Archive for the ‘A post a day’ Category

It’s been a while I wrote about my niece, my little princess. But here we are, again using her life and the things she does to draw analogies with our reality.

So, little madam is about 19 months old, with the personality and spunk of a three-year-old. She knows exactly what she wants, and derives quite a bit of pleasure from getting her way.

She’s also way ahead of the curve as far as new words and conversations are concerned. So no, she’s not talking philosophy, driving, or writing novels yet, even though I’m sure she can biko. As an aside, I’m now convinced I will be one of those moms whose children can do no wrong. Not to say they won’t get corrected when they misbehave, just saying they will fart and I’ll probably smell roses and patchouli. Yep, that kind of mom.

Okay, why am I writing this? So Talia understands what it means to put something in the trash – so biscuit wraps, empty Ribena packs, those kinds of things, she will drop them in the trash when you ask nicely (read as ask at least three times while she repeats what you’re saying). But, eventually, she goes and drops whatever item in the bin. Sometimes I can get her to go drop it back in the bin by herself, other times I have to be really firm.

The curious thing though, is that, especially for wraps for edible things, she’ll drop them in, then go take them out in another 3-5 minutes. She’s not trying to be naughty or difficult, but I guess she doesn’t just understand why something that appears shiny or pretty should be dropped in the bin. The interesting thing is even if I have a new, full pack of whatever she’s disposed of, she still wants the one she’s picked out from the bin, which she threw away in the first instance because it was empty, finished, done with.

And that last sentence is the thrust of this piece. As adults, we end up going back to things, or people, or situations we know we are done with; we know there’s nothing left, that no matter how we squeeze, the juice is finished.

But we’re afraid to reach out for new, to seek (and receive) our due. We’re scared of the unknown, and potentially not being satisfied in the new. So we go back, get stung (or unsatisfied), but keep going back. And sometimes God is beckoning on us, asking us to stretch out our hands and receive from His bounty. But no, we want to go back to the bin, because there’s comfort in familiarity. Even when we’re absolutely sure what we have in our hands is trash.

All I’m saying this morning is, a closed hand can’t receive new things, ditto for a hand that’s full (with, in this case, trash). Trust God today, that thing, situation, person He’s been speaking to you about? Trust that He knows the end from the beginning, sees the full picture, and has your best end to heart.

I hope you have a great week!

 

 

Advertisements

Hey everyone!

So I’ll try to make this quick. How are you? Good weekend? I had a really busy last 10 days, but lots of learning and successes. More about that later. And I started my morning by going to the gym! I haven’t been in about a month so I was really excited about the 47 minutes spent trying to whip my body back into shape. Gosh, such a struggle!

So, as I headed out of our estate about 7am this morning, I saw two young men surrounded by a mob. Both men had been stripped naked, and had car batteries on their heads. I was told these men were in the habit of stealing car batteries from parked cars in the estate. The estate security had set a trap for them and voila. They looked like they had been beaten, but they also had been told to “start going”. So I asked the security man where they were going, and why they had to be naked. His answer? “Madam dem be thief na, dem go waka the whole estate today”.

As I drove off, I thought about the fact that in that entire mob, no one mentioned the police or any law enforcement agency. Shame because it shows the distrust in our systems, where people take laws into their hands because justice from the state is too slow, or a mirage. I also started thinking about nakedness on a few levels:

I also started thinking about nakedness on a few levels:

  1. There has got to be something about stripping a person naked that takes away their power and confers it on the mob.
  2. I didn’t see anyone molesting the men, touching their private parts or assaulting them sexually in anyway. Also, no one was filming. The opposite would be the case if the criminals were female. They would have been groped, fingered, and people would film. There was one horrible case last year where two women had ground pepper poured into her vagina by a mob. Horrifying stuff. One of them died. Another woman who stole at a mall was stripped and had an iron rod inserted into her vagina. Google is replete with stories like this.

Why? What is this need to remove the clothing of an offender?

I did a quick skim of Wikipedia, trying to find roots of this madness, and this article on public humiliation is interesting. From wearing badges to getting their feet unshod and flogged, to getting them to recount their crimes in the market square or some other public place, humans seem to have devised several ways of punishing offenders.

Going back to Bible times, nakedness was used as a form of punishment. There’s the tale in Ezekiel 37 about a woman who was essentially whoring about, and she got her comeuppance in the form of nakedness, losing her children, and then death.

Islam also cites nakedness as a punishment for offenders, going back to the days of Aadam and Hawwaa (Adam and Eve). Apparently when they disobeyed, listened to the serpent and ate of the fruit they had been warned not eat of, they were made (aware of their) nakedness. Longer narration here.

Away from religion and back to history, Hesiod, a renown Greek poet implored people to “Sow naked, and plough naked, and harvest naked if you wish to bring in all Demeter’s fruits in due season.” Demeter was the goddess of seasons and harvests. Now, this was optional, but there are records of men (and women) ploughing their fields without a thread on.

Back to this morning. I hope (for the sake of the men caught stealing), that they are handed over to the police. And I hope that we slowly start move away from humiliation and on to rehabilitation, or at least punishment that leaves people’s clothes on.

Can I just say that I really missed blogging and I’m enjoying the moments spent writing these days? Thank you to everyone who’s liked an article, left a comment, and/or shared.

Apologies in advance, this is going to get a little gross. So, my niece (who has inspired a few of my recent pieces), is seventeen months old. In other words, she’s a proper baby. Her favourite song is Twinkle twinkle little star, her eyes widen when you’re telling her a story, she’s a confirmed foodie like her aunty, and she loves a good cuddle. Her repertoire now features words like ‘bye’, ‘maami’, and the consummate sounds to replace ‘love you, juice, and food’. She will wave to say goodbye and sorry, and will occasionally accompany the latter with a hug.

My niece is absolutely adorable.

Remember her age? Okay. It means she also (occasionally) looks for trouble. It’s a bit of a funny struggle for me sometimes, reminding my 5-year-old nephew he’s not supposed to hit his sister (in retaliation, or any female for that matter) but then reprimanding this 17-month old about the inappropriateness (and dangers) of looking for trouble.

Her age also means that she sometimes she does the yuckiest things! I’ll tell you what she did this morning. So she wears diapers (obviously), and she pooped after a generous helping of golden morn, some ribena, and some mountain dew (I told you she’s a foodie).

Anyway, then she takes the diaper off (I apologise for the picture currently in your mind), walked to my room, and stretched out her arms to be carried. I looked at her, and knowing fully well her diaper was off (and not knowing what to expect), I carried her. Yep. I did. Cleaned her up, put on fresh diapers, and sent her on her merry way (back to the living room to watch a cartoon with her brother and hopefully not annoy him).

After she left I chatted to The Boyfriend about how we go to God. You know the term “come as you are?” I said to Him that I imagine that God looks at us sometimes and the only reason why He picks us up is love. Simple. This His love that is overflowing, never-ending, and free-flowing. I imagine that sometimes we come to Him and we’re so messy looking, so smelly, so everything not presentable, but He picks us up, cleans us, caters to us, and sends us on our merry way. What a loving father!

Anyway, that’s my niece and I today. In a lot of ways as we hang out and she grows, I imagine our relationship with God and the many parallels to be drawn. It’s the sweetest thing. Really, it is.

Question: What things/people in your everyday life remind you of relationship with God?

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max De Pree

Just some quick thoughts about the New Year, what we want to do/be/achieve and how quite a number of us erroneously believe that wanting a thing (even bad enough) is all it takes for us to do/be/achieve that thing.

I found this quote yesterday in the course of fulfilling a committment to an organization and it literally jumped out at me. How do you want to see different if you don’t do different? My dad says it’s insanity to plant corn and pray to reap strawberries. Lol. But really. Think about it.

*Let’s not be like the Nigerian government who want to increase the quantity of rice in the country and decide the best place to plant the rice is on rocks. Without irrigation or watering of any kind, fertilizers, nothing. Yet the plan is to increase the quantity of rice for everyone. Sigh.

So do you need to change a habit, eat better (read as less, lol), sleep for longer (or less), get a hobby (or hubby – gosh I’m so silly); do you need to get closer to God, hit some milestones at work, be a better friend/partner/parent, make money so good you’re not swayed by any of the exchange rates in Nigeria at the moment? Nice!

So, what’s the plan? What are the concrete steps to getting there? In a conversation very early this year I figured I have close to no knowledge of project management and it is something that can smoothen the processes for a number of things I am involved with. So, off I went to register for a course, classes start in a bit.

There are a couple other things I need to work on, sort out, and be better at, and we’re on the road to that. Amen to God’s help and strength, and grace to stay the course.

So, away from me, what are you doing? Better yet, what are you doing different?

Happy New Year.

In 2007, I went to hang out with my sister in Ibadan for a bit; she was a house officer at the glorious University College Hospital, and it was one of those periods my dad and I couldn’t really agree on anything. So, off to spend some time with my sister.

Ibadan is an amazing place. Like, if I could choose, I would raise my children there. First they would learn Yoruba (yes I love the language), but they would also be exposed to the culture, the music (and the world knows Yoruba’s are the kings and queens of ‘turn up’); all of this in a cheap, ancient, picturesque-type (depends on where you are to be honest) city. I have very fond memories of/in Ibadan, memories that won’t leave me in a hurry!

Anyway, so at UCH they had this blood drive week, and everyday people were given gifts for donating to the hospital’s blood bank. I wasn’t really moved by it till my sister came home one day with her own gifts: a pretty jotter and pen, a mug I think, a can of malt, and one of those pin-up stickers that said she was a life save because she was a blood donor. Whaaaat! I made up my mind to go the next day.

And I did, got there early, and presented my arm for a sample to be taken. A few minutes later, the matronly, much older woman came out and asked

Nurse: Who is ‘Sheomah’?

Me: It’s me (excited)

Nurse: Follow me

(Inside her office)

Nurse (loud enough for the folks in the waiting room to hear): Are you on ‘ya menses’ (on your period)?

Me: (cringing) No

Nurse: Did you just give birth?

Me: (wondering why she has to be that loud): No

Nurse: Did you do ‘aboshan’ (abortion)?

Me: No. Why are you asking me these questions?

Nurse: Ah. Your blood is not enough for you se! How do you want to give someone else?

Brethren, I don’t know if it was the embarrassment, or the way my excitement was punctured, but I left the clinic feeling very inadequate. Why didn’t I have enough?

Suffice to say, I never tried to donate blood again.

Till Sunday the 4th of July 2016. My niece and nephew had been really ill for a few days, and we had to take them into hospital when it didn’t look like they were getting better. We saw the doctor, I endured watching my nephew scream and wail while the IV line was set in his wrist, and then we went up to our ward.

Can I stop for a minute and wholeheartedly recommend Angelic Care Hospital in Area 3, Garki to every parent in Abuja who reads my blog? The nurses are truly angelic, and the hospital is truly intended for little ones. The stairs are a bit steep, but that was the only complain I had. Happy, friendly nurses, very clean environment, and their food is not bad at all!

Away from gushing about the hospital, there was a woman with a severely jaundiced baby in the same ward with us, and apparently the baby needed an exchange blood transfusion which simply involves exchanging (in very little bits) the baby’s ‘unhealthy blood’ with healthy blood to stop the excess bilirubin from wrecking havoc. Yeah?

So the baby’s daddy got screened, but he apparently had hepatitis B and so couldn’t donate; the mom obviously couldn’t donate too. They were going to reach out to a relative to help when I offered. The parents were desperate so it was a really emotional moment, and then I headed to the lab with the nurse. On the way I prayed, asking God to please let my blood be enough, to let it be just right for the baby, literally every prayer I could think of.

We got there, she took a bit, and I waited. Then she said I was good to go! I settled in on a bed, and she brought the bag, needle, tourniquet, etc. Then I remembered my fear for needles so I looked away. I had said I would film but the prick of the really big needle stunned me for a moment; my sister explained the size of the needles ensures the cells are not crushed.

I still made the video, a bit shaky but a goody!

Donation over, I had to lie down for a few minutes, and then I went back to the ward.

The transfusion was done that night, and I’m happy and really excited to say the baby is doing better today. And we’ve made new friends. And I’m thankful I could be useful on such a personal level. It is such an amazing feeling, and I enjoin everyone to contribute to a blood bank close to them.

Even better, we’ve been discharged, and my babies are doing a lot better! God is great!

 

 

 

Hope is a currency more valuable than the dollar, more desirable than the pound, and yet the most easily dispersed, if you’re in prison.

I visited Kuje Medium Security Prison on Friday the 22nd of April 2016, my first time ever in a prison, home and/or abroad. I had heard of prison visits by charities and fellows given to philanthropy in the past, but a chance meeting with Big Mo of Wazobia FM and I was off to ‘The Committee’ to tell them we needed to contribute towards the visit.

The trip to the prison was moved a few times due to high security alerts issued by the authorities, and the calibre of people housed in the prison and at some point I lost hope that the visit would happen. But, on Wednesday I was informed that we had received the all-clear and Friday was the day.

Thanks to monies graciously approved by The Committee, I drove to the assembly point, back seat full of toiletries – toothpaste, petroleum jelly, bathing soap, washing soap, dettol, sanitary towels, and bleach – and I had to change into something totally hiding my figure. Yep, I had been warned that the less *insert a word of your choosing* females look when they visit prisons, the less excitable the men will get.

image

Me, in my sister’s maternity kaftan!

And then we set off to Kuje, which is a right turn off the stretch from the city to the airport, and transforms from urban to underdeveloped with each kilometre. Unfortunately, there is a stark difference between state capitals and satellite towns around them; stark differences in what we present to outsiders, and what we really are.

The entire drive, my mind was racing, almost crashing into itself with all the emotions I was feeling and the stories of prison visits I’d heard. Would they pee on me, would anyone be really injured? Would they be hungry, angry or just stoic? I tried to distract myself with music, with very little success.

As we turned onto the dirt road leading to the prison, the butterflies in my belly doubled, trying to keep up with the increasing military presence we encountered. I was reminded of the absolute power of celebrity and the media (read as radio) when we were stopped at one of the checkpoints and told to go somewhere far to park. Then Big Mo introduced himself and it was magical how all the soldiers started hailing him. Fist bumps, laughs, the once tense mood melted into camaraderie because the soldiers matched a face with a voice they listened to maybe everyday.

We got into the prison reception, and the ladies were taken into a room to be searched. I’ve been body searched on three continents and I tell you, none have been as embarrassing and almost invasive as this search. The body search in America comes close, but these guys take the cake abeg.

We were led to a courtyard where there were at least 100 inmates sitting under canopies and laughing as one of us cracked jokes. And there was more laughter, raucous laughter as comedians thrilled the inmates. It got better, there were comedians drawn from the inmates themselves. Hilarity!

Beyond the laughter though, I was bawling like a baby at different points. One of them? One of the comedians was told he could only do one joke. He finished it, and when the mic was going to be taken from him, he said he’d been locked up for 8 years and he didn’t know when next he’d hold a microphone. Cue my wiping my eyes furiously.

When each performer finished, he would give out a tube of toothpaste, a bar of soap, or any of the little household items we had. The joy on their faces as they received the items, the look of longing on the faces of their peers, cue my wiping my eyes furiously.

Sometimes it was easy to forget we were actually amongst inmates. The thunderous laughter, hailing their own performers or ours, and the clapping would have been great joy to a politician at a rally. Each time an official asked them to move back, or sit down though? I remembered, all over again.

I wondered what crimes they might have committed to get there, wondered about their friends and family and if they were missed, if some of them had families waiting for them to get out, or if they had moved on. I was told of people who were locked up (for years) because they couldn’t afford bail of N5000.

A pastor from House on The Rock The Refuge gave a brief exhortation, and he led us in the song ‘Everything written about you is great’ by Steve Crown before that. Watching the prisoners standing, waving their hands in worship? Kai. Pastor TJ preached hope, courage, and Jesus being able to turn their lives around.

We danced too, even me! The performers all danced with the inmates, the prison officials danced with themselves, and then us females (two of us) were asked to come out to dance. Took all of me not to cry all over again as they hailed us to the ‘stage’; couldn’t manage beyond shuffling from side to side.

And it was a teary Chioma who gave soaps and toothpaste to the inmates, including one really old, frail man as afternoon turned to evening and we had to leave.

I was turning everything we’d experienced in my mind as we walked to the reception to be processed out. Only to see prison officials whipping one really rough-looking man so quickly it seemed like every step I took coincided with a swish of the whip. I started begging the official to stop, tears flying down my face. One of the officials told me not to waste tears on the man; apparently he’d been released from this prison after spending four years for raping a female; he had just been arrested, caught in the act of raping a four-year old boy. Yes. A four-year old. A boy.

I left.

PS: A very big thank you to Big Mo, Chuks D General, Willy Willy (all of Wazobia FM and who have organised these prison visits for a number of years), all the comedians and entertainment guys who came along on this visit. You guys are awesome.

Good morning!

Happy New Year! How did you spend the holidays? Did you have a good, restful break? I did. I sure did! I spent time with family in San Antonio, Houston, and of course, London. What a great time of refreshing, of love, of fellowship! I will blog about that trip in due course, don’t worry…

What are you up to this year? What plans/goals? Are you in the New Year resolutions gang? I stopped bothering with those a few years ago, prefer to work towards goals following on from the previous year. Profits me more to be honest. Are you on your way to ticking off those goals? January’s almost over!

What’s new, wherever you are? In Nigeria, we’re living and breathing the coming general elections – exciting, yet very tense times. One piece of advice if I may? Go out and vote. Please, go out and vote if you have your permanent voter card. If you don’t have it, try to collect it. Do it.

It’s 4am, and I’m working and watching my nephew sleep like a clock on my bed – dude is literally turning round in his sleep! He’s formed the habit of coming in for a cuddle at bedtime these days; sometimes he falls asleep here, other times he leaves. Today was one of those ‘sleep with aunty Boo Boo’ kind of days. God is gracious I tell you, who are we that He entrusts the care of these precious ones in our hands? Truly gracious.

What’s new for me this year? Work (duh, lol) – God is opening great and effectual doors and I am more than grateful. Like, jaw-dropping doors, and I can only receive grace to be effective, efficient, and of course to remain grounded.

What else is new? I have a new-found love for all music of South African origin. I’ve become hooked on people like Solly Mahlangu, Keke Phoofolo, Zaza, Benjamin Dube, Ntokozo Mbambo, etc! Vocals are incredible, the intensity of their worship, I’m in love! And I found this site where I can sing along to the lyrics of my favorite songs – what a blessing!

What says I can’t push off to South Africa to watch either (or all) of them in concert this year? My birthday is in May so that’s a gift idea for you. Yes you!

This was intended to be quite short and so let’s stop here. I pray this year is all you dreamed it to be, and I ask for grace and strength so that we all put in the work it takes.

Have a fabulous 2015!

Love,

FGS.

 

You know how this idea for the #31days31writers project started? To start with I know YNaija’s done something like that in 2012, I think I wrote for that sef. I did! It was an article on babes beefing each other for no reason, and you won’t believe the gender that bashed me the most on that piece? Lol!

For this one though, I saw someone tweet in November (I swear I don’t remember their handle and I’m on a Twitter fast so I can’t go look) but he was talking about it and I thought, this might be cool for the end of the year. I didn’t act on it though till the 26th of November, and then I gave all my writers till the 28th to hand in their pieces. With benefit of hindsight, it must have a freaked a number of them out!

Anyway, so I must have asked 40 people, and out of those I got 30. And I am more than grateful that they took the time to squeeze their 2013 into 600 words, and send in the lovely pictures they did. From castration for sex offenders, to faith in the Lord, rebuilt confidence, loyalty from friends, second chances, to resolutions for the new year, homosexuality and homophobia, 2013 was different for every one of my writers, and I am so proud of them!!

Did you miss any of the articles? Well, you’re welcome, I’ve listed all of them below!

  1. DAY 1: The first in the ‘a post a day’ series – Chude Jideonwo
  2. “I learned that I matter” – Francine! #31days31writers
  3. “I have learnt pain is a part of the process” – Emeka #31days31writers
  4. “I use writing as a tool to make a difference” – Chijioke #31days31writers
  5. “No more Mr Nice Guy” – Mr Mobility! #31days 31 writers
  6. “I’m thankful for stability” – Saratu #31days 31writers
  7. “I would shut up and let her do her mothering” – Vickie Remoe #31days31writers
  8. “The internet lives” – Pa Ikhide starts the second week of my #31days31writers project!
  9. “I am gradually learning to love the silence” – Dosh Mabonga! #31days31writers
  10. “I have learnt that dreams can actually come true” – Bisi Alimi #31days31writers
  11. “I learnt to let go and forgive” – Onaedo!! #31days31writers
  12. “I have learnt that light always comes at dawn” – Alkayy!! #31days31writers
  13. “Who says black men shouldn’t cry?” – My girl Francesca Uriri! #31days31writers
  14. “Our human species have truly trashed the planet” – Jeremy!! #31Days31Writers
  15. “2013: Of numbers, expectations and unspoken promises” – Dami #31Days31Writers
  16. “I won the lottery!!” – Tolu #31days31writers
  17. “I’ve learnt to let go and let God” – the delectable Nike Coker! #31Days31Writers
  18. “People change and so do you” – Ewoma gives us home truths! #31days31writers
  19. “Castration as an act of mercy” – My girl Zima goes hard! #31days31writers
  20. I learnt a lot about public engagement as a public servant” – Ohimai!! #31Days31Writers
  21. “I live and breathe food” – Nky Iweka #31days31writers
  22. “I have so much to be grateful for!” – Mac-Jordan #31Days31Writers
  23. “I’m glad that I followed my intuition and took risks” – Chris!! #31Days31Writers
  24. “This year taught me to represent” – Eziaha (The Fab Sister) is up today! #31days31writers
  25. “Loyalty makes a friend family” – Nonso’s up for our Christmas special! #31days31writers
  26. “I have come to love and accept myself” – my bestie is up! #31days31writers
  27. “I don’t even remember my resolutions for 2013″ – Andy Madaki on #31days31writers
  28. “I have learnt that homosexuality exists in 450 species” – Okechukwu is a shining star on #31days31writers today!
  29. “I understood faith as a lifestyle this year” – Lizzie
  30. “Your friend is your need answered” – a surprise appearance on the #31days31writers project!
  31. “Thank you for being part of my 2013″ – Guess who? Me!!!

Thank you guys for honoring me and my blog. Best wishes for the new year!

Love, light, and God’s many blessings!

Mwah!

Today is the last day of 2013, and the end of the #31days31writers project. Whoop! I am more than grateful to everyone who took the time to send in an entry, and for the ones I asked who for one reason or the other, couldn’t. I’m excited that everyone learned something, and blessed that thanks to one platform, I could share the experiences of 31 amazing people. Thank you so much!

2013 has been my most challenging year, I’m not even going to muck about. From losing 4 cousins and an aunty in a road accident, to an uncle, and then my most precious aunty Pat, there have been times when I didn’t know if I wanted to see the next morning. And it’s not like I didn’t lose anyone else, I just stopped counting. Death is cruel, shameless, and without discretion, but it taught me a few things. I learned to make every minute count, to make the effort to keep in touch, to love hard, but also to  know when to walk away.

I learned that acquaintances are plenteous, but friends are few, and to cherish each friendship (and pray to God they return the favour, lol).

I learned firsthand that depression and suicidal tendencies are real, and not just the exclusive preserve of the ‘West’. And I learned that God is bigger. Oh He’s a whole lot bigger!

I learned that I just might have a little issue with replying emails in a timely fashion. And I am determined (and working towards) not having that on my list of things to work on by the end of 2014.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom though (according to Russell Howard) – my dad launched his writing ministry this year with six books, and has since written another three (rockstar), my Boo Boo turned one this year, and at eighteen months is feeding himself (my baby Einstein)! I did quite a bit of travelling this year (for which I am grateful), and there are locked down work trips for the new year already! My mom, big brothers and sister are alive, healthy, prosperous; God is leading us to our place of rest and I couldn’t be more grateful. I love you guys to the moon and back!

My baby channeling the Christmas spirit!

My baby channeling the Christmas spirit! He’s the cutest baby on earth!

I am grateful for Nike Coker (Chief Sista), Francesca Uriri (my sister girl), and my bestie Wumi; friends who have literally become blood. People I would give anything for, people I would lay down my life for (hopefully they don’t ask *smile*); people for whom I am number one (sometimes, anytime, more than one time, lol!), in words, thoughts, and deeds. I love you and I am thankful you were a part of my year.

Now that I’ve covered what I’ve learned and the people I am grateful for, what would I do differently if I could? Nothing. I would say I’d keep all those precious ones from dying but that’s not my decision to make (wouldn’t have happened in the first place if it was).

And, because I can (and it is *cough cough* my blog), I have two resolutions for the new year:

1. Work VERY hard to reply emails/messaging in nothing over 24 hours.

2. Succeed! Big time!

Thanks a million for being on my blog today, and therefore being a part of my 2013. Have an extra productive new year!

Peace, love, and God’s great blessings,

The Fairy GodSister.

2013-11-30 22.31.29

Miss CC!!

P:S – I thought I would do one separate post thanking all my writers and listing all their articles; that story is here.

I met Mr Ekpo in May 2012, when I worked as the social media consultant for NERC as they implemented the MYTO 2 (price increase in simple English abeg). It was my second ever interaction with bureaucracy as personified by government, sigh. I remember having to explain what exactly social media could/would achieve for the organization so many times I could recite it in my sleep, but it was worth it when things started to change!

I infected some of the principal officers at the commission with the social media bug, and it is a thing of personal pride that Elecoblogs exists.

When I first toyed with the idea of asking Mr Ekpo to grace my blog for this #31days31writers project, I worried it would mete a ‘familiarity breeding contempt’ kind of reply. So you can imagine my excitement when between an introduction to another young person to provide a service, I mentioned it, and he replied, ‘sure, what is it about’? And voila!

It is my honor to present Mr Eyo Ekpo’s submission for my #31days31writers project!

My name is Eyo O. Ekpo, Nigerian, working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja. There, I lead the Market Competition and Rates (MCR) Division. I’m also a newbie blogger, on electricity (of all things), at Elecoblogs. I’m planning to be 48 in June (can’t wait to be 50 and see what the fuss is all about) and have fended for myself since I became a lawyer on 22nd October 1987.

My Lessons Learned (or, Perhaps, Re-Learned)

I sit here in the garden at home in Calabar and ask: “What do I say to readers whose average age is less than 35? I have no common ground with them. I dislike their music, their loud voices, their hurry-hurry, their dressing. I dislike everything about them!!” Then, I say to myself: “But you do know quite a few fantastic young people o”. The list runs through my head and…it just keeps growing. From my two out-of-this-world daughters, 20 and 16, to the bright young guys and girls of NERC, to @ChiomaChuka, my Media Adviser, who opened up for me a new world, social media, of which I was blissfully ignorant, on to the irrepressible people I’ve met and conversed with in that youthful, vibrant and colourful world.

I’ve re-learnt a lesson as old as time. I am you and you are me and the river just keeps flowing. Time is timeless. It stands still. In order to be alive in it, we are the ones who must keep moving. Stand still and die. Looks indeed are deceptive. During the year, I looked more closely and saw that the youth of today are me of yesterday, not even as good. The same all-embracing fire of idealism, expectation and desire for progress that I had in October 1987. Now, my biggest desire is not to become one of those masquerades that have dedicated themselves to killing that fire.

My Gratitude

Kahlil Gibran, for whom my 8-year old boy is named, said about Friendship in his timeless magnum opus, ‘The Prophet’: “Your friend is your need answered.” I am eternally grateful for the blessing of friendship; and grateful to my friends who have provided all I have ever needed. Three of them, two female and one male. Don’t ask and I won’t tell, except to say that one of them is my dearly beloved wifey, Oluranti.

2013, in spite of its daily anxieties and worries, was signposted along the way with a few happy events that served, at just the right moments, to boost a flagging momentum. It has also proved to be a year in which were validated, reinforced and sometimes learnt anew, many of the lessons from 26 years of a multifaceted professional career. Lessons of life. Hard work, character, ethics, paying what is due, the constant striving to learn, perfection never having upper limits, leadership and people management. Above all, lessons about responsibility, a word deep with meaning.

And…My Futile Quest for A Time Machine

If I could go back, what would I do differently. I hurt two people I love dearly. We live in the present and I can’t go back but I can make amends, which, thankfully, they have allowed me to do.

I am most certainly a very fortunate pilgrim. I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences that life has brought me in 2013. As the year ends, I look forward to 2014 with eagerness for a year that would be filled with activity, even more beneficial to all around me than in 2013.

Thank you Sir!

Thank you Sir!