Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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.

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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…

View original 1,376 more words

Well, part one to this tale is here.

I wasn’t sure what documents I needed for this ‘interview’ to renew my Nigerian passport (renew o, not get a brand new one) so I took all the documents I had confirming my citizenship. I had to go off my route to retrieve some documents from a friend, and then it was off to the Embassy.

Got there, and I was told at the door that I needed to get a postal order worth £20 from the Post Office. Why didn’t anyone say this before? Mention or even hint at it? Online or the day I filled out the forms? Why?

Fortunately I didn’t need any form of transportation to get there but it was freezing, and was time I could have saved to be honest.

I got back from getting it, and because I already had a ‘number’, I sat down and watched a woman try in vain to control her four young boys whose favorite word in the whole wide world (and response to every request, directive, or scolding) was ‘NO’. I chuckled over and over.

Multiple cold repellents (read as hot chocolate) meant I needed to pee, and so to the conveniences I went. Full stop, but I took pictures.

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No comment.

Must have spent an hour and then it was my turn to be ‘interviewed’. Got to the counter and they just confirmed I had paid the application fee, collected the postal order and form, and asked me to go sit down and wait to be ushered upstairs for biometric capturing.

Huh? What happened to the ‘interview’? What of the documents I’d been told I needed to convince Nigeria I was Nigerian? I needed to justify the dossier I’d hauled from home. The man said, “you don’t need them”, and then called out the next number. I wanted to say something, but then I reminded myself that I am a daughter of Zion, said thank you (didn’t believe I had one in me) and went to sit.

Started blogging (obviously) till I heard an argument getting louder and decided to listen (how else would I have this story for you?)

This lady had filed out an application, but didn’t have her old passport. Where was it Missy? She said officials collected it from her at the airport because it was expired. Huh? That’s not normal now is it? The more probable thing is you won’t be allowed to fly in the first instance, or you’ll be turned back at the point of entry.

Madam didn’t want to hear that she needed her old passport or some documentation to be able to get a new one. And so there was a lot of yelling, “do you know who I am” thrown about, all of that drama. Of course that meant that my reading/blogging gave way to tatafo. I started thinking too, who did she think was 5 years old there? What did she mean by officials collected it from her? Which officials? And she walked away from them quietly after they collected it? O da.

I got called for my biometrics, went upstairs, and while I waited, I saw the Dame on TV, leading some prayer session. No I didn’t watch, I just took a couple of pictures.

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They prayed, they sang…fill in the blanks…

Got my photo and prints captured and I was asked to come back in two weeks. Sigh.

The End.

Update – I went in on the day and after waiting for about 30 minutes, collected the passport of life and destiny. And I hear I got it easier than most. Either way, I’m grateful!

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Recently I’ve found that I get super inspired when I read/watch people who are doing great things despite peculiar circumstances. First it was the Maysoon Zayid video and the story of how she’s done pretty much everything she’s wanted to do, despite cerebral palsy.

Beyond the inspiration, it’s a stark reminder of how grateful I am (and should be) for the mercies I have received, and a motivation to not only use what I’ve got even more judiciously, but also to think and act more kindly towards others every chance I get.

On to the inspiration for the day! I was invited to watch a video of a man who has a PhD in law. He has represented people in court (duh), plays the piano, and is blind. Why did I leave what seems like a pretty important detail to the end? Why wasn’t his blindness the first thing I mentioned?

Well simply because Dr Ife Akintunde doesn’t see blindness as a disability. He believes that “everyone on earth has to meet challenges or their spirits will die”. He says we all have little challenges we have to surmount to succeed (or fail) in life and being unable to see from birth is his. Simple.

Ready to watch the rest of it yourself? Go on then!

Soon after I saw the video you’ve just seen, I was introduced to Sorbarikor Lebura, the brain/producer behind that documentary (directed by Dapo Oshinaike). Sorbarikor is a Nigerian, passionate about telling the stories of people living with different disabilities and has the long term dream of influencing policies in Nigeria that will  make the circumstances, living conditions, and accessibility of these people a lot better than what it is at the moment.

I decided to be a part of telling those stories, and can very proudly announce that this documentary has been shortlisted in AfriNolly’s Short Film Competition. The winning entries for film and documentary receive $25, 000 which will go a long way in getting this project/charity off the ground.

We just need you to vote! How do you do that?

1. Go here – Afrinolly Short Film Competition

2. It’ll ask you to sign in via Facebook or Google Plus (I’ve checked it a couple times now and it doesn’t save your login data. So that’s not a worry.

Click on vote for documentary

3. Click on vote for documentary

4. Blind aspiration should be on the bottom left corner. If it’s not, it’s on the page sha.

Vote o!! Press your hand on the 'umblerra' (You have to be Nigerian to understand that). Seriously sha, vote! Thank you!

Vote o!! ‘Pless’ your hand on the ‘umblerra’ (You have to be Nigerian to understand that). Seriously sha, vote! Thank you!

If you’re interested in volunteering with this project in any way, and have ideas on how Sorbarikor and the rest of his team can move forward with this, please leave a comment and I’ll make sure he comes on to respond.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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Alkasim was my neighbour at the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, and shortly before I left the country, he became my boss. It’s not the fact that he is wise beyond his years, it’s not the fact that he’s a journalist of international repute, it’s not even the fact that his knowledge of history always sends me to Wikipedia (earning me the nickname ‘Wiki kenan); it’s the fact that Alkayy is perhaps the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met.

I would go on, but before I tempt that humility we all love him for, I present my neighbour, Alkayy!

My name is Alkasim Abdukadir, I am fiercely Nigerian. I work as an international freelance journalist in Nigeria, and the link to my most recent piece for African Arguments is here.

I have always known that after all trials and tribulations light will always come at dawn; this Hausa saying is even more blunt -Bayan wuya sai dadi -loosely translated to mean that after the hardship comes enjoyment.

In retrospect this year though, I came to understand that in the end everything will fall into place, not necessarily the way we want but somehow we will get by.

It is amazing what the human mind can endure/ how challenging the times can get. It is doubly tragic that people can let you down, just because they can, to show their god-complex – from family members to friends to bosses and those whose loyalty really matters.

A family member was out of work for two years, because he lost out in office politics, and it became imperative for me to stand-up and support his dependents not because I am the most conscientious person or the most wealthy, not even because I treasure family, but because it was the right thing to do. I must confess when the  requests came sometimes it was not only heart breaking but also debilitating; the thought of what people in this country go through. Imagine this sms: “Please send us money, we are out of food again, we are cooking the last grains this afternoon”.

How could a mid-level manager end up like this? Life and Nigeria happened, I say.

And then imagine the times, when my paycheck was delayed, the untold misery it caused at the other end was just unthinkable.

This is just one of several episodes of need that surrounded one this year.

I am grateful that in the end, succour came in the form of a new job and a new lease of life for my family member; though pressure still persists from other quarters, the biggest hurdle had been crossed. I am grateful that I didn’t falter nor flee when I was most needed. That I remained resolute, even though it was hard, that I shared of my heart when it mattered most.

If I had another chance to do it again, I would do exactly the same, just that this time I would go a notch higher, because light always comes at dawn.

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Vote for my neighbour’s article please!

http://africanarguments.org/alkasim-abdulkadir/

I figure it is no longer news that I was in Nigeria for my beloved auny’s funeral. When I was ready to leave, I was billed to fly on the 26th, and I had a ticket (duh, lol). On the day, I got to the airport, shout out to Ace for instilling the ‘check-in at home’ culture in me. Anyways, so I got to the airport, my father’s friend helped me with my luggage, and I went to board, heart-broken at leaving Boo Boo (as always). By the way, he’s such a big boy now, the proud owner of a hefty collection of words! He says ‘mama, papa, aunty (whoop), m-e-e m-e-e (leave me), no (for some reason he shouts it, can’t just say it), te te (thank you), and eeya(sweet, heartwarming sound he makes when he gives hugs). My boy is the cutest, smartest, geezer on earth! And he’s exactly fifteen months old today!

Anyway, so I boarded, walked to the economy section and my seat, and there was a lady sat in it. I wasn’t surprised, I’d been told that Lufthansa had network issues so the officials had written out seat numbers. I greeted the lady and said in my nicest voice that she was in my seat and if she had the same seat number. She put on an American accent (I say put on because as I walked up to her she was speaking Igbo to someone on the phone) and said she couldn’t have been in the wrong seat.

The natural next thing to do would be to produce your boarding ticket right? Well she started rummaging through her bag, and err, it seemed like she couldn’t find it. She asked to see mine. I showed her and then she said, “this is my seat, they probably made a mistake with the allocation”. I, innocently thinking that she was reasoning with me (bear in mind she was obviously much older than my ‘humble’ self), said, “yes, surely they have. Have you found your pass?”

Then she goes (in a slightly louder voice), ” I wasn’t lying about being allocated this seat, I’m an American citizen; I just can’t find my boarding pass.” Immediately I was disgusted. Americans don’t lie? What does being American have to do with a ‘blaady’ seat? I just turned and walked away, met a hostess and explained (kicking myself for spending so much time bandying words with the ‘American’). The hostess apologised, admitted stuff was crazy because of the network issues and said she’d sort me out.

While I was waiting, I rang my folks to tell them, and God bless them, they said they wouldn’t go to bed till I was seated, regardless of anything I said. Daddy said I was going to get upgraded, but I was so tired I would have happily shared space with my luggage, and I didn’t want to raise my hopes for nothing.

Anyway, so I waited a bit and then the hostess came back and asked, “how many of you?” Lol, in my mind i thought, ‘just in case I have another human being in my handbag abi?” I smiled though and said it was just me, then she asked me to follow her, and boom!! Business class baby! Whoop!

I learned something – most times people will be nicer to you if you smile at them. ‘Most’ because smiles and niceties don’t work on some people, like the American who cannot lie!

 

P:S – Boo Boo knows even more words, he’s actually stringing proper sentences together now! I rang and when my sister put him on the phone, he said, ‘to˙ te tor’ (shut the door). I love you Boo Boo!