Friday, April 17, 2009

Lagos Considered the Worst Place to Live?

So I took down the blog a while back and just haven't cared to post anything since but I found this online earlier this morning and it sort of stuck with me so I figured what else is a blog good for other than to share your thoughts. With that in mind, I guess the blog is back.


According to a recent BusinessWeek article Lagos, Nigeria is the number one worst place in the world for expats to live.

While I’ve had my difficulties adjusting to being in a foreign place I have to say that I think this designation is either highly over-exaggerated or a very good sign of the hospitality around the planet.

Granted, my stay here in Lagos has only lasted a few short months but without exception I’d have to say that the only bad experiences I’ve had in Lagos are when I don’t ever leave the premises of the compound I live/work on. While that statement could be taken to mean that, as an expat, I’m too reluctant to step off the property that’s not necessarily due to anything I’ve seen or experienced while living here as much as it is due to the amount of hours I spend working.

Before moving to Lagos I researched a lot and talked to as many people as I could and all anyone told me was to just not go out and I’d be ok. I allowed that advice to fill my head for a good three months or so always concerned that I’d be swindled or taken advantage of in some way, shaken down by police or robbed while sitting in traffic. Since realizing that I can’t live tucked away in my own little corner and be content I’ve actually started going out and trying to see what’s around and have found that it’s really not as bad as I let myself believe.

The fact of the matter is that every city has its negative sides. Living in Los Angeles one learns where it’s safe to go and when and to be able to spot the signs that spell out danger and avoid those areas. This carries over to anywhere in the world, I’m sure. Is Lagos overcrowded? Yes. Is Lagos polluted? Yes. Are there sanitation problems? Yes. There are a whole host of issues that could be discussed in regards to Lagos and probably Nigeria in general. But I think the same could be said for pretty much any place in the world worth living in.

Since being here I’ve met a lot of very nice, sincere people. I’ve also met a lot of partly-psychotic, arrogant, bigoted and rude people and I can guarantee that not one individual in the latter category would ever be mistaken for anyone having any amount of Nigerian blood running through their bodies. Lagos, most specifically Victoria Island, is full of Indians, Lebanese, Filipinos and some US expats here and there and, unfortunately, those are usually the only people that I’ve run into any sort of problems with.

Getting over not being home is a hard thing to do but the fact of the matter is that if you aren’t from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana or any other nearby country you most likely chose to live here and need to understand that. The biggest problem I’ve seen and personally dealt with is the desire to drag home around with you and I’m pretty sure this is what causes most of the difficult issues that expats encounter. When it comes to places in the world to live in I can pretty much say that Lagos is not at the bottom of my list.

Anyhow, here's a more well thought out response to the BusinessWeek/CNN story: Worst Place to Work - CNN, BusinessWeek Off Mark on Lagos

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1 comment:

Ebi Atawodi said...

Hi Jeff, I've just read this after reading your Iyawa post (a friend of "E", "F", had sent it to me). I have to say welldone with stating Lagos as is, as opposed the dramatic incessant stereotypes. I've just sent it to a friend of mine who is "afraid" of visiting nigeria. *Rolls eyes*.