Friday’s speaker was our Rotary Exchange Student, Otun/Goodness from Nigeria. She is from Abeokuta, Ogun State, in the western part of the country. Goodness told us about her family, home country and schooling. Her presentation and response to audience questions revealed a confident young woman with a warm smile and an engaging sense of humor. Goodness, a 16-year-old sophomore at Madison Memorial High School, is living with her first host family, Jennifer and Jim Luedtke.
 
In Nigeria, Goodness attends a school with approximately 500 students, whereas her new school has about 2,000 pupils. The adjustment has been made easier by the many friendly smiles she encounters in Memorial’s hallways. Other than differences in school size and systems, she mentioned a couple of culinary differences. She can’t quite understand our fascination with “cheese, cheese, cheese!” If she should happen to cook for you, Goodness warned, we should expect the meal to be very spicy. Goodness told us about cooking for her host family and trying to tone down her own preference for tongue-searing dishes. Despite her more cautious approach, Goodness left host mother Jennifer gulping down lots of water. The funny story was accompanied by a mischievous smile, resulting in lots of chuckles from the audience.
 
Goodness is the fourth of six children. Her father is a past president of his club, and Goodness is a member of an Interact club.
 
Nigeria is made up of 36 states, and its national capital is Abuja. The commercial capital is Lagos State. The country has a coastline, where its southern border meets the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria has numerous ethnic groups, but the largest three are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Goodness is a member of the Yoruba. The nation’s religious practices are dominated by Christians and Islamists, with a scattering of numerous indigenous faiths.
 
As to current events, Goodness told us she planned to go to Homecoming, on the weekend, with a group of girls. She hopes to take the Rotary-sponsored trip to the eastern part of the United States at the conclusion of her stay. Lastly, Goodness announced she will be appearing in a play at Memorial. Stay tuned for date and time of her performance.
[Thanks to Ed Fink for writing this up.]