I had been drawn to Nigerians as I began to develop the concept of Uzuri and couldn't stop attracting them. I met them everywhere, everyday and was shocked at the large population right in my own backyard. I felt in my spirit I needed to visit, especially after DNA testing revealed my descendants are from the Tikar Tribe of Cameroon who are actually Nigerians. So this trip was special for me. Everyone made me feel welcomed and provided a level of care that I was not expecting.
We had an impromptu day at the beach. I was blown away at Landmark Beach because I wasn't expecting the water to be so clear and warm. The warm white sands that rested beneath my feet was so soft and light, not grainy and hard and the seating area of cabanas was a nice touch. The vibe was perfect and calm. I don't remember how many people there were because I got lost in a good conversation while enjoying the experience.
We visited Olumo Rock and there we hiked and scaled the massive stones to reach the top and admire the view overlooking Abeokuta. Well, Deneen and Mathew scaled the massive stones while I took the stairs. I saw families that still reside within the rocks, still sacrifice animals to God and the elders still pray for everyone that passes through. The view was beautiful from the top and after, we delighted in Palm Wine and herbal goodies from the gift shop.
Visiting SERIKI FAREMI WILLIAMS ABASS Slave Museum proved to be an emotional experience for me. The amount of information that is excluded here in America was upsetting to say the least but I gained so much clarity. Th compound is still occupied by descendants of Seriki. The energy was most potent in 9x9 and 10x10 holding cells. Where the natives stayed for 90 days before making their way to The Point Of No Return. After the museum, we took that same walk which put into perspective how much suffering was endured before leaving their home lands.
Since my birthday was approaching, I wanted to pay homage to my newly found roots. I was on a hunt for the perfect attire that respected the culture at Bolagun Street Market. I wanted a total Nigerian experience and they delivered with edgy makeup and colorful pictures. Although I felt like a fish out of water, I was very pleased with the outcome. The energy the photographer came with was reassuring and fun.
Well, this pretty much summed up my birthday night. Cubana was my first experience eating BBQ catfish. This wasn't the bbq sauce we are used to. This was packed with spices and peppers that seasoned the fish to perfection. I didn't care that the head was still on it so long as it wasn't looking at me. Lubuski Vodka almost took me down for the night, I was able to walk on my own.
I was overly excited when we had another impromptu day, at The Henna Spot. Unfortunately, they were about to shut down for a few days and all we could experience was the Sundanese style Dukhan. It's similar to v-steaming but with special wood and charcoal. I'll just say, I had an experience to remember, lol.
My roomies. This cool couple is Mathew and Deneen Akparorue. They recently celebrated 1 year of marriage and yes, it's real love, lol. I was blessed to witness firsthand the amount of love and care they have for one another. Mathew anxiously prepared all our meals and my favorite was the plantains and eggs we had for breakfast. We ate really good.
Just visiting Nigeria has enriched my life in ways I wouldn't have fathomed and I am forever grateful. I was at peace within my soul and I knew I was where I was supposed to be. What I learned was the lifestyle is hard and breeds tough people. They are strong, resilient and resourceful. Although the country is appears poor, it is systematically kept. The people desperately want opportunties but the system doesn't make it easy for them to leave the country for better opportunities. Learning this information made me respect their hustles when they are fortunate enough to make it here. I now understand why they push for higher education so much, from their prospective, it's the key to freedom. Overall, it was a great trip with lots of meaning that left me with memories that touched me to my core. I returned home with a sense of groundedness, stillness, peace and even more gratitiude than before. It's not the glitz and glam we Americans are used to but if you crave an authentic, historical, grounding travel experience, you should visit.