Nigeria is Beautiful to me

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Patricia Machele Daboh, and I am an African American woman. Recently, I married a wonderful Nigerian man in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. When I flew to Lagos, Nigeria on December 31, 2006, it was the first time I had ever flown, it was the first time I had traveled out of the country, it was the first time I had not been surrounded by my family or friends, and it was the first time I had taken a chance to marry a man that I did not met in person prior to the wedding. We met over a Christian dating service. When I met him, I had been communicating with someone else, who presented himself as being Nigerian also. He was not the man he presented himself to be, and I was getting over that relationship, and then came my husband, who first, became a dear friend. Prior to my communicating with a Nigerian man over the internet, I had not spoken to one before, I had not really heard about Nigeria’s reputation for being credited with many dubious schemes, and I had not even considered marrying outside of my race.Yet, my husband won my heart with his kindness, love, and friendship.

Of course, when I told my relatives about my engagement to a Nigerian man, whom I had never met, who lived over 5,000 miles from me, they started telling me, in detail, many horror stories about woman flying to met men who presented themselves to be one thing and turned out to be another. I was met with much resistance. My relationship with my Nigerian fiancé was not was encouraged by family or friends at first. Family and friends took it upon themselves to constantly quote something new they had heard about a Nigerian. I understood their apprehension, for after all, prior to meeting my husband, I had been lied to by another Nigerian man. Yet, there was something real and special about my husband, and I was going to take a chance on love and life. I finally had to put my foot down by letting people know that I was going to marry him, for it was my life, and if no one had anything positive to say, then do not say anything at all about my decision. Once my family and friends realized that I was serious about marrying him, they backed off with their comments, and I know prayers were going up on my behalf.

When I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, I felt as though I had stepped out of 2007 and back hundreds of years. Observing Nigerian men, women, and children carrying buckets of water on their heads was amazing to me. Seeing howvery few, if any, traffic lights or signs to direct traffic in an orderly fashion was a surpriseto me. I had been to New York a few times, but the crowds in New York did not compare to the multitudes I saw in Lagos, Nigeria. The public transportation, which consisted of mainly poorly maintenanced yellow buses with doors missing and mufflers that had thick, black smoke billowing out of them, was shocking. In America, those types of buses would not be allowed on the street, and yet, Nigerians crammed into the buses eagerly to catch a ride to their destination.In the countryside surrounding Lagos, Nigeria, I saw Nigerian men urinating openly in public, as well as one woman who squatted down and urinated too. Mothers bathed their children openly in public in a tub, and woman walked around without and with a bra on in public. The market place was a constant wonder to me, for it was always crowded and bursting with action. I had read where Lagos, Nigeria lacked good sanitation systems, but what I did not realize was that they had to get rid of the trash some way, and that way was to burn it on the sides of the roads. I wondered what that type of pollution would do to someone’s lungs year after year. I was not use to seeing policemen stand across the roadway with large weapons in their hands. In America, we would see this if the “SWAT” team was called in to subdue a situation, but it would not be a daily occurrence.

I found the Nigerian people to be beautiful, humble, loving, and kind. What I had not anticipated was to see the level of poverty, which plaques Nigerian people. Lord, my heart broke to see the conditions of many of the people. Many of my new relatives were very eager to learn about America and asked questions about the way we live from day to day. Many were surprised that we do not have our electricity turned off on a regular basis like they do.

I love my Nigerian husband very much, and I am eagerly waiting for his arrival. Recently, just last week, I received the approval notice for he and my stepson to come to America. Of course, he must undergo interview procedures in Nigeria, but at least they have been approved on this end.

I also love Nigeria. Now that I have been there, seen my brothers and sisters suffering and struggles, I will never be the same. I cannot just come back home and simply forget what my eyes saw, ears heard, and heart felt.

I read almost anything I can get my hands on about Nigeria. I order Nigerian movies, for they make me feel close to the people there. I pray for a better Nigeria, a peaceful Nigeria, a prosperous Nigeria, and a well-ruled Nigeria. Although I am African American, I feel Nigeria coursing through my veins and heart, for it has touched the core of my being. I really love Nigeria—even with all of its imperfections—it is still beautiful to me!

18 thoughts on “Nigeria is Beautiful to me

  • So I’ve recently fallen in love with a Nigerian man as well. He’s just so wonderful. I’m a white woman with two children from a previous relationship, and he’s asked me to marry him and move with him to Lagos. We currently both live in Boston and see each other frequently, and I just love the time I spend with him. Well, I started looking into it and emailed someone from the Nigerian embassy who made a sarcastic remark about the wisdom of my decision and was not very helpful. Any ways, my question is, if I want to go with him to Nigeria and get married, besides getting the obvious passports, what else do I need for documentation? Do I need my children’s father’s permission to take them out of the country? I hope that I don’t, because I already know that he will never give it, and this is my main concern. Otherwise, I’ve already found that there is an online company that you can pay $300 to take a course in teaching english as a second language, and they guarantee that they will find you a job once you complete, and Nigeria is one of the countries that you can find work in! Any advice with the paperwork would be most welcome though.

    And, for the record, I’ve had some really negative experiences with dating over the internet as well, with American men and also men from other countries. You just have to be careful, and most important of all, don’t let a negative experience hurt you so bad that it keeps you from loving again!

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  • Patricia…you brought tears to my eyes when I read your responce to Cindy…I am “the white woman” engaged to a Nigerian man and the comments and reaction I’ve received pertaining to this are shocking! Not only am I white but I am Jewish, born and raised in N.Y. while my fiance is a Christian Yoruba, born and raised in Lagos. My family has turned against me and doesn’t talk to me anymore. It’s horrible and amazing t o me how mean people can be. I try and let all the remarks go in one ear and right out the other because I know in my heart of hearts that I am making the right decision. He is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I trust him 100%. I sent you an e-mail regarding your article on the immigration process. Thank you again for sharing your experiences.

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  • i was engaged and living with a nigerian man in uk for a year, i flew to nigeria to marry him in november, how long does it take to have him with me. he was denied visa because of lack of evidence that we lived together so i have sent the appeal forms i the uk now. i love him and miss him very much and have lost my dad in april and burried my mum yesterday so i am alone.

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  • I met my Nigerian husband online years ago. I didn’t like him at first, mostly because he told me that God said I was his wife. I heard that so much in the past. I hadn’t heard much at that time about the Nigerian scams but I was very skeptical. I had to deal with family and loved ones that were concerned for me as well. It took the Lord and a couple years for me to know that he was certainly my husband, and I am so glad. Other then excepting Christ, it was the best decision I have ever made. I married him the day after I saw him for the first time. I too experienced the Nigerian Atmosphere, and it changed me as well. I didn’t have to think twice after meeting him, because I knew that I knew that I knew what God said. My husband is still not here in America. We have had a few obstacles with the US Consulate in Lagos. I know it is Gods timing. I believe that we know each other better than if we would have met in person initially. I have no doubt that he loves me. I do want to warn some of you reading this. I thank God that we have success stories, but you have to be very careful dating any person over the internet.

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  • It is so nice to hear some positive words about our lives with these wonderful nigerian men. I am engaged to a nigerian man. I am a white american. He is planning to come here for us to meet in person as we initially met on the web. I am veru excited to meet my sweetheart and I am planning to go to nigeria early in 2008 to meet his family and we will then hopefully be married. So any and all comments are welcome and I hope to hear from many of my sister's in Christ and as friends!! Blessings to all and looking forward to talking with you.

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  • thank u so much for writing all 3 of ur articles..its a blessing in disguise for me…our story is similar to urs…my fiance was my friend in the beginning when i got hurt by another naija man . he was there for me when i truly needed a friend. 2 think i almost missed out on this wonderful man..im planning a trip to lagos in feb 2008 and getting married in april 2008…i to have heard so many negative statements from family co workers and girlfriends that it pisses me off i get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again..but ive learned that ppl will say something negative before they will ever say positive…i believe in god and our faith my fiance and i have in one another…one day i wanna be in ur shoes as far as the immigration process for im just in the beginning stages of passports visas etc..thak u again for all the info u provided u lead the way for me and i truly appreciate it….god bless u and ur hubby and children…hearing good news like this for anyone makes me know that there is a god and he is alive:)

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  • I'm very touch with your story and I am gooding thur waht you went thur. I have meet a Nigiera young man and we plan to marry I though I was crazy and that no one would do this but we keep our relationship before God and he has allow our love to grow strong. He is younger than me but he don't care and long as we are true to each other. I feel good about marring him and he is introducing me to his family one at a time. He wants me to come there in August but I can I wish that you and me could chat or talk more on this subject…..May God Bless you and you husband and new family……..Atird

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  • pmdaboh@yahoo.com · Edit

    TO AUDRA:

    I apologize that it took me a day to write this, but my computer was having problems.

    My heart goes out to you, for I know how it feels to be torn between loving someone dearly, and on the other hand, being told constantly that he will break your heart simply because he is from Nigeria. Heart break can happen right her in the United States, and the proof of that is the high divorce rate. But on the other hand, it is wise to do as much checking as possible, for it would be foolish not to in these times and days. The only problem is that if he were in the United States you could just go online to one of the many search websites, and do a thorough background check. Unfortunately, I do not know of any website, that allows one to do a thorough background check on someone outside of the United States. For your peace of mind, for I see how torn you are right now, I would ask for a free consultation with a private detective that may can direct you to someone that can possibly get some information that you are seeking. But, I feel this may be a long shot. Audra, you have to be true to you own feelings and personal convictions and emotions. Do not allow anyone to sway you simply because of their personal fears and beliefs. If I had listened to some of my family members, I would have missed meeting and marrying my soulmate, for that is what he is to me. Be very prayer, and do as much as you possibly can to get the information, for you (not anyone else), than make a decison based on that. Please feel free to e-mail me at pmdaboh@yahoo.com, for I would love to continue to communicate with you.

    Have a blessed life! Keep the faith!

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  • Hello Patricia, My name is Audra, and I AM a "white woman" i have been searching the internet for information on Nigeria, and Nigerian people, because i the same as you two have been talking with a Nigerian man, he seems the most sweetest, honest, whole hearted man i think i have ever talked to, BUT a BIG BUT all i hear from anyone is bad things, and not to trust him and he just wants to use me, etc. etc. Do you have any way to help me? Is there anything i can really do to find out that He is not and he TRULY is who i hope he is?? I need help i am soo torn, and I just need someone to talk to, if this is you please respond, i would appreciate it deeply, Thank you so much for the information you have allready given, it helps alot.

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  • I say good luck to you.I am from Uk and i have married a Nigerian in February and he is wonderful guy and as u said about the country is all true I love Nigeria to

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  • pmdaboh@yahoo.com · Edit

    Cindy, I am the author, Patricia Machele Daboh, of the article, Nigeria is Beautiful to Me, and I want to just talk to you for a minute if that is alright.

    Cindy, I appreciate your comments about my article. I pray that God gives you strength to stand "strong" in your decision and with the husband of your choice. American woman are trained to get to know a man, date him for some length of time, then, and only then, will you truly know him inside and out. We are not encouraged to, first of all, get into a serious relationship with someone over the internet. And from the many tradgeies that have happened to women who have put their trust in someone they never met, it is understandable why our loved ones and friends feel so strongly against it.

    We both took a BIG CHANCE by doing what we did, but for us, it seems as though we both have met some beautiful Nigerian men!

    What bothered me the most is that one of my brothers is married to an Italian girl, and the other brother is married to a Jamacian girl. No one ever said to them, "Why are you marrying that Italian or Jamacian", yet I heard this continually. Relatives and friends would say, "Why a Nigerian?". I had friends to ask me if he was good looking for, they said, most Africans are ugly. I was asked if he could speak English, as if I could even have a relationship with someone who could not, for how could we communicate if he didn't. I am African American, and to me, it seems as though many African Americans look down on Africans. I thought about why do they do that as a whole (judging from the comments I received). Well when I think about it, most of the African specials I watched on television showed Africans that were poor, dying with AIDS or infected with HIV. Television programs showed Africans that had more than one wife, which American women would not tolerate.

    The most thing that hurt me was when my mother kept asking me if my husband got checked for AIDS. She asked me this several times, and I kept saying, "Yes". Then she just came right out and said, "I want to know if he and his son have been checked for AIDS, for you will be bringing them to my house with you." I was so angry about what she said. She wanted to make sure that they would not bring AIDS into her house. I have not told him about her comment, for I do not want to hurt him.

    People also think I was crazy to marry a Nigerian, as if the word, word, "Nigerian", is a disease or a taboo! I never knew what a mixed couple felt like, but I am getting a taste of it. Now if he was another nationality, say a "whtie man", I believe no one would question his health state, integrity, charactger, or his sincerity.

    Before I flew out to go to Lagos, Nigeria, I spent a week with my mother, who lives in New Jersey. Well, she wanted me to talk to her pastor, who I have known for years. He was very sensitive to my feelings, but he mentioned a few situations about Nigerian men who did not live up to their word once they married an American woman. He metioned the many schemes .. that Nigerians are known for, and I told him we have schemers in America as well sitting at a computer trying to take advantage of others also. I felt as though I was being examined to see whether I still had my sanity or not. He and his wife (for she was in the conference too) were very respectful and nice, yet why did I have to even be subjected to this question and answer session?

    I walked in a bank where I live and I saw a list of countries who are known for schemes. Of course Nigeria was high on the list. I have been told by numerous co-workers since I have come back from Nigeria that they receive numerous e-mails about money being in a bank, and they are needed to retrieve it (I have received countless e-mails from Nigeria in reference to that also). Every where I turn there is something negative about Nigeria and a Nigerian.

    The recent elections did not make Nigerians look good with all the corruption, killings, and accusations of unfair practices by officials and citizens alike.

    It seems as though you and I have our work cut out for us in reference to defending the choice we made. Even two weeks ago, after I happily shared the news that I recieved my approval from the Immigration Office for my husband and stepson to come to America, I was told, "Never sign anything on his behalf." Of course, I addressed that comment. I am already tired of defending and explaining my decision. Sometimes I wonder if the remarks will ever stop . . they slow down a bit, then they burst forth again . .for another round!

    I personally want to see the image of Nigeria changed, for at the present time, it is terrible. I wish everyone could visit Nigeria and see the conditions in which many of the Nigerian citizens live with day after day. I am not excusing behavior that takes advantage of others (no matter what country it comes from), but I think people do not realize the poverty level and educational disadvantages children have in Nigeria (education is NOT free there). I am a teacher, and I realize the importance of how closely education is linked to a successful future.

    I cannot honestly say that I do not get upset inside when I hear a whisper how I must "watch him", for sometimes I get tired of hearing negative things.

    Why do many African Americans think they are better than Africans? I do not know that answer. We complain about the treatement of other cultures against us (especially the "white man"), yet we (generally speaking) turn right around and treat African people as though they are less than us! Why? That is simply ridiculous and hypocritical. If you are white than I know you are doubly criticized for making your choice, and my heart goes out to you. I understand how you feel and what you are going through.

    God knows we have a lot of AIDS in America (in all ethnic groups), we have poverty here (not to the degree that it is in Nigeria, but it is here); we have people that manipulate and take advantage of others right here too.

    Cindy, just keep praying for your family. If they choose to withhold their love, companionship, and affection from you because you married an African man, than that has to be their problem–not yours. Yes, Lord, that really hurts . .for I know how I feel when someone attacks my Nigerian husband verbally, but if you feel God led you to him–it is your life.

    Prayerfully and hopefully your husband will treat you SO GOOD that your family and friends cannot deny that the Lord has blessed you with a wonderful husband.

    You just have to live your life . . . .

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  • I want you to understand that I did the same exact thing as you did last February for me. I met him online & went to meet him in February. He was so much more then I ever expected. I truly feel GOD led me to him. I have never felt this way before. I went back in June to marry him. We are doing his paperwork right now. I was in shock & awe at what I seen also in Lagos. I NEVER knew that people lived like that today in our society. I PRAY TO GOD HE IS EVERYTHING THAT I SEE IN HIM NOW AND THAT HE CONTINUES TO BE MY EVERYTHING! Good Luck with you and your new husband. My whole family on both sides of my family turned against me. They still don't talk to me as I am an embarrassment to them which is what my father said to my face and walked away. I don't care what they think of me. I know I LOVE THIS MAN MORE THEN ANYTHING. I just wanted you to know I understand completely what you are talking about. My life has been changed also from what I seen and experienced…

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  • Beautifully written. Yes NIgerians have a BAD rep. I know, I am NIgerian, at the same time though, if you find a good one, you have found a GREAT one. So I will pray that you have found a ggreat one. If for nothing but the very selfish reason that: at least YOUR geniune feeling of love and appreciation for Nigeria does not die. stay blessed

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  • I will also send up prayers for you and your new husband. I hope you have read the first comment very carefully, "I pray…your new spouse will be a spouse indeed." I am an American African (born and raised in USA) with Senegalese ties. I have been involved in the African community for a long time and am in a relationship with a wonderful Yoruba man for four years now and getting sweeter and stronger each day. However, I know this is not the first of this warning but BE CAREFUL!!!!!! There are some Africans, men and women alike, Nigerians and non-Nigerians, who would love for any American to come and marry them, bring them to the states, file for their permanent residency card and leave the American spouse behind. Believe me, I know. I have friends who have done the same thing. I know people on both sides. One of my girlfriends is chasing after an African man that she thought was marrying her for true reasons, and he is now nowhere to be found. I also have a guy friend that did the same thing to a women, that he left in Chicago. I say all this so you will not be completely naive. Some people can have two faces, while only showing one and with one motive in mind….GREEN CARD!!!! May Allah Bless you. Peace be unto you.

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  • Hi Patricia …God has his way of doing HIS things. I really missed keeping in contact. You almost scared me not hearing from you all of the sudden. One thing i can say is when i prayed for you i felt peace within. I knew you told me you'd be leaving around December/January. But for me to come across your article is something i can only say it's God doing. I've really been praying for you hard. And very very happy to know that you are doing well and happy. Sometimes people can destroy your destiny unknowingly if you allow them to. I'm happy that you have met true love. It's easy to point out the negative aspects of situatuions rather than the positives. Yes there are horror stories about Nigerian couples but the good ones seems to remain hidden. God Bless you and i pray the best for you, your husband, and destiny!! Take care and God bless.

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  • Very moving and very touching. I wish you and your new husband the very best Patricia, and I sincerely pray that your husband will be husband indeed. Nigerians truly are very hardworking and resilient people, in spite of all the hardship they are very optimistic lots. If only the leaders will change and act right, I strongly believe that country would be among the best. Once again good luck in your latest venture and I pray with all my heart that your new spouse will be a spouse indeed.

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