Going Dutch

Aninoritse Odeli-Serrano
See me see lunch-payment trouble!
Just last week I had a visitor from Nigeria and with the arrival of this visitor whatever form
of life I have usually comes to a standstill when this person is in town. Imagine being the
Chauffeur, Tour Guide and person in charge of entertaining. Not an easy task in the city of
London I assure you. Not that I am complaining. Dare not! He is the Big Brother/Big Boss type.
Besides I am jobless, remember. The recession yet bites.
Now in the course of the week I had to take my Visitor Friend for meetings and I had the
privilege of meeting different people that I wouldn’t ordinarily bump into, which was nice.
But then, at one of these meetings, it got interesting.
Now don’t forget I am a true Nigerian Born and Bred, so my thinking is quite different from
others that aren’t from my parts; you dig?? Like if somebody says “come and visit me” you
are expecting to be fed and watered properly or if someone says “let’s go to lunch” you know
to ‘SHOUT HALLELUYAH BECAUSE MAGA DON PAY’ meaning Lunch is free. Unlike
the ‘civilised’ people, when they say “come visit me (actually they don’t tend to invite people
over) they give you cup of tea and be on your way mate” or if you are asked to “go to lunch”,
you are told upfront that we are going Dutch or I’ll pay for lunch. Isn’t that so simple? Right,
let’s get on with the story proper.
A friend of my visitor friend invites us for lunch. Actually let me tell the tale as it started. Friend
meets us outside the train station and we exchange pleasantries. Visitor friend asks so where are
we having the meeting. Friend of visitor says ‘oh let’s have lunch first’. So visitor friend and I
make our way behind friend. Lo and behold we chop belle full and then the bill comes and friend
of visitor then splits the bill into 3 parts and asks us to pay. Imagine the shock and horror. Thank
God for small mercies that visitor friend had enough to cover us both. There was a possibility
that we would have washed plates till kingdom come.
That incident got me thinking about our people and our attitudes. You see a problem I have
noticed amongst some Nigerians here is that we have taken that saying “when in Rome behave
like the Romans” a little too far. We want to so feel among. We want them to see us as one of
One thing I have come to understand is that you can’t take the Nigerian out of you no matter
how hard you try so why try to impress with the “Oyinbo” way? Now I am not saying to be
completely ignorant of the oyinbo man and his way, but take some good qualities and add them
to your wonderful heritage.
This isn’t the first time I have been “invited to lunch” so I know the drill. If I am paying, you
let me know up front. But then again friend of visitor may have been broke like me and was
too ashamed to tell us so; and if that was the case; that means I have just ranted for 25mins for
Bottomline sha! The next time someone invites me to lunch in my very broke state, I shall
endeavour to ask from the onset “na you dey pay”??

Comments (2)

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