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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Different Does Not Mean Defective.

I had an Aha! moment today when a friend called me a witch. You see, I was on the phone with her and at the beginning of the conversation, I thought I heard the unmistakable whisking of eggs in a bowl. A few minutes into the conversation, I causally and randomly asked her if she was making eggs and she, in awe at my accuracy, called me a witch. (Now this person is a bestie of mine so I know she was joking, calm down first.πŸ˜€) I promptly told her that there’s a fine line between being a perceptive person or dare I day, a genius and being a witch in Africa. I asked her to cast her mind back on the thousands of people who have been beaten up badly or even killed by the mere thoughts of them being labelled witches or wizards when their only crimes were possibly their ingenuity and outspokenness. She completely agreed with me, dare I say in startled realisation and possibly awe. 

People fear what they don’t know or understand. So to shield their frail egos from shame, they, rather than learn, resort to destroy that which they cannot comprehend. I wish I could tell you why this is so but I can’t. I shudder to think of the many lives that have been lost in the past due to the ignorance and sheer cruelty and weakened egos of a few. Recall that once upon a time, having twins was forbidden in some parts of Nigeria. They took the poor babies from their mothers beats and left them to die in evil forests. Thanks to the doggedness of Scottish missionary Mary Slessor, who helped change such cruel mental thought processes thus saving twins from further death. I wonder who in their right minds conceived the thought of twins being evil and unwanted. Till date, left-handed people are targeted, chastised and even often ostracised thoroughly in certain places and amongst certain tribes. I could go on and on with similar examples. People need to know that that being different does not mean being defective.

There's a saying that what you don't know can't hurt you; while this might be true, it is definitely true that what you don't know would most likely hurt others if not you. Rather than hurt others, why not open your mind to the endless possibilities which life has to offer through others? No one has a monopoly of knowledge, no matter  how much of a genius they are. Be slow to condemn the things or people you do not understand.

The fact remains that some people will always be more perceptive than others, some would always be more talented in certain areas than most but this does not make them freaks or weirdos. It makes them unique in their one ways, so how about you keep an open mind with every thing or person you encounter and watch yourself grow in knowledge and hopefully wisdom too?

Live and let live.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Miracle Of A Little.....

Happy weekend to you all, especially those of you lucky enough to read this post. Yes, the fact that you are reading this post means you have light and data which is a lot more than most people have. :)

I want to share two experiences and a chance with you on being #AllHeartsAlways to the needy around you. Over the years, I have done my best to sensitise people on the need to reach out and help as many people as they can. I know a lot of you might be thinking that you have to have a lot to make an impact in the lives of another, but that is so not so. With as little as N200, you can help a hungry person feed, with as little as N1000 you can help someone buy a piece of cloth they can wear to keep them warm or covered, or perhaps even pay for their school fees with as little as N1000.  Now I know there are many scammers out there pretending to be in dire need or whatnot but the key is to just reach out, verify and help and by doing so, you do your bit for humanity.

At the beginning of the week, I noticed that one of our cleaners at my workplace came to work with her hair undone. I knew that she probably did not have the money to make the hair, seeing as it was towards the end of the month and I knew she was not that buoyant because of her present family situation. I wondered how I could be of help to her without embarrassing her and then I came up with a plan. 

I put N2000 in an envelope and wrote a short note in it, asking her to go and make her hair and look good. She was taken aback and expressed gratitude. I kept wondering if the money was going to be enough for her to do something nice but when she resumed at work the next morning, I could not believe my eyes. She had the loveliest hairdo on and she looked way better than she did the previous day. I smiled and got on with my day but about an hour later, she ambushed me in the restroom, knelt down clutching me and kept thanking and praying for me. Now, I was embarrassed and tried to pull her up to her feet. She wasn't having none of that embarrassment nor humility as she kept praying, thanking and clinging to me. I couldn't believe the impact a mere sum of N2000 had on this young lady and it moved me to tears. My point is this, every little you can give helps the needy. Nothing is too small, your trash could be their treasure so just be as #AllHeartsAlways as you can.

The second experience I wanted to share was with another young lad I came upon. He looked so forlorn that I couldn't but ask what the probelem was. He said he was hungry and hadn't eaten all day. I was gobsmacked because I had only had a coffee all day myself but I wasn't hungry because I didn't have money or a choice, I just hadn't had the time to go and get proper food. Here was a young lad hard at work but without money to eat because his meagre wages were yet to be paid. I felt his pain in my heart because he did look faint and hungry. I gave him N1000 and he was overwhelmed. I ordered him to go and get something to eat and when I saw him a few minutes afterwards, he had eaten and looked much better and bouncier.  I was pleased and satisfied. That N1000 made a HUGE difference to him.

Even though it burdens and bothers me when I see people in genuine need and I know I cannot solve everyone's problems nor meet all their needs, there's a peaceful satisfaction that settles on me when I am #AllHeartsAlways to others in need every time. It spurs me to want to do way more for others and by sharing these stories, I hope they spur you to action too.

The chance I talked about sharing earlier is about joining the 1k Miracle Group. The 1k Miracle group is a group I'm a part of, where members part with a minimum of N1000 bi-monthly and on every last Saturday of the month, volunteers in the group take the cash to Gbagada General Hospital and share them amongst the needy. The essence of the group is create a miracle for unsuspecting yet needy patients and their families. Some members donate way more than the minimum towards this cause, but the truth is that every little you do for or give to others always goes a long way.

Imagine your child lying critically ill on a hospital bed and you don't have even a tenth of the bill you've been given to treat them. You have made calls upon calls yet no one seems to be able to give or loan you the money you need to save your child. So you stand and stare and say a prayer for a miracle (in Nigeria, we are all living on miracles because the system does NOTHING for us) to save your child and then you see a small group of young men and ladies walk up to you to ask what the problem is. You tell them, they comfort you and hand over to you, a wad of a little more than the cash you need. You stare in shock, disbelief and an overwhelming relief that everything is going to be alright eventually. THAT is what the 1k Miracle Group does for complete strangers, every last Saturday of the month. The plan is to spread the miracles across to other hospitals with time and thereby reach out to more people.

The group was created last December by a wonderful friend of mine called Chile, who combines being a wife, mother, banker and an entrepreneur with this charity work. I don't know how she finds the time and energy but she is doing a great work of managing the group and coordinating the visits and disbursement of funds. One thing that sets 1k Miracle group apart is the transparency of it all via the daily updates as the funds roll in and afterwards. Since we began in December, below is the breakdown of amounts raised and expended on total stranger in dire need of money to sort their medical bills.

Dec -114k πŸ‘‰ Jan - 210k πŸ‘‰ Feb - 211k πŸ‘‰ March - 571k πŸ‘‰April - 625k πŸ‘‰πŸ‘‰ May 681k πŸ‘‰June 900k...July πŸ‘‰805k πŸ‘‰Aug 770k πŸ‘‰Sep 772k πŸ‘‰πŸ‘‰Oct 700k. With 1k donations we have blessed people with over N6.359M. 

You can be a blessing to others as well, in your one way. You can ask me to hook you up with Chile and get added to the 1K Miracle group. You can chose to feed a driver, guard or cleaner in your office this week and beyond with a little sum. You can choose to genuinely check up on your colleagues, greet them, inquire about how they are faring, give them a hug or handshake to assure them of better days ahead. You can choose to smile at a total stranger just to brighten up their day. You can chose  to burst into a random dance step to cheer someone else up. You can choose joy. What you can't do is to  look away and do nothing while the needy are left suffering and in despair around you. 

Be #AllHeartsAlways

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Do As I SAY, Not As I Do!!

In today's episode of "do as I say, don't do as I do",  I came across a scene that annoyed me yet got me pondering on why Nigerians humans behave irrationally sometimes. The fact that others are doing things WRONGLY or deliberately flaunting laws does not mean you can or should as well. If we continue with the shebi-others-are-doing-it-and-getting-away-with-it attitude, we would end up self-desctructing someday soon. You are a human being with common sense so use it rather than act like a cattle being herded as the cattle rearer pleases.

I encountered a bit of traffic on my way home and suddenly heard a very loud police escort siren blasting rudely behind me. I wondered if they expected us to carry our cars on our heads and move out of the way so that themselves and whomever it was they were seeing off could pass by. First of all, I think people who make silly and rude siren noises when there is traffic have small penises need to be checked mentally but this isn't nearly about them. There was a G-wagon in front of the police escort van and they chose to form a third-lane and drive ON the sidewalk rather than join either of the two legit lanes they had to ply on. 

As usual, many other cattle people who were not part of the convoy seized the opportunity and followed suit, regardless of the simple fact that they were endangering passersby and other road users. What's the rush to get home at the end of the day's job if you knew you could potentially end another person's life or career and maybe yours too? 

I asked my cabbie to let the escorted and the escort through but no other cars since we all want to be mad na.  Next thing I knew, some random car which had pull up next to mine, behind the convoy began berating the vehicle in front of me for obstructing his path. You see, the car in front of mine had allowed the escorted, the escort and a couple of cattle other cars through till he got fed up and blocked the rest off by driving party on his lane and on the side lane since we all want to be mad together na. 

Unfortunately for Mr. hoity-toity-law-breaker beside me, his car wasn't let through and that annoyed him enough to rant against the driver. As a law abiding citizen trying to get people to do the right things always, and seeing as he was getting almost desperate enough to scratch the car I was in, I decided to roll down my glass and warn school him a bit. 

I asked him if he realised he was driving ON a sidewalk and NOT on the road as he should be, but he retorted that others were as well and he was NOW trying to do right by getting on the road ahead of the rest of us. (Rolling my eyes mentally at this point, yeah right). I told him he should never had followed the escorted and the escort in the first place. 

Then I realised his passenger, who was cringing at the embarrassment, was heavily pregnant!!!! Who endangers a pregnant woman AND her baby just to get ahead in line???? I was more disgusted than annoyed at his point and I told him off for not at least CONSIDERING the innocent unborn child before acting in such a manner.

Now, if at this point, you are wondering what the big deal is in what I have just narrated, then YOU are a HUGE part of humanity Nigeria's problems. Traffic laws are meant to protect and save lives, NOT to be broken and thus do the exact opposite. A few minutes of delay could be the difference between doing the right thing and getting home peaceful and in one piece albeit a little later AND maiming or killing someone else thus setting off a chain of destiny shift within the victim's family and beyond. 

ALWAYS do the right thing, even when no one is watching.


Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Luxury of Necessities

Hello dearest blog visitors, how I've missed you all and missed writing as well. The only reason I can give right now for the long hiatus is that life has been happening to me. Between work, family, studies, charity obligations and health issues, I have had my hands mighty full. 

Still, I rise. ☺️☺️☺️

I want to write very quickly about the luxuries of life but not as you know it. I am not referring to private jets and private beaches, nor yachts and sleek boats, nor castles and mansions, nor champagne and caviar, nor lush and plush designer wears. 

Nope, I am talking about the luxury of the necessities of life such as being alive and being able to do the simplest and most basic things such as taking a bath unaided, being able to brush your teeth daily, being able to wear what you want and go to where you wan unhindered. I am talking about being pain-free and being able to swim and dance on a whim without restrictions. Those for me right now, are the luxuries of life. 

One does not really value freedom until it is taken away from them. Let me rephrase that; do not appreciate freedom until it is out of your reach. The freedom to come and go as you please without being dependent on other is a mighty fine luxury which a lot of us are privileged to have. I had that freedom snatched from me a few weeks ago but you know I am a kickass Survivor who thrives and soars above challenges, right? πŸ˜‰ I am on the mend now and feeling much better, thank you for asking. Lol 

Overall, what I am saying is this; live your best life. Do not wait until freedom is taken away from you, however slightly, before you live right. Go ahead and do that thing you've been itching to do. Go dancing, go watch a movie, turn up your music and dance with reckless abandon, eat good food, wear your good clothes and shoes, don't just save them for special occasions, laugh hard, make others smile, feed the hungry around you, share love and happiness, be #AllHeartsAlways, let go of hurt, make peace with that person that's got you all wound up, take long walks and even short ones too, dance in the rain (but don't catch a chill), drum, be merry and of good cheer. 

Add to my list and do any or all of these things, just make sure you remain happy and content for these are the real luxuries of life, the ability to be able to do these things and more. 

Have a prosperous week ahead.

p.s: If you are going through some hard stuff at the moment, listen to the lyrics of the song below and be encouraged. You will pull through and come out stronger. xx

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Speak Up, Step Up. #MeToo

They say if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. I have always stood firmly for things I believe in such as kindness, justice, fairness, etc. When it comes to the events playing around us in recent times, we cannot just keep quiet and “unlook” simply because it doesn’t affect directly. We must stand for what is right lest we fall for all the ills and wrongs occurring around us in the world. If we keep silent while evil is being perpetrated around us, then we are just as guilty as those who do these evil things.

If you’re wondering what the rant in the paragraph above is, it is as a result of the recent ousting of a randy, lecherous and nefarious Professor in Obafemi Awolowo University. He was caught on tape negotiating sex-for-marks with a female student of his. He has been at this for over two decades now, yes I carried out a research on him. I have close family members who were affected in the past by this same professor. He would ask them for sex and then give them an “F” is they failed to comply. For some of them, it took another lecturer “pleading and cajoling” him to let them eventually have an “E” where they clearly should have scored “A’s and B’s”. 

His is not an isolated case, as I have experienced such first-hand in the past, and discovered the harrowing experiences of others along the line too. While I don’t doubt that there are some students who approach lecturers for sex-for-marks, the truth is that SEVERAL lecturers are GUILTY of sexual harassment. The first time this happened to me, I was 18 years old and wearing an oversized long-sleeved shirt and a pair of capri pants. The outfit I had not has never left my memory because I kept looking at myself over to see if I brought on this lecherous man’s advances. He was not even my lecturer at the time, all he came to do was to supervise a test inside the Amphi theatre and now, in hindsight, maybe also to prey on innocent young students. He passed  comment about how he was captivated by my eyes and asked me to come see him in his office when I was done writing my test. I was young and sassy with a sharp mouth so I immediately asked him for the reason for the “visit” to his office and this pissed him off. He threatened to tear my script if I did not cooperate and said he’ll say he caught me cheating. Just like that. I was EIGHTEEN years old.

Notice I said “the first time this happened to me”, because this issue of sexual harassment repeated itself over the many years I spent in that school. I attended lectures and studied with fear and trepidation because I had all sorts of lecturers in different departments blatantly bugging me for sex. I REFUSED to succumb but it was not an easy walk in the park. I was a CHILD and they were meant to TEACH and MENTOR me not attempt to ruin my life and trust in humanity. Under NO condition should a lecturer impose his illicit desires on his students, male or female alike. They are meant to guide us and prepare us for life after graduation. I had a lecturer order me into his office and then proceed to cry as he said “Bukola, your eyes are tormenting me”. I fleetingly considered gouging out my eyes because it seemed to be the cause of my problems with these men but I know better now that my alleged enchanting eyes did not make these men behave like a pack of wild animals on Viagra. They are solely responsible for their behaviours because control of one’s desires lies completely with the individual and not their victims. It’s ALL on them. 

I did not even realise how traumatized I was by it all until a few weeks ago when the issue was raised in a group I’m in. The lackadaisical way some people swept the issue aside got me so angry and upset that I cried and cried before pulling myself together to go into my office and commence my work for the day. The issue again came up today and it set me off again. When such issues are being addressed to be rectified, one can't but gore certain oxen. 

I know a lot of ladies want to come out and speak on these ills in our society but cannot because they either bowed to the pressure back then are equally traumatized and are afraid of being stigmatized from it all. I know a lot of guys also want to speak on this issue but because they served as pimps for those lecherous lecturers or blindly saw them as heroes for being able to wield their powers and get the girls they themselves couldn’t. Whatever your reason for sitting on the fence on these matters if you fall into the two categories I listed above, I don’t judge you for it. I would only ask you to fight for what’s right because when such things are left unsaid and left to fester, the results are usually disastrous in the nearest future. I have children and I’ll be damned if anyone tries to bully them into submission in any way. I will defend my kids with my last blood. 

I will speak my truth out and stand firm for what’s right because I lived through the horrors but came out victorious in not yielding to the persistent and intense pressure. Spare me the preaching of leaving this fight to God or Karma, they’ve both sent me to fight the fight and bring back sanity to others. The fact that something wrong is done over and over again does not make it right. Change your mind-set and open your eyes to see that we cannot keep sugar-coating and excusing the evil occurrences around us. Mind you, even beyond the schools, sexual harassment happen in the work-places and religious houses as well. Being a woman is hard but still we rise.

This is not going to be the last I would be writing on this issue and on my experiences on sexual harassment. Perhaps, just perhaps, I will find my mental and emotional healing in the process of baring my mind and speaking on this cruel act.  

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Random Musings And My SA Trip

When the sun is your beauty filter..... :) 
Hi everyone, it's been a looooooong minute and a half, hasn't it? Happy Easter to all those celebrating Christ's rising today. My sincerest apologies for my long silences here, but if it's not one thing, it's another. I've been swamped with work and business but never once has a day passed without me thinking and wishing I could pen down my thoughts frequently like I used to. I miss writing and I've missed all my readers and blog visitors.

Well here I am again, whoop whoop. I took a few days off work for a brief visit to South Africa and I intended to write everyday until I return to Nigeria. Alas, I couldn't keep up with that but at least I got some much needed rest. One remarkable thing that happened to me on this trip was finally meeting an old friend of mine. Tash and I and a bunch of others were part of a Hi5 group called BBB (if you don't know the social media app called Hi5 from many years ago, way before Facebook existed, then I cannot help you o. LOL) The group comprised of different people from different countries, religions, backgrounds and cultures. It was incredible. We were part of that group as far back as 2005 and even though some of us have kept in touch over the years, we lost contact with others. Now, Tash and I have kept touch via other social media apps over the years but I only just met her for the first time on this trip. It felt like I've known her all my life though. I hear when people say it's not possible to make real friends with those you meet online but I think that's poppycock because I met some of my closest friends now via social media and they are absolute gems. (Shoutout to my main girl Eghe-RuthπŸ˜»πŸ’.

Tash and I 😍😍😍

I've been staying around Sandton in Johannesburg and I tell you, South Africa is a beautiful country. Dare I say, even more beautiful that London, if you can envision it. While I gushed about how beautiful and well laid-out Johannesburg is, everyone keeps saying I haven't seen a beautiful place to behold until I visit and see Cape-town. Wawu!!! I cannot wait to visit Cape-town then. πŸ˜πŸ˜€

Trip to Soweto

Nigerian Embassy, Ilovo Street Sandton

Everything works over here, the roads are smooth and clearly marked, the lights haven't blinked for a second and all the streets are well lit at night, no litters and filth on the streets or by the roadside, there are no irritating noises from horn-mad drivers and the peace cannot be put into mere words.

Mandela Square, Sandton

I visited the Rosebank Mall, Sandton City Mall, Madela Square and a few other places. I also paid a visit to late Nelson Mandela's house in Soweto and was also shown around the famous Vilakazi Street past the Orlando school where late Hector Pieterson and his other school mates carried out the tragic protest in 1976 and past the spot where Hector lost his life. His memorial has been well preserved over the years.

Of course, aside from resting and touring, I also tried out their local cuisine and was so impressed at how delicious some of the meals were that I had extras. I especially liked the tripe sauce at Sakhumzi Restaurant in Soweto, it was sort of like goat meat peppersoup but without the hot pepper and extra thick. I am very openminded when it comes to trying new cuisine in any country I find myself. I don't see the reason why anyone should travel several thousand miles away from home and not immerse themselves into the culture of the country they are visiting. No rice for me when I can try other stuff I've never had.  πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

A bit of everything on the buffet table. :)
Seeing how the system here is, I cannot but wonder how our leaders travel to other countries around the world and do not feel plagued by guilt or motivation to replicate the functioning systems they see abroad. One thing I know for sure is that we are only referred to as "The Giant of Africa" by mere mouth. There's nothing giant about us in terms of infrastructure, basic amenities, regard for human lives and rights, etc. The only thing giant about us is our vast population and our abilities to suffer and smile through it, you might call it our resilience spirit. πŸ˜¬πŸ˜’

I will miss South Africa and I hope I can return soon. I sincerely hope we can get things right someday soon in Nigeria. Until then, keep shinning, keep smiling and keep being #AllHeartsAlways to the needy around you.