After two long flights and an exciting bus ride down the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway we have arrived at the University of Ibadan, our home for the next 9 months. Exhausted and overwhelmed by speaking only Yoruba and adjusting to the time change (it’s 6 hours ahead of Central Standard time zone), we are busy meeting tons of new people and adjusting to the pace of life here, what we call African time. People usually don’t arrive on time and we sit around for a while trying to figure out what’s going on before we make any moves. We greet all the new people we meet with a typical Yoruba greeting– ‘good afternoon’, ‘good evening’, ‘greetings for sitting down’, ‘greetings for the home’, — and they are shocked and stunned to hear us speak Yoruba. They laugh at the fact we speak their language for a while, then when they see we can say more than just ‘how are you?’ they really freak out and say ‘dat’s good.’ We were all expecting this, but the feeling I get when I hear Yoruba people react is hard to explain.
We only have a few minutes to ‘browse’ as our teacher calls it, before we go to a barbecue at the Vice Chancellor’s house. We just came from a woman’s 40th birthday party. It was a big deal and we were among many honored guests. We eached introduced ourselves with our Yoruba names and the guests exploded with laughter after each name.
Our first full day in Ibadan has been full of surprises. When I get my bearings here and move in with my host family I will have more organized posts, I promise.