Monday, December 31

Enter the New

I don't know about you, but in the last few weeks,  my thoughts have not dwelled  in the literal terms of one year ending, and another beginning. Why? Because I do not want to be wrapped up in the anxiety of 'time is running out and there is still so much left unachieved.' I believe that whatever changes needs to made be made, or at least be put in motion ASAP. After all, God himself dwells in timelessness. So the future, the new year, begins exactly when you propose for it to begin.

In taking stock of the last several months therefore, I realize that my year was indeed a funny one, and not in a hysterical-laughter sense, oh no, more in a I-have-learnt-several-hard-lessons funny. It was a tough several months, one that required, in the majority of time, that I open myself up to shame, and it was in doing that that I found my freedom. Selah!
During the course of the year, some friendships were redefined, others were birthed, some were broken, and not in an I-can't-forgive-you sort of way, but the things-cannot-be-the-same-anymore sort. I learnt that I needed to make hard changes, one that showed me that there is nothing, and no one we cannot live without.  I am also learning to break habits. Yes, habits! Difficult, but doable. I have my eyes on the 21- day mark and I am counting each day almost by the hour; eyes on the prize. Freedom from encumbrances.

Facing forward to the 'new', I wish for the strength to continue to implement the lessons I have learnt, to be better at the things I already have going, to dream some more. To realize that I am the least perfect, to become like a child; innocent in all things, more, have and maintain a positive attitude at all times and give no room, especially, to regret.
All in all, it hasn't been a bad few months; I am still standing after all. And in the words of Stevie Wonder, 'today is the tomorrow you were so worried about.' 

I wish you all the best of whatever you wish yourselves, and for those who write, I challenge you to do so daily! Note I didn't say 'post,' I said, 'write.' 

Have a great 2013.

Be free oh.

I muse on twitter too, you  know! @ZainabTalatu. 

Thursday, December 13

Merry Christmas - Re Blogged

The post I am re-blogging  was written last year December; where did the time go?!
I had decided to read all my posts from the birth of this blog, and I shall be re-blogging quite a number as we tag on. Though I am seriously loath to make changes and edit, I know I shall be sorely tempted to; however, in case you are reading the very first post for instance and something causes you to wince, remember: we have come a long way since then o! Just let things remain in their 'original state' *grin* (I am sure I will change my mind in the future though).

Now, this Merry Christmas post is apt, even if I say so myself, and I don't know if there is anything else to add...a lot of things did happen and they are still happening but what has changed in one year, less a few days, is that I am still breathing, and I have chosen not to take that breath for granted.

So,  I am lining up movies to watch: Grease, Pretty Woman, Maid in Manhattan, I'll Take Manhattan, Enchanted and (who has seen it??) Lace, amongst others. Just imagine me ensconced in my great big bean bag, christmas hat on, smack in front of the TV.

I look forward to hearing your plans for the day/season

Be free oh as you click below...

Zouzou's Musings: Merry Christmas: I sincerely hope I am not writing because I needed to blog something o; but I really do wish every reader whatever it is you wish for yourse...

Friday, December 7

Email From Sam Adeyemi

I did not set out to blog anything today; my mind is ‘empty.' But then, Sam Adeyemi emailed me and gbam, it couldn’t have been more relevant! The fact is, the year is ending, and you would remember Zouzousmuses started it by talking about New Year Resolutions? Click here.. I thought this was relevant then, especially as the year draws to an end, and the time to have a look at the score card approaches…err, not sure I am going to go there...water drinking...aaarrrggg.

I hope you something here that speaks to you. I did.

Read on....

Friday, November 23

Learn it the Easy Way

Some lessons we learn the hard way, others come easy; in form of an ‘awareness’; something we have always known in our subconscious but which becomes clearer through an event or a thought.
I learnt one such lesson again recently,  but the ‘easy' way, I hasten to add! 

A few days ago, my mum in Abuja visited Lagos and we arranged to go explore the City after she had rested awhile; she insisted she never naps, but agreed to lie down anyway, for an hour. So, into the room she went, and I went about alternating between reading, TV, internet, dozing, while waiting for her to show…one hour, two three, four, five…eight hours later, I eventually went into the room and asked why she hadn’t come out so we could go out as planned; she said she was waiting for me to come get her. I was waiting for her to come out of the bedroom! We looked at each other in astonishment, laughing, and she said, this is the exact problem (of communication) between husband and wife that could eventually break up a marriage.

Fast forward 4 days after; some friends and I planned to go out after work; I gave my car to the mechanic, deciding (in my mind) to hitch a ride back home with one of them. Unbeknownst to me, she had given her car to her husband, planning to ride with me; neither of us thought to communicate (that word again!) verbally to be sure; we took it for granted by tacit agreement that it was fine! When eventually we realized what we had done, we could only marvel. We were, of course stranded and car-less!

Now, I am no marriage or relationship expert, but I realize the importance of speaking up, of communicating by laying it all out in the open in marriage or in a relationship (afterall, married or not, we all have relationships of sort)…however, as simple as that may sound, it is not as easy! The scenarios above seem simple enough, I mean, this is between mother and child/friends. I had all sorts fo reason for not going in to check up on her after the agreed hour. I dont want to disturb her sleep, in case she's dozed off, I dont want to interrupt in case she is praying, maybe she just doesnt want to go our afterall and so on. All moot.

I now see the folly (I told you I just learnt a lesson!) of pretending to be psychic, of being a mind reader, of making presumptions and assumptions as to the other person’s feelings and thoughts. So, I advocate that really, words need to be said, thoughts shared, feelings expressed just so everyone is on the same page. Assumption can sometimes be a killer!

God bless Nigeria

Be free oh!

Friday, November 16


Christmas is here; never mind that it is only mid-November.

On my way home yesterday evening I saw the beginnings of something that used to get me depressed when December approaches; that ‘harmattan-ic’ look and feel in the air.

My earliest memories of Christmas are the happiest! I remember we always got new clothes and shoes. I clearly remember most of those clothes, and the clogs! I remember the food, how families and friends would send food around, I can clearly see those big, original china bowls covered with lovely napkins, on trays, and the ‘tradition’ was to give whoever delivered the food a token (in cash, usually coins then, of course). My older brother and I used to fight to take the food, just because of that cash gift.

As I grew up though, that feeling disappeared; I guess I could blame it on the loss of my childhood! I began to get depressed when the harmattan season set in; I can’t quite say exactly when I started to feel that way, but I associated it with when the dry leaves start to fall off the trees. So, for years after, December brought on that feeling of acute dissatisfaction, of restlessness and unexplained sadness.

Lately however, I have had to free myself; because this month celebrates Christs, who represents freedom and salvation to me. So gradually, I began to do stuff that make me happy: a few Christmases ago, I actually bought and strung up christmas lights, and last year, I bought those red/white hats for my sisters and I, so that even though all we did was wear the hats and stared at the lights, and/or watched TV, I got myself up and out of the pits! And, who knows what I would get up to this time?

So seeing what I saw yesterday, I reminded myself again that Christ is the reason I am even here, and so, I must not be depressed!

What are your memories of Christmas?

Merry Christmas! (After all, the entire length of Ajose Adeogun Street in Victoria Island, Lagos is all bedecked in shimmering lights!)

God Bless Nigeria

Be free oh.

Tuesday, November 6


Hello people!

I hope its all going well in your various spheres??

Ok, I had to reblog this post! If you read my comment below it you would understand why I couldnt possibly put you through another Naija long story! Please Click here et bonne reception. :-)

Monday, October 8

Whats Going On?

A lot going on.

And it occurred to me that a lot  has been going on since forever! Since forever! Should we stop talking about them? Dare we not talk about them? Should we get used to them? Shrug them off as being normal because they have become a daily occurrence? I say God forbid!

When you listen to songs we heard when we were young and growing up...and here I am in my (early) 40s, you would wonder what the next few years holds, not just for Nigeria, but for the rest of the world. I am reminded of Marvin Gaye's song 'What's Going On', released in 1971, 40 years ago. Also Christie Essien-Igbokwe's 'Hear the Children Crying' mention a few. If this was the case back then, if 40 years ago Marvin Gaye was asking 'what’s going on', then how bad would it be in the future?

Need I list the things that have been going on here in Nigeria? Should we mention the fact that the nation is being slowly swept away (literally and otherwise) by flood, with little or no emergency response? Should I mention the blatant massacre of students in Mubi, North of Nigeria? Ought I to talk about the latest: lynching of students in Port Harcourt over the weekend? I heard this went on for about 6 hours! 6 hours, people! Let us forget the debate about whether they are armed robbers or cult members, jungle justice in the 21st Century?! I didn't click on the video, I saw the photos, and my heart bled imagining the pain they went through. From one of the photos we saw a young man in the process of slamming a piece of wood one of the students, and people standing motionless, watching.

You know what I would like to know? Who were the people taking photos? Who made the videos? Who put them online?   How do you solve or get to the bottom of a case if you can’t find someone to tell you how it went down?

What a time we live in.


God Bless Nigeria...and

Be free oh.

Wednesday, September 26

Inside Lagos Traffic

For those of us living in Lagos, we know anything can happen in traffic; and evil does abound  especially at night, but then so does creativity!

Able-bodied young men and women spend their prime running up and down, hawking anything from pure water, gala, drinks, recharge cards, newspapers, car accessories, DVDs, watches, tomatoes, cell phones, electrical appliances, fruits, cutlasses (yes, that!), garden tools etc etc. Name it, and you can almost find it in traffic! In fact, we sometimes joke that you can prepare a meal while in traffic in Lagos!

But through the great throng of hawkers, and the nuisance we sometimes think they present (even though we all encourage them by making purchases, they do make life easier!) I acknowledged for the first time yesterday the utter ingenuity of these people. Over time, they have perfected the art of making a sale with minimum or no fuss. They carry their wares in such a way as not to be impeded a sale, and where that is not readily possible, they think nothing of abandoning such wares and making the 100 meters dash after the vehicle wishing to make a purchase!

Those who sell drink now have them well-packaged, complete with ice and a tiny tube that drains the melted ice, the newspaper vendors now insert their papers/magazines in transparent bags to keep them from getting wet, the (illegal) DVD sellers now arrange them on a flat wood or cardboard  such that you can easily see/pick out  what you want to buy, the tomato/potatoes/pepper sellers now pack them  in transparent bags so all you have to do is pull off the bag containing what you need. The fruit sellers now have transparent bowls on which they punch holes so the grapes can breathe,  the bowls are then strung together so all you have to do is pull. Is necessity the mother of invention or what?

Much as I am tickled by this, I wish there was a way this creativity and ingenuity could be harnessed while these young men and women are still so full of life and energy. Are we making these opportunities available? Can we? Do they have a chance? I doubt these ones are lazy. How about the handicapped guy who sells handkerchiefs and stationary in traffic?....of a truth, a majority of our human resources  are on the streets. I can imagine them collapsing in bed at the end of the day, thoroughly exhausted, and thinking they certainly couldn't do this anymore, but getting up the next day anyway and doing it all over; talk about a vicious circle. That really saddens me.

God Bless Nigeria.

Be Free oh.

Tuesday, September 18


A few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Thank you all for donating, in one way or the other, and especially for bearing with us (wink wink) as we harassed you with the publicity of this Sale. Please join us to thank God.
It was such a great day, notwithstanding the out pour of rain in the early hours of the morning. We were not discouraged, in fact, we didn't acknowledge its presence! We persevered and moved while it poured...well, the sun eventually shone and all in all, we had a wonderful outing!!

Please look out for details of the next Sale, it shall not be long in coming. As one of our precious pastors prayed on Face Book, we intend to keep giving life to lost dreams...

God bless you all, and 

Be Free oh!

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, September 14

It is Here!

Here I come again.

I hope I am not boring you with this never-ending gist about the Garage Sale, if I am, my apologies, but honestly you cannot dampen my spirit. You cant. I am soooo super excited!!! it is supposed to feel this good when you are doing a good (and very satisfying) cause! Takes the cake over any time-wasting self-serving projects. 

So, it is happening tomorrow in Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos, Nigeria and trust me to return with a report first thing (ok, maybe not first first) thing on Monday!

Donations are still welcome, from any part of the world. May I let you know that someone  arranged for and actually gave a refrigerator to the cause, from all the way in Rio de Janeiro? Wherever you are, you can be a part of this, it starts from the willingness to do.
I expect comments and personal emails to that effect!

In the mean time, get into a cause. Do something. Seriously.

Have a fab weekend and...


God Bless Nigeria

PS/ I honestly mulled and mulled over what to title this post. 'Garage Sale' would have had me tearing at my (non-existent) hair!! Abi?

Friday, September 7

'God Bless Nigeria'

Today, I am fully convinced that we need to Naija version of ‘God Bless America’ if we truly want our Nigeria to change and if we really desire to be a part of that change.

That we only just came out of what seem like a drunken sleep to the realization that things have degenerated to such a point that it seem there is no hope, has not helped us have much of a positive outlook for Nigeria. Why? Because we are mostly still all talk and no action; everyone is waiting for someone to do something. Have you noticed how we never personalize Nigeria? We always refer to her in the third person. 

This is not a long post, I believe that the sooner we start speaking positive words into the fabric of our country, the quicker a better Nigeria will emerge, and what a legacy we will leave for our children and the generation after them! And the idea is to start with me.

However, before we rush headlong into borrowing the phrase, I thought it would be best to even know where they got it from!
I read that it is a song written by Irvin Berlin in 1918, while he was serving the U.S Army, but he didn’t perform it until about 20 years later, which will still be decades after America became an independent State, right? If that is so, I say there is hope for Nigeria, who is only just in her 50s. I am not saying that America became the nation that she is today because of these words, but I am positive that it has helped, and in no small way. I am advocating its adoption because it is a prayer and a confession, and it is a fact that the words we speak shape our lives and circumstances.

I ask those who are passionate about our country to come along with me as we start in this small way to speak a better Nigeria into existence, by inculcating these three words into everything that we do. Have you noticed how 'Eko o ni baje' is part of the Lagos State signature? Aha! Who says Nigeria can't pull it off?

There is so much we could say about this post, and this subject, but let me leave you to do the meantime, consider:

The lyrics of the ‘God Bless America’ song...

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

I covet this prayer for Nigeria!!!


Be free oh.
PS/It just dawned on me that the font is green. LOL! I honestly didnt plan it!

Wednesday, September 5

Michelle Obama's Speech

I don't know how many of you watched (I say 'watched', as opposed to 'read' because you have to have seen the woman go!) Michelle's speech on behalf of her husband?? She signed, sealed, and (we will leave the Americans to decide) delivered Obama to the Americans and the world today.

Talk about an impassioned speech! Talk about speaking from deep within your heart! Talk about selling 'your product!' No advert could have done more justice than how Michelle passionately sold the virtues of the President, her husband today. The woman wisely wove their personal family story into the speech to reflect the lives of the average man in order to create a sense of togetherness and oneness, a sense of 'we are with you, we feel you, we are you!' Before I watched it I was wondering who we would have to credit the speech to as it had begin to make waves on the net...but alas, Michelle's may well be responsible for every word she uttered. I believe that if he does win, it would be, more than in part, due to her speech. 

The delivery was so moving and so electric my friend and I said to ourselves that we really, really want to vote for Obama! In short, I told my sisters that I wished she could have given that speech on the morning of elections in America, more than half of the populace will unerringly divert to the box marked 'Barack Obama.' Lol.
I read a tweet of his off the CNN handle where he said, 'Michelle's speech may make him cry.'  Actually, more than a few people were moved to tears listening to her.

The point of this post is not to quote what she said, but more about the way she said it. The camera tiled in such a way that we could see a folder of papers on the podium, however, watching her speak all  through, there wasn't a time she looked down to read anything (I may be wrong).

What I took away from Michelle today is that no matter my beliefs, I should be able to 'sell them' with passion. And passion is never deceptive, it is born out of something you truly believe, something or someone you are intensely passionate about. 
What do you need to sell? Yourself (in terms of your capabilities and gifts), your business, your beliefs....key word? Passion. It will always leave an impression and your listeners will not but be covered in...yes! goose-bumps. *Grin*
I cannot but also comment on the simplicity of MO's dress and the matching shoes...yes, I looked out for the shoes!

Be (passionately) free oh!

Friday, August 31

2 Days of 'Free'

*jumping excitedly and waving at new followers* Welcome! Glad to have you!

It is Friday, woohoo! TGIF, right? Hopping from one foot to the other and generally flying in the air, right? Most people welcome this end of the week with such pleasure and acute relief (you would think they were caged and in torture all week!) I try to imagine what the bosses think of this reaction. 

However universal this reaction though, I am sure there are  one or two people who can do without Friday as much as I can (really) do without Monday! But, please, who detests Friday? Who??
Oh, and by the way, Friday is already weekend in the Middle East! They must have this reaction on Thursdays.. TGIT hmm... :-)

Free or not, the days can only be as free as you make them. I find it hard to reconcile the joy that Friday brings with how the days following are so packed  full of events that you see people flitting from one place to another, literally breathless, so much so that by Sunday, they have hardly had a moment of rest and are so thoroughly exhausted but would gladly do it all over again! Its  like a vicious circle, if you ask me. I have a friend to whom I say, (at the end of whatever event or meeting we both attended during the 2-days of free) 'go straight home' because knowing her, she would be everywhere, doing stuff and being a busy bee (no pun intended there! Lol!). Come Monday, when the customary 'how was your weekend' greetings come, we all respond shortly, 'short.' (now, pun intended!) Is it any wonder? 

So, what are you guys up to this WE? Me? I intend to 'mind' myself, and sit at home! Yeah, my favourite place. :-)

Musing...just musing...

Be free oh.

Monday, August 27

Too Attached!

Interesting post, "Comfort Zone Dwellers" on a friend's blog, click here. My comment on the post is that most of us are indeed comfort dwellers in many ways, especially in the things or areas in which we absolutely refuse to let go, to accept change, or to try new and interesting ways of doing things.

I use myself as an example; I like my house; I loove my room! Note that my new home is not even furnished, and all my room has is a bed, bedside table, standing mirror and a cabinet for my knickknack. But bare and stark as it is, there is nothing I look forward to more than going home, striding straight into that room and being enveloped in its warmth. It is my most favourite part of the house, the most welcoming, my space, and we understand each other perfectly! Hiding in that room is the high point of my day, it is so bad that I have to consciously decide to come out and mingle with the other 'flatmates,' to join them to gist or watch whatever movie series is rave of the moment. For those who are snickering and turning up their noses at me right about now and thinking in their minds 'shebi its you', spare me o, let me enjoy 'the alone' now before husband and children make their grand entrance, disrupting the peace (in a good way of course). At least, then I can, without regrets, remember I made very good use of my 'solitude' and 'alone-ness!'

Being the sort of person described above therefore, it truly amazes me when I find people who are reluctant to go home; whether they be living with people or on their own. Different strokes for different folks, granted but why would one want to traipse everywhere, and not want to go home? Make that house a place you always want to go back to...better still, learn to enjoy your own company.

Anyway, reading that post so graphically described (it is hilarious) by the blogger, I thought to reconsider the discomfort I sometimes feel when there are people in my house up until after a certain time! For instance, there is nothing that pleases me more than a free Sunday evening...omg! (I am trying to break free of that Monday blues) but, all I want to do when I get home on a Sunday is be alone so I can quietly and gently ease myself into the Monday mood. BUT, how about breaking out of that comfort zone, and being spontaneous; giddily and excitedly taking on each day, or event and being open to change: full house, quiet house, prompted, impromptu visits? Taking it all in your stride? Flexible, as opposed to rigid? Of course, we must never discount the place of personal space but the part where you mingle with 'society' should also not be disregarded.
Talk about balance balance balance!  Talk about 'being free!' #Sigh.

 Am I alone in this particular comfort zone?? What's yours? Lets deliver ourselves!!!!

Be free oh.

Thursday, August 23

It's Only a Car

This is about my car, and the, not accident, probably something worse that could have happened but which we now will never know. Much like sleeping and waking up.

And after I have told you what went amiss, it wouldn’t matter if you analyzed it and thought that it wouldn't have been that bad (one of my friends already brushed  my concerns aside, but you see, he didn’t see beyond 'the car'). TD Jakes once preached that 'Nothing Just Happens' and I completely agree. After all, we always say that life is a stage, and we are all actors, howbeit acting an unseen script!

So, I have had this car for a little over 2 years, and me, correct somebody that I try to be, I diligently serviced the car when I should, have the correct papers, and generally keep a good eye on this possession. Fast forward to when the novelty of 'new' had worn off, and I would say, due to unforeseen circumstances, I started to slack off. Finally the car had had enough! A few days ago it started to cry and spurt and gargle and screech (you know how your ears are attuned to every sound your car makes, how you are able to tell every tiny foreign sound?) so for my car to emit this alien and strange....cry, for want of a better word, I was in a panic...well, not really, and not yet. That evening I decided to clean out the interior and while I was at it, thought to go the whole nine yards...upon opening the bonnet and the engine oil thingy, guess the sight that met my astonished eyes? It was dry! As in, COMPLETELY DRY!! No engine oil!  Goodness me! Aghast, I told myself I would drive it to work and get one of the drivers to go put oil in it. Careless. Careless. Careless! That night, I had a strange dream...long and short, do not drive that car. Of course, one may argue that dreams are always about the thought one went to sleep on…hm, your own argument, and it is fine. I saw that when I put the car on drive, it shot backwards, and when I put it on reverse, it shot forward and all sorts of other drama! Knowing very well that that was definitely not the manufacturer's intention when he put the car together, I had better read between the lines of this dream and take heed!! Next morning,  the voice of another friend, when I pinged to let him know what was up with the car, echoed almost exactly I ominous, 'do not move that car one inch before you have had an 'expert' check it' seemed to be the consensus.

Needless to say, the report of the mechanic was enough to cause my eyes to bulge, and my ears ring...omg, you mean I have been driving around with that?!

Imagine for a moment that this is not about the car, but about life. Think about the careless way we sometimes go through each day and how much we trivialize the things that really matter. Think about how we procrastinate on things that demand, and rightly so, our immediate attention. The damage we cause daily by doing or not doing what we ought to, the consequences of which may not be immediately apparent, but given time...oooh what a mess! Imagine the loss of time and resources, all of which could have been avoided, if only! It really is about discipline, and taking personal responsibility.

This simple lesson on a mere possession taught me yet again, to consciously do the right thing and always at the right time, of taking responsibility, of being vigilant enough not to give place to the enemy...not one single tiny chance! It is like diligently following a doctor's prescription, and failure to do so may not always mean the situation will not get better, it may, but whatever it is will return when least expected to bite where it hurts the most.

And you know the beauty of it all? I have this amazing and awesome knower of all things who is willing to tell me, and lead me in exactly the right way so I don’t grope and stumble. 'You shall hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it...'  Isa 30:21. Who knows what garbage we carry around daily, like a bomb waiting to explode at the most inopportune time. We don't have to do it blindly, oh no.  But, the question is, do I really give Him the time of day? Do you?

This is not about the car...but about the car!

Be. Free. Oh

Wednesday, August 22

Just Write

Oops! Did that sound like the title of the Queen Latifah movie?  :-)

Truth be told, it hurts  when I go to blogs that follow Zouzou's Muses and find beneath my last post, 'one week ago' meaning the post you see was written a whole one week ago!! Unacceptable!
Ok, ok, so I know I didn't sign a contract to write daily, I didn't put it on paper, or in blood anywhere that I would post daily, however, I have a keen sense of responsibility to those who take out time to click here...I do that myself, and get disappointed when I find a new post isn't up on any of my fave blogs....
However, however, I hit (a more relevant) gold in my search for something to write... (I was going to write about my long weekend, and how I cant believe I came out of it unscathed...) I go into my draft folder on my desktop and found the piece below I had started ages ago but never finished ...and it being so apt, as it correlates with what you have above, I just could not not post! 
Read on...

Tuesday, August 7

Whose Fault?

Recently, activity began on the uncompleted buildings and empty plot of land around our house. It was as if the owners agreed by mutual consent to start building! Are they taking advantage of the lack of rain for now? I wonder.
Anyway, as I watched this activity for weeks from my bedroom window it occurred to me that there is something I am supposed to see from what I am seeing but I couldn’t readily grasp it! However yesterday morning, it hit me! It is this thing called 'choice.'

The workers arrive every morning; I watch them chatter as they lift cement and blocks. I watch when, at the end of the day, they wash their feet and change, then stand around for the supervisor to pay them after which they hitch up their bags and leave; the end of another day. Their lives are ‘so simple’, yet not so. One would think it works great for them because they get paid daily, although how much they are paid is not, for the moment, relevant. I try to imagine the kind of responsibility each one may be carrying: wife, children, mother, siblings, sick relatives, what? I wonder if any of them are actually graduates…(it is Naija, and here, anything is possible).They spend hours each day carrying, heaving, dumping, dropping, shoveling, about rest? How about health? Although I concede it is great exercise for the body, but sorry, I would gladly keep my ‘lack of exercise’ and not involve myself in such hard labour, because I have a choice, you see.

How many of them have been thrown into this because they have none, or so it seem?  Can we honestly blame the lack of opportunities, broken down infrastructures, bad economy, etc for this? In a way, yes but I don’t totally agree.
Looking at this innocent and normal activity I ask myself if any one of the bricklayers is wondering why he is not the guy who drives in and sits in the Land Cruiser watching others work, or why he is not the guy who supervises and pays them at the end of the day. Does he ask himself why he is the one balking under the weight of cement and block-carrying, often in the hot sun, sweating? The power to decide which of this three we are is firmly within our grasp. Even God says He has set before us life and death, but advises: ‘choose life…’ it’s an advice, it is not by force.

Who or what decides our emotional state? Who determines the tone of our day, our lives? Whatever situation we find ourselves: emotionally, physically, career, life, finances, relationship etc, is a direct result of decisions taken consciously or unconsciously, wittingly or unwittingly, good judgment or bad judgment. I am of the school of thought that there is always a way, we only need to find it. Often when I succeed at trying to do something, especially on the Internet (as I am not much of a browser, even if I say so myself), I am filled with such a sense of achievement I sit back with a satisfied smile, smirk at the computer and say, I found 'The Way!' Loool.

On another (though related) note, I honestly wish we could have a come-back at vocational training centers where people learn handiwork. Because of our (often bad) experiences with artisans, we tend to regard them with such disappointment, even though their ‘area of expertise’ is a ‘necessary evil’. But think about a scenario where they are properly trained, not just to offer their services but to do so with professionalism! If that were the case, would watching a couple of bricklayers pose a scenario that would wring a post out of me? I wonder…

Be Free. Be free. Be Free Oh!

Monday, July 30

Diary of A Desperate Naija Woman: Parental Peer Pressure ('PPP')

Dear readers, I had to re-blog this as a follow up to my last post!

Diary of A Desperate Naija Woman: Parental Peer Pressure ('PPP'): First of all, let me say that I am  by no means a perfect parent. In fact, this afternoon, after church I was having a much needed pow-wow ...

Friday, July 27

'Not Complicated?'

You get into bed every night, pull the duvet or covers over your head, and at some point your eyes flutter shut, next you know, your eyes open, never mind at what time; middle of the night, morning, noon, your eyes just open with no effort on your part and behold you are ushered into a brand new day…but do you have any idea  what kind of world you have woken up to? Or that while you laid prone and unconscious in sleep, forces were at play shaping a new technological order. Do you see the rate at which new models of phones and cars and other electronic gadgets are being churned out? And that is to say the least. The speed is enough to send one reeling.

Do you wonder how humanity coped 10, 20, 30 years ago? When things were different and life was so much less complicated? The memories may be fading, but we were doing so well when we had those things that we now consider so old-fashioned…But have you looked at some of your old photos and you thought…"omg, what was I thinking?? Did I really dress that way?!" But then, you must have thought you were the hottest thing in town then!
When I am driving and I see old models of cars, all I can think is, ‘oh no, what will I think of this car that is so precious to me now, 10 years down the line?!

How about the fact that ‘innocent’ words have now become something we must think twice, scratch that, thrice about before uttering? I clicked on Smooth Jazz Expression, my favourite international online jazz radio this morning, and on a list of similar radio stations, I saw ‘Gay FM’, I automatically did a double-take, with my thoughts skittering in different directions, wondering exactly what kind of station it was and who it was dedicated to. Sigh. Can you imagine how far we have come from ‘not complicated?’ Who in their right minds will today compliment another person on “looking so gay??”
And you would agree with me that many innocent English words have taken on new and different meanings, double entendres such that every word, expression, nuance etc is regarded with suspicion, everyone is on the defensive. Are these changes we wake up to doing more harm than good? Your guess is as good as mine. Nothing is pure or innocent anymore. How did we get here?

Well, it is Friday, and I am just here, quietly musing and shaking my head.

Be free oh.

Wednesday, July 25

Up and Do! July Report of 'Dos'

You know, I was going to add in the last post, that despite all the horrors going on in the world,  we are still expected to live, and not only live, but live a meaningful and exciting lives! Otherwise, the events around us would instill such paralyzing fear; we would die having achieved no purpose. Ha.
Firmly armed with the determination to so live, I decided to make a deliberate effort to do something exciting with friends this July. And as the ideas popped, I fired off text messages to immediate friends, just so I don’t balk, (you know how easy it is to feel inadequate and discouraged).

So, first idea was a walk on a Saturday morning, something that most people would not normally consider doing…I must say it was greeted with great enthusiasm, well, until I announced it would happen at 7am! Needless to say, the numbers of 'walkers' decreased, but it was worth it, for those who eventually took part.

Secondly we organized a dinner with random friends, an ‘edgy’ sort of outing where conversations on love, life, career, God, relationships etc abound. The dress code here was 'that get up you have been dying to put on.' Well, I appeared in...not a dinner dress, (I wore three-quaters black tailored pants, white shirt, Converse, and had my sweater) and it didnt go down well with one of my friends who said I had decieved them! Lol!! All in all, we made new friends and had great conversation and such fun.

The third idea excited me most! I had attended an Open Mic Night a few months before, and it was such a free and exciting atmosphere, but as much as I really wanted to recite one of my poems, I couldnt imagine myself doing it in front of so many people! Right there and then, I promised myself I would help people who felt exactly the same way. Who knows how many talents are buried just because we have allowed shyness to get the better of us? So I came up with the Be Free Oh Open Mic Evening: a small and cozy affair with friends and friends of friends, where everyone would be free enough to do! Yes! Do Anything! Book readings, poem recitals from their over-bulging notebook of poems, songs (and put their ‘bedroom-only’ karaoke to shame!), jokes and much more. However, permit me to confess: we never got around to doing any of the above in the strictest sense of it, (although, I do recall someone singing Tuface’s ‘I wanna Be Free’) but  we had such fun chatting and going hysterical with insane laughter!  Only one man was in attendance and was he  glad he came! According to him, the 'very blunt' ladies helped his marriage get even better from that night. I have high hopes for the next edition, which we have agreed to tag 'Be Free Oh with Zouzou.' #Unstoppable.

Come August, we have another date with A Walk, Being Free oh, and who knows what else?? I have so many names/tags in my head, I need to find events to fit them in. *big grin*
What are you doing?

Be free oh (with Zouzou!!)

Tuesday, July 17

I haven't been silent because I have nothing to say. Quite the contrary. Only flabbergasted and overwhelmed (an understatement) by all that is happening. My mind and head is so full, I marvel at how both hasn't exploded with all that is going on within and without me!
Have you had a chance to look, I mean, really look at Nigeria (again) recently?? Are you taking note of all that is happening? I am suddenly transported to the time when  bomb explosions were the other of the day in Iraq (not that it has stopped). Nigeria is suddenly Iraq to me. How did we get here?

The latest I heard, (I have stayed away from the papers today so far)  and which leaves me speechless and confused is the bomb explosion in Okene, in Kogi State! That interested me because I grew up there!! OKENE? Bomb? How? Why? What is the correlation? I must be dreaming, asking that question because The Evil Agenda obviously has no geographic, ethnic or religious plan, other than do maximum damage anywhere and however it can be managed, still, OKENE?! Thoroughly mystifying.

And this is only a tiny aspect of what is happening without. How about the killings at a funeral, a funeral?! How about horrible deaths while scooping fuel, (I can no longer understand if that should still be credited to extreme poverty or something else), sporadic and random shootings of the innocent and defenseless. I could go on and on.

Presently I am reading several books; two are of the greatest interest because they are relevant to the happenings around me. The Fall of Lucifer by Wendy Alec (oh yeah, you could say that is really relevant!), and the second is Swimming Against the Tide by Edo Ukpong. The former is very eye-opening, and gives me a better understanding of the workings of the enemy and of the time we are in now. The latter is so riveting! It is a compilation of the author's writings in the newspapers over a period of two decades, of events in Nigeria. My sadness became acute from reading just the forward. Though humorous, it chronicled how events in Nigeria have evolved, and how bad things have, and is still going south in Nigeria. 
It seemed that the dawning of each day brings only the worst. WHEN will things change? HOW will it? WHO will make the difference? Flummoxed as I am, I know that we have a rudder, and an anchor. We have promises made to us by a God who never reneges on promises. Though our hearts may seem to be permanently in our throats while it seem we are on standby for the worst possible news daily, we still have the hope of a better tomorrow!

Be Free Oh. Omg.

PS/How do you title this post?!

Thursday, July 5

Where Are You?

You know how you can remember with absolute clarity the first time you heard a word, saw someone, read something etc? I was just staring into the rain a few days ago when for no reason, Genesis 3 popped into my head. The story about how God came down in the cool of the day to have His usual walk with the occupants of Eden but His walk companions were nowhere to be found; the wrong move (their absence that fateful evening) that began the catastrophe that has thrust the human race into a race (no pun intended) against evil such as we are yet to fully comprehend.

‘Where are you?’ That innocent question, fills my mind now. Suddenly I am wondering where we all are in our daily walk…(maybe I should stick to questioning myself) with whomever or whatever we walked. What will happen if I am looked for, in the spot where I (naturally) ought to be and I am not found?? Where am I in the cool of the day?? Where (exactly) am I, now?

(One of) my greatest fear is this:  something happens, usually bad, I am resolved to make changes in my life, I get determined to change, and I am gingered to do things. But no sooner has that thing passed than I am back to ‘normal.’ It is like a (vicious) circle oh. My present mantra is live. As in, live. I keep thinking I cannot die before I have lived, that, right there,  must be a punishable offence. What?! With everything I have inside me? People need me. Things need me. I am the solution to some problems!

So live, determined I to me. But live how? Doing what? The things that please me? Make me happy? Make others happy? Am I the only one who has this nagging feeling that I am moving, but I am not making progress, that I still am not doing anything? Am I the only one who thinks I do not have what it takes to make the change that is needed to transform and …yes, change? Am I the only one who thinks I am too small in the scheme of things to really make a …yes, change?
Am I the only one who has this gaping, dissatisfied and skittering hole in my chest?

We need to accept that starting small is the way. It is the combination of the little things that come to make the big difference. So, we have to think that no matter what ‘small’ thing we do, change is taking effect…it is.

Lest I bore you with my (usual) endless questions, the question becomes relevant: ‘Where are you?'

Be Free Oh.

Monday, June 18

A Stitch in Time...

It’s been 2 weeks since that crash that clothed the atmosphere of Nigeria and beyond in dark and unrelenting mourning clothes. The days following refused to bring comfort or succour…people remained dazed and blank. 
But, a day or two before this crash, petrol tankers had exploded along the Lagos-Ibadan road, only God knows how many people were roasted in that…but it never generated the kind of horror or pain or publicity that the air crash generated…could it be because we never have an exact number of casualty in one case, but do in the other…? Or could it be because air crashes are far and in between? But are the deaths less tragic?  This muse is not about the outcry on air crashes as opposed to road accidents, no. However, if anyone has answers to my questions above, please, educate me. I strongly believe I need closure in that area.
This muse was brought on by an ‘eerie’ (this is the only way I can describe this article because it succeeded in making me break out in goose-bumps) post I read here. It got me thinking, but not in the direction that the majority of the author's thought is tilted. Having aired his feelings about flying a week after the crash I wondered:…what about those who had to fly immediately after, or sometime during that very day? I had another good friend in Abuja coming in to Lagos that fateful day, when I had ascertained he was not in the plane that crashed, but was in fact going to take his own within the hour, my heart, nonetheless,  jumped in my throat. A few minutes after they boarded, I sent a BBM and for an entire hour or more, my eyes were glued to my phone, anxiously waiting for that little letter ‘d’ that would make all the difference in the world…at this time I hadn’t even heard that another friend was in fact in the plane that crashed! When eventually I saw that little letter ‘d’ that meant he had at least landed and had put on his phone, my relief was palpable, I felt like someone had pushed all the air out of my body! But as if that were not enough, I suddenly remembered again that my boss was to leave Lagos for Abuja, also within the hour! Isn’t there an end to this torture?? I recalled calling to ask if he wouldn’t cancel the trip, but he said he had to go, and indeed, he must, and he did. And returned, he is next door as I write, thank God!
My point is this, life goes on. Airlines will not cancel flights because there is a crash, people cannot but travel despite air crashes. As for crew members, I cannot even begin to imagine what goes on in their minds each time a plane is taking off or each time they read about a crash...especially those who have to fly almost immediately after the news breaks. I have a sister who is Cabin Crew, but because she loves this job, I have learnt to behave like she is just going to work at that Office in Victoria Island! And indeed, no matter how difficult or risky a job, any job is, there must be people willing to do them. My sister upped and went to work the very next day, life goes on!
A few days after the crash, I was also on a plane. No matter how bad it is, I can’t imagine travelling by road, and like the author above said, we can hardly disappear here to reappear at our destination. Necessary evils, evils nonetheless. So, on  takeoff, I prayed and committed my soul to God, and did the same while we are in the clouds, each minute I am wondering who in their right minds would create this monstrously heavy metal to fly in the air, (I have a friend who says when he is in the air, he keeps saying to himself ‘we are not supposed to be here, why are we here??’) and also do the same for landing…thankfully, I am here to tell the story. But just as with anything in this life, people move on, nations move on, families move on. Memories fade.
The crash has taken over 153 (has anyone said anything about the ground casualty?) people away but life goes on, it is business as usual. Give it a few more weeks and we would be preoccupied with something else, if not immediately, after all, Boko Haram is already on rampage and so our attention is shifting.
What marvels and renders me, and many others I assume, speechless,  is our inability to learn anything from our experiences. I shall not even bother to talk about the many ways in which many things could have been avoided, if only…. I don’t think we even need to go as far blame the Government, they are too far. How about beginning with self? How about  speaking up when we should. How about not being laid back and lackadaisical about things, ‘it’s none of my business’, if only we could learn to make some things our business, if only we would learn not to sit back and be mediocre, if only we knew our rights and take people and government up on them...if only we learnt to put our foot down. I wonder why a goat will only react when it is pushed to the wall, what about the  level of damage that would have been done before it hit the wall?! A stitch in time saves nine….a stitch in time! But so many stiches are missing I fear a great big tear is in the offing...
Life. Goes. On. Sadly.
Be free oh.

Photo courtesy Google Images

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