Do you know what the ‘veil of ignorance’ is?

It’s a theory advanced by Philosopher John Rawls that strives for fairness, justice, and absolute neutrality in governance.

Rawls ‘Theory of Justice’, now one of the primary texts in political philosophy says, “no one knows his place in society, his class, position or social status, nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like”.

Big grammar to the side, imagine you had to create laws for Nigeria, like create a new social contract we’d all have to abide by. Applying the theory of the veil of ignorance means that you would remove (or at least try to remove) all your personal prejudices – no knowledge of your sex, race, nationality, individual tastes and leanings – meaning that your laws/contract will be for a class of people who are all free, rational, and morally equal.

Ignorance of self, however difficult, is essential, and every good leader must remove himself from the equation when making laws, presiding over issues, or meting out punishments for wrongdoing otherwise our natural biases kick in, and we… make a mess of things.

This was one of the theories we had to get through in this workshop, and it made me think, a lot!

Away from the serious stuff, here are a few other things I learned on this trip. So, here, I don’t I opened doors more than thrice or so. There’s always someone (a guy) to open a door! And it wasn’t just workers at the hotel or anything, pretty much everywhere we went, guys just opened doors, and held them open! Was really nice to see. Chivalry isn’t dead now, is it?

Another thing? French. I mean it’s like duh, what else would be spoken in a francophone country but dang! There’s pretty much nothing else! I learned French in 2007 (actually have a diploma in the language), and I have a darling mother who is fluent (actually worked as a translator for a church a while ago) but somehow, English swallowed it up, and all my plans to take an intensive course have remained plans.

Anyway, the morning of our first session, I needed to iron a blouse so I rang reception and asked for laundry service. The voice on the other end said, “d’accord”, which is ‘okay’ and so I thought someone would show up. Twenty minutes later, I rang back and regurgitating all the French I remembered, said I needed to iron my blouse. Someone was at my door in two minutes!

Therefore, throughout the time I was there, it was French o. Like, my mom would have been proud, and thoroughly amused. I remember when she used to speak French to me; I’d reply in English and she’d say I wasn’t helping myself. Well!!

And then the guys fluent in both languages? Sexy. Seriously, I’m going to take a class (or classes), and bring myself up to speed biko. It’s a matter of national importance at this point!

How could I forget that the day we went to the market we had boiled corn and it was incredible? Oh so incredible that we had to take pictures of ourselves eating it in the streets!!

From left to right, there's Gambia, Liberia, South Africa, and Nigeria represented in the corn fest! Love it!

From left to right, there’s Gambia, Liberia, South Africa, and Nigeria represented in the corn fest! Love it!

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See my side eye with the corn… Lol…

What else? There are eggs in pretty much every meal, and on sale in every shop. For example, when we went to the little market there were guys selling airtime, and eggs. Who does that? Lol. But you have to give it to them with their foods though, top of the line! Go easy on their chili though, they don’t play!

Currency. The naira is of greater value than the CFA, and the best way for me to describe it was I withdrew 60, 000CFA using my GTB card, and just about N22, 000 was taken from my account (including charges). Of course a dollar is circa 500CFA.

What else? Ahh! So when I went for the Nigerian Leadership Initiative FLS (Future Leaders Seminar) at the end of May, my roomie said she lived in Abidjan! So, I got in touch, and she came with tow of her colleagues to take me out!

We ended up at a Reggae lounge in the heart of town… Great, live music, and incredible energy. It was a mix of ‘bougie’, expatriates, and locals, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ivoirians party/hang out a bit differently like Nigerians, especially in their spending habits on outings. For instance, you can buy a half bottle of spirits, wines, or aperitifs. It was so nice to see, cause in Nigeria, what!! You must spend your life’s savings (and maybe even take a loan) to keep up with the Joneses when you hang out, and apparently in most places you can’t take out any bottles of their extremely over priced drinks! Thank you roomie for a great evening!

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Selfie this, selfie that!! I love this shirt! So much history, so much love in it!

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Roomie!!! I have to come back, and soon!!

And then, the morning we were going to leave, the lot of us on the first trip to the airport took tons of photos! Want to see? (not like you have a choice, lol)

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Ndole (green), chili (orangey), lamb, duck, rice (white)

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From left to right – Nigeria, Togo, Djibouti, Benin Republic, moi, and Senegal!

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Ah well, good things come to an end, and I’m writing this from the comfort and familiarity of my room, after eating lunch and playing with my darling nephew. I’m grateful as always for safe travels, for strength (trust me sometimes travelling isn’t the easiest thing), and of course, God’s great favor/grace that qualifies me for these trips/events.

Abidjan was real. Too real! Guess where I’m going next?

**wink**

PS: The links to the first three in this series are here, here, and here!

 

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  1. […] Photos, videos, it’s the last day at #MINDS […]

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