Posts Tagged ‘United States’
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Tags: Air pollution, Alcohol, Binge drinking, Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Congenital disorder, coping with loss, death, Developmental disability, Drink, Pat Okeregwu, Pregnancy, United Kingdom, United States
In the last five days or so, there has been one reference to my aunt or the other. And each time I’ve smiled. Not because I don’t miss her (and I miss her terribly), but because… I don’t know.
I think of all the times she said things like, “it will get better, this thing you don’t seem to have now, no be this life? You go get am tire.” If only she knew how true her words were!
I stumbled on one of the songs that helped me get through her passing this morning, and I played back the 22nd of July 2013 real quick… how from a phone call about 5am my life literally became a blur for months on end. How I refused to go to church for a while after she passed, and then getting super angry the day I finally went because the pastor started preaching about how God could heal everything, including cancer. I remember I was like, “yeah, and you had to preach this after it killed my aunt abi?” And of course that meant I didn’t go for a bit after that.
I remember when we checked to see if my nephew would remember her (he was like a year old when she passed), and of course he didn’t (I wonder what we were thinking). I felt a little upset he didn’t remember the person who was literally his nanny when we all went to work, who was there from the first day of the pregnancy, encouraging my sister, spoiling her (because of her own struggles with pregnancy pregnant women could do no wrong in her eyes, lol), how she spoiled my nephew with gifts, and how he loved playing with her, and then falling asleep on her big body. I think that was all the children around then, who didn’t want to sleep on Big Mummy’s body?
I miss her o, kai.
I remember attending Winners’ Chapel Durunmi, and us queuing for puff puff every Sunday after service. It was like an unspoken ritual. Even if we were all angry with each other, we would still buy and so would start talking to each other from eating the puff puff in the car.
Aunty was a unifier; like she couldn’t stand for malice, quarrels and all of those kind of things. I remember quarrelling with an ex once and he called her to report me (the gall of that man). She invited him to the house and we were sat in her office. She was trying to ‘settle the fight’ but I guess we were arguing too much. Know what she did? She got up, left the office, and locked us both inside. Said she wouldn’t open the door till we had sorted out whatever was making us argue like we were strangers. Lol!! I nearly popped an artery from anger! But she didn’t open the door! We eventually settled down, had a conversation, and then she opened the door.
I love her. I really do. Years ago someone stole my parents’ numbers from my phone and sent them lies about me. My parents (resident outside Nigeria at the time) rang her and she stood up for me. Not only did she do that, she went to the person I had wronged according to the lies, had a conversation with her (that one had only sweet things to say about me), and got the woman to call my folks to tell them not to be bothered about whatever message they had received because it was a lie. I didn’t know she’d done this till my folks called to say, “this is what your aunty Pat did”.
God bless her, I have stories for days! Interestingly, she ended up telling me which of my friends had done the texting, and about a year or so later, we were right. She’d been cautioning me about a friend who she said had envy in her eyes and would rubbish me if she could; one who would come spend nights with me but would say things like, “na wa, how can only you have this or that?” I never took it seriously, till an incident involving a job a few years later. I’m sure I heard the Yoruba proverb, “the insect that kills the vegetable lives on it” at least a million times when she was alive.
The memory of the righteous is blessed. You’re blessed aunty. I love you and miss you everyday.
Tags: Abuja, Airline, American Airlines, American Meteorological Society, Bachelor of Arts, Boarding pass, Cash advance, Chioma Chuka, Company, Customer service, Financial Times, Identity theft, Medview Airlines, Nigeria, Nigerian Blogger, Review of Medview Airlines, Telling travel stories, Travel within Nigeria, United States
The weirdest thing happened yesterday… Really scary stuff. I can laugh about it now, but yesterday I was frightened as anything, and really upset at the lackadaisical attitude we have here in Nigeria about security, identities, and things like that. Of course let’s leave customer service alone because that would be reaching for the stars where we have not first learned to walk!
I will provide commentary for my tweets, but they pretty much tell the story.
So I get to the airport (and ON TIME) because I’ve had a rough time with my health recently and so I’m not in the mood for any adrenaline-fuelled stunts involving airlines and me trying to make flights. I have about an hour to spare and I’m looking forward to a quiet time in the lounge before my flight is called. Then this happens.
Was really confusing. Would I ask someone to check me in and then not remember? I had a suitcase to check in. Would I ask someone to check me in and not give them the suitcase? I asked these questions, asked if the person presented any identification, nothing.
One thing that really frustrates me is people upsetting me/others then asking me/them to ‘calm down’. It’s like pinching a child and getting surprised when they cry. What else were you going for? Why should I calm down when you’ve given my boarding pass to God knows who? And then sound like it’s my fault?
They write something on my boarding pass, inform the boarding gate of the issue, then ask me to go wait to board. What if this person…never mind.
Of course all of this drama meant that I got upstairs to departures and had barely found a seat when they announced boarding. Soooo stressful. I was panicking!
*is a guy
So I get to the boarding gate and while they’re checking mine, I see another boarding pass with my name on it! My eyes follow the hand holding it up to the face and lo and behold, it’s a guy! Hian! Even better, when I said to him that he had my boarding pass, he started arguing! Said it was his. Uncle your name is not/cannot be Chioma Chuka (which was spelled out on the thing, not initialed o) and then he raises his voice, etc.
Obviously the airline made a mistake (a most stupid one) but you don’t compound it by not having a ticket to hand, talking about your office bought the ticket and checked you in so you don’t have anything on you. What did you present to the officer who gave you a boarding pass? My boarding pass? *Rolling my eyes*
I was asked to go board while they sorted the ‘other’ Chioma Chuka out, and as I walked to the foot of the plane, I played out all the ways this could have gone really wrong. What if he was a really bad person, like a terrorist or something?
Very scary. Very unserious too.
I was terrified. Truly terrified.
I noticed I was sweating really bad. For some reason I was afraid. So I called one of the hostesses, explained the issue to her, and said I wanted her to check what name was on his boarding pass. In my mind, if he still had the Chioma Chuka one, I would deboard. No two ways about it.
Said hostess didn’t come back to me, so when the plane was taxiing, I got out of my seat and walked to the front of the plane to ask for the outcome of her investigation. Again I was furious. I was in my seat, breathing and sweating crazy from fear, and our dear hostess couldn’t take two minutes to come back to me with an answer!!
Even worse, this young man apparently just shares one name with me. Therefore, this is a very stupid, incompetent airline, and that official who made this mistake deserves to be whipped. What if I had a bad heart? What if I’d passed out from fear? What if this man was a truly evil person who had evil designs for me or even for that flight?
Then, they announce during the flight that they’re launching flights to the United Kingdom later this year. When you cannot execute a local flight without incident? Rubbish. I’m still considering my options, I should sue.
PS: I forgot. I wasn’t worse off on the plane! When we touched down there was a Navy guy who got off the plane and said, “ahn ahn! This is not Port Harcourt. I was supposed to be going to Port Harcourt.” Made me laugh, like it was hilarious. Didn’t he hear the announcement about where we were going before he boarded, didn’t the hostesses check his boarding pass, didn’t he listen to the pre-flight announcement, didn’t he… I have a million questions!!
Tags: Abaji, Abuja, Animas River, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Bobbi Kristina, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cory Monteith, Curbing drug abuse, Drug overdose, Fairy GodSister, Illegal drug trade, Illicit drugs, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Jackson, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nigeria, Nigerian Blogger, Online Communities, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Substance abuse, telling life's stories, The dangers of drug abuse, United States, Whitney Houston
Hello folks! Welcome to a new month! How’s the year been? Good? Great? Achieving? Working hard? Feel like there are some things you need to work on, change around? It’s all in your hands!
Let’s start by catching up a bit – won’t dedicate a full post to it because honestly I’m tired of writing about the effects of drug use/abuse. Ditto ranting about drug trafficking, especially to countries where the penalty is death. So, I’m not saying drug trafficking is ok (God forbid), I’m saying that if you have given yourself over to the devil (or allowed the devil to use you according to former President Goodluck Jonathan), why not help your career by staying out of countries where the penalty is death? Na wa.
On drug abuse, and the recent death and internment of Bobbi Kristina Brown, I have a few things to say. Not to her family (who must be in so much grief all we can/should do is pray for them to be comforted) but to the rest of us who are still privileged to be in the land of the living. Not because we’re better, more righteous or whatever. God is just merciful. But we have a part to play.
Illicit drugs were, are, and will always be a bad thing. There is no way abusing drugs (even if it is cough medicine I hear people sniff to get high) will ever produce a positive result.
Michael Jackson – 50.Whitney Houston – 48. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – 46. Cory Monteith – 31. Bobbi Kristina – 22. She’s the latest entrant to the list since the post I wrote titled, “learn from it, don’t be it”. How hard can it be to say no to the first whiff, injection, smoke? What are you even doing amongst people playing rough play like that? Let me sound like my father a bit and say that do you think Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, etc. would be where they are today if they spent their time sniffing whatever it is that ends up destroying the mind and the body? How do we by ourselves become the architects of our own destruction?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death hurt me in a different kind of way. This man was an addict, cleaned up, was drug free for at least 8280 days, then fell off the wagon again. And this time it killed him. Would to God he had stayed clean another 6 months from the 8280 days; he might still have been here.
Don’t start. Don’t try it. If you’re sad/depressed/feeling bad, pray. Shop (more like window shop). Go out, hang out with your friends. Call someone close on the phone. Pray. Sing. Dance. Sleep sef!
But in the name of everything pure, leave drugs alone. There is no light at the end of that tunnel.
Love, light, and warm fuzzies,
Tags: #MINDS, Abidjan, abs challenge, Abuja, Addis Ababa, Africa, African Development Bank, African Union, Apartheid in South Africa, Astronomical unit, Boko Haram, Fairy GodSister, former Finance Minister in Rwanda, Gestone Hotel, Johannesburg, Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Mr Donald Kabureka, Muhammadu Buhari, Nelson Mandela, Nigeria, Nigerian Blogger, Peace and Security Committee, Political prisoner, South Africa, Tony Blair, travel tales, United States, youth participation in politics, Youth unemployment
So, today was day one of the Regional Training Workshop in Civic Education on elections and governance organized by MINDS.
I started an abs challenge this morning, bestie and I; sides are burning seriously but I see cropped tops in my future so werk! As in near future!
I forgot to mention that yesterday; we went to a little market in the town. For me, it was absolutely necessary, for a number of reasons. One, I needed cash and two, I needed an adapter! Let’s start with needing money. Before I left Abuja, I thought the dollars I had in a bag were ‘reasonable’, it was the morning I was supposed to leave I realized it was like $150, and then lots of $1 bills! And of course there was too much going on with the yellow card I was looking for, etc. to hazard going to the bank to get some more.
Then I got to Addis and because they’ve buried my umbilical cord in the perfumes section of their Duty Free stores, I spent all but $9 there! Why I didn’t pay with my card I still cannot explain satisfactorily to myself, but bottom line is I got to Abidjan with the princely sum of $9! About the adapter, I have like three of the Cote D’Ivoire friendly ones back in Abuja, I remember reading the logistics note that specified what adapters to bring, but in my wisdom and uniqueness, I had to bring the one from South Africa! Sigh. I can’t be any more special.
By the way, I feel like ‘okrika’ (second hand clothing) is big business here; either that or this market had a healthy helping of sellers. we bought some delicious boiled corn too, and we took incredible pictures eating corn on the streets of Abidjan! Can’t find the photos now, still looking!
Here’s something else – the time difference yesterday was crazy sha! In Addis I was two hours behind Nigeria, in Cotonu it was one hour ahead of Addis, and here in Abidjan it’s one hour behind Nigeria. I’ve given up on my devices giving me different times and am now content with just asking when I need to know the time.
Back to today, their tea cups in this hotel are an aberration. Kai! What is this?
And they’re not just for espressos or anything, this is what we had for tea as well! For people like me who love a nice brew of like three teas, it was just super frustrating. Arrgh!
On to happier things! We were told they had a surprise guest for us, and interestingly, first place my mind went to was that Nelson Mandela was coming through (he founded this), then I remembered he’d passed, and then I wasn’t really excited about whoever it was. Till the facilitator, Cecile (that’s a very nice name by the way) said we had to stand up when the person came in, she was really excited, etc.
Turned out our surprise guest was Mr Donald Kabureka, former Finance Minister in Rwanda and outgoing Africa Development Bank boss. He sat opposite us in a swivel chair (interesting point to note because as he answered questions he would sway from side to side, lol) and the question and answer session started.
Here are a few things he said
* Being young doesn’t confer on us any special legitimacy or entitlements but responsibilities based on the very things we use to feel entitled; age, strength, and numbers.
*Young people the world over have reversed John F. Kennedy’s saying – it is all about what the country/world can put into our hands rather than what we can do for our countries/the world.
*Technology means that whether it is a discussion about climate change, terrorism, agriculture, etc, young people no longer think in the context of their countries alone anymore. Thoughts and intending actions are global.
*Youth participation in politics must not necessarily be about electing/appointing young people into positions of power; there’s a lot more to it.
Interesting fact from the discussion about economies in Africa and leadership – 92% of Tunisians own their own homes. So, only 8% are renting. Incredible!!
Personal thoughts about the man? Obviously after 10 years of leading Africa’s premier bank and interacting/negotiating with Heads of States on a daily, you must have pretty much seen everything there is to see, right? Perhaps that was the reason for the hint of a little too much confidence he wore, I don’t know.
In answer to a question about ADB creating jobs for young Africans (I swear I cringed as this person was mouthing the very words), Mr Kabureka said, “jobs are not created by the ADB, or the EU, or any of those bodies. They are created by the public/private sector, with the government providing the enabling environment for those businesses to thrive.”
Then he talked about the Africa Guarantee Fund Bank which provides funding for entrepreneurs with better rates than regular banks. He also said the ADB had periodic grants people could access, details on their website.
Back to his thoughts on leadership, he said there were three qualities any leader had to have.
1. They must have abilities (not necessarily acquired through formal education, but an expandable mind is everything)
2. A set of values.
3. Moral courage to make ‘hard’ decisions.
Of course there was time to talk about his achievements as ADB boss in the past ten years 🙂 and he mentioned the bank had spent $27bn in 10 years on infrastructure on the continent. This figure according to him is 40 times more than had been spent on infrastructure before his time.
Then he mentioned that in a meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005, Mr Blair described Africa as “the scar on the conscience of the world”.
In 2014 however, in another meeting, the same Blair said, Africa was “the most exciting continent in the world because of the opportunities available”.
We took photos, Mr Kabureka left, and then it was time for tea, or lunch. Don’t really remember which. But I’m going for whatever it is, and I can’t write there!
PS: Come back for part three tomorrow.
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I hear there was a time when jobs were plentiful. Whether white or blue or pink collared, young people were assured of some employment or the other at the end of their education or training.
I didn’t meet that. If I hadn’t heard of it, I would never have known such times existed. Interestingly, this problem isn’t the exclusive preserve of Nigeria; all around the world, countries are groaning under what should ordinarily have been a blessing: the percentage of youth amongst them.
Populations have expanded exponentially, literally taking governments by surprise. Saudi Arabia has 70% of its people under 30 and half of that number under 20. Kuwait has 60% under 25. Nigeria has 75% of its 170 million population under 35. It gets worse; 40-50% of them are unemployed.
That was the thrust of the Abuja Hub virtual #ShapingDavos session on #ShapingWork , held on January 22, 2015, led by former Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Frank Nweke. Themed, “Engaging Youth in Work”, this session connected the Abuja (Nigeria), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Orlando (United States), and Chandigarh (India) Hubs via Skype and Satellite to Davos where renowned broadcaster Nick Gowing moderated a panel featuring Omar Alghanim, Dominic Barton, and Nigeria’s own Aliko Dangote.
The discussion? Everyone agreed unemployment amongst young people was an issue even though they had several approaches to it. From a lack of futuristic thinking on the part of governments to the unemployability of youths, to the outdated curricula youth are taught with that don’t ready them to solve any of the problems in today’s ever evolving world, it seems that we have a lot of young people without a lot to do with them or to give them to do. A lot of people share this sentiment.
The rising tide of unemployment was also strongly linked to terrorism simply because idle minds are the devils playground. Perhaps to corroborate that are news reports that said some Boko Haram recruits were unemployed university graduates.
The discussion peaked with this question: “what new thinking and approaches can close the unemployment gap?
One word that resonated with me? Entrepreneurship! Young people taking hold of their destinies (and quickly too) and discarding the “give me give me” mentality, Onyeka Onwenu referred to in the local panel discussion earlier in the day.
Agreed. But can entrepreneurship exist in isolation? What’s the hope of a young graduate from a low or middle-income family who wants to start a business who cannot access a loan? Immediate costs include funds to pay for two years rent, run a generator, sustain himself, and all of this starting from zero? How about Graduate Internship Schemes (and the Federal Government through the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme rolled that out in 2013), mentorship programmes too? How about good roads, stable electricity, and other infrastructure that create the enabling environment for small and medium scale businesses to thrive or at least survive?
One of the panelists said world leaders need to react to unemployment with the urgency the Ebola Virus Disease was given. I totally agree. Another said governments must stop lip service to employment issues and truly map out interventions to drastically reduce the percentages.
I couldn’t agree more.
Another thing I was totally excited by? The talent in the room! During out networking session, I met two dentists, one farmer, one lawyer, an environmentalist, a lady who writes code (whoop), and the DJ/sound guy who is a 3rd year student at university but fends for himself by playing at events.
#ShapingDavos was a rounded, tell-it-as-it-is discussion and I can only hope that the corresponding actions are taken, and quickly too.
Originally written for and posted on the Global Shapers website.