!!!!!!
Center for Global Health
University of Chicago
!!!!!!
Preparation Guide for
Trips to Nigeria
1
Table of Contents
I. Important Contact Information ........................................................................
2
General Safety Tips........................................................................................................
3
I. Important Contact Information
Healthy Life for All Foundation
House 37
Opposite ABH
University College Hospital
Ibada...
4
II. Country Background
Official Name: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
Capital City: Abuja (officially called the Federal...
5
A few days before
• Obtain cash to exchange into Nigerian naira upon your arrival. Take large dollar
denominations with ...
6
! Gatorade or other drink packets for rehydration
! Address list and important contact information
! Laundry bag
! Small...
7
VI. Money
The Nigerian currency is called the naira. While US dollars may be easily exchanged at major
hotels, banks, an...
8
HLF house, but it can be slow. If you are trying to keep in contact with family or friends at
home through Skype, be sur...
9
Exercise
If you would like to exercise while in Nigeria, there are a few options. Previous visitors have
recommended swi...
10
will often drive at dangerously high speeds and sometimes on the wrong side of the road.
Driving conditions are especia...
11
i. When purchasing travel tickets, keep in mind that for safety reasons it is better not to
arrive in Lagos after 6 pm....
12
Food
In general, Nigerian food is spicy. Each ethnic group has a unique diet based largely on
agricultural production i...
13
Family
Consistent with the social culture, family is very important and being close with one’s
extended family is the n...
14
• Being careful with eye contact. Constant, direct eye contact can be considered rude and
intrusive.
Be aware that the ...
15
• Try eating with your right hand (or both hands). If you don’t feel comfortable with doing
this, it is okay to ask for...
16
• Center for Disease Control tips on traveling to Nigeria:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/nigeria.htm#vaccine...
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Preparation guide for trips to nigeria

  1. 1. !!!!!! Center for Global Health University of Chicago !!!!!! Preparation Guide for Trips to Nigeria
  2. 2. 1 Table of Contents I. Important Contact Information ..........................................................................3 II. Country Background...........................................................................................4 III. Preparing for Your Trip ......................................................................................4 4-6 months before................................................................................................................................. 4 One month before.................................................................................................................................. 4 Two weeks before.................................................................................................................................. 4 A few days before ................................................................................................................................. 5 IV. Things to Pack ....................................................................................................5 Clothing ............................................................................................................................................... 5 Toiletries .............................................................................................................................................. 5 Supplies................................................................................................................................................ 5 Work Related ...................................................................................................................................... 6 Other ................................................................................................................................................... 6 V. How to Dress ......................................................................................................6 VI. Money..................................................................................................................7 VII. Getting Around....................................................................................................7 VIII. Accommodations ................................................................................................7 IX. Communication ..................................................................................................7 X. Staying Healthy...................................................................................................8 Medical Facilities ................................................................................................................................. 8 Food and Water................................................................................................................................... 8 Disease................................................................................................................................................. 8 Exercise............................................................................................................................................... 9 XI. Traveling Safely in Nigeria .................................................................................9 Political Instability ............................................................................................................................... 9 Violent Crime...................................................................................................................................... 9 Kidnapping........................................................................................................................................... 9 Scams................................................................................................................................................... 9 Traffic Safety and Road Conditions...................................................................................................... 9 Law Enforcement............................................................................................................................... 10 Photography and Film........................................................................................................................ 10 If Something Goes Wrong................................................................................................................... 10
  3. 3. 2 General Safety Tips............................................................................................................................ 10 XII. Background on Nigerian Culture and Society...................................................11 Language ........................................................................................................................................... 11 Food................................................................................................................................................... 12 Religion.............................................................................................................................................. 12 Socializing.......................................................................................................................................... 12 Family ............................................................................................................................................... 13 Hierarchy........................................................................................................................................... 13 Greeting or Meeting People ................................................................................................................. 13 Conversation....................................................................................................................................... 13 Conducting Business........................................................................................................................... 14 Visiting Friends................................................................................................................................. 14 The Left Hand .................................................................................................................................. 14 Eating Etiquette ................................................................................................................................ 14 XIII. Some Background on Nigerian History........................................................... 15 XIV. Advice from Students ...............................................Error! Bookmark not defined. XV. Helpful Links .................................................................................................... 15 XVI. References......................................................................................................... 17
  4. 4. 3 I. Important Contact Information Healthy Life for All Foundation House 37 Opposite ABH University College Hospital Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria Post Code 200211 Dayo Adepoju, HLF Manager Phone: (+234) 805 660 2274 Center for Global Health University of Chicago 5841 S. Maryland Ave. Suite G-120, MC2121 Chicago, IL 60637 Phone: (773) 702-5959 Fax: (773) 834-0450 Email: globalhealth@uchicago.edu American Embassy and Consulate Information Lagos – Consulate General 2 Walter Carrington Crescent Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria Phone: (234) 1 460-3400 Fax: (234) 1 261-2218 Abuja – Embassy Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive Central District Area, Abuja Nigeria Phone: (234) 9 461-4000 Fax: (234) 9 461-4171 Email: Consularabuja@state.gov
  5. 5. 4 II. Country Background Official Name: The Federal Republic of Nigeria Capital City: Abuja (officially called the Federal Capital Territory) Major City: Lagos – former capital of Nigeria, economic and financial capital Ethnic Groups: Over 250 groups. Major groups are Hausa/Fulanis, Yorubas, and Igbos Religions: Muslim, Christian, Traditional Worship Currency: Naira (NGN). $1 = NGN157.90 as of July, 2013. Dialing Code: +234 Time Zone: West Africa Time (6 to 7 hours ahead of Chicago depending on daylight savings time) Climate: Tropical savannah climate with rainy seasons from April to July and from October to November. Dry seasons are from August to September and December to March. III. Preparing for Your Trip 4-6 months before • Purchase international health insurance that includes provisions for emergency evacuation. • Visit the State Department website to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan: https://step.state.gov/step/ • Apply for a passport. First-time passports take from 4-6 weeks to arrive. Often times the passport expiration date must be at least 6 months past the expected date of return to the United States. • Obtain a visa from a Nigerian embassy or consulate. Visas cannot be purchased at airports. CGH will help facilitate this process. • Make air travel arrangements, as tickets will be cheaper when purchased at least 6 months in advance. If travel arrangements are needed from Lagos to Ibadan, select a flight that lands in the early afternoon. This will give enough time for the HLF staff to travel to the airport, and return to Ibadan before it gets too late and unsafe to travel. Please review your planned itinerary with CGH staff before paying for the ticket. One month before! • Purchase maps or travel guides, and familiarize yourself with helpful information about the country. • Learn key phrases in Yoruba. Even though many people in Nigeria speak English, knowing even just a few words or phrases will be helpful and usually appreciated by the people. Two weeks before! • Notify your bank(s) that you will be traveling so that they know not to suspend accounts when they see international transactions. • Shop for all necessary clothes, supplies, toiletries, and equipment. A set of queen or king beddings will be helpful to take along • Finalize arrangements with CGH to be met at the airport.
  6. 6. 5 A few days before • Obtain cash to exchange into Nigerian naira upon your arrival. Take large dollar denominations with you ($100 bills) as these give you the best exchange rates. Ensure you have enough cash for your entire trip since ATMs are not readily available and credit cards are not widely accepted. Sending money by Western Union shortly before departure may be a much safer alternative than carrying a lot of cash during the travel. For less than $20 in fees, up to $1,000 can be sent safely to Dayo in the HLF office. IV. Things to Pack Clothing ! Hat ! Sunglasses ! At least one formal outfit (high heels or flats and a nice dress for women, suit for men) ! Business and formal attire ! Casual clothing for downtime ! Swim suit ! Flip flops for showering Toiletries ! Any toiletries that you can’t go without, such as a specific brand of shampoo, body lotion, or contact lens solution. ! Prescription medications ! Enough toothpaste to last the entire trip (the toothpaste that can be purchased in Nigeria might not be the same quality that you are used to) ! Moist toilettes or face cleansers ! Over-the-counter medications: ! Tylenol and/or ibuprofen ! Pepto-Bismol ! Anti-histamines ! Anti-diarrheal medications ! First Aid kit, Band-Aids, Neosporin ! Hand sanitizer – pocket size and a bigger jar to refill ! Insect repellants (DEET lotion) ! Sunscreen ! Hydrocortisone for bug bites Supplies ! Canned goods or packaged foods (bars, oatmeal, tuna, noodle packages, cereal) ! Face tissues, handkerchiefs ! Flashlight (rechargeable or battery-powered) ! Mosquito nets (can also be purchased locally in Nigeria in pharmacies) ! Water bottle
  7. 7. 6 ! Gatorade or other drink packets for rehydration ! Address list and important contact information ! Laundry bag ! Small packets of detergent for laundry ! Language guide ! Re-sealable plastic bags Work Related ! Paper or notebook ! Pencils and pens ! Computer Other ! Important documents and copies of those documents (passport, visa, invitation letter, CV, project description) ! Small gifts and thank you notes to write at the conclusion of the visit. ! Tri-band unlocked mobile phone (can be purchased when you arrive) ! Universal adapters with voltages 220-240 volts (Nigeria uses British-style outlets) ! Additional passport photos ! Money belt If you’ll be staying at the HLF House, you’ll also need: ! Bedding: 2 sets of queen sized sheets ! Bath towels Upon arrival, you may purchase: ! SIM Card ! Silverware and cookware (Depending on where you’re staying these might not be provided.) V. How to Dress Nigerian culture is very formal, so women should bring plenty of longer skirts, dresses, and dress pants and men should bring slacks, button-down shirts, and ties. Formal attire is required for business functions and church. For women, wearing longer skirts might be more comfortable in the heat but dress pants are acceptable as well. Sleeveless tops are fine (especially in the hospital, where you will be wearing a white coat most of the day anyway). For women’s footwear, flats or heels are both acceptable. Men should plan to wear dress shirts and ties. Nigerians dress up for church and other social events like weddings. Bring at least one fancy outfit in case you are invited to such an event. For women, high heels and a nice dress would be appropriate, and for men, a suit or dress pants and a dress shirt and tie. Also bring casual clothes like jeans and t-shirts for downtime.
  8. 8. 7 VI. Money The Nigerian currency is called the naira. While US dollars may be easily exchanged at major hotels, banks, and foreign exchange offices, plan to use the local currency for most transactions. When traveling to Nigeria for short periods of time it is best to bring enough cash with you to last for the entire trip. (see comments earlier in the document about handling cash). Beware that the necessity of carrying sufficient naira for an entire visit makes foreign travelers attractive targets for criminals. It is also advisable to have plenty of cash for your visit because credit cards are rarely accepted at businesses and most banks will not accept traveler’s checks. Inter-bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, but money transfers through Western Union and MoneyGram are available. Bringing larger bills, such as $100s, ensures the best exchange rate. Bringing crisp, larger bills is best if possible. Past students have reported that for a month long visit $1,000 in cash was more than enough, but be sure to account for extra travel costs (for example, if you plan to spend time in Lagos) and paying for accommodations. VII. Getting Around Driving and public transportation in Nigeria can both be dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. Use the car and driver services that will likely be arranged for you through your hosts in Nigeria, and use seat belts whenever available. Walking is an option but is sometimes dangerous because of the lack of sidewalks, and can be very tiring because of the intense heat and humidity. Avoid walking after dark and alone. If you do take public transportation, remember to negotiate taxi, okada (motorcycle), and tuktuk prices. Please try to avoid the Okadas (motocycles) as they are very dangerous). VIII. Accommodations A very notable hotel is The Blowfish Hotel. The accommodations are very nice and in a safe area. The hotel also offers high speed internet. The address is as follows: The Blowfish Hotel No. 17 Oju Olobun Street Off Idejo Street Victoria Island, Lagos PH: +234.1.463.1298 www.theblowfishhotel.com IX. Communication Calling and texting are the best ways to reach people in Nigeria because Nigerians are not always as responsive over email as Americans.Obtain a Nigerian cell phone upon your arrival (if you are staying at HLF someone can help you with this). There is Internet at the
  9. 9. 8 HLF house, but it can be slow. If you are trying to keep in contact with family or friends at home through Skype, be sure to warn them that the unreliable Internet and electricity means that you might not always be available to talk at the times that you scheduled. Turning off the video may make the Skype communication better if the signal is not strong at the time of the call. X. Staying Healthy Medical Facilities While there are many well-trained doctors in Nigeria, medical facilities are usually in poor condition. Diagnostic and treatment equipment is often poorly maintained and medicines that are readily available in the United States may not be in Nigeria. Take caution when purchasing pharmaceuticals because counterfeits are a common problem and are difficult to distinguish from real drugs. Hospitals will usually expect immediate cash payment for their services. If you have any need for Medical care, please reach out to the local Mentor at the exchange site and let the HLF office be aware of this. Food and Water It is important to only eat from reputable places to avoid traveler’s diarrhea. Food that is cooked at high temperatures should be safe to eat. Fruits and vegetables should only be eaten if boiled, peeled or thoroughly washed with bottled water. As far as road-side food is concerned, food that is freshly cooked or that has a high turnover (food that is in high demand and has not been sitting out for extended periods of time) should be safe to eat. One should also avoid ice unless it was made from bottled water. Never drink tap water, as even Nigerians only drink bottled water. Filtered water is sold in bags (called pure water) and bottles. The bags are usually cheaper than the bottles, but both are safe to drink. Bagged and bottled water can be purchased at almost any store. Teeth should also be brushed with bottled water and final rinses on dishes should be with bottled water. Disease Two of the biggest health risks to be aware of while in Nigeria are malaria and HIV/AIDS. Travelers to Nigeria are at a high risk of contracting malaria, a serious and sometimes fatal disease borne by mosquitoes. Obtain and take the appropriate anti-malarial drugs before departing for Nigeria. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in Nigeria. Be sure to take appropriate measures to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, but also be aware that casual contact cannot transmit the disease. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to get more information on these health risks before visiting Nigeria. If you are possibly exposed to HIV, a drug treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can reduce your risk of contracting the virus if taken within 72 hours of exposure and continued for 28 days. PEP can be obtained at most healthcare facilities in America in advance of your trip. Visit the World Health Organization’s website for more information about PEP: http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/prophylaxis/en/. Local contact with the site mentors can also guide you through the evaluation and treatment.
  10. 10. 9 Exercise If you would like to exercise while in Nigeria, there are a few options. Previous visitors have recommended swimming at the Premier Hotel, which costs about N1000. Because it is often too hot and humid to exercise outside, students have also recommended bringing exercise videos to use in the comfort of their homes. There is also a gym in Ibadan outside of UCH. XI. Traveling Safely in Nigeria There are a number of safety concerns involved with travel in Nigeria due to decades of political instability and the resulting high crime rate. Read about the political situation in Nigeria on the State Department’s website before departure. Ibadan and Lagos are far from the conflict regions but one should be on guard at all times. Political Instability The Department of State warns U.S. citizens not to travel to the following areas unless absolutely necessary: the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers; the southeastern states of Abia, Edo, Imo; the city of Jos in Plateau State; Bauchi and Borno States in the northeast; and the Gulf of Guinea. These areas are potentially dangerous for U.S. citizens due to heightened risks of kidnapping, robbery, and other armed attacks. Violent Crime Nigeria has a very high crime rate. Armed muggings, assaults, burglaries, car-jackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortions, often involving violence, are common, especially after dark. Crimes are committed by individual criminals and gangs, as well as by some persons wearing police and military uniforms. Law enforcement officials in Nigeria might be slower to respond to a crime than they are in the United States, and sometimes they might not respond at all. Avoid traveling outside of major cities after dark. Please lean on your local hosts and students to walk you or drive you safely home when necessary. Kidnapping Kidnapping poses a high risk to foreign visitors to Nigeria. Seven US citizens and over 140 foreign nationals were kidnapped by criminals or militants between January 2009 and April 2011. The kidnappings took place from off-shore and land-based oil facilities, residential compounds, and public roadways. Scams Commercial scams targeted at foreigners are common in Nigeria. Be wary of offers of money transfers, lucrative sales, contracts with promises of large commissions or up-front payments. US consular officers are usually unable to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals or scams and their consequences. To avoid becoming a victim of a scam, never provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines. Traffic Safety and Road Conditions Roads in many areas of Nigeria are in poor condition, creating high risks of traffic accidents and damage to vehicles. Road conditions are especially dangerous during the rainy seasons (May through October) because of flooded roads and water-concealed potholes. Motorists in Nigeria rarely yield the right of way, give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists, and
  11. 11. 10 will often drive at dangerously high speeds and sometimes on the wrong side of the road. Driving conditions are especially dangerous between the nighttime hours of 6 pm and 6 am because other vehicles are almost impossible to see. For these reasons, short-term visitors to Nigeria should avoid driving and instead use car hire services with drivers that are available from major hotels and customer service centers at the airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano. Whenever driving, be sure to wear a seatbelt, lock the doors of the car, and keep the windows closed. Try to avoid working on computers during traffic holdups to avoid any undue attention to potential thieves. Public transportation is dangerous as well due to poor maintenance, high driving speeds and overcrowding. Motorbike taxis known as “okadas” should be avoided whenever possible. Law Enforcement Be aware that while traveling in Nigeria, you are subject to the country’s laws, which may be very different from what you are used to in the United States. Know what kinds of behaviors are legal in the United States that may be illegal in Nigeria, and vice versa. If you are arrested or detained while in Nigeria, notify U.S. authorities immediately, however there may be little that the U.S. embassy or consular officers can do for you. Photography and Film Foreign visitors to Nigeria are forbidden from taking photographs or videos of any government buildings, airports, or bridges. For this reason, be cautious of even carrying cameras, recorders, or other electronic equipment near these sites. Photos of the hospital facilities are prohibited, and it’s polite to ask permission to take photos of people. If Something Goes Wrong If you are the victim of a crime in Nigeria, contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Nigerian equivalent to calling “911” is “199,” which will connect you to emergency medical and police response services. Again, keep in mind that these services are often slower to respond and less reliable than what you might be used to in the United States. If you are arrested or detained while in Nigeria, request that the U.S. embassy or consulate is notified. You might be able to get help with understanding the local criminal justice process or finding an attorney. General Safety Tips a. Exercise common sense. b. Make copies of your passport and any other important document that you’re traveling with and keep them in separate places in case something gets lost or stolen. c. Register with the local U.S. Embassy. d. Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. e. When in doubt, ask the locals questions about safety issues. f. Don’t flaunt money or valuable items. Spread your money around on yourself. g. Don’t bring any expensive non-essentials, and be prepared to go without many valuables and luxury items during your time in Nigeria. h. Travel in groups, and not after dark.
  12. 12. 11 i. When purchasing travel tickets, keep in mind that for safety reasons it is better not to arrive in Lagos after 6 pm. If you arrive after 6 pm and are planning to travel to Ibadan, you will have to stay in Lagos overnight and go to Ibadan in the morning. XII. Background on Nigerian Culture and Society Language Nigeria is a diverse country with people who speak over 500 languages.The major languages are Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and English. English is the official language and is used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English as a first language remains the preserve of an exclusive urban elite population, and it may not be spoken at all in some rural areas. In Ibadan or Lagos, the local language is Yoruba. Some commonly used Yoruba words are: • Beeni (Beh-nee) - Yes • Beeko (Beh-kuh) - No • O daa (Oh-dah) - Good/Okay • Ejo (Eh-juh) - Please • Joko (Joh-koh) - Sit • Dide (Dee-day) - Stand • Ese (Eh-shay) - Thank You • Ekaaro (Eh-kah-roh) - Good Morning • Odaro (O-dah-roh) - Good bye • Odabo (O-dah-boh) - See you later • Tani? (Tah-nee) - Who? • Nibo? (Nee-boh) - Where? • Kini? (Kee-nee) - What? • Oruko mi ni ___ - My name is ____ (Oh-rooh-koh mee nee ___) • E ran mi lowo o! - HELP!!! (Eh run mee luh-woh oh!) • Lagos (Lay-gohs) • Ibadan (Ee-bah-duhn) • Abuja (Ah-boo-jah) Watch thisvideo for more information on the language and help with pronunciation.
  13. 13. 12 Food In general, Nigerian food is spicy. Each ethnic group has a unique diet based largely on agricultural production in its geographic region, even though the lines are blurring in more integrated, urban areas like Lagos and Abuja. Meals usually consist of a carbohydrate, like yam or rice, served with an accompaniment – soup or stew and possibly vegetables. Fruit is often eaten as a snack or in between meals. There are lots of pastry items that also serve as snacks. A student who lived at the HLF house in Ibadan suggests: “If you want to cook and don’t want to trek to a proper (and pricey) grocery store there are many little shops around the UCH campus that sell basics from bread, cereal, jam, noodles, etc. There are also stands on the street that sell fruit. Fresh vegetables can be more of a challenge to get ones hands on at least without leaving UCH. They are available in the markets out about in Ibadan, however, which is a fun adventure.” (Liese Pruitt, 2012) Religion Nigerians are a deeply religious group of people. Since the constitution guarantees religious freedom, people follow various religions or combinations of religions. Many people combine Christian or Muslim beliefs with some indigenous ones. Christians live predominantly in the South, Muslims in the North, and followers of indigenous religions are spread out across the country. Religion also plays a role in national life – the Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter and the Muslim Eids are recognized as national holidays, and the Muslim Ramadan is observed. Working hours may also vary between the North and the South to allow for the different days of worship – Friday in the North versus Sunday in the South. In Ibadan, Sunday morning church services are widely attended. Previous students have recommended that if invited, you should take the opportunity to attend a service, regardless of whether or not you yourself are religious. Church services usually last for several hours. Socializing Social relationships are very important to Nigerians and milestones such as weddings, births, deaths, major birthdays (ages 1, 10, 21, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90), and graduations are celebrated lavishly and are very well attended. Often, friends or family of the person of honor will wear the same fabric to identify the group and show support. You should try to attend one of these events if invited as it will be an incredible cultural experience. Relationships among friends are also taken very seriously. People with whom business is being conducted often take time to get to know you before proceeding with business. In both personal and business relationships, Nigerians are very warm and caring and may ask questions that you consider overly personal. However, in Nigeria, inquiring about personal matters is a way of establishing trust with others.
  14. 14. 13 Family Consistent with the social culture, family is very important and being close with one’s extended family is the norm. Families may be much larger than what you are used to; the average Nigerian nuclear family is much larger than what is typical in the United States and close family friends may also be referred to as family. Relationships within families are guided by hierarchy and seniority, and a family’s honor is influenced by the actions of its members. There is a communal culture of mutual caring and responsibility and family members turn to each other for financial aid or guidance among other things. Hierarchy Nigeria is a highly hierarchical society in which age and position demand respect. It is assumed that the oldest person in the room is the wisest since age confers wisdom, so that person is treated with the utmost respect and deferred to. In social situations they may be served first. In medicine, the hierarchy is as follows: Professor Chief Consultant/Reader=Associate Professor Senior Consultant/Senior Lecturer=Assistant Professor Consultant=Attending Senior Registrar=Senior Resident Registrar=Junior Resident House officer=Intern Greeting or Meeting People It is very important to smile and show sincere pleasure at meeting someone and to be respectful. Some ways to show respect are: • Shaking hands when meeting someone and when departing. (A man shouldn’t shake hands with a woman unless she initiates it.) • Never rush the greeting process. It is considered rude and inconsiderate. Take time to inquire about a person’s health and his or her well-being and family when exchanging greetings. The Yoruba people, who make up a substantial proportion of the population in Ibadan and Lagos lower their eyes and bow (men) or curtsy (women) when greeting elders to show respect. Also be aware that observant Muslims, especially those who aren’t urbanized, may not shake hands with the opposite sex because of their religious beliefs. Conversation Again, mutual respect is a big theme here. Some ways to show respect are: • Refraining from the use of slang, and especially profanity • Using a sympathetic/empathetic facial expression, especially with elders
  15. 15. 14 • Being careful with eye contact. Constant, direct eye contact can be considered rude and intrusive. Be aware that the Yoruba people use many proverbs and a lot of humor in their conversations. They also tend to speak a little louder and may get louder still as they try to get their point across. It is extremely important to pay attention to non-verbal cues as Nigerians communicate with a lot of gestures and body language. Also, don’t be concerned if people don’t look you in the eye. This is a way of showing respect. Conducting Business Understand that people will want to be well acquainted with you before they are comfortable conducting business with you. If you plan to work from an agenda, it is always a good idea to send it ahead. Some ways to show respect in this context are: • Not using first names until invited to do so. Refer to people as “Dr. A” or “Prof. B.” Titles are extremely important. • Being punctual. • Examine business cards that are given to you before putting them away. Visiting Friends • Bring edible gifts such as fruits, nuts, and chocolate when visiting someone for a meal. • Compliment your hosts home and belongings, but without overdoing it. If you compliment something too much, the host might feel compelled to give you that item. • Don’t linger after a meal. If giving gifts, they should be wrapped. Bear in mind that they may or may not be opened when received. Also try to bring little gifts for the children when visiting someone’s house. Children’s gifts need not be wrapped. The Left Hand In Nigerian culture, the left hand is reserved for personal hygiene, and should not be used when interacting with other people. Some situations where your left hand should never be used are: • Giving or receiving any objects, especially to or from older people. Always use both hands or your right hand only • Eating. Also don’t use it to pass or receive food. • Paying for items. It is an insult to hand money to a vendor with your left hand. This can be a difficult adjustment to make, but try as much as possible to be mindful of this. Apologize if you forget not to use your left hand in these situations, whether or not the other person makes a fuss. Eating Etiquette • Don’t feel obligated to tip when eating out, but if you really want to, 5% is fine.
  16. 16. 15 • Try eating with your right hand (or both hands). If you don’t feel comfortable with doing this, it is okay to ask for utensils. XIII. Background on Nigerian History A former British colony, Nigeria was named after the Niger River that runs through it by Flora Shaw, future wife of Baron Lugard, a British colonial Administrator in the late nineteenth century. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901 and a British colony in 1914. The British divided Nigeria administratively into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and economic development progressed at a quicker pace in the south as compared to the north and the effects of that remain to be seen today. Nigeria obtained independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960 and became a Federal Republic in 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first president. Following a series of military coups, the Nigerian Civil war (also referred to as the Biafran War) began on July 6, 1967 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Westerners and Northerners) and the Republic of Biafra (South Easterners). This 30-month war is estimated to have killed between one and three million people from the hostilities, disease, and starvation that resulted. A series of military governments followed the war, including that of the infamous General Sani Abacha, Nigeria re-achieved Democracy in 1999, with former General Olusegun Obasanjo taking office as a democratically elected president on May 29. XIV. Helpful Links • Healthy Life for All Foundation: http://www.hlfonline.org/index1.php • Center for Global Health: http://cgh.uchicago.edu/ • Currency Converter: http://www.xe.com/ucc/ • Weather: http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/airportprofile/LOS:9 • Yoruba Language Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fZKmag5x64 • United States Embassy in Nigeria: http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/contact.html • International Student Identity Card: https://www.myisic.com/MyISIC/Travel/Main.aspx?MenuID=5004 • Travel Insurance: http://www.travelguard.com/ http://www.travelexinsurance.com/ http://www.statravel.com/cps/rde/xchg/us_division_web_live/hs.xsl/travel-insurance.htm • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_4789.html
  17. 17. 16 • Center for Disease Control tips on traveling to Nigeria: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/nigeria.htm#vaccines • University of Chicago Hospitals Travel Clinic: http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/travel-clinic/ XV. References a. Picture from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2836.htm b. “About Nigeria.” Nigeria National. n.d. Web. Accessed on June 28, 2011 at http://www.nigerianational.com/-about-nigeria c. Picture from http://www.mapsofworld.com/flags/nigeria-flag.html d. Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/ e. Callender, Brian. International Travel Preparation: Practicalities. Presentation given on May 23, 2011 f. Nigeria: Country Specific Information. Bureau of Consular Affairs. January 12, 2012. US Department of State. June 12, 2012 http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_987.html#medical. g. Liese Pruitt, Pritzker Medical School Class of 2014 h. Tess Wiskel, Pritzker Medical School Class of 2014 i. Christine Anterasian, Pritzker Medical School Class of 2014 j. HIV/AIDS: Post-exposure Prophylaxis. World Health Organization. 2012. WHO. June 18, 2012.

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