Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Nanka, New York Times, Problems and Hope

Unique Greeting

Anniversary Greeting from Nanka Students' Union
Anniversary Greeting from Nanka Students’ Union

We received an email from the Nanka Students’ Union a couple of days ago. It’s a warm and wonderful anniversary greeting.

I love it. I haven’t emailed them my thanks yet. I will do that after posting, so I can send them the link to the post.

I’m rereading to see if there are any explanations required for my non-Nigerian and non-former Peace Corps readers. I see two.

One – using abbreviations and titles is common, so Clem is addressed as Engr., short for Engineer. The heading with the organization’s name also shows the abbreviation (NSU).

And the other you probably figured out: secondary and tertiary institution. Secondary is roughly similar to American high school, and tertiary is university.

I hadn’t heard about the Nanka Students’ Union; I guess they meet during the Christmas holidays when the greatest number of students would be around.

I am honored that our marriage is regarded as an example for Nigerian homes that are “in disarray and chaos” and an ambassador to our American relatives on marital harmony. They probably haven’t read Nigeria Revisited, but of course the end result is what matters!

I hope I may meet their leaders the next time I’m in Nanka. If they were to invite me to give a talk on how to have a long marriage, I would do that!

Boko Haram and Surprise Ads

I read an article in The New York Times early this morning about soldiers from Chad who were pursuing Boko Haram into Nigeria after being attacked along the border between the countries. I went to the NYTimes website to find the article.

Instead I found a newer one, updated with several stories from refugees and survivors sharing their experiences.

It’s not easy reading but I kept going, absorbing the terrible trauma that people are suffering at the hands of Boko Haram who seem to kill randomly.

my memoir

Nigeria Revisited front cover

I was near the end of the article when I suddenly saw my book cover beside the article. I was confused.

Then I realized it was an ad for my memoir!

Did you read that far? You have to scroll down nearly to the end; it’s under an ad for a short NYTimes documentary film called “Our Curse” and a few inches below an ad for the Financial Times. I’m in good company!

I was so excited when I saw it that I almost forgot the horror of Boko Haram. But not for long.

Then I went back to find the earlier article and found another ad for my memoir! This time it’s a banner across the top of the article.

I guess Amazon decided to place ads for Nigeria Revisited on beside or above articles about Nigeria. It makes sense, although I wish the articles were more positive about my adopted country. Will people buy the book because of the ads? I hope so!

After I send off this post, I’m going to check other news stories – I see that Washington Times and others have even later information. I want to read that and see if Amazon advertised anywhere else.

If you’ve been wondering how to share news about my memoir with friends, here’s a solution. You could forward them one of the NYTimes pieces, or send the whole blog post, of course.

Polio Eradication in Nigeria

An article in Time magazine says, “For all that ails Nigeria —Boko Haram jihadists rampaging across the country’s northeast, record unemployment and the plummeting price of crude for an oil-dependent government — one thing has been going very right. Nigeria has not seen a case of polio since July 24, 2014.”

But the author says the election on February 14, if it is like other recent elections, may cause disruptions in the vaccination program. To achieve success, “governments usually hold vaccination drives in affected areas every six weeks.” Not only is the election itself a cause for concern because of possible violence, but officials are distracted ahead of the election with preparations. Then new government officials may not see the need as crucial and fail to give it prompt attention.

UNICEF, Rotary International, and WHO have made massive strides in reducing polio, so now there are only three countries – Nigeria is one – that still harbor the disease. Can eradication continue or will the country slide back?

Good News For a Few Chibok Girls

Most of the girls kidnapped from the school in Chibok, northern Nigeria, are still missing and their fate in unknown. But a few girls managed to escape. Of these, several are now back in school, defying all odds. Another former Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria sent the article in The Guardian.

I read that one Nigerian woman is determined to work against Boko Haram. She has chosen to help the girls resume their education as her method.

Godiya is her name. She is on the staff of the American University of Nigeria in Yola.  She approached Margee Ensign, an American who heads the university, about bringing the Chibok girls to the university. Ensign set up a foundation, which so far has raised about $50,000, “to put 10 girls through the university for one year.”

The story tells about a family with two daughters who had escaped. When Godiya approached the family, she only had one spot left to offer.

I hope you enjoy reading about the solution.


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. Love the piece on the students’ union. What a wonderful tribute. I also laughed out loud about your comment on whether they had read Nigeria revisited.

  2. Congratulations on both your anniversary message and the ad for your book in the NYTimes.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I looked at the post on my husband’s computer last night, and there was no ad for my book. I realized it was probably micro-targeted to me because I had looked up the book on Amazon a couple of times as I was writing the blog post. I’m curious to know: did anyone else saw the ads?