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My Travel Life: CHIEF OLAYIWOLA ADIGUN, Baba Olosun of Osogboland

‘A German thought my tribal marks were injuries inflicted by a lion’

 

First travel abroad

It was in 1994 when I travelled to Germany to settle a rift between me and my German wife. When I got to Munster, I saw opportunities to do my PhD. I applied and got admission and scholarship at the University of Munster. I came back home to celebrate the Osun Festival and then returned to Germany for my studies.  I wrote my thesis on Yoruba arts. The liberal atmosphere for religious pluralism meant I could practise my Yoruba traditional religion.  Since then, I have been shuttling between Nigeria and Germany.    

Culture Shock

My early experience was shocking. I was not new to White people. I was raised by Susan Wenger, and while living with her, I mingled and interacted with different types of White people who came to visit her. But in Germany, I was seeing a lot of Whites at a time. All around me were the White people – driver, cleaner, barber, everybody. After sometime, I got accustomed to that. But they didn’t get used to me that fast.

They were astonished at my skin. The older ones already knew being used to Black people, unlike their children. One day I was inside a bus, a boy of about 17 came on board and was so fascinated he came to sit beside me and started asking me questions. He wanted to know how I came about the marks on my cheeks. Without waiting for an answer, he said: “You must be a superman”? I asked how? He said: “Aren’t these  scars from your fight with a lion?” Till he got to his bus stop, he was gazing at me in wonderment.  Another day, I went to see an ophthalmologist. As I came out of a waiting room, there was this small boy gazing intently at me. The moment I spoke, he burst into cries. His mother had to pet him. Another day, I was at the supermarket, and a boy started screaming excitedly: “Mom, look at this! What is this?” His mother calmed him and quietly explained to him: “He is a human being, a black man.”  This was last year. It is these young ones that make you conscious that you are different.

Usually, I dress in my native attire, except during winter when I wear European clothes that offer more protection against cold. The cold there is terrible, especially, during winter. 

Food outside Nigeria

My wife prepares eba and amala. I usually buy my foodstuff from Nigeria, including garri and yam. That is a major reason I travel to Nigeria every three months.

Religious practice

There is religious freedom in Germany, so, I practise the Yoruba traditional religion. I have a centre and a shrine. Other traditionalists come around, mostly white. I have a congregation of mostly white, mostly Germans. Some come to learn African traditional religion, others come to worship.

Countries I have travelled to

I have been to countries in all the continents of the world, mostly to America, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada and The Philippines. I have been to The Philippines uncountable times. Though mostly Catholic, there are traditionalists among the Philippinos. Whether Catholics or otherwise, The Filippinos are devoted to religions.

Travel lessons

Anywhere you find yourself, anything you do, do it in moderation. Do not be overfriendly. 

Travel advice

Stay away from crime. Don’t let anybody deceive you that life is easier abroad, or that crime pays abroad.

Favourite countries

I love Germany, very beautiful country, but the Scandinavian countries – Finland, Norway Sweden and Denmark –  won my heart.  Scandinavians have a beautiful attitude. Say, for instance, you stumble against someone, he’d mutter apology and  continue on his way.

I also love France. I had been there on various occasions for conferences and holidays. What I love most about the country is its richness in culture and arts.  Paris is one of the European capitals that is rich in arts. In Paris, you can spend a month touring museums, studios and galleries

Chief Adigun, the principal priest of Osun Osogbo since the past 40 years, is also founder and director, Iyadudu Centre for Yoruba Arts and Culture, Limbachstr, Wachtberg, Germany.

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