I’m a Nigerian. Apart from the four and a half years I spent in London for my degrees, I have spent all the years of my life in my country. There was this US scholarship for Nigerians in the early sixties. But you have to pass an aptitude test to gain the award. I registered for the test. However, on the test date, I developed cold feet when it was time to go in and sit for the test. I was more than scared to expose myself to the wave of violence in US which one read in the newspapers. I definitely thought that my friends who took and passed the test made the mistake of their lives to voluntarily undertake to go to US. In spite of my anxieties for their safety which I was all ears, anticipating to learn was been threatened, they all graduated in flying colors. There were reports of some near misses though.

Twice, one in the seventies, and another in the eighties, I obtained the US visitor’s visa. Apparently, my feet were still too cold to allow me to travel. By nature, I totally abhor violence. However, in spite of all my fears, I shall now remain in the US for sometime. My coming this time has a lot of attractions to it. My status is now considerably enhanced. Also, if I may add, I was in pursuit of the elusive love. I find it elusive still. Most importantly, I make use of the opportunity to publish a Christian religious book. The content was revealed to me in my sleep over a period of years. I have to let the whole world know what is in the book.

Contrasting my expectations about life in the US with what I have actually found, filled me with unbelief. Maybe unfairly, I could not help but compare with life in London in the sixties. Here in the United States, the government disengages almost completely from the lives of the citizens. At that time, university education for British students was totally free of charge. In addition, they received monthly grants to take care of providing for day to day expenses. The amount of the grant received increased if the students got married or had children. I did not qualify for any assistance as a foreign student. Yet, without my applying, the British Council Office in London took it upon itself to find out about students who were not covered by the government grant. The unbelievable story is that without my filling any application form, or writing any letter, the British Council paid my fees throughout, except the Student Union fees. I terminated my study because my mother wanted me back in Nigeria. I shall ever be grateful to the British people. Not only that, my medical care was free, including prescriptions. Even a Doctor came to attend to me at home the first time I had the attack of hay fever and my cough was persistent and violent.

My host here in the US has been here for some decades. He had thought that all was well until I showed him about life on the other side. Even though you have the Health Insurance here, you still pay when you consult your Doctor, and definitely for your prescriptions. Hard luck if you were hospitalized; you have to settle your bills which may amount to thousands of dollars. Who cares how you manage through all that because unless you work for the government, you are a goner. And on; and on; and on. The late President J. F. Kennedy in one of his speeches, urged the citizens not to ask what the Country could do for them. Rather, they should bother about what they could do for the Country. On the face of it, I regarded it at that time as a call for determined patriotism. However, it presented another meaning to me when I knew about the condition of life of some people in the midst of obvious plenty.

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