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Saturday 26 December 2020

Of Pandemics, Suffering and Civil Unrests, I too will die, but for now, I must live!!


Lets do a quick catch up, I still work in a dayjob, I am once, twice, three times an Aunt to the most amazing nieces ever. I write this from Abuja, Nigeria and 
(scratch head smiley) we are all caught up, I think. 

Believe it or not, this is a festive post as expected this time of the year. :-) but it also touches on the biggest and most consistent concern of the world today, which is still the Covid Pandemic. There is so many online chatter covering the words, 2020, coronavirus,  medication, isolation, vaccine Covid Pandemic. Look, the subject matter is so broad,there is just too much to discuss, to unpack, that cannot fit nicely in a single blogpost and, yes, I feel we havent seen the worst of it, nor the best of it, cynics are gonna cynic, hopeless romantics are gonna romance :P.

MILLIONS of people died, are dying as a direct result of being infected by the virus, while the rest of us are also dying from the ripple effect the pandemic has on the Global Economy.

I think  perspective
 is intriguing as well as necessary. Sometimes it helps to speak with friends that become like family, random strangers on social media that become like friends,  from around the world. Take for instance, my lovely friend, up there in the photo , who I will term a 'First Worlder', fw is very worried that there are many more food banks now, than there has ever been, to cater to people on benefits in the United Kingdom. She is concerned at the number of people lining up, hoping to have food to eat. She resides in the UK, where such things are a given. The word, 'no one should go to sleep hungry' is actually a true statement. Whereas I am in Abuja, and while the coronavirus didnt hit us here as deeply as it did the rest of the world, the rippling, devastating effects definitely got to us. There are no food banks here, no relief, no palliatives, a lot of uncertainty, rise in criminal activities, rise in white collar and blue collar crimes, chaos, riots, demonstrations, lawful and unlawful killings, Kidnapping and Fraud as a 'stable business', conspiracy theories and mob mentality. A lot of people lost their regular jobs, or their businesses. And even within that deep loss, there is still a class consisting of the terminally sick, the poorest of the poor, the internally displaced and the very vulnerable and so on. 

When I go out and about, I see eyes and body language that reads as hungry, sick, poor, desperate, and angry. I am more of an empath so I SEE the light of life being gradually dimmed in many faces. I do what I can but I dont delude myself as to how quickly I can fall into this very demographic as described. Yes, I too will die, sometimes it looks like the better option, but first I must live.

When people are hungry and angry, distrust authorities, have one voice and organised, there will be civil unrests. Civil unrests leading to more suffering, and suffering itself killing so many many many people. Their survivors seek refuge or vengeance, sometimes both. 

Here is another perspective from another 'First Worlder' in reaction to major events that rocked his world.

2020 is not uniquely bad. 2021 will be worse and so-on. There’s this thing called *cause and effect.* It’s literally how everything in our entire universe works.
The civil unrest is a byproduct of the failures of late-stage capitalism; the result, not the cause.

The weather events are a byproduct of climate change, which scientists have been warning us about since the 1870s, only to fall on the deaf ears of greedy opportunists.

Our treading deeper into fascism is the byproduct of electing a fascist in 2016, who was only elected as the result of decades of railroading and policy failure by both parties.

The police brutality is the byproduct of classism and systemic racism that has been around since this country’s inception.

The stupidity and ignorance is the byproduct of underfunding education for decades, and the refusal of television and social media companies to implement any major stopgaps for misinformation and misleading propaganda. Nefarious people benefit from a dumbed down and confused populace.

The paranoia about “socialism” is the byproduct of the aforementioned subversion of education and media literacy as well as post-9/11 xenophobia, and the lie about “the shining city on a hill.”

So it helps to remember that there are actual, real-world reasons these things are happening. Don’t lose your mind and/or spiral down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole to rationalize it all with false, nonsensical, convenient, feel-good solutions. Everything is happening for a reason, and I mean that in the most literal and least metaphysical way possible.

Stay focused, stay sane, maintain your principles, and be ready for things to get way worse, because they absolutely will. We are heading into the most dangerous years of our lives. There’s no time left to despair. Keep your head up. We will get through this if we all put in the effort."

Originally shared by Cheston Neilson; who is speaking as an American, copied and reposted a whole bunch of times by friends of friends till it got to this blog.

Looking at the first line of his paragraph, it appears as if my post here seems even more relevant in this time. I agree with his last line too.

Anyway, my name today is Mena, and this is a tough 'ask' but let us try, to bring peace to people on earth. If you will not give, at least dont humiliate, if you wont better the next person, at least dont hurt/harm them in anyway, if you are a psychopath, who derives pleasure from suffering, please suffer thine own self. If you are the 1% of the 1% who benefits from any global crisis and wars, life na turn by turn,you either use your power and influence to become a hero or live long enough to be the villain and treated exactly like a villain.

May the sick recuperate, May the dead rest in perfect peace.

Wishing one and all continuous good health, peace and fulfilment. May your wishes come true. And may you and yours have more merry Christmases and well rounded new year! 

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!!!


- '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


- '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


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

Wednesday 19 August 2020



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

Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”