FINDING ROOTS IN NIGERIA
by Sam Ford
In 1999, I took a DNA test to trace my African Ancestry(see DNA: the key). The results of a test of my male DNA pointed to Nigeria. These next pages recount the trip I took in February 2003 to this land of my ancestors.
Arrived at Murtalt Mohammed Airport minutes earlier than 505 p.m. the scheduled time for Lufthansa's arrival from Frankfurt Germany.
Pege Gilgannon, my camerawoman shot video of my walking through the aiport carrying a bag in each hand as I wore my winter cap and coat and walked up toward the customs line.PEGEAs I walked, two people came up to me to shake my hand. One was a minster traveling with a group from DC, whom we'd met while waiting in Frankfurt, who told me welcome to his home. Another was a Nigerian who just stopped and welcomed me.
We were extremely nervous as we approached customs. We'd read a book by a British journalist who told how customs officials had accused him of bringing and old laptop into the country to sell, saying that they were going to confiscate it unless the paid $300. He negotiated them down to $100.
To our pleasant surprise, all the customs people said was, yes, "Welcome to Nigeria."
We walked out of customs with our four pieces of checked and two pieces of carrying on luggage and met our "fixer"a 30 year old Ibo with a shaved bald head named Kingsley.
He greeted us with his driver and a helper and they escorted us through the small crowds of people outside to his vehicles.
As we left the airport terminal we passed a small group crowded around the ministers who'd come. They are having a prayer meeting right there at the airport.
We piled into the back of the car with our driver Rasaki, who followed Kingsley and his helper as as they took us to the Sheraton Hotel. The price of a room...astronomical, $363.00 per room for Pege and me. We both check in on the sixth floor, which has a nice view of Ikeja, the city where the Sheraton's located.
After briefly unpaking and trying to figure out things like working the safe and the power current converters, we left to try to find a friend of a DC cameraman we knew, the friend named Lloyd Weaver. But by the time we arrived at his street about a mile from our hotel, it was so dark and no one came to the gate, so we gave up on talking to him until the next day.
DAY 2 IN NIGERIA
TOUR OF LLOYD'S NEIGHBORHOOD
AROUND IN IBADAN
A SIDE TRIP TO IFE
A YORUBA FAMILY
A VISIT TO CYBER LAND
A TRIP TO THE SLAVE COAST