“My Husband’s Ministry Brought Me Back To Nigeria”- Abroad Life

May 14, 2021

The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.


Today’s subject on Abroad Life left is a 25-year-old woman who left Nigeria for Dubai in 2013. She talks about living her best life, getting a great job, and then returning home because her husband is a pastor here. 

When did you first realise that you wanted to leave Nigeria?

My parents were career parents, so they weren’t always around. They made up for their absence by taking us on trips abroad. We travelled a lot when I was a kid, and whenever we got back to Nigeria, I would realise that things were different. 

One thing that stuck out for me was television. I liked cartoons, so whenever we got back, I was reminded that the cartoons showing on our televisions were nothing compared to those I’d been watching in whatever country we just got back from. This made me want to leave Nigeria. 

Haha. So it was just the cartoons?

I always knew I was going to leave Nigeria after secondary school to study abroad. That’s how it was in our family. But we still travelled at least every other year for holidays until things got bad for my parents financially. 

How did that affect things? 

We didn’t travel for about three years. Things started getting better shortly after I finished secondary school, so I could travel for university in January 2013. 

Where did you go?

I went to the UAE. 

Why the UAE?

The initial plan was Canada, but at that point, if you wanted to go to a Canadian university, you had to do 12th grade again in a Canadian school. I’d repeated SS1, so I’d already spent seven years in secondary school. I didn’t want to spend another year, so I found a Canadian university in Dubai that didn’t require the 12th-grade thing. 

Nice.

Admission was pretty easy for Nigerians. Most of the Nigerians in the school were northerners, and they were very wealthy, so the school made it very easy for Nigerians to get admission. The plan was to stay there for one year and then transfer to Canada. That way, I would have successfully avoided wasting a year of my life in 12th grade again.  

Is that what you did?

Nope. I got to Dubai and knew I didn’t want to leave immediately. It was so beautiful. I’d been to America a few times before I went to Dubai, and I liked it. One month after I got to Dubai, I had to go back to America. When I landed, I was almost disgusted. It was so ordinary. Dubai, however, was glamorous. 

Traveling to Dubai during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go |  CNN Travel

What was it like moving to a different country on your own?

I was prepared for it, so I liked it. It was a chance to be free. I cried when my mum dropped me off at my dorm, but that was it. I moved on quickly. 

What was it like at the university?

It was amazing. There was a McDonald’s beside my school, so I ate McDonald’s every single day. I had to get used to the fact that the weekdays are different from what I was used to. In the UAE, weekends are Friday and Saturday, and the weekdays start from Sunday. Church was on Fridays. 

How did that affect you? 

I went to church two times in my first year and stopped. It was stressful ending the week on a Thursday and going to church on Sunday. Because of this, my lifestyle changed. I became lost. I started hanging with people I normally wouldn’t, and doing things I normally wouldn’t do. We were going to clubs with fake I.Ds and hanging with dangerous people. Looking back, I’m grateful none of us got hurt. Now, I hear stories of people we were hanging out with being in jail and I just thank God. 

One day, something happened that just made me stop hanging with them. 

Tell me about it.

After we graduated, I randomly decided to go to a church. I can’t remember what was preached or anything like that. It wasn’t a repentance message. It was just a normal Sunday service. Something changed about me in that service. When I got back home, I felt like I needed to stop living that life. 

How did your friends take it?

The next day, we were at the club again. We got there at midnight. At one a.m., I decided I wanted to leave. It was so weird to them. They tried to persuade me to stay but I insisted. From that day, they all stopped talking to me. Well, all of them except one, who I’m still friends with. 

That was it? 

That was it. I became a full church girl. I was the most dedicated worker you’d find in church. My commitment to Jesus Christ skyrocketed. It’s been amazing ever since. 

The Role of African American Women in the Black Church

Why didn’t you return to Nigeria after school?

I didn’t return because I didn’t want to do NYSC. That was it. 

What was life after school like?

I got an internship right before I left school, but after some months, they let me go. It sent me into a bad depression because I was looking for a job and was hoping I would get one  before my visa expired. It was such a tough time.

How did you handle that period?

I became a “therapist” for my current husband. We’d met online and he was going through some dark times as well, so I helped him work through his issues as a way to suppress mine. 

Did that work?

It did, and luckily, two days before my visa expired, I got a good job. I was at that job for three years. 

What was living in Dubai like? 

It was safe. You could be out by one a.m. and not be worried about your life. It was very peaceful. There was the occasional racism, but I could live with it. 

What was racism like?

Racism was not getting promoted at the same time as the person I joined with because I needed to prove myself a bit more because I am black. It was my white co-worker saying the N-word and thinking it was not a bad thing. It was someone opening the curtain in a dark room and saying, “Oh I can finally see you”.  It was another co-worker asking me what it felt like to finally be able to use plastic cutlery because we didn’t have any where I was coming from. It was the Nigerian prince joke. It was my professor in university telling me that I did a great job for my final year project but I probably would never get a job because people only hired “girls with blue eyes and blond hair”.

I’m speechless. 

A few years later, he met me at a conference and was begging to hire me. I was hot cake. I’d gotten promoted multiple times and was in the best years of my career, making a lot of money. But in 2020, I had to return to Nigeria.

Why?

I got married, and although my husband wanted to move here with me, there was something bigger waiting for us at home. 

What was that?

Ministry. My husband is a pastor and his call meant I had to move back to Nigeria to be with him. 

What’s Nigeria like?

I’m not used to being here yet. I hardly go out because Nigeria feels very unsafe for me. I don’t have any friends here yet. 

How has your career progressed since?

Public relations in Nigeria is different from public relations in Dubai. I’ve tried my hands on some work here. Some of it was successful, but I failed badly at some others. I’m still learning about the scene here. 

What do you like about being in Nigeria?

I’m living with my best person and I’m pleased about it.


Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 12 PM (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.

David Odunlami

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

June 12, 2021

By Doyin Olagunju If you were on social media on 27th May 2021, you must have seen a viral video involving Remi Tinubu, a former first lady of Lagos State and a current senator representing Lagos Central senatorial district, in a heated argument with another woman over the fact that Ms Tinubu called the woman […]

October 9, 2020

Young people in Lagos, Nigeria stayed up all night to protest an end to the police brutality caused by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). They remain angry about the extortion that SARS, violence and human right abuses that SARS perpetuates on young Nigerians. Read: The Police Are Harassing #EndSARS Protesters They have stated […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

leaving their ex
June 18, 2021

Sometimes we get overwhelmed and make decisions we later regret. In this article, six Nigerian women talk about why they regret leaving their ex.  Tomisin, 25 My ex used to send me not less than 50k every month.  He moved abroad and after two months, he told me he has fallen in love with someone […]

June 18, 2021

People love us for various reasons. Take this quiz and we’ll tell you what your friends love most about you. Relationships can be hard, and sometimes you just need someone to give you a bit of advice. Ask Ozzy is our new advice column where you send Zikoko the relationship questions that have been bugging […]

June 17, 2021

While smart investing is a sure way to build and retain wealth, it can be a daunting prospect for beginners. In the same vein, it is a lot easier when you understand the various options in which you can invest and ultimately grow your wealth. Here are some options you can consider when taking the […]

June 17, 2021

The BBNaija Lockdown Reunion (2020’s edition of Big Brother Naija) show will air on the 17th of June 2021. Keeping with the tradition of the show, the reunion will be hosted by Ebuka Obi Uchendu and will feature some of the BBN: Lockdown housemates talking about memorable moments from their season while also hashing out […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

More from Citizen

June 15, 2021

The Future of Hiring Lawyers During COVID-19 and Beyond for 200 Million Nigerians With the spread of COVID-19, most industries have adjusted their standard practices of conducting business. The legal profession is no exception, with TalkCounsel at the helm redefining the legal experience for countless Nigerians. TalkCounsel’s digital workspace hosts vetted lawyers that offer a […]

June 13, 2021

June 12 Protest: Yesterday, after months of planning, Nigerians took to the streets to protest against bad governance, abuse of human rights, worsening insecurity, and other forms of maladministration and mishandling of democracy in the country. Coincidentally, this protest happened one week after the Nigerian government’s sudden and unconstitutional Twitter ban. Yesterday was also Nigeria’s […]

June 12, 2021

By Doyin Olagunju If you were on social media on 27th May 2021, you must have seen a viral video involving Remi Tinubu, a former first lady of Lagos State and a current senator representing Lagos Central senatorial district, in a heated argument with another woman over the fact that Ms Tinubu called the woman […]

June 8, 2021

It’s been more than 72 hours since the federal government ordered the Twitter Ban, a decision that has denied millions of Nigerians without “You-Know-What” access to the social media platform. The question on everyone’s mind is “how much longer will this ill-thought-out and  extralegal decision hold?” The answer remains to be seen.  However, the Nigerian […]

June 7, 2021

Twitter Ban: The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, in a statement issued today has ordered all Nigerian broadcasting stations to delete their Twitter accounts. The letter to the broadcasting organisations terms it as “unpatriotic” for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to use Twitter as a source of information gathering and dissemination in Nigeria. Different variations of […]

June 5, 2021

The Nigerian government’s decision to suspend popular social media platform ban will hit Nigeria’s teeming youth population, for whom Twitter has become a source of escape from the hard-hitting Nigerian situation. Many use the platform to find job opportunities, companionship and networking. It will also prove to be disastrous for small and medium scale businesses […]

June 5, 2021

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has directed that people violating the Twitter ban should immediately be prosecuted. Yesterday, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture announced through a Twitter thread that it had indefinitely suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria. The suspension came after Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X