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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

If you drive or are planning to drive in Lagos, Nigeria, this is for you

 Hello :)

So yesterday I had the misfortune of entering wahala with the Federal Road Safety Commission. The person driving me was totally at fault, he felt he was smart and tried to beat the traffic lights, na so we enter trouble. I dont have a license, hence the need for him (who has a valid licence o) to drive me. His lack of patience put us in trouble.

I spent a lot of time explaining myself, and God be so kind, I was allowed to go. I must say the FRSC division I saw where very efficient and dynamic.

The whole drama reminded me of a golden oldie I published yonks back. I hope you enjoy it



Rules of the Nigerian highway!! :P


1. When in doubt, accelerate!


2. Be prepared to ram anything stopping you wearing uniform in Lagos (police, traffic warden, FRSC, Kai brigade, fire brigade, VIO, Lastma, Lamata, Laswa, even Lawma sef).


3. If you get caught by any chance, DO NOT allow them to enter your car, if they happen to get in DO NOT drive from that spot (veer off traffic & settle 5hun), and if they don't agree, form calling your uncle who is in the army (believe me it always works), never follow them to ANY sort of office except you want to pay times 10.


4. Never give police or VIO your original particulars (whether expired or up to date)


5. Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. NEVER yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise.


6. Okada riders have a pact with suicide; avoid them like a plaque


7. Avoid BRT buses in all ramifications, they have NO brakes


8. Taxi cabs (oko asewo) should always have the right of way; all of them have been driving in Lagos for 25yrs.


9. Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.


10. The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see. Grab it. Survival of the fittest you may say!


11. Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes car-holes) are put in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and shock absorbers (I saw one man fishing in one of the potholes last week).


13. Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork, except you want to spend your whole Saturday at the panel beater's place.


14. Morning rush-hours are equivalent to Lagos grand prix (who gets to the junction first)


15. There is no such thing as a short-cut during rush-hour traffic in Lagos. Everybody might be inclined to take that 'short-cut'.


16. When asking for directions, always ask at least 3 people. Lagosians ALWAYS claim to know every inch of the city - even areas they've never been to.


17. Use extreme caution when pulling into service lanes. Service lanes are not for breaking down the traffic, but for speeding, especially during rush hour.


18. Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.


19. Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Lagos drivers, unused to such courtesies, will think you are making obscene gestures to them. This could be very bad for you in Lagos.


20. Hazard lights (popularly called "double pointer") is not, (as commonly supposed) used to indicate a hazard. It is a warning to you that he is a bona fide Lagos driver, he's headed 'straight' and as such, will not stop under any circumstance. Take him extremely seriously especially if he backs it up with a continuous blast from his "horn".


21. At any given time, do not stand on the zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you, or else you will have to explain to the oncoming traffic whether you look like a zebra.


22. Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.


23. Remember that the goal of every driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.


24. In Las Gidi every spot is a potential bus stop. FRSC and LASTMA know that too. It is in their constitution.

25. extra survival skills: keep a wad of 20 naira for world pipu like police, frsc, vio, et all

26. when u buy gala on the highway, collect your goods before you pay...caveat emptor

27. never ever stop to pick strangers for lift...wetin u think reach dat one self? u crase?

28. Above all, keep moving. Even with a flat tire!!!


HORNING IN LAGOS

- 'Horn' when someone executes a dangerous maneuver.

- 'Horn' when you're about to move off.

- 'Horn' when you're about to overtake.

- 'Horn' when someone is about to overtake you.

- 'Horn' when turning into a road.

- 'Horn' when emerging from a road.

- 'Horn' back when someone horns at you. It's considered good

etiquette.

- 'Horn' when you hear a chorus of horns. Don't worry if you don't know

what all the 'horning' is about.

- 'Horn' when you're happy.

- 'Horn' to the beat when you're playing music in your car.


Good luck, as you expeditiously navigate through our Lagos hustle and

bustle!

Mena says: This was on a humorous lighthearted note in these grim times.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

A SLICE OF HISTORY ON MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN

Hello,

Lets muse on the reality behind the subject matter, with today's offering focused on Indigenous Americans



A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all. “Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.

~source unknown


Mena: As an empath the injustices of this world gets me in tears, no, not the single drop of tear, the snot filled, red eyes flowing in :'( tears. It is difficult to accept some actions as part of history, to peer into the darkness and evil inherent in people, but we must peer, we must know, we must change for the beetter!!!

If you are still curious kindly click here
: Apologies from a white man to Native Americans circa 2020


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Similar Pandemics from History

Hey there!

So I saw this quote and it captures the current mood as per the novele 'coronavirus'. It is a long read, but totally worth it. The author,  Boccaccio, is awesome!


This is the introduction to Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”...written around the time of the great plague...particularly the 2nd paragraph. Thirteen hundred and forty-eight years had passed since the fruitful Incarnation of the Son of God, when there came into the noble city of Florence, the most beautiful of all Italian cities, a deadly pestilence, which, either because of the operations of the heavenly bodies, or because of the just wrath of God mandating punishment for our iniquitous ways, several years earlier had originated in the Orient, where it destroyed countless lives, scarcely resting in one place before it moved to the next, and turning westward its strength grew monstrously. No human wisdom or foresight had any value: enormous amounts of refuse and manure were removed from the city by appointed officials, the sick were barred from entering the city, and many instructions were given to preserve health; just as useless were the humble supplications to God given not one time but many times in appointed processions, and all the other ways devout people called on God; despite all this, at the beginning of the spring of that year, that horrible plague began with its dolorous effects in a most awe-inspiring manner, as I will tell you. And it did not behave as it did in the Orient, where if blood began to rush out the nose it was a manifest sign of inevitable death; but rather it began with swellings in the groin and armpit, in both men and women, some of which were as big as apples and some of which were shaped like eggs, some were small and others were large; the common people called these swellings gavoccioli. From these two parts of the body, the fatal gavaccioli would begin to spread and within a short while would appear over the entire body in various spots; the disease at this point began to take on the qualities of a deadly sickness, and the body would be covered with dark and livid spots, which would appear in great numbers on the arms, the thighs, and other parts of the body; some were large and widely spaced while some were small and bunched together. And just like the gavaciolli earlier, these were certain indications of coming death. To cure these infirmities neither the advice of physicians nor the power of medicine appeared to have any value or profit; perhaps either the nature of the disease did not allow for any cure or the ignorance of the physicians (whose numbers, because men and women without any training in medicine invaded the profession, increased vastly) did not know how to cure it; as a consequence, very few were ever cured; all died three days after the appearance of the first outward signs, some lasted a little bit longer, some died a little bit more quickly, and some without fever or other symptoms.


But what gave this pestilence particularly severe force was that whenever the diseased mixed with healthy people, like a fire through dry grass or oil it would rush upon the healthy. And this wasn't the worst of the evil: for not only did it infect healthy persons who conversed or mixed with the sick, but also touching bread or any other object which had been handled or worn by the sick would transport the sickness from the victim to the one touching the object. It is a wondrous tale that I have to tell: if I were not one of many people who saw it with their own eyes, I would scarcely have dared to believe it, let alone to write it down, even if I had heard it from a completely trustworthy person. I say that the pestilence I have been describing was so contagious, that not only did it visibly pass from one person to another, but also, whenever an animal other than a human being touched anything belonging to a person who had died from the disease, I say not only did it become contaminated by the sickness, but also died literally within the instant. Of all these things, as I have said before, my own eyes had experience many times: once, the rags of a poor man who had just died from the disease were thrown into the public street and were noticed by two pigs, who, following their custom, pressed their snouts into the rags, and afterwards picked them up with their teeth, and shook them against their cheeks: and within a short time, they both began to convulse, and they both, the two of them, fell dead on the ground next to the evil rags. Because of all these things, and many others that were similar or even worse, diverse fears and imaginings were born in those left alive, and all of them took recourse to the most cruel precaution: to avoid and run away from the sick and their things; by doing this, each person believed they could preserve their health. Others were of the opinion that they should live moderately and guard against all excess; by this means they would avoid infection. Having withdrawn, living separate from everybody else, they settled down and locked themselves in, where no sick person or any other living person could come, they ate small amounts of food and drank the most delicate wines and avoided all luxury, refraining from speech with outsiders, refusing news of the dead or the sick or anything else, and diverting themselves with music or whatever else was pleasant.

Others, who disagreed with this, affirmed that drinking beer, enjoying oneself, and going around singing and ruckus-raising and satisfying all one's appetites whenever possible and laughing at the whole bloody thing was the best medicine; and these people put into practice what they heartily advised to others: day and night, going from tavern to tavern, drinking without moderation or measure, and many times going from house to house drinking up a storm and only listening to and talking about pleasing things. These parties were easy to find because everyone behaved as if they were going to die soon, so they cared nothing about themselves nor their belongings; as a result, most houses became common property, and any stranger passing by could enter and use the house as if he were its master. But for all their bestial living, these people always ran away from the sick.

With so much affliction and misery, all reverence for the laws, both of God and of man, fell apart and dissolved, because the ministers and executors of the laws were either dead or ill like everyone else, or were left with so few officials that they were unable to do their duties; as a result, everyone was free to do whatever they pleased. Many other people steered a middle course between these two extremes, neither restricting their diet like the first group, nor indulging so liberally in drinking and other forms of dissolution like the second group, but simply not going beyond their needs or satisfying their appetite beyond the necessary, and, instead of locking themselves away, these people walked about freely, holding in their hands a posy of flowers, or fragrant herbs, or diverse exotic spices, which sometimes they pressed to their nostrils, believing it would comfort the brain with smells of that sort because the stink of corpses, sick bodies, and medicines polluted the air all about the city.

Others held a more cruel opinion, one that in the end probably guaranteed their safety, saying that there was no better or more effective medicine against the disease than to run away from it; convinced by this argument, and caring for no-one but themselves, huge numbers of men and women abandoned their rightful city, their rightful homes, their relatives and their parents and their things, and sought out the countryside, as if the wrath of God would punish the iniquities of men with this plague based on where they happened to be, as if the wrath of God was aroused against only those who unfortunately found themselves within the city walls, or as if the whole of the population of the city would be exterminated in its final hour. Of all these people with these various opinions, not all died, nor did they all survive; on the contrary, many from each camp fell ill in all places, and having, when they were healthy, set an example to all those who remained healthy, they languished in their illness completely alone, having been abandoned by everybody.

One citizen avoided another, everybody neglected their neighbors and rarely or never visited their parents and relatives unless from a distance; the ordeal had so withered the hearts of men and women that brother abandoned brother, and the uncle abandoned his nephew and the sister her brother and many times, wives abandoned their husbands, and, what is even more incredible and cruel, mothers and fathers abandoned their children and would refuse to visit them. As a result, of that innumerable number of those, men and women, who fell ill, there remained no-one to care for them except for friends, which were very few, or avaricious servants, who, despite the high salaries and easy service, became very scarce. And there were some men and women of such vulgar mind, that most of them were not accustomed to service, and did nothing other than serve things whenever the sick person asked and watch while they died; and the wages of this service was often death. And some of the sick were totally abandoned by neighbors, relatives, and friends, and, on account of the scarcity of servants, turned to a custom no-one had ever heard of before: no sick woman, even if she were a svelte, beautiful, and gentle lady, would care if she were being served by a man, young or otherwise, and would have no shame exposing every part of her body to him as if he were another woman, if the necessity of her sickness required her to; and this is why the women who were cured were a little less chaste afterwards. Moreover, many people died by chance who would have survived had they been helped.

And so, because of the shortage of people to care for the sick, and the violence of the disease, day and night such a multitude died that it would dumbfound any to hear of it who did not see it themselves. As a result, partly out of necessity, there arose customs among those surviving that were contrary to the original customs of the city. There used to be a custom, which is today still followed, where the women relatives and neighbors of a dead person would gather in the house and there mourn; on the other hand, there would gather at the front of the dead man's house neighbors and other citizens as well, whose numbers followed from the quality of the deceased man, and along with these priests in their finery, and with all the funeral pomp and candles and singing, he would be carried by those closest to him to the church of his choice.

When the ferocity of the pestilence began to mount, for the most part people ceased with this custom and replaced it with a far different one. For not only did many people die without women surrounding them, most passed away from this life without anyone there to witness it at all; there were very few who departed amid the pious wailing and beloved tears of those close to them, far from this, most took up the custom of laughing and partying while their loved ones died; this latter usage, the women, who formerly had been so merciful and concerned with the health of the deceased one's soul, especially mastered. Also, it became rare for the body to be born to the church accompanied by more than ten or twelve men, who were not noble and cherished citizens, but a kind of grave-digger fraternity made up of the least men of the city (they demanded to be called sextons, and demanded high wages) who would bear them away; and these would bear the body quickly away, not to the church the dead man had asked for, but to the nearest one they could find, with four to six priests, maybe with a candle but sometimes not, in front; and with the help of these sextons, without fatiguing themselves with any long ceremony or rite, in any old tomb that they found unoccupied they'd dump the corpse. As for the lesser people, who were for the most part middle class, they presented the most miserable spectacle: for these, who had no hope or who were seized with poverty, had to remain in the area, and fell ill by the thousands every day, and since they had no servants or any other kind of help, almost without exception all of them died. And many would meet their end in the public streets both day and night, and many others, who met their ends in their own houses, would first come to the attention of their neighbors because of the stench of their rotting corpses more than anything else; and with these and others all dying, there were corpses everywhere.

And the neighbors always followed a particular routine, more out of fear of being corrupted by the corpse than out of charity for the deceased. These, either by themselves or with the help of others when available, would carry the corpse of the recently deceased from the house and leave it lying in the street outside where, especially in the morning, a countless number of corpses could be seen lying about. Funeral biers would come, and if there was a shortage of funeral biers, some other flat table or something or other would be used to place the corpses on. Nor did it infrequently happen that a single funeral bier would carry two or three people at the same time, but rather one frequently saw on a single bier a husband and a wife, two or three brothers, a father and a son, or some other relatives. And an infinite number of times it happened that two priests bearing a cross would be going to bury someone when three or four other biers, being born by bearers, would follow behind them; the priests would believe themselves to be heading for a single burial, and would find, when they arrived at the churchyard, that they had six or eight more burials following behind them. Nor were there ever tears or candles or any company honoring the dead; things had reached such a point, that people cared no more for the death of other people than they did for the death of a goat: for this thing, death, which even the wise never accept with patience, even though it occur rarely and relatively unobtrusively, had appeared manifestly to even the smallest intellects, but the catastrophe was so unimaginably great that nobody really cared. There was such a multitude of corpses that arrived at all churches every day and every hour, that sacred burial ground ran out, which was especially a problem if each person wanted their own plot in accordance with ancient custom. When the cemeteries were for the most part full, they excavated great pits in which they'd place hundreds of newly arrived corpses, and each corpse would be covered with a thin layer of dirt until the pit was filled.

And beyond all the particulars we suffered in the city, I will tell you not only about the ill times passing through the city, but also mention that the countryside was not spared these circumstances. For here, in the fortified towns, similar things occurred but on a lesser scale than in the city, through the small villages and through the camps of the miserable and poor laborers and their families, without any care from physicians or help from servants, and in the highways and the fields and their houses, day and night at whatever hour, not like humans but more like animals they died; and because of this, they came to neglect their customs, as did the people in the city, and had no concern for their belongings. Beyond all this, they began to behave as if every day were the day of their certain death, and they did no work to provide for their future needs by caring for their fields or their animals, but rather consumed everything they owned. Because of this, it happened that oxen, asses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and dogs, the most faithful human companions, were driven from the houses, and in the fields, where the crops had been abandoned, not even reaped let alone gathered, they would wander about at their pleasure; and many, as if they possessed human reason, after they had pastured all day long, would return satiated to their houses without any guidance from any shepherd. Let us leave the countryside and return to the city. How much more can be said of the cruelty of heaven, and possibly, in part, that of humanity, which between March and July of that year, because of the ferocity of the pestilence and the fact that many of the sick were poorly cared for or abandoned in their hour of need by people frightened for their health, killed off one hundred thousand human creatures for certain within the walls of the city of Florence Who, before this fatal calamity, would have thought there were so many within the city? Oh, how many grand palaces, how many beautiful homes, how many noble dwellings, filled with families, with lords and ladies, became completely emptied even of children! Oh, how many famous families, how many vast estates, how many renowned fortunes remained without any rightful successors! How many noble men, how many beautiful ladies, how many light-hearted youth, who were such that Galen, Hippocrates, or Asclepius would declare them the healthiest of all humans, had breakfast in the morning with their relatives, companions, or friends, and had dinner that evening in another world with their ancestors! As I think over these miseries, sorrow grows inside me . . .

Mena: Very interesting read, Pandemics are not so new to the world, but more importantly, humanity prevailed

Reference:
Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Evil and you





Recently, it occurred to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through circumstances of birth, nor between classes, nor between religion either but right through every human heart and through all human hearts.

This line shifts. Inside us, it swings with time, goes left or right as the years go by. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small minutiae of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... a small corner of evil.

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 posits: " I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

He continues:
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?


When a vast majority of humanity realises this, it can then approach enlightenment

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Musings on forgiveness and retentive nemory .Help

HMMMM (Musings of one who they say 'dont belong...')
This not the usual jokes or self deprecating humour.
Life is both sunshine as well as that endless rain that comes with storms. Also I typed out without editing, just typed as it flowed..expect terrible writing..
I am typing this to myself, as a way of understanding self...to look back at the issue critically, how an insignificant event, (someone ran her car into my parked car directly causing bodily harm/ injuries to me) affecting so many other plans and leading me into financial obligations even debt previously unplanned for. She had zero remorse..
Also any reasonable human being with similar or worst experiences that will like to share tips on how to handle situations like this..
.
Preamble.lol: Nowadays Its like to engage in social media (even FB, even in ones own space) in an honest fashion, first, one needs to meet certain criteria (being a saint is one of them)...well I dont meet any predefined 'criteria' and I have this issue heavy on my mind.
Second: some ppl take everything to be a joke/or an opportuniry to mock..

So I aim to put words together to see if reading it back, will somehow make it easier to understand.

Forgiveness is a means of avoiding the anger and other negative feelings caused by the action of others.
Memory: the ability to remember information, experiences, and people..the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information
Forgiveness when one has...well graphic memory?

One Madam/Mrs Tolani, hit my parked car, the impact pushed me and I fell unto a crate of breakable bottles..a couple of those bottles broke on impact and the jagged edges injured me, 2 deep cuts one shallow.
Like some other human beings, I have a sensitive disposition, in addition, like many others i have this meddlesome 'selective retentive memory' even my chieftess noticed this at a point in my childhood. She called it another name but never mind that. Growing up I learnt to protect that part of myself, and part of protecting myself was to forgive forgive forgive, or explain it away so as to forgive.

When provoked, I try to take a very long time to react and say I do, i seek ways to make amends whether it was my fault or not.

but along the way I dont know if ppl became more selfish, uncouth, much meaner or just thoughtless and i didnt get the memo,cus recently i am having to apologise as well as forgive a lot more than usual...

and now.

Forgiveness is so easy to preach, a little harder to imbibe.
Just before Christmas, Jabi was suddenly in a rush, it was like everyone wanted to travel all at the same time, that same dat. I drove out to the shops by the road to get some essentials. Seeing how everyone was in a mad haste I made to safely park, run off to get some toiletries and on my way back, bustling among last minute shoppers...it happened. She hit my parked car,the impact was what i could properly recall.

As i was getting oriented with what happened, and made to get up, some storekeepers/pedestrians swung to action, tried pulling me off the crates "aunty sorry" "aunty comot for road make we pass" madam I sabi the woman, na my customer, like you, take this is her number'
I got up and was bleeding but because it was darkish and i had on a dark outfit, not immediately noticeably. At first I reacted as I would normally, thanked everyone, took the phonenumber, said it was nothing and drove my damaged car home.
At home I saw the extent of the damage to my car and my person. I tried to stop the bleeding. Imagine the scenario, all around me where carols and/or fireworks. I was wondering how much blood do I have. Managed to get to a hospital even there i was bleeding so i left. Went to a pharmacist who expertly cleaned the wound and bandaged it (plaster)..He adviced i leave the area dry and also let me know he was travelling to his village, gave me some supplies...I paid from a very stretched budget.

A day later it was seeping pus. Feeling vulnerable I called the woman, she was initialy polite but when I told her what she did she spoke aggressive yoruba and hung up. For some reasons as she hung up, her phone sent me a message giving me her full names, various phone numbers asking me to patronise her 'kiddies business', even showing me the facebook.
Not knowing it was automated and frankly out of sorts with the whole thing I texted her that i got her message with the business details and who knows I may tell interested people or even patronise her kiddies business but the issue remains on ground. She called back speaking in aggressionand in yoruba, with Ilittle english here and there, i managed to hear "which text did me Tolani send?"" which business?" "my husband Hazeez handles car issues" and the clincher "did I tell you to patronise her"..etc etc etc..In all this exchange there was zero remorse..I sent the 'patronise my page' text back to her....and my heart remembered forgiveness. I also remember I had had accidents and even in my dazed state, I apologised profusely AND did restitution. treated the victims fairly.
I have lived in Abuja for a number of years, moved here with that car and have had 2 major accidents with my trust jalopy.. One in particular comes to my mind, I was driving on a seemingly deserted (of other motorists) street and you know as you go downhill your car goes a bit faster, then i saw one woman with about 10 children..(Rule of thumb, when driving and i see kids I slow down and honk, as they tend to either cross the road without looking properly or just play games that puts them in a dangerous spot on a motorway) I saw madam with 10 kids, made to break, my break failed, one of the older boy was pushing the girl onto the street maybe a gamw, I honked but also made a decision to turn my car and hit a wall than harm a human.

I paid for the wall, my subsequent treatments and my car survived (it has suffered)
Back to Tolani, as i opened the wound and winced, all around me where fireworks and people wishing themselves a merry christmas. I imagined she was at home with her husband and children, without a care in the world that she caused deep cuts to a stranger causing that stranger to spend so much money even place self in debt...all because of her actions.

Three times daily I cleaned and dressed the wounds remembering what happened..wondering to myself why didnt I stay indoors? By new years eve I think I got a handle on how to treat deep cuts but I still have the scary memory. I was speaking to a mentor of mine (she has her own challenges currently being in the eyes of the public) she told me it could have been worse, quickly followed by an example of a worst off situation. Sadly I am not one to use the suffering of others to console myself..so to speak.

I think I am typing this to myself, as a way of understanding myself...to look back at the issue critically, how an insignificant event, (someone ran her into mine causing injuries) affected so many other plans and push me into financial responsibilities (read debt) previously unplanned for. At this point I dont need her apologies)

Forgiveness is so easy to preach, a little harder to imbibe.
Will read this a few more times to be sure I am being fair...and to understand why forgiveness (or should i say forgetting it even happened) is not coming as easily...

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

NIGERIANS (INCLUDING NORTHERNERS) DONT EXPERIENCE DEPRESSION? excerpts from Ike Anya


I read..a lot..to say the least, plus when online I read expansively, once in a while catching a gem in an article or a book...sometimes its not from the main theme, or the monologues or even the moral lessons. Its the little details that get to me. I read this a long time ago, it moved me and I saved it to be used at an appropriate time.

Now I realise there is nothing like 'appropriate time'

I learnt a lot from his article and I hope someone someday also gain something valuable from this great piece of work.

Enjoy Excerpts from the gifted Ike Anya's: 'People dont get depressed in Nigeria' I learnt a lot from his article and I hope someone someday also gain something valuable from this great piece of work.

I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.  It’s a feature on the young British Nigerian novelist Helen Oyeyemi in which she speaks of her struggle with depression in her teenage years and the difficulty her parents faced with understanding it. ‘Because people don’t get depressed in Nigeria,’ she says. ‘They were like, “Cheer up, get on with it.”’
The black words sliding over the page carry me back in time to another place, where I too, like Helen’s parents, believed that people don’t get depressed in Nigeria.

I wake up to a clucking sound outside my bedroom window. It is guttural, low-pitched, and there is a rustling in the fields of guinea corn that stand sentry immediately outside our low-eaved modern bungalow. I walk to the window and peer through the grimy glass louvres, past the hole-ridden metal mosquito netting, and see a herd of cattle making its gentle, almost silent way through the fields.

I walk out into the living room that I share with the other occupant of the small two-bedroomed house set on the edge of the hospital compound and head for the bathroom. There I retrieve my battered metal bucket and head out to draw the water for my morning ablutions. At the well, there is a gaggle of young children, chattering rhythmically in Hausa as they deftly throw the black rubber guga into the well, hauling it up to fill the buckets and jerry cans surrounding it. As they see me make my way along the path lined with bowing neem trees, they shriek their greetings, laughing, excited.
‘Sannu, Likita, sannu.’
I am likita – Hausa for doctor – and I am twenty-seven years old, freshly qualified from medical school in southern Nigeria and posted to this small northern village for my national service.
One of the children rushes to grab my bucket and, despite my protestations, runs to the well to fill it up and deposit it back at my feet. I thank him and head back to the house, leaving the children to continue their chatting and fetching.I walk down the tree-lined mud path that leads from the grandly named staff quarters to the hospital, pausing on the way as I meet colourfully dressed and veiled women heading for the market in the next village, who greet me in the elaborate formal ritual of the Hausa culture.
Ina kwana . . . ina kwana, I echo as they enquire after my well-being, my work, my family.
Ina gajiya?
Ba gajiya.
Yaya aiki?
Da godiya.
We finish off with a madalla and I make my way along the low-ceilinged corridors to the clinic where, as usual, there is a large mass of people of all ages and sexes already gathered. Looking into the distance, I notice that work seems to have started again on the wall that is being built around the hospital by the Petroleum Trust Fund. It isn’t clear who has decided that this is what we need most – a generator to stop us doing surgery by lantern light might have been good, as would some equipment for Wilson’s fledging laboratory – but the contracts have been awarded in faraway Abuja and Kano, and so I suppose we must be grateful that the contractor at least seems to be making a good fist of building the wall, which is supposed to provide us with additional security. And he has employed local labourers to do it, so we must be grateful for that as well.
Muttering angrily to myself, I settle into my chair and ask Sani, the cheerful youth who, with his smattering of English, has bagged the role of interpreter, to summon the first patient. I hear him calling out a woman’s name, having first, with an air of self-importance, bid the crowd to be quiet and to listen well. I have soon learned that everyone who works in the hospital is highly revered in the village. We all, apparently, are called likita and there are rumours that the theatre cleaner, the hulking Kaka, runs a thriving sideline in low-price hernia surgeries performed after hours in his living room. Considering how bare the theatre itself is, his living room may perhaps not be that much more under-equipped for the purpose.

bearded young man, perhaps twenty-five years old, dressed in a blue riga, walks into the room, carrying a toddler in one arm and with the other solicitously leading a young woman, a girl really, dressed in the simple wax-print wrapper and blouse with a loosely tied headscarf that is the common dress of all the female folk here. He greets me respectfully but with an air of distraction as Sani ushers the girl into the seat. The young man stands guard beside her, holding the baby and focusing on my face. She sits listlessly, head bowed, silent.

I look at the blank sheet of paper, torn out of an exercise book, that lies before me and serves as a consultation sheet. I ask her name, her age and what has brought her to the hospital. I do not bother to ask for an address, swiftly amending the history-taking technique learned at my medical school in Enugu. Her husband answers as she continues to look down, despondent. He says her name and volunteers that she is perhaps fifteen years old. Having by now spent over a month in the village, I can already pick out his answers from the rapid-fire Hausa without Sani having to interpret and am not surprised that a girl that young is already married with a baby. It is the way here and one of the nurses has explained to me that in their culture a woman is not supposed to see her second menstrual period in her father’s house. He cites the Quran as his source and I tell him of the many Muslim northern Nigerian girls that I knew while at secondary school, many of whom remain unmarried and are pursuing careers. He is silent but I sense that he refrains from challenging me out of respect rather than out of any acceptance of my counter-argument. Returning to the patient before me, I ask again what has brought them to the hospital. My question, once Sani has translated, elicits a burst of animated utterance from the man, his wife remaining silent, her head still bowed.
Her problems started, Sani translates, perhaps a year or so ago, soon after the birth of the little boy, their firstborn. She would spend almost the whole day lying on the mat asleep, she had stopped smiling or singing while she cooked, she now cried a lot, and had ceased doing all of her household chores. I can see the concern on the husband’s face as he recounts the many ways in which the girl has changed from the cheerful industrious woman he married, to this lifeless bundle of misery draped floppily on the chair beside me. He swears that he has been good to her, that he does not beat her, even though he is only a poor farmer, and I can see it in the newness of her cheap wax-print outfit and in the rows of bangles that adorn her wrists. They have taken her to see a number of traditional healers but the maganin gargajiya has failed to work its magic and so, against the advice of his family and hers, he has brought her here to try Western medicine.
My first thought is of post-partum depression and yet my doubts remain. In spite of our psychiatry lectures and placements, the hours spent in the wards and outpatient clinics at the psychiatric hospital in Enugu, many of my classmates, myself included, still look at depression as a largely Western illness. The few cases that we have seen in the clinics in Nigeria have been mostly among the relatively affluent, and so we imagine that it is a luxury for those who can afford to ignore their more pressing immediate problems – what to eat and how to keep a roof over their heads – to indulge in afflictions of the mood.
And so I probe a little more, asking more questions, trying to disprove the evidence of my own eyes. How, I wonder, can a young woman who has grown up in this harsh environment, waking up early to fetch water, cook, clean, farm till late in the day, be suffering from depression?
And yet, the more I probe, the more the husband, through Sani, proffers evidence to confound my theory. I am conscious that time is passing and that there are still a slew of patients to see on the morning ward round and so I embark on more rapid-fire questioning. Is she eating? No, she has had a poor appetite since the illness began and has consequently lost a lot of weight. She has also stopped visiting her friends and family and takes little or no interest in her child or, indeed, in anything.
The more I try to discount it, the more conscious I am that this is looking more and more like a classic case of post-partum depression. I look up from my scribbling on the page and meet the eyes of her husband, staring, his gaze almost boring into my face, his countenance steady, earnest and hopeful. He has come to us against the wishes of his family and the village and I feel that I owe him something. I must not let him down.
Finally, with an inward sigh, I reach for a pile of neat slips of paper, which Sani has meticulously cut up before I arrive, to serve as prescription forms. The recommended treatment for depression is either therapy or medication.  I look through my formulary, flicking through the well-thumbed anti-infective agent section to the pristine antidepressant section, trying to decide which antidepressant might be most easily available in this remote place. The question of going to the hospital pharmacy does not arise as they have struggled in the past to fill prescriptions for simple antibiotics. Knowing the limitations of the pharmacy, I opt for Amitriptyline, the cheapest and most basic of the antidepressants, and ask her if she is still breastfeeding.
‘No,’ her husband says, she has not really breastfed at all and the baby is being suckled by his brother’s wife who has a toddler of her own.
I scribble quickly and hand the paper to the husband, explaining through Sani how the medication is to be taken. I know that he will probably have to send someone to Kano, a good hour’s bus ride away, to buy the medicine. I wonder what it will cost him – this is the lean time between harvests. Perhaps he will need to draw on the last few naira saved from the previous year’s cotton crop, reserved for the ram meat for the impending Sallah festivities. Or perhaps he will join the throng of supplicants squatting outside the Hakimi, the village head’s palace each morning, bringing their needs and concerns.
Whatever the cost, I sense that he is determined to do whatever it will take to restore his wife to him. I pray that I am not sending this young man on a wild goose chase.

I ask them to come back in two weeks, fearful of giving a later appointment, just in case I have got the diagnosis wrong. I do not want to leave her for too long on medication she does not need. They leave the room the same way they came in, a ragged chain of three, her battered plastic slippers dragging on the rough concrete floor.

Two weeks later, I am sitting in the clinic again and my head is reeling.
Sani calls the next patient and she marches forward, her gauzy headscarf tied at a jaunty angle. She carries her toddler in her arms, cooing soothingly to him. Behind her is the bearded husband, a broad smile splitting his expansive face. As she takes her seat beside the consulting desk, he falls to the ground, wanting to grasp my feet in gratitude. I ask him to get up and laughingly begin to scribble on her sheet. I do not need to ask if the medicine has worked.Nearly a decade later, I sit in a white-panelled meeting room, beneath harsh, bright fluorescent lighting. I look out to the rooftops of west London, the arch of Wembley Stadium barely visible in the distance. My colleague responsible for mental-health provision is explaining the challenge of getting more people to use the new ‘talking therapy’ service for those with low-level mental-health problems. We have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds, but uptake has been slow.
As we debate how to address this, my mind wanders back to a small, bare consulting room, in a hospital in the northern Nigerian savannah, and I wonder how my patient is faring.

Mena: Again above are Excerpts from Ike Anya's: 'People dont get depressed in Nigeria'
I learnt a lot from his article and I hope someone someday also gain something valuable from this great piece of work.

HAPPY 2019!!! AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Hey hey

As it is the time of the year..I was going through a number of fwd fwd messages, fwd wishes and fwd 'preaches/sermon' sent from people wishing others a happy new year.

This one stood out..Will the real author please stand up so I can give due credit. Thank you


This BRAND NEW 2019

May your days be Useful, your night Restful,
 

May your homes remain Peaceful, May your hands and treasure chest remain full so you keep giving

May your efforts be ever Fruitful,

May your ends be Beautiful.

May God restore anything you may have lost in the past years.

Remain ever Blessed,keep up your positive outlook,

keep being the loving happygolucky bubbly spirit you are...

any stumbling block is your stepping stone.


keep breathing,your best is yet to come..and it may seem bleak some days but you will get the desired goal!

the sky is your limit



Happy New Year

Saturday, 29 December 2018

RISE AND SHINE? WHEN? WHY? (including helpful tips from a celebrity writer Nkem)


 

WHO, WHY, HOW, WHAT WHEN?

Who knew spending a large amount of resources and energy trying to give back to ever demanding 'humanity' or just being there in almost every way for humanity, whether working hard at a job, and yet the salary keeps reducing while tasks become overwhelming for one person or helping someone else's business to grow (with zero expectation) yet receiving negative backlash seemingly from nowhere, or trying to please family and never meeting up to very high rigid yet ever changing standards, can leave one feeling soo exhausted, drained and finding ways to cope.
Worse still, 'humanity' betrayed, slandered and mocked away all that energy...and yet...I still have to rise and shine?

Thoughts weigh heavy indeed, gladly the relative safety of blogger.com gives each user a place to express thoughts without feeling picked apart (well you sort of still get picked apart, I just used it for lack of a better word), an avenue to let it out and hope for solace in ..written/typed word..solace in words.

How can one describe these thoughts:

Its like:

...walking into a pitch black room full of objects at every tiny step.
...slipping from the side of a hill without any branch, or a dent to stop the sliding
...being carried along the current during a storm that does not seem to have an end

Looking to make sense of it all, I found this lovely article written by the famous celeb Nkem and a little piece of me is both glad and sad. Glad that someone can express similar thoughts and sad that she too, felt helpless and exhausted at a point. I shared some of it below, it is not my article and I do not own it. I admire her earnest method of writing and two points resonated so deeply with me.


...the year has been a kaleidoscope of some sort… if that makes sense. On the 1st of January 2018 when I was writing a list of goals I would like to achieve in the year for instance,  travelling to Bangkok for a protracted period of time was not on the list. Hell! A lot of things that has happened in the last 300 and something days has been nothing I envisaged by a long shot. Sure, I achieved certain goals I set for myself… like earning the desired minimum wage I set for myself, getting a car, going on the number of trips I wanted, becoming more extroverted, getting closer to God, e.t.c…but a lot more I never imagined happened to teach me several invaluable lessons. Of course,  if narrate them all, I would probably have to publish my own “We’re going to need more wine”, so maybe I’ll settle for sharing 3 of these things I have learned and the events that lead me to the realization.

DO NOT buy a Nigerian Used car
I found myself with a 2012 Toyota Corolla, Nigerian used of course. Little did I know that I had spent a huge chunk of my savings buying a liability...When I finally decided to sell it,their analysis.. discovered that the car was originally a 2008 model which was revamped to look like a 2012. Kai!

A toxic work environment is more likely to change you than you can change it
This year I left a job I  had since I graduated from university. My very first job. I had worked there for 7 and half years and had never for one day gotten a bad performance review, even though I combined this job with other  tasking side jobs. Sure, I did get a promotion at some point, but the major promotion that I wanted…the game changing one that I needed to really validate that endeavour was being eternally delayed for reasons I couldn’t really place my finger on (even though I had been recommended for it by two different HODs ).  Actually, I was doing the job already, except that I did not have the title and the money that came with it.

Because I had been there for so long, I felt a measure of loyalty; I felt that if I just stayed and maybe worked even harder, things would change. I guess it eventually dawned on me that I was hitting my hands on a tipper loaded with sand (the adage sounds so much better in igbo). I realize how toxic it was – not just for me professionally, but for my mental health as well. I was losing my passion for that field and I was just unhappy. This job was turning me into a shadow of who I really was ; I realized I had to quit.(this account hit me like a ton of bricks, it got so bad that at a point my heart raced faster,  at the thought of going back to that toxic environment with visibly decreasing remuneration)
Of course I didn’t realize at the time that God had something much better in store for me and it was really all orchestrated, but I learned the important lesson that a toxic work environment is more likely to change you than you can change it. It is best to leave. Sometimes life gives us roadblocks for a reason, and we need to recognize when to quit- whether in a relationship that just isn’t working out, or perhaps a change in our career path. I guess it helped that I had enough money saved, so I had the option to walk out without hesitation
.

Just because they are family does not mean they cannot be toxic (very deep sigh)
I am someone who values family above everything else. There is nothing my sisters or nephews would ask that I do that I would not – as long as I have the ability or means to do it. There have been times I had sleepless nights trying to figure out how to meet the requests for them. .. Actually, I grew up being controlled..

Becoming an adult and gaining my independence of course gave me a measure of control; I could make my decisions for myself without necessarily being “called to order” or judged unnecessarily. Even then, there was still a shortage of autonomy and this persistent self-betrayal where I find myself constantly changing my opinion to please my siblings or not being able to say ‘No’ when I really should.  These are, on a normal day, what I would classify as  signs of a damaging relationship… but because it was family, I did not want to look at it that way.
A few month ago, however, I overheard a conversation between two of my sisters and they were talking about me. They don’t know that I know about that conversation as I did not confront them over it (I also know they won’t read this article), but it kind of yanked my eyes open and made me realize that what we had was an unhealthy relationship. Any relationship in which you experience withdrawals of energy without deposits will definitely leave you in negative. It is toxic and you have to cut it off or manage it accordingly. Being family does not make it any different, especially when it starts to affect your mental health and general state of being. (this hit me hard, got me very teary)

It’s okay to manage anxiety with a pill
I really do not want to talk about this, but what is the point in writing this article if I’m not going to be completely honest. A major part of my 2018 was me handling anxiety. Very few of my friends know this, and my family do not know the extent to which it may have gone. Most times I just said to them: “Oh, I went to the hospital today, it’s nothing, I’m okay”. Actually, I remember the first time I went to the hospital (late 2016) and they diagnosed stress. It was funny to me because the doctor asked me : did you lose someone special? Did your heart get broken? Did you lose your job? e.t.c… I said ‘no’ to all these questions

It was unreal how stress could come with physical symptoms. At the time, I had about 3 tasking jobs, other freelance writing gigs and zero social life, so I decided to cut them down and socialize more.  I even invited a friend to come live with me. I did not take the pills they gave me to “relax” at the time, because it was just ridiculous.
Then in 2018, it become worse.  This time in addition to chest pain, rashes, even worse pain from the shoulder and arm, shortness of breath, dizziness and  nausea, I started having  panic attacks. If you have ever had a full-blown panic attack, you would know that it is not a joke. I would not even wish it on my enemy.
This time the doctor did several tests and said it was stress-induced anxiety. At this time I just had two jobs and a few freelance writing gigs. They weren’t really physically or mentally exerting, why would I take pills, biko? I refused to take the pills. But then, it started to affect the quality of my life: I wasn’t giving my best at my different jobs, I was disappointing everyone, being unnecessarily difficult in my relationships… and basically becoming someone else actually.
I remember that a client I respected a lot called because I had missed a lot of deadlines. I had actually planned these articles, but had spent most of my valuable time zoning out, as I was consistently losing motivation and focus for everything. I remember that when I considered telling her what was really happening, it just seemed silly. Actually I think I did tell her, but in a half- baked way that probably made me look like a phoney. I don’t know. To cut long story short, after the last panic attack, I decided to actually accept this diagnosis and take the pills, and also adjust my lifestyle. And it worked!

I guess my point is, 2018 taught me that it is okay to accept stress as a diagnosis; it doesn’t make you weird or inadequate or a psycho who can no longer be loved.  And even more, there is nothing wrong with taking medication for it. Just don’t get to the point of addiction though

Believe bigger. We have access to anything that we can believe God for…anything
Those who know me will tell you that I have come through life and conquered a lot by my faith in God, through Jesus Christ. I am not the most righteous or the best christian; heck, I even almost dated an atheist at some point this year (God forgive your daughter). In the last years, I had backslid a lot and my relationship with God had really watered down, until an incident this year got me realizing that even when I was closer to God back then, I was not believing big enough. The truth is, if you have faith enough, you can access anything and within the time frame you want it. No joke. And it’s not magic. It is simply by hard core un-staggering faith.

I remember I got a job to move to Israel by September, but thanks to our green passport, the work visa process became a drag and I had to quit the process entirely. It was certainly something would have tipped me into a state of depression, but here’s the thing: in the space of five days from the day I realized I wasn’t going to move to Rawabi anymore, I did a series of  interviews got another job and moved to Bangkok… in the blink of an eye.
If you have been to Bangkok or South East Asia, you will know how difficult the process with NDLEA and processing the work visa can be.

Of course, I am omitting certain juicy details but the essential thing I picked was this: there is nothing too big to imagine or have faith for.
***

Mena: Go forth and Conquer Nkem, (believe it or not, I cheered for Nkem, this hardworking young lady deserves this and more)
and as for my state of mind.. *for now I am blinking back tears from sheer exhaustion from wild thoughts* lets end it with words from my so called friend as (s)he dismissed my worries by saying 'las las you go dey alright'

Monday, 16 July 2018

Why 12th of July?



Why 12th of July '18? It could have been any other day but that day remains one of the worst days...
The effects of that day continues and today she is just about to face it, the next few hours she will face it..





She has used all methods of escapism and now there is no more.
As one who. even on a normal day, worries a bit about events occurring a million miles away, in the last few days, she has worried as deeply as she can and has been as anxious as humanly possible..
Her circle do not know the level of turmoil she is going through so they remain innocent and completely blameless.
The few who knew, even with no details, were deeply concerned and also remain blameless
The last sentence of encouragement she recalled was 'U shall absorb whatever comes' (sic) but she is not so sure...
..what she is sure of is that once again she feels alone as one foot steps forward and the other foot follows in this path of life..
..what she is sure of is that her heart beats very fast as she takes deep breaths preparing to face    whatever today, 16th July, may bring as consequences...
..what she is sure of is if she survives today, she will be spending more time writing
...and now, as unprepared as she is...the time is UP

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

We held on to each other as I slowly took off her thong with my teeth....

Hello!

So I was alarmed at the number of young people not taking their sexual health seriously. By young I mean from the age of consent to 22yr old.

I would have thought with the rise and rise of instant!information on all topics, the igeneration would be more worldly wise? Who would have thunk that??

I think its time for a repost, presenting the evergreen moral lesson, written by Obi Eze.......




From across the street, the sign at the clinic didn’t look as inviting as it did last week. It took a while before I could force myself to cross over to the other side. I walked in and said a muted “good morning” to the nurse/receptionist.
I guess she was used to people being apprehensive on the day they picked up their test results, and she replied with a cheery “Welcome sir, and how are you today?” I managed a smile and handed over my card.
“Sir, you will be required to see our counselor before picking up your test results”, she said without looking at the card.
“I already did, last week when I came for the test…she signed my card”
“Ah…alright then. Hmmm…your results have been ready since the last 4 days."
"Yeah..I was like, out of town". My excuse sounded lame.
"Please give me a couple of minutes sir, I’ll be right with you”
It turned out to be the longest 2 minutes of my life…I sat in the reception chair with my hands clasped between my knees. There were a 2 other people seated in the reception room but, as if by an unspoken agreement, we simply refused to acknowledge each other's presence. I guess everyone had a lot on our minds right about then.
I leaned my head back on the wall behind me and picked a spot on the white ceiling to keep my eyes locked on, allowing my mind to be flooded by the muted music coming from hidden speakers… “Gad…you gotta help me out here”, I prayed silently…
I tried to keep my mind focused on happy thoughts and on the other things I had to do for the rest of the day, just to while away time, but my mind kept going back to memories of how I got here in the first place.



.............................................................................

My job used to take me around a lot…and I get to be “out of station” sometimes for months on end. I was in the old Energy city for about 3 months…sometimes for up to 3 weeks at a stretch, working on building a centre for one of the communication companies here. I stayed at a small hotel in a quieter part of town…just a place I could kick back after being on my feet for most of the day on site. Being a loner (usually), it was my kinda place: small, hidden and quiet. My cousin often came around to drag me out on weekends and take me around town though. Most other times I just stayed in my hotel room, watching movies on my laptop or working, creating a “sound wall” of loud rock music.
Towards the end of the building project, a number of the advance staff from the communications company started coming around, “to beta test the place”, like they said anyway.

That’s when I met Nancy.

Smallish, bookish, academic type…shrill voice, big eyes, wearing a shoulder-length weave, acrylic nails..legs that looked great in heels, her skirts were always cut above her knees...hmmm, not bad!
I actually didn’t notice when she came on site. I just started getting reports from some of the construction workers still on site doing remedial work that there was this “bitch of a woman” giving them hell…complaining about any and everything.
“Just do what you need to do, so we can get out of here”, I told them.
On that fateful day though, I was in my make-shift office, in the still-unfinished space meant for “phase 2” of the project, working on my snag-list for the building, when this cute chick walks up to my desk..
“Are you Mr. Obi?”
“Er..yeah?”
“Can you come with me for a minute; I need to show you something”
She led me towards the back of the building…I noticed the construction workers we passed on the way there, who usually gave nods of acknowledgement anytime I walked passed them, did their best to stay away from her path.
“How come there’s water in the underground tank, but no water in the bathrooms?” she asked, pointing to the full underground water storage tank..
“Excuse me, I REALLY must apologise for that”, I answered “we didn’t expect the company staff in till Monday. The booster pumps are being delivered tomorrow and will be installed and tested over the weekend”
“Well I hope so, my people are coming in on Monday, and we expect to have fully functioning offices”
“Promise, cross my heart” I said (or something to that effect).
I guess maybe it was the “authority” in her voice that intrigued me…or maybe I had been away from civilization for too long.

I hung out with my cousin that weekend...we both went out to the building site first. She wanted to see what I had been working on all this while and I wanted to make sure the pumps were installed.
“Nice work you’ve done here”
“Thanks, I should be out of your hair by next week-ish”
“Na wa o..will miss you jarey”
“Yeah yeah”
“Hey, I almost forgot…a friend of mine, we went to secondary school together, she called me last weekend that she’s been transferred here by her office, a communications company”
“..and her name is??” I asked, wrinkling my forehead.
“Nancy..you know her?”
"Oh jeeez..!!"

I got in early on Monday to make sure everything was working right…I just HATE it when the advance staff comes to take over their building before I’m out of there...they complain about EVERYTHING…I want a socket here…My desk will be here, can I have a light point over it?...Do we have to share bathrooms with the HOD?...Can we have more power outlets in the kitchen…Can this window be widened??
Sheesh…if I remained here long enough, the ass-wipes will be asking for jacuzzi’s in their offices…
I don’t really know why, but I kept an eye out for Ms. Nancy…the place was getting busy with staffers sorting out their furniture and stuff. I spotted her waving at me from amidst her “people”, and she gave me a thumbs-up sign…I guess she knows the pumps are working now. I went off to my office to sort out my hand-over reports..

Thursday: I was supposed to be back in the Lagos office by Friday morning and I was waiting for the driver to come take me to the airport today. I had confirmed my flight for 4:30pm and called him, asking him to come pick me up by 1:30pm..it would take a two and a half hour speed drive to the airport and it was still 11:30am, so I still had a couple of hours to burn. I decided to stroll around the site one last time before I leave, maybe take a few final “after” pictures. Again, I don’t really know why, but I ended up in Ms. Nancy’s office. They were having an early lunch, or celebrating their new offices…a bunch of food packs were on a table at one corner of the office.
“Hey, Obi…you hungry? Join us na”
“Sure...why not?”
I grabbed a food-pack and a coke, then sat in her “visitors’” chair and we ended up talking for a while..about the building, about my cousin, her secondary school, varsity, MY secondary school and varsity…she turned out not to be such a hard-nosed bitch after all. The driver finally showed up at about 1:00pm and waited in the car downstairs. I sent him a food pack down to keep him busy. As I was about to leave Nancy, I leaned forward to plant a kiss on her cheek..I noticed she moved her head away just a tad, but stilled allowed the kiss..hmmmm..

Plane touched down in Lagos about 5:45pm...flight was a bit rough, but I guess around here these days, any flight that lands in one piece was a good one. I had just switched my phone on when a text message came in..
“Did u hav to kiss me in front of my workers? I dont tink dat was necessary, did u? Hope u had a safe trip– Nancy”
Hmph, drama…well, at least now I had her number (it hit me just then that I forgot to ask her for it...how the heck did she get mine?)
Stressed out with Lagos traffic and the “no light” wahala when I got home, I had almost forgotten about her till just after midnight. Bored with writing my report, I wondered if it was too ungodly an hour to be calling her…decided on sending a text..
“Sorry if I embarrassed u in front of ur subordinates..wasnt my intention. Got back 2 Lag ok. Thanx 4 d rice”
Reply came in half a minute later
“Dats ok..glad u got home safe”
Hmmm….a fellow night owl..cool..!!

Anyway, what followed was about 2-3 months of all-day text messages and funny/generic emails, late night hours long calls, phone sex..and this was before happy-hour was invented (hey, she worked with a cell-phone service company, they get free air-time) etc.

She called quite early one Saturday morning...
“Hey, Obi…a colleague of mine is on leave in Lagos…could you text me your address so I can send it to her. I gave her a something for you, she needs to know where she can drop it off”
“Er..sure”
The cute chick lying next to me groaned as she turned to face me..
“Who was that?", she whispered sleepily.
“Friend…no biggie”
“Shit..it’s still dark…wake me up at 7:00 jo..I’ve got lectures today”
“Sure”
Mandy was a “friend”…met her a few years earlier, and she went to Varsity close to where I lived. She had come over to hang out for the weekend. I sauntered off to the living room to watch early Saturday morning cartoons (at least we had light now; I better enjoy it while it lasts). Slumped on the couch and sent off the text to Nancy.
Woke Mandy up at 7:15, made her breakfast while she showered, and she later left for campus. It was almost noon while I was taking a shower when Nancy’s call came in..
“Hi Obi..my friend’s having a little trouble finding your place, I’m gonna ask her to call you now, so you can you give her directions..??”
“Yeah..sure”
Her friend called me thirty seconds later (she seemed to be giggling a tad too much). I asked her to hand her phone over to the cab-driver and I gave him directions. It wasn’t till I hung up that it occurred to me that Nancy might actually be with her in the car…and they were both on their way to my place!!
They arrived at my door about 15 minutes later, with Nancy carrying a suitcase (Uh-oh!)
“SURPRIIIISE!!”
“Yeah right” I thought…“Heeeey, welcome to Lagos” I said.
We all hung out at my place for a while…gisting and laughing…for about an hour before seeing her friend off.

We were hardly through the door when we got back before we practically went at each other like starved pit-bulls…she was every inch as crazy as I imagined and more.
Second time around was less frenzied…but just as mind-blowing, she was quite the gymnast.
Doorbell rang about 3 hours later (Shit...I had forgotten about Mandy!!)
Long story short…plenty of drama that night with Mandy throwing a SERIOUS tantrum and me having to do a suicide watch over her all night, and then Nancy having a girl-talk with her at 5am in the morning about the “unreliability of men” and the “need NOT to take any of them seriously” (What the heck…was THAT supposed to be helping??)...I mean, I sat there and watched them have a conversation about me like I wasn’t even in the room…weird!!

I had gone back to Energy city about 3 months later to see about starting phase 2 of the building project. Not surprisingly I stayed at Nancy’s place this time, and not at the hotel. I stayed only one night though.
We had gone back to phone calls...emails and text messages for more than another year, and it seemed like the long-distance relationship syndrome was taking effect. No expectations, no promises, no nothing (drama free, just like I preferred it).

Then one night she called me and asked if I was driving…

I said yes, I was still on my way home from work. She said she’d call me again later that night and hung up.
That was strange…she wasn’t sounding like her usual cheery self.
She called again at about 10:30pm..
“Hey Nancy…yeah, I’m home. Are you ok?”
“No…not really...was at my doctor’s a couple of weeks ago”
“Whoa…what’s wrong?”
It turned out that she was supposed to have a surgical procedure done, and had taken preliminary blood tests 2 weeks earlier which turned up showing that she was HIV positive…she confirmed it a week later and decided to call and tell me about it…Now THAT was a total mind-fuck for me. Torn between having to console her about the discovery, asking her about the up-coming surgery, and worrying about whether I was also infected, I only managed to fumble through my words on the phone. I could hardly put a coherent thought together, much less a sentence. The rest of our conversation was more of a blur…all I could hear was the blood pounding in my head.
She seemed to sense the turmoil I was going through at the time and started telling me words I would later hear almost verbatim from a counselor a week later. She encouraged me not to space out, to go take a test and take it from there. Needless to say, there was NO sleep for me that night.

First thing was to get a test done, right? Shit..I had NEVER had an HIV test done before...I know where they had a clinic close to a pal’s place at Yaba, but I’ve never been in there before.. it took me 2 days and 3 visits to the clinic before I could work up the nerve to walk through the door. I tried to look cheerful as I approached the nurse. Told her what I came for and she gave me a 2-page form to fill. Then had a counseling session…the counselor seemed to have assumed I already tested positive…and advised me on “appropriate behaviour”, diet, exercise and attitude “in case I tested positive”. Then it was off to the little room..a nurse came to take a blood sample from my arm. She seemed to be trying not to look me straight in the eye…quite disconcerting, that.
“Ok..that’s it”, said the counselor when I went back to her office, cotton swab on the needle entry point. “The results should be ready in a couple of days, you can come back then to pick it up”.
I said my thanks and stepped out into the street. Everything was different from then on. Work, play, eating, sleeping…nothing felt the same anymore.
It took me another week to finally go down to the clinic again….

...........................................................................................................

“Mr. Obi Eze?”
“Yes?”
The nurse had finally come back to the reception…
“This way sir”
She led me back to the counselor’s office…who waited till the receptionist left before addressing me. I noticed my pulse had become fast, heavy thuds in my ears..
“Mr. Obi, I wont mince words with you sir, your results are out and they don’t look too good. I’m afraid it came back positive”
I almost didn’t hear the words she said…my heart was pounding so loud in my ears, I felt it was going to explode right there...the room seemed to sway a bit. My forehead became instantly wet.
“Are you sure”, I said when I finally trusted myself to speak; I couldn’t even recognize my own voice…
“We triple-check these things, sir..it’s totally fool-proof”
She then went on to repeat most of what she said in the earlier counseling sessions, consoling me as best she could (or rather, as best her training could afford her)…I didn’t catch most of what she was saying, anyway…it was all a blur.
“Do you have any idea how you could have been infected”
I thought about Nancy then, but just shook my head…still in shock
“Have you had any intimate contact with anyone in the last 3 months?”
Still all I could do was shake my head. She didn’t seem convinced though…I’m sure she thought I wasn’t even listening to her (she was right).
“You might have to call anyone whom you feel you might have infected, and tell them to get tested…even if it’s just a routine test”
I nodded this time, looking at the floor…

She wrote out prescription drugs, re-emphasising the need for proper diet and exercise.
“There’s still life Mr. Obi…and so there’s still hope, you HAVE to live your life as carefully as you can from now on... Come back in another month for some more tests and evaluations, and we’ll see..ok?”
She said a few more practiced words of encouragement and even saw me to the door (I guess that was a gesture reserved for the VIP patients).
I stopped at the receptionist’s to make an appointment for the next month. Funny...she no longer seemed as cheery as she was when I came in.
The sun was bright when I stepped onto the street…people were walking along without cares in the world, kids playing on the street. It would have been a perfect day…if only..if only…
Everything was different now, plans I had might have to change, promises I made to people…things I wanted to do…ALL that has to change now.
“Damn”, I thought, as I crossed the street to where I parked.

Stopping at a phone card shop on my way home, I loaded my phone with air-time.
I had a few long calls to make…

My thoughts: The above piece, titled 'HIV+...so what next..??' was written by today's featured author Obi Eze








Sunday, 20 May 2018

Amazing advice for ALL generation— written in 1997 by Mary Schmich,

Hi, 

I hope you are very well. :-)






Its been a while I shared anything here. Life happened and is still happening. Might share a bit if motivated or....might close it, if not.

Lately, I  have been thinking about how life simply does not come with a manual, and somehow I remembered these lyrics and it contains some valuable advice.

They are from a famous essay — written in 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune, I hope this means something to you, in whatever stage you may be, in your journey in life.
.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97.
Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience...


I will dispense this advice now. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked...


You're not as fat as you Imagine.
Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.


Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Sing.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy;
Sometimes you're ahead,
Sometimes You're behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults;
If you Succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.
Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with yourLife.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.


Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't Congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body, Use it every way you can... Don't be afraid of it, or what other people Think of it,
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.


Dance
... even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.


Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings;
They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.



Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will Philander, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

But trust me on the sunscreen...

Brother and sister together we'll make it through
Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you've been hurting, but I've been waiting to be there
For you. And I'll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can.
Everybody's free.





Reference: Baz Lurhman   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xavFb4WH7o0

Very powerful..even 21yrs after it was published!! But thats my opinion, did it make any sense to you? 

Thanks for reading, :-)
Mena