“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”
Snaps from various trips on the road. To and from my father’s village and through the cities of Owerri and Abuja then finally from the plane on the way home.
Letter to President Goodluck Jonathan:
While still stranded in Abuja, Nigeria instead of crying ( okay after crying) I decided to write this letter to the President. I’ve added a few pictures to this blog post in order for you to get a feel for the country.
A riot is the language of the unheard.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Mr. President,
My full name is Juliet Chinonso Obodo. My family calls me Chi-Chi and my friends and other acquaintances know me as Juliet. I am Nigerian-American. I hold dual citizenship to both countries and a singular love for the city of New York.
I left for Nigeria on December 21, 2011. The purpose of this trip was for both business and pleasure; I boarded my flight filled with both excitement and dread. Though my country of birth it was not a popular vacation spot or holiday destination.
As a New Yorker you lead a more cautious life than someone in say a small Mid-Western town, but in Nigeria you need more than caution. You need the strength and grace from a higher power. This explains the sometimes extreme religious nature of most of the people. (We were asked to leave mass because our hair was uncovered.)
Standing on the edge of poverty, caught between the impure intentions of your countrymen and your government the only direction to look is up above.
I am currently praying that I will be able to make it home this week. My flight from Abuja was cancelled today due to the nationwide strike caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy. Most citizens agree that the decision may benefit the country eventually but they do not trust the government to follow through with their promises once the money is saved. With the country’s leadership history the people have good reason not to trust so easily.
While here visiting family, I have also been collecting information for a travel guide. The country has so much to offer in terms of beaches, parks, arts and entertainment. I wanted to uncover the beauty that has been hidden by the ugliness of corruption and violence and present it to my fellow Americans. This is not a country filled with fraudulent royalty and armed robbers. It is one rich with history and heart.
No amount of pictures I have taken and videos I have recorded has been able to truly capture it. I know the media has been covering the violent nature of the strike in Lagos, but I want you to know that in other parts of the country it an intellectual and calculated movement. Though I am quite perturbed about the timing; I have been craving a slice of Ray’s pizza and a café mocha from McNally’s Bookstore for the past two weeks. And if I see another piece of goat meat or another grain of jallof rice it will be too soon.
I hope to fly out tomorrow evening if today’s meetings go well. I am prepared to wait a few days if this will aid in moving Nigeria forward a few years.
Juliet Chi-Chi Obodo
I had planned on posting new entries while doing research in Nigeria for my next book, but the super slow internet connection isn’t having any of it. But no worries I’ll be back soon! You can follow me on twitter (@julietobodo) where I will be tweeting pics and trip updates.
Oh and Writer’s Retreat NYC is now available on Amazon!
Talk to you soon!