Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Family Fun; My Credential; Nigeria is a Testing Ground

Family Fun


Scrabble – my sister and I love to play

My sister Beth is visiting from Cincinnati for a few days. We play lots of Scrabble – I think we’re about even now in games won, although she thinks she’s ahead.

I wanted her to see my daughter and family, so on Saturday we drove to a suburb of Scranton, Pennsylvania to meet them. They were on their way from Philadelphia to Ithaca, taking my grandson Kenechi back to Cornell for his sophomore year.

Our drive through the Poconos was lovely. The mountains reminded me a little of my drive to Vermont last weekend and reminded my sister of the Smoky Mountains.

Kenechi, on his way back to Cornell, with his siblings outside restaurant in Dunmore, PA

Kenechi, on his way back to Cornell, with his siblings outside restaurant in Dunmore, PA

We met Beth’s family at 6:00 at a restaurant they had found online, had dinner together, and bid them farewell. They continued north while we turned back east, getting home soon after 10 pm for one more Scrabble game before bed.

Personal Achievement

In June I applied for recertification as a CFRE – Certified Fundraising Executive. Today I learned that I was recertified though with inactive status, as I’d requested, since I am not currently employed in fundraising.

Unless you are a nonprofit professional or you’ve noticed CFRE with my name, you’ve probably not even heard of this.

“The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” states Jim Caldarola, CFRE, Immediate Past Chair of CFRE International in a press release about my recertification. “As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE credential demonstrates a high level of commitment on the part of Catherine Onyemelukwe to herself, the fundraising profession, and the donors who are served.”

If you’re involved with a nonprofit and find a need for a fundraising consulting, you could let me know!

Testing Ground for Africa

There is a supermarket chain in Nigeria called Shoprite. It’s not our U.S. Shoprite but a South African company that has taken the bold step of opening several stores in Nigeria, one at the Palms Mall in Lagos.

I shop there when I’m in Nigeria. I loved reading about it in this article from the Economist. I know many of the places, stores and businesses the article described. I’ve seen the queues for Shoprite’s fresh bread, which is a strong draw for customers. Talking about the difficulties of transport, I read in this article that the store keeps “a warehouse full of flour to ensure a constant supply” for the fresh bread each day.

SHoprite in Kano

Shoprite in Kano, Nigeria, opened in April 2014

The Economist points out that Nigeria is a testing ground for businesses that are interested in Africa. If they can succeed there, they have a good chance elsewhere.

Two of the biggest hurdles to business in Nigeria are insecurity and power supply, says another article, this in the South African Business Day. I learned there that Shoprite recently opened a new supermarket in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s north.

The author says, “Opening a modern supermarket in a city under threat from an Islamist insurgency, with the added uncertainty of wobbly public power supplies, may be a retailer’s nightmare. But what if the city is on one of the oldest trade crossroads in Africa, offering a big chunk of one of the largest, fastest-growing retail markets on the continent?

“Small wonder that major retail investors like South African grocer Shoprite and Wal-Mart unit Massmart Holdings are opening stores in Nigeria’s second city of Kano, the northern commercial hub. . .”  I didn’t know that even Wal-Mart was there – amazing!

The Economist said about Nigeria, “Roughly one in five of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 930m people lives there. Its population is growing at a rate of 2-3% a year. Its people are young, ambitious and increasingly well educated.”

I am excited to read this. I like to see Nigeria’s economy portrayed positively, despite the challenges.

Latest Book Title Ideas

The latest contestant for my book title is My Nigerian Journey – Two Year Adventure, Lifetime Commitment, or in reverse order: Two Year Adventure, Lifetime Commitment – My Nigerian Journey. What do you think?

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Catherine — LOVED this post, as in it you share personal time, family time as well as a new “trend” in Nigeria — the opening of retail stores & the challenges along with the promising outcomes to date. I had NO idea about Shoprite (not the US giant!) or Wal-Mart’s presence in Nigeria — nor that they’re actually expanding there. I’d LOVE to see more of this kind of “news” — it’s BASIC to life in Nigeria, of course, & it helps me update & re-appraise my own experiences there with retail businesses. Happy updates; unless I traveled far — & got stuck for hours in go-slow — VERY unhappy shopping there all those years ago. So very happy to be kept up-to-date on such key life needs/interests! RE your call for suggested title of your book…

    My Africa Journey: The Adventure of Becoming Me
    From Love Affair to Commitment: My Africa Journey

  2. Thanks, Sudy. I’ll be very glad when I’ve got this decision made. I appreciate your thoughts.

  3. Hi Catherine! I like starting with “two-year adventure.” I think it’s a great title! Daisy

  4. I would shorten it, Catherine, as your life time commitment to the people is a journey, too.

  5. I would change “Nigerian” to “African” to reach a broader readership. I titled my own book “Africa Remembered” because I did travel to numerous countries on the continent.
    You could shorten your title to “African Adventure, Lifetime Commitment”
    Good Luck,

  6. I prefer the second title possibility. It has to do with capturing the interest of the reader. By putting Nigeria in the first part, you could lose readers who are interested in the adventure aspect with location being secondary. Putting Nigeria first might limit your outreach globally.
    But of course it’s your decision.