Today, I found out that the Nigerian students I’m working with are having some real struggles. When my two afternoon appointments did not show up I told the English Skills teacher, who had arranged these appointments, that they had missed. Then I was briefed on their current situation. Like I stated in my earlier post about these students, they are here through a Nigerian sponsored program. This means that the Nigerian government pays for the students’ tuition, fees, books, housing, electricity, and a monthly stipened. The students are told to save money because there are gaps when the funding should come and actually does come.
However, for this semester no funding has arrived. None of the students have had their tuition paid for, their accommodations have not been paid for, the money they saved has already been spent on books, and none of them have received a stipend since December. Some students have not been able to pay for their electricity and are living in the dark. Other students are facing eviction because their landlords have not been paid.
The students wanted to protest but who do they protest? The money is still in Nigeria. There is nothing that can be done at the university. They were going to gather at the library on South Campus but they were talked down by the president of the Nigerian student association. Then they thought they would sit outside the English Skills Center, but what could they do? They are angry about their situation and have no proper outlet for their frustrations.
Where is the money? Everyone suspects that it is someone’s personal bank account in Nigeria where it can collect interest for a few months. Considering it is enough money for 60 students to pay for all of their school and living expenses, I’m sure that whoever has it in their bank is collecting a nice amount of interest.
While I was listening to this teacher tell me all of this and I was feeling so many emotions. Then she finished me off by saying, “You can learning when you’re hungry, if you know when the next meal is coming but right now-they don’t have that.”