Volunteering in Nigeria
Nigeria is a country in West Africa. It has a population of 184 million people, making it the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria is famous for crude oil, Nollywood (Nigerian Hollywood), music and fashion.
In 2015 I volunteered in Nigeria for 7 months. My role was to set up youth clubs in primary and secondary schools. The purpose of the youth clubs was to teach children life skills such as teamwork, science and maths. Setting up youth clubs in Nigeria was a fantastic experience. I got to help other people and learn about Nigerian culture first-hand. In particular I learnt about Nigerian food, clothing and languages.
I discovered there is a wide variety of food in Nigeria. Nigerian food has a lot of flavour, spice and colour. Rice, beans, meat, yam and cassava are staple food items. The most common meats are goat, chicken, beef and pork. The most famous Nigerian dishes are jollof rice, fried rice, akara, moin moin, egusi soup and ogbono soup. My favourite Nigerian food is beans and plantain porridge. My favourite Nigerian drink is zobo which is made from hibiscus leaf and pineapple.
As well as wearing Western clothing, such as jeans and T-shirts, Nigerians also wear traditional clothing. Traditional clothing is bold with bright colours, eye-catching patterns and unique shapes. Nigerians wear traditional clothing on Fridays and Sundays, and for special occasions such as weddings. Nigerians either make the clothes themselves or get them made at a tailor. Fabric is available at local markets and when you go to a tailor there are lots of designs to choose from.
The official language in Nigeria is English. English was introduced to Nigeria when Nigeria became part of the British Empire in 1901. English is mainly spoken in big cities. Outside of these cities people speak lots of other languages. In fact, there are over 521 languages that have been spoken in Nigeria. These languages came from different ethnic groups. There are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. The most popular languages are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. There is also Nigerian Pidgin. Pidgin means a simplified language that developed between two or more ethnic groups that did not have a language in common. Nigerian Pidgin includes a mixture of different languages but mainly draws from the English language.