I arrived Finland’s airport at 3pm [Friday, 24th Oct] eager to see how the country would differentiate itself from its Scandinavian neighbours. As the plane landed what struck me first was that I seemed to be the only black person on the plane. Which is unusual, anytime I made such assumptions in the past I always found them short-lived.
These thoughts occupied my mind as I walked to the arrival lounge, dragging my bag along. All of a sudden I found myself sandwiched between two white men. In that instant I realised they were immigration officers. They guided me into their nearby office, where a big black bored dog lay on the floor.
Do you speak Finnish?
One of them asked for my passport. I heard him say the word “Nigeria” aloud, as he walked into an inner office.
They wanted to know where I was coming from, what I was doing there.
I told them.
They wanted evidence that I was at the Nordic Africa Institute.
I gave them my collection of poems, and a sheet of paper with biographical information.
He smiled. “Poems?”
He gave them back to me and bade me goodbye.
10 years ago