It's not uncommon to see stuff like - 'By the year 2037, 23,694
African women will have k-leg" or "Every month, 12,600 African
children will have died of Metalocuosfo Shyajbdja something something." Day in; Day out. Year in; Year out. I've always wondered who gave the westerners ruler to be measuring all these things.
Africans, in general, and Nigerians, specifically, don't follow any trend. We don't bend to numbers. We don't respect statistics. The things worrying us in this country are more than enough to enable us break the status quo. For example, I had already typed 'status co' before I corrected it. With issues like that, what oyinbo person wants to successfully dabble in my business?? None, I dare say. You're not convinced?
Imagine a laborer, who has been carrying cement for months, hustling for his family or for his girlfriend, goes to General Hospital. "Doctor, I get small headache" , he says. Doctor tells him, "You have a mild case of Anaplasmosis." He'll be stunned for a minute and when he gets home and they ask him what the doctor said, he'll answer "Na malaria oh my guy. Mild malaria." Surprisingly, he recovers from this 'malaria'. Things are already too difficult for Anaplasmosis to survive. Even diseases need good candidates.
We have a kind of immunity to the issues the rest of the world is facing. Our own things happen in reverse. In yankee, for example, they discover sicknesses. One scientist announces, "We have recently discovered a new virus in the wild yamakata monkeys. Please stay away from brown meat with monkey hairs." Suddenly, there's a panic. Oyinbo people are going up and down in airports with masks. They have monkey-hair vaccines.
On the other hand, the yamakata monkeys come to naija and the head yamkata monkey announces to his horde, "You're now in Nigeria. These people will run you down. If you near them bayi, your own haff finish. If you see a Nigerian, run!! Run, because e no go pay you." *sigh*
Unfortunately, these statistics the westerners come up with are usually based on their own lifestyle. They live, think, act and even love a certain way. In a place like the United States, the average man worries about weight loss, wrinkles, finding their life partners on reality TV, leaving their entire estates to their pets, saving the trees - you know, the really important stuff.
My people have an entirely different agenda. First, you need to have access to correct junk food to be getting fat. Junk ain't cheap here. Guys hustle regularly to buy pizza for their babes. The hustle no go gree am fat. The razz babe sef no go chop the pizza. She doesn't understand all the funny things on top. "Wetin be cheese?" As for our pets, we eat them. Those we don't eat, we kill or beat because they're witches and wizards. And the trees?? Firewood is a major source of livelihood, directly or indirectly, so trees will never be safe here.
In my opinion, Nigerians are too busy being broke, surviving, collecting bribe and entering potholes to be bothered with all of these things. The other day, my brother, Wozealot, was telling me, with so much passion, how he had drunk garri and groundnut that morning. You would think maybe he won the lottery. These are the kinds of things we worry about. Garri. Groundnut. Cold water - the things that matter most!?!?
They complain about our grammar. We don't know how to speak English. As I typed, they underlined so many of my words. They don't think it's correct. Heck, they even underline my name when I type it in. Rather than worry about the burden of the English language, we create ours. "Af come!"; "Off the gen." Smh.
Oyinbo people have the luxury of visiting shrinks/psychiatrists when they feel depressed. They have a setback and are sad. Oh! so sad. So, they go to see their therapists twice every week. They even have suicide hotlines - numbers you call whenever you feel like killing yourself rather than committing suicide. Sometimes, they break up with their significant other and can't stand the pressure and, BOOM! They pull the trigger. Or perhaps, their parents don't let them pursue their dreams. They want to study dance and mumcee says, "You have to do medicine." - and BOOM!!
Over here, the average man doesn't even know what a shrink is. Asides that, people are too busy hustling to be depressed. If and when they do get depressed and the depression is getting too much and starts turning to another kind of mental issue, no therapist. Yaba left, straight!! Naija people don't kill themselves. They love life entirely too much. After all the suffer head, they want to be here when things get better so suicide is not even an option. While oyinbo kids go crazy because their parents don't want them to do what their heart wants, here people pay other people to let them study what they don't want - which is why you find grown Igbo men studying Yoruba. All na certificate!
In the white man's land, if things go awry, they sue people. They fight back. They go back to the constitution. Here, when things go bad, we make jokes. Everything is funny. And why not? Suing someone is pretty much a waste of time. The verdict is in the favour of the highest bidder. We're used to nonsense, so we take it like we breathe. The general mentality now is -"I can't come and kill myself". You can get a Nigerian down, but you can hardly keep him there.
Our culture has chosen to set us apart from the rest of the world. I heard somewhere and agree with this - Some people in our part of the world have loads of children because it's like an insurance. What if we lose two, will there be any left. Or they think, worst case, at least, one of these eight will be successful and take care of me in my old age. It's horrid thinking, yes. Still, seeing how people have to struggle daily to make ends meet. People hardly dream now because they have forgotten how to pursue their dreams. When they do pursue the dreams, the fog of under-development, uncertainty, lack, hunger, fear, oppression clouds their path.
Oyinbo people can and will always come up with their numbers and statistics. However, it is apparent that they do not know that we live by entirely different rules. We're guided by different laws. We are hardly, if at all, subjects to the 'Order of the West'. It's good some days; it's bad most days. But at the end of the day, it is what is is.
Yours truly, Rantalot.