Tuesday 27 December 2016

Mindfulness Meditation: wrapping up 2016

Sometime this year, I started to look more into meditation and mindfulness. I was looking to reconnect with myself on a certain level, and I knew what I needed to do.

My god mother and her husband are mindfulness meditation instructors and naturally I turned to them. My god mother gave me two books written by her husband on the subject. And guess what! He signed them, whoop whoop!

Happiness and How It Happens: Finding Contentment Through Mindfulness

Mindfulness and Compassion: Embracing Life with Loving Kindness

Wednesday 14 December 2016

World peace

Unfulfilled dreams
Crumbling houses
Trapped bodies
Dwindling hope

Bomb blasts
Chemical poisoning




World leaders

Somehow, hope keeps us going...

Saturday 26 November 2016

Vegetable purée/soup

Last Sunday was such a lazy day for me. I literally could not get out of bed. It took such will power to finally do so around 2pm. I was starving but didn't have the strength to do any major cooking. I looked in my fridge and there were vegetables staring back at me. I knew that if I didn't use them, they would go bad so here is what I cooked up.

- About 8 carrots
- 2 green bell peppers
- 3 onions
- Garlic
- One cucumber
- A table spoon of olive oil
- Salt

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Oloibiri - Nigeria's oil curse

I went to the cinema after work yesterday. I wasn't sure of what I wanted to watch although I looked at the film list. I got into the lift and a preview of Oloibiri was showing, it caught my attention and my decision was made!

I will try not to reveal too much for anyone who might want to watch it but I will mention a few scenes.

This film did not just hit a nerve, it jacked and pulled every nerve in me. I shivered as I watched, literally. I cry when it comes to films but in this case, there were too many sensations and tears were far away.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Holiday in Scotland continued

The next day was my birthday and we planned to do some more site seeing but had no real plan. I walked into the bathroom and returned to a beautiful pair of shoes and a set of perfumes from my travel buddy. I tried the shoes on in my towel and did modelling which just cracked Bukky up! 

Smiles for the new year

Yo Peace, positivity all the way...

Friday 4 November 2016

Holiday in Scotland

Sometime in June, my friend and I started to plan our next holiday. We eventually settled for the U.K. She had never been there, but as I have been so many times, the only condition for me was to visit a place I had never been to. I mentioned to her and that I had never been to Scotland, so that seemed like our travel destination. We had to plan around our work schedules which was not the easiest thing but October was the best we could agree on

She arrived in the U.K. a week before me and went around England but we both met in Edinburgh, Scotland. I found us a host through Couch Surfing who was super nice. He picked us up from the central station so that was a good start. We warned him that there might be a scream moment as we had not seen each other in about 5 years and live in different countries. It was a great to finally see her

Thursday 6 October 2016

I am going home

I’m sitting here at Nsimalen airport, which is bereft of activity, an airport of a country far smaller than my country, but which seems to have more functional facilities than the airport in the capital of my great country. 

I am looking at my suitcase, the proof of my three months stay in this country and wondering whether I should be feeling this way. 

One friend asked me last night if I cried saying good bye and another asked if I was sad leaving. My response to both questions was laughter. I had music on so loud like I was celebrating my departure. 

Usually before trips, especially after living in a place, I have knots in my tummy but this time I was numb, no feelings whatsoever.  I didn’t have much time to see the best of the place but I sure saw some part of the bad! In the short time I stayed here, this country didn’t grow on me at all. 
I’ve checked in and I am sitting in the lounge, there are still no nostalgic feelings and thankfully, the staff at the airport have so far been nice. I’ll leave in peace with no hostility or aggression trailing me. 

It’s time to leave and as I wait for the call, I have a smile on my face as I think of the smiling and welcoming faces of my family, the warm hugs and being carried. I think of our dogs that will jump on me to show me that they missed me, licking and scratching. All I can think of ‘I am going home’.

I settle into my seat and look out of the window with a smile. As we take off, I look at the town beneath me and say a quiet thank you under my breath then a smile, a broad smile crosses my face again with the thought ‘I am going home’.

I walk out to my sister’s wide smile and waiting arms. She lifts me up and spins me around, the first of many hugs, and now I know I am home.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Being "African"

I was out with friends and it was an informal gathering, so of course we were all free to tease each other. We jumped from one topic to the other, and the banter just went on. We were on the topic of food and milk came up, I mentioned that I hadn’t had milk in a while.

 In response to all the whys, “I am lactose intolerant and I have irritable bowel syndrome”. I got such an incredulous stare from some of the people I was having a chat with. What do you stand for or who are you really, some stares seemed to say. Then there was a barrage of comments and questions. “I thought that was only for white people?” “With you, I only hear sicknesses that I hear on TV.” “And it’s not just her but in her family, some people are allergic to sea food, nuts and other things.” “What kind of food do you eat apart from all these oyibo dishes?” “You do not eat enough, you don’t eat pepper, you eat all these salads and vegetables.” “You are too punctual and exercise too much when you are not even fat!”

Thursday 15 September 2016

Health is wealth

I woke up fine but at some point, I started to feel funny. I dismissed it at first but it all seemed to go downhill from there. I started this new work out so I thought that my body was simply adjusting to that. I was hungry and had started work without breakfast which I do very often. I went back to get myself something to eat then continued work but my whole body was revolting. I had a light headache, I was slightly dizzy, my tummy was in a state I could not describe, I felt cold but hot at the same time then my temperature had gone up. I spoke at this point, I told the residence manager that I didn’t feel well. I asked for a home malaria test kit and took the test, it came out negative. That was a relief as I had way too much work planned for the week to fall ill. I was meant to travel the next day.

I knew getting to a good hospital would be in the capital so I was slightly worried. She asked what my symptoms were, when I explained, she knew just what I needed. The first thing she said was ‘your flat mate had the same not long after he came here’. I asked her what she meant, then she explained that she thought my body was still adapting to the environment and that must have been the explanation for all these things that I could not explain. She advised that I get vitamin C effervescent. At this point, I could have ignored her advice but I followed. One of the things I know is, you cannot take the knowledge the locals have away from them. 

Monday 5 September 2016

Bumpiness all the way with this trip continued...

If you missed the first part, please read it here 

This was what the room looked like. I find the best in every situation, so here, there was clean water. It wasn’t brown but clear and that was amazing to me, given the circumstances. There was no phone network in the two villages where we would be working, but there was constant light. I hardly used it but it was comforting to know. 

The room consisted of a bed, a table and a chair

Friday 2 September 2016

Groundut soup/sauce

I have always liked this soup/sauce but I don't enjoy it when it is prepared in certain ways, with okro for example. I have made this before but decided to try it again. I read a few methods of preparation and got some ideas of how I wanted to make it.

- chicken (I had four pieces)
- 3 onions
- garlic
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 pepper
- seasoning cubes
- salt
- groundnut paste
- palm oil/groundnut oil/vegetable oil
- crayfish
- a pinch of curry
- carrots
- green bell pepper

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Bumpiness all the way with this trip

If you missed this post From One Place to Another, please follow the link as that will help to put things in context :-)

 We set out as early as 7am, we were going for a week. It was a rainy day and as we drove out of Bertoua, I was told that we would be driving on dirt/untarred roads for the rest of the trip. We finally took the turn that led onto the dirt road and gosh, nothing could have prepared me for that level of bumpiness. We drove through mud and deep pot holes, I gained a lot more respect for people who have jobs as drivers. The dexterity with which the car was handled, I would have come nothing close to it. I counted the hours, I tried to get my mind to wander but it just wouldn’t, every part of me was involved in the bumpy ride. My insides were turned over and over again, my body rocked back and forth violently as the road determined. We had a loo break in between and I jumped out of the car just not to feel constricted by it because I didn’t like the car very much at that point. See some photos which I managed to get when it wasn't so bumpy of the road below:

Monday 22 August 2016

Is This Some Form of Identity Crisis?!

There have been different instances of Nigerians living abroad saying such horrible things about Nigeria. We must understand that when the media reports certain things, they are blown out of proportion. Everything makes the country seem unappealing in every sense of the word to return to. However, bear in mind that with the media, no news is good news!

In the light of this, a friend and I were chatting and we were talking about some of the crisis that are ongoing in certain parts of Africa. We ended up having a lengthy chat about the crisis in Central African Republic, at a point she wrote AFRICA! I asked what about Africa, then asked her simply if the United States where she currently lives in is any different. I asked her if people were not being killed in broad daylight with not much being done about it. I asked her if she had had to go through the painful speech with her sons of how to behave and how not to behave in public. I asked if she had warned them not to wear hoodies, if every day she didn’t live in fear with the hope that nothing would happen to her children. I also asked if the many threats, some that are not even reported are not terrifying enough in the U.S. I am not in any way saying that one conflict/any form of killing is better than the other, but I do not understand why there is the need to ignore the problems that exist in front of us, while we are so quick to point at other people’s? Note in this case, that every person apart from her nuclear family lives in Nigeria. She was born and raised in Nigeria but relocated with her family to the U.S. about four years ago, then all of a sudden, the very place that raised her and accounts for most of who/what she is, is now talked about with disdain. We ended the conversation with her writing, “abi ooo nobody is safe anywhere”.

Friday 19 August 2016

Minced meat mix

I was shown how to make this dish and I found it delish! I will definitely prepare it again.

1) Leek
2) Basil
3) Celery
4) Green bell peppers
5) Parsley
6) Onions
7) Garlic
8) Tomatoes
9) Eggs (I used 2)
10) Ginger
11) Minced meat
12) Seasoning cubes
13) Salt
14) Carrots
15) Green beans
16) Potatoes
17) Tomatoes
18) Mustard
19) Black pepper
20) Lemon juice
I know this is a long list but it will be worth it... The amount of ingredients you use will depend on how many you are cooking for.

Sunday 7 August 2016

I went to church

Whenever I move to a new place, at some point I tend to look for a place of worship. These days that should not be so hard as there are churches at almost every corner. Well, it takes me time to settle in a church as I do not necessarily agree with every practice. I have to feel comfortable to some extent with what happens there and the church should be able to respond to my need for a church. Otherwise, no thanks.
I think I have spotted about five churches around the area I live, I spotted a Baptist church and decided to go there because from my knowledge of Baptist churches, they are somewhat conservative, which is my preference. A mix of everything is not bad but shouting gets to me. 

Friday 5 August 2016

Salad mix

I have not been consistent with the food section of this blog, for that I apologise.

I saw a photo of one of Chrissy Teigen’s dishes and it was one I knew I would definitely like to try. I cannot give any references to the recipe for it because all I saw was a photo. I looked at the ingredients and I would say it’s a dish for any day, it is super easy.

The quantity of ingredients you use will depend on how many people the dish will be prepared for. I made this for one, so didn’t need much. At the end, it could serve two. Slight modifications to the photo I saw though. 

Thursday 28 July 2016

From One Place to Another

I woke up in a confused state, I was panicking, but my panic lasted for probably two minutes. I had no recollection of where I was, so I lay still, trying to remember. This is the fourth bed I have slept in in seven days…

I have been working in Eastern Cameroon since the end of June. There are a few border towns that have seen an influx of people from Central African Republic due to the conflicts that have been ongoing. Not to mention the other parts of the country that share borders with other countries dealing with various conflicts! There is a full blown humanitarian crisis and there are needs at different levels that have to be met.
During my last field trip, we drove into a place and I was unsure of what it was. It looked like a residence, but I figured that the owner might have built more rooms, then opened it to the public. The rooms were so small, then I opened the door that led to the bathroom. The bathroom was narrow, I would probably not be able to stretch my hands out if I stood in there. We asked for the toilets and were led outside, the lady pointed at two structures, shared toilets. I walked back to the car and waited for my colleagues to finish deliberating then I asked if there was another place. 
We got to the only other place in the village but the set up was not so different. Only this time, there was a toilet in the middle of the bathroom! My colleague must have felt sorry for me because he kept asking if I was okay. I assured him that I was, it was absolutely no fault of his that these places were the way they were. If I had ever called any hotel where we stayed before basic, this, I had no idea what classification to give.

Monday 18 July 2016

The little flicker...

She finds it silly but her heart skips a beat each time she sees him walk through the door. 

Each time they sit to talk, they go on and on. They get on so well that she could swear that they knew each other before their meeting. They tease each other and share hearty laughter. They carry out tasks with such synchronisation, they don’t even have to think about it because it comes to them naturally.
The first time he made her chase him because he withheld information, she knew she would like this to happen with "the one". She loves to play and that’s a part she would not be willing to give up. She loves that about him.

Each time they went out, they were referred to as a couple based on assumptions. She sees the gentleness in his eyes, she sees a glint of fire when he looks at her. However, she noticed that he always avoided holding her gaze. On that day when their eyes locked, his words were “wow, you are beautiful”. The words came out before he could catch them.
It's obvious he cares and it seems like he would want more. That is a mutual feeling but for the circumstances they find themselves in, they both have to be adults. They both are not ready to take the plunge so they prefer to keep the friendship and not make an awkward situation of things. 

She hasn’t been oblivious of the times he has intentionally brushed her arm or other parts of her body, those brushes always make her heart quicken.
She looks up from her note pad and catches him staring and smiles at him. She sees him staring quite often from the corner of her eye but she tries to avoid staring back so they don’t get uncomfortable.

But it progresses in stages…from a brush, to a light touch, to hoping to be held and then it sits in her gut like a lump, too painful to swallow. But she is too proud to say anything. She is more old school and still believes that the best she would do is give the green light but he would have to make the move. 

She waits, impatiently, painfully, with such longing, it is hard. She is trying to think with her head and not her heart, and senses that he is equally doing the same.

Then she realises that this is nothing but a fantasy, one of the many pictures of a relationship that she has built over time in her wandering and very active mind, just a fraction of her wild imagination.