Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad

In 1962, when twenty-one-year-old Catherine Onyemelukwe launched her two-year adventure with the brand-new Peace Corps, she had no idea what the African country had in store. Nigeria, where she was assigned, was newly independent. Full of excitement, anticipation, and curiosity about the unknown, this young Midwestern woman set out to make the world a better place. But she didn’t realize that Nigeria was instead about to make her a better person.
Catherine’s heartfelt memoir revisits her two years overseas that become twenty-four, during which her experiences brim with friendships, students, travels around the country, and love. It recalls how her future Nigerian husband contrives to meet her, their falling in love, and their controversial wedding that becomes world news with their photo in Life Magazine.
Catherine’s memoir follows her journeys between America and Nigeria and the resulting relationships, hardships, dangers, surprises, and ultimately the unbreakable bond that develops between her and a complicated country she continues to love to this day. It’s a passionate story of multiculturalism and family that readers won’t soon forget.
It is also a deep look into the coups and war that force their family to leave the city and live in her husband’s village, without electricity and running water, where they struggle to keep their children safe and healthy. When the hardships of war become overbearing, she flees to Europe and then the United States to await the war’s end, only to be greeted with scorn for her mixed-race children.
This story of adapting to a new culture, taking risks, surviving, and embracing differences will inspire the reader to venture beyond perceived horizons and see the world in a whole new light.
Catherine holds degrees from Mount Holyoke College, California State University, and Yale’s School of Management. As a Peace Corps volunteer she taught German at Federal Emergency Science School and English and African History at Awori-Ajeromi Secondary Grammar School. As a new mother she taught at the American International School. She founded and ran a fashion company, co-founded Nigerwives (a group for foreign women in Nigeria married to Nigerian men), and was president of the American Women’s Club in Lagos.
After returning to the U.S. she worked as a fundraiser for non-profits, including the Westport YMCA, Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. She lectures on Nigeria’s history, cultures and customs. Catherine is an advocate for cross-cultural understanding and racial justice.

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