Home From Nigeria

December 7, 2018 5:38 am

I arrived home from Nigeria safely. Now to try and get my internal clock back to normal. Since I woke up at 4 this morning, I have extra time to type out a funny story that happened on my way home.

I arrived at the airport in Lagos with enough time to check in. While that is always good, it wasn’t a guaranteed situation. My friend Wale only lives 14 miles from the airport, but it takes anywhere from 1 to 2+ hours to get there. Since we made pretty good time getting to within 10 minutes of the airport, we decided to stop at Domino’s Pizza for supper. When we left there we had almost 45 minutes to make the 10 minute drive.

Traffic from the pizza place to the airport wasn’t that bad. However, in the airport drop off area we sat in a line about 1/4 mile away from the airport staring at red tail lights and not moving very quickly. Though I had checked in online I still had to turn in my checked bag and get a boarding pass. During online check in they emphasized that the counter to do that would be closed 2 hours before the flight.

When I only had 5 minutes left of that 2-hour window, I jumped out of the car, grabbed my bag, shook Wale’s hand and darted for the airport. Though I would have liked a hug and a proper farewell, this seemed to be the best course of action.

I made it through security fairly quickly. Yes, you have to go through a metal detector, physical pat down and have your bags run through a scanner just to walk into the door of the airport. I even found the counter to my airline and was pleased to see workers still there. However, there were no other passengers around. Apparently they heeded the 2-hour warning and came a bit earlier (or they were still stuck in traffic).

Check in went well and I was relieved to have almost 2 hours to work my way through immigration and security. At the first immigration checkpoint the officer took my passport and boarding pass and actually acted pleasant. Immigration officers have never been anyone I have tried to joke with since the incident when I was 16 years old and I insisted to a US immigration officer that I was a citizen of Texas and not the USA. He didn’t appreciate the joke and I have been all business with those guys since then.

This officer asked in an obviously playful way, “Are you a Nigeria national?”

I looked at my arm, which is not overly tanned, and said, “I’ve been here long enough that I might be getting a little brown, but not quite as dark as a Nigerian.”

He chuckled (thankfully), then I added, “They did give me the name Baba Dudu, but I don’t think that quite qualifies me as being Nigerian.”

Again he laughed and let me through after checking out my passport.

Now, before you think I’m saying something inappropriate, let me explain the name.

Baba is a common title of respect in many African and middle eastern countries. It has an Arabic background from what I understand. It just means father, elder, respected old man, etc.

The dudu part is what sounds weird. In Yoruba, the strongest language around Lagos, it means black. As in color. It can be used to refer to a person’s skin color like we do in English.

For whatever reason, one of my friends, from my first trip to Nigeria 9 years ago, started calling me Baba Dudu (black father). He did it again this trip and it seemed to be enough to entertain the immigration officer for a brief moment. Maybe some of them do enjoy a little humor now and then.

By the way, I never explained to my Nigerian friend what the word that sounds like dudu in English means. We’ll just keep that to ourselves.

One Response to “Home From Nigeria”

Olawale Orekan wrote a comment on December 7, 2018

Praise God for His mercy. And thank God you were not kidnapped when you came to Nigeria.

Care to comment?

-->