Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Let’s start from Sunday, and the confusion/relief/strength I felt after Saturday. What did I do with it? Eat, sleep, hang out with my friends, and about night-time, I realised there was something wrong with my body. I was literally shutting down.

Monday morning I had lost every sense of taste and smell. I woke up exhausted – like I don’t know how I carried out all the chores I had to do. Ended up in Lagos and had to change hotel rooms because the air conditioning in mine stopped working. It will be a long time before I book a hotel room on DealDay. A very long time.

Tuesday I was done with wearing makeup; that’s how sick I felt. Struggled through my meetings, satisfied a pizza craving, and got back into Abuja in the evening, about close of business time. Went straight home, and slept. Did I mention that I was sweating profusely the entire day? Even in air-conditioned spaces, I was literally dripping of sweat. And regardless of how much fluid I took, my mouth felt very dry. For once I didn’t look out for anything worth writing about on the flight, as I am wont to do. Didn’t miss the man who came out of the toilet on the plane and the air hostess asked, “did you flush?” The question was loud enough for me to hear, but it was the answer that made me chuckle, even in my sickness. The man responded, “are you saying I am a bush man who cannot flush a toilet?” I dozed off after this, but I can imagine that he said a bit more, from the tone of his voice.

Struggled through work on Wednesday, don’t know why I didn’t listen to the children of God who told me to stay home. Work couldn’t wait – there’s so much to get through! Left the office early though, and it was home to sleep.

Woke up on Thursday still feeling pretty exhausted so I went to run some tests. Results at the end of the day said I didn’t have malaria or typhoid or anything like that. I’d spent Wednesday night talking to a doctor friend of mine, and we both agreed all the symptoms I had were the effect of stress/exhaustion. I agreed to slow down, a lot. Ah, I went to a meeting in the evening with a potential client/mentor, and not only had he put in a word of recommendation for me somewhere other than what I was meeting him about, I met someone I’d only ever heard about before! Whoop!

Friday morning. I woke up early, Happy. Stronger. Nostrils were still blocked but I felt considerably stronger. Went to work, hung out with ‘awon goons mi’ afterwards, and was in bed before 11pm. Happy.

Saturday – day didn’t start till 1pm when I had a meeting with a client, and another meeting at 5pm with two people who I’ve just given a week’s contract to do some stuff for us. Really excited, and looking forward to the greatness they will produce. Went grocery shopping afterwards then went straight home to continue playing with my darling nephew.

I’m writing this on my bed – had a good time in church, gorged myself on this lovely bread I bought yesterday (#FITFAM I’m sorry), and trying to get through some writing tasks. So far, so good. Not leaving this house today.

I learned a few things this week –

1. God is the healer of the body, and the saviour of the soul. And He works overtime for me.

2. At the end of the day, you’ve only got yourself. People exclude themselves from your times of need for different reasons, and you exclude others intentionally for other reasons. Either way, the only person who is 100% in the know and on your side when things go south (apart from God), is you.

3. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore. ‘Unlook’ (according to my brethren on Twitter) – don’t validate ignorance.

4. Take time to rest the body, otherwise it will shut down.

That’s me! How did your week go?

PS – for the people who honored me enough to call/text/get in touch with me one way or the other, thank you. I won’t forget it.

I haven’t blogged about a flight in a little while, and since my Christmas holiday series looks like it might be forever I thought,”why not chronicle a standalone activity?” Why keep my faithful readers starving for gist? Yeah?

So, here’s about my 72-hour trip to Lagos for the Social Media Africa Awards. I had a blast! From the welcome event for panelists, to hosting the morning summit and learning so much, to the fabulous awards event in the evening, I had a great time! A couple photos below.

My girl Emilia and I!

My girl Emilia and I!

Pre-Summit/Awards party. Left to right Japheth Omojuwa, Emilia Asim-Ita, and me!

Pre-Summit/Awards party. Left to right Japheth Omojuwa, Emilia Asim-Ita, and me!

Hosting the morning Summit. Whoop!

Hosting the morning Summit. Whoop!

Presenting awards with Omojuwa...

Presenting awards with Omojuwa…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s talk about the bit that gets me the most, the flight! Now, I’d bought a Dana ticket for 11am for Abuja – Lagos but due to circumstances beyond my control (when last did you use that phrase) I couldn’t make it and therefore had to look for something else to fly with.

Settled for a 5.50pm Air Peace ticket, and that automatically meant I had 4 hours to wait at the airport.

By the way, here’s one way all these airport touts defraud the gullible. So, while I was walking between the ticketing buildings trying to get the earliest possible flight, two guys came up to me and said they had a ticket for a 1.30pm flight. Time check? 1.42pm. And I’d just left the airline’s counter, where at 1.25pm I was told I couldn’t get on the flight because they’d completed boarding. I said so to this ‘official’ and he said he knew but that the flight had just been delayed (he showed me a radio, as in he’d just been told and all) so to give him my ID and phone number and he would go print off a boarding pass; also said to follow his colleague to their office.

Office ke? Everything had sounded legit up till here, especially since this colleague started heading towards the car park. I said I’d wait there, so he stayed with me. 6 minutes later this ‘official’ comes back and acts like he’s in a super hurry. Asks me to give him 30, 000 naira and then go with his colleague to board the plane. I didn’t know when I started laughing. I asked for the boarding pass, dude said it was with their other colleague who was by the plane. So I asked if he would release 30, 000 naira to two random men who’d promised him a seat on a plane without a boarding pass, without a receipt, and outside the ticketing hall. Silence.

Still smiling, I asked for my ID and when he hesitated, I said I’d ask the army guy close by to collect it for me if he didn’t want to give me back. He handed it over. I smiled, and went into the hall where I procured a ticket.

Anyway!

Sitting in one of the lounges was worth the 3, 000 naira to be honest – I got to charge all my devices, had a bite to eat, and worked off their WIFI cos SMILE doesn’t have coverage at the airport yet. Was a really good idea.

Before I forget, not to be mean or anything but if we’re going to take our shoes off can the screening areas have a queue for people who feel/suspect their feet might be smelly? Biko! It’s very unfair to make everyone else go through the torture of inhaling the gunk. Would anyone high enough in the system think about this please? #ThingsThatBringWorldPeace

Back to the lounge. There was this older man talking so dirty to a lady (or a guy – these days you don’t know) loud enough for people outside the airport to hear him. So disgusting, like super vulgar stuff. Ear phones to the rescue, thank God for Sennheiser’s noise cancellation that actually cancels out noise!

Then it was boarding time – yay! By Nigerian standards, the flight was early. We took off at 6.09pm instead of 5.50pm. Not bad if you asked me.

Flight was alright. The pilot gave his announcements in English and then in French. Nice touch, reminded me I have lessons to take!

Why do I, who is greatly affected by scents, always get the ‘not-so-nice-smelling’ people when I fly? Who did I offend? Of course I took the window seat, and this gentleman with a ‘stale + nixoderm (I had eczema in secondary school so I know that smell) + something else I can’t place, wouldn’t stop peering slightly over to look through the window. Did I mention he had curls in his hair? Yuck.

Anyway. Hello Lagos – first time here this year. We got in ok. Grateful as always for safe travels.

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.

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Depending on who/where/what you are, this season might either be the “most wonderful time of the year”, or just another day filled with dread, rancour, or even worse, nothingness.

I’ve spent the last 20 odd minutes browsing through social networks as people exchange the warmest greetings with friends, family, and loved ones. And it made me think that there might be some who at this time won’t be unwrapping gifts from Santa, heading out for a day of festivities (maybe debauchery), or staying home to host the tons of people who will visit to share a laugh, drink, and a bite (and maybe a pressie or two). And so this is my message to you, you, and you.

Here’s my list, you’re welcome to add to it.

1. Nigeria’s security forces, especially the rank and file, and even more for the ones serving in the North East. Merry Christmas to you keepers of our land (second to God of course), first in line for whatever havoc Boko Haram and other evil entities think up per time. Especially under the poorest of conditions, the most demotivating remuneration, and appalling, unacceptable gear. The petty extortion on the roads, allegations of human rights abuses, appearance of cluelessness on the one hand, on the other you are our heroes. And to the ones who were sentenced to death for mutiny (apparently more soldiers have been added to the number), you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

2a. Internally displaced persons, who by no fault of theirs, have become refugees in their own land. Merry Christmas to you now without homes/farmland/livelihood, now dependent on the selflessness of groups like #SantaGoesToYola #ChristmasOnTheStreetz (God bless you guys), and the pungent hypocrisy of politicians who only visit for the photo ops. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering, I cannot imagine the questions you sleep and wake with every day, I won’t even try to imagine the conditions you currently face, despite the fact that you have state governors, house of assembly members, local government chairmen, and all the others who from the comfort and safety of their plush mansions in Abuja condemn the insurgency.

2b. Families who have lost brethren to the insurgency. Is it ok to say Merry Christmas? Whatever could be merry about it? From October 2010 and the bombing at Eagle Square, families have sent off their loved ones to work/school/play in the morning, only to receive their lifeless, decapitated bodies in the evening. Some have not been fortunate to receive more than a body part, some others, nothing at all. Where do I start from? Is it the Buni Yadi boys? Or the ones blown up while standing at morning assembly at Government Technical Science College in Potiskum? The hapless ones who got blown up in mosques, churches, bus parks, markets, malls? My thoughts and prayers are with you today and everyday.

3. Parents of the Chibok Girls. We must never forget there have been many kidnapped before these girls taken on the 14th of April, and many taken after (less than 10 days ago it was 185 taken from Gumsuri, a village near Chibok, also in Borno state). Eight months after, it’s moved from windy tales to the ‘only thing that matters’ – the elections in 2015. Never mind that Boko Haram might be breeding an army (one of the girls who escaped was four months pregnant in September, that there are chilling stories of how many times they get raped), and that these girls are walking shells of confusion, hurt and psychological trauma. All that matters to our government is getting re-elected in 2015, whether there are any of us left to vote or not. I am not a parent, but I felt separation anxiety for a toddler on his first days at school; I cannot imagine your grief (which has killed some), or your disappointment in this Nigeria we call ours.

4. Dr Stella Adadevoh’s family. Very special mention must be made of this strong, principled daughter of God who single-handedly (shame on the government for accepting the praise for her work and then wheedling out of giving her a national honor) put a plug in what would have become the biggest outbreak of Ebola this year. You (literally) died so we could live. You are our hero. Today, and always. Merry Christmas to the family you left behind.

5. Nigerians. Merry Christmas to us, wherever we are. We weathered another year, bumps, warts, and all, and must (all things considered), appreciate the fact that we are alive to see another year come to an end. Some of us have lost friends and family to disease or natural causes (rest in peace Lami, aunty NK), children have been born; loves have been won or lost, life has been what it has been to us. Devaluation of the naira, extreme insecurity, abysmal electricity, and the general feeling of hopelessness aside, we’re here. Still here. And it is at least one thing to be grateful for.

Merry Christmas.

December 25th 2013 – one Christmas I will never, never, ever forget. For starters, it wasn’t exactly the ‘white Christmas’ I had planned because it rained rather than the romantic snow I was expecting.

Just as well that it didn’t snow though, because there wasn’t any romance to be had either. Due to circumstances beyond my control (also known as not in any way directly orchestrated by me, lol), I became single two days to Christmas. Not like my partner would have been with me on Christmas Day anyway.

Good thing was I had spent the greater part of the 23rd and the 24th cussing myself out for not going to Nigeria and spending the holidays with my family (not an orphan remember) but hey, we live, we love, we learn. So, by the 25th I was spent, and determined to have a day devoid of self-pity, regret, or any form of sadness.

So, what did I do on the day? I woke by 5am, spoke to a friend like 40 minutes after, and we must have talked for an hour or so (thank you so much). Then I watched ‘Eve’, a sitcom my niece introduced me to on YouTube before she left for Nigeria. Hilarious!

Then I downloaded a few songs (Solid Star’s ‘Oluchi’, Flavour’s ‘Ada Ada’, Labirinth’s ‘Express Yourself’, Maverick Sabre’s ‘I need’, and Dr Sid’s ‘Surulere’). And I worked up a sweat dancing to them. Whoop!

What else did I do? Yeah, I spoke to my sister, brother-in-law, and the highlight of my day? BooBoo telling me ‘eeeyah’ (the sound he makes when he gives one of his many, many hugs). Plus he kissed the phone when I said to ‘give aunty kiss kiss’, and I felt it from here! Warm fuzzies!

I spoke to my folks, chatted with my darling brother, watched a bit more of ‘Eve’ and then I must have dozed off. I woke up about noon, had some cereal, did my laundry (thank you Lord, lol), did quite a bit of writing and responding to emails, and then about 6.30pm I went downstairs again to have my Christmas dinner. I had beans, plantain, and turkey, and then I had a lovely chocolate cheesecake for dessert! Yum! #TeamFood

I watched episodes of Hustle, renewed my crush for Adrian Lester, finally caught up on recorded episodes of X Factor USA (is it me or does that show need a complete overhaul both in England and in the US), and after a bit more writing, my day was over.

I was changed and in bed by 12.10am. And I slept very well.

Thank you Jesus.

P:S – Written @5am on the 26th of December 2013. I wonder what Christmas next year will bring?

Sunday the 30th of November (exactly two weeks ago) was supposed to be my day of rest. Long story (which is found in the Chronicle from Ibadan) but let’s move on swiftly to today.

Just as we entered Lagos, we stopped at a traffic light and two young boys (on closer inspection I found out they were girls) came to clean the windscreen with this apparatus that looks like a cross between a selfie-stick and a mop.

Without stroking any feminist embers (I hope), I wondered when young girls (or any females for that matter) had started this business, and my friend and I traced the trajectory of female existence on the streets and the possible unpleasant scenarios those kids were looking at. We asked ourselves (rhetoric of course) about their parents, and it reminded me of some tweets I’d seen the night before. A young Nigerian lady, internationally acclaimed designer had talked about not wanting to have kids because she was going to adopt. She said (and after seeing those girls I am even firmer in agreement) that there were not enough parents in the world for the children around; “why bring more in”, she asked.

The only problem though, was what people said each time she said that – what society thought of and interpreted her decision as. Think on it. What would people (fit in anyone here – friends, family, peers/colleagues – say if you took that decision)?

Photo credit: Events by Bani! This photo was in the thank you email they sent us! Love it!

Photo credit: Events by Bani! This photo was in the thank you email they sent us! Love it!

The society. People. Who defines right or wrong? Flip that a bit – who defines beauty, sets the standards for it? Who determines what is acceptable and what is weird? And how do these standards affect who we are (or try to be) and the things we do?

This was pretty much the thrust of the girl talk session organized by Glory Edozien and Wana Udobang, hopefully, first in a series. Below are a few things I took from what turned out to be a no-holds barred, straight up evening. I’m writing this way so I don’t make mistakes with attribution, and also to keep privacy. Yeah? Here goes.

  • There is real pressure on all women to look, smell, and carry ourselves in a certain way.
  • Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE has that one bit of their bodies/life that they don’t regard as perfect. From the skinny to the slender, the curvy to the chubby. Everyone.
  • Our society has placed such a premium on appearances to the detriment of mental capacity so bad that ‘pretty girls’ are unconsciously expected to be unintelligent. Ever heard, “I didn’t know you were this intelligent?” There you go!
  • Children today pay a lot more attention to their appearance (especially the females) and have a greater say/hand in what they end up wearing than we did in our time.
  • There is intense pressure for children in schools to be ‘seen’ and ’accepted’ as beautiful. That has led to insane (in my opinion) behaviors like dieting, experimentation with makeup, etc. amongst much younger children.
  • Parents must (of a necessity) affirm their children; let them know they are beautiful and are expected to be knowledgeable as well. In other words, it is acceptable to be both.
  • You are what you think/tell yourself you are. You will fall apart (literally) if you allow yourself be blown around by every wind of doctrine, especially as fashion/looks/our bodies are concerned.
  • Is your young child suddenly acting/wanting to look different? Before you rake/shout/bring the house down/spank them to infinity and beyond, ask what the reason for the change is.
  • It’s ok to want to have natural/permed/textured hair. Don’t allow yourself to get pressured into doing anything because it is popular at the moment.
  • Some people by genetics and no fault/action (or not) of theirs will be skinny. Others will be chubby. Some bits you can change

Bottom line? Do you. Be you. More importantly, be happy. Life is too short to be anything else. Funnily, in 2012 I wrote something revolving totally around beauty, perception, and being happy.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, there’s nothing like babes being honest with themselves, sharing real issues, and not putting up this facade that ends up giving people false hope and misleading them. And I met Uche! (@cherox) Nice to meet you babes! Finally!

It was even nicer to finally meet Wana Udobang (@Misswanawana) in person! I think she’s gorgeous, in a class of her own,  super talented, special, I could go on and on! Did I mention down to earth, and talented? Gosh…

And I met Glory Edozien (@MisGloryEdozien), who says she’s read/she reads my blog!! What are you saying!! Am I blessed or what! I was super pleased, grateful, and just chuffed to be in the presence of effortless brilliance.

Took some selfies afterwards with my main chic, @ZanyFran (wrote this for her birthday).

Selfie this, selfie that!

Selfie this, selfie that!

Thank God for the person who finally took a photo we liked!

Thank God for the person who finally took a photo we liked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we’d all gisted a bit, we headed to Bogobiri for a night of performances from people like Titilope Sonuga (from Gidi Up), Efe Azino, Femi, Wana (whoop), and a few others.

Truly incredible evening!!

 

I’d promised Tolu Ogunlesi I would make his wedding slated for the 29th of November 2014 and because I am a child of God who keeps her promises, I got into Nigeria early in the morning of the 28th.

A bit about the flight – British Airways was super disappointing biko. The in-flight entertainment didn’t work (at all) the entire flight. After the initial apologies when we first boarded and talk about sorting it out, nothing o, till we touched down in Abuja. Very unlike British Airways.

On the other hand I had pesto pasta and a lovely, lovely pudding. British Airways, you’re forgiven – go and sin no more.

Anyway, so we touched down and one of my bags was damaged. Lord have mercy! One hour, some yelling (I’m sorry), and some sarcasm (not sorry for that), and a filled out damages form after, it was home time. Of course Boo Boo had gone off to school and I missed seeing him.

Rushed out almost immediately with my cabbie, first to the bank, then to run some errands, see my sister, then we sped off back to the airport so I could catch a 4pm flight to Ibadan.

3.30pm. All checked in and waiting to be called to board. 4pm. 4.30pm. 5pm. Flight was finally announced, and we queued up. Next thing I heard some commotion at the front of the line. Apparently, Overland Airways/Airlines (whatever they’re called) said the ‘plane was full’ so we would have to wait for another one that had taken off to Ilorin to come back for us. What!!!!!!!! As in, who does that!?!!!  How did they not know the capacity of the plane and sold tickets accordingly?

I was exhausted, and angry! Sweet baby Jesus I was angry! Everyone was furious, and they almost moved from being physical with the station manager to full-scale violence.

We finally boarded at 7.30pm and of course I dozed even before we took off; I was beat. Touched down an hour later (thank you Lord) and just as I was getting off, power at the airport went out; didn’t come back on for at least 10 minutes. Do you know what the Bible calls ‘gross darkness’? Hian! All I could think of was what would have happened if the power had gone out while we were landing. God forbid. By the way, there were no buildings at the said airport, just canopies. Jesu!

Caught a cab to the hotel, a bit of drama with the cabbie and his car (I ended up changing taxis and paying 700 naira instead of 4000 naira) and as soon as I showered, had dinner, and checked in with my friends and loved ones, it was bedtime!

WEddINg dAY

Woke up feeling really rested and excited – whoop! Took my time with my shower, got ready, and had a cup of tea. Almost had a wardrobe malfunction (that only Mercy and JT know about because God will not allow my enemies to laugh at me) and then it was time to go!

Egghead picked me up, we got Mercy and then it was off to church – but first a selfie!!!

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Duck mouth!

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Selfie in church – don’t worry, service had ended!

Wedding ceremony was great, funny how people just assume they know what a couple want. The Pastor said, “in a few months from now, Kemi will be pregnant”. Yes o, instruction from the Lord ke nan!

Wedding over, it was off to the reception – beautiful, gorgeously decorated hall, sufficient stewards, and really tasty food! I learned something I think I’ll have done at mine – guests were fed as soon as they sat down. There were menu cards, and as soon we sat down our orders were taken and delivered. After we ate, the couple came in and the reception proper started – much better than starving your guests and leaving their eyes alternating between the clock and the order cos they’re anxious for ‘item 7′.

High point of the reception? The daddy/daughter dance – it was everything! Loved it! Kemi was crying though, I can imagine my dad is going to cry too.

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With the one and only Gbenga Sesan!

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With Eggie!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word 'LOYAL'!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word ‘LOYAL’!!

Loads of dancing, small chops chowing, selfies and co after, it was back to the hotel for a bit more rest. Here’s a bit about my room, told in photos.

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So. This is the name of my room. It was really the Queen’s room, as in Mama Charlie!

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Not bad at all to be honest! Really spacious, loved that I had a bath and a shower in the bathroom, and two air conditioners (ended up turning both off in the night when they threatened to freeze my lungs!) Notice the portrait hanging over the bed? Queen.

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Everything is a decoration. These two coaster sets were on the table. Queen.

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Another wall, another Queen portrait.

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Yet another portrait. Queen.

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Is it me, or the owner of this hotel deserves to be knighted? More Queen!

Still on the hotel, in the morning I rang the reception and asked for a taxi. They didn’t have any so I asked if they could find one for me. Guess the reply I got when I got a call back?

Receptionist: Mr Ojo’s mother is ill so he has gone to Ilesha to see her.

Me: I’m sorry, who is Mr Ojo?

Receptionist: That’s the taxi we wanted to call for you.

They couldn’t just tell me he wasn’t available?

Later that evening, we went out for drinks and a laugh (or two or three depending on what the subject was). I ordered a small chops platter which took forty minutes but came with ‘microwaved-from-frozen’ items.

2014-11-30 00.46.27Sigh.

Ah!! Did I mention there were ladies in the lounge wearing lace? Even saw a couple with gele! Not kidding!

Back in the land of the queen (also known as my room) it was bedtime, with prayers that I’d be up early enough to catch my ride to Lagos! Thank you @Babsburton for the ride, and @seyitaylor for the company!

This was written from the safety/warmth of my lodgings in Lagos, totally grateful to God for safe travels (London-Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos) over four days. Beyond non-functional in-flight entertainment, delayed flights, and bad roads, my trips were without incident. For that I’m super grateful.

It was awesome to catch up with my old friends (too numerous to mention) but also to meet folk from Twitter! People like @BisiOgunwale (Mr President), @Obadayo (helmet), @OkShorty1, and the delectable @LAkintobi!

To @eggheader, egbon of life! Thank you for making sure we were comfortable/taken care of. Thank you.

And to the latest couple, @toluogunlesi and @kemichronicles, congratulations! Welcome to the best years of your lives.

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn't the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn’t the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Love ya!

My best friend got married yesterday. Whoop! Before I tell you all I can about the wedding, maybe I should tell you a bit about her.

I met Wumi in Birmingham in late in 2010, at church (the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant Restoration Assembly, Perry Barr). Someone had gotten his friend to invite me to church, and I remember the morning they came to get me with the church bus, I wasn’t sure I had heard a louder group. But service was great, I fell in love with the church, and Wumi and I started to chat.

I don’t know when I fell in love with her, but I did. Real? Check. No airs? Check. Daughter of God to the letter? Check. Kind? Check. Caring? Check! I could go on and on. Wumi knows me sometimes a bit more than I know myself, and she loves me like that. Just like that.

We’ve been through sick days, heartbroken days, days we were broke (like last to our last 10 pounds type of broke), happy days, excited days, plenty money type of days, we’ve been through loads of stuff together. And we’ve come out stronger. Each and every time.

Ok. Before we have a problem keeping her head in check (with all my praising), on Friday my sister, nephew and I were supposed to fly into Lagos (I’d left Lagos on Wednesday), and then Momma was supposed to come in as well (see how special Wumi is to all of us)? Coordinated the flights so we’d land about the same time. There’s a little race of life story, one in which we forgot to take identification for Boo Boo so like halfway into the trip to the airport we had to run back to the house, and then start flying back to the airport.

Timecheck when we got to the airport gate and met the queue of our lives? 9.49am. Flight time? 10am. Let’s just say we still made the flight, and I’ll spare you the details of us pleading at the counter, racing to the plane, and then finding out that our friend at the airport had actually moved from one airline to the one we were to take! Na wa! To think we were looking for people to help us board!

Got into Lagos ok, Momma landed a bit after, and off to the hotel we went. Can I say money spent on hotels in Lagos doesn’t really go far? And I will leave it like that.

Wumi and Bimbo came a bit after, and then we really got in the ‘wedding’ mood! I had to nip off to Shoprite with our cabbie to buy some items, and Momma and the gang took a stroll. Dinner over, loads of gisting after, gifts presented, it was bedtime! Was I exhausted or what!

Saturday morning, D-Day!

Rushed a shower, and went over to the room where the photo crew, makeup artists et al were already at work. And here the photos begin!

See my girl!!! Gorgeous!!

See my girl!!! Gorgeous!!

Then we milled into our cars and headed to the venue for the engagement…

Gorgeous people!! Just gorgeous!

Gorgeous people!! Just gorgeous!

No he wasn't about to kiss her, he was just 'telling her something'...lol!! This pose was a special request from me to be honest, don't ask me why!

No he wasn’t about to kiss her, he was just ‘telling her something’…lol!! This pose was a special request from me to be honest, don’t ask me why!

Engagement over, it was time to change and head to the church. Did I mention my darling Boo Boo was ring bearer? Want to see his suit? Hotter than fire!!

Boo Boo of life and destiny!!! Dapper as!!

Boo Boo of life and destiny!!! Dapper as!!

Thank God for Beloxxi biscuit which my nephew loves and therefore can be used to get him to stand still!

Thank God for Beloxxi biscuit which my nephew loves and therefore can be used to get him to stand still!

A little side view... God finished work on my nephew walai, like there's nothing else that could have been done!

A little side view… God finished work on my nephew walai, like there’s nothing else that could have been done!

Sharing a kiss and a cuddle with Grandma! Did I mention he always mixes them up? So sometimes he calls the 'Pa', 'Ma'. Lol.. Love him to pieces!

Sharing a kiss and a cuddle with Grandma! Did I mention he always mixes them up? So sometimes he calls the ‘Pa’, ‘Ma’. Lol.. Love him to pieces!

Then, it was off to the car to be sure our super bride was ok, not needing anything, that kind of super FGS type business (he he he). Beautiful, so beautiful!

I'm definitely doing cream/ivory on my day... It's such a gorgeous color!

I’m definitely doing cream/ivory on my day… It’s such a gorgeous color!

Ahh!! Here’s the fun bit! We’d been trying to get Boo Boo to walk with a card that said “Here comes the bride”. Well, on the day it didn’t quite work. Want to know what worked? This photo of him and the little bride – cute as anything!

Two year old and one year old - something says we should stay in touch with the mom as per bride for my boy! What do you think? Baby girl had the cutest smile!

Two year old and one year old – something says we should stay in touch with the mom as per bride for my boy! What do you think? Baby girl had the cutest smile!

I managed to get a selfie with my boy inside the church – don’t even wrinkle your noses biko, anything to keep him awake, he was exhausted!

See his face...my boy!

See his face…my boy! Ignore the sweat on mine biko…

All the formalities done, it was time to head back to the events center for the reception! But first, a few photos!

Mom and the brand new couple!

Mom and the brand new couple!

The couple and the sisters!!!

The couple and the sisters!!! My nephew was two minutes from asleep at this point!

Then it was off to the reception, where I said a few words about the cake and the couple (couple I know, cake I didn’t bake), and the food was really yummy! Tokes came too (yay), and it was really nice to see her!

Then we danced! Wow! Turn up.com! At some point my people had to leave to catch flights back home and as soon as they were safely at the airport (Lagos traffic, sigh), I could relax. I think the number of squats I did yesterday (to pick money) has covered up for all the exercise I haven’t done in weeks!!

It was a really gorgeous day, and I’m so pleased that despite a few hitches that reared up during all the planning. we had a full, fun day. They’re married, God’s name was glorified in everything, and I’m looking forward to being a godmother to their munchkin (guys – take the hint and get to work already biko)!

Wumi and KP, I love you two to the moon and back, and I know your marriage is blessed, is fruitful, and will become an example for marriages everywhere. Success, peace, love, joy, togetherness, great intimacy, patience, I wish you both these and many more. Welcome to the best years of your lives!

Kisses,

Me!

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.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.46

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

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.01

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

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.17

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!

A bit of a background to the series starting today. I was recruited by Heinrich Boll to participate in something called a Book Sprint. It involved 8 writers, five days in seclusion, two facilitators, and one film maker to produce a book. All we had? A potential book title. Everything else? We’d have to figure out in the five days.

This Book Sprint ran from the 8th of November (exactly one week today) to the 12th. Over the next few days, I will chronicle the days spent at our lodgings. Ready? Here’s day one!!

So I woke up, feeling just a bit better than the day before. Do you remember what my yesterday was? Of course you do! If you don’t, read this (BrandiQ and All Souls Church – A day in the life of a strategist!). you’re welcome!

So, back to the 7th, I ate my leftover lunch from yesterday (beans and catfish and plantain), Terra Kulture is the truth!

There was the incident with me getting locked in (and yours truly only noticed when I was at the door and didn’t have the key) but thankfully, I made my flight. Thank you Arik! And big thank you to the hostesses who gave me all the water I needed on the flight, I was totally dehydrated.

Cabin pressure aggravated my inflamed tonsils and blocked nostrils – not a very sexy me getting off the plane sniffing, I can imagine people gave me just a little more space than normal.

Met Pearl and Kalu and we jumped in the car waiting to take us to our lodgings Driver? Funny guy. He was driving us and carrying on this really long conversation on the phone – yes, I told him to please not talk on the phone (never mind it is dangerous, his voice was so loud)!

Got to Dullion Suites, and first off I was disappointed there wasn’t a pool. Yep, I was upset there wasn’t a pool. Anyway, I settled in, and then I had to push off to my sister’s to exchange the things I had in my suitcase for clean, fresh clothes and things. Also, needed to pick up some documents and get JT. Want to see my room?

Do you like my ankara shorts? Love em! Comfortable as anything!

Do you like my ankara shorts? Love em! Comfortable as anything!

2014-11-13 12.16.58

Decent… Amen to white sheets, and not making my bed myself for the next few days!

Got home, there was no power (electricity in Nigeria is one big unfortunate joke), and there was another incident with my car keys so I was stuck.

Bg thank you to my sister who dropped me back at our lodgings. Was nice to meet everyone (details about them tomorrow), and then it was dinner time.

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with it; don’t think any of us were. At all. I didn’t even take a picture (and y’all know I photograph just about everything I eat). Fatush salad was good, but that was it.

Went out with Elnathan, hung out with a few people. Good, interesting conversation about our darling Nigeria, with all its proclivities and current troubles.

Got back to the hotel, all plans for #TurnUp trumped by a lingering headache and exhaustion, I was in bed and asleep by midnight. Work begins tomorrow. Good night!