The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin
2018-04-15 11:37:43 -


‘My Nigerian husband taught me English and empowered me with everything I know today’
When Ingrida Baturaite came to Ireland in 2006 to visit her aunt, little did she know that a week later she would meet the man she would fall in love with.
But that is exactly what happened when Ingrida crossed paths with Abayomi Abidoye and was instantly drawn to him. If the eyes are indeed the window of the soul, it was never more true than then.
“He had incredible qualities and I wanted to know him from that moment,” says Ingrida, who soon made the move from Lithuania to be with her Nigerian partner. Married now for five years, the couple have two beautiful children who are the light of their lives.
“I believe we were preordained for each other,” says Ingrida of her relationship with her husband. “I believe it was destiny because I met him a week after I came to Ireland, and since then it has been wonderful.”
Indeed, Ingrida never gets bored talking about that very first time she saw her husband, and how they knew almost 12 years ago that something clicked and connected between them instantly.
The 33-year-old also recalls a time before she met her husband, when she saw a member of her family with a mixed race child and thought, this is the kind of baby I’d love to have in my life. “At that time it was just a wish [but] years later, that wish has come true.” 
Ingrida could not speak a word of English and knew practically nothing about Ireland when she first arrived. But she says her husband has been a strong partner and her pillar of strength. “My husband taught me everything. He taught me English, skills and empowered me with everything I know today.” 
More than a decade into their relationship, Ingrida feels more integrated not only in her new home of Ireland, but also her partner’s native culture. She has been privileged to visit Nigeria, and her love for the country only grows.
“I love Nigeria and Nigerian food,” she says. “We make Nigerian food every day and that is what our children love to eat. Eighty per cent of what they eat is from Nigeria.”
Like many immigrants, Ingrida came to Ireland with qualifications (in her case, in business studies) but had to find work other than what they were trained for. She currently works in the cash office at her local Tesco but she loves the job, although she may consider a move into a fashion career at some point.
“I love fashion and I’m good with makeup,” she says. “My husband encourages me all the time to take up a vocation in fashion or start something at the side but my daily life is busy with different activities. My job and taking care of the children takes all my time.”
- Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist, author and TV presenter who has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email




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