Thursday, 20 May 2021

Dance connections

Christine was heading to the Carrefour not so far from where she lived, in the 13th district, arrondissement, as the French called it. The 13th arrondissement is a charming area, depending on the part you live in. She lived close to the National Library of France, on the long boulevard called Vincent Auriol. That area overlooks the Seine River and all you need is within reach. Shops, metro stations, buses, restaurants, a swimming pool, clubs and a cinema. This Carrefour was three stops away from the metro stop outside her door, ‘quai de la gare’. She had just finished shopping and was waiting in line to pay when she heard someone call from behind, but she assumed he would be talking to a friend. He kept speaking like he was speaking to someone far from him, which made her look over. There was a woman right behind her, then a man before this man that was calling. She and the woman behind her burst out laughing, it was just ridicuous. The guy was relentless and said a few nice things, the one she remembers clearly; ‘if I were to wake up next to you every day, I would be happy for the rest of my life’…She did not want to believe he was talking to her but in any case, that provided entertainment for their time on the queue.


Friday, 16 April 2021

Being a guest speaker...

 

I have had a more manic week than I’ve had in a long time! I've been on holiday for over three months so I have probably lost touch with life as a working person, hehehehehe. 

A friend of mine who lectures at Institut National des Sciences Appliquรฉes in Strasbourg (INSA) asked me to be a guest speaker in her class. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! One of her courses is conversational, so her students are required to have conversations in English. She asked me to speak about something cultural in Nigeria which I was glad to do. After giving some quick facts about Nigeria, I went on to speak a bit about my state of origin, Benue. 

Lest I forget, I got some funny answers when I asked what the capital of Nigeria was. I'm chuckling as I remember...I even got Bamako! 


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos

I visited Lekki Conservation Centre in 2014 but I hardly remember much from that visit. Maggie, suggested we visit last week and it was such good fun. 

The entire centre stands on about 78 hectares. It is open every day but on Mondays. To visit, you'll need to make a reservation online. We didn't know this, by the time we got to the gate, the guard asked if we had made a reservation. He insisted that we do before he let us in.


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Nothing To Lose

She caught his attention as she walked in, her slim frame was the first thing he noticed. That always seemed to do the trick for him. She was bubbly and happy, her laughter was from deep within and it was infectious. They were attending a conference, so he stayed professional until they went dancing over the weekend. She could move and she filled the place with the way she danced, one could not help but notice her. He found that he got more and more drawn in, all he hoped for was that she would give him a chance.



He spent time trying to help her settle in as she would be around for a month. He constantly proposed activities, and started by picking her up for breakfast the next weekend, then showing her around town. She was a curious one so it worked out well as she had so many questions, some he could not even answer. At some point, they had to resort to google to satisfy her curiousity. They spent a pleasant day together and he found himself laughing much more than he had in a long time. Since he called it quits nearly two years ago, he had not been attracted to any woman and had started to question whether he was still normal. The hurt from those years ran deep.

Friday, 12 March 2021

A Day at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters in Abuja

My sister and I set out for the immigration office early, hoping to finish in good time, before there would be a rush. On what seemed like a normal work day, the officers attitudes and behaviour was far from normal.

On arrival at the gate, this conversation took place:

Officer - what are you here for?

Us - passport renewal

Officer - who are you going to see?

Us - we are going to renew a passport

Officer - one of my officers will join you so he can help.

We stared at each other blankly while the officer was waiting at the door. I unlocked it and he got into the car. It really was not a request, the senior officer was informing us. As we drove to the car park with the officer, he asked whether we had made the payment online for the passport renewal and if we had the print out. We didn't, with the assumption that we could pay there. He confirmed we could, so there was no issue. However, with the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN) registration, an extra layer of hassle had been added for those who did not have their NIN. My sister was in that category.



Friday, 11 December 2020

Reflections on my time in Central African Republic


When I accepted a posting to Central African Republic (CAR) in 2018, a friend asked what I had done wrong to be sent here. From what I had heard, the road ahead seemed like it would be a long one.
I worked in Bertoua in the East of Cameroon in 2016, with refugees from CAR. At the time, I made a mental note not to accept a posting here, were it ever to be an option, because of the horror stories I heard.

I had no expectations whatsoever, the predominant feeling was uncertainty. These are my last days here and I am uncertain how I managed to last for 21 months! It has been quite the roller coaster and those curves have been just like the sharp twists and turns of an actual roller coaster.

Central African Republic celebrated its' 60th year of independence on August 13th 2020 which got me reflecting. To give a back ground to things, in 2013, a mostly Muslim coalition violently ousted the government. Some months later, a Christian militia sprung up to resist the Muslim group. It went further as the Christian group carried out attacks around the West of the country against Muslim communities. This degenerated and clashes between groups and against civilians continues to raise concerns. About 80% of the country is controlled by armed groups and attacks against civilians are still recurrent. 
A peace agreement was signed in 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups, but the road to implementing and respecting this agreement is a long one.


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Shocked into a kiss

They were attending a seminar and he seemed to have an eye for Anita. On the other hand, another colleague of hers, Sonia, had an eye for him. Anita was oblivious…what a love triangle!

The two ladies got on very well and were fun loving people. They worked hard but also partied hard. Over the years of them working together, they had cultivated friendship between one another. They worked in different locations, so each time they saw themselves, they made the best of it. This time was no different as they were attending a regional work conference.

After a long three days of many sessions, they all went out for dinner then dancing afterwards. As the night progressed, alcohol flowed and the giggles were more than usual. Each person showed their skills on the dance floor, it was interesting to watch. When the whole team was calling it a night, Bruce offered to drop Anita and Sonia, it was his town anyway. Sonia settled in the front seat while Anita sat behind. Sonia was to fly out the next morning while Anita had a day to discover the town.


Monday, 7 September 2020

Pay Attention to Your State of Mind

"My entire sytem works with my state of mind"...these were the words I said to a friend a few days ago.

I have come to accept that being healthy is not impossible, especially as parts of our bodies are wired to work in tandem. There have been times I didn't even realise I was dwelling on an issue till my body started acting up. Sometimes we may not think anything could bothering us/may be on our minds but in general if you start to have unexplained health issues, especially where all tests come back negative, you might want to check. It might have been pushed back in your mind but nags at you.

Some of the syptoms I have noticed over time, that make me realise I need to slow down are:

- Difficulty sleeping

- Headaches and feeling light headed

- Increased indigestion, bloating, diarrhoea

Although I have no scientific proof, from my personal experience, here are some of that always solve the issue:


Saturday, 25 July 2020

Nigeria's International Image & the Blight of Internet Fraud

Have you ever been judged based on your nationality?

This is something that Nigerians are very familiar with. The sad reality is that based on your nationality, you could be written off and denied countless opportunities from stereotypes attached.

I've met people who after introduction instantly said '419' or 'Boko Haram'. This is something I can never get used to. I was reading an article about Nigerian Fraudsters who were arrested in the U.A.E. This article like many others mentions that many internet fraud related acts could be traced to Nigeria. But this same article highlights the heavy blow the act of certain individuals deals on Nigerians.

These quotes from the article were my favourite:

"A lot of Nigerians are doing fantastic things all over the world, but they don't get as much media mileage as the guys doing bad things. It affects all the guys doing legitimate stuff especially in the tech space,".

"A lot of foreign companies don't ship to Nigeria, many payment platforms don't accept payments from us because it has ruined our image."

 

Monday, 13 July 2020

Spreading positivity

Is there ever a time when the world is devoid of bad news? I've consciously been putting out my thoughts to encourage people to stay positive. Over the last week, here is what I shared on different days.

 

Feel free to leave some of your thoughts in the comment section, lets spread some positivity around.

 

  • Although reality checks are necessary every now and then, we sometimes may be too hard on ourselves and by extension others.
    Have the courage to be kind and have realistic expectations of yourself. Push yourself but don't forget to be loving to yourself, it makes a difference.

 

  • Our culture is quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary and hardworking people. We tend to place value on people based on public recognition. While fame has its place, ordinary has its place as well. Not everyone will have fame and fortune so ordinary should not be equated to unimportant

 

·       Gratitude leads to joy…it is a recognition of the small things. Waiting on big things to happen without recognizing the little may set you up for disappointment. Sometimes it is a combination of the little, every day, ordinary moments that make up the big ones.

 

 

·       We've become so serious that we forget to play. Sometimes all we need is play and good laughter to lighten us up. Lifes not that serious. Play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, navigate complex social groups & is at the core of creativity and innovation ~ Dr Stuart Brown.

 

  • Be considerate of other peoples feelings. While it's easy to tap away on your keyboard, you have no idea what state of mind the receiving party might be in. Kindness reflected in what you write can do a lot of good.

 

  • Please. Sorry. Thank you. Excuse me. - These magic words open doors. No one has ever died from using them. Be humble enough to say them.
Have an amazing week ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’