Coming to America

            I have realized that almost everyone who left naija for another country has a story to tell.

               I was at the immigration office the other day and while I was in line waiting for the door to open, my mind took me back to my early days in the country. Those days, I woke up very early hoping to get to the immigration office by 5am, even though the doors won’t be opened until 2 hrs later. Despite the early morning time, the queue at the immigration office was as long as Lagos Ibadan expressway. Still there was no need to complain, especially not after I had heard stories of uncles and aunts who had to sleep overnight at the door step of the immigration office, irrespective of the cold weather……. America na wah

                I have read and heard stories of people who had to swim to the country; People who had to marry their own sibling or family member; People who changed their names one thousand times, all in the hope of coming to America; People who had to travel to 10 countries before they got to their final destination; they started their journey 1st of January and got to America 6 months later. There are various stories related to things people had to do to get to this country, I hear these stories and all I can mutter is…..America na wah

           In those days, I wondered if there was any place I went to that I didn’t have to queue up or arrive 2 hrs before the official doors were opened. I arrived early and queued up at the immigration office, I arrived early and queued up at the social security building, I arrived early and queued up the two times I went to the driver’s license office. Even in the community college I enrolled in, I still had to arrive very early to queue up. I wondered if there was any place I had to go that didn’t need me to arrive very early to queue up, but all I can think of is……America na wah

           How will I forget to mention the ordeal at the American embassy at Elekan crescent (Now 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos). There’s never a day you visit this office that you wouldn’t find people stacked at the gate. The office open by 7:30 but go there by 3 am and you will see people queuing up or people sleeping on their make shift blanket and mat.

            I heard a lady talk about her ordeal the day she got her visa. According to her, she was 6 months pregnant and she arrived hours before the embassy doors were opened; like every other person around her, she laid her own blanket on the grass and laid down. From time to time, you will hear someone scream “the gate is open, the gate is open” and everyone will start running. At the end of the day, it will be a false alarm. By the time the gate was actually opened, everyone ran towards it. She hurriedly jumped up from her make shift bed but ended up tripping and falling flat on her stomach. Did she stop to check for any injury? Oh no. Did she stop to check if she had lost her pregnancy? Oh no. In her mind, she was probably thinking that if all it took was a fall for her to get an American visa, then no problem. Even her partner who was with her did not stop to check for injuries. It was by the time they entered the embassy that he turned to ask her “did you injure yourself?” I cringed at the description of her fall, but all I could do was shake my head while thinking…..America na wah

         I look at America today and America of those days. I look at Naija today and Naija of those days and I wonder, is any of these really worth it?

                          My words, my views, my style! Naijagrl©2009

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 3:12 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. LOL.. Good point.. Looking at those queues back then I used to say Naija will be empty by 2015..
    Ironically a number of the people getting to those doors at 3am were not actually visa applicants… They just got numbers then resold to people who couldn’t be bothered to queue..
    The city of Fast Bucks..!

  2. LOL — Have to agree that some of the peeps who were on the queue resold their spaces.. but quite a number of them were also jostling for a space on the coming to America train…. A small micro economy has sprung up at Walter Carrington — from people who would help you keep your phones, people who will sell their spaces, people who’ll help you chase down a cab, even people who will try to pray for your success at the interview (one tried to pray for me and when i refused asked for some small offering), and all what not. I’d say its a testament to the ingenuity of the Nigerian person.

  3. hmmm my sista’ america na wa!!!!!!!!

  4. @Roc…The idea of getting numbers and reselling it to people is quite funny, but is it not naija again?

    @Danny….Lol. the idea of using every situation as a means of making money makes me believe we are very industrious and smart in naija. I wonder what would happen if one pays to be prayed for and ends up not getting visa….will he/she ask for refund of his prayer money?

    @LG….thanks for stopping by jare

  5. ….of everything, we make what we get of it. Nothing becomes a ‘god’ except we ‘godify’ it.

  6. rethots….once again, you are right. Sometimes, the environment we are in, helps us in “godifying” things

  7. Today we look at it and it isn’t worth it…

    We were futunate that it was a company sponsored trip so we didnt have to do any of that…but looking at it from a UK perspective right now…We are better off in naija…

  8. afrobabe, You are lucky if you didnt have to go through all the hassles.thanks for stopping by

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