Saturday, 30 July 2016
Friday, 29 July 2016
Ghosts/Burial Sites: I was told a weird story by my mum many years ago. I have tiny, almost invisible marks on both sides of my cheeks. No one knows who exactly gave them to me. Tale is: on the day my late dad was laid in state in the family’s large living room, I suddenly sprang up from my erstwhile sitting position and started running and screaming “dog! Dog! Dog” Of course there were no dogs anywhere around and by the time I was calmed, they noticed blood streaming down my face and after it was cleaned off, there were two perfect marks/incisions seated on both sides of my face. Who dunno it? Theory was: the spirit of my late dad came to give me those marks. Why? I can’t even remember the reason. Yes, I hate burial sites. I always feel the ghost of the body buried in there could spring out and give me the chase of my life. It’s so bad that I’m thinking of asking to be cremated rather than buried when I die. Ain’t gonna join a bandwagon of people-chasing, mark-giving ghosts.
Financial Dependency: This came about as a result of my mother’s experience and phobia. It happened that father felt she was too beautiful to work as other men could snatch her away from him (insecurity of the highest order). After father’s death, she witnessed hell here on earth and we had to walk with her through it all (story for another day). She would often tell me that no marriage for me except I started working which was exactly what I did. When I started the marriage journey, I thanked me for heeding that singular piece of advice.
Aside this, I grew up learning not to ask ‘boys’ for things or collect from them. I recall the first time my mum and eldest brother saw me in a pair of denim trousers which mother did not buy for me. Where the hell did I get the means to obtain this luxury? Immediately, I was ordered to remove it and return it to wherever I got it from before being asked to explain how and where I got it from. My fiance, now husband, bought me a wrist watch one time. I proudly wore and flaunted it. When mother saw it, she gave a verdict: return it and never bring in anything a man gives you into my house until you are married to him.
Naturally, these instances shaped me and I was only able to buy things with the money I saved. I started to believe that you should get what you can afford by yourself through hard work. Now thinking about it, I just realized that I come from a family of hard working females, both business-wise and domestically. Is this sharing in Adam’s curses?
Believe me, I have started teaching my children-in words and in deeds, to have a mad love for making their own legitimate money rather than depending on someone else.
Dogs: When I was 8 years or thereabout, mother sent me to go grind pepper few houses away from ours. On my way back, this crazy dog escaped from its duty post nad decided to have some fun at my expense. The idiot gave me the chase of my life! Picture this scenario: a short and stout girl carrying a bowl of blended pepper with both hands and wearing only pant running wildly on the street with a crazy local dog like the ones used to appease the spirit of the god of iron, on her heels. At some point, I looked back and felt what the Israelites must have felt when they were being pursued by the stubborn Pharaoh and his army. I had no option at that point than to use the only weapon at my arsenal – the pepper. I emptied the whole bowl on the damn dog! Do I need to relay what I went through at home in the hands of koboko for bringing back an empty bowl?
Public Announcement: please do not invite me to your house if you keep dogs. Thank you.
Worms & Snakes: the following conversion ensued between my cousin and I when we were aged 8 and 7 respectively:
Me: Inu nrun mi o, o da bi enipe nkankan nja mi je (I’m having stomach pains, it’s as if something is biting me in there)
Cousin: ha! Ejo-inu ni yeeeeeeen....o nlati ya kuro ninu e o; ti o ba ya, o maa maa dagba si ninu e ni o (ha! It is a stomach-snake (direct translation)....you need to expel it o; if you do not, it would start growing up inside of you)
Me: yeeeeeeee, mo gbe o! (Yeeee, I’m doomed)
Mother gave me worm expellant. Anyone who grew up in the 80’s or before would recall that the worm expellants available in those days would make you expel the worms whole, sometimes, alive unlike what obtains now.
I started feeling uncomfortable; I needed to use the loo but my cousin’s diagnosis of a snake growing up inside of me scared the sh*t out of me. Of course it got to a stage that I could not hold it anymore. I eventually went to the loo and with a lot of trepidation, started the process of expelling the ‘snake’. Immediately, I felt a crawling sensation around my anus. Ha! What is this? I made a mistake of looking down and saw it: pinkish, slimy thing; I lost my mind and rushed out of the loo naked with the half expelled ‘snake’. I started screaming and doing a 360 degree run around the compound. It took some mothers in the compound to pin me down and help remove them (yes, more than one eventually exited my stomach).
This is one phobia I doubt I would out-grow.
Rats: this is simple: a hole that can allow a rat pass through, can also allow a snake pass through. When I see a rat, it raises an alert that a snake must be lurking around. More so, I’d had the flesh of my toes eatenby rodents a few times. Why did God create them anyway? As food for other animals? Couldn’t those other animals eat something else? Dear God, if only you could eradicate snakes, rats/mice, wall geckos, mosquitoes.....they terrorized my life while growing up.
Child Birth/Parenting: if there is any aspect of my life that confirms God as being merciful and gracious, it is me being a parent to three beautiful children. I had each without searching. I got pregnant each time without trying to. The pregnancies were difficult but delivery was safe each time. Where I am is clearly different from my views and attitude growing up. I never for once thought of having a child. I recall telling my husband once after the birth of our first daughter that I did not want anymore; his reaction was murderous! While growing up, I saw a lot of children who were birthed because their parents thought that having children was some sort of a life achievement. The parents lived in a room apartment with the kids and they were having more babies; hardly able to feed and clothe them properly. A lot of the children dropped out of secondary school and while some ended up as half-baked artisans, some ended up utterly useless with no training at all. My family’s lack did not also help. Men, did we suffer! There and then I just formed an opinion that it was better not to have a child than have one and make him or her suffer. When I was diagnosed of a divided uterus which would definitely hinder me from getting pregnant, I never bothered. I was bothered with something else: fear of having the children I would not be able to properly care for.
I am not trying to counter God’s command that we should multiply and replenish the earth but people should do this with wisdom. I have told my Church secretary, there is a category of women in my Church that should consult with some of us before becoming pregnant again. Haba! Six children while in your 30’s and living a life of a classic pauper? You wan cook and chop these pikins?
Disclaimer: please don’t take everything said here too seriously.
Oh thanks so much for this F. I love nothing more than when readers make submissions and contributions to the blog. I have no phobia whatsoever, none that I've discovered at least. I used to have a fear (not phobia) of flying, but not anymore. To think that the flight I took yesterday was very turbulent and the man, yes MAN, across the aisle from me was actually crying, my seat partner who later admitted to me after the flight, that she thought we were going to die, was feverishly praying her rosary... and my heart didn't even skip one beat! Like, I dozed off sef. LOL, I'm proud of myself!
Share your phobias guys, and are there stories behind them? If yes, please share those too.
Thursday, 28 July 2016
You see, Mayowa is really sick. She truly has Ovarian cancer. She's admitted at LUTH but she didn't need money for surgery, because doctors had told Mayowa she was beyond treatment and no hospital in the world could treat her as she was extremely far gone. Mayowa had reached stage 4 and doctors, unfortunately, already told her family she won't survive it and had advised them to take her home. Her family instead used her situation to raise money from Nigerians. The doctors in LUTH have also denied giving her family a medical report advising her to seek treatment abroad.
#SaveMayowa raised over $100k on GoFundMe and millions of Naira.
In recent times, I have been fascinated with why ‘seemingly qualified’ hands are re-gifted opportunities to add more accomplishments to their already numerous and lofty successes. It appears that only those who display a certain desired antecedent or record of accomplishments (track record) are bequeathed opportunities and challenges – oftentimes at the detriment of other seemingly qualified greenhorns. It is a phenomenon – or bias – that is recurring in individuals, businesses, societies, governments and virtually every instance that a decision has to be made. For example, I would be inclined to patronize a food vendor who has been moderately reliable in delivering good service than a new entrant that offers comparatively slightly better benefits to me as a consumer; also, governments often award contracts to companies with a rich history in a tackling a defined challenge as against upstarts who are yet to prove their mettle.
So how can one be aligned to benefit from this bias? I’d give two personal stories, draw illustrations from an influential person and conclude.
Back in my secondary school days, I remember scoring perfect in the theory section of one of my biology term-exams – possibly the only instance I attained such a score. Biology was my least loved science subject, thus it was a big surprise for me. After checking my scripts, I noticed my teacher had cancelled a few responses that were less than accurate, written the correct answer, and given me full marks. I cogitated over this, and it wasn’t too long before I discovered I had done exceptionally well in my tests, class-works and multiple choice exam (track record), hence my teacher felt obligated to be gracious with her marks and thus I ended with a score that was higher than my efforts.
In my university days, during our graduation year, a course mate who had done exceptionally well in previous semesters – racking a perfect grade point average in five of the previous eight semesters (track record) – was been tipped to be the best graduating student in the school. It was a possibility, but there were other equally deserving contestants from other departments and faculties with ostensibly better grades. Despite the internal competition within the class, a number of us were willing to lodge a request for a review of papers where this said course mate had less than an ‘A’ grade – to simply boost his chances of clinching this coveted prize. I remember a course the class took and a number of us (including this course mate and myself) felt we had been dealt unfavorable grades – I badly needed the ‘favorable grade’. Every petitioner had grade ‘B’ except my friend who had a grade ‘A’, scoring 72. His grouse: at that stage of his undergraduate studies, he was unsatisfied with a seventy ‘A’ and desired a ninety ‘A’ – we were still in 300 level. It turns out he didn’t need the extra input and his final grade was self-sufficient to graduate as the school’s valedictorian.
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is one woman I respect for being a paradigm of excellence and most importantly, for espousing two seemingly divergent attributes in Nigeria today – being godly and having a successful business. I remember listening to her recount how she got on Cadbury’s board of directors without ever vying for the position. Basically, with what she had accomplished with her business and her integrity (track record), businesses sought her to lead their strategic operations. Thus, it wasn’t unexpected that First Bank of Nigeria would also seek her on their board not just as a board member but the Chairperson – th e first time a woman would occupy such lofty position in the company’s history.
It seems that at some point in time or one’s life, everything seems to go on auto-pilot. This further emphasizes the notion that the earlier stages of one’s life have a greater impact on the outcome of a life – a sought of domino or ripple effect. Basically, what habits one forms, one’s decision to commit to excellence, integrity, diligence, perseverance and learning as personal values, and most importantly when this is done, would give a good indication of how a life turns out. The importance of now can never be overstated!
What can I say Chrisyinks? Even the Bible says "Whoever has shall be given more, and they will have an abundance..." Mattew 13:12.
As per your ending paragraphs, I cannot agree more.
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Photos/Video: Rich Nigerian woman surprises her man with a G-wagon
I'm thinking of taking it a bit further to invite him for drinks after work one evening. Please do you think this is a bad idea? If it's a bad idea then please in what ways is it acceptable to drop hints for him that I'm interested in him? I'm not desperate and I can be subtle, but I've lived most of my life in a country where it's ok for women to be direct but I see that in Naija it's a different kettle of fish. Thanks so much for your time and effort.
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
One of the dictionary’s definitions of the word ‘language’ is the systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols. Underpinning this definition and other definitions of this word is the emphasis on communication– a crucial aspect of living in this era. The prevalent phenomenon of this age –globalization – has created enormous benefits for those who can effectively communicate their value, and exchange services with the varied people and cultures that inhabit this planet.
Nigeria is a culturally rich country with a diverse population possessing visible language divides. With about 500 ethnic groups and each one boasting its almost unique language or dialect, supremacy of the language of communication is often fought between the three dominant ethnic groups and their respective languages – Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba Language. This has had the consequent effect of a tacit neglect of how best we can integrate globally and leverage on the world’s culture and its vast human resources for strategic goals. Asides English Language that has its roots from our colonial past, we cannot boast of other foreign languages that are spoken by many of our citizens – French Language, although being taught in some schools hasn’t been given the requisite attention needed in effectively learning a language.
As a personal example, in my secondary school days, I was mandated to take the three major Nigerian languages as subjects and pass them. Although, knowledge was being added, I dare say that it was a sub-optimal use of any pupil’s time given the relative obscurity of any of these individual languages on the global landscape. Till today, I only communicate in one of those languages – my own dialect. Being a member of an international non-governmental organization, often times when international conferences are scheduled, there is usually the issue of Nigerian attendees not being able to enjoy rich conversations in the local tongue of prominent host countries. A contrast to many of our African counterparts that hail from Francophone countries, yet make diligent effort to learn the English language (Nigeria’s official business language), hence having the added competence of enjoying to a higher degree, the diverse and differing culture the world offers.Singapore had a similar issue when in their formative days as a self-governing nation, four languages (Chinese Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English Language) prevailed with a number of other dialects used in communication. It took a calculated effort by its leaders to straddle the beneficial path where international relevance was not sacrificed on the altar of preserving cultural identity. Achieving this goal enabled Singaporeans to be of better relevance to global businesses as against their other Asian counterparts, and experience enormous leaps in their development as a nation.
I reason a holistic approach has to be adopted in ensuring that Nigerians are better equipped to communicate their competencies, skills, knowledge and effectively integrate to the immense opportunities provided by globalization thereby enhancing our competitive advantage. It is not uncommon these days to see job opportunities requiring interested applicants to speak proficiently or at least professionally two or more international languages.
I believe that if schools can come up with a curriculum to meet this language gap, we can take longer strides towards better leveraging the opportunities being a polyglot offers. This approach should not discount other educational fora that can be harnessed for this purpose, for learning isn’t restricted to the four walls of a classroom. Astonishingly, research enlightens us that a child in his/her early stages of development can comfortably learn as many as six languages.
I posit that we have a primary and secondary school curriculum that mandates students to learn at least one local and one international language. At university level, all students should be mandated to learn in their first year, another international language with students in the language field mandated to major in any language of their choice with a minor in another international language and encouraged to take courses that teach yet another foreign language. It is easier for a language student to appreciate the selected language course of study when he/she can contrast that language with other languages.
While I understand the need to preserve one’s heritage and that to achieve this, one has to preserve and distill one’s language to the younger generations, I reason that pre-tertiary education can be reformed to achieve the aim of ingraining cultural identity. Additionally, heritage centers that entrench our indigenous languages should be commissioned. It is a good plus that the Nigerian society and its prevalent communal approach to life helps transmit our local languages to the young.
PS: I define International/Foreign languages as languages prominent in International business and the world’s landscape: French, Chinese, Arabic, and German.