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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 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..
. 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 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 to speak.

I think I am typing this to myself, as a way of understanding 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


I read..a 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.


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