My Nigeria showcases friends of Nigeria who have either been to the country or have an interest in Nigeria. It is an avenue for them to tell the world their thoughts about Nigeria and her people.

The 8th edition of my Nigeria features Cara “Titilayo” Harshman. Enjoy!

My Nigeria with Cara

CTN: Please introduce yourself to our readers

Cara “Titilayo” Harshman:

In the U.S., I am known as Cara Harshman but amongst Nigerians, I go by Titilayo. I added the Oyinbo on the end to give people a better idea of who I am. I have recently finished my first degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied journalism and the Yoruba language.

As part of my language program funded by American Councils for International Education, four American students and I lived in Ibadan for a year studying Yoruba and experiencing the culture.

CTN: What do you think about Nigeria and would you advise anyone to visit?

Cara “Titilayo” Harshman:

I think Nigeria is a beautiful country with a vast amount of natural resources. The hundreds of different ethnic groups and languages you see in the country is astonishing and certainly makes Nigeria one of the richest countries culturally in the whole world. I think a lot of people, though, are losing their sense of ethnic identity as they become more interested in Western appearances, ways of speaking and objects.

To be sure, many untouched, or lightly touched places exist in Nigeria where you won’t see any Western influence. But in Ibadan, where I lived, I hardly saw people of my age speaking Yoruba at home or with friends. I would advise people to visit Nigeria if, and only if they have a connection to someone in the country who can act as a tour guide.

It is not an easy place to navigate without any knowledge of the language (especially pidgin English), people or traditions, unless you are in Abuja or Lagos. Abuja and Lagos (especially Victoria Island) are totally different from the rest of the country. I think tourists could enjoy themselves there.

Since returning to our homes in the U.S. in June 2011 a few of the students and I have travelled around the U.S. speaking to Yoruba people about the importance of maintaining and speaking their native language.

CTN: What do you think about CometoNigeria magazine and the website?

Cara “Titilayo” Harshman: is an amazing example of what Nigeria should be doing to make itself known to potential tourists and bring income to the country. The website is clean, fun, interactive and visually appealing.

It is very professional and informational, complete with attractive photos of various destinations in Nigeria. I had no idea some of the places mentioned on the site even existed! It is a wonderful and much needed tool to promote all Nigeria has to offer.

The magazine is a natural extension of the website. It is beautiful, well produced and filled with exciting content about things to do. Because of the digital age we live in today, I think the website is a more useful tool because it has more reach.

People all over the world can access it while a magazine may be harder to distribute. I really applaud the work of Oládimeji Adisa in making this project a reality and I truly hope it succeeds
because Nigeria needs it!

CTN: Is Nigeria ready for tourism?

Cara “Titilayo” Harshman:

Yes and no. I think parts of Nigeria are ready for tourism but the industry is lacking
popular companies ready to organise tours and trips for tourists. For example, I had the chance to stay in the Four Points Hotel on Victoria Island for a few nights. It was one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in anywhere in the world.

Any tourist would love to stay there for a pampered – but not an authentic – experience. But for many tourists, vacations are about relaxing and experiencing a new place.

If Four Points brought companies in to take guests to the best suya spots around Lagos, Badagary to see the slave ports, and Balogun market I think it would provide a more balanced, honest experience of Lagos.

Read more of Cara “Titilayo” Harshman’s interview inside (8th) edition of CometoNigeria Magazine

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