Posts Tagged ‘Digital storytelling’

When I put out the call for writers, Abimbola said she was up for it, and promptly sent in an entry. For some reason, I didn’t find it, and so I emailed two weeks after asking if she was still interested. Right after I sent it I found her piece, and I apologised (truth is I’d had a really dodgy day), and somehow we exchanged emails that told me her piece would be perfect for today. Today, the 21st of July, 2014.

Thank you dear for writing in, and for taking the time to email back and forth the other day. You don’t know what it did for me. Hugs!

When I started writing this, the rains had just emptied out in a ferocious, torrential display of annoyance. Another Nigerian had just died; my aunt and the downpour reflected all that no words could say yet. Getting the email from Chioma around this time I could only think “what the heck, not like I’ve got any business to promote?” and the still small voice reminded me “what about the message burning in your heart?”

I am Onaoluwa Abimbola, 100% Nigerian and Health Care-for-all Advocate.

Despite the disparities or perhaps because of it, disease and death is definitely a leveler. Everyone dies and diseases do not discriminate these days. Previously labelled “big-man’s” diseases are now rampant in the general population no thanks to GMO foods (if you believe that propaganda anyway).

This first half of the year has been an extended period lesson on the importance of appropriate health care access for all regardless of class or personal station. Watching mothers cry on two occasions now and lament the wickedness of the “doctors” who kept on treating malaria for two weeks without benefit of a monitoring electrolytes screen till a patient crossed over into renal failure; I felt the weight of the system failure. Perhaps with regular laboratory workups on hospital visits (which incidentally was one of the conclusions of my project thesis at UNN), Mama Wale would still be with us. At the time her doctors ordered an Electrolytes /Urea/Creatinine test, her blood urea levels had already hit the roof and she was referred to another hospital for every other day dialysis. Referral Thursday evening, dead Saturday morning! She had shown no physical signs of kidney disease, no edema of limbs, no swollen belly; even in death, she had remained her ultra-slim beautiful self.

Still I am grateful to God, who always loves us, providing the right help at the exact time of need; a smile, a word - ‘hello’, a text message, sometimes comments by complete strangers on social media and a life is renewed. We die daily and that which reawakens in us the urge to keep fighting is aided by the love we get from wonderful family and friends; found even in unexpected places. That has been my testimony from late last year… an unexpected hospital admission far away from home, mismanaged Malaria and the sequelae of drug side effects that followed inspired a post on HAID Initiative’s blog.

What’s left of 2014 and beyond? I look forward to a Nigeria where force no longer wins rights, where violence and anarchy are not the ready tool for making demands.  As a corollary to that, a beautiful dream of mine is of a Nigerian health sector where the key players recognise that a team made of only a lead horse tied to several others behind is more prone to accidents: a united team of horses in their majestic beauty does the job and excellently too. When Presidents, Ministers are able to trust our hospitals again, the man on the street will no longer feel that where healthcare is concerned ‘OYO’ is the buzzword. Perhaps, even our beloved Dora would be here, as regular checks in the land where she lived and worked would have meant an earlier detection. A first sign that this dream will become possible for Nigeria, would be the suspension of all strikes in the public Health Sector henceforth and hopefully a renewed willingness by all involved in the business of healthcare provision in Nigeria to bury the hatchet and begin to chart a new course - forward.

I remain unapologetically Nigerian and the task of ensuring Nigeria trumps all her teething problems is our collective responsibility.

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Kindred spirit!

Olamide is one of those friends that I cannot do without. Does he drive me up the wall? Absolutely. Is he one of the closest friends I have on earth today who I can go to with anything and not feel judged or looked down on? Absolutely. Is he one to uphold his friends in prayer, with words of encouragement, with love, and with physical manifestations of that love? Yes Sir!

I love Olamide (lots and lots), and can I say congratulations on your engagement? She’s a gorgeous lady (in and out), and I wish you both all the joy possible.

I give you @RevDrCraig!

A few days ago I got a surprise call from a friend from school I hadn’t seen in many, many years. That call birthed this piece you now read.

This week I met up with that old acquaintance, a lady whose exceptional beauty back in high school made all the boys go gaga.  She was vacationing in the capital and wanted to know if I could show her around. After picking her up at Euston station, we went to Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Madame Tussauds, Westfield Mall, and goofed around like tourists taking pictures of everything and anything that caught our fancy. As we caught up on the 15 years that had gone by, I couldn’t help but wonder where the ‘wow’ factor went. She was still quite good to look at, but the exquisite beauty she once had seemed to have faded away, or at least paled into a less blinding glare. For the first time since I’d known her, I actually saw who she was, talked to her, wasn’t carried away by her looks, and realized that there was more to her than was so obviously apparent. I wondered how many people, like me, had missed out on seeing a wonderful person simply because all we saw was ‘a fine face and a hot body’.

I really enjoyed spending the day with her and as I walked away from the platform at Euston, I pondered at the absurdity of our generation that ubiquitously employs beauty as the foremost yardstick in the selection of a potential mate. This absurdity was first made apparent to me when, after I announced my engagement a few months ago, an associate of mine clapped me jocularly on the back exclaiming, “You’ve done it bro! Congratulations! You have finally found a woman finer than you who has agreed to marry you”. You see, I met my fiancé last year, just when I was coming out of an extended period of deep self-reflection following a string of very bad decisions. For months, I had been acting out of character and ironically chasing after beauty, weaving in and out of fragile relationships with some of the most beautiful women I had ever met; tall, short, curvy, straight, dark and fair. It took falling in love with this one to make it clear to me that the true worth of a woman is vested, not in the beauty of her face, or the curves on her body, but in the depth of her soul.

When pictures of my fiancé and I emerged, the most frequent comments were those praising her beauty and what a beautiful couple we made. One friend asked jokingly, “Did you conduct a beauty pageant and then propose to the winner?” LOL! Sure, most of these comments were made in good faith and were not in the least bit intended to offend nor did it mean that those who made them were shallow or anything of that sort. They were merely commenting on what they saw weren’t they, admiring a beautiful couple that were sure to have a beautiful marriage? Maybe it was all harmless banter, simple admiration, and unveiled praise.

Unfortunately, the reverse might also be the case. I know this because I too was once stuck in that place where deep in my heart I held to a primitive notion that the more beautiful a couple are, the more likely it was that their marriage would succeed. Perhaps the Disney fairy tales of beautiful princesses and handsome princes that ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after had fatally tainted my view of reality?  I know for certain, that a handful of those reading this now also share this view I once held, for it seems to me that the Ovation wedding culture of the past, once the preserve of the super rich has trickled down and has become the BellaNaija wedding culture of today. It is no secret, however, that some of the most celebrated high-profile weddings of the most gorgeous couples do not even last a year!

So to answer Chioma’s question; “What have I learned?”

I have learnt again something that I should never have forgotten. It took talking to a woman whose beauty once mesmerised me to remind me of a truth I used to know; Indeed, Beauty fades but character is enduring.

To all the beautiful girls out there who have character but are only sought after for their looks, I apologize on behalf of all men. But remember, if that’s all you put on the table, then perhaps that’s all we are inclined to see.

My name is Olamide Craig. I am Nigerian.

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When I saw the title for her piece, I must confess I was a little puzzled. ‘Do it afraid’ ke? Especially for people like me who underneath a strong exterior are ‘soft and fuzzy’ on the inside. Lol. 

But then I read the article, and I went, ‘Yes Sir’ (which is what I say when I’m super impressed with anything)! And this is special, because it resonates like she read my mind!

I met Jola in October last year, in Djeregbe, which is a town in Benin Republic. Feel free to catch up on that series here, I called it #TalesfromDjeregbe. Jola is gorgeous, a hard worker, and there’s something about people who ‘mix’ professions  that is really inspiring. She’s a lawyer, photographer, and a writer!

Enjoy this really deep piece ladies and gentlemen, you’ll be glad you stopped by today!

 

The trick is to do it afraid…

The most important thing I’ve learnt this year is to do it afraid. My name is ‘Jola Sotubo and I am a writer, a photographer, a lawyer and a Nigerian.

I’m no stranger to fear and I’ve come to realize that, hate it though we may, fear could be one of the greatest things that could happen to a living thing.

I recently made a very big change in my life, the kind of change that could either raise you up to success or leave you down and out. The kind of change that everyone around you says is a crazy idea and tries to talk you out of.

I’ve made a form of reputation out of doing things afraid; I went to law school and decided afterwards that I was not going to practice law like my proud family members expected. Instead I bought myself a DSLR camera to explore my love for photography and then I took up a writing job. Was I certain I was on the right path? No. I was afraid, as I almost always am.

Fear can be either good or bad, depending on how you react to it and what you let it do to you. You can either use it as your springing step or let it paralyze you. If your dreams do not strike fear in your heart, then they are not big enough.

This is why I wake up afraid and I go to bed afraid, not shivering or shrinking up like a wilted lily but rather filled with adrenalin knowing that I can either fight or flee but I have chosen to fight. I fight for my place at the top and the great destiny that awaits me and for this, I must stay afraid lest I become complacent and accept what the world believes is my due.

I am grateful for life and the privilege to wake up with a purpose and with zeal to do the things that I love and live the life that I deserve.

And as for the rest of this year, I have no worries, for I intend to seize every bull by its horns and face every challenge head on, albeit with fear in my heart but it shall be my strength and not my weakness.

Have a great rest of the year loves and stay afraid…

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Every time I put out a call for people to write in (for whatever reason), I almost always believe that it’s only people I know I’m going to get responses from. And so I am humbled each time when people read whatever I’ve asked for, and deem me (and my blog) worthy of their experiences and stories. Really humbling!

Chidozie is one of those I’m super grateful for, and he has a really interesting story too. I’m humbled (again) that this series inspired him to start his, and I wish him all the best with everything! Enjoy it! 

2013 ended with a punch on my left ear, I had concluded my compulsory youth service scheme in Ekiti state as a corps member of batch C 2012 with the mind-set that I would get a job and start making some money ‘sharp-sharp’, but I guess God had a better plan ahead. 2014 was ushered in as I led the praise and worship section in church, and when the time came to make the prayers for the year, I spoke from the heart and boom, July is already here!
 
Oh, where are my manners, my name is Prince Chidozie Okechukwu Nwachukwu, emmm, there is no space to put the Nelson, a.k.a, NELLYDOZZY. I am a Microbiologist, a Production Executive/Quality control personnel at Beloxxi Industries Ltd, a blogger/writer  (my sweetest hobby), a lover of good music/singer and most importantly a Nigerian to the bone marrow.
 
Sincerely speaking @chiomachuka, if I had to detail (in detail), elucidating each event that occurred from January 1st till June 30th, I’d be writing a book, but I will play by the rules (600 words). January 2014 saw me going from one aptitude test to another, from Access bank to NLNG to Ernst and Young, to PZ, to Unilever, kai, I waka no be small! You need to see the multitude of people seeking for jobs or better offers. Truth be told I passed all their tests, but one way or the other I just didn’t make the final lists (shakes his head); it got so serious that a friend of mine said “Guy, you sure say them no dey pursue you for ya village ni“. It taught me something though, to never despise small beginnings.
 
I started small as a primary school teacher, I taught Computer studies, and Physical and Health Education, sincerely I put in my best in that job, channeling my time and love to make my students future leaders of Nigeria. Remember it is the foundation of a house that determines its durability.
Maybe that was why God put a smile on my face around April – yes, I initially thought I was being ‘April fooled’ but lo and behold, it was real. Today, I am most grateful to God that despite my going late for the aptitude test and doing an interview with other four candidates, I got the job with Beloxxi Industries Ltd, Nigeria’s number one producers of cream crackers biscuit as a Production Executive, it could only be God.

In the second part of the year, I look forward to concluding my project #31Days31Epistles (inspired by @chiomachuka) on my blog (www.generaltatafo.blogspot.com and www.nysctatafo.blogspot.com). I also intend to conclude my plans to study for a Masters in the United States.
Most importantly I look forward to finding my other half; I really wonder why it is looking difficult (hisses), “abeg make una help me tell am say where ever she dey make she cross my path o, after all if Mohammed no gree go mountain, the mountain suppose locate Mohammed na, abi no be so dem dey talk am?”
Finally, I intend to join forces with like-minded people to organize a youth empowerment camporee in August; I guess that’s the little way I can give back to my community.
 
Shalom.
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Whoop! Thank you Chidozie for sending this in! Here’s to finding your better half, sorting out your Masters, and a truly productive second half of the year. And, I love Beloxxi biscuits!

I’ve known Tilly since 2008, that day I walked into Aso Radio thinking, ‘what on earth am I doing here’? I’d been posted there to serve (this thing we call the National Youth Service Scheme), and I was as bemused as I was unamused with the place. But, God knows how/why He orders our steps, and He knows I’m super grateful for that opportunity, and all the others that came from it!

I met Tilly that first day, and somehow we’ve been pals since then! Ride-or-die type chic, even though now that I think of it there was that period where our friendship lulled a bit. 

Tilly’s passionate about her work, always giving 110%, and is one of the most versatile media people I know. We’ve covered each other’s backs at Aso Radio, planned charity events together (won’t forget you played Santa at the ‘Do They Know’ Christmas party for orphans in 2009), braved locations for the BBC World Service Trust (now Media Action), and even partied together (with our own crazy dances)!

Tilly’s up today, enjoy!

At the start of the year, I was in a job I loved but under working conditions I despised and looking to get out, the prospect of unemployment was scary-seeing as I had been there in the not too distant past-but not enough to faze me and I opted out.

I was also in a relationship with a man I believed I’d walk down the aisle with when boom! before the 1st quarter of the year was done, I found myself single and back to ground zero. Was I devasted?! Maybe not but I was truly pained that time/emotions spent building the relationship was lost like sand slipping out of a crack on an hourglass.

Whilst fighting bouts of depression with the help of #FriendsTurnedFamily whom I lived with, I got a call from an old employer offering me a job I’d always wanted. It was even under better working conditions than when I left, only snag was it was in another city than I was currently resident in which meant a fresh start in an old environment. House-hunting wasn’t a thrill I wanted to experience and having sold good ol’ Louis, my car in the last year, mobility didn’t look certain, infact every other thing save the fact I had a job offer, was UNCERTAIN!

And move I did! Not only did a long time friend take me in-no questions asked, help  came from unexpected places -strangers even, whilst people I listed as friends fell short as push came to shove (I won’t bore you with the details). I was also privileged to travel out of the country within my first few weeks of resuming my new job and upon my return home, I had made valuable friends I’d love to keep for life.

I have learnt that there will always, ALWAYS be dark and gloomy days with several hurdles thrust in our way at certain points in life, but I have also learnt that living one day at a time and holding onto hope will bring a ray of light. Hope is surely a good thing.

I am a Nigerian who works in the media by name, Ogunleye Matilda Olusola and I am ready to LOVE again! :)

My super gorgeous friend!

My super gorgeous friend!

Ike has been my friend for a very long time. From attending the same church together, to looking forward to his comments on my blog, some people you just know will always be there when you need them.

He’s a fine gentleman, loves the Lord (ladies y’all need to check if he’s single – and ready to mingle), and I know you will enjoy his post!

My Name is Ike Onuzulike, I am Nigerian, and I work in a Bank.

This year started off for me laden with some good expectations; I would be due for a promotion at work by the time our company’s annual appraisal will be conducted mid-year though it wouldn’t be automatic and also, I would turn 30 by the month of June. I pretty much knew I needed some good measure of focus and lots of favor so, I turned to prayers. A three-week fasting exercise observed in church provided an excellent platform. I seized the opportunity turning my goals into prayer points on sheets of paper.

As the days rolled on during the exercise, it not only brought me favors at work but also a lot of focus that rubbed off well on my work. I was among few selected in my Division as the outstanding staffs and I was given a letter of recommendation by my Divisional Head after our Annual Divisional Retreat.

A twist of events occurred just a few weeks to the appraisal month, I began to witness some lows, a couple of errors that threatened my unit’s performance rating. The fear of this blip working against my appraisal piled a bit of pressure, and increasingly my confidence dipped. After a while I sat back and reviewed the period and I knew obviously that my foundation were shaken. So this time, I turned to family to join me in prayers and with them offering support, the tide changed. Mid-year is here, some of my mates unfortunately missed out on the promotion list but I made the list and in the month it took effect, month of June I turned 30 (on the 28th of June to be precise).

I would say that I have come to learn that hard work alone is not enough, there will always be the moments when all you need would just be a lift to push on and for me, prayer and lots of family support always comes in handy. I am most grateful so far for the people around me. I feel that beside “Time”, the gift of people around you is one of the most valuable things God had blessed us with. That is why for me He placed premium on us loving our neighbours. I work hard in keeping the love alive for people around me whether to offer a smile, a kind word, a shoulder when things are not going so well, down to offering material help because at the end, there may be low moments when they will be the ones to will fill in and offer you that much needed lift.

The remaining part of the year for me? I need a lot of stability and so I’m looking to God for directions. I am torn between going back to my first love, Engineering for a graduate course in one of the top North American schools or to advance my career in Banking. I have been doing the preliminary tests required for the admission but, I need lots of direction.

And yes, I’d like to have some stability at work and good health.

So far though, It’s been great!

Congratulations on the promotion Ike, and happy birthday again! When are we getting the wine to ‘wash’ all these?

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Ladies! Don’t say I didn’t do anything for you!

 

Berry’s been my friend from university… dunno if we used to talk everyday like that sha, but since we’ve been through, everyone’s grown up a bit more, and she’s one of the strongest supporters of my writing and this blog, and I’m so grateful for her! Berry’s gorgeous, and when she said she wouldn’t be able to write in at first, my heart sank.

Minutes later she said she would, and was actually one of the first to send in her entry! Super girl! Can I use this medium to thank you for every comment, ever like, every tweet? I notice, and I appreciate you from the depth of my heart! What I can’t really fathom is why we haven’t met up till now! We must remedy that biko, and soonest!

Enjoy Berry’s piece!  

My name is CHIDIEBERE NWEZE. This sounds funny because a lot of people didn’t know prior to this time. My friends in secondary school ‘nicknamed’ me “Berry” and it took over my real name. Even my parents call me “Berry” now. *I digress**. I’m Nigerian (obviously).

This year has been rather fast (if you asked me). ‘Yesterday’ was Christmas and we are in June already. Too too fast. Plus, it doesn’t help that it means I’m getting old fast(er) too. *Hiss*** Anyway, it’s been an amazing year, nevertheless. I travel a lot (not as much as the FGS does sha) and this is a year I get to make a lot of trips (both Local and International). Amazing!

I’m most grateful for LIFE, family, friends and ‘Le beau’. Talking about family, my siblings and I are very closely knit and I keep praying to God that the bond only gets stronger. Just very recently, my younger sister sent me an sms that read: “Berry, did you forget me?” just because I didn’t speak to her in two days. That to me was PRICELESS! My beau on the other hand, has been very wonderful. God delivered me from a very nasty relationship and put me in this one. So, those and more are stuff I’m most grateful for.

What am I looking forward to in the second half of the year? Em, A LOT! A better me, a better relationship with God, better opportunities and an amazing end to the year.

Thanks FGS for giving me this platform/opportunity. You’re welcome boo!

PS: I had my hair locked this year (June precisely). I’m so loving it. So, I’m #TeamNatural now, baby!

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Berry’s super gorgeous too! What do I have to do to get this dress?

To start with, can I just say that I’m so sorry that this is up today instead of yesterday?

It’s not my fault o, blame WordPress! I woke up this morning, and everything I’m admin for that is WordPress or even self-hosted, didn’t work. I tweeted them, emailed the techy guys in our company, nothing. :( And so that’s why I was silent. But we’re up today!

Eddie emailed this morning to ask if I received his email, and coincidentally I’d readied this for this morning (so I decided to put this sentence in even though it doesn’t really add anything to the entire post). Lol! That was a mouthful. People, enjoy Eddie’s article please, and have a super-productive day!

No one born of a woman could have predicted the result of today’s game; I dare to say even the late Paul the octopus would have lost seven legs on this one. But, and only, the football magician, Jay Jay Okocha, foresaw the unthinkable defeat of the Spaniards in the hands of the Dutch team. He even predicted a 6-1 loss (I have always suspected he fell from the sky).

“What do you think went wrong?” I asked Obi, my colleague, and a die-hard lover of the Spanish game. “Tiki-Taka is dead,” he replied; attributing the defeat to the now predictable style of play of the Spaniards. “The world has finally found an antidote to Tiki-Taka,” he said.

The Spaniards had dominated everything in the world of football in the last seven years. They had won the last world cup and carted away the last two European cups. And the two biggest clubs in Spain, the core of the national team, had also won everything there was for football clubs in recent times.

They had a style of play that not only dominated their opponents but dished out humiliation that bore holes in the national flags of their opponents. They were so good one would be forgiven if he mistook their games for a workout session between men and mannequins.

The Dutch team must really have concocted an antidote as they had answers for all the advances made by the Spaniards. On this very occasion the Dutch team was the headmaster and the Spaniards the pupil. What an interesting game it was.

Like many other sudden and surprising life events there were take home morals. And as I made my way home, more than just thoughts of the game, I pondered on the lessons therein for me.

I had barely driven out of the parking lot when the law of diminishing returns crossed my mind; failure to change or progress beyond a success.

Living in the inertia of an everyday routine; basking in the glories of yesterday – a tested recipe for failure.

How would I feel eating the same delicious groundnut soup every day? That delicious soup would soon turn sour to my taste buds.

A wise man once said: “less is more.”

The Spaniards, they never saw any reason to change or modify their style of play; as the pundits would say: “you don’t change a winning team.” Belive me pundits are wrong most of time.

In stagnancy, age, fatigue, demotivation, predictability and the rest of the world caught up with them. Like Obi said, the world found an antidote. It was only a matter of time.

The Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes talked about seasons and times – it talked about change. The world around us is changing. And if you don’t embrace and make provision for change, sooner than you know it you will go extinct like the dinosaurs.

So what should I do so I don’t find myself at the wrong side of the curve? I guess the answer is to abandon the curve. Abandon the curve and keep reinventing myself.

Stop plucking those “low-hanging fruits.” Embrace change and set new stretchy targets. I ought not to get too comfortable with the successes of yesterday like the Spaniards. My good can get better and better can be best. And at best, I should find another good. There is always a better way.

My thoughts were interrupted by the police and I had to show my ID: I am Eddie Jimete , marketing executive and  business development consultant.

Nice!

Nice!

 

Yes Sir!! I absolutely loved this! Change is everything! Thank you Eddie!

 

The last time Jaiye was in London, we were supposed to meet up to catch a movie, and I got to him late. The way he scolded me eh! Wow… but that’s just the kind of person he is. Big brother, super writer, someone I really look up to. After all the scolding, we had a great time watching Thor 2, and then munching on wedges and potato skins!

I don’t remember how we first met, but I remember catching up at lunches in Abuja, and Jaiye being gracious enough to do an interview for a class project during my Master’s Degree. I’m super excited he could write, I literally bullied him into doing this on a weekend he was very busy! What else are big brothers for?

My name is Jaiyeola Jeffrey Ifihan, I’m a Geoscientist and I’ve been set up.

Life for a writer with long-standing memory block becomes extremely daunting when alter-egos are suspended just for the real person to show up.

Outside my Nine to Five, I have/had pretended to have a life as a writer, Poet and I’ve been to the studio to record severally, most of which found their way to some lone archives in my computer while some made it to blogs. A video made it to TV but was ‘too revolutionary’ to last on air. Come to think of it, who does a video about Nigeria’s dark history when there is an unwritten gag order on it? (Four years after, it would be the turn of Half of a Yellow Sun to receive a post-dated unwritten memo on this gag order).

Okay, focus Jeff. Your alter-egos are not here to help you.

I lost faith in the Nigerian project sometime somewhere. Perhaps there are species of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (yeah, keep the two) who go to bed full of Faith and wake up Atheists, I think mine was a slow process.

The emotional drain of the Occupy Nigeria protests of January 2012, the disdain the green passport attracts almost everywhere in the world, the realization out of the blue that Nigerian Youth have morphed into ‘uber-divisive’ beings. Somewhere in-between, my Faith got lost.

When it comes to the Nigerian, the 3D body scanners just won’t do. I once travelled in a track-down to avoid the pull-your-belt syndrome, but that was the very day that I got an extra security-smooch in Schiphol. It hurt when I observed people with a lighter tone of skin underwent lighter scrutiny.

It is a paranoid world.  Everywhere you go, you are constantly reminded. Dogs willing to sniff out the bush meat in your baggage, airport P.A Systems warning you not to crack jokes with airport security, buying TSA padlocks because the requirement for visiting Yankee is to surrender the privacy of your baggage. Yet, the Airport Terminals connecting Flights to Nigeria are super crowded. No love shown outside, we return, to a Nation that shows us no Love, just MMIA (Murtala Muhammed International Airport) heat.

Somehow, the past 6 months had me crossing more time-zones than I have in a life-time, and passing through more Airport Terminals. Each experience fuelled my despondence about Nigeria.

Imagine we had the Underground Rail in Nigeria. Imagine we had a Country that issues 14 day Visa just for tourists to visit and spend their hearts out. Imagine our Airports had Museums where you can catch a glimpse of our ‘Heroes Past’. Scratch that, who are our heroes?

Our heroes are regional household gods who become villains once their names cross their geopolitical zones.

Read the blogs, then try and read the comments that follow and watch your heart bleed.

The car bombs in Afghanistan used to sound strange until few years ago. In the last six months, I have tried to clutch at sanity by avoiding headlines…but then there are blogs and micro blogs (tears non-existent hair)!

I used to find therapy in writing, channelling the anger and passion for change through my blog and the vocal booth. All of a sudden, that passion vanished.

Change came, but it is that kind of change that changes the change maker.

Lest I forget, I am Nigerian.

 

Jaiye Jaiye!! (That's what I have stored on my phones for him!)

Jaiye Jaiye!! (That’s what I have stored on my phones for him!)

Jaiye went hard!! Love it! I told you he was a super writer didn’t I?

What’s most important, on your list of important things? For me it’s family. My folks, siblings and nephew are everything to me, like nothing messes with that! Family to me is like a car service center where you go to just get refreshed. You know how you take your car to a car wash for it to be primed, cleaned, oil changed, tyres scrubbed, everything touched around till you come out all shiny and ready to take on the world? That’s what family (and friends who have become family) do!

And that’s why SungHee’s piece is so heartwarming, and babe I’m sending loads of hugs and warm thoughts to you and all your family at this time. xoxo

My name is SungHee Tark, and I am South Korean. I study Economics at Earlham College, IN, USA.

A lot has happened this year: from starting my year with my best friends in NYC to traveling in Europe and attending an eye-opening conference with a brilliant group of youths in the Netherlands. However, the very event that I learnt the most about the important thing in life was my grandpa’s funeral a week ago.

I was traveling in Europe after attending the conference in the Netherlands in the beginning of the summer. However, my travel had to stop when I got a brief text message from my dad one early morning in June.

“Your grandpa has passed away.”

There was no emotion or anything reflected in the text message. It was around 8’o clock in the morning. I jumped out of my bunk bed in a small hostel in Istanbul to grab my laptop. Then, I booked my ticket to come home in South Korea that afternoon.

It took me 10 hours on the plane and 5 hours on a bus to return home.

I saw all my family members, starting from my parents, sister, cousins, uncles, aunts and even far relatives that I haven’t seen in years all gathered in a hall at home. All of their eyes were wet, and nobody really spoke.

Although my grandpa had spent almost a year in hospital, his death still came as a surprise. Nobody was really ready for it. It came as a shock to me as well, especially because when I saw him last, he had wished me a safe journey to Europe, and I had promised him I would bring him a gift. And I had that gift with me.

I stood there, speechless. I cried helplessly for the whole day that day.

The next day, the air seemed a little different. Everyone in my family seemed to have decided to think that grandpa had gone to a better place. We started comforting each other, talking to the picture of my grandpa, wishing him a safe journey to a better place. We shared good and fun memories with grandpa and planted trees and flowers near his grave in the backyard of his old house altogether. We talked about grandpa but in a very different light. Everyone was still in shock but we focused more on comforting one another because we all knew that that’s what our grandpa would have wanted us to do.

Since then, we’ve been visiting my grandma who still lives in the old house every day, everyone very willingly.

My grandpa has been a very big man to me, always listening, and encouraging, and someone who had supported me through all my hardships and difficult times. Because he was the pillar of our family, his missing presence is being felt greatly. However, I am very grateful to have all my family members in my life. Without them, I don’t think I would be where I am right now and I wouldn’t be able to recover from the loss of our beloved grandpa.

Among all the things I hope to achieve and I am looking forward to in the second half of the year, I wish for my family to achieve what they desire in their lives, keep caring for one another and stay healthy the most.

Because I know I can overcome anything with them in my life.

Sunghee 2

My gorgeous friend SungHee!

SungHee

Hugs!!