Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Thank God for cellphones

Today I talked to my brother. You'd think that was no big deal, but it is. It is! I thought I'd never hear my brother's voice again. I'm very happy right now, crying tears of happiness.

My brother lives in Nigeria, where I was born. When I visited Nigeria some ten years ago I got to meet my brother for the first time. I loved him on sight.
Huge cultural differences aside, we were so alike it was uncanny. We have the same build and we've inherited both our mother's temperament and intelligence. We're both headstrong and stubborn (that's a common trait of the Igbo-people, I believe). Whereas I was given the opportunity to get an advanced education, my brother was not so lucky. But it was obvious he was very smart.

For the duration of my visit, cultural differences weren't all that important. What mattered was being happy we'd found each other again when we'd both thought for so long the other was dead. It all changed when I got home again.
The Nigerian phone system is notoriously unreliable. And my brother didn't even own a phone which made things even more difficult. Being so far apart and having only email at our disposal - letters are routinely stolen in Nigeria - cultural differences were more difficult to ignore. After a few years I couldn't take it any more. I never stopped thinking about him, though.

And now we've spoken again, thanks to advances in technology. Phone lines in Nigeria are still bad, but now almost everybody owns a cell phone, even my brother.

I thought I would never hear his voice again. Sometimes it's wonderful to be wrong.

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