Opinion

Sunday 28 May 2017

'I take strength in my difference - I've never felt more confident'

Zainab Boladale was just four when she left Lagos, Nigeria, to begin a new life in Co Clare. Now 20, she reflects on how she has embraced her dual nationality

POSITIVE ATTITUDE: Zainab Boladale feels that on a whole Irish people are welcoming and accepting. Photo: Steve Humphreys
POSITIVE ATTITUDE: Zainab Boladale feels that on a whole Irish people are welcoming and accepting. Photo: Steve Humphreys

I initially didn't want to move to Ireland. At four years old, I didn't understand why it made sense to move to a new side of the world. I was happy where I was.

I had not yet realised the desperate economic struggle and lack of opportunity within my native place, the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Despite the fact that I left at such a young age, I still have memories of friends, family and our home.

Co Clare was were our new life was to begin. My mother had friends in Ennis who had told her of how peaceful it was and that it was the ideal place to bring us up in. I started primary school in Scoil Chriost Ri. When you're that young, you find it easy to make friends because children are so accepting. There were children from all sorts of backgrounds and we all played together. I owe a lot of my understanding about diversity to being exposed to so many cultures within that school. We never thought it strange that a Polish girl was good at playing the uilleann pipes or that a black girl loved to speak Irish.

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