Letter to Patience

I have known Patience for a long time. We used to be classmates. So when I heard she was coming to London and she was anxious about how she would learn the culture and habits of the people of London so I decided to jot down a few ideas so that she would not feel too lost in this place.

1. Do not change your voice to try a mimic a posh accent when speaking to English people. It never works and you would be better sticking to your naija accent than trying to copy the owners of the language.
2. Do not discuss personal details to do with your immigration status, who took money from you or how much you are sending back to your Mother to build her house or tell us intimate details about your marriage or relationships on public transport whether in pidgin, English or your native tongue. You never know who is listening.
3. Do not entrust your personal documents or details to any ‘uncle’ or ‘aunty’ whether you are related to them or because they said they can ‘help’ you find a job, get you accommodation or help you sort out your immigration status etc.
8. Do not assume that every policeman is an immigration officer.
9.Most street traders in markets here do not respond to people haggling prices.
10. Your boss does not know the meaning of the word African time. It is best left to parties, weddings and other occasions during the weekend when even if you arrive three hours after the programme commences, the celebrants do not have the power to sack you.
11. In order to make friends with the old lady who lives next doors that is always staring at you whenever you leave the building, mention the weather and if she has a dog ask after its health and if you are really brave you can try patting it on the head.