(BETH’S UPDATE: Hi, this is Beth the writer of this blog. I hope if you will stick around and check out some other of my entries like my About page or this one about Nigerian Maternal Mortality and ways to stop it or maybe leave a link to one of your favorite charities so I can add it to my list of 500. Please also consider following me on twitter: @BethOnePage of facebook Beth OnePage…Thanks so much…9/30/10)
Where to begin? To try to scratch the surface, even, in learning about a country is tough. I decided to begin with I’d just look up some baseline information. And where better to begin with this beginning than finding Nigeria on the map- see it?
You know the funny thing? I thought I didn’t have to look up where Nigeria was. I thought I knew. This map was for the benefit of other readers. But as I put up this image now, I realized, I really had no clue where Nigeria was on the map!!!
I guess I need to go back to that African geography game I played a few years ago.
All right, so here are some other facts about Nigeria, now that I know where it is.
TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY…
There are over 150 million people living in Nigeria, so, little under half the population of the US? Wait, what’s our population again? Anyhow, according to our friends at National Geographic (and really who doesn’t consider National Geographic friendly?) this is a very ethnically diverse population. There are over 250 different ethinc groups. Maybe you’ve heard of the top three: Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Ibo or Igbo). According to NatGeo:
“Northern Nigeria is mostly Islamic and dominated by the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. Southern Nigeria is more westernized and urbanized than the north, with the Yoruba in the southwest and the Igbo in the southeast. ” The Hausa-Fulani are mainly Muslim. Yoruba are about 50-50 Muslim/Christian split. The Igbo are Christian including Catholic. Some in both latter groups still also practice traditional religions.
As for language, there’s a gigantic article at wikipedia about it, including the fact that the country has 520 document languages. Holy cow. According to this same article, which I’m hoping is right, the 75% of the country that lives in rural areas doesn’t use the official language which is English (thanks to colonialism which ended in 1960), but rather their own languages. The major ones include, not surprisingly Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Connecting the language to the ethnic group isnt too tough.
I found a lot of grim stats on this BBC page. Nigeria is apparently Africa’s largest producer of oil. But half of it’s 150 million people live in poverty. Maternal mortality- one of the Half The Sky issues from a few months ago- is a huge problem. The life expectancy seems to be in the lae 40s-early 50s range. When I look into some things like the oil industry there and the political situation, I guess we’ll learn more about why this is so, but the usual suspects are already rearing their heads- including international companies that dont play fair and government that doesn’t serve the people. This is what I want to learn about.
When I think of African literature, I think of Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author and Things Fall Apart. The fact that this is about all I’ve got to say on the subject is making me think I need to look into this. Oh, wait, I also read Wole Soyinka’s The King’s Horseman. Other than that, I got a lot of work to do.
And I think with all this learning ahead of me, I will call it a day. Thanks for reading.
And now- your moment of twin: