You may think that since Nigeria is one of the most well off and stable countries in Africa, and you could sell your current house and move there without too much of a problem. But that wouldn't be true. Nigeria and North America are about as different as day and night. Before you do anything rash like move there or even take a vacation there, you should understand some of the basic facts of life in Nigeria.

Daily life in Nigeria is pretty hectic, especially in the cities. There are few road rules and even fewer people who follow them, so whether you're in a Nigerian car (which is notoriously unreliable), on a motorbike or bicycle, or on foot, you have to be constantly alert to avoid ending up part of a road accident. A short trip to the Nigerian equivalent of the doctor might yield such things as the dead bodies of passengers who have fallen off the top of cargo trucks, unauthorized police road blocks, and frequent breakdowns.

We're all used to having to deal with bureaucracy when we want something and we know that anything to do with the government will take a long time and probably be pretty frustrating. But you will eventually get your real estate permit, license, etc. registered when it is your turn. In Nigeria, you may never get what you want unless you're willing to "grease the wheels." Without a well-placed bribe, you will likely remain completely stonewalled forever, so carry cash in case of interactions with cops, soldiers, and government officials.

Poverty and wealth exist side by side in Nigeria. As a North American, you will likely find yourself falling in with the wealthier crowd, which includes the middle classes who can afford to go to bars and see films in the cinema. However, you are still likely to be affected by the squalor. Unlike the neighborhood your current home is in, there's are always hawkers, vendors, and even thieves to deal with, especially at night.

And then there is the medical situation. Before you pack up for a vacation, make sure to get all your preventative shots because diseases like malaria, typhoid, and meningitis are common. Expect to have regular bouts of diarrhea as your system adapts to the food, and be wary of public clinics, which provide poor care and may even reuse needles. Instead, use private expat clinics. Davidson's Jewellers (diamond and silver jewellery repairs in Ottawa) tell us that while many people may head to the Caribbean to get fairly priced jewellery, they would not suggest the same for Nigeria.

Copyright (c) 2008 -