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BY Rachel Zamarron
As our flight slowly circled down into Lagos, Nigeria brightly colored rooftops came into view. Our team was arriving to film a series with Father Maurice Emelu called "Word for a Wounded Word." This series is slated to debut on EWTN in the fall of 2014. Our crew is small. Only 5 of us altogether, but we have a lot of support and enthusiasm from the planning team on the ground and a handful of volunteers who are constantly at hand. They are delighted to have us filming at their parishes and have welcomed us with open arms. The enthusiasm is mutual as we are thrilled to be here in Africa. Our goal is to capture the spirit of Africa in this series, thus you see the importance of being on location.
It has been a delight to get to know the people of Nigeria. They are desperate that the rest of the world comes to know their country as a whole and not for the violence that challenges the North of Nigeria. They keep telling me: “Americans never hear about the real country of Nigeria. All they hear about are the violent clashes up North.”
Nigeria is vast and diverse. I have found that community, particularly the Church community, is essential in their lives. The people LOVE their parish. They drift in and out of the church all day, prayer books in hand. On Sunday especially the church is busy all day — one mass after another, for a constant stream of people.
I especially am in awe of the Nigerian ladies. Home cooked meals await us at every stop at all hours of the night and day. In the midst of production, we constantly find fresh cold water at our feet and snacks of sandwiches or meat pies. Their warm smiles and lovely dresses ooze confident, authentic feminism. They are leaders in their church communities.
Life in Nigeria is very slow paced until it comes to traffic. All of a sudden the easy nature and laid-back attitude is gone. It is as if the typical Southern pace in the U.S. suddenly becomes the hustle and bustle of New York at rush hour. Frantic drivers fly along narrow roads within mere inches of the next car’s bumper. Shouting and horns blowing fill the streets. Rarely are people truly upset, this is just the nature of driving here. It’s alarming to Americans, but just another day to Nigerians.
Something that stands out about Nigerians is there fascination with America. They follow our news, our culture with deep interest, especially our technology. I feel embarrassed I know so little about Nigeria when speaking to them. It makes me realize all the more deeply that America needs to leads by her strong moral values, because the rest of the world IS watching.
Dear friends, I hope with this journey and series we can bring you a taste of these beautiful people! Please keep us in prayer for the success of our mission, for the spiritual wellbeing of the African people, and safety in travel. Thank you!