Real Talk: Suffering & Smiling

By: Fatimah Aramide Salami

Every day my people dey inside bus, Every day my people dey inside bus
Forty-nine sitting, ninety-nine standing, Them go pack themselves in like sardine
Them dey faint, them dey wake like cock, Them go reach house, water no dey
Them go reach bed, power no dey, Them go reach road, go-slow go come
Them go reach road, police go slap, Them go reach road, army go whip
Them go look pocket, money no dey, Them go reach work, query ready

These are lyrics from legendary Nigerian humanitarian and artist Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song “Shuffering & Shmiling”. In the song he depicts the hustle and bustle of Nigerians in their everyday life. Their daily hustle includes simply trying to coexist with the constant miseries that plague the country yet, they smile. They live. They remain humble. They remain happy. I’ve always been perplexed at how Nigerians stayed so upbeat despite the sorrows of the nation.

By no means am I trying to infer that the country is nothing but misery but just getting by on a day to day basis can be extremely frustrating sometimes. I know how overwhelmed I get while visiting when there is no steady electricity; or when sometimes I feel like I can’t hear myself think because of the loud noise of a generator. Despite these setbacks, I still find that I am most at peace while visiting my father’s land, Nigeria.
The warmth, love, and happiness emitted from the natives there is unmatched. Perhaps that is why the beautiful nation came in at number six on the United Nation’s 2016 World Happiness Report for the happiest countries in Africa; and 103rd happiest country in the world.happy nigerians
According to CNN, six major factors were used in finding what people decided made them happiest.
“Six key factors were measured to establish a global ranking of the happiest countries; GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption” (
As a Nigerian-American I’ve come to understand and admire the fact that we are the most adaptable people on this planet. We really know how to be flexible when need be, which doesn’t surprise me as to why we are one of the happiest people.
Our appreciation for the present and optimism for the future propels us in a way, that doesn’t allow us to necessarily overlook our setbacks but rather learn how to make the most out of our situations…real talk.



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