Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Like every other Nigerian desirous of movement between two states with airports, I bought Arik Air tickets to Asaba for the 23rd of April, paid for them online.

That morning I rang our friend at the airport to get my boarding pass only to be told the airline had issues and wouldn’t be flying at all that day. I saw in the papers later that day that they were owing airport authorities over a billion naira and so were stopped from flying. The shameful thing is they were still selling tickets, with no plans in place to cater to customers with disrupted flights apart from “we apologize for the inconveniences caused!” Why?

Anyway, since Aero unceremoniously stopped flying to Asaba about two weeks to this date (their site said no flights till the second week of May – again for no reason at all), my only option was to go by road and get a refund from Arik. Suffice to say, one full month plus after I’m still talking to Arik about this refund – it’s incredible.

Road trip abi? I haven’t done this in a loooong time so I was excited, very curious too. The entire gist about roads getting fixed, etc, I was more than eager to see. I was also curious about the rest stops on the way, like has anything about them changed from the time my main means of interstate transportation was by road? Would I sleep as soundly as I do on planes? Would I have a neighbor who wouldn’t shut up? Questions, questions, questions.

Friday morning I got to Dunamis Motors (a long distance car service) where I would have just taken a car by myself, and they said all their cars had been chartered. No surprises there at all.

I went to Delta Line, and there were only buses, the cars had left. Ok. I decided to buy up a row of seats so I would be comfortable/by myself/undisturbed. I explained to the lady selling them said she had two seats on the row I wanted and then one at the back of the bus. I explained (like the 3rd time) that I was the only one travelling so single, scattered seats all through the buses wouldn’t profit me much.

When she offered me the same two seats on a row and then one of the seats in front with the driver, I quietly paid for the two I already had and went to sit down.

When it was our turn we boarded the bus, and I made sure to tell the older gentleman beside me I paid for the two seats because I wanted space, and then I started arranging my bag to fall asleep. A loud voice (coming from a very elderly lady) totally cussing out the driver delayed the sleep; apparently she’d seen him smoking something and asked him if he was the driver. He said no. Then he gets in the driver’s seat and she proceeds to rain curses that reminded me why I should never piss off an elder. She cursed him, his generation, on and on and on till people started begging her, that the guy she was heaping all these curses on was going to drive us (including her) to Asaba. Then she chilled.

Two minutes after the door was shut, THE SAME LADY said we should “commit the journey AND THE DRIVER into the hand of Master Jeses” I started laughing. Hilarity. The same driver you just cursed out? Ahn Ahn!

No jokes o, this old lady started singing and invited us ‘children of the Most High God’ to join her in worshipping the Lord. So from ‘in the morning’, to ‘all glory glory glory’, ‘we are gathering together’, brethren in Christ, we sang. I was so amused!

Songs and prayers over, the driver drove into a petrol station, where we spent the next 50 minutes waiting to buy fuel. I nearly lost my mind. How do you pack all of us into this kind of rubbish movement? What happened to getting fuel BEFORE picking us?

It gets worse. For the hour we spent on the queue, guess how much fuel we bought? N1870. The princely sum of one thousand, eight hundred and seventy naira, including the 10-litre gallon he said he would need (which of course we ended up not needing). Kai. I haven’t been that angry in a while.

Well, we set off, finally, and I can count at least 6 times we nearly hit another car, a pole, ran into the bush, flew over a speed breaker, or some other avoidable incident. At a point I wondered if it wasn’t the curses working a little quickly.

We got to the rest stop (I promise I don’t remember where it was again), and I went to pee. The young girl manning the place nearly followed me inside the cubicle in the name of calling me ‘ma’. When I was leaving I tipped her, and then had to ask her to stop following me. Even if I had a child and didn’t know, SMH.

Got back outside and the bus and driver had disappeared. Hian!! At first I thought I’d taken too long and the bus had left me till I saw a cluster of the other passengers talking at the top of their voices, asking for our driver dearest. I started laughing, and checking that I had WIFI so I could tweet and ask for anyone in the area to come get me. Moved closer to the passengers and someone said the driver went to fix his brakes, that they were bad.

What!!! Bad brakes and we’d come all this way? Sigh. The things we do beggar belief walai. And he couldn’t even tell anyone, it was the lady he bought water from who told us!!

He came back, didn’t apologize to anyone (matter of fact started raking that we should be lucky he noticed the brakes were dodgy). Of course that meant I didn’t sleep from there to Asaba, we were all driving with the guy.

God being most merciful, we got into Asaba ok. A lot later than we should have, but we got in ok. And Momma came to get me from the park, so I promptly forgot the driver. Till I was searching through my bad for aspirin (naughty headache that’s refused to go away) and I saw the ticket for that trip.

And I had a good laugh. And then I chronicled the trip for you.

PS – Written on the 23rd of April.

Do you remember one of the songs Donkey in Shrek 1 sang? The one he was singing and when Shrek said not to, he asked if he could whistle, then hum?

If you didn’t see Shrek (why on earth), or you’ve forgotten, or you still can’t place which song I’m talking about, it’s ‘on the road again’… And it’s my special way of announcing that I’m on the road again! Not literally though, cos there are at least 3 flights on this trip.

I’m off to Abidjan to attend a workshop organized by the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) and because putting your trust in some carriers is akin only to fetching water in a basket, I’m flying Ethiopian Airlines. Yes that means another overnight stopover in Addis Ababa, and hopefully more pleasant tales than last time.

So, as always, we start with the night before, and I didn’t get home till a few minutes to midnight because I was chasing a client who was chasing his peers so they wouldn’t change their minds about things, and people.

Nice time to segue into the inauguration of Nigeria’s 8th National Assembly on the 9th of June and the almost magical happenings that heralded the emergence of the leaders of both the upper and lower chambers.

We start from Senate President, Bukola Saraki who went from not even being in the running one night to getting elected unopposed the next morning. Let’s not forget the mysterious meeting 51 of the senators supposed to vote went to attend (which didn’t hold & now no one knows who called it)…

Then we go to the lower chambers where Femi Gbajabiamila who was already receiving congratulatory messages (everyone was that sure) lost the Speakership to Yakubu Dogara. 189 votes to 174. So close, yet didn’t happen.

Ok, we’ve digressed enough. By 8.30am, I still wasn’t sure what I’d be taking with me, and then to compound issues I didn’t remember where I dropped my Yellow Card. Hian! I panicked, I kid you not. I was so worried!

Just when I was searching my mind for anyone who worked in the ministry of health, God had mercy on me and I remembered where I left it from my March Jo’Burg trip. Thank you Lord!

Rushed through my packing, shower, and breakfast, then it was off to the airport. Made good time, and checked in without any issues.

Really? No issues Fairy GodSister? Lol… Like that was possible! So, it’s interesting but it appears our airport officials don’t know which countries we need visas for or not. Here’s why: so one of them asked me where I was headed, and I told him Addis Ababa enroute Abidjan. Then, flipping through my passport he goes “where are the visas?” Truth? I’ve done the Addis layover a couple times so I know I don’t need a visa for that. Never been to Cote d’Ivoire though, and it just hit me then that I didn’t know.

Next thing the official says I won’t be able to fly, I don’t have the visa I need, etc. Again, inner panic, outward, ‘I’m not even going to act bothered’ look. Again, it occurred to me I could Google (had to be the voice of God rescuing his silly daughter) and so I did, confirmed I didn’t need one, and promptly shut the official up. *big, wide smile*

Permit a little digression please. There’s something about knowing our rights both as a Christian and people resident on this planet. Otherwise, we will miss out on/get robbed of/be denied so much!!

Ok, so we boarded and glory be to God, my entire row was empty! Yaaaaaass! So I ate, drank the only can of coke I’m allowed, and watched Taken 3, and the modern remake of Annie.

So Taken 3 was lovely (as always) but fingers crossed this is the last in the series biko. Except they want to become the next Empire, or Scandal, and just tell us what days it will air.

I loved Annie too, can’t wait to lay my hands on the soundtrack. Can’t wait!

Got into Addis Ababa ok, and it was off to Empire Addis, a fabulous hotel not too far from the airport. Took the stairs to and from my room on the 5th floor because #FitFam, and after a bit of dinner, it was trying to get my brain to shut down so I could sleep. That didn’t happen till 2am. Sigh.

Out of the hotel and back at the airport by 8am for the onward leg to Abidjan, which is like going from Abuja to Lagos, then heading to Kaduna. Yes. But no flight from Abuja.

Ahhh. My inner lioness escaped today inside the duty free store. Everyone was queuing to pay (Addis has amazing deals on fragrances) and then this guy bounces to the front of the line. The attendants start putting his things through so I ask if the rest of us had nothing else to do. Then he says, “don’t speak to me like that, you don’t know me”. Loooool… Let’s just say, he was pleading by the time I was done defining queues and how they help us maintain order in this world.

And then I boarded. And we took off. And seven hours later, we touched down in Abidjan, where I’ve met folks from The Gambia, Liberia, South Africa, Cameroon, etc. Promises to be an exciting 48 hours of brainstorming strategies around civic engagement, participation in the electoral process, and citizens taking charge of governance. Can’t wait!

Sorry for the break in transmission with this story, there were things like work and my birthday to get through!! Whoop!

Right! So part four now,  (because I know you’ve read one, two, and three), I’ll be reproducing the Roundtable proper. First off, there was so much knowledge in the room, and I know I asked myself more than once how I was that privileged to be in the room with the calibre of people there!

My amazement under control, there were quick introductions and a first word that elicited comments like “as we think of futures and foresight/fore sighting we must not forget where we are coming from and where we are now”.

Foresight is super important because it helps create policies that cater to eventualities; helps governments be better prepared to handle anything that comes their way and leave an easier tomorrow for the ones coming after them.

We talked about the key trends Africa should be focusing on and their potential effects on individual countries, and the continent. We also discussed the role of business, entrepreneurship, the potentials with industrialization, and what exactly we’re doing with donors and their monies.

Totally fascinating discussion, and for me was an eye-opener into the reason why we got some themes to write on that I thought weren’t for ‘today’. It was also really interesting listening to the different perspectives and how issues feed into each other, whether they be across countries, regions, or even the continent.

Here’s a video from the day that might help put things in perspective…

And there was this too!

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There’s also a storify you can catch up with here as well –

There was a quick tea break and we were back discussing. Can I just say that the organization of the event was spot on? So down to the folders we received, you could see the painstaking effort that went into making everything look feel spotless.

Here’s the thing. Africa needs to look inwards, within its local spaces for answers to its problems rather than backing each other and looking to institutions they think care about them but in truth are just looking out for themselves. (An Igbo proverb says you cannot use someone else’s eyes to see).

There’s a lot about Foresight for Development that will interest you, and you, and you, and I encourage you to visit the website, and get an education. And thank me later!

And you can search our hashtag #SAMPNODE if you just want to catch up on the conversation for the day. I know I was tweeting a lot.

Long day over, we moved to a cocktail by the pool, and then on to dinner. Here’s what I had, and we got another helping of brownies and fresh custard. Bliss.

Next morning Ruth and I went to Sandton City Mall, and first off, we took pictures, which I suddenly cannot find. So annoying! Like I know they are in a folder on my computer but I can’t for the life of me remember what folder! Sigh…

Then we went in and bought a few things. We had to rush cos we both had flights to catch; she to Uganda, and I to Abuja via Addis Ababa. I’m keen to visit South Africa again, and this time go to Soweto; I hear there are stark disparities between the posh Morningside/Sandton areas and Soweto and the other inner communities. I’d also like to attend a concert, I’ve fallen in love with a number of South African gospel choirs and I can’t wait to hear them!

We made it to the airport just in time; Ruth had to run for her flight, and I had just enough time to decide I wasn’t going to waste my money on the overpriced items at the Duty Free stores or change the rands I had back to dollars because it just seemed like a proper rip off. I’ll spend it another time biko.

Was very unfortunate to sit beside a really smelly man, but he didn’t talk to me and I distracted myself sufficiently with all the movies I watched so that wasn’t too bad.

We got to Addis ok, and glory be to God I was put in another hotel! Panorama hotel was lovely! There was WIFI, the room was clean, smelling really nice (I really do have a thing for scents and smells), and I had a wonderful shower. I slept very well.

The food however, was still rubbish, leading me to think that what Ethiopians have in beauty/figures, they lack in foods and preparation of meals. But maybe it’s just me, and the places I’ve eaten/had to eat in so far.

I did something interesting while I was waiting for the flight, passport watching. I would look at passports of everyone who passed by me trying to figure out what their own ‘green’ was (there are apparently a lot of African countries with ‘green’ passports). That was fun to do.

Next morning, hopped back on a plane, and in a few hours, I was back in Nigeria. I think I was too tired on this flight to make any notes, so I just ate, and slept. And was grateful for the gift of writing, and the opportunity to write, and oh-so profitably.

That’s it, SA Chronicle done!

So, have you been following the story?

Part one is here,


Part two is here.

You’re welcome!! Now, let’s get on with part three!

Hello Johannesburg! Na wa… First thing? There was a certain coldness I saw with the officials at the airport, seriously. I can’t explain, and I don’t want to sound prejudiced to all the stories I’d heard about the place, but there was that coldness I noticed.

Anyway, so when it got to my turn I walked up to the officer and said why I was in the country and that I was leaving in 48 hours. He asked a few questions about my visa and while I was rolling my eyes (in my mind), I noticed some guy trying to explain away his life to another officer and the officer repeatedly saying, “ I don’ believe you, I don’t believe you will leave.” No the young man wasn’t Nigerian; his accent was from a region (in Africa) I won’t mention because I couldn’t see his passport so I’m not sure.

As I took my passport back and walked away, I wondered if they would bounce him, and what fine his country would have to pay. And then I thought about a world so equal (or close to equal) that people could come and go as they pleased. Sigh.

Got my suitcase and the driver was waiting. His name is/was Max, and he gave us quite the tour as we drove to 20 West, Morningside, somewhere in Sandton. Benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t have changed so much money for a 48 hour trip; now I have to find/squeeze another trip to SA to spend it. I’ll explain this sentence later.

On the way, we listened to radio, and at some point a song came on which I heard for the first time in San Antonio last Christmas. Guess what I did? I rang my cousin Chuma so he could hear the song! Lol! Such a laugh.

20 West is beautiful. Repeat after me, 20 West is beautiful. It’s both a hotel and self-catered apartments, and somehow, because my room was given out by mistake, I was upgraded to a self-catered apartment. Thank Jesus for mistakes that turn out to be blessings. Somebody shout halleluyah!

I went upstairs, and after oohing and aahing over the place, I took pictures! Want to see? Of course you do!

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All of this and I’m just here for two days? Please, amen to another trip already!!

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I gushed about the view so much I forgot to take a picture! Lol…

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Err, my photography skills were not up to the point of getting everything in this room. I missed the shower (left the toilet bowl out intentionally though, nothing special there biko)

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Then I hid my #FitFam uniform in a closet and ordered the juiciest burger I’ve had in a bit, complete with an extra helping of avocado. And a hot chocolate ( I know, I can’t be helped). And then I went to sleep. Peaceful sleep.

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Look at all that cheese… get in there!!


Woke up a couple hours later, caught up with Ruth Aine (who I first met in Germany in july 0f 2014), and after I spoke to friends and family, had a shower, watched a bit of TV, it was dinner time.

All about the Braai

Truth is, I would have passed up on dinner if Ruth didn’t mention we were having a “braai”which is the local name for a barbecue of sorts of different types of meats. So if I said, ‘I want to braai it’, I could easily have said ‘I want to barbecue it’.

Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed. The meats weren’t super tender/exciting, and there weren’t enough options for it to really qualify.

Even the potatoes weren't all that...

Even the potatoes weren’t all that… Ah. Sausage was lovely…

But, the corn was super tasty ( we had a lot of corn), and Benjamin Mipanghi, the Food and Bar Supervisor said yes to our request for fresh custard for our brownies. That was lovely!!

You can never go wrong with fresh custard!

You can never go wrong with fresh custard!

He also told me about a local dish I know I’m going to try when next I’m in South Africa; it’s called papa and mogudu, which is a maize meal and beef/tripe/offals stew. Even though I’m not one for offals (you’ll never find me in line for ‘assorted’ meat), I’m looking forward to trying this one. Really looking forward.

Dinner over, it was back in the room for a bit more work, a bit more TV, and then bed. Not before I took this incredible picture (if I must say so myself) of the view of the pool from my floor. Incredible.



Good night everyone, come back for part four soon!!

Right! So two days ago we started on the prep and the trip to South Africa via Addis Ababa for Foresight for Development’s Africa Roundtable. Of the options I was given for travel, I chose Ethiopian Airlines because I wanted the stopover story…

Good idea or not? We’re about to find out!

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We got into Addis about 8pm, and I was starving! We had to fill out forms with our seat numbers, country of departure, etc. thanks to Ebola, and then it was time to retrieve my luggage and find the bus which would take me to the hotel I’d been allocated.

Apparently, the name of the hotel was, ‘Ethiopia’. Turned out to be horrible. Jesus Christ! The WIFI only worked in the reception, the porter was rude, the food was (I cannot explain), and the room? On and on and on, I could complain for days, and you know I’m not exactly finicky. Kai.

Looks lovely, but believe me, this explains the 'not all that glitters is gold' saying perfectly!

Looks lovely, but believe me, this explains the ‘not all that glitters is gold’ saying perfectly!

Kai. I’m just upset. However, I bought a really lovely satchel I want to use as a laptop bag. Paid $10 for it, and the strap cut before I left the country. Tourist behaviour I know.

Next morning I got dressed and went down for breakfast before the ride to the airport. Note that I slept hungry (two bottles of coke helped, but only a bit), so I was looking forward to a good meal.

The 'orange juice' tasted like all those concentrates we used to dilute in secondary school, only that this one had been diluted waaaaaaaay too much! Ended up eating only the bread roll (with their sexy butter).

The ‘orange juice’ tasted like all those concentrates we used to dilute in secondary school, only that this one had been diluted waaaaaaaay too much! Ended up eating only the bread roll (with their sexy butter)… The other things I didn’t understand.

Left for the airport and the entire stretch there was a heavily armed policeman (more like army if you asked me) every block or so. Seemed weird, too much policing biko. Also seemed like everyone was running in one direction or the other (in the name of #FitFam), sometimes completely unconcerned by oncoming cars or bikes. I asked someone and she said the punishment for a driver knocking anyone down (especially if the person dies) is life imprisonment. Wow. Premium placed on the lives of their citizens as far as I am concerned; don’t know that it means people shouldn’t have common sense sha.

I was also told that you’re encouraged not to invest in the country if you’re not Ethiopian. Like, it doesn’t profit you and the government will work to frustrate you out. So much for foreign investment that Nigerian leaders are always junketing about for.

Ah! Before I forget, the sun rises very early in Addis! Like really early! About 5am it felt like noon… and there were a lot of people playing footie when we went outside. Looks like a lot of interest in fitness if you asked me!

I was excited to be back at the airport and away from that horrible, horrible hotel. Please don’t ever go there if you want a good night’s rest. The plane to Johannesburg was a lot better (did I mention in the first post that my seat was dodgy) and the food was lovely. Sexy butter anyone?

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On this flight I watched Penguins of Madagascar (love it), and B is for Boy, a film in Igbo. B is for Boy was incredible, and even though I didn’t like the way it ended (felt like the writer got tired and just wrote ‘the end’ in the middle of the story), it was a good film, telling the struggles of women trying for male kids because of tradition. It was very touching, the tribulation she suffered, and reinforced for me that in a marriage, the strongest tag team is between the man and wife. Not the man and his mother. Meaning that we (myself included) have nothing (or should have nothing) to do with grown ass men who great and intelligent and gorgeous and everything else that are, still work around connected to their moms via an umbilical cord made of heavy metal. Know any such people? Sigh. Back to the movie, it was really good, I remember tearing up at some point.

We touched down, and people started clapping. I was confused. No turbulence, no incident, nothing. Why clap? I mean I’ve heard tales of people clapping on the Dubai to Lagos route but I didn’t understand this one at all! Na wa.

By the way, Ethiopian ladies are beautiful. And their hips don’t lie! Gentle reminder for me to pick up on my squats, not about to ‘carry last’ biko.

Also seems like everyone is married. I don’t think I saw any lady without a ring on her ‘wedding finger’ Not one. Hian. Pressure us small small biko; there’s already so much pressure at home. Sigh.

Part three’s up in a few days, and it’s all about Johannesburg! Don’t miss it!



Sometime in February I got an email from someone representing some people I’ve been writing for for a little while, inviting me to a Roundtable Discussion in March. First off, I didn’t see the time to attend (was that busy I promise you). Second, I wasn’t sure if it was a hoax. So I clicked ‘maybe’ on the calendar invite and let it go.

Two days to the day when we were supposed to indicate by I got a reminder and then I read the email properly! Somehow I just said I’d like to attend. And then boom, invitation letter, choosing a flight path, any dietary requirements, all of that started to happen.

This is the chronicle of my first ever trip to South Africa, noting of course the trip (to and fro), the people, the food, the event itself, and any other business. Ready for it? Let’s start with,

The Prep!

So, I went to VFS to drop off my application, and there I found that my Yellow Card was expired (last time I needed it was in 2010) so I had to run off to the Ministry of Health, navigate the treacherous area (no thanks to road blocks and road diversions because of Boko Haram) and dash to get a new one. Dashed back to the Application Center and was told the processing would take 45 days. Lol… Even if I was trying to get into heaven! Let’s not even talk about the meeting being like 16 days away.

I got home, spoke to a friend who spoke to a friend, and I had my passport and visa back in 4 days. Boom. Thank you Lord!

Easy bit done.

The Trip!

The night before (Friday), I was at work till 9.45pm. Sigh (some days are like that). I got home, started packing, and dozed off (thankfully it was my little suitcase otherwise I’m sure I would have slept inside! Lol. I woke up at 1.50am to pee, and then changed my nail polish, finished my packing, went back to sleep.

At 9am, I joined Ismail and Seye to conduct interviews for a potential intern for the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers. Very interesting time, even though I was shocked on many levels; that story is here.

Interview done, I dashed back home, flung my things in the cab, and dashed to the airport. VIKO car services need to up their response time walai. I’ve written about them before so I won’t waste space complaining but there’s no point saving 1000 or 2000 but gain high blood pressure because I’m trying to reach them or their driver! Final warning guys, SMH.

Brethren, do you know it’s easier to go to Europe than it is to travel to South Africa? Hian! First off, they looked through my passport, asked for my invitation, return ticket, hotel booking, etc., and then let me go check in (that’s never been done for me, ever). While all of this was going on (I had to get the hotel reservation I was sent off my laptop), some guy walks up to me and starts mumbling about needing my help. I asked what the issue was and he said his BTA wasn’t enough. When it clicked that BTA = money I was like huh? Then he says if I don’t give him money to make up his BTA he wouldn’t be able to travel, that he needed a thousand dollars. Lol. I smiled, and just walked away.

Later, I spoke to an official who told me that South African Immigration are famous for deporting people, and the cost is borne by the home country, plus a fine, all in dollars. So, it’s only natural that they are extra vigilant with people headed there. Especially for people who aren’t frequent fliers. So they wouldn’t be letting that guy fly. Eh ya.

Finished checking in, and went upstairs. Now, my time in SA was literally for 48 hours so all I had was my hand luggage which I didn’t check in. The lady searching my box in the departure lounge had whispered about ‘something for the weekend’ but I didn’t smile or acknowledge that in any way. Then she says I need to drop my perfumes etc, and what can WE do about it. Lol. I asked her to close my box, quietly went downstairs, checked it in, and came back. This time, she wasn’t smiling. Lol. SMH.

Now, I’d asked that my flight be booked through Addis Ababa each way, only because I wanted a richer story. Other options were to go to Lagos and fly direct via South African Airlines but that didn’t sound as interesting.

Then we boarded. My neighbour wouldn’t keep quiet, even after I put my headphones on. Why do people do this? He would tap me to say something, I’d reply, put my headphones back on, only for him to tap me again! Sigh.

Ahh. The butter was sexy. I remember it as I type; shame I didn’t note the name or anything. Want to see a photo?

Now that I look at it, the salad was lovely too!

Now that I look at it, the salad was lovely too!

So that’s one! Let’s look to parts two and three and four!

Welcome to the end of March! Have you had a good month? I know I have!

Much earlier in the month, I was invited to Warri to facilitate at training for some officials from various organizations working in the Niger Delta. And I was excited, for a number of reasons. Since I ran a couple sessions late last year I discovered that training is something I really enjoy plus I hadn’t been in Warri since 199something and so I was really excited about the trip.

Flight was uneventful except I must mention that Arik Air thrive in the midst of confusion. It’s incredible! So my flight was for 8am, and I was at the airport before 7am. There was a rapidly lengthening queue, Arik Air officials doing what the Lord alone can explain because there wasn’t any progress.

And then of course people started jostling about and getting rowdy because their flights were getting announced. Guess what? They delayed the flight. Lol…

Anyway, we finally boarded the miniature plane, and off we went. Landed in Benin, and then did the 45+ minutes drive to Warri. I was taken to my lodgings, a place called Denaj Hotels. I was a little concerned when I saw these two signs but I said I’d be a good girl and not make a fuss about anything.

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This was at the bar.

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This was at the gate.

Have you noticed that when we say we’re not going to do something bad it seems like all the devils in hell relocate to our ends just to make us renege on that promise?

Children of God, the sheets had funny stains on them – not even going to hazard a guess around that. Then the toilet seat looked like there’s been a pissing contest for blindfolded guys.

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2015-03-08 16.26.29

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I was confused. There was no menu in the room either, and I was starving.

I called for someone to clean the bathroom (not change the room – remember, no fuss), and then I ordered jollof rice, plantain and chicken. Food came on a tray without cutlery, and the cleaner still hadn’t come.

So I went downstairs, and had to get cutlery myself, and pried a lady attendant from her phone and argument with the receptionist about her not being the person to clean my room. I ate (don’t ask any questions – I was starving), and then had a meeting where I complained to the heavens about the entire situation (by this time chill had departed), and then I spread my mom’s wrapper on the sheets, and slept. The evening, the morning, and it was time to prep for the first day of training.

First off, I woke up with some sort of itch on my arms and feet. There was no hot water. I’d finished my water and I didn’t even feel okay buying water. So, no shower, and I settled for gargling with my mouth wash.

Was I grumpy or what!! Hian! I mean it was lovely to meet the class, 21 bright-eyed people who I was supposed to be useful to, but I couldn’t shake the itch and it was all so disorienting, two mugs of my favorite brew didn’t help.

We were moved to Protea that evening, and guess what I did first? Phew… Thank you Jesus! I had a proper dinner as well, three-course type of business. Talmabout getting my groove back!

So what did I teach the class? We did an introduction to social media, tools and platforms, what their organizations might need (or not), and the personal vs corporate communication. We also learned about keeping ourselves safe online, hyperlinks, infographics, blogging, and developing articles for their organizations. Of course there were lots of things we tried our hands at (internet permitting), and I ended up creating a WordPress blog for one organization, a Facebook page for another, and personal Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for members of the class.

I also met Samson Idoko, a very brilliant young man and co-facilitator who taught Microsoft Office in a way I’ve never seen/heard it taught before. Tips, shortcuts, tricks across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, and it was a free class for me!! I learned so much!

There was also Frank, a staff of the organization who ensured we were always overfed! God bless him, one afternoon I said I wanted fish and a salad for lunch, and here’s the fish I got! I shared mine with Samson and we gave his out – walai I would have dozed if I ate that alone!

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There was James who drove us around, and had this hilarious bad eye he would give other people who were driving dangerously. Thank you for making me smile everyday!

And the icing on the cake? The feedback from the class! I grabbed a bit of it, and then there was the email from one of the attendees, which was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while. Sweetest.

I learned lessons about myself, about people, and about social media on this trip. Start from confirming that Lagos, Abuja are on one level with social media, and the rest of the country on a totally different level. Totally different ladies and gentlemen. It might not mean much till you juxtapose that with political communication, numbers and expectations for these elections.

And now for a shameless plug: want a social media trainer for your organization? Get in touch, already!

Warri was great, I love the class, and it was my privilege to share my skill/knowledge; massive thanks to the organizers and technical adviser for the opportunity, and for ensuring that we were comfortable. Let’s do it again!

In September 2014 I attended a service with my girl Tokes at her church, Trinity Chapel, in Barking. It was a special service, and Prophet Gilbert from Ghana was the guest minister.

His topic was “Exposure: good or bad?” and he opened up stories from the bible in ways I didn’t know were possible. See ehn, it’s one thing to read the Bible, and another thing to be given a clear/different understanding of the words you’ve read.

Anyway, let’s get on to the message right? Prophet Gilbert started by saying, “before Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden they were naked and they knew it. It was the exposure (their eyes being ‘opened’) after eating that brought shame.

In the same way, sometimes we would lead better lives if we hadn’t become ‘exposed’ to certain things/new knowledge. Some things we become aware of destroy us. What have you suddenly become discontented with because you’ve been exposed to something else? How many spouses/partners are no longer happy with what their partners bring home because they’ve heard so-and-so have it better?

Enlightenment should bring development/improvement, not the comparison that leads to destruction. The Bible says that, “comparing themselves with themselves, they became unwise”.

Now, on the flip side, when Adam and Eve became exposed, they covered themselves. Are you covered? What are you covering yourself with? How do you dress?

Prophet Gilbert talked about the image of a person being the sum of their appearance, behavior and communication. Are these three things in your life saying three different things? Are you professing Christianity with your lips but appearing/behaving like a devil?

He also talked about ‘knowing ourselves’ and how people not knowing who they are and what they are made of being the reason they are swayed by every wind of doctrine.

He ended his very thought-provoking message by saying that in five years we’d be products/mash-up of what we’ve read and the people we’ve interacted with. Who are you hanging with? What are you exposing yourself to? Who are we allowing to influence us?

And then we prayed. Sweet baby Jesus we prayed! For direction, for blindness from the exposure that will derail our destinies, for the strength to say no to the wrong influences, we prayed ladies and gentlemen.

I had a great time in the service, and I’m grateful I was there. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and I pray that we receive grace to do as we have read. Amen!

Have a great rest of the week!

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.

First off, no it’s not yet 2015 where I am, still got like 3 hours to go…so start the party without me! Can I just digress real quick and say I can imagine God is having an absolute laugh with these time zones? I think it is genius (of course it is, God is behind it) even though it is one of the hardest things for me to work through!

Anyway, let’s talk about 2014, wrap it up real quick. 2014 was super interesting for me, like really, really interesting. I remember that at the end of December 2013, I was just relieved the year was over and nothing else could go wrong. The things my eyes saw, dang – I’m sure I was the definition of pain, patience, long-suffering, and endurance. I lost people really close to me to death, accidents, etc., and I remember one day I was at the point King David was in the Bible where it said “he cried till he had no more power to weep”. Like I was so cried out, I couldn’t be paid to produce a tear!

Not saying there wasn’t any joy in the year o, of course there was. Just that balanced on a scale, the unhappy easily outweighed the happy (same way everything this current government can claim it has achieved falls flat on its face when it is mirrored against the insurgency/insecurity plaguing the country). People, events, family, friends made 2013 special, there were bright spots in 2013 but it was a difficult year. It was.

Blessed  be God however who causes us to forget the sorrows of the former years, whose love and mercy cancels out our transgressions and qualifies us of things we otherwise wouldn’t be deserving of in a million years. Yup! That’s the God I serve!

In January I felt such a strength within, felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with myself – the heights I wanted to attain, the circles I wanted to roll in, and generally, I projected what I wanted to be writing about now. That inner strength carried me through the entire year.

“From your lips to God”s ears” was more than a saying for me this year – I saw/handled things I didn’t even think I was ready for. Like, at some point I was cancelling/rescheduling holidays because I had to accommodate new work! I woke up one day in April and looked at my calendar, and it made me smile. A big, toothy, cheshire-cat type smile…little did I know God hadn’t even scratched the surface of things He had lined up for me!

From addressing 60+ people from three continents at The Hague, to that speaking engagement at the House of Lords, to starting a teaching career (social media of course) both professionally and to youths at church, to working with a team to write a book in 5 days, it didn’t stop. On, and on, and on. God used people to open up fresh opportunities, to push me, force me to be/do better, to push myself, to keep at it. Dr Titi Banjoko, Justina Mutuale, Emilia Asim-Ita, Jacque Onalo, and all the others, God bless you!

And when I crashed in November, God healed me. I was exhausted, my body was screaming for rest. I remember waking up one day and having a mini panic attack because I felt overwhelmed. But God was there, and He healed me, showed me what/how to get through it. And I’m grateful.

My family? Rock solid. Love em to bits! My baby boy is advanced way beyond his age, speaks clearer than any two-year old I know/I’ve known. God is increasing all of us on every side. Momma finished her PhD this year (at 62, whoop); Grace and Progress Family Chapel was born this year too, and is doing great! God is building His church, and nothing can stand against it! I love, love, love you guys!

To Tokes, who knew that meetings in December 2013 would forge a bond so strong we now feel like we’ve known each other for years? Wunmi, bestie of life and destiny, whatever would I do without you? Our latest iyawo!! To Francesca, my personal support system and human chill pill, thank you for sharing your house and heart with me, for real talk, and for that Sunday in April you prayed for me when I literally fell apart. To my sister Adaora, thank you, thank you, thank you. Chief Sista, I just love you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, I  do!

To every man of God whose word blessed my life, whether in person or online, God bless you. I never sat under a teaching that didn’t bless me, and for that I’m grateful. Very grateful.

For safe travels in 2014 (and it’s been my most mobile year), for provision, for protection, for healing, for direction; the fact that I’m alive is more than enough reason to bow down and worship.

Here’s to incredible things in 2015!