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‘India shocked me to the marrow!’

Recent travel

Egypt. What made it most memorable was seeing the pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the world––a fantastic experience––it makes you think: how did they do so much without modern technology?

First travel out of Nigeria

It was as a young lady on my way to Los Angeles, California for college, where I studied computer science. A visit to Hollywood brought into reality the world of film. I have always been an ardent movie fan. Prior to my visit, I believed everything on screen––the flying, the stunts––it was all very thrilling.

Favourite city

London is my favourite city. British education is, as far as I know, equal to none.  I am a strong believer of education, which is, fundamentally, a strong building block of life, and vital for the economic prosperity of a nation. But in London, the weather is awful––rains and cold for more than half the year.

Favourite meal abroad

Salmon fillet with baby, new potatoes, sautéed in butter and lemon, and a side avocado salsa––bring that any day and you will get a high five.

Lessons from travels

I love good transportation systems.  In my first trip to San Francisco, I saw a tram and I was thrilled and intrigued. I could not believe that the tram network was powered by electricity carried overhead. I wished we had trams in Nigeria. It would be exceedingly nice.

Travel advice

When in Rome, do as the Romans––within reason. Watch your language, tone and behaviour. Cultural differences should be respected.

Dream travel/destination

Nigeria. I was born in Nigeria, grew up in Nigeria but left the shores of Nigeria in my early 20s.  I have travelled far and wide, and each time I get to a beautiful city, I wish Nigeria could be as beautiful and as clean as, say, Vancouver (Canada), Seville (Spain), Paris (France), Florence and Rome (Italy) and New York and Los Angeles (America) to name a few. I wish the change would take place in my lifetime.

Ideal travel companion

My Bible and my swimming trunk; I love to read my bible every day and I love spending time in the pool.

Unforgettable moment abroad

The Holy Land. It was a breathtaking and humbling experience, very emotional and very spiritual. Amazing! The home of so much of the Bible.

Unforgettable personalities

Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi who was the 2006 Nobel Laureate, awarded jointly to him and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development in rural Bangladesh. I met him in person at the presentation of his Nobel Peace Prize.

I found the Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker and civil society leader so inspirational that I started and introduced micro finance to Ojoto widows in Anambra State.

Most profound culture shock experience abroad

It happened in India. It was very surprising, so shocking, I remember it clearly even though it was 25 years ago.

I’ve met a lot of Indian business leaders in Lagos and I had expectations of what their country and culture would be like. However, I found the culture shock of Madras and Calcutta too much for my sensibilities.

Best Hotel

It is the Ritz London, at 150 Piccadilly, London. Best hotel ever!

Rev. Dr Felicia Okoye lives in the United Kingdom. She is

CEO, Women of Virtue Foundation, and also Founder/Presiding Pastor, Divine Grace & Glory Ministry, headquartered in the UK with branches across Nigeria.

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