A friendship spanning the continents from Nigeria to Nebraska

Published: September 5, 2007 | Last Updated: September 7, 2007 By | Reply Continue Reading


Some friendships are truly exceptional like the one
described by Sola, a reader of this blog who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. I asked
her to share her story because her wisdom and insights about female friendships
are universal.

This is what she wrote:

Toyin and I have been friends for
nearly 30 years… I met her during my first year of medical school in Ibadan,
Nigeria, during a general anatomy class. She
was one of 19 girls in the incoming class of 149 students. Since there were so
ew women as compared to men in the class, women tended to find
one another. If there is love at first
sight there is probably friendship at first sight too.

The students came from all over the country, with a few from
other African countries. Over the next couple of months we discovered that we
had both grown up in Lagos. We found that our mothers shopped in the same open-air
market. What were the odds! We had a strong belief in God and that there was a
Master plan that we didn’t understand. We laughed at the same jokes. We also
found that we both didn’t have too much money to spend. By the beginning of the
second year, we pooled resources to make meager funds go a long way. We shared anxieties of college life and then the joy
and sweetness of success at graduation.

Afterwards, we
separated to seek our fortunes and raise families. Personal contacts were few
and precious.
We were living in Nigeria but in different
states, so we got to see each other twice a year. When we were apart, letters
went back and forth. There was a time we had no communication whatsoever for
about three years. Whenever we met, there was that comfortable feeling of
picking up where we stopped—like it was yesterday. Then I moved to the States
and for years we burned calling card
minutes chattering like parrots on the phone across several continents. We
shared cards with mushy messages. Marriage and children were thrown into to the
cauldron of our lives. We shared the sorrows of the loss of her husband ten
years ago. Toyin always ‘had my back’ as I do hers.

Lasting friendships require a great investment of emotions,
time and more but the returns are priceless. I have found that one must be
ready to magnify rights and ignore/reduce the importance of slights/wrongs. A
listening ear and an affirming attitude have helped our friendship. Sometimes
when I have a rather heavy heart or I feel that she does, we decide together to
count our blessings before remembering our difficulties. Lack of trust and
second guessing intentions are great enemies of a lasting friendship.

Distance has become part of the glue that cements our friendship. My friend
Toyin is the caretaker of all that concerns me in Nigeria. I am here in the
United States; she is over 6400 miles away in Lagos, Nigeria. We talked on the
phone yesterday. She will be spending next Saturday visiting with my 76
year-old mother—just because she cares about me, her friend.

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