By: Julia Robertson

Before coming to Nigeria, I was afraid. I have traveled to Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, but never to a place that felt quite as dangerous and foreign as Abuja, Nigeria. I knew it would be worth it to push through the fear, and I’m so glad I did.
What has stood out to me about my time in Abuja is the kindness of the people I have met: at the hotel, in the center, and everywhere we go. How can a people of such overwhelming kindness also be perceived as dangerous?
When we arrive at the car, the doors are opened for us. When we pass anyone who works at the hotel, they immediately say, “Hello! How is your stay?” with a smile covering their faces. At the center, someone greets us saying “Welcome” as we are ushered into the Zeebah family.
The team is genuine, intelligent, welcoming, and passionate about their work. They treat the children with compassion and us with open arms. I have learned that no level of experience or prior knowledge can prepare you for meeting people, on the ground, in a culture you have never seen. No news article can compare to a person hugging you and thanking you for your time and friendship. Here, kindness wins.