Don’t forget the Principe

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A long time ago, a friend of mine who lived in Port-Harcourt called me and announced, “I am going abroad”. I was happy for him. It was, and still mostly is, a good thing to be able to travel out of the country. I asked him where he was going, and he said he was going to Sao Tome. I was like wow.

In my youthful ignorance of African geography, I wrongly assumed that Sao Tome was one of those fancy Caribbean islands and was excited to hear all his tales. To my surprise he called again a few hours later and announced that he had arrived. Needless to say, I was shocked. “Did you use Concorde or something? Or Edo air? Or are you just messing with me? How did you get to the Caribbean so quickly?” He said he went by boat. As it turns out, Sao Tome and Principe is only a few hours boat ride from Port-Harcourt and my curiosity on the country was born. “Don’t forget the Principe” he said over and over again.

As it turns out, Sao Tome and Principe are two islands off the coast of Gabon and people are fond of talking about Sao Tome but always seem to forget the Principe. That applied to me too. Even while learning about Sao Tome and Principe I kept on referring to it as Sao Tome and forgetting the other half. A problem apparently not unique to me.

So, why all these tales? A story in the news over the last week reminded of this Sao Tome and Principe experience, and how we have tendency to focus only on one side of a particular issue while forgetting other aspects of it. The issue in question in this story … Read More...