Struck up conversation tonight with a native Nigerian man whom I spoke with on one previous occasion. Very nice man. Very kind and accommodating. Last time we talked he showed me a slideshow of his children and their “family house” back in Nigeria. His children are doing well, as are all of his direct relatives. This time I decided to question more deeply into his native culture and legal immigration into the U.S.
Love that guy. What a sweetheart! Such a nice human being. Our conversation wandered onto differences between Nigerian educational expectations and typical American black expectations on to cultural differences that he’s learning to adjust to, etc. Now that’s an immigrant who has his shit together and who’s helping his kids to become the best they can be in the U.S. I am seriously impressed. He’s a working man of obviously modest means or he wouldn’t be hanging out in that bar and interacting so much with the neighborhood locals, all of whom seem to appreciate him. The only damper on the evening was the (white middle-aged male) bartender approaching me while Gus was away to say that our conversation might potentially encourage others to join in and cause a ruckus, which never occurred. We both remained perfectly respectful toward one another and had a very engaging and interesting conversation that no one else attempted to butt in on. I personally gained a great deal from our interactions tonight and am grateful that Gus was so open and willing to share his opinions with me. So no problems for the bartender to worry about ever arose.
He educated me this evening in greater depth about his native country and the riffs occurring there. I asked about the Boko Haram debacle and he provided his honest understanding on the matter, which is (by my paraphrasing) that it’s totally fucked up and the northern Muslims keep attempting to enslave and mistreat the southern Nigerian Christians. Was interesting to hear about it firsthand from a man who visits the region frequently and yet has learned to assimilate into the U.S. culture overall.
I explained to him my own background., so far as I’m knowledgeable about it. And we discussed how arranged marriages tend to be the norm where he comes from.
Very lively and interesting guy. Glad to have met him. He requested my number so as to notify him when I’m back at that particular bar for future conversations on such matters. Told him upon leaving that I’d like to hear next time his opinion about the Black Lives Matter movement, to which he chuckled. Surely he’ll give it a bit of thought before our next interaction.
Wish I could spell out all we talked about tonight but it’s nuanced and the night is growing dim on me now. Will just say that he’s an excellent example of a migrant to the U.S. who has heart and concern and who works hard toward helping his (now college-age) children to prosper. And that’s what I love to see. That’s what America is supposed to be about, in a nutshell. Not immigrants coming here who don’t give a damn and who openly state detestation of our country and its laws.
Anyway, in short, Gus is a great dude and I’m grateful to have run into him again tonight.