Archive for the ‘Blogs from and about school!’ Category

fairygodsister:

Olamide Craig is a friend, a brother, and a great man of God without all the airs, the falsehood, and the half truths.

I saw this post this morning from a link off Twitter, and I just knew I had to share. Hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Olamide is @RevDrCraig on Twitter if you want to get in touch.

Love, light, and God’s great blessings,

FGS.

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of mine on a thorny issue. Pornography.  A vast number of Christians are struggling with various forms of online porn. A friend talked to me about his struggle, and as I listened to him share his story, I smiled. I smiled because it reminded me of my own struggle.

So tonight, I want to share with you my story, not his. Its easy for preachers to tell other peoples stories. But how about ours?

I picked up my first Playboy™magazine when I was in primary school. I flipped through the pages with a combination of curiosity and disinterest. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But a seed had been sown, and its roots would take hold of the soil of my soul to bud much later in my adolescence. By the time I was a teenager, I was familiar with all the American, British and French porn magazines. It was much harder then. There were no phones, there was no internet. You had to sneak around with glossy magazines and hope that no one knew that under the Good Housekeeping or Ebony magazine was Penthouse or Oui or Nuts. All this while I was a committed believer, I did all I could to please the Lord, but I still had this one issue.

And then one day, I got called to leadership in my secondary school fellowship and went from Usher to President. I was sure God had made a mistake. Surely there were others better than me.  I tried to stop, I wanted to fulfill my role as President with a clear conscience. The harder I tried, the deeper I fell. Ministry was great. Souls were being saved. The fellowship was growing. Lives were being transformed, still I was stuck. Mind you, it wasn’t all consuming at the time. I’d probably steal a glance once or twice a month but the guilt that followed was like a crushing stone that stayed on my shoulder and stuck wt me for months and months; it didn’t matter if I hadn’t touched a magazine in months. I always carried around a sense of guilt and shame.In between I would be fine. All would seem perfect in my life again. Then one glance would bring it all crashing down. I won a temporary battle while I was in SS3. Hadn’t slipped for months. I realize now that I was too busy with WAEC  

Then we passed out of high school. I had handed over the ministry. There was no more need to be accountable…and the passions came back like a vengeance.  Before University, I did JAMB 5 times and in that period of depression and hopelessness, pornography became my escape; what had once been a once a month slip became a daily obsession.  Just before my 5th JAMB, I remember going to the roof of Anglican Church on 21 road in Festac and crying out to God. My life was in a mess and I desperately needed him to show up and sort me out. And I remember God telling me how much he loved me and how he had great plans for me. How will I ever make it I asked. All my mates were in school, I was still at home. My faith was a mess. I was a mess. And I heard words that I would NEVER forget. “Stop trying to fix it on your own, my grace is sufficient for you”  

Within that year, I joined FECA where I got my faith on track, passed JAMB, and got into the University of Ibadan. The things I learnt that year became the basis of the ministry I founded when I was just a 21 year old 100L student. Dianoia Foundation and Club Chayil over the past 11 years have since preached the message of sexual purity to thousands  

How did I break free from pornography? All I needed to do was let the Holy Spirit help me.  

The biggest mistake Christians make is trying to use discipline or strong will to keep away from sin. It NEVER works. Sin will always have the upper hand if combated in the flesh. Only GRACE through the Holy Spirit can win over sin  

Second I had to refuse to elevate that one sin above any others. The devil tries to make us feel one sin is worse… and so for as long as I hadn’t viewed porn, I could lie and be unchristian in so many other ways but wouldn’t feel it simply because I had hinged my acceptance in Gods eyes on whether I had viewed porn or not. The Holy Spirit taught me that in his sight, all Sin was as bad as the next. Murder. Lust. Lies. Same thing!  Once I learnt godly sorry for ALL my sins whether they were lustful or not, I realised how truly sinful I was and it was here that righteousness made sense to me. Jesus told me he had forgiven ALL my sins, and given me a new robe. I was righteous not because of what I had done, or didn’t do, but because of what he had done.  

Finally, SIN THRIVES IN SECRECY! If you want to be free you have to open up and let the light in. Tell someone!  Find a mature Christian and tell them your struggle. It’s one of the most important steps on your road to recovery. If you keep it hidden, it will grow. If you bring it out of the darkness, it will die. I promise you. Trust me!  Same goes for fornication and adultery. Expose the sin and it will wither conceal it and it will grow  

I’ve shared this so that you can know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is help for you in God and he has not abandoned you  God bless you tweet fam!  

Thank you to all those who DM’d to share their struggle or to ask for prayer or to just say thanks… The feedback has been phenomenal.

Someone asked me how my journey’s been. “Has it been plain sailing since you started preaching sexual purity?”  It would be so easy to say that I’ve never touched the stuff again and strut around in a toga of self righteousness. Let me tell you as it is! This is a lifelong battle. There is no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. Once lust has occupied a room in your heart in the past, he will ALWAYS come back to see if there’s a spare room and when he comes back, you bet he’s come with family and friends and he’s gonna ask for the penthouse suite  

I thought it was a war that I had won once and for all. That I had defeated that enemy and he was finished. Your freedom has to be fought for daily. What you won was one battle. There is still a long war.  

I’m still fighting and wining my battle against porn. Its a tough one and sometimes I am valiant, sometimes I am not.  And you best believe that its so much easier to access porn now than it was when I won my first battle. I remember burning all my Playboy™mags with great fanfare ☺ No one buys Playboy magazines anymore. Porn is now online; no need to hide in a corner with a bulky magazine, or hide stacks of old issues under your mattress. One click and boom

But there is GOOD NEWS! The power that rescued me then is still potent enough to rescue me now. Hallelujah! And if you let Him, he can rescue you too.  

Lust is not gender specific folks. He destroys as many men as he does women. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you’re the only one! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

Same goes for masturbation, fornication, adultery. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sin thrives in secrecy. Break the yoke. Be free!  Jesus died for all your sins including this one. His blood has cleansed you. Take your stand daily. This war can be won  

God bless you twit fam! Have a blessed day.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Originally posted on menoword:

Menoword’s note: I follow an incredible minister called Rev Craig and he posted some tweets yesterday night that impacted me very deeply. I got his kind permission to put all his tweets together and create a blog post. The only editing I have done is to remove the words “young men” from the second sentence in the post. Please read this post with an open heart, I hope that it will bless you. And don’t think that this only relates to porn – I learned many of these lessons while struggling with financial responsibility – it applies across the board to anything that anyone might be struggling with and also contains wonderful lessons on generally living a victorious Christian life. You can find Rev Craig on Twitter @RevDrCraig or check out his blog at  http://olamidecraig.wordpress.com 

Enjoy: 

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of…

View original 1,376 more words

Hello! Welcome to the day before the weekend! You’re alive to see it, isn’t God good? Think about it; some people we saw in the past week are not here today, and it’s not because we’re any better than them.

How are doing with the New Year resolutions? I didn’t make any jor; couldn’t be bothered. Instead I’ve got four things I’m working towards sorting out before the end of the year (I think I’ve said this before). Two before February, and two by September, so help me God!

This post isn’t about resolutions (especially I don’t have any), but about living quarters, lodgings, home, the place we all go to at the end of each day. Kapish? (Lol, I’ve wanted to use that word for a long time)

In December, I visited my folks and one morning while we were chatting we drifted towards the troubles some landlords have. The original discussion was the merits and demerits of doing business with family members, relations, that sort of thing. Daddy told stories about a relation that I’ll share with you in a minute.

This man, a preacher built a hostel in his village, and residing in the city, told his elder brother to help collect the rent, manage the place, that kind of thing. He was to receive some remuneration for his troubles; sounds good right? Only that eight months or so down the line, this man’s account balance didn’t change. After a few conversations with his brother, he traveled to the village to ask for his money. His brother said, “some people have paid, others haven’t. And to be honest, I don’t know what I’ve done with the money I’ve received”.

Preacher said ok (since he couldn’t kill him or force him to produce the money) and went to the hostel to ascertain who had actually paid and who hadn’t. Does this story get better?

Getting there, he met this old lady living in one of the self-contained apartments who was months behind on the rent. When he complained, she scolded him in what translated from Igbo sounds like, “come o; calm down. You don’t know we’re relations? Be careful jor!”

Another apartment had a couple who were close to TWO YEARS behind on their rent. He met the wife who started lamenting about her lorry driver husband being in an accident and consequently unable to work. When the landlord asked what he was supposed to do about that, the husband came out from his room, made a big show of his arm in a cast and said, “and you call yourself a Man of God?”

Long story short, the man returned to the city, sent a lawyer from a different tribe to ‘empty’ the place, renovate, and then put in new tenants who don’t know him in there. Peace to the Middle East!

Second story was about a friend; a Deacon living in the house of an Elder, both of the same church. The tenant had lived peacefully in this house for a few years, always paying the next year’s rent a few weeks before it was due.

This particular year though, things didn’t quite go as planned so he didn’t make the early payment; his rent expired on (let’s say) the 31st of January. On the 1st of February the Elder was at his house by 5.30am in the morning for his money, literally rousing the Deacon and his family from sleep. Hilarious bit was that he said the man couldn’t leave the house (even to the bank) till he paid the rent. Lol!! Suffice to say, this man paid but moved out of the house way before the next rent was due! Oh, and he moved into his own house!

Reminds me of when our house was burgled in December 2011, on Christmas Day in fact. Was at church for Christmas dinner with my flatmate; we got back home and our door had been broken down. I made a video (sounds crazy but I did, and it’s below).

Normally we paid rent for the coming month on the 28th of the present but our landlord had said he’d come for January’s rent on the 24th (holidays and all). He didn’t come, we got robbed (including the money we’d gathered to pay him), and on the 26th the guy asks us for his rent! Didn’t even let us recover! Guess his nationality?

Anyways, that’s it! What’s your story with lodgings?

P:S – why did I remember this? Cos I think I’ll be house hunting soon!

Exactly one month today (04/04/12), I visited BEN TV and OHTV! Not alone though, it was an excursion organized by the Nigerian Students’ Society of Birmingham City University under the leadership of Miss Amuta. I’ll save you the gist of the night before (remember I can’t sleep before any ‘big day’) and start from the train ride to meet the team at Tottenham Hale.

Can I say again that every time I get on a train here, I’m reminded how much I love the peace predictability brings with it? That again is a story for another day.

I got to BEN TV ok; fortunately the building housing the television studios is opposite the station so I didn’t have too much trouble. Especially since there’s absolutely no signage outside! Even inside the building, sigh. And by now we must know I’m horrible with directions!

Once inside, looking around was reminiscent of my days in television; very recently as an intern at BBC West Midlands.

I learnt quite a few things there, one of them the simple reason the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) might be saying one thing but you’re watching something totally different. Ask nicely if you didn’t already know and I’ll tell you!

Blogging in the go! Funnily, I have to write on paper first….

It was a privilege for us to meet the CEO of BEN TV, Allistia Soyode; an unassuming but very confident man. It was also a privilege for us to make a 10 minute interview recording with him, he answering questions about the birth and growth of BEN TV, challenges he faces by the day, and yes the extremely silly question about his ‘short term plans’. After he said the station’s been running for 10 years? SMH!

Ok, so I know I said it was the NIGERIAN Student’s Society…..

Mr Soyode said something remarkable when I asked about his company’s ‘relationship’ with social media, especially in these days of the struggle for ‘dominance’ between traditional and citizen journalism. He said, “social media is more Western than African. The people using social media in Africa are people who don’t make decisions; so it’s not the politicians, the government, or business owners. It is used more by the pretentious youth (in Africa), and people in the West”. Of course I don’t agree with him, but what do you think?

It was a beautiful visit there though, and I must doff my hat at the courage to pursue the BEN TV dream, and then the tenacity to keep working at it, 10 years later.

Me and pictures eh….. *sigh*

After taking pictures, we were off to the station to catch the underground to Vauxhall, home to OHTV. The 25 minutes ride gave me the opportunity to catch up on my novel, Fatal Cure by Robin Cook, and in no time, we were getting off.

OHTV

We got to OHTV an hour behind schedule (polite phrase for ‘late’), were met and shown around by the delectable Lola (@Lola_Ebony on Twitter). We went straight to the studios and were introduced to Mirat, a director par excellence (in my opinion). He talked us through the equipment/software OHTV uses, gave us a crash course in directing (one for me in sound), and then we all had a go either at presentation, directing, or managing light and sound.

First thing that struck me about OHTV was the attention and consequently funds given to/for infrastructure; really impressive! Amongst other things, everything is produced in HD, and like BEN TV, everyone is trained to be a multi-skilled operator (MSO).

While we were prepping for the mini recording, Patrick Campbell, Creative Director at OHTV and producer of the award-winning Mirror Boy (produced in conjunction with OH Films as I’d later find out), came in and gave us an earful about showing up late. *sigh*

Simulating a live programme made me appreciate (again) the amount of work that goes into good TV; especially since I was running sound. Mirat said, “working with sound during a live TV production is like playing poker, you’ve got to be fast, anticipate the next move, and act on it before anyone else (in this case the guests)”. Good experience that was!

Then we went upstairs, met and said hello to the receptionist, accounts executive, production manager, head of administration, folks in the editing suite, and then we were ushered into the board room where Akin Salami (CEO OHTV) and the business development manager were meeting.

The most striking thing about OHTV for me was the atmosphere; was pretty easy and laid back. And even though I know they must have their ‘crazy’ days, it looked like everyone genuinely wanted to be there!

Turned out to be an exciting hour tracing the growth of OHTV, exploring the cutting edge technology OHTV is dabbling in, and getting tons of life lessons from Mr Salami. Below are some nuggets I jotted down, thank me later.

  • On starting OH Films, “content is king but it is the guy who shoots/makes the film who makes the money”
  • On showcasing your talent, “visibility sells. Put something out with your picture in it. Someone somewhere will see, and not forget”
  • On staying ahead, “first person with the idea is a leader; first person with the best adaptation of that idea is the one who will stay around for long”
  • On OH TV, “can you do good stuff, make money by doing it and still keep your respect? We wanted to show that good TV could be clean”

At some point we had to leave so my mates would catch their ride back to Birmingham but not before we’d taken more pictures!

Nice!! From left to right there’s……..Oh never mind, just look at the picture!

Shout out to OHTV for the love they showed, the very warm reception, and for the gifts they gave!

Ok, are you new to the Oke story? Statement of the problem is here, pictures of the problem here (not for the light-hearted I must warn), and phase one of the solution is here.

A lot of thoughts have run through my mind from the very first night I became aware of Oke and I just thought to share four of them with you. I’m also sharing a documentary made by a close friend of mine, Onye Ubanatu, capturing the essence of Oke’s story.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS POWERFUL

I’ve never doubted the power of social media (wouldn’t have studied it if I did) but if I did, this campaign would have forever put paid to those doubts. The speed with which the blog posts spread and the amazing functionality called the ‘retweet’.  Jerry Seinfeld was right when he said this of Twitter, “Twitter is progress; why say to one what you can say to all”. Amazing! And say to all we did, in just a few hours his pictures and story were literally everywhere! Thanks to the WordPress’ ‘stat by country’ functionality I could see just the numbers of people from the different countries, and believe me it was amazing!

NIGERIA IS IN TROUBLE

Oke’s story was just another instance pointing to a problem we (Nigeria) haven’t gotten past. Unfortunately, even in 2012 we are still in the ‘reaction’ rather than ‘proactive’ mode. No one thinks to plan for the future, hell we’re barely getting through today! Fully discussing that will take all day so I’ll just say that all the information I got about Oke’s illness I found here. That website also features simple definitions and presentations of types and symptoms, care for people with diabetes, and even available support groups! And it’s all correct, up to date information! Do we have functional bodies like that here? No. All we’re saddled with are committees catering to committees set up to review the work done (or not) by committees. SMH!

WHO SINGS FOR THE UNSUNG?

The day after I spoke published the ‘Save Oke, we saved Oke’ post; I got one BBM broadcast about a young Nigerian in the clutches of another terminal illness who needs to seek treatment abroad. Someone else tweeted a link at me, and that evening I got email; three different people in one day! I flashed back to the campaign when I asked (in a private email to a group) if anyone else was thinking about the people who didn’t have anyone to blog about their problems. Who would cater to those ones? I’m asking those questions again; who runs with their stories?

How many people die every day because they have no access to qualitative healthcare? How many ‘trivial’ cases transform into life threatening because they were not nipped in the bud with adequate treatment? Who sings for the unsung?

WE ARE STILL THE WORLD

Social media has always and will always revolve around people. Social media without human involvement can be compared to a beautiful car without a driver: it is nothing without our input. It is one thing to sit in the comfort of your home and moan every day about everything going wrong with the country, how the government doesn’t care, how we need a ‘paradigm shift (lol), etc. It is a totally different (and more profitable) thing however to do your civic duties, know your leaders (local and national), and then hold them accountable by getting informed, asking them questions, you know the drill. In the same vein, while I am grateful to everyone who tweeted and retweeted Oke’s story, it is the ones who actually donated I am grateful to. Imagine if we were all tweeting, ‘Facebooking’, and no one did anything. We’d sooner be tweeting at his funeral!

This whole campaign has taught me that technology (in different formats, functionalities) will come and go but people will always remain. We are the answers to the questions we seek; we are the world we want to live in.

P: S – As you read, Oke is in India with his sister, and a state appointed consultant. I spoke to him the night before he left, and told him to document his ‘Osuofia’ stories for me, cos I’m sure he’ll have plenty!

Facebook Features

Facebook Features (Photo credit: stoneysteiner)

Originally posted on @SOluwatobi’s website, this is one of the guest posts I’ve done. Follow @chiomachuka on Twitter so you don’t miss out on any more ‘free guest post’ offers!!

Sometime last year, my mom called to tell me I’d lost my uncle; was a terrible time for me especially since I’d seen him only a week before.  May his soul rest in peace, amen.

A friend of mine lost her dad around the same time; somehow her cousins found out before her and because she was the closest to him and the most emotional, everyone was scared of telling her. One of her ‘brilliant’ cousins wrote this on her Facebook wall; “hey coz!! Sorry about the death of your dad, he was my favourite uncle.”

This was the first thing that popped into my head when @SOluwatobi got in touch about highlighting some of the errors we make in our use of social media/platforms. Whether professionally, security related, or just because we are human beings with a modicum of common sense, ladies and gentlemen, some things are not just acceptable! I’ll focus on personal uses in this first post, and then we’ll deal with business uses in the second part. Also, I’ll focus only on Facebook and Twitter for both parts.

So you’ve signed up, gotten yourself a Facebook or Twitter account in 2012. To start with, where have you been? Lol. Secondly, I hope that by reading this piece you can avoid some mistakes older users have made.

A little definition: Facebook and Twitter are some of the channels/enablers/tools under the broader term, ‘social media’. Social media in itself is simply communication enabled by technology. So it is talking to your friend in the market/school/church/mosque, only online rather than in person, via a letter or over the phone. It is also making new friends that way too, instead of writing and asking to be pen pals.

It is important to remember this simple analogy in our everyday use of these networks because it will help us not to alienate people in the name of being ‘social’. Especially when we’re not sending private messages. For example, would you write on a notice board at your university that you had the best sex ever with xyz? Even if the board asked you what was on your mind? Or would you say you’d just received payment for a job done running into millions of naira and you were on the way to cash the cheque? And for good measure, write where you were at the time?  If you said (or thought) yes to any of the questions, you can stop reading now. But if you thought it absurd, why do we post such things online? In these days of heightened crime and insecurity, why do we put ourselves out there like this?

Back to the story I shared earlier, would you inform your cousin of a death in the family by pasting the information on the notice board in your community centre? So why do we do these things and appear really insensitive? Social networks are not much different from real life! Really!

While I agree that we are all different, have different levels of openness et al, I think we should apply some self-censorship to our interactions on social networks. That’s it.

Personally, I always assume anyone can read the things I put online. ‘Anyone’ could range from my folks, peers, a present/potential employer, to thieves, perverts, or even law enforcement agents. Therefore, while I have a lot of fun with the accounts I own, I’m careful too.

You might say, ‘but it’s my account, why will people care what I put out? Think of it like this; a post functions like you’re talking to 50 friends in a room, only that everything you’re saying that they can hear, all their friends can hear as well. And the friends of your friend’s friends can hear too. Does that make you want to be a tad more thoughtful?

There have been countless cases of people losing jobs, getting in trouble with the law, or even getting harmed because they put out too much information about themselves and their activities. These things should be examples we learn from; pitfalls to avoid.

Same thing goes for the pictures we put up. Dear friends, the world has shrunk considerably thanks to the internet. With the tentacles of social media sinking into our daily activities, it’s shrunk even more! That picture of you in a compromising position that attracts a few measly followers on Twitter today will surface tomorrow when a potential employer searches for you on Google. #EnoughSaid

General rule of thumb? Let’s take a few seconds to think of the immediate and future effects of the things we post online; if the cons outweigh the pros, consider sending a private message to the person(s) directly involved or shelve the ideal altogether.

P: S – @SOluwatobi; I’m sorry this is late.

Saturday night after choir rehearsals I was a bit bored. I had sorted out my uniform for service the next day, stuffed myself with cherry tomatoes, didn’t want to start reading a novel because it would keep me up till I finished it, and for some reason I couldn’t write.

I went online, read a few articles off WordPress’ ‘freshly pressed’ and then went on Linda Ikeji’s blog to catch up on gist generally. Then I read Okeoghene’s story, and by the time I was done, the well of tears in my eyes had started a little course down my face.

That put paid to the boredom that night. I thought, ‘I’m a few years shy of 29 myself, how would I feel if I was this young man and the only thing on my mind day in day out was how to salvage what’s left of my limbs before it snuffs my life out?

I looked at the amount he needed for surgery, 5 million naira only. Pere! Immediately I thought of the probe going on at the National Assembly, the almighty N850, 000 meal, and I knew that either one person wrote it off with a cheque or all of us would gather our pennies together. Either way, 5million naira was doable.

I went on Twitter, and with a ‘warning because of the gory photos’, started asking people to first publicise, and then donate. This is where my first set of thank yous start. To @KathleenNdongmo, @4eyedmonk, @omojuwa, @MrBankole, @ykprojects who not only ran with the story but helped out in their own way, may all the help you will ever seek never be more than a message from you!

This was about 11pm, Nigerian time, and #saveoke featured in just about every tweet on my timeline. I needed the campaign to get bigger but I wasn’t sure how; of course I would blog about it but what else could we do?

@KathleenNdongmo (as if on cue) DM’ed me to get in touch with the CCHub guys. I hadn’t heard of them before that night but apparently they’d successfully spearheaded a campaign to fix the blown off roofs of the Yaba Barracks using a webpage. Sounded great, and is the second rung up the appreciation ladder. I rang Tubosun, one of the founders of CCHub past midnight (Nigerian time), and not only was he pleasant, he agreed to help! This was despite the fact that his company was in the middle of a pretty hectic event. A big thank you also goes to Stanley, a developer with the company who was detailed to our cause and was very patient with Oke and I in all the emails we had to exchange.

A big thank you to everyone who donated on Saturday night, you gave us the will to go on. Your own issues will receive speedy answers in Jesus name! Several times that night when people retweeted the calls for donations and added, ‘done’, tears would fill my eyes afresh. Regardless of the animals at the helm, Nigerians are a truly loving and caring people. You can take that to the bank!

I spoke to Oke that night as well, and he sounded so positive! If I remember correctly he chuckled at some point and I marvelled at his bravery, what with what he was facing.

On Sunday morning I did a blog post on his story, and on Monday a more descriptive one. By this time people in the diaspora were all over us, asking how they could pitch in. God bless you guys!

That same night I thought about making a video to connect us with Oke; not one of the silly ‘£/$3 a day will save 1 million children in Africa’ kind of videos, I just wanted him to tell his story. I got in touch with Onye Ubanatu (because only the best would do), and again, it was closer than further to midnight. After I pitched it to him, he agreed! He was billed to be out of Lagos the entire week but promised to get on it the day after he got back which in my opinion  was good because it would provide new momentum for the campaign that week. Thank you Onye! Mwah!

I got a call yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Ejiro Gegere (God bless you richly for your tenacity) called to say the Delta State Government got in touch and would cater to Oke. At the time she rang, they’d already gotten him admitted in a hospital on the Island for tests, and as you’re reading this he’s been to Immigration and is back with his passport! They have said they’ll cater to everything, and they’re well on their way to that.

While I am grateful to the state government, my heart goes out to you, you, and you. For your prayers, your time, and your resources. You’ll be pleased to note that by this morning, we’d raised well over 2million naira!! God bless you. Walai God bless you!

This is the beginning of many updates because as I said to Oke, “we won’t stop till you are sorted”.

What were you doing when you were 12? Asserting yourself? On your first or second love letter? I was struggling to survive my second year of life as a boarding student a Federal Government Girls’ College. I was also getting aware of the changes my body was undergoing, and getting ready to enter my ‘teens’.

That’s as much similarity as I had with Okoghene John Ighiwotho, because it was at that age he was first diagnosed with diabetes Type 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. As a result the body is unable to produce insulin and this leads to increased blood glucose levels, which in turn can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. Currently, it can only be managed/suppressed, there is no cure. His mother is diabetic as well, one of the risk factors for this disease. Medical personnel say it is possible for a person to live with diabetes for as long as ten years without any symptoms, especially when it is Type 2, one of the strains Oke suffers.

Oke.

March 24, 2006 will forever be a remarkable day in Oke’s mind, albeit for a negative reason.  It was on this day his symptoms began to show in earnest, and he started developing complications as well.

For the past six years Oke has been in and out of hospitals, undergone countless tests and investigations, and even endured negligence at the hand of doctors. Thanks to diabetic foot ulceration, a manifestation of long-term or chronic diabetes, he’s down to the last three toes on his right foot; he’s out of toes on his left.

Unfortunately, the gangrene hasn’t and will not stop spreading, and he’s at a point where surgery to amputate the infected limbs is the only thing that will keep him alive. That surgery, his pre and post op care, accommodation and feeding (all in India) will cost an estimated 5million naira.

This is where we all come in, and I thank you for reading up to this paragraph. 5million naira is 5000 people giving 1000 naira, a thousand people giving 5000 naira, 100 people giving 50, 000 naira, and so on.  Either way we do it, we cannot let Oke die. It’s that simple. We can, so let’s save him!

He lives in Lagos, can be reached on 08063255842 and his banking details are –

Acc name -Ighiwoto Okeoghene John 0012913007 (naira), 0113828240 (dollars), 0113828271 (pounds) – GTB.

Ighiwoto Okeoghene John 2054468076 (naira) – UBA.

*We’re working on a website for him that will allow Interswitch payments, will update this post with it as soon as it goes live.

Thank you.

P:S – The first of the related articles (below) is the best and most simplified information about diabetes I could find; the video is worth watching as well. The second is where I first saw Oke’s story, contains graphic photos so not recommended for the light-hearted. The third is an article published by Vanguard on the 12th of January this year, and the fourth, the first of articles by me for Oke.

I’m starting a ‘one word series’ with a dear friend who’s learning to write better. The basic idea we’re working on is to take any word and spin 600 words around it. I thought it would be good for me too so here goes…

When I hear ‘soldier’, three things immediately come to mind, depending on where I am, and the circumstances under which I hear it.

The first thing could be ‘soldiers of Christ’ which we are always admonished to be at church. Being a soldier of Christ (and indeed any kind of soldier) requires quantum amounts of discipline, perseverance, endurance, and a very active determination to keep at it regardless of challenges that may come your way. Denying ourselves the pleasures of sin, sharing the Word with others, and more importantly leading lives worthy of emulation are part of our duties as good soldiers in the Lord’s army. 2 Timothy 2:3 says Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus.” (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

‘Soldier’ also takes me back to my childhood when I wanted to be one! I know, this my crazy, funny mind right? Amongst others, I went to a Police Children’s School in Ilorin, Kwara State, and I remember the driver of our school bus was known to us as ‘Oga Emma’; he was big and we all adored him. One day he was driving us home and at a traffic light a civilian who had been driving rough and insulting him pulled up beside us. Oga Emma (dressed in his Police gear) got down from the bus, went over to his side, and used his boots to ‘brush’ the guy’s face. When we continued moving, he told all the now awestruck kids that if he was a soldier his boots would have been bigger and he would have given the guy a bigger ‘brushing’. I was eight years old at the time, and there and then, I decided I was going to be a soldier so I could have ‘big boots’.

On to the third; a friend in high school was the last child of her parents. She had three elder brothers, with six years between her and her immediate elder brother. She was my friend, and would always refer to her brothers as her soldiers. And yes, she was very troublesome!! In JSS2 she was already driving and in my mind was the coolest kid ever. We all have our stories but that’s where I started referring to boys as soldiers; especially when one family has only them.

Amongst the many characteristics that soldiers should possess, ‘others before self’ ranks high on my list. Whether as a soldier for Christ or in carrying out their duties (not like our Oga Emma o), soldiers have the mind-set that they are there to serve, obey, and defend, and to the best of their ability. They will endure uncomfortable and even dangerous circumstances without complaining, never taking their eyes off the ball.

That’s why you can’t ever have ‘baby soldiers’ (except they’ve been forcefully co-opted into an army by the likes of Joseph Kony and the LRA but that’s a tale for another day). The needs and wants of babies trump everything and everyone else, and they’ll make life unbearable for everyone till they are satisfied. For them, it’s ‘me first’ and then the world can either come second or just go to blazes.

So, two things; what’s your own soldier story? And are you a baby or a soldier?

P:S – Happy Mother’s Day to the soldier with the largest heart I’ve ever known, my darling mother!! God bless you richly, and keep you to see the fruits of your labor in Jesus name!! We love you loads!

P:S – one of us needs a soldier now…. His name is Okeoghene Ighwiwotho and he’s diabetic, has been for going on 10 years now. On the 24th of March 2006, he suffered an injury that’s refused to heal and has slowly consumed his feet. He was supposed to have surgery in January this year but he needs 5 million naira for that to happen. He can be reached through the phone number, 08063255842 and his banking details are Ighiwoto Okeoghene John (0012913007 – GTB) or Ighiwoto Okeoghene John (2054468076 – UBA). God bless you as we stand up for this young man!

Jeans

Image via Wikipedia

Hello!!! How’s your week going? Good? Not so good? Either way, I’m sure like me, we all can’t wait for Friday!!! Sometimes (not every time o), I wish there was a way to bypass work!! #DearFutureEmployer please ignore that, I’m very hardworking!!

Ok, ‘You’re me’ was originally written for a buddy; one of the many I offered to do on Twitter on a certain day. Others have been ‘Bruce and Me‘, ‘What’s New’, ‘What is it about Glee‘, and a couple others that I won’t put up just yet! Follow @chiomachuka so you don’t miss out on the next offer for a free blog post or article!

 

You’re Me…….

I had this pair of jeans bought in Israel and given to me by best friend back in the day; those times when ‘going abroad’ seemed to be akin to seeing God. Not only did the jeans fit perfectly, accentuating my 13 year old ‘curves’, they had a pink butterfly embroidered to the waistline behind and so didn’t need a belt. The smaller the blouse I wore, the more prominent the butterfly would be, much to my Momma‘s annoyance.

Another thing that annoyed her was the fact that I would wear those jeans every day. During the holiday I received them, I remember one particular week when I wore them every day. Yes, everyday! On Monday I wore them to stay at home, took them off at night to change into my pyjamas. Tuesday evening we went for Bible study, and I paired the jeans with a pink top (to match the butterfly). Wednesday was the neighbours’ daughter’s birthday and my star jeans rocked at the party, especially when I bent low to shuffle to ‘Return of the Mack‘. Thursday morning I spilled tea on the jeans during breakfast (yes I was wearing them again) so I begged our nanny to wash them for me immediately for a fee. Momma will never understand why I did all the dishes for lunch and dinner that day; only the nanny, God, and I know.

Friday was a big day. Friends from school (twins) had a big party and I had filled up my good deeds basket so Momma said I could go. Outfit of choice? My jeans, a spaghetti top, and clogs. I was hotter than fire! One good thing was our neighbour’s daughter attended a different school so no one who saw me at her party was coming to this one.

I wore the jeans on Saturday to the market with our nanny but when I tried to pair it with a traditional top for church on Sunday, Momma had had enough. When I got back home on my next holiday, no seemed to know where the jeans were. I cried so hard, you’d think I’d lost a parent or a sibling.

That’s what you are to me babe; that’s exactly what you are to me. You complement me, hide my flaws, and show off my strengths. I feel confident whenever I’m with you; there’s almost nothing I can’t achieve with you encouraging me, giving me the push I need to excel.

We were definitely made for each other; why else would we fit each other so snugly? Why else would you know my thoughts, see my fears, and heal my hurts? Won’t even start on how you make me laugh, and the safety I find in you. Babe you know that peas in a pod gist? That’s definitely us, whether we fully grasp it now or not.

I care about you, I pray for you, I want to be with you every hour I’m awake, and when we’re not together I’m counting down till you’re here.

Robert A. Heinlein said, “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own”. He would be right only that you’re not ‘another person’ to me, you’re me. And though I’m not sure of a lot of things yet, I just wrote this to tell you this that I’m sure of, you’re my pair of jeans.

Yesterday, a friend put up this story on a BB group I belong to, and it sparked a discussion that spanned more than three hours. What were we discussing? Violence against women, causative factors, what to do if you’re a victim, etc.

It was a very ‘real’ conversation, and several times I had to blink back tears hearing some things ladies have gone through in their relationships, marriages, etc. The most horrible stories from unions that ordinarily should be symbolic of heaven on earth, and sadly sometimes appear to be so on the outside, even in the presence of extraordinary abuse. Only the woman knows how much extra foundation she has to layer on every day to hide her black eye, the millions of ‘falls’ she has to explain away, and the sheer horror thoughts of her spouse bring.

Before the conversation, last year I read of the young banker who was killed by her husband, and I remember how shocked I was. How does ‘for better, for worse……till death do us part’ end with a husband brutally murdering his wife? Someone he chased, toasted, cajoled, and convinced he was ‘the one’ she could enjoy the rest of her life with? How does that even happen?

I’ll say it again to the men, there is NO reason under heaven to hit a woman, NO reason at all. I’m sorry but I don’t care what the woman did, it is just not acceptable. Every time I hear (especially from the ladies themselves) that some women ask for it, I cringe. So we should go about beating people we can because they ‘ask for it’? In one part of my mind I think that the same men who batter their wives either always got beat up by their mates when they were younger (definitely not an excuse) and will still get beat up if they ever got in a brawl with someone of the same sex. So why use your woman as a punching bag? According to my daddy, if you really need to flex your muscles, drive to a Motor Park, and take your pick! I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with the fight you’ll get for months.

I grew up with that mentality o; as in it was so engraved in my mind that I have ended relationships because the son of God raised his voice at me one too many times. ‘Why’, you might ask. Are you saying you can’t argue/disagree with your special someone? Of course you can; you’re not conjoined twins so you will definitely disagree every now and then. That’s alright; it’s even dubbed as healthy by relationship experts. I am however, a firm believer in the ‘na dance dey follow clap’ proverb. Meaning that if he yells at you today, yells tomorrow, and yells the day after it’s only a matter of time before he raises his hand. And in my head, that person hasn’t been born yet; matter of fact his parents haven’t even met.

Most disgusting are the men who will beat their wives, get turned on by it (has to rank #1 in the ‘sickest-things-ever’ list in my opinion), and then proceed to rape the women. Why? You think you own her? Where are you from? You want to remind her you paid her bride price? How evil can you get? I think there’s a special place in hell reserved for these people, bite me but I think even the devil will shudder a bit when he meets them.

To the ladies; from the discussion yesterday I learnt (and reaffirmed something I’ve always believed in), we are the only ones who can save ourselves from battery, and I’ll explain. There are two levels to it, the first being his behaviour towards you now. Is he already yelling, threatening to ‘teach you a lesson’? Even in jest? Don’t take it lightly o! In this day and time, some jokes are just too expensive to ‘take home and try’, especially since unlike clothes, we’re not big on returning these ones if you don’t like them. It is said that women have the strongest instincts ever, please trust yours.

On to the second level; please, do not feel ashamed if you find you’re with a monster; human beings are poor judges of character because it’s only humans we experiment with. Just know that a man (or woman) will only drown if she remains in the river they fell into. Please o, Fela’s ‘suffering and smiling’ doesn’t apply here; if he hits you once, he WILL hit you again. And again, till you unconsciously create a time-table for it in your head. Know this: if you do nothing; if he kills you today, he can give his life to Christ tomorrow; and because God is merciful and forgiving ‘his sins will not be remembered’ and ‘old things will pass away’. And you’ll remain dead.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.

Related articles:
The man who set his wife ablaze | Daily Times Nigeria: http://bit.ly/yNkTwo

http://www.jaguda.com/2012/03/06/enough/