Posts Tagged ‘Adenomatous polyposis coli’

At the end of May I was inducted into the highly coveted Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI), along 26 other truly inspiring young people. I keep saying of the weekend we spent at Epe Hotel and Resorts that I was challenged, inspired, challenged, inspired, you get the drift right?

I think that weekend deserves a full post in itself, and I will get to it I promise. Before then however, let’s talk about this invitation I received. It was in June, a card sent to me through our Alumni Officer inviting NLI to dinner with the Indian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador A.R Ghanashym. We all confirmed attendance, and on the said day, congregated at his beautiful residence somewhere in Maitama.

For starters I was super excited because a dress I’d not been able to wear since 2012 fit (I will write about my weight loss soon too, don’t worry), and so my ‘self-love’ levels were peaking like no man’s business! Got in, met associate members I didn’t know before, and in chatting with Aisha Augie-Kuta, learned that eating a handful of almonds is akin to taking aspirin. Who would have thought?

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The chicken samosas were everything! For my main I stuck to closest to familiar with the … and for dessert I tried the icecream. It was actually lovely! Indian food always wins doesn’t it?

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Starter was a lovely avocado salad, and the wrapped thing is fish cooked in leaves… so imagine moimoi where beans is exchanged for fish.

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Mr Yinka Oyinlola, CEO of NLI and the Indian Ambassador

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Totally here for the naan!! Then there was the chicken curry and chickpea vegetable thing that was a little odd-tasting, but quite nice!

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Three sauces… one curry, one beef, and the third was a vegetable cream with nuts. Yes, I tried everything!

The Ambassador is a very funny, down-to-earth man, so much that I didn’t know he was the one we were gisting with; somewhere in my mind I was expecting an announcement and then he would come down a flight of stairs or something (I know, my mind is most active), but then I asked someone where he was and she was like, that’s the person you’ve been chatting with na! Smile.

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He told us so many stories too! First off, he and his wife are career diplomats, and his wife is currently India’s High Commissioner in South Africa! He said they met former President Goodluck Jonathan at a function and GEJ asked them how many megawatts of electricity they generated between them because they defined ‘power couple’. Lol!

There was also serious talk, with the Ambassador admonishing us to dream. He said it so many times, that we had the opportunity to dream and so not to deny ourselves of ambitious dreams. And to work towards actualizing those dreams because we could, if we put our hearts to it and worked hard. He spoke about traveling within Africa and knowing from his interactions with a lot of people that Nigerians are intellectually superior to any other country on the continent. I scrunched up my nose at that but hey…

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Sharing a smile with Chairman of the APC Youth Forum and fellow NLI associate member, Barrister Ismail Ahmed

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We were joined by Blossom Nnodim! More smiles!

When we were done with dinner, he introduced us to his staff, from the chef to the butler, to his personal assistant. He told us about caring for staff and how their output/productivity was greatly enhanced just by knowing they had an employer who not only cared about the work they put in, but cared about them too. He said (and I quote), “Care. Find out about the people who work for you. The inane things – birthdays of their family members and make sure to send wishes on those days. Let them feel special, because they are.”

Food for thought there ey?

Then he told us about the (now late) President of India, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (A.P Abdul Kalam for short), and used his life and the story of the country’s first missile launch to explain true leadership.

He also told us of Devi Prasard Shetti, a globally renowned cardiac surgeon who is as famous for his brilliance as he is for the scheme he personally designed for financially disadvantaged people in India to access a quality of healthcare that would have been beyond their reach. Shetti’s heart hospital Narayana Hrudayalaya is the largest in the world, with a 1000 beds, more international patients than any hospital (their surgeries cost one-tenth of what it would cost in the United States), and performing over 30 heart surgeries a day. Wow!

Shetti wanted to become a heart surgeon from the time (as a child) he heard of the first successful heart transplant. As an adult, he always believed that healthcare could be cheaper, and he kept on thinking about it. The thought birthed Yeshasvini, touted as the world’s cheapest comprehensive healthcare insurance scheme. Farmers pay what comes to about 20 cents a month, and are covered totally. There are over 4 million people signed up to this scheme, which has earned Shetti many awards all over the world.

I was so inspired! I decided to do a bit more reading on the guy, and found this video of a TedTalk he gave I thought you would enjoy.

 

We took lots of photos, presented the Ambassador a gift, and then it was home time! I had a truly exciting, inspiring evening, thank you NLI! When’s the next dinner?

All of us!

All of us!

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Our gift to the Indian Ambassador. He loved them!

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We must have taken a million photos that night!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

Good people of the Fairy GodSister’s blog!

How many times do you feel like everything isn’t working? Like maybe business isn’t going great, deals aren’t coming in, your relationship isn’t worthy to be used as an example talk less of as a goal, and you’re spits away from quitting?

There are days like that, and it’s okay to feel that way (I guess). What I don’t think we should do, is dwell in the feelings of self-pity, sadness, discontent, whatever. Why?

Because (and I know we shouldn’t start sentences with ‘because’) we have it better than most! There is so much suffering in the world (all you need to do is open your eyes and look around you), but we are not them. Whatever it is we are going through, there are folk who are not only passing through worse, but have no hope of stuff getting better anytime soon (or ever).

I did some thinking recently, and these were the tweets those thoughts produced…Screenshot 2015-08-15 16.20.36

I was traveling between Abuja and Asaba – one of the four or six times I’ve been this year (gist about that will come later) – and I went by road. The car made a comfort stop at an eatery in Lokoja and I needed to wee. So I went to the bathroom and the lady there would always let me use a toilet she otherwise left locked up. So, I would always tip her.

On this trip though, she wasn’t there but the other lady looked at the way I scrunched my nose at the open ones and asked me to come use that locked one. I used it, and left. When I bought stuff we were going to eat in the car, I felt a strong urge to go and give her my change. So I went back, gave her N150 (less than £1 and $1 these days), and her knees hit the floor so fast with the thank yous gushing I gave her an extra N200 (total now just over a pound and a dollar) and literally disappeared.Screenshot 2015-08-15 16.20.51

No jokes. No jobs, and homeboy needed a job desperately. So he now works as a driver. After graduating from university, with a good grade.

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To put it in context, N500 is less than $3 and under £2. That is ‘plenty money’ to some. Are we just bit more appreciative of our circumstances?

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Ahhh, this was a crazy day I will never forget. How do you get to the point where you attempt to strangle your 11 month old baby to death because there’s no money to feed her? https://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/bringbackourgirls-my-account-of-the-abuja-protests-30-04-2014/

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Are we in agreement? Are we a bit more grateful? Things will get better, I promise you; just keep working at it. But till they do, let’s be grateful for where we are, what we have, and what we’ve been delivered from.

Love, light, and God’s great blessings!

PS: I’m updating this post to clarify a few things based on the feedback I got on social media the day it was published. Was I rejoicing that I have it better than others? No. Was I writing to say I was grateful I had it better than others? God no. The thrust of this post was contentment, and gratitude. Why? Because (and I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with the word but whatever) a few incidents had happened back-to-back that made me chide myself for complaining that stuff I was expecting to happen hadn’t happened. The morning I wrote this, I actually felt a little silly for complaining and complaining when I hadn’t been grateful for what I’ve been privileged to receive and have/own and just wanted to encourage everyone to be a bit more grateful, but keep working to change whatever we feel isn’t where it is/should be yet.

Hope this helps clarify things. If it doesn’t, I tried.

Good morning! I slept very well thank you, woke up feeling very rested. There’s something about the way I’ve slept in the last couple days that’s made me sleep a bit better. Maybe go to Lagos a bit more often perhaps?

Woke up, caught the end of a cartoon while I got ready, and then I went for breakfast. Again, thoroughly disappointed. This time though, I complained. Didn’t just mean to whinge (and I wasn’t the only one who complained), but I’m now taking medication to clear this week-old flu and for the amount of mental exertion I see in the offing, the least I expect is a decent breakfast! Besides, I’m a growing child…lol…

Thankful to our Care Manager (that’s what I called Ghida in my head) who’d gone over and beyond with the provisions she’d laid out in our kitchenette. Cereal, chocolate, biscuits, fruits, unending supplies of tea and coffee, she even brought medication (we’ll get to that bit soon). I ended up having Special K every morning till we left – thank you Ghida!!!

Breakfast over, we piled into the conference room, our work space for the next few days, and Barbara introduced officially what a Book Sprint was, and all of that information is here. She told us how ours would work (it’s a secret, wait for the book), and then we went round the room with short introductions. Here’s a bit about everyone, all eight of us!

Rafeeat Aliyu () – Blogger, writer of fiction and non-fiction, history nerd. http://www.eccentricyoruba.wordpress.com

Elnathan John () – A full-time writer. http://www.elnathanjohn.blogspot.com

Yas Niger () – Blogger, writer (of a self-published book). http://www.yasniger.wordpress.com

Pearl Osibu () – Blogger, writer, designer. http://www.pearlosibu.wordpress.com

Chioma Agwuegbo () – Blogger, writer, aunty to the cutest baby on earth. http://www.chiomachuka.com

Kalu Aja () – Financial planner and coach. http://www.kalus20pounds.blogspot.com

Azeenarh Mohammed () – Noisemaker, privacy enthusiast, digital security trainer. http://www.azeenarh.wordpress.com

Fola Lawal ( ) – Publisher. http://www.shecrownlita.com

And then our facilitators!

Barbara Ruhling () – Book Sprint facilitator, filmmaker. http://www.booksprints.net

Simone Poutnik ()- Multi-stakeholders collaboration facilitator. http://www.natural-innovation.net

Yep, that’s us!

Then we talked a lot about our book what we wanted it to be – fiction or not, narrated or not, dialogue or full on prose, on and on and on.

I really liked the exercises (I must say), even though the next event saddened me. We wrote out on post-its all the issues we wanted to see represented in our book, and then we grouped them under broader headings like religion, state structure, corruption, etc. That exercise was almost emotional for me cos it was like unpacking a bag full of bad memories, hanging them out, and just reliving them again.

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And this was just one sheet of the things we listed!!

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Figuring out what issue would work under what was a task and half!

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Stop and think…

What was interesting though, was seeing that all our issues are so interwoven! So, here’s a random example – if we fixed the judiciary, stiffer sentences for crimes would ensure a deterrent, and the society would be a tad safer/easier to live and do business in. However, the executive and legislative have to ‘put down self’ to empower the judiciary. Easy right? But when you consider that half the people who should be in jail for one crime or the other are in the E and L, it becomes a bit more tricky. Even trickier is the mindset of the ‘common man’ who lambasts the E, L, and J but sees nothing wrong in bribing his way out of stuff. Do you expect integrity from that kind of person when/if they get into a position of power? If you are dishonest with a pound, you will be dishonest with a thousand pounds. Round and round this mulberry bush, ladies and gentlemen. Sigh.

It was about evening this time (notice I didn’t dignify lunch with a mention), and people were wired! All that talk and writing! So we all took a walk, laughed all the way – to the politician amongst us paying for the fruits we wanted, to seeing a private house with traffic lights (Nigerians are the best walai) – we laughed all the day! Of course I took a picture. What!!??!!

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Ah ha! Before I forget, our lodgings are around the house of the Inspector General of Police. Guess what? We weren’t allowed to walk on his side of the road (where his home is). “For security reasons”, his people said. Was hilarious, the banter we had with the mobile policemen but when you think of it, how much sadder can we get?

I would be embarrassed to live there to be honest – tank parked outside, mortar barriers, floodlights, and mobile policemen perpetually at the ready. Why? Whatever happened to protect and serve? Are they protecting the Nigerian people like this? Why is it normal for one person to be guarded this way, when our brothers and sisters are sitting ducks for Boko Haram in the North East?

Bleh.

Dinner was manageable, nothing I remember. We did a bit more writing, and day one was officially over! Four days to go!

The 6th of November was a truly special day, one of those days that can truly be described as ‘full’, and I’m about to tell you how it went down! Or up, because it ended on such a high!

So, I’d flown into Lagos the night before after spending a few days with my darling parents, was truly a gift to have been with them, and I can’t stop thanking both of them for the sacrifices they make to keep me comfortable anytime I’m around!

Anyway, so I woke up that morning, chest tight, nostrils blocked, the leftover of a bad case of flu that refused to leave me alone. Show must go on abi? So I got ready, and headed to Civic Center where I’d been billed to speak alongside some very renowned speakers at the BrandiQ Symposium. My topic? Politics, social media, and young people – Tolu Ogunlesi had put me forward as a panelist cos he thought he wouldn’t be in the country and then when he found he would be around, he just came to support me. Hallelujah for friends/colleagues like him!

Keynote speaker was former UK High Commissioner Christopher Kolade, special guest of honor was the most lovely older gentleman Apostle Hayford Allile, and there were academics, other top-notch people like that. I was on the stage with people like Martins Oloja (Editor, The Guardian), and to be honest by the time he was done with his speech, the first thing I said when I took the mic was “how do you top a talk like that”? Thanks however be to God who always causes us to do brilliantly, and not shame Him, our families or our friends!

So, what did I talk about? I started with definitions of some key words in the Symposium theme, (participation, stakeholder, tokenism, and young person) and then I asked two questions:

  • How many people in the room have voter cards?
  • How many of us know the heads of our local government areas  (appointed or elected)?

How do we then (as young people) claim to be stakeholders in a thing we cannot participate in because we’re not registered? Really, how? Aren’t we tired of clicktivism? When do we move on to action, in this case enforcing our thoughts/ideologies with our votes?

Then it was off to stats on voting patterns, how social media is a means to an end but must not be misconstrued as the end in itself, and all of that good business. Event was great, I had a really good time! Potential client and writing gig in the offing too! Whoop!

It ended about 3pm, and then it was off to Terra Kulture for a quick lunch, dress change, and then flying down to All Souls Anglican Church in Lekki, where I’d been billed to speak on social media for play or business, from a Godly perspective.

IMG-20141004-WA0001My date was moved to the 6th because I signed up to something (which I have readied a series for) that would start on the 7th.

So I got to the venue late because I grossly underestimated the traffic and side note? Dear Lagosians, Lagos is not working! Your roads are horrible, even in the so-called posh areas. Yuck. Thankful for my Cabbie Abubakar who lives in Ajah and so knew all the hidden routes to take to avoid the traffic. Na wa!

Anyway, got there in one piece, and after the worship session, I was up! It was a small, intimate crowd, and it was structured a bit like this.

I started with 1 Corinthians 10:31 which I paraphrased as “whether you eat or drink, or tweet or Facebook, do it to the glory of God”. The rest of it is below…

  • About me
  • What is social media
  • How do you use social media – Proverbs 27: 17, Hebrews 10:24-25
  • How not to use social media – 1 Corinthians 15:33, Matthew 5:29
  • Careers in/around social media – Matthew 5:16

Pretty simple/straightforward right? The interesting thing really was introducing the word of God to the different points above. I had a marvellous time! I loved the question and answer session, and I have since made a blogpost off a quick consult I did following that event! Something to do with how we use LinkedIn, you should see it.

It gets even better – they gave me a plaque! I was so emotional, it means so much to have received this! And the prayers, aww, kiss of my life!

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Super grateful to JT for dinner, and then it was bedtime, and out of Lagos the next day to join the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Book Sprint in Abuja!

Crazy, crazy, schedule, but I love it!

xx