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Learn about Nigeria from Christabella, Brandon, Omonefe and David

“When I told everyone that I was Nigerian, nobody knew what it was or where it is,” Christabella says. “So I said ‘It's in Africa and it's very nice and a lot of people should go there because it's really fun.’ Some people think that everyone in Nigeria is poor and there are no houses, but Nigeria is a very rich country, it has a lot of oil. There are forests, cities and trees, and lots of restaurants because everyone loves food. There's a huge river called river Niger and only a little bit of desert in the very north of Nigeria. The weather is really nice; there are two seasons in Nigeria, the dry season and wet season.” “And the sunny season!” Brandon exclaims. “The sunny season is the dry season,” his mother Omonefe gently corrects. “In December it gets cold, about 20 degrees, and in the North it gets really dry, you have the breeze from the Sahara. And in June, July and August, we have heavy rains.”

So when would be a good time to visit Nigeria?
“In the summertime. But the rain is also nice because it has a very nice smell, it’s very relaxing.”

I can imagine. Are there other things you’d like people to know about Nigeria?
“Another misconception people have is they think that Nigerians or Africans in general eat a lot of meat. That's not true at all. We eat a lot of veggies, but we don't cook them like Europeans cook them, we cook a big pot of soup or stew with veggies, like okra or rice or beans or seeds from melons, and then you can add meat or fish, but just very little. We use meat for the stock, but more like a spice.” “My favourite food is rice and stew,” Christabella says. “Mine is porridge,” says Brandon “It's made with yams.” “I'm a very picky eater,” Christabella points out, “so that's why it's more interesting to hear what I like. I like plantain. I don’t like okra soup, but I like ogbono soup which is the same thing except there’s no okra in it.” “We use mango seeds to make ogbono soup,” Omonefe explains. “There are many different types of fruits in Nigeria, like guava, sugar cane, cocoa beans, tiger nuts, a kind of cherry called agbalumo and lots of other fruits we don’t have here.”

Are there other things you really like about Nigeria or that you are proud of?
“The music is very good actually,” says Christabella. “The music is in different languages, sometimes I don't understand what they're saying at all but I think it sounds really good, the beat and everything else. I don't know how to explain it but I'll send you some links.”

Thank you. Anything else we should know about Nigeria?
“The director-general of the World Trade Organisation is a Nigerian. And a lady,” her father David adds. “Her name is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”
“There are a lot of butterflies in Nigeria,” Christabella adds. “If you like butterflies, you should go.”

After our interview, Omonefe sent us a photo of an agbalumo, an African star apple, and some interesting links to allow you to learn more about Nigeria and Nigerians:
- Listen to Nigerian musician Burnaboy, who won a grammy last month.
- Check out this video with Nigerian musician Wizkid performing with Beyonce.
- Read about Dangote, the wealthiest person in Africa.
- Fun fact: Nigerians are the most educated people in the US.
- Nigeria also has excellent authors, and some of their books are used for teaching literature all over the world, for example Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chinua Achebe.

Interested in hearing our students' stories about their own countries? You may want to read our other interviews with students from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, France, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.