This book tells the story of Yemowei, a fictional village in the creeks of the Niger Delta.
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I woke up that morning to the sound of the phone beeping. As a matter of fact, it was the beeping that woke me up.
I took the call groggily and turned round to go back to sleep. Then I noticed the time was past 6am and I should have been up much earlier.
My first response to that information from the clock was, “I am still asleep.”
How could I still be asleep when I had taken a call and seen clearly that it was well past my wake up time?
But that is how we sometimes run our lives. We refuse to wake up and face reality, even when we know it time to do so.
We walk through life half asleep and end up waking up well after we have missed vital deadlines, and fallen into trouble.
I see it happen everyday:
The student who becomes serious after failing an exam they had the capacity to pass; the business man who sits up when he has “slept” through the fall of his corporation; the distressed man who begins to run helter skelter when his ignored wife moves out of the home…
The list is endless.
Some people say, experience is the best teacher but does the experience have to be yours?
The answer is “No!”
Learn from others’ mistakes and shape your life. Walk awake through your life. Make right choices, and follow through.
It is past your wake up time my friend,get up and brew your own coffee!
COUNT YOUR T-SHIRTS BLESSINGS
I have lost count of the number of times I stood in front of my closet agonizing over what t-shirt to put on for my early morning walks or to go to the shop or even just wear around the house. Sometimes I wear the same T-shirt repeatedly simply because I believe I do not have enough.
In the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of travelling and last week I came home from a long trip away with loads of laundry. Knowing that I would soon be off again on another trip I decided that I would wash a little every day until I was done with the backlog. My washing machine is bad so I would have to do all the washing by hand. And that’s how I made this startling discovery.
While sorting through my t-shirts, I realized that I seemed to have quite a number more than I thought. I began to think that I possibly had up to a dozen or more. So, I started to count. I have a separate space for t-shirts in my closet which I had largely ignored and mixed up with up other items of clothing. I decided, ‘’no more, this space would be for t-shirts only.’’
Then I took inventory.
As of this morning, I have sorted, rescued, found, washed, hung and retrieved twenty-five t-shirts from various places of my house and still counting!
Twenty-five t-shirts? Me?? How? From where did they come? How is it I never knew I was so T-shirt rich?
I was pleasantly surprised. Simply by deciding to be more focused with my wardrobe maintenance, I have found a huge cache of clothes I didn’t even know I had. All types, colours, and sizes of t-shirts, bought by me or received as gifts at one time or the other in the recent past, yet I lived my life like I had maybe half a dozen t-shirts!
What other areas of my life might I be complaining and grumbling about simply because I’m not looking closely enough? What challenges are you crying over because you aren’t taking proper stock? Isn’t it possible that if we focused more on the blessings we would find that we aren’t lacking as much as we thought?
Maybe, before we complain about that thing that isn’t working, we should focus instead on what is. Maybe all we really need to do at this time is go count the t-shirts. They may be much more than you think!
I am currently doing a rewrite of one of my older books for children. I wrote this book several years ago but recently I needed to do a review and a rewrite.
This is part of the writing process I do not particularly enjoy. I like to write once and never go back to it again, ever! But it is something I must do. It is necessary, for now.
By the time I’m done, the book would be smaller, there would be fewer words, and I would have added a glossary, changed some pictures, and generally made enough changes to make it suitable for the readership I am targeting.
I know it would be exciting when I finally see the ” new old book” in the bookstores, I will be very happy to see the smile on a child’s face as they discover something new from this book I have written.
But right now, I am not enjoying the process. I have sleepless nights and agonizing moments of wondering what to remove and what to keep as I hunch over my computer.
And as always, I am learning a lesson about real life.
Great outcomes are not always the result of enjoyable processes and procedures. No woman ever enjoys labour, or the whole process of being pregnant. The peasant farmer does not enjoy the grueling process of cutting and weeding and pruning. That something is not pleasant does not mean it is not good.
Buildings look ugly when under construction. When the process seems tiring and ugly think about the finish line and how the outcome would make you feel, change a life, alter a situation.
Keeping the big picture in my mind makes it easier to go through the process.
What ugly or unpleasant process are you currently going through? Comment and let me know. May you find the strength to go through, and come out stronger and better!
Nigeria is 58!
Somehow, I am struggling to whip up the usual patriotic fervor to wish my beloved country a happy Independence Day celebration. In years past I was able to come up with something but this morning, all I feel is heaviness.
Heaviness at the number of basic things that are not working and the sense of hopelessness that envelops the land.
As a young child, Independence Day celebrations were a big deal. Food was exchanged between neighbours and friends; school children held parades, and old men drank in glee, when they remembered the nation was free. But today I’m asking myself, ‘’what exactly is this freedom we speak of?’’
What is the real value of freedom when we lack the essentials of life?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that we return to colonialism but how independent are we right now, fifty-eight years after independence?
Children are unable to afford books that cost less than a dollar at the elementary school level. They struggle all through elementary school, sometimes studying in open air classrooms or under leaky roofs, sitting at broken down desks, taught by frustrated Teachers! A good number give up and drop out. An impressive number gets through and somehow make it to the end of secondary school. Then a bad dream becomes a nightmare. Gaining admission into the university is a struggle as difficult as David facing the lion and the bear, and very often this David does not make it out alive.
University life is fraught with the struggles of ancient books, broken down equipment and embittered lecturers. The list of woes is endless and becomes an undefeatable goliath when the child finally graduates and gets into the labour market!
There is a strong disconnect between the rulers and the ruled; government policies are beautiful on paper but have little relevance for the people. Democracy is nothing more than ‘’a shiny toy’’ that the people play with and whose value they have no understanding of.
In the past few weeks and months, I have had cause to travel extensively across Nigeria. Everywhere I have gone, the story is the same. The roads are terrible, the airports are shameful and infrastructure is in shambles. The usual ebullience associated with Nigerians is lacking and all I see is deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. Yet everyone seems helpless. I see the quiet desperation of people, struggling like they are in a pool of jelly, unable to get out though uncomfortable with where they find themselves.
So, again I ask, what is the value of this freedom we have?
Those who can send their kids abroad for better education. They go abroad for quality healthcare. We import food and drink, drugs and pharmaceuticals, etc. our best clothes are imported and our cars are imported. A foreign graduate is given consideration for jobs above his local colleague and yet we say we are free?
Happy Independence Nigeria, may your sun rise in the morning.