“They Worship Pythons in Anambra” – Six People Talk About Culture Shock In Nigeria

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"They Worship Pythons in Anambra" - Six People Talk About Culture Shock In Nigeria

Culture shock is the confusion or nervousness caused by new patterns and other related things in a place that is very different from what you are used to in your environment. These culture shocks can be about language, food, people, and general behaviors. 


Are there truly Culture shocks in Nigeria? What are some of those culture shocks? 

We asked six people about the culture shocks they have experienced in different places in Nigeria. 


Shops open late in Ibadan 

Coming from the East where shops opened as early as 5 am, I got to Ibadan, Oyo State, and found out that traders here open by 10 am. It’s a miracle to see a shop that opens between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The first time I experienced it, I went home and told my brother that the traders were on strike. He burst out laughing. Where l came from, it was only a strike that would make traders not be in their shops by 7 a.m. Stuff like milk, sugar, and other things are bought in the morning and not in the evening. It’s a kind of unwritten rule. I have adapted already because l don’t have a choice. 

If this happened in the East, you would out of business because while you are at home, your colleagues are selling. E shock me o!



No traffic warden 

So, I relocated from Onitsha to Enugu and the first culture shock I experienced here was that the people obey traffic signs willingly. I say willingly because they obey even if there’s no traffic warden to enforce compliance. I was on a bike that day, and when the bike man got to the traffic sign, he jejely stopped, I had to ask him why he stopped, and he told me the traffic sign says stop. That could never happen in Onitsha.  Once a motorist gets to the sign and finds out that there’s no warden, he will speedily drive past.

Another shock was that children between the ages of 10 and 14 drive bikes with a dexterity that would make an adult jealous. 



You can wear trousers to church

I went to Lagos to visit a relative, and that afternoon, she stopped by the church to go to the chapel. I didn’t know she was going to the chapel because where I’m from, women can’t wear trousers into the church compound. I thought it ended there. On Sunday mass, I saw women dressed in trousers going to take holy communion. I couldn’t believe it. I wished that our church wardens who stop women from entering the church were here to see things. I know they will be seething with anger. 

This was a huge shock to me because I remember a wedding l attended as a bridesmaid, the warden didn’t allow us to enter the church because our dress was ‘too colorful’. I still don’t understand what that meant.



Abuja is slow

I relocated from Lagos to Abuja and nobody gave me the OT that Abuja is such a slow city. So, as usual, I hit the road by 4 a.m. When I drove out, there was nobody on the road. The roads were so free and I got to my office in less than 30 minutes. I had to sleep in my car waiting for everyone else to resume because the security man didn’t open the gate till 7 a.m. I told my colleagues about what happened to me that morning and after laughing at me, they made me understand that this is Abuja, where things go slowly but steadily. I know of some people who relocated from Lagos to Abuja as well and their experiences weren’t too different from mine. 

Also, in Lagos, when we hear about Abuja boys, we picture wealthy young men living their best lives. LOL. Here, it’s actually young men who don’t have any work but sleep with rich women. They live in cars, bathe in public bathrooms, and move from there in search of contracts.



Everyone is angry in Lagos

I relocated from Canada to Lagos after my Masters and the first shock I experienced was that everyone is angry. In the morning, when everyone is supposed to be cheerful, Lagosians are angry. You see people throwing words at each other and touts harassing people on the road. To add to that, people don’t actually care about each other. Nobody sends you. My cousin used to say that everyone living in Lagos has a dual personality; a madman and a gentleman. Both personalities have their uses, and so far, I have come to agree with that because the things I see on a daily basis in Lagos, it’s beyond normal. Overall, the city is fun nonetheless. 



Pythons are worshipped in Anambra

NYSC sent me to a town in Anambra known as Ogidi. It was in Ogidi that I experienced a culture I won’t forget in a hurry. The natives don’t eat a kind of snake called Eke. I couldn’t believe my ears. 

It happened that afternoon, a corper was sweeping a part of the compound when he ran out, shouting that there was a snake where he was sweeping. We ran with sticks, and there we saw a shiny snake. It didn’t move like a reptile that was in danger. One of us lifted his stick to kill it, but a man in the next compound heard the commotion and shouted at him to stop unless he has money to conduct a burial. We didn’t understand what he meant. Another man then came into the compound, took the snake away, and then explained to us that you can’t kill an Eke Idemili because it’s an abomination. He went on to say that if one kills it, you bury it the way human beings are buried, or strange things will start happening to that family. The man told us that the snake wasn’t dangerous, but that was a huge shock.