Dec. 25, 2012
Summers in college are typically a time that students go home and spend much-needed time with their family. For Montana tennis player Precious Gbadamosi, this last summer was no exception. But instead of traveling across the state or even across the country to get home, Gbadamosi took a trip halfway across the world.
The sophomore joined her older brother and mother on a three-week trip to Nigeria, a place that a majority of Gbadamosi's family calls home. The family reunited at an uncle's house in Lagos, a city located on the coastline of Nigeria.
Gbadamosi's family in Nigeria is quite large. Her mother is one of ten children. So that means lots of cousins and aunts and uncles. It was especially important for Precious to see her grandmother, as she is aging and hardly able to walk.
Born in America, Gbadamosi had only been to Nigeria once when she was six years old. Even though she was raised in America, her parents incorporated the Nigerian way of life into her upbringing, including culture-specific food and Nigerian morals. The trip to her family's homeland was a long time coming and was eye-opening for the 18-year-old.
"It was a great experience," says Gbadamosi. "When I was six, I didn't remember anyone, and I was excited to meet my family again."
She says her mother had to interpret everything for her since she didn't learn the language when she was younger.
"I couldn't understand anything," she says. "My mom had to tell me everything my family was saying to me. I think they were a little frustrated I didn't know very much, and they tried to teach me some things. But the language is very difficult to learn."
Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria. Over seven million people live in the city. Nigeria struggles with frequent power outages, and the power company has to bring electricity to the different areas, including areas of Lagos. This means light is a precious commodity and isn't consistent.
"That was a huge adjustment for me," says Gbadamosi. "The power company would bring light every other day and it would only be on a short time. My family was used to it. They thought it was perfectly normal to sit in the dark and eat."
In addition to spending time with family, the tennis player visited the beach and Olumo Rock, a historical site outside of Lagos. Now a popular tourist destination, Olumo Rock marks the ancient city of Abeokuta, which means "Under the Rock." The giant rock acted as a fortress for the Egba tribe in the 19th century.
While a trip to Nigeria can't be a yearly thing for Gbadamosi, she does have a younger brother and sister who still need to make the trip. She hopes to accompany them when they visit Nigeria for the first time.
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