Posts Tagged ‘July’

The #ChroniclesfromBonn Series was written at the end of June/beginning of July, when I spent time in Bonn for Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum – I was invited (all expenses paid, yaas) as a DW Scholar – privilege I’m super grateful for! Don’t ask why I’m just blogging about the trip ok (pretty please with icing on top), just enjoy it!

You already know I’m in Bonn, Germany – if you don’t know you need to subscribe to chiomachuka.com as soon as you can!

Another reason to do that is because all the pieces off Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum will be chronicled there, while the sights, sounds and tastes belong here!

We start as always, with the trip!

On the day I was to fly, I spent the morning doing my laundry, cleaning out boxes, and working with my tailor to ready all the pieces I wanted to take on the trip – #TeamAnkara

I also had a proposal to edit, emails to respond to, and CC Consulting Services to run! Na wa.

Somehow I made it to the airport on time. I say that because as with every trip I cut it really close and so when we were held up for about 20 minutes because President Goodluck Jonathan was going to pass by I nearly died of panic. Apparently he had cut short his trip to some African country because of the unfortunate EMAB Plaza bombing (gives you an idea of the day I traveled – 26th June). Why Mr President still hasn’t visited Chibok (200 + girls missing for over 100 days) is beyond me, but let’s move on.

Got to the airport, checked in, there was a bit of drama (isn’t there always) with some people clearing security. Didn’t do tatafo so I don’t have a story for you. Sorry!

Got past immigration and the officials who told me in several ways that I was beautiful and didn’t understand why I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear. (I said thank you o, I was just too tired to encourage the discussion, and I know that’s not a crime anywhere).

Boarded after crazy tweeting a big advert for #31Days31Writers, and after trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to watch Winter’s Tale with Colin Farell, Will Smith and co, I slept. Lord I was exhausted!

Woke up to a lovely dinner of mash and beef, and promptly went back to sleep!

Got into Frankfurt ok, and first thing I was reminded of was that the Germans always outdo themselves with WIFI! Free WIFI from Starbucks, from Telekom, everyone was offering free WIFI!

Caught a train to Bonn (let’s not talk about my spending €75 on a ticket that I found out later had already been purchased for me, choi), and I fell asleep as soon as I sat down – almost worried I’d been bitten by some bug!

Got into Bonn, hungry as a waif, and after sorting out a sim card I waltzed into a MacDonald’s and had the tastiest burger ever, complete with chorizo, peppers, and chili! Incredible! I didn’t take a picture though, I was that hungry!

Started reading a book there too – ‘Of Love and Other Demons’ written by Gabriel García Márquezy (a Nobel Prize Winner), and then I caught two trams and a bus to arrive at Bonnox Hotel and Boarding House, my home for the next seven days!

To be honest, when I saw ‘boarding house’, I was a little worried but the place (and my room) were gorgeous! Took a few pictures!

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Something a whole ‘cow’ theme at the place, but I really liked it!

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That’s my kitchen, peek of the ladies, and a selfie!

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Green, well done can be really calming… I promise you!

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As if I knew, my green bag came with me!

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Selfie gang! Did I mention I wore ankara everyday on this trip? #TeamNigeria

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Loved this bed. Not sure what I loved more, the bed or the bed!

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Another view of the exterior…

 

I can’t wait to cook!!

Totally grateful to God for a safe, uneventful trip (Lord knows I was too tired for any drama), and a super thank you to Joojo for pointing me in the direction of our lodgings and taking me to Vapiano (a fabulous Italian restaurant).

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All black has always been the easiest outfit to put together… This mirror must be missing me, I took a selfie every other minute!

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So at Vapiano, you order and the chef makes it while you stand and wait… everything takes less than 6 minutes, and is incredibly tasty!

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Don’t remember what I ordered, but that’s one of the chefs making it!

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End product!! Sun dried tomatoes are a blessing! Yum!

 

Our meal was fabulous! Got back to my room and after speaking to my folks, you guessed right, I slept!

I’m so excited! It’s the 1st of July, and officially the start of the #31Days31Writers – mid year edition! Why am I super excited? Well, so I’ve been all over the place this past month, and by the 26th I wasn’t sure I would still be able  to pull this off. But, here we are, and I’ve got such a spread of voices from around the world I’m mega excited!

We start with my friend Yama! Yama was our designate driver the night we went from The Hague to Amsterdam to see the Red Light District; he’s a fantastic, super brilliant guy, and it’s my privilege to start the month with a voice from Afghanistan!

 

Hi there,

First of let me start by saying: You look absolutely stunning today!

My name is Yama Akbari. Born in Afghanistan, living in The Netherlands. Student and business owner.

What I’ve learned in the past 6 months is that life is so incredibly difficult to plan. I’m not much of a planner anyway, I usually take things as they come. But I decided that needed to change a little (a part of growing up maybe…). Didn’t really pan out the way I wanted. I planned to focus more on my studies, but ended up working way more than studying. Was really planning on staying single, instead got to know someone I really could not let go of. This made me wonder: Why do I suck so badly at planning my life? I came to the conclusion that life is pretty much ‘unplannable’ for the most part when I started thinking about ‘planning’ on a larger scale.

For example, who could ever ‘plan’ the following: a kid born in Kabul in 1990, wanting to leave for the gym on the 30th of June 2014 (should have been studying for his exams, shame on him) would remember; promising a very inspiring Nigerian girl he met at a conference in The Hague, to write a few words for her blog. Crazy right? But kind of beautiful at the same time. Imagine the string of events that had to take place before this moment. Unfortunately, a lot of those events weren’t as joyful as this one, which leads to the second thing I learned in the past 6 months: Andre 3000′s fashion sense isn’t the only thing that’s spot on, his cryptic life lessons are as well. On the Outkast song ‘Ms. Jackson’ he sings: ‘you can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather’. I finally got it Andre, you keep on spitting mad truth and dressing dapper as hell!

That brings me to what I’m looking forward to for the second half of this year .. Not really easy to say after all of that ‘life is crazy and unpredictable’ stuff. I am actually thinking about what I’m looking forward to while writing this sentence and I’m realizing that it’s such a blessing that I’m not sure what to look forward to (huge smile on my face right now). All those unplanned moments of joy; that feeling of relief when everything turns out well after a moment of uncertainty, an unexpected phone call from an old friend, coming home and getting served your favorite meal, being the best at something very random and useless, witnessing a cute moment between two lovers, stumbling upon a family of ducks swimming in a pond (I’m running out of ideas..), seeing an old lady feeding those ducks and making sure the weakest one gets as much as the rest. All I’m planning and looking forward to (apart from studying and working, duh) is actually enjoying and appreciating all those little unexpected moments of joy.

I urge you to do so as well. Even if it’s something very unexpected and random. Let’s say: a guy from halfway across the world, at the start of his post on this blog, complimenting you that you look stunning without even knowing what you look like …

 

Yama.

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Greetings from Barnes Close, Worcestershire, which played home to us fourteen women from different countries in Africa, being the second residency of five for Diaspora Women in England funded by the Royal Arts Society, Comic Relief, and delivered brilliantly by Jill, Amita, and Geeta of the Women, Leadership and Change program.

Wow! That was a mouthful! I’m thankful for being chosen to experience this exploration into ourselves, the study of different leadership styles, the amazing food at the Center for Peace and Reconciliation (where we are lodged), and the peace/serenity on this massive expanse of land. I’m even more grateful cos it seems like I haven’t spent more than 7 days in any place recently, and the peace, quiet, and absence of the internet is really welcome! Plus, it’s the beautiful month of May, the flowers are blooming, and the farm is really beautiful! Glory be to God I don’t have any allergies…

Now, who remembers 31 Days 31 writers from December? I know I do! From Sierra Leone to Sango Ota (not really, but I needed to use another ‘s’, lol), there was a writer everyday, telling us what their year had been like, lessons they had learned, people they were grateful to/for, and things they would do differently if they could.

One word? Ah-ma-zing! Incredible learning, it was like a 360 degrees lesson on life every time a new one was published! Old, young, big, small, I had the most the most exquisite pieces on the blog in December! Here are a couple, in no particular order.

“I would shut up and let her do her mothering” – Vickie Remoe #31days31writers

“I have learnt that homosexuality exists in 450 species” – Okechukwu is a shining star on #31days31writers today!

“I won the lottery!!” – Tolu #31days31writers

“Your friend is your need answered” – a surprise appearance on the #31days31writers project!

“I have so much to be grateful for!” – Mac-Jordan #31Days31Writers

“The internet lives” – Pa Ikhide starts the second week of my #31days31writers project!

“Who says black men shouldn’t cry?” – My girl Francesca Uriri! #31days31writers

Guess what? We’re doing it again in July! Whoop! How about an appraisal of the first six months of the year, what you’re excited about, definitely what you’re grateful for, and what you’re looking forward to as we speed to the end of 2014! I’m excited already!

I’m not sure yet if I want people who have written before to go again (so we can accommodate new voices), but I won’t say no to anyone. How’s that?

Interested? Of course you are! You can tweet me to say you’re interested (@ChiomaChuka), DM an email address if we follow each other, or simply send me an email here – dfairygodsister(at)yahoo(dot)com.

There are 20 slots, and it’s as simple as the first to get in touch get the slots! It would be absolutely fabulous if all the pieces are scheduled by the end of the month so get in touch already!

 

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The entire month of July has been dedicated to ‘I have decided’ testimonies every Sunday; people coming out to testify of that moment when they gave their life to God; the tribulations they faced, the strength of their conviction in their decision for God, and how their lives have been different since they decided for Him. Then we all sing one of  my favorite songs:

Christ is enough for me (2x)

Everything I need is in you

Everything I need….

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back (2x)

The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back, no turning back (2x)

Amazing testimonies of how God just picks someone up and does a complete 360 degrees on their life. Amazing, simply amazing.

This young lad on Sunday told of how his mom had him when she was 17, never knew/met his dad, and between the ages of two and eight, he had been through FOUR foster homes. Four! He talked about one foster mom who said at some point that she didn’t want him anymore, how he was returned to foster care, and the rejection he felt. The deep rejection he felt that no one loved or wanted him.

At some point he kicked a school Principal in the face and was expelled and that was the beginning of rough times at school, getting into trouble, and all of that.

He got placed with another family in his teens, and she would take him to church on Sunday but according to him, “I hated it”.

One time when he was 14 or so, he was with a foster mom, and they were out shopping. They were in a store, and he saw a man pick up his son and place him on his shoulder. He said something broke inside him at that moment and all he could do was go home, lock himself in his room and just cry. He said he cried and then he prayed and said, “God if you are real, please be my dad. I want to have a dad so much”.

That day was the beginning of a father/son relationship with him and the Lord, and he has grown in leaps and bounds since then. Today he’s 23, born again, spirit-filled, and a graduate of Cambridge University!!! Whoop!

That’s against statistics that say that:

50% of homeless people in England today are foster/care kids

50% of prison inmates are foster/care kids

Only 4% of foster/care kids are expected to get into higher education, talk less of getting into university.

Doesn’t that make you want to give God a big wave? A big ‘ I love you Jesus’?

Whoop!

P:S – of course I was bawling my eyes out by the time he was done. God is awesome. Truly, truly awesome.