Monthly Archives: November 2012

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots | Story Of An Obliterated Heart.

A friend of mine Bethany recently broke up with her boyfriend, Tim, of five years. They both loved each other so much that they actually tattooed each other’s names on the top right corner of their scapulars. They went on holiday trips together, they both loved to share great moments with each other, Bethany once told me that she was so grateful to have a guy with whom she shared so many great interests. So much more than some married couples even.

Bethany is the only child of her parents. She works at the local animal shelter. It had always been her dream to care for animals and nature in general. Her father died when she was eleven. She never had a real relationship with her dad because he was an abusive drunk, who constantly beat up her mum and her. She told me once that her dad once flogged her mum into a coma with his belt. I don’t really know much about her family background, because she really doesn’t like talking about it. When you look closely at her forehead, the scares of an unloved daughter of a drunk lay bare on her face. Her mother has been her everything, giving her all the support she needs.

Tim is a senior accountant at one of the midsized firms in the city. He has a super furnished apartment and drives the latest cars. He recently bought the new BMW 3 Series. Tim is the second child in a family of doctors, both of his parents are doctors and three out of the five children are almost out of medical school. The last born, Sherry is a teacher at a government high school not too far from the family house. Bethany had met them all, and they absolutely adored her and so did she love them. Bethany was the only girlfriend of Tim that the family had unanimously fallen in love with, she was simply a homerun of a girlfriend. She would go over every other Sunday afternoon to help out with the cooking of the family lunch. It was a tradition that Tim’s father, George, had inherited from his own dad. They would all sit around the table and reflect on how the week went for everyone, and also talk about the plans for the week ahead. They would sometimes all go on road trips in a rented bus. The camaraderie among family members was simply out of this world. Bethany once told me that she felt closer to Tim’s family than even her mother.

Bethany told me about a month ago that she feels Tim was about to propose to her. The way you feel a storm when it is brewing in the distance. She also told me that her friend Sarah had seen him at some point walk into a jewelry store and spent some time perusing the ring collection on display. I was happy for Bethany; at last she would get the happy ending every woman deserves. In some ways she had always been searching for the perfect father figure given her very painful background, and she had found it in Tim. He was a twofer; a great partner and an excellent father figure to her.

One early afternoon, she left the shelter early to go home for a quick nap. She had been complaining about nausea and a chronic headache from some days. We both laughed so hard one day when I told her that she had taken-in for Tim. She told me it was impossible, and that she was waiting until they get married. When she arrived at the apartment she shared with Tim, she noticed that the front door was left slightly ajar. She thought they had been robbed. She proceeded carefully, taking the baseball bat behind the front door with her. As she went further into the apartment, she noticed that Tim’s suit trouser, shirt, shoe, socks, a female blouse, Stiletto shoes among other items were littered on the ground forming a trail leading to the master bedroom. She did not want to jump to any conclusions even when there was ample incriminating evidence to support it. When she finally made her way to the master bedroom door, Beth told me she said a little prayer that it was all some joke. Like one of those TV shows (Punk’ed). Then she went on to ponder the implications of what she might see. She stood in front of the door for about five minutes before opening the door. When she opened the door, she spontaneously threw-up. She could not contain herself, and so she fell to the ground in tears. Apparently Tim was in bed with his new secretary Yvonne Nelson. I had always suspected Tim’s unusual closeness to the lady, but I dare not make this known to Beth. She was one of those “blind in love” kinds of women. She utterly trusted Tim, and never for a second did she think he would ever cheat on her.

Beth eventually ran out of the house screaming with Tim running after her with his boxers barely covering his “privates”. She yelled profanities at him and drove off with rage. Beth laid in bed for about two weeks only getting up to pee. She was completely devastated. The whole ordeal had obliterated her heart. She was crying so much that I feared she might die of dehydration. Tim called countless times and left tonnes of messages on her answering machine and in her email box. But it was obvious she was in no mood to speak with him.

Eventually she got herself together. Went back to work and took up a pottery class. She did everything she could to keep herself busy and also to keep her from going over to Tim’s house and blowing his head off with a gun. She was still mad at Tim, but at least she was out of the fetal position and back to life.

Beth recently Joined a book club and they are currently reading the book; “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” by Steve Harvey. She absolutely loves the book, that she carries it with her even to the bathroom. One night while she was reading it and I joined her. She was on page 82 and I just hooped over and saw an interesting line:

“If he takes your number but waits longer than twenty-four hours to call, he’s sport fishing; if he calls you right away, he’s showing that he’s genuinely interested in you, and is most likely looking for a keeper.”

We both laughed at this sentence and the others that followed. (Steve Harvey thanks for betraying us guys, we shall be hunting down very soon)

I don’t know if she should be reading such a sensitive book at such a fragile time in her life, but the smile on her face when she reads the book is way too priceless for me to take it away from her.

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This is a very touching story.

It’s Not A Job

Towards the close of business today, a couple of my colleagues at work somehow all found themselves discussing various issues in my department. Our schedules are so busy that it is quite rare for us to converge in one location at a time and discuss for such a long period of time. Initially we were only three, but as the discussions progressed, one by one a few others joined in. I can’t really remember in detail all the issues we talked about, but one particular topic sparked a heated debate among us. We were talking about the roles of women in relationships, specifically the married ones. I should warn you that of the six people having this debate, only one of us was actually married. So forgive me if you do not share my view point on what I am about to share.

 

The heated debated was kicked off by a particular statement made by one of the single ladies. One of the guys asked her what she thought about wives washing the undergarments of their husbands, and she reacted with a quick sense of disgust. I think she said something like; “Eww….How can I do that, Am I his slave?” and “why would a man expect me to do that for him?” Immediately everyone jumped in and had an opinion to voice out. Two other single ladies also supported her saying that; “If he doesn’t wash mine, then I can’t wash he’s”. The married lady among us was particularly annoyed at her answer, and she wasted no time in expressing this. She was of the opinion that things like washing undergarments were just few of the various ways you show your spouse that you care and also a deterrent for keeping your husband from getting distracted by other women outside( funny but somewhat true I guess). She went on to emphasize that it was the “Right” thing for a woman to do, and that any woman who doesn’t help out her husband it a terrible wife. I agree with her (The married one), in the sense that a woman is supposed to do her very best to keep the flame in her marriage/relationship. There is a saying that goes: “A wise woman builds her home, while the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands”. Before I get a barrage of responses slamming me for sexism, I also believe that men also have a role to play in keeping the relationship going as well. But I also disagree with the normative nature of what she prescribed as the way to having a successful marriage. The word “Right” incites the idea that there are set rules for marriages and this I think is wrong. I think it is up to the married couple to decide on what works best for them and grow with it.

 

My main reason for writing this post was that I felt the three young ladies had a wrong impression about some fundamentals of marriage. I am not yet married, but I have spent time with enough married couples to know that whatever you do for your spouse should be from the abundance of your heart and not be seen as a job. The first single lady later went on to say that she would actually wash it, but she would not expect it to be a regular occurrence. The responses the ladies gave implied that such a task, to them was a chore that they could not condone. When you truly love a person, you find that you would, without any eternal push, want to go the extra length to make the other person happy. Even at the cost your own happiness.  Why do you wait for him to ask it of you, if you see his undergarments dirty, I think you should instinctively know to help him  out with it, without being asked to. This is not slavery, it is called love. Some modern women have blown the Women’s Rights movement out of proportion that they see simple things from a chauvinistic point of view, which is not right. When your husband asks you to do his laundry, it doesn’t mean he wants to turn you into his slave, he is just asking you the way your brother or father or mother would ask you for a favor as well. Ladies need to calm down and be more patient, understanding and loving. It’s not a Job, It’s Love.

Political Anomaly: The Peculiar Case of Jose Mujica

 

Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back JOSE MUJICA DOES INFACT DESERVE A PAT ON THE BACK

When you see a picture like this, what sort of sentiments do you get? If you are me then you would have thought that the man in the picture was homeless. But on seeing the car, then I thought a homeless man is less likely to have a car so he must be a poor old retired factory worker on his way to collect his monthly pension benefit or something like that. But I was pleasantly shocked to find out that the man is Jose Mujica, the incumbent president of Uruguay.

I tiled this post “Political Anomaly” because usually this is not the way you would imagine a politician to be like. This is not the appearance you would expect from the mayor of a small town let alone the leader of an entire country. Mr Jose is a pleasant abnormality which everyone can relate to. He is the human equivalent of a White Lion, unique and very hard to find. His selflessness is so exemplary and definitely worthy of emulation. The house you see in the picture on the top left corner is of his wife’s farm house where they both live. He donates $12,000(which happens to be 90% of his monthly salary as president) every month to charity, leaving him with just about $1300. I learned of his story in an article on the BBC website with the title “Jose Mujica: The world’s ‘poorest’ president”, When I read the entire article I was a bit annoyed. My annoyance was essentially focused on the title, why was he labeled as the “poorest” president? It should have read something like this: “Jose Mujica: The President with the biggest heart” or any other sentence more glorifying. Jose Mujica personifies the ideal president that every citizen, regardless of country, craves for.

I come from Nigeria, one of the 16 countries in West Africa, and I can tell you that our leaders have a lot to learn from Jose Mujica. Over here in Africa, Politicians have a very despicable tendency to turn politics into a full time money gushing career. They have this unrivaled propensity to cheat and steal, they amass so much wealth and live such ostentatious lifestyles that essentially make them totally disconnected from the plight of the common man. The majority of countries in Africa are supposed democracies, but the situation at play is totally divergent. In school I was taught that Democracy is “Government For The People, By The People” and also that leadership is about selflessness, charisma and always putting the interest of the people before yours. But now I have graduated to find out that the rules, as prescribed in the textbooks, have been totally annihilated. Every day you open up the newspapers in Nigeria, you cannot help but notice the stories of massive corrupt practices. Today this governor steals $ X billion, tomorrow a senator loots $ XX million etc., there is always a bad story. These days, I almost do not want to read the papers because seeing such stories just disgusts me and makes me want to just shot someone. It’s so enraging, because there are millions of people who live on less than a dollar a day on this continent. Jose Mujica’s story prompted me to look into the economic affairs of some countries for which I could get information for, focusing on things like annual Income of the leader, Per Capita Income (PCI), Leader’s Salary As a % of PCI, % Of Population below the Poverty Line:

Note The Last Column is “% Of Population below the Poverty Line”. After publishing I noticed the column was cut-off a bit.

Leader Country Annual Income of Leader Per Capit Income (PCI) Leader’s Salary As a % of PCI % Of Population Below The Poverty Line
Hamid Karzai Afghanistan $ 6,300.00 $ 1,000.00 530% 36
Jose Edwardo Dos Santos Angola $ 60,000.00 $ 6,000.00 900% 40.5
Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner Argentina $ 51,380.00 $ 17,700.00 190% 30
Heinz Fischner Austria $ 393,443.00 $ 42,400.00 828% 6
Julia Gillard Austria $ 520,837.00 $ 42,400.00 1128% 6
Iiham Aliyev Azerbaijan $ 225,000.00 $ 10,300.00 2084% 11
Elio Di Rupo Belgium $ 162,885.00 $ 38,200.00 326% 15.2
Boyko Borisov Bulgaria $ 26,929.00 $ 13,800.00 95% 21.8
Sebastian Pinera Chile $ 191,126.00 $ 17,400.00 998% 15.1
Xi Jingping China $ 39,720.00 $ 8,500.00 367% 13.4
Juan Manuel Santos Colombia $ 121,284.00 $ 10,400.00 1066% 37.2
Mohamed Morsi Egypt $ 47,485.00 $ 6,600.00 619% 20
Francois Hollande France $ 311,393.00 $ 35,600.00 775% 6.2
Angela Merkel Germany $ 270,600.00 $ 38,400.00 605% 15.5
Pranab Mukherjee India $ 32,316.00 $ 3,700.00 773% 29.8
Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono Indonesia $ 124,171.00 $ 4,700.00 2542% 12.5
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran $ 3,000.00 $ 13,200.00 -77% 18.7
Karim Masimoz Kazakhstan $ 56,953.00 $ 13,200.00 331% 8.2
Ralia Odinga Kenya $ 427,886.00 $ 1,800.00 23671% 50
Pakalitha Mosisili Lesotho $ 57,826.00 $ 2,000.00 2791% 49
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia $ 90,000.00 $ 500.00 17900% 80
Felipe Calderon Mexico $ 315,573.00 $ 14,800.00 2032% 51.3
Armando Guebuza Mozambique $ 55,241.00 $ 1,100.00 4922% 54
Hifikepunye Pohamba Namibia $ 150,588.00 $ 7,500.00 1908% 55.8
Mark Rutte Netherlands $ 177,253.00 $ 42,700.00 315% 10.5
Frederico Franco Paraguay $ 40,000.00 $ 5,500.00 627% 34.7
Jose Socrates Portugal $ 120,884.00 $ 23,700.00 410% 18
Vladimir Putin Russia $ 114,519.00 $ 17,000.00 574% 13.1
Jacob Zuma South Africa $ 313,222.00 $ 11,100.00 2722% 50
Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey $ 73,500.00 $ 14,700.00 400% 16.9
David Cameron United Kingdom $ 221,867.00 $ 36,600.00 506% 14
Barack Obama United States $ 400,000.00 $ 49,000.00 716% 15.1
Jose Mujica Uruguay $ 15,600.00 $ 15,300.00 2% 18.6
Michael Sata Zambia $ 82,632.00 $ 1,600.00 5065% 64
Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe $ 18,000.00 $ 500.00 3500% 68

Source: Index Mundi. Jose Mujica’s Salary is net of his donation to charity.

(Note: The figure shown on the PCI column is derived from dividing the GDP by the population, and thus might not be reflective for every individual in the country. There is always the possibility that a large portion of the population earns less.)

Leader Country Annual Income of Leader Per Capit Income (PCI) Leader’s Salary As a % of PCI % Of Population Below The Poverty Line
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran $ 3,000.00 $ 13,200.00 -77% 18.7
Jose Mujica Uruguay $ 15,600.00 $ 15,300.00 2% 18.6
Boyko Borisov Bulgaria $ 26,929.00 $ 13,800.00 95% 21.8

Source: Index Mundi.

From the tables you can see that Jose Mujica is one of the very few Leaders in the world whose salary is close to the national average, as measured by the Per Capita Income (PCI) indicator. And also you can see that a very small portion of the population lives under the poverty live. It is also worthy to note that Mario Monti (Italy) is the only leader with a salary of $0.00. He inculded himself in the wide spread austerity in the country, which is all part of the plan to cut the government’s huge deficit and thus reduce its debt.

Leader Country Annual Income of Leader Per Capita Income (PCI) Leader’s Salary As a % of PCI % Of Population Below The Poverty Line
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia $ 90,000.00 $ 500.00 17900% 80
Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe $ 18,000.00 $ 500.00 3500% 68
Michael Sata Zambia $ 82,632.00 $ 1,600.00 5065% 64
Hifikepunye Pohamba Namibia $ 150,588.00 $ 7,500.00 1908% 55.8
Armando Guebuza Mozambique $ 55,241.00 $ 1,100.00 4922% 54
Felipe Calderon Mexico $ 315,573.00 $ 14,800.00 2032% 51.3
Ralia Odinga Kenya $ 427,886.00 $ 1,800.00 23671% 50
Jacob Zuma South Africa $ 313,222.00 $ 11,100.00 2722% 50
Pakalitha Mosisili Lesotho $ 57,826.00 $ 2,000.00 2791% 49
Jose Edwardo Dos Santos Angola $ 60,000.00 $ 6,000.00 900% 40.5

Source: Index Mundi.

The countries with some of the most devastating figures are the ones in the table above. And it is definitely no surprise that they are mostly in Africa, given the copious amount of corruption that is perpetuated on this continent on a daily basis. The salaries of their leaders are higher than the national average by an enormous margin. The case of Liberia is particularly alarming given that 80% of the population lives under poverty while the salary of the president is a whopping 17,900% higher than the national average.

There is an inspiring quote I happened upon a few months, it goes;

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” –Dalai Lama XIV

So this is to the leaders out there, if you cannot help the citizens with good roads, good schools, good healthcare, etc. The best you can do is not hurt them by pillaging the country’s treasury. Everyone, not just the politicians, can learn from the “Political Anomaly” that is Jose Mujica. In our own little way, let us try to better the lives of others. Let us give without recourse.

 

Literary Change for Africans

At first when I read the Daily Prompt for today, I was a bit stomped. “What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?” On the surface the question seems easy, but on closer inspection you discover it’s a rather tough one. It reminds me of one test I wrote in my Macro Economics class back in the university, I thought I did excellently well on the test, I thought I had nailed all the answers but when the result came back, it was awful. Back to business, after much consideration I have figured out what change I want my blog to do. I want my blog to challenge people to take a deeper interest in reading and writing. And when I say “people” I mean specifically those from my country (Nigeria) and other developing countries in Africa.

There is a saying here in Africa, I am not sure exactly how it goes but it sounds something like this: “if you want to hide information/knowledge from an African put it in a book”. As much as I want to punch whoever came up with this saying in the face, the truth is that he/she is right. I don t need statistics and figures on illiteracy or poverty to tell you this; the average African cannot even write his name let alone write a piece or even read the works of others. Here in Nigeria for example, the universities produce tonnes and tonnes of graduates every year, but still a large majority of them cannot even comfortably summarize a passage for you. For instance, while I was still job hunting, I went for an aptitude test where we were told to write an essay on any topic of our choosing, and it turned out many people could not write. A lot of the applicants who wrote the test with me only submitted their multiple choice answer sheets, leaving behind the essay sheet on the table. Another instance was during my National Youth Service year in 2011. We were given forms to fill out for registration, and while I was busy filling mine a young lady (university graduate) walked up to me smiling sheepishly (I thought she was about to make a pass at me… :D). Contrary to my delusion, it turned out that she did not even know how to fill out her name in the boxes. I was deeply shocked, but I fought very hard from showing how bizarre it all seemed to me. So when you think about it, if a supposed graduate cannot write and read, what do you expect from the common man on the street who probably only went to primary/elementary school.

I know my blog might not have articles on reading and writing or other material of a similar nature. I know my posts do not get 100 or more “likes” and views. I know I have never been on the Freshly Pressed list. But I hope the mere fact that I am writing inspires African people to want to do the same. I hope that African people wake up to fight and erase this bad stereotype as portrayed in the saying “if you want to hide information/knowledge from an African put it in a book.” I hope that the next time that kid in the village picks up his phone to go on Facebook, he will be met by a link to my blog or the blog of others who will inspire him/her to read and write. I hope that someday, a published author from Africa will mention me in the dedication page as an inspiration to start writing.

I hope and Pray.

Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer

  1. Blogtomeniac (noun)

Etymology: Blog and Kleptomaniac

A Blogtomeniac is someone who constantly steals the content of someone else’s written material, be it newspaper articles, blog posts etc just so he/she can fill up pages of his own work. Normally such a person will be on the quest to beating some type of Blog record (most views or most likes etc) or simply just trying to get freshly pressed. Usually they do this without citing a reference to the original author.

Such a person should be put on the “Freshly Jailed” list and have their blog confiscated.

  1. 2.       Blog-o-capitalism.

Etymology: Blog and Capitalism

Simple, this refers the ever increasing trend of very good bloggers turning their blogs into a commercial commodity. Blogocapitalists are leveraging their expertise in blogging to make money from adverts placed on their blogs. An example of a Blogocapitalist is Linda Ikeji from Nigeria.

Is it Dead or Just Elusive?

I was inspired to write this post by two things. The first was the blog post of badlandsbadley with the title: “Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez Prove True Love is Dead and There is Nothing Anyone Can Do About It.” The second thing was a song by Michael Buble titled “Haven’t Met You Yet”. You can check out the lyrics and song with the link.  Now I know what you are thinking. How are these two things related? Just hold on, I will get there eventually.

Let me start with badlandsbadley’s blog post. In his post, he goes on and on about how love is dead and all, with the romance between Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez being the focus point. He takes us from how hopes were raised when the initially started dating, and eventually to the final death of love illustrated by their break up. badlandsbadley comes off a tad bit over-dramatic. Like this paragraph from his post:

“Words cannot express the emotions that ran through my mind as I read the headlines today. I found myself paralyzed, unable to move. I did not want to stand or walk. All I could do was sit in the fetal position and cry. I looked around for a hug, but no one was there, not that it would matter anyway. They would hug me and it would be comforting, sure. Then they would leave me just like SELENA LEFT JUSTIN! AND THERE IS NOTHING I COULD DO ABOUT IT BECAUSE THE WORLD IS A TERRIBLE PLACE FULL OF ONLY EVIL! NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, YOU WILL END UP DESTROYED JUST… LIKE… JUSTIN! WHY?! WHY, SELENA?! ALL HE EVER WANTED TO DO WAS LOVE YOU, BUT THAT JUST WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH! SURE, YOU THINK YOU CAN DO BETTER, BUT THERE IS NO WAY YOU WILL EVER TOP JUSTIN BIEBER! EVER! HE CAN SING AND DANCE! AND THE HAIR!”

If you are like me then you would know that most celebrity relationships are rarely ever “real”. Everything is always done for the camera. Over-dramatization aside, I can relate to badlandsbadley’s pain and disappointment resulting from the breakup. It sure is sad to see such public mutilation of Love from two young, seemingly innocent individuals. When you see love between two kids with such pure hearts, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the very pristine nature of it all. I guess it’s this type of love that badlandsbadley and others saw between Selena and Justin. With the rampant wave of breakups and divorces both in the mere mortal world and in the celebrity world, most people are desperate to cling to something that always reminds them that love still exists, that it still endures and all. But unfortunately you are left with no choice but to ask; is there still love?

Now I will finally show the connecting cord between Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” and the Justin&Selena Story. I recently started listening to Buble’s music. Yeah I know I am really late to the club. With the sheer amount of Hip-hop and Pop saturating the airwaves these days it’s very easy to miss out interesting jazzlike artistes like Michael Buble. I was particularly drawn to “Haven’t Met You Yet” because of the promise the song carries with it. The promise of love even after yet another heart wrenching breakup. He starts off with his loss of hope in love; “I’ve broken my heart so many times I stopped keeping track”. You cannot help but sympathize with him. It is quite sad actually. But as the lyrics go on you get a sigh of relief when you hear;

“I might have to wait, I’ll never give up. I guess it’s half timing and the other half’s luck. Wherever you are, whenever it’s right. You’ll come outta nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing. And baby your love is gonna change me. And now I can see every possibility”.

These lines so strongly gives that reassurance that badlandsbadley and other love fanatics desperately need. This impetus to still wax strong with enthusiasm about love displayed by Michael Buble is quite enviable and worthy of emulation.

As much as pop culture might have us believe that love is dead or unattainable, I still believe that it’s still out there. Love isn’t dead; it’s just very elusive for good reasons. Think of love like The Trinity, even though it cannot be fully explained, it still doesn’t discredit its existence. And we should not torture ourselves by looking up to what might seem like love. Just because it did not work between Justin and Selena doesn’t spell the end. There is still hope out there.

Believe in Love!

Life Anew

Image

There is Mr. Stuart Green and his kids, little Cathy on his left and Princeton to his right. Looking at this picture all might seem well, but things are far from well. Mr. Stuart was in a very fatal car accident about a year ago and as a result has lost a great portion of his memory. While the car was Somersaulting, his skull was repeatedly slammed against the dashboard, resulting in major head trauma for Mr. Stuart. He was in a coma for a month and two weeks before eventually waking. The nurse on duty said when he woke up he uttered only three words “Where is Mother”. Nurse Jackie rushed off to get the doctor in excitement, she had assumed that he was all well, but little did she know that the worst had happened. Mr Stuart’s mother had been dead for about 10 years now. She died of a heart attack. She was 80 years old at the time, she lived a lovely life.

The doctor called Kate, Stuart’s wife to give her the news that he had woken up. Kate immediately got the two kids to get dressed and headed to the hospital. Approaching Stuart’s room, little Cathy burst of her mother’s grip yelling “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”.  Stuart had this blank expression on his face; obviously he could not remember who his family was. He picked Cathy up and gave her a big hug, Princeton joined in. When Kate saw this, she knew exactly what had happened. Even though he was right there in front of her, she realized she had lost the love of her life; she walked over to Stuart and broke into tears. While Stuart was with the kids, the doctor called her aside and gave her the full details. He explained to her that she would need to exercise a lot of patience with him while he tries to reacclimatize himself with the family again. After three weeks in intensive care, Mr. Stuart was discharged to go home with his family.

Kate has been working really hard to ease Stuart back into his former life. She is a member of a support group for women whose husbands are challenged in some way or the other. Old school photos and videos, trips to some of his favorite restaurants and taking him to meet with some of his good old friends. So far things have been going fine in general, but there have been some really tough times in-between.  I really feel for Kate because she has had to take on an overwhelming role in the family on such short notice.

The picture above is from one of the trips that the family took to the house where Stuart grew up. It was quite emotional, Kate told me Stuart seemed to have recognized fragments of the house. Places like his room and the courtyard where he played with his friends as a kid invoked some really strong emotions in Stuart. She told me that little Cathy was actually the one who suggested the picture be taken.

Everyone is constantly praying and hoping that one day Stuart would look at his kids and actually remember who they are. I personally pray for Kate to be blessed to with the fortitude to carry this heavy cross of hers.

GET WELL SOON Mr Stuart!

Friday Is The Enemy.

Here you are again; you have come once more to hypnotize me into exclaiming TGIF! Everyone I know has updated their Blackberry and Facebook status message with some sort of praise to your name, but not me. I refused to be sucked into your deceitful arms. I object to the empty allure that comes with your arrival. As brutal as your siblings: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday might be, you are way more treacherous. Oh Friday, your dexterity with mind manipulation is exemplary. You trick me into relaxing and getting too comfortable that I am totally unprepared when you mean brother, Monday, shows up. Friday, Friday, Friday, How many times did I call you? Leave me out of this charade of yours.

FRIDAY! What about you childhood has turned you to such a smooth heartbreaker? Were you not loved enough by your parents? Are you like that high school bully that was never given attention at home, and then turns to torture others in an ugly effort to get some glimpse of attention? What is it about your biological makeup that makes you excellently built for disseminating pain?

I wake up, and there you are once again. In your cloak of deceit, you lure me into making so many big and unrealistic plans of enjoyment and play, only for me to have all my plans dashed in a heartbeat by you and your mean senior sister Saturday and further trampled upon by the king bully, Sunday (the wicked first born). In a minute it’s the morning after, and just immediately you send my plans and hopes crashing like dominos. As much as I like to hate Saturday and Sunday, I also think they are honest and real. They both do a pretty good job of cleaning up the mess you have created. They both act like a much needed healing cup of coffee for the gigantic hangover that you are.

Sorry Friday, but I will not fall for you this time around. Take you black hopes and your empty dreams and disappear into the night for I will not be fooled this time around. Maybe in another world, but definitely not in this one. Go look for someone else with a more permeable heart, for mine is forever shut to you. Go! You merchant of pain and anguish.

Fear of The “Ember” Months

September. October. November. December.

To many around the world these months have a religious significance. These months bring forth the spirit of happiness, sharing and celebration. During this segment of the year; from east to west, north to south the world is wrapped in various types of celebratory activities. The Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate Chanukah / Hanukkah, African Americans in the U.S celebrate Kwanza and Buddhists celebrate Diwali etc. I have also been told that Atheists, although they don’t have a generally known holiday, spend more time with their friends and families during this period. Although these religions vary in the way they carryout festive rituals, there is a common denominator, a common concept. This common denominator is that spirit of sharing and love. It is during this time of year that you can see people of different faiths let go of their prejudices for each other and just relish in the moment. There is gift sharing, family dinners and parties everywhere. In this period Investment Bankers and the likes, take time off their very busy schedules to just be and relax. There is joy and laughter in the air everywhere you go, it is quite infectious.

Down here in Nigeria things aren’t so different. The people here have the same joyful spirit flowing around but it is tainted with a very dark fear. Fear that is embedded in the minds of people regardless of their social or economic place in the society. A fear that grips everyone from the elderly to the young, no one is immune. This fear stems from the fact that these celebratory months have a history of being ravaged by a huge wave of crimes of various types. Car thefts, burglaries, rapes, ritual killings among other despicable acts, skyrocket to such heights relative to other months. The one that quite baffles me is the issue of ritual killings, given the magnitude of church programs in this country; it is quite ironic to see that there is such a high occurrence of fetish activities. The entire country is held spellbound as scores of social deviants perpetuate incredible horror in the country. Parents inflict greater restriction on the mobility of their children while adults abstain from unnecessary outings and activate self-imposed curfews on themselves. No one can really place the particular date when things went arye, but it is quite a terrible situation.

During this period in Nigeria, especially in the month of December, people begin the annual pilgrimage to their hometowns. In Abuja, Lagos and other urban cities people pack their bags, service their cars or buy plane tickets in anticipation of the trip. This yearly pilgrimage is mostly prevalent among the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria. No matter how rich or poor, young or old an Igbo man or woman is in the city, when the month of December rolls around they do not hesitate to answer that home call. They shop for the best dresses, shoes, cars and other personal and household items which they carry along with them to their hometowns, where they can show off to their rural counterparts how successful they have been in the city. There is this pressure everyone carries around with them during this time to try and outdo the next person. At this time of the year markets are extremely crowded with herds of people seeking to grab first before stocks run out. For many, much of the income saved from January is spent in a space of about one week. The cause of the fear lies in this very pronounced culture of trying to outdo the others and be seen in a particular light.

In the book “Discourse on Inequality”, Jean-Jacques Rousseau makes us see that humans have inadvertently turned themselves into slaves of their own wants and desires. I find his writing quite interesting because, he attempts to buttress the true “nature” of man by peeling away all these layers of lies and facades he has coated himself with to seem superior to others. He highlights the danger of this unnatural tendency that man possess to want to alter his true nature, by deceiving, cheating and killing his fellow man to possess material things. In summary Jean-Jacques Rousseau alludes to the fact that, like a vestigial organ, man has rendered his moral sense of judgment useless so as to achieve his selfish objectives and thus has in effect deviated from his real self. Applying Jean-Jacques Rousseau philosophy to the situation at hand, it is quite obvious that this same tendency is very much at play still. Those who perpetuate these reprehensible acts have a desire to seem “successful” to their peers at home, and thus would go to great lengths (even at the expense of lives) to reach their “unnatural” goals.

This year in Nigeria is no different. On my way to the office today, I heard a rather grueling story of rape and extortion. This horrific act took place in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. I don’t have the full details of the story, but this is what I could gather. The story goes like this:

The woman (name withheld), residing in Gwarinpa, on Monday told the police her ordeal. The lady said she boarded a taxi from Gwarinpa to Wuse.

“The driver sprayed air freshener in the cab. I woke up in an uncompleted building naked and messed up. I received an envelope the next day containing a video disk showing how I was raped. The envelope also contained a demand for me to pay 5 million naira (about $31,000) into an account in one of the new generation banks”.  More.

Imagine the height of inhumanity; as if it wasn’t traumatic enough to rape her, they are demanding a ransom. This is just LUDICROUS!!!. As sad as the story is, the real tragedy is that, before the year runs out, we are going to hear more stories of a similar nature. Some more haunting and horrifying than this. The law enforcement in Nigeria is not as efficient and effective as we would like it to be. So if you are in Nigeria right now or scheduled to be here, please take extreme precaution. Regulation is key, try and limit unnecessary movements. These villains have no aorta of human sympathy and should not be toyed with.