I Was Shocked By The Poverty Level in Estonia – Singer Dare Fasasi AKA Baba Dee
Singer, actor and movie producer, Dare Fasasi, aka Baba Dee, speaks with JOY MARCUS about his trip to Estonia
Where is the most interesting place you have ever visited?
One of the most interesting places I have ever visited is Estonia, which is a country in Northern Europe. We were on a boat cruise, so we decided to visit some places that most people don’t normally travel to. While we were on the boat to Tallinn, we also went to Estonia. That was in 2010 but I still have fond memories of the place. People there kept asking to take pictures with me. Most of them had never seen or interacted with a black person before; so, I became an instant celebrity of sorts.
Who did you travel with?
I travel with a couple of my friends in group almost every month. We get on a cruise ship and we just travel to any country we like. We were on a cruise to Finland for about two months; so, we decided to go to Tallinn and Estonia. I had a near death experience on the boat because of the bad weather at that time. We stayed there for about two days because we wanted to experience their culture. Estonia is a very lovely place and it changed my perception to a great extent. When you see a lot of white people in a country, you would ordinarily think that the place would be developed. However, Estonia is almost like Nigeria, where you have poverty co-existing with riches. They also patch things like we patch things here in Nigeria and I was very surprised that white people were patching things.
What interested you most about the country?
I was fascinated by the fact that they have the soul of black people. The average European does not care about what happens to you. I remember when I travelled to one European country and I was trying to catch a train, I ran into a revolving door and I hurt myself but nobody said ‘sorry.’ They just went about their business. But in Estonia, you would actually meet people old enough to be your grandparents greeting you. I don’t know if it is the poverty that has made them that way but they have the soul of black people and it is just awesome. I didn’t meet any Nigerian but I heard that there were two Nigerian students there.
Which interesting places did you visit while you were in Estonia?
There weren’t a lot of places to visit. I was just satisfying my curiosity as a black man, trying to explore other cultures and ways of life. They have a cool city and there is a high military presence in some places there. I had to be careful about my movement, but I went to a club in Estonia where a friend invited me to perform. We didn’t have to change to their currency because we could make use of our bank cards.
Did you try any of their local food?
No; it’s not every time that I eat European food because it is different from what we have here. They have blood in their meat. I only eat Indian and Chinese food whenever I am outside Nigeria, and that’s because I believe they are the closest to African meals.
How would you describe the hospitality in Estonia?
It is like Nigeria. There is a soul, unlike in some European cities where you tend to feel lonely because everybody is about himself or herself. In Estonia, people interact with people. It is not strange to say hi to someone you have never met and most importantly, they love black people. Whether you are an American or African, their women just love to see black people.
What do you think Nigerians can learn from Estonians?
Estonia doesn’t have a buoyant economy. It is the first time I saw poor white people and I was shocked. They are ambitious young white people like Nigerians, and they manage things. When I went to London, I met some Estonians working there, just like Nigerians. Estonians are nice people.
Which other country would you like to visit?
I would like to visit Saudi Arabia. I have been to three Arabian countries; I’m looking forward to visiting Saudi Arabia and learn about their culture.
What is your best travel advice?
Keep your eyes on your luggage and don’t get careless. I lost half a million naira in my luggage. Don’t think that white people don’t steal; I was robbed in Berlin. It was a shocking experience that I, a Nigerian man, could be robbed by a white man. I reported to the police but they are still searching for the thieve till this moment. Always ask questions before doing anything. Don’t just take things for granted. You have to ask questions and plan your trip very well.