really unconfortable, had to stick it out though. But what I really want to write about is the BIG cultural differences. When I got there, I was wearing a wig, at night or when I wasn't going anywhere I wore scarves. I found it really sarcastic of my cousin to ask me if she could see my hair knowing fully well that I had none. That threw me off and sort of annoyed me. I mean my family would ask me questions, I would walk around the house bald, some people would either stare or not notice or ask me why I "barbed" (cut) my hair. I would explain it and they would laugh thinking I was joking. Some assumed I shaved it because I wanted to. After the first wedding in Lagos we went to benin a day later for the 2nd wedding. I walked around my aunts house bald, and for the most part no one said anything really, but it was this one day where my aunt's former cook looked at me and said " but why did u barb ( shave) ur head? ( and at this point shes laughing) I said " I didnt cut it, I lost it" shes laughing like its some sort of joke and says " but you look so ugly like this". WHOA...that was something I was expecting , but not in that form. I expected people to ask questions and say insensitive things but I didnt expect someone to say I looked ugly. I knew beforehand that Nigerians say pretty much whats on their mind without thinking much about the other person's feelings but that was just shocking. Has something similar ever happened to any of you while traveling outside of the country? ( or maybe inside the country?)

Views: 219

Comment by Cindie on March 13, 2012 at 9:48am

Happens with my family members (African-American people living in America) every day that God sends. I always have a vicious comback, though, because I've always had a razor sharp tongue.

Comment by Alliegator on March 14, 2012 at 10:03am

That would have shocked me too! I don't think that would fly in the US if the majority of people did that. This is something that has been on my mind lately, because I am planning a trip to go to Costa Rica this year. Since it is a tropical place, I will be going without a wig the majority of the time. I have a feeling it will be an interesting trip, and I'm sure I will come back with some stories. I went to Ireland last year. I think I made a post about it on my blog. I wore a wig and scarf during the trip. Not ONE person made a comment or asked me if I was sick, even when wearing a scarf. I was kind of surprised. I think responses would be different in most countries.

Comment by Renee on March 16, 2012 at 3:12pm

I feel the same way you do Alexis. It doesn't matter what country your from. Some people don't care what they say to you. Now what if the shoe was on the other foot. How would they feel if you said something like that to them?? I really would like to see the reaction on their face!!!! I, myself don't walk around anywhere without a wig except when I'm at home. I never wear scarves in public. So you have more courage than I do. I just came back from a weekend trip with friends that I never went away with and told them about the alopecia. In the past I would of never done that. So I've come a ways, but not all the way. Don't ever let anyone tell you that your UGLY.. It's bad enough that we question ourselves when we lost our hair... We don't need anyone elses unwanted comments!!!!

Comment by Pat on March 16, 2012 at 10:30pm

My view is that the more a place/country is homogenous the more someone who looks different stands out. I don't know what it's like in Nigeria but maybe that's the case there. Obviously the more differences we live with ie colour/race/whatever the more we get used to it and take it in our stride. I'm so sorry you had that experience Alexis, I would hate someone to say that to me - I would be devastated!

Comment by Gideon Naude Bakkes on March 17, 2012 at 1:59am
I am a South African citizen and here it is not uncommon for the local men to shave bald. So nobody even notice my complete hair loss - Viva Africa!
Comment by Pat on March 17, 2012 at 5:52am

Yes men who are balding usually shave their heads here in Australia too so it's very common and no-one bats an eye.

Comment by Cindie on March 19, 2012 at 10:17am

Great comment, Renee. I am going away this weekend with two long time friends who really don't understand about my alopecia. They are going to "suggest" helpful things that I can (or should have) done, probably, and I have a feeling I am going to be annoyed -- I get that way when laypeople try to override opinions by those who made the sacrifice to attend and graduate from medical school.

Comment by Renee on March 19, 2012 at 10:28am

I know how you feel Cindie.. One of the ladies that I went away with on that weekend didn't even know what Alopecia was at all. And you explain that it auto immune they get this look on their face like wow!!!! I do find myself letting more people know about my situation, than I used to. I get bored with a wig really quick so day to day you me see with a totally different wig and I know the people at work are going, boy she changes her hair every other day.. :)

Comment by Cindie on March 19, 2012 at 12:20pm

I used to do that with wigs, too, until I got negative feedback. Now, what I do is I find one style I like, and I buy 4 or 5 of that same style and same color and wear it consistently. Can't wait until I retire....then I'm going back to wearing what I want when I want and how I want.

Comment by Renee on March 19, 2012 at 4:36pm

Cindi, you should be wearing what you want when you want. I find that the negative feedback comes from people who dont have the nerve to change their hairstyle themselves. I'm in my 40's now and if I feel like if I want to change my hairstyle I'm going to do it. You have to what makes you feel good. Dealing with Alopecia is hard enough.


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