Ibadan, Nigeria

My parents moved to Ibadan for a job when I was 8. I finished my high school (6-12 grades) there. It will always be home to me. I made some really good friends here and learned about some good old academic competition! There is no "touristy" place in Ibadan. We lived on campus where most of the faculty and staff lived. I remember going to the Staff club a lot. We learned swimming there. I don't know how many times we walked from the flat where we lived to the bookstore and mail room. And Amina Way, our road, it was a circular road, so yes we went around it a lot for walks. There were a number of nationalities in Ibadan, not only from other countries but also within India.

Going to school was nothing special at that time. But now that I look back and think about it, I had very good teachers, very good class mates and I was prepared academically very well to go on to my higher education. The one thing I realize we did not do a whole lot was chemistry labs. We had excellent teachers, but they could do only so much with the lack of supplies. And despite the lack of labs, I am now a chemistry professor myself!

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I lived here only for one year, but what a great year! I had been to Addis before for one day on transit from Nigeria to India, and I remember seeing a really long line in front of the movie theater for a hindi movie!

We moved to Addis after my brother had left for US and I had just finished my MS and was getting ready to give my GRE for admission for PhD in US. The first couple months were gone in living in the hotel and then a small one bedroom flat, until finally we got a nice two bedroom flat in the science campus. By this time I had given my GREs and was not doing anything much. So the science campus was perfect for visiting the chemistry department. Dr. Berhanu Abegaz was nice to let me work and get some experience in his lab. I learned so much more there than my two years of chemistry labs in India. I learned about synthesis, extractions, characterization and some instrumentation. He was a great mentor, he personally showed me how to use the Chemical Abstracts. He was a true mentor.

I did get a chance to visit the country side once. It was nature tour for two days. I could not believe my eyes when I saw hippopotamus in the wild! And worse - I could not believe that I did not bring my camera! Big lesson learned there - now I don't go anywhere without my camera!!

I left in August of 1989 for US to start my PhD program in Chemistry.