Posts Tagged ‘United States’

So on the 15th of October I attended the Diplomatic Dialogue Series organized by the Nigerian Leadership Initiative and hosted by the US Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle. The event was/is themed “where foreign policy meets business”.

Originally slated for 12.30pm, the event started by 1pm, and Taiwo Oyedele from PriceWaterCooper got us going with a brief background on America and Nigeria, and the history of both countries trading with each other. A few interesting things I learned, and will now share (some you might already know, so just skip).

  • Nigeria with a population of 170 million people, produces (at its best) 3 million barrels of oil per day. The US, with 320 milion people, produces 9 million barrels of oil per day. Mr Oyedele said that at the rate they’re going they will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the largest exit producer in the world.
  • The US is the largest oil importer from Nigeria, even though they more than double our production. Why? They consume so much! If we were half as developed as we should be, our energy needs will surpass our consumption.
  • America’s the world’s largest economy, and the 3rd most populous nation (so we can stop asking why they keep playing Big Brother/Class Prefect to the world). Nigeria on the other hand is the most populous country in Africa and 7th in the world.

Mr Taiwo talked through potentials and opportunities for more trade between both countries and ended with a quote by Benjamin Franklin from 1778 -”I think that a young state, like a young virgin, should modestly stay at home, and wait the application of suitors for an alliance with her; and not run about offering her amity to all the world; and hazarding their refusal…. Our virgin is a jolly one; and tho at present not very rich, will in time be a great fortune, and where she has a favorable predisposition, it seems to me well worth cultivating.”

Spoke to me in more ways than one, that one. 

Then it was time to listen to the Ambassador, who started by saying his favourite quote by Benjamin Franklin said “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Funnily, in putting this together, here are a few sites that say that this quote is misattributed to Franklin.

One.

Two.

Three. 

Moving on, the Ambassador was quite charismatic, and I really enjoyed his presentation. He talked about the things he’d learned in Nigeria; including “all protocols observed”, and how every wife of a dignitary was “the amiable wife of…” Lol.

Entwistle, in talking about terrorism said America has learned (the hard way) that the civilian population must first feel like the government/military forces are on their side and actually mean to protect them.

He moved on to politics, saying that in 4 months, Nigeria will hold elections and he was sure Nigeria’s electoral commission had learned quite a few lessons leading up to February.

Entwistle said that he’s called (and is still calling) on politicians to take the ‘No-Violence’ pledge. He said he spoke to media moguls earlier in the day and told them about the resonating effect that would be had if politicians had to take the No-Violence pledge before they spoke, said anything at all.

Here are a few other things he said.

  • Defeating terrorism goes beyond military power/prowess by itself. A big part of it is keeping the circular population safe. At whatever/all costs.
  • America cannot lead on any intervention as far as Nigeria (or any other country for that matter) is concerned. The best they can do is SUPPORT. Really instructive.
  • The US has pledged $15million to support free, fair, and successful elections. Again, the word there is support.

It was a really interesting afternoon, of course I chuckled when, during the interactive segment people were asked to pose questions and a particular guy who had ‘hustled’ for the microphone said, “mine is not a question, but a comment”. Lol… Why do we always do this? Always amuses me!

Reminds me of the social media and governance conference in 2012 that held in Abuja. I think we were down to the last question for Professor Jega (or someone super important like him), and there were so many hands up! The moderator picked out a lady, admonished her to keep her question short and to the point, and then she said, “I don’t really have a question, but a comment”. When I stopped laughing, I rolled my eyes till she sat down. SMH.

Anyway, so that was my 15th spent at the Metropolitan Club in VI, Lagos. Afterwards I went to Terra Kulture, where I met Tolu.

:)

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is a funny thing. It’s like a playground these days, and everyone’s invited. Compelled almost, if you like. It has become possible to have a living, breathing relationship (work or otherwise) with a person you have never met (watch out for the catfish though) totally enabled by the various technologies around. Exciting stuff!

Found a blog almost a year ago now, and it was Tolu’s, this young man who’d returned to Nigeria (IJGB) and was documenting (daily) what it was like settling into work (he runs his own company), living in Lagos, all of that good stuff. Of course the tales were hilarious, and after a while I would find myself looking forward to his next piece. I would leave a comment every now and then too, and sometimes they’d become full blown conversations.

We narrowly missed the chance of meeting sometime in September; I’d been invited to an event in Lagos but I was in England and since the invite didn’t come with any attachment with the subject ‘British Airways’, I sent my regrets. However, I was really interested in the event (and I said so to the organizers) so after it held, I saw a link to a video of the proceedings, and so I watched.

And then I saw Tolu! And I’m like “no way”!! Apparently he’d also been invited, and was one of the key speakers or something like that. So I messaged him on Twitter (hello social media) to say we narrowly missed each other, and the conversation ended with a plan to meet when next I was in the country.

So… Had a really good first half of the day yesterday at the Diplomatically Dialogue series organized by NLI, hosting the US Ambassador (more gist about that in my next post) and then it was off to Terra Kulture to work, eat, and see if Tolu would be able to make it down.

He did! Right in the middle of me burning up (because in my ‘wisdom’ I’d sat by the window so the sun was in my face), my Mac charger packed up and I don’t know my way around Lagos so even after I’d been told on Twitter where I could get a new one, I was still obviously helpless. Tolu be sincere, I was whining those first few minutes abi?

Tolu laughed at me first (Smh at that first impression) and I daresay he laughed all the way to his car just under 3 hours later!

From airport to dim sum spots stories, to the ones about computer charges and incomplete information, to the 21 questions (rolling my eyes at the interrogation), I had a fabulous, fun, really laid back evening!

And I’m grateful for that, for good fun, good conversation, and wait for it… Chicken wings!!

So we ordered smoothies and chicken wings (team FitFam), and we shared them equally, even though Tolu tried to shame/bully me into eating less than my share. Yet he was off to a party where he’d have a proper dinner o… *Rolling my eyes again* In fact, you be the judge – who do think owns which pile of bones?

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Count carefully!!!

And there was the last wing, the lonely last wing that we boy formed we wouldn’t eat… For several reasons…

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I wonder what happened to this last wing… Where does a solitary chicken wing go?

Notice we left the fries alone? Team fitfam dot com!!

I had a really good time Tolu… Thank you. Send your email address, so I can send you that idea biko. Hope you enjoyed the party!

PS – what did you do yesterday evening? Yes, you reading this! Share!

Before you get on to this post, guess the newest guest writer for Foresight For Development? You guessed right, moi!! So grateful for another opportunity to stretch my imagine, hone this gift I have.

So, the theme this month was on the future of gender equality, and my thoughts are below. Originally published here, on FFD’s blog. Check out my profile, and my thoughts on futuristic thinking too!

Enjoy.

Everything I wanted to do as a child, my parents encouraged and pushed me to achieve – every single thing, without question. From tumbling about with the boys, to drawing, to entertaining talks about my ambitions that ranged from being a surgeon, to being a builder (I’ve always been fascinated with the way mortar takes shape), to being a truck driver. Anything I wanted to be, I was told I could be.
As I grew older, my ambitions changed dramatically, but it was not until university that I fully grasped that there might be things I wouldn’t be able to do because I was female. Obviously, growing up I was aware of cultural divisions of roles, where women tend to the home and the men provide, where women are forbidden to eat certain parts of animals (example, gizzard in chicken) because it was reserved for men – those kinds of things.

In 300 level at university, departmental student representatives were going to be elected, and I felt I had a good chance of getting elected. That is, until I was called aside by a lecturer I really admired and told I could contest the vice-presidential slot, because the presidency was ordinarily reserved for males. They said that I would expose myself to unnecessary attention if I went for the number one spot. I was shocked, confused, and upset (in that order), and I ended up shelving the idea. Why? Because I didn’t understand why I should come off second best to a man.

Almost ten years later, following thousands of gender equality conferences, models, and books, women are still subtly (or outright) being told (or shown) they have to work almost twice as hard to maintain their number two spots, let alone going for number one. As Beyoncé said, “we need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality – it isn’t a reality yet”.

The third of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) is to promote gender equality and empower women. Why? Because equality in itself is a human right, the right to not be discriminated against on grounds of gender.

Closer home, at least 49% of the 170 million people in Nigeria is female. Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution also provides that no one shall be discriminated against. Yet, the disparity in empowerment is as stark as it is unfortunate. Violent crimes (rape, abuse); child marriage; playing second fiddle to boys concerning education; widowhood practices; and limitations on property and rights to inheritance, culture and traditions, all work hard to erode this right.

What’s the way forward?

Politically, there is the 35% women affirmative action plan, based on the 2006 National Gender Policy that dictates that 35% of government posts should be filled by women. President Goodluck Jonathan in the Midterm Report of the Transformation Agenda (May 2011 – May2013) says his government has achieved 33%. This is a good first step but it is more surface covering than addressing the real roots of this problem. Women are still largely underrepresented, considering that only 25 of the 360 members of the National Assembly are female.

Our government must take a strong stand against laws that infringe on the liberties of women, not by saying they are taking a stand, but by commissioning research into the Constitution and abolishing sections that do not protect women. For example, according to Section 282(2) of the Penal Code, “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape, if she has attained puberty”.

The government must also enforce the laws against child marriages, especially in the North where it is most prevalent; as well as consider the 2003 Child Rights Act that criminalizes marriage below the age of 18, which it has not yet adopted. Politics (and the need to remain popular) must give way to morality and the rule of law.

The Nigerian government must also harmonize efforts to empower women across the 36 states of the country. It should concentrate more on the rural areas where “54 million of Nigeria’s 80.2 million women live and work, and constitute 60-705 of the rural workforce”, according to the 2012 DFID Gender report on Nigeria.

Education as we all know gives everyone a better chance in life, and as the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon notes, educating women is the “smartest global investment”.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan echoed that in May when he met with Girl Child Education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai. He said, “I personally believe that since about 50% of our population are female, we will be depriving ourselves of half of our available human resources if we fail to educate our girls adequately or suppress their ambitions in any way. We are therefore taking steps to curb all forms of discrimination against girls and women, and have also undertaken many affirmative actions on their behalf.”

The government must now go beyond lip service and half-measures to actually provide education of great quality to females – great education devoid of tutors who tell young girls not to dream and aspire for positions because of their gender.

Service today was powerful! Whoop!

When I’m in Nigeria, there are very few reasons why I won’t attend House On The Rock The Refuge in Abuja, and first four of a possible five reasons is I’m probably not in Abuja!

This particular Sunday, coming after a particularly horrible week both locally and internationally – Gaza, Air Algiers, Boko Haram, Ebola (hian!) – there was a real sense of fear/panic around me, and I promise you I was checking my calendar and things.

But God always has a word for His people, a word of peace, a word of comfort, a word of hope. And so I listened to testimonies of how God delivered a guy from violent death in an accident where the villagers were asking, “where are the dead bodies?” He came out untouched.

I listened to ‘Praise In This Age’ worship God like a man adores a girlfriend who just said yes to him, heartfelt, feeling in every single word, it was the kiss of my day. He has an incredible testimony too, God delivered him from a violent death too… He was pronounced dead after his accident et al but he’s alive today, with the most ‘goose-bumps inducing’ voice I’ve heard in a while! Dang!

Tehilah choir? Minstrels of life! Whoop! Instrumentation at its peak, and their excitement is always palpable, even when you’re sitting upstairs! Love them! Watched my sister bumping her head (with the cutest smile ever) as they did a hip-hop number today, love, love, love!

The Word. My Daddy Rev Goodheart led the church in a session of prayer, and brethren if you’re not praying for Nigeria you’re on a looooooong thing! What!! How can we be ranking highest for everything evil? Why? Can we not see there are evil forces at work? What else can we do but pray to the God who created us (and this country) to deliver, defend, and preserve His own?

Defend, deliver, and preserve us oh Lord. We will take precautions (like not hang around dodgy places, practice strict hygiene and stay aware of how to minimize risk to Ebola, etc.) but we know if you don’t watch over us and our cities, our efforts are in vain.

Rev Goodheart preached on the help of God, and 7 ways to engage it. Did I need this word or did I?

  1. Admit and acknowledge you need God’s help. No point if you feel like you can run things yourself. Deuteronomy 8: 2. Isaiah 66:3
  2. Denounce/release anything that might ‘help’ God or attempt to share his glory. Yes Sir! Take your eyes/hopes off them! Isaiah 50: 7. Psalm 147: 10-13
  3. Acknowledge/thank Him for past interventions. Works both ways – He comes through for you, but while you wait your faith stays unshaken cos’ you know if He did it before, He can/will do it again. Psalm 103: 1-4
  4. Ask/pray for His help. Hebrews 4: 16. 1 Kings 18. Don’t get weary with it. Ask!
  5. Activate divine help by praising. Psalm 23:3. 2nd Chronicles 20.
  6. Anticipate a God-given strategy will be made available. God always gives instructions when He wants to come through for you. Obedience to divine leading delivers you from destruction.
  7. Keep your eyes on the victory. Have you done everything you should do? Stand. Keep calm. Let God do His thing. Give God what Pastor Obi called ‘sleeping praise’! As in, sleep!

I had a great time at church, loved it! Looking forward to the dedication of the church in September, and Tehilah’s concert! Fingers crossed I can make it!

Written on the 27th of July.

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.
Nelldozzy beloxxi 2
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!

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!!

 

So, in January, I was selected as one of 70 young people from America, Asia, and Africa to attend a 4-day conference organized by Hope XXL at The Hague, The Netherlands.

One word? Incredible! Meeting people from countries I’d only ever heard of, learning bits about diverse cultures, listening to our keynote speakers, deliberating on articles for the Liemer’s List (please allow Google the option of your friendship) was just incredible. I feel so blessed!

There are two keynote speeches I really enjoyed, and I made a few notes. Wanna see?

Leo Bormans wrote ‘The world’s book of happiness’ and he told us about the two kinds of people, ‘green buttons and red buttons’.

Green button Red button
Talk about ‘us’ Talk about ‘me’
Talk and seek ‘solutions’ Talk and see ‘problems’
Look to the ‘future’ Look to the ‘past’

Trust and equality are major determinants of how happy a country is. Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands lead on the happiness index, even though they are not the richest countries. Why?

Happiness can be summarized in two words – other people. (Here he asked us to think about the four happiest moments in our lives and then crossed off money, surprises, other people, and family as the thing behind our happiness).

Here are a few more thoughts on why happiness ranks higher than money and accomplishments

  • The best-selling meal on earth is McDonald’s Happy Meal
  • Nike, Danone, and Coca Cola’s  slogans play on a smile. Wristwatches  always appear in ads set to 10 past 2pm – that’s a smile. Would you buy a ‘frowning’ watch? (To be honest I’ve made it a point of duty to take a closer look at adverts from now on!)
  • Coca Cola has moved from ‘Enjoy’ to ‘Open happiness’, even Lipton Iced Tea has become ‘drink positive’. Like there’s any way to drink negative. 

He also talked about ‘realistic hope’ which is hinged on these three:

Survival – resilience

Attachment – trust

Mastery – goals

He also took time explain the meaning of ‘Namaste’ to us. It means three things: I see you, I recognize something positive in you, and I bow to it.

And then he wrapped with, “To a man with a hammer, everything is a nail. To a man with a telescope, everything presents an opportunity to be viewed from different angles. I wish you a telescopic life!”

For more from Leo Bormans, visit www.worldbookofhappiness.com and/or www.leobormans.be

Another session that really spoke to me was the one on chemical weapons presented by Mr. Michael Luhan, head of communication at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. They received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for their extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.

OPCW was founded in 1997 and so far, 109 countries have signed up to the OPCW, and there are 8 countries declared/gave up their stash of chemical weapons. And so, far, there haven’t been any ‘challenge inspections’ – where the OPCW doesn’t believe a country has surrendered all they’ve got, and decides to challenge their declaration.

Really interesting to hear of the devastation chemical weapons cause, and more importantly, to learn of the extent of brilliance and wickedness the human mind is capable of.

We spent the rest of the day identifying the countries we came from – check out the sexiest country of them at the top – Nigeria!!

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Right at the top baby!!

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I think this group was classed as the people from AAA but living in Europe…

 

Whoop!

Then we went to dinner, and then it was off to our accommodation, Hotel Studio, and bedtime! The evening and the morning, the first day!

 

 

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I met Sabine Ewald, project Manager of the team hosting social media week Hamburg 2014 @ Social Media Week London 2013. She said I had to attend at Hamburg and I was excited at the opportunity.

The story about the visa application is a short one, a few pages to confirm I was resident in England, bank statements, invite, you know how that works. There was a curious declaration form though, actually two I had to sign saying I wasn’t a terrorist. I remember a particular question asking if I had recently received training from …(listed a number of countries), and another lumping Nigeria and some war-torn countries together.  That hurt.

So I got the visa, now it’s on the trip proper. If you’ve travelled anywhere with me (via this blog), you’d know I cannot sleep the night before any flight. Last time I slept, not only did I miss the flight, I started in my own ‘league of unfortunate events that morning. It wasn’t funny then, glory be I can laugh about it now.

This night though, I slept I was exhausted, and so I slept. But I asked the Holy Spirit to wake me (that’s something I’ve started doing recently), and soon as I put my things together/booked a taxi for the next day, I hit the sack. Flight time? 7.40am. 

I woke up about 4.50am, 10 minutes before my alarm (thank you Lord). Shut my eyes to pray (still cozied up under my blanket) and I promise you I had gotten through one song and a few words of prayer before…I heard my phone ring and it was my beloved father asking if I was at the airport! Lol. Bless him!

I jumped up, took one more wake up call (thank you dearie), and then it was in, out of the shower, and in my taxi at exactly 5.50am; of course I dozed all the way to the airport.

Thankfully my hosts had paid for check-in luggage and I was on time so I went to drop it. 

Do you know that the Nigerian passport doesn’t do us  a lot of favors sometimes? Ok, so I got to the counter and after asking me where I was going and why, the lady rang someone to ‘register/confirm’ my passport and visa. Incredible. Just incredible. And that’s all I will say about that here.

Cleared security, got to the Duty Free Area, and a little devil wanted to tempt me to look around. Was ambling towards the perfume display then I saw my gate was closing in 11 minutes. Which perfume? Would it guarantee eternity? I dashed for my gate, made it just in time!

Boarded, and beside me was this stern looking lady, na wa. All of a sudden I heard my mother tongue behind me, whoop! Ladies and gentlemen there was a young man blasting Ibo on the phone – I was so excited! Tweeted that, said a prayer, and fell asleep!

Hamburg baby!

Touchdown! Cleared immigration (again got the extra scrutiny), and then I went to grab my luggage. It had dawned on me that I was on my own (no my hosts weren’t meeting me at the airport), so I went out, found a cab, and that story forms the beginning of part two!

PS – Written on the 19th of February, don’t even ask why I’m just publishing it now!

 

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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.

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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…

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