Meet the Staff: Ngozi Umezurike, Personal Aide

When did you start to work at Selfhelp and what inspired you?
I started to work here in October 2022. The healthcare agency I was working for sent me here, and when I came here, I really loved it! I loved the environment and that’s why I applied.

What things do you like to do when you are not at work?
I take care of my elderly mother at home. When there is extra time, I love to cook or visit my relatives in the city. I have a lot of relatives in the city.

What country are you from? What did you do there?
I am from Nigeria. From Lagos. I came to the US about 20 years ago. In Nigeria I had several jobs, including receptionist and fashion designer.

Do you like any of the traditional food there?
There is one meal from Nigeria that comes to my mind, it is kind of like a soup with spinach and you eat it together with fufu (dough made from boiled and ground plantain or cassava).

How has your experience been adjusting to a new culture and working environment?
Nothing is easy in this world, but I love working here. It is a good environment to work in so for me it was not too hard to get used to it.

Can you share any differences you’ve noticed between your home country and here?
What I think of first is the difference of culture and certain activities. For example, at Christmas time we have a tradition of dancing and drumming while walking around the houses. People give each other money. You also visit relatives and give them cooked food. So, you bring someone else food, and they bring food to your home.

Do you still visit your home country?
I haven’t been there in a long time. Right now, I’m planning on visiting in the future.

What is your first language, and do you still use it?
We use Nigerian Pidgin-English to communicate. There are three major local languages we have, so one of them was my first language.

Is there anything interesting you want to share about your home country?
Nigeria is a nice place to go. They accommodate people from other countries just like people from America. Just the situation right now is bad because the cost of living is high, and the government doesn’t take good care of the people. It is a corrupt government. So, crime went up, but the police and politics don’t do anything about it. For example, they don’t repair the roads and overall infrastructure.