This year I accepted a Facebook friend request from a young man in Nigeria. We had no mutual friends, but on a whim, I decided to give humanity a chance. I clicked “confirm” and waited to see...Turns out he is a wonderful young man, full of hope, good will, and dreams of becoming a professional soccer player(they call it football). His team is a local league in the city of Aba, they are known as the FC Millennium.
He calls me his internet ‘mom.’ We talk about his relationships, his dreams of playing soccer in the big time, his teammates, his siblings, and his life in Aba.
When I tell my friends that I’m having the greatest time getting to know a young man in Nigeria they inevitably say, “What? Huh???….” and then maybe offer a sarcastic joke about Nigerian “princes” who ask for money. But my friend has never asked me for money, nor implied any such thing. Neither has he made any unseemly remarks. He is truly a kind person, and together we explore what our unusual bond will become.
I share this with you only because so much of my thinking roams to Nigeria these days. Your article further illuminates the situation for my distant friend. I had already been googling around, trying to get an idea about what kind of daily struggles he faces, but your writing gave me a much needed overview of Nigeria’s political problems.
For all the damage the internet has wrought, there are still amazing instances of humanity — like how a middle-aged white lady in the western U.S. could become good friends with a young Nigerian man. For this glimmer of light in an ever darkening world, I am grateful.