Embroidery

Walking out of the Pedestrian gate at the general hospital with two of my classmates in a smug cloud of white coat, oblivious to the throng of family and friends on the other side of the gate waiting for the clock to reach 10 AM, the beginning of visiting hours, anticipation etched haphazardly across their concerned faces, I am very aware of them but I stare at a spot above their heads. I am not sure about how I should put my face, the strange familiarity of harsh antiseptic and the air-conditioned chill of hospital environment still settling on my young shoulders. I am here to learn but these people see my coat and they answer “Yes please” when I speak to them, these people that the Nigerian daughter in me feels compelled to address as “Aunty” and “Uncle”, do they know how often I have to remind myself that I don’t need to slightly bend my knees in greeting as I approach them? All eyes are on us, the Security lady waves us through, she does a great job of acknowledging us with a simple tilt of her head and effusive swinging of the small gate and we swell in gratitude.

“Heyy Doctor Ijeoma! Nwa’m, kedu?”

I freeze. My classmates, Indian and Ghanaian, also stop in solidarity, the questions crossing their eyes are who knows her name? Is that her language? What is happening? The dark skinned lady in the crowd has a familiar voice, her teeth form a sharp contrast against red lips, her smile reminds me of the lady on cabin biscuit, I am impressed by the whiteness of her teeth and taken aback by the happiness starting from her kohl-lined eyes and radiating through her small frame. Is she this excited from seeing me? She sounds like home. Of course I know she is Igbo, I don’t recognize her and I immediately feel a rush of panic, guilt and shame. This feeling is unfamiliar, I try to smile but she sees past my weak smile and focuses on the contours that have formed above my eyebrows, I am confused. We have walked past the gate and are stood at the edge of the small crowd, the moment was picture perfect for some W.H.O sensitization images if you will, “Young Doctors Speak on HIV/AIDS” would’ve worked fine as a caption.

I move closer to My Igbo Aunty and reach out to hold her, maybe holding her will jog my memory. I have never seen this face in my life. Ijeoma say something, all eyes are on you now, you cannot afford to embarrass your Aunty like this in another man’s land, I tell myself. “O di mma Aunty, how do you know my name?” I smile at the awkwardness, wishing for both our sakes that I knew how to ask her the question in Igbo, the ears around us are too much. She is very kind, I can tell from her eyes that she is disappointed but not surprised at my inability to use our language to cement our bond, to wow the crowd. She simply says “I saw it on your body, it is written on your coat.” The relief washing over me deflates my apprehension, alas my parents did not send someone to watch me move around this hospital as if I know what I am doing, lol. We part ways with her “Jisike, o” tapping my shoulder.

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Happy Birthday Bro

It was Nnanna’s birthday yesterday, you see, he is my favourite person in this world. We grew up together in the same houses. Nnanna and I are siblings: Brother and Sister. Over the years I have learnt so much from my brother, one day he tweeted “I am not your role model” and it got me thinking about the way we live our lives as model children, poster children for good upbringing, home training and manners especially in our social media world. That tweet made me recoil, at first it was “what is this boy saying?! Doesn’t he know that he is expected to be a good kid? That being a good kid must mean that he is a role model?” Later it was, “This role model banter is really stifling, ‘Big Brother’ is watching kind of stifling. One cannot simply drink water and drop cup because one KNOWS that the world is watching. Which kind of Orwellian wahala?” So I came to see where my brother was coming from when he made the tweet and my heart opened up to the option of a new alternative.

Let me talk a little bit about privilege: Due to the way my parents and role models brought me up, I think anybody who has any kind of privilege e.g. Good education, etc. has a responsibility to use their privilege-given access to help out in some way, even if it means simply showing a good example by living an honest life, you know, just to demonstrate to others that having privilege means that you must live an honest life. You follow? So this my perspective on how a privileged life must be led, albeit naive, is what I tried to practice and even standardized for others like Nnanna to live by, hence my initial reaction.

A bit of background: My family is Nigerian, Christian, and Educated. The Holy Book has codified the way we as Christians should live our lives and an important aspect of this is excellence. Bible says we are heirs of the father, we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we are wonderfully and fearfully made, we have been called by the father etc. For my Nigerian Christian family, this means that in the lives we live we must portray the word of God as a way of evangelism which can also be seen as being role models to others that are not yet saved. In practice, we must do well in school, always show respect to everyone, don’t fight, don’t fornicate, clubbing? What is a club? Smoking? If you must smoke do it secretly because it is not a good look as a child from a Christian background and the list goes on and on. It is what I will call Church Culture: this is a consciousness that is cultivated in the minds of Christian children from a very young age, to live by example. I don’t think these rules are bad, instead I think they help to breed adults that end up living in a bubble at best and at worst, being extremely judgmental of everybody else that strays from Church Culture.

My brother has taught me that being who you are by just living your life is the way to go. It is better to be your modest, humble, brilliant self than to be all these things just for the approval. It is best to live your life and know that you are attracting the people who really like you for who you are, than to live in the gaze of those watching out for when you make a mistake. Nnanna showed me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to occupy my space in this world, people will eventually be fine. More importantly, I am accepting that it is ill advised to change with the weather ever so often, for the sake of pleasing people. We are young, intelligent, beautiful and handsome individuals, we are also prone to making mistakes and we mustn’t always judge ourselves harshly. I hope this post makes you think about image and lifestyle and all that good stuff!

John 14:15  “If you love me you will keep my commandments”.



 

Confession

I am sharing this with you because I want to hear back from you. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to offer your thoughts and some advice if need be, in the comments section below. I am one of those women that want women to have equal opportunities with men, I detest oppression in every shape, manner or form and especially from the opposite sex. I am also generally amused whenever a woman proclaims that she is not a Feminist. Amused because I do not have the patience nor range with which to examine why any woman would want to remain disenfranchised in this life, compared to men folk. I take it that a lot of men in Nigeria are yet to accept that Feminism or Gender Equality is something of a phenomenon that does not care for their thoughts and feelings rather, it is centered around all women, their rights and freedoms, their education and health, their bodies, and all the spaces they should occupy in the world.

In Nigeria, heterosexual relationships are the norm, our culture as a country, is popular for upholding the celebration of marriage between man and woman in very high esteem. Marriage is the fulcrum of Nigerian Society, it is the singular most unifying force that cuts across religion, tribe or tongue. Our National football team used to be number one but then Weddings came along. The coming together of a man and woman to start a family is considered as a defining milestone and every self-respecting young Nigerian is in fact expected to aspire towards marriage. Considering the influence of the various religious practices inherent in the country, Nigerian ethnic groups have diverse views on the celebration of marriage or what a wedding ceremony should look like. Common elements of wedding ceremonies that exist across the country are payment of dowry, music and dance, a large gathering of family and well wishers, lots of food and drinks, the compulsory parental blessings and the beautiful attires worn by bride and groom on their special day.

There’s a blossoming Nigerian Weddings market in the country, from catering, MC, DJ, Comedian, events planning, decorating, make-up to photography an industry has emerged organically from our collective obsession with marriage and wedding ceremonies. Within a decade we have seen the exponential growth of these businesses that service the Nigerian Weddings industry, young entrepreneurs abound and our economy is benefiting from it, we are eating the fruits of our marriage obsession. The feedback is indeed very encouraging, every weekend there’s a big wedding ceremony taking place somewhere in towns and villages all over the country. Our wedding vendors are very creative, the Comedians never run out of jokes, Nigerian parents who have unmarried adult children are asking their heirs, “when will you introduce him/her to us?” Not minding whether or not there’s a him or her at all. Aunties and Uncles are not left out, they’re all in the business of matchmaking nowadays, on a very low key even neighbours, friends of the family and well-meaning mommies in church have taken up Ẹlẹgbẹ as their side-hustle. Nigerians love a good party and wedding ceremonies are our final form of partying. There’s no party like a Nigerian wedding party. A movie on Nigerian wedding parties is the highest grossing movie in the history of Nollywood at 500 million Naira.

I have no problems whatsoever with the institution of marriage. I expect that it is clear to any keen observer of Nigerian society that our marriage culture is heavily gendered, it is essentially a ‘woman issue’. Some argue that there’s a biological clock ticking off and therefore young women should be seen to be actively working hard to beat their innate clocks. A lot of people attribute marriage to be the zenith of every woman’s social growth and development, it is evident in the way we compliment our young girls, we are quick to drop “wife material” or “wifey of life”, and in the way we bless them when they do seemingly mundane tasks around the house, “you will marry a good husband”, all these are unsolicited approval of marriageability and if anything, a subtle assertion that a woman’s purpose in life is to end up with a man who will eventually complete her because she is incomplete. The resultant effect of this kind of incessant obsessive hinting and reasoning is we are feeding the idea into their subconsciousness, that the ultimate prize is marriage and it must be achieved by all means. Sometimes we even attach an age cap to our statement of expectations, “Your mates are getting married”, as though there is a specified time appointed for marriage, some uncouth individuals go further to insult women using the appropriate-age-for-marriage social construct, “You are forming shakara, see you in Shiloh when you’re 30” when these women don’t give in to their unwanted advances.

The crossroads that is the social commentary surrounding marriage culture in Nigeria leaves me feeling like the purpose of a Nigerian marriage is to tie a woman up and I will explain. Please ignore the stereotyped nature of what I’m about to tell you and take away the message instead. We hear a lot of stories, about our mothers’ generation and their conquests in cooking for their husbands, cherubic docility and expert child-rearing skills. We also hear a lot of stories about the current rise in the rate of divorce, and we have read those harsh comments on popular blogs, about Feminists like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that want to sink the ship of culture and tradition by preaching to young women about their rights as human beings to be able to lead the kind of lives they want to, especially away from the smoke of the kerosene stove. These Feminists are seen as bad eggs, no kidding. Since the beginning of the Feminism movement in Nigeria, the proponents of marriage culture have waged a line of attack against young female feminists, claiming that it is their right to marry young maidens and bestow respect upon them by giving these maidens their last names, determine how these maidens work to earn a living or IF they even work at all, and most importantly ensure that these maidens cook for them. I have never seen where men are so adamant on being fed and nourished by women before. Nigerian men have very strong opinions about their nutrition coming from the labour of their wives’ hands.

This generation of young women are already on their way to heading big corporations, many of them have started their own businesses, those of them that are still in school are studying hard to become professionals and so many more are learning skills by the weekend to supplement their income. The Young Nigerian Woman ecosystem is fast changing and superstars emerge everyday from within. Nigerian girls are not smiling in Engineering, Arts, Business, Academia, Finance, Aviation, Theology, Media, Law, Health, Tourism, Environmental Sciences, Economics, etc. They are on a mission to take over. The gospel of feminism is not only talking the talk but walking the walk in our neck of the woods. All their lives, these young women have been taught and socialized to WANT to end up married (not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to get married). They are on Bellanaija in the middle of the night ooh-ing and aah-ing at pictures, choosing colours and dreaming of their Cinderella dresses. This same group of women are getting more informed in the daytime, they are the ones heavily involved in the feminist conversations going on in social media forums, arguing for women’s rights on Twitter, reading Woolf, writing about their lived experiences on Facebook, and basking in affirming poetry by Shire and Umebinyuo alike, the literary heroines of their time. They are inspired and as a result, making bolder choices, taking every opportunity available to them, the complete opposite of their mothers’ generation.

Now, my confession is that I am disillusioned by the marriage culture in my country and each time I see THE post on social media, you know the standard announcement post, a picture of her left hand with beautifully manicured fingers and a shiny rock sitting on that precious middle finger, and how can I forget the attendant “OMG! I’m so happy for you dear! Congratulations!!!” or the “You deserve it! Congratulations!!!” comments from her friends and well wishers (oozing of a mixture of surprise, jealousy/envy, sadness, forced cheeriness and hope), any previous interest I might have had dips a little more.

It is the blatant desperation in those comments that gets to me the most. I wish everyone would calm down and know that they are doing okay sweetie!

The End

Ẹlẹgbẹ – (n) Yoruba : Matchmaker.

Nollywood – Nigeria’s movie industry

Shakara – (v) Pidgin Yoruba : Pretending

Shiloh – (n) A prayer meeting held in South Western Nigeria organized by a Big Church.

Featured Image: A beautiful wedding ceremony curated by Bellanaija

Transitioning to Natchee

We live life in phases, after we die our lived lives will consist of our past, present and future. Life is a moving, breathing, feeling thing. Life goes on and on, up and down, back and forth, dips in and comes back out. Life is for living. Life is ALIVE like MR NIGER D! Shout out to you if your name is Uchendu, Ndubuisi, Ndubeze, Nduka or Adindu.

I am transitioning from relaxer to natural hair. Yay me. I know you are familiar with The Natural Hair Movement, oh yes, it is a movement. A whole book (Americanah) was written about it by the mighty Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, that’s how I know you know about it. I call it The Natural Hair Evangelical Movement because of how fervently (expertly and effectively) the gospel of growing and taking care of your hair the way it grows out from your scalp, as a woman of African ancestry, is being spread across all media. Individuals and Big Corporations have even made millions of USDollars from this evangelical movement, as expected of all evangelical movements in our capitalist world. The reason I am “going natural” as they say, is because it makes sense to me to want to nurture my own hair, however stubborn it may be. As you can see, I am drinking serious doses of self-love syrup these days.

I haven’t written in a while, it is because I am currently practicing how to transition from always thinking and writing about the negatives to a healthy balance of always thinking and writing about both the negatives and positives. I found myself becoming a Polemicist and that is not the style I envision for myself so I took a break from blogging to regroup, I apologize.

I am writing about myself, I hardly write about myself o. Lucky you.
The thing about not writing about myself on this blog, it’s not that I haven’t ever written about myself but that when I write on this blog, I am always talking to you my reader. Now, the voice and language I use to talk to my school teachers is different from the voice I use to talk to my friends, which is also different from the voice I use when I’m talking to my siblings, which is also different from the voice I use when I am talking to my parents. This last voice even has its own variations. Why am I telling you all about the intricacies of Jayjeystic’s Soundscape? Well, I am happy to announce that I am transitioning to natchee voice and language on the blog! At least I am considering it. Don’t worry I won’t tamper with the quality of the content, but get ready to meet Ijeoma: She is full of ideas and opinions, wild at heart and carries around a wide imagination in her head.


Natchee – something my friend Dr C. used to call females with natural hair, it means “Natural”.

MR NIGER D – an acronym from Integrated Science class, I met it again in Biology. Please if you remember MR NIGER D, leave a comment telling us what the letters stand for.

Uchendu – Igbo (n): Thoughts of life.

Ndubuisi – Igbo (n): Life is the most important.

Ndubeze – Igbo (n): Life is paramount.

Nduka – Igbo (n): Life is the greatest.

Adindu – Igbo (n): I am alive.

The introduction of Akbar Comics: Captain Calabar

The stories are based in Nigeria and the artists are authentically Nigerian…here’s to supporting Nigerian creatives.

Please Donate to Akbar Comics by visiting this Kickstarter link.

Hi friends,
Today I bring you great news, there’s a new comic in town! The stories are based in Nigeria and the artists are authentically Nigerian. They go by the name ‘Akbar Comics’ and they need your money to realize their dream of disrupting the scope of African Pop culture as we know it with their collective artistic genius, they have created a Kickstarter campaign and they have till June the first to meet their goal of crowd-sourcing $$$.
Please keep on reading this post to learn more about the guys behind Akbar Comics and to peruse characters from their debut release titled CAPTAIN CALABAR. Here’s to supporting Nigerian creatives.
– Jayjeystic

The year is two thousand and thirteen, the location is Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State Nigeria. A group of teenage boys, some fresh out of secondary school, have just been sorted to the same room in one of the male hostels in campus. The algorithm that put them together is a small but important stroke in the grand scheme of things. They are not just roommates, they each become their brother’s keeper and evolve into the lifelong friends destiny predisposed them to be. Time will unveil them as a gifted trio from the Department of Architecture. With a holy combination of mad skills, hard work, and a shared love for cartoons, they birth the new anti-hero: Captain Calabar. They have great dreams of changing the landscape of African pop culture through the utilization of their natural talents in telling the stories of modern day Nigeria.

Meet Timehin Akinde 

Timehin Akinde Akbar comics
Timehin Akinde, Akbar comics

Timehin is a simple guy, you will find him anywhere near chill vibes and Palm trees. He is one of the two initial founders of and the creative writer at Akbar Comics, he also coined the name ‘Captain Calabar’ as a testament to the popular Nigerian stereotype of assuming that anybody from the Efik/Ibibio speaking South-South sub-region of Nigeria is from CALABAR.

 Calabar (also referred to as “Canaan City”) is a city in Cross River State, in south southern Nigeria.

Many moons ago, in the small dorm room occupied by a tight circle of friends, Timehin nicknamed his friend Joshua Akpan Captain Calabar”.

Meet Joshua Akpan

Joshua Akpan, Akbar Comics
Joshua Akpan, Akbar Comics

Even though he is from Akwa Ibom State, his squad quickly took to calling him Captain Calabar. Joshua is a talented Artist who loves Bob Marley and Kendrick Lamar. He is a trained Architect, works as an illustrator, and is one of the three initial founders of Akbar Arts

The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language.

He joined his friend Abasido Akpan in Akbar Comics. 

Meet Abasido Akpan

Abasido Akpan, Akbar Comics
Abasido Akpan, Akbar Comics

Abasido is also from Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria, he is the visionary behind Akbar Arts, an illustrator, and a business man with a great sense of humour. Abasido has been described as “a really really good artist” by some of his friends, probably because he is known to give beards to the beardless in his cartoons. Abasido A.K.A Akbar pushed his art under Akbar Arts before he came up with the idea for Akbar Comics as a subsidiary of Akbar Arts in July of two thousand and sixteen.

Calabar is a port city, near the Cameroon border. It sits on a hill near the Calabar River and the Cross River delta.

Timehin in telling the story of Akbar Comics had this to say about Abasido’s pivotal role:

“Then one day Abasido hit me up and was like let’s make something with this, initially it was supposed to be an animation but making a comic is easier. So long story short, we’ve been friends since and broke-ness forced us to come up with the idea! (laughter)”

-timehin akinde, akbar comics


Meet Some Of The Characters:

Image-1
Akbar Comics, Captain Calabar #1 AUG 2017
Akbar Comics: Captain Calabar: Adewale Ogunjobi
Name: Adewale Ogunjobi aka Dr. Ken Abilities: Complete mastery of the spiritual arts (Babalawo settings). Direct descendant of Ogun. Immortal.
Captain Calabar - Akbar Comics
Name: Anwang John-Bassey aka Captain Calabar Abilities: Superhuman strength, flight and invulnerability given to him by the Ekpe spirit.
Akbar Comics: Captain Calabar: Lanre Williams
Name: Lanre Williams Abilities: Computer genius, ex-yahoo boy with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Nigerian underground scene.
Akbar Comics; Captain Calabar
Captain Calabar derives his powers from his tattoos written in the Nsibidi script, a language similar to hieroglyphics invented by the Ekpe tribe.
Akbar Comics: Captain Calabar: Shalewa
Name: Shalewa. Abilities: Proficient in the art of underwater warfare (mami water levels). Lieutenant of Karishika’s army. Underground Runz Girl


Please don’t forget that Captain Calabar needs our help, you can donate by clicking me or by sharing this post.

Diary – IJEOMA W.

Ijeoma shares a story of her family, values, and how she has incorporated higher education as self development in her life’s journey with online learning tools.

4TH MAY 2017, 12:31 AM

Learning is infinite in my family. We go to school, rest small, and then go back to school.

My mommy once said to me “You know in this family we are not traders or “business people”, what we do is book, so please read.” Both my parents have at different points in their lives studied for six degrees (combined), including professional certificate examinations. I have known about online education for a hot while now, at a point when I was in secondary school the dinning table in my house was practically a satellite university campus because my daddy was taking a Master’s degree program from a foreign university via the internet. Last year my Uncle Roman Oseghale graduated from the prestigious Telfer School of Management and Centre for Executive Leadership, University of Ottawa, Canada and last week he was the 8th speaker at The Platform. Essentially, “Book” is central to who I am becoming because my role models figuratively said so.

I took my first online course before I turned 18. The thing about having access and privilege is that if you don’t use it, it would have been a waste. On a rather uneventful day in my dorm room (shouts out to Manuwa Hall, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus), I had the opportunity of stumbling upon this website called COURSERA DOT ORG and I became very interested in learning what I was being taught in the classroom by myself, at least the courses I could find, so I started taking online courses that mirrored what my lecturers were teaching me in the classroom.

Part of it I will attribute to sheer curiosity. Coursera offered courses from Universities I could only dream about at the time, the first one I chose (and completed) was by Duke University, my friend Sanmi Oyenuga was studying Engineering there, I wanted to know what being a student at Duke felt like so I stayed up all night, having physically attended lectures during the day, learning and watching all these free lecture videos on my HP laptop with reliable internet courtesy of the “Lionet @ Manuwa” router that was conveniently mounted very close to the Mango tree whose leaves I could pluck if I put my hand through the pigeonhole in front of my room. The WiFi was strongest at night (back when Lionet was still Lionet, oh the sweet memories).

The internet has been good to me. So far, I have expanded my knowledge base and I am open to learning more about the world around me. I have started this free Bioethics course by Harvard University on edX.org today. It started in April, slated to end in October. I hope I finish it within the stipulated 7 weeks at a personal pace of 2 to 3 hours of study per week. Where I’m from, they measure accomplishments based on how much “Book” you know and how many lives you use your knowledge of “Book” to change for the better. I figured, I have unlimited internet data and I want to be successful in my village so why not take a course? On the 25th of April I watched a movie: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, based on a book of same name credited to the incredible medical investigative journalist, Rebecca Skloot, two days ago my Americanah friend Ayi Daniels reminded me of the uproar that is Roe vs Wade and today I signed up for Professor Cohen and the team at HarvardX to school me on Medical Ethics, a course my lecturers have previously taught me in class, just because life is all about patterns, haha.

Thanks for reading to the end, buy yourself a bottle of Fanta!


Originally Posted On Facebook.

Sexy Jesus Freak

What makes us higher animals? Our ability to think of solutions, our ability to reason the way we do and our ability to work in teams+communicate our ideas with each other in sophisticated ways e.g various art forms. In other words, our ability to have conversations that lead to development, our inquisitive nature, and our powerful brains separate us from other vertebrates/mammals.

Yesterday me and my darling friend whose future children will call me nothing but “Mommy Ijey” each sat on both ends of our phones for three hours, talking about this and that. The topic of sexual purity and what it means (or what it should mean) for us young ‘Jesus Freaks’ came up. We concluded that:

Number one: It is a privilege to maintain your sexual purity (as follow come) from the get go, because so many people never had a chance to make that choice due to the inhumane hostility of the environment(s) they found themselves in, so we generally need to quiet down about being sexually pure and basically cut off the noses we tend to turn up at our “sexually impure” brothers and sisters- also what’s it with those shaming exercises carried out in places of worship anyway? I mean those “you had sex and we found out so come out and stand before the congregation, let everybody stare at you with judgement in their eyes” shaming exercises. They need to go.

Number two: That we Jesus Freaks need to stop treating this issue of sexual purity as if it is solely by our power and might that we stay pure and we need to start handing it over to the appropriate authority (Holy Spirit). We are taught to pray about every other area of daily life except the part that has to do with ‘go forth and multiply’. A lot of us have felt the pressure and strain associated with keeping it locked down until marriage and this shouldn’t be so, we agreed that it is not supposed to be so. If you are praying “God help me pass my exams”, don’t hesitate to add “God help me maintain sexual purity”, the Holy Spirit will not say “eww”, I promise. You shouldn’t have to do it on your own when you have Holy Spirit to help you.

Number three: That within our pristine Jesus Freak circles, we have managed to make Sex the biggest elephant that can ever fit into a room. Enough conversations are simply not being had about sex! Jesus Freaks are dying of curiosity meanwhile we are all living, breathing, walking proof of sex happening at some point in history, oh the irony. So we should start talking and asking questions and making this discussion the rule as opposed to the exception, in godly settings of course.

Number four: That sex is neither a bad thing nor an abnormal thing. It is a good thing and it is normal. Simple. Very important: you are not keeping yourself for your future husband or wife but for God. Jesus Freaks of the masculine gender need to desist from making it a topic of amusement and or self/ego aggrandizement, don’t be tempted to conflate sexual purity in this spiritual context, with the machinations with which patriarchy uses to hold women down. Tah! don’t do it!

Number five: That it is possible, Jesus Freaks of the feminine gender, to maintain sexual purity and not gloat/feel superior about it. On the last day nobody will be handing out trophies for “keeping yourself holy”. If you decide to honour God with your sexuality, do just that and keep it moving, you are honouring God and not man/religious leaders. The kingdom of God has other mandates and sex should not be made into an idol, besides babies are very expensive and STDs/STIs are disastrous.

The End.


Jesus Freaks = young people burning for Jesus/following Christ.

All-Inclusive

Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

‘Tis the season to be jolly! And to deal with your family members, once again! It is also snowing on my blog! I don’t recall setting snow but let us enjoy this little gift of snowballs dropping while we read this blog post now shall we?

Emonena turned the big eight-o two years ago, it feels like such a long time ago but I remember the details of that event so vividly because it was the last time most of my family members came together to party in December and…wait for it…IN THE VILLAGE, If you are Nigerian I’m sure you already know what this means. It was Christmas at Grandma’s! People do not easily forget Christmases spent at their Grandma’s or do they? I don’t know.

Emonena is my Grandmother, she’s also the one I get my Ajebutter-ness from, yes, totally. When she turned 80, her babies and other people who absolutely love and respect her decided to throw her a big birthday bash, it was phenomenal. They shut down the village, literally.

Emonena ran an all-inclusive household and she raised her babies to be all-inclusive in their ways. What do I mean by this? Here’s a little back story that will help you understand where this blog post is going:

Two nights to the big party, my mother and her sister teamed up, they decided to organize all the Grand babies a.k.a Third Generation to which I belong, to learn a song and a dance, and we were going to perform this song and dance in honour of Emonena at the party (and we did). In the course of organizing the third generation to harness their collective creative talent, different important questions arose. The one question that inspired this post was from littlest cousin, Tamara, she asked “Why is *Rapulu dancing with us when OUR Grandma is not her Grandma?” Rapulu and Tamara are around the same age, Primary school age, Rapulu’s parent is either my Grandma’s friend or beneficiary and by the reason of Emonena’s 80th birthday bash, there were at least 10 different Rapulus in the house with us, they were all expected to participate in the song and dance. Emonena meant something important to all their parents, in diverse ways, but the fact remained that Emonena was not their Grandmother and Tamara in all her innocence did not understand why they (The Rapulus) were invited to perform in Emonena’s song and dance. Looking back, it was a monumental success, considering all that went down in the two days and nights of rehearsals before the main event, whew, dealing with family (especially teenagers and young children) can be very, very stressful not to mention getting them to learn a song in Isoko and teaching them how to do the electric slide, thankfully they had the shoki part of it all covered. Shouts out to my mommy and my aunty and everyone who contributed, especially Emonena who sat outside in the cold with us during rehearsals, best believe she did.

In an all-inclusive household, All Lives Matter. There is no outsider, everybody is an insider. Big Mama’s House vibes, you follow? Emonena is the reason why being all-inclusive is now one of my personal values, and I don’t mean this in a I-am-Mother-Theresa-of-Calcutta way, or any way in fact. It is just something I have come to learn about myself; that I make people feel at home quite fast, which in itself is not a very wise thing to do, considering the fact that people are inherently wicked and jealous and unkind and filled with bad intentions. That being said, there are good people out there, people like Rapulu’s parents who are appreciative, who come back to say “Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

Merry Christmas!


***

Ajebutter – noun – if you behave like your father has money, people will say you are an Ajebutter, i.e you eat Butter at home.

Rapulu – an Igbo phrase which literally translates to “Leaving work”, also someone’s name.

Isoko – Ethnic group in Nigeria with it’s own language and food and everything unique to an ethnic group

Shoki – Contemporary Nigerian Dance Step, the jury is still out on who the originator is. Google if you may.

AM I WITH HER?

“You know these things are choreographed”.

On U.S.America(n) Politics in 2016 – observed by a young Nigerian girl.

SO. Let’s get this out of the way, Trump is not the kind of man a rational Nigerian girl will like to lead her country not to talk of America the great and powerful land of promise flowing with Ivy League education, Dollars and Lupita. At first it was like a joke, news that Donald J. Trump was running for President of the United States of America – cue laughter: Ha-ha-ha! The Nigerian and Pan-African world is still high off of 2008, you remember what happened then don’t you? Anyway everybody in the world knows that Black Americans in Politics are supposed to be Democrats thanks to U.S.A Media, so naturally, I was thinking along the lines of supporting Dr. Ben Carson – black man, separated conjoined twins in the 80’s, etc. – but he turned out to be Republican so the idealization that he was going to succeed B. H. Obama ended abruptly. That said, Benjamin Carson sounds like President material by my Nigerian standards, he is a Neurosurgeon and duh! every Nigerian knows that all doctors walk on water. I am however not an expert on Nigerian standards and I do not claim to be one.

Conclusion: Not Donald J. Trump no, no, definitely not Trump. We would’ve LOVED to experience 2008 again. Where is your loyalty Dr. Ben?  #eyeroll

Then it stopped being a joke, at which point we the Nigerians that naturally love to carry American politics on our heads paused to look around. We couldn’t believe it. Donald J. Trump was nominated and all the American Republicans that made his nomination possible lost our respect. We would’ve understood a Bush nomination, I mean, we understand monarchies  – Nigerian Princes are the only real African Princes you’d ever hear about in the news, don’t quote me. Think about it this way, Jeb’s dad was President, his brother was also president, why not him? “Turn by turn” would’ve sufficed but you guys went and picked Trump! Bloody hell. I daresay Republicans pulled a fast one on the African continent. We are not happy at all. Trump is not our kind of guy. He threatened to deport all the illegal immigrants, do you even know what that means for us? do you?!

Conclusion: Anybody but Donald.

Now, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton lost to our beloved brother B. H. Obama in 2008, she was tough then and she still is now, just look at how she bounced back from that bout of Pneumonia that recently reared it’s ugly head. As a young Nigerian female I am susceptible to admiring everything she represents, she’s a mother, a long-suffering wife, an educated woman, well traveled, she’s published, she is fearless, she leads where men have not dared to lead, she does not buy into that patriarchal bullshit that is peddled to girls from the day they’re born to the day they die, she likes hot sauce – Nigerian women like spicy food. She is so bold she called out Republicans on behalf of all the confused people on The African continent, without mincing words (She said that you people are DEPLORABLE and I don’t blame her at all). At this point I’d like to recognize her Wardrobe team, great job through and through, you all deserve fat bonus cheques from Mrs. Clinton and lest I forget, Aunty Anna Wintour you goddess of fashion, THANK YOU for the White Pant Suit re: DNC grand finale. Now where was I?

Conclusion: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is #goals.

Speaking of the Democratic National Convention. Bernie Sanders, I cannot begin to say how sorry I feel about how things turned out for you….what a tragic, heart breaking end to an inspiring journey. We all saw what happened, but only God in heaven knows what you did in the past or who you sold something of yours to (soul?), because we are still not understanding what transpired, and how you let this happen to you with your two eyes open. At a time when all we heard was Hillary Benghazi this and Hillary email server that, we were Berning for you, from North to South, East to West, Africans all over respected you. Please go and settle with whoever you quarreled with because things ended in a way they were not supposed to end. You would’ve made a very good leader, with your kind heart and all your wisdom, all those years of research just wasted anyhow. Only God knows why.

Conclusion: #StillFeelingTheBern

feel-the-bern
A Bernie Sanders supporter attends the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

Now to the part we’ve all been waiting for. Am I with her?”

After watching The 2016 Democratic National Convention via Youtube (Best week of 2016 by the way, the motivation was on another level, I felt enlightened afterwards) I asked my dad the most important question any daughter can ask her father at such a defining period in her life: Who do you support? His answer brought me ‘home’. He said and I quote “You know these things are choreographed”.

I was not expecting that at all. Nigerian parents always talk about Politics with so much fervour, whether it is American or local and the way my Father put his response sent two strong messages to me:

  1. Trump is not a worthy candidate so there’s no point getting emotionally invested in this election in the first place, it is an insult to the informed mind to debate whether or not Trump should assume the office of POTUS in 2017.
  2. Hillary is probably guilty of some criminal offences- according to The Court of African Parents’ Public Opinion and so we should face our collective front and let the white Americans sort themselves out this time around after all they got themselves there all by themselves, besides, we are not in 2008 anymore.

Conclusion: I am not eligible to vote in the USA on the 8th of November but if I was, regardless of my Father’s sentiments I’d vote for Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump because at this point that is the reasonable thing to do.


Back To Class

I have to get up for Class today.

PAUL K. AMAYO

These days, I wake up very early every morning, wondering where I missed it, if I missed it. How I missed it, why I missed it. What did I do that I shouldn’t have done, what can I do that should have been done. I buffer through each day, never truly feeling like I lived. I had a dream, have a dream. A plan and a time frame but somehow, I think I missed it. Or haven’t I? Year after year, the resilience I show can be commendable but it ends, thus far, the same way, with Hope.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hope! I love to hope and I pray we all have the right amount of Hope. That’s it, the right amount of Hope because too much can be bad….right? Well I dunno because Romans 4 vs 18 clearly says “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became…” So still, I wonder,  is this how it’s meant to be? Am I still strong enough to weather these storms or have I misinterpreted the message. Did I follow passion over purpose or are they fused together as they should be, working hand in hand for that Glorious Destiny?

I heard a great man say journey to any destination, not the arrival, is where the value lies so could it be that this journey, tough, surprising, often times difficult, is rich in value? I don’t know, really I don’t. The experiences have been crazy and trust me, passion hasn’t always been enough motivation to keep going. Sometimes the reason we continue is because we’ve simply given too much and now we feel we’re owed and deserve something. But I have heard heart breaking life stories. It doesn’t always happen that way.

The rules are different for every player.  It is fair to some, it is inhumane to others and downright indifferent to the rest. It surely surely hasn’t been fair to me, I must say, but who cares?  I don’t! So at the gym the other day I had my now so normal and frequent conversation with myself, the inner man, the Spirit of God residing in me. The harder the force of resistance you pull against,  the stronger you’re meant to become. A 50 KG lifting guy cannot expect to match the 100 KG lifting guy’s punch. They may have the same physical appearance but the structure of the inner muscles have been altered by their experiences.

Their experiences. I remember my Primary 4 class teacher always used to say that experience was the best teacher, he never told me that the classes were forced on us every minute of every day. He never even told me where his office was. I want to see him, Mr Experience, I think I’d like to drop the class. I think I’ve learnt enough. Can I see my score now? It should be high, very high, at least my friends think so. Then again, I think experience, yes, experience taught me that only the examiner can determine your score. Not your friends or family, just the examiner.

So my friends may think “Great Job Man” and the examiner says “Just A Little More” and that is what it is; Just a little more. I wish I learnt how to quit or give up when I was forming habits, I wish someone taught me that.  Sadly, no one did so now I’m this tired person that can’t quit. Maybe I should hope against all Hope and become, like my father, Abraham. Just maybe.  Maybe I should switch before it’s too late, or just maybe the horizon, the new horizon is up ahead, just a little more.

Waiting is a very hard place, and more so if you are not sure of what you are waiting for.

– Paul Amayo 2016

I have so many questions but Experience never answers; it teaches, silently, taking you through each lesson and hoping you don’t ever have to repeat that class because unlike Algebra, you will need each lesson very soon. I have to get up for Class today. I hope I find my rainbow, I hope I smile. I hope it’s a good day in Class. I’m still here, still waiting and wondering, never quitting.


Paul is back to grace the blog with his wisdom on it’s 3rd anniversary.

Thank you very much Paul for being the biggest contributor to this blog thus far and for making the world a better place by using your different talents to inspire us. Never forget, Impossible is Nothing. Keep changing lives.
Your Partner in Blog affairs,
J.