Last week I traveled to Nigeria for my grandmother’s burial, and it was an amazing experience. I truly enjoyed my time there. It is so beautiful to see the rawness and richness of your culture up close and personal. I could only stay for one week, solely for the purpose of the burial because of school. My parents are still enjoying their stay there along with my younger sister. She’s only in 9th grade so she could pass for staying in Nigeria for a month.
The experience: As soon as I got off the airplane faint memories came back to me from my previous visit in 2007. I was overwhelmed with excitement as I waited for my father to pick me up from the airport. Both of my parents traveled a week before me. My first day, I spent it in Lagos- which is a city that can be compared to NYC. The weather was extremely hot to me, but obviously didn’t bother the people who lived there. My dad took my siblings and I to a mall called Ikeja City Mall which had everything a typical mall in NY would have and more. I ate Coldstone, shopped in MAC, and did grocery shopping in ShopRite, which was inside the mall. After day 1, we traveled to Ise – Ekiti (the country) which is where the burial would take place. The drive from Lagos to Ise-Ekiti took about 6-7 hours because of the insane amount of traffic. But we finally made it and I saw the completion of the house my father built. And it was BEAUTIFUL AND SPACIOUS. I love it. It was a very nice feeling to finally have our own big house in Nigeria. Previous years we stayed with family. We were enjoying the house for about 2 days straight till the festivities commenced. The burial took place over 3 days. The first day we went to the funeral home, which was about an hour outside of the town Ise-Ekiti to get my grandmother’s body and bring it back to her hometown. At the funeral we were greeted by dancers and live musicians. Then they put the casket inside of a beautiful glass hearse carriage that was pulled by horses. When we got back into town the undertakers carry the casket and dance with it at specific locations that were sentimental to my grandmother. The first stop was a big farm that my mothers family owned. Then we went to the house that my grandmother was born in. Then we went to the house that my grandmother lived in with her husband. Which was the house my own mother was born in. After dancing to the different locations, the casket was put in a small house that was built just for the casket. And then there was a small party after with more live music. On the second day, we had the church service in the morning and following that was finally the burying of he casket. My grandmother was buried at the small house that was built specifically for her funeral. Following the burial, was a huge reception with over 1000 guests and celebrity musicians. It was a very big celebration and I know my grandmother was smiling down at all the people that came from all over the world just to celebrate her life. The third day, was another party but a small one just for immediate family at the house my grandmother lived in. It was a beautiful experience and very elaborate. I plan to go back to Nigeria next summer!