Posts tagged family

2018 Life Update (1)

Hello.
I try not to get too consumed in other blog plans, so as to leave out updates on my life.
Sometimes though, I do not know how to succesfully pass across all I’m going through. Sometimes, I do not even know how to blog. Do we ever really know how to do some things? Expertise may just be a hoax.
Reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I’d heard good noise about this on the internet since it got published. I hope to review it someday.
Also, I’m re-reading Daughter of Destiny. It’s the only authorized biography of Kathryn Kuhlman. I told an old friend recently that I try to re-read that book every year. I vividly recall something I heard Bishop Oyedepo say in a message I listened to. He said he re-reads Kenneth .E. Hagin’s books every year because that is a huge part of his faith origin. Every year, the busy bishop Oyedepo, much older than I am, makes out time to re-read the same books and read others. Obviously what you focus on, shapens your life. If there is a book which marked a significant turning point in your life, you can make a yearly commitment to it. 
Thirdly, I’m on Living as a Christian by A.W Tozer. I love A.W Tozer’s style. He is that familiar uncle I never met. I don’t mind going over a chapter repeatedly.

Wanting: My own apartment. I like having my own space a little too much. I told my mum that someday, I’ll really love to have my house before I get married. A place where I can just customize. Preferably a minimalist setting, with lots of awe-inducing wall art.
Right now, I love my roommate but I get bothered about the issue of space. Isn’t it okay to just have my things the exact way I want them to be – unruffled?
When I do reflect, I think it just goes to show my personality and a weakness in that personality. Life is in sharing. People won’t always have the same priorities I have. Therefore, if I have to sweep four times a day because I do not like any dirt, well then, so be it. Sweep, and live out my current personal apartment-less life.
Wearing: New lipstick occasionally. Make-up is as much a mystery as it is a controversy in some circles. In some other circles, it’s just feminine, nothing attached.
Having: daily battles with my flesh. Sometimes, I will do every other thing but pray. Every other thing. No matter how many spiritual things you do, if you do not pray, you’re cheating yourself. When I say pray,I do not mean collective prayers but personal. 
At a group retreat recently, someone made mention of the reason why some people pray saying “the God of Babalola, the God of Adeboye“. Those ministers have personal spiritual ‘net-worth’. This isn’t about the communal anointing that occurs when we gather to pray. Rather, a personal spiritual weight harnessed in the place of prayer.
Eating: fruits of late, because something has to work atleast.  My plan was to prepare lots of food at this period and store them. I had plans to make soups but I can’t, because, erratic power supply. In other words, I’ve been missing my African dishes. *cue dramatic sigh of a Yoruba girl*
Missing: Family trips.
Hoping: For an audible subscription from a friend. Lol. Hoping for a Cassie Daves blog planner from a friend.
Listening: To nothing much of late. My phone isn’t reading my memory card currently so most of my songs have been out of reach. My favourite song of late is Reckless Love by Steffany Gretzinger. It’s a Bethel music song.
I also miss listening to audio bible.
Trying: to tie together this thing called adulting. Making decisions. Being taken seriously. Being looked up to. Working.

Encouraging you: to stick to one thing like a postal stamp, until you get there.
Well, that’s what I saw as a quote somewhere. Your life encourages people with the littlest of things sometimes. There is someone on instagram who encourages me with her huge love for dogs. Imagine that. She is just living her life, loving dogs, yet she inspires someone. It gets as simple as that. I’m here making sense of this blogging thing in the midst of a thousand and one confusions and then occasionally, someone tells me of how the blog is a blessing to them.
 I think doubt surely follows any good thing. In an article I read on Zadie Smith(a writer) today, in answering a question on any secret techniques to coping with self-doubt, she admitted that:

” In the end, you just have to write and doubt simultaneously”

Don’t bother about the doubt accompanying what you’re creating,  just do it. Stick to it, like a postal stamp, until you get there. I know you will get there.
That does it for the day. Thanks, see you next week.
Love, adulting, prayers,
Debby.
Can you relate to something I shared? How are you faring? Pray tell in the comment box.

life and living

Making more time to study God’s word. You won’t believe how there is so much to discover in the bible. You can never exhaust it.
Eating nothing special of late. I’ve been eating the basics and eating it well but then, nothing special. That’s probably because I’ve been putting some financial plans in place and I’ve also been busy. I should try splurging on food soon though. Celebratory food.
Reading Trevor Noah’s ‘born a crime’, Kenneth Hagin’s ‘Classic Sermons‘, Larry King’s ‘how to speak to anyone, anytime, anywhere’.
Wanting more time to read. And more money to buy books. The sort of books I’m newly interested in, are pretty expensive. First up, time to read.
Wasting no time. I’m learning to utilize my time. Shiloh2017 messages are keeping me on my toes so I have no choice. Bishop Oyedepo is such an inspiration. I’m learning to utilize my time doing useful things.
Creating memories. This was hard to decide tbh. Why though? I’m meant to be a creative.Lol. I’ve been drawing and doing artistic things since I was a child. What’s happened to me? Even to write, no desire. Guys, the effort is real.
Wanting a stable academic calendar. I’m tired. Tired. Tired of incessant disruptions in the academic calendar. Were there to be a stable calendar, I should be in 500level now. I’m still in 2nd semester 400level and I have so much ahead of me in terms of my academic pursuit. It is well.
Enjoying time spent with friends. I have this friend I’m especially celebrating. Her name is Samuel Seun. We all have that one friend who is only on whatsapp, no other social media. She belongs in that group. I thus have no links to provide. Pictures though.
Marvelling at human nature. I’ll love to someday write a book on human beings; their simplicity and complexties. Of course, there’d be a good topic . I simply want you to have an idea of what intrigues me sometimes. Our make up as humans.
Wearing a smile.
Following Shiloh 2017 live streams. You can check out the videos on YouTube. Simply type “Shiloh 2017” in the search box. You’re welcome.
Noticing people’s swiftness to complimenting me of late. Lol. What’s happening exactly? I’ve always been this tall, this beautiful. Then, I’ll get to a room and someone will say “oh, you’re so tall. Are you taller than XXX?“. I’d go to church and someone would say “wow you look taller. What’s your height? 6″ what?”. We’ll be told in a church meeting to turn to our neighbour and say “so so so” then in between “so so so“, I’d hear “you’re so beautiful“. Lol.
Loving my family. I don’t even know how to put this into the right words . All I can say is I’m loving my family.
Hoping this new phase of my life is incredible. This Sunday, I’m handing over to my successor in my campus fellowship. We all know being commissioned to serve as a leader is a new phase in a person’s life. Handing over is also a new phase and I hope to explore every part of it dutifully. I’ll be fulfilling my non-executive mandate.
That’s it. How are you doing? Care to share?

26a–BOOK REVIEW

Long time no book review, eh?
I have this condition where my eyes feel so heavy, even when I’ve done nothing but sleep conveniently. I’ve Google searched (why not? this is 2017) and I’ve started praying.
Right now I could just close my eyes and refuse to write this post but then I’d be hard pressed to repeat a post on blogging and consistency.
26a. Can I start by saying I had reservations about reviewing this book. I know that a book review doesn’t mean total endorsement. I also know that appreciation of a book doesn’t mean acceptance of the author’s worldview and all of the book’s message.
However, not all readers know that. Hence my express disclaimer: I do not agree with some of the messages of this book but it piques my interest well enough and I’m willing to review it as a piece of art.
Title: 26a.
Author:Diana Evans.
Publisher/publication date: Vintage books/ 2006
ISBN:978-0-099-47904-8

I love the title. Simple. Enthralling. I first knew of this book when there was a book fair in my school in 2015. I’d gone to Trenchard hall where the book fair held, with my friend. At a certain stall, I picked this book up, glanced at it and snapped it. I didn’t have enough money to purchase it. I simply judged the book by its cover and was impressed (books still get judged by their cover. Forget that English idiom).
Twice, I started reading this book and twice, I dropped it. It was incomprehensible. A world of twin jargon involving Gladstone, hamster, beanbag.
In other words, the book demands your attention. You don’t go in casually. You ask, seek, knock.
The Hunters live in no 26a, Waifer avenue, Neasden. The mother is a Nigerian who constantly battles homesickness and puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding. When depressed, she goes into the bathroom for hours, having mental conversation with her mother in an Edo village in Nigeria.
The father, Aubrey, works hard to satisfy the family and on certain nights, he changes character.
The children are older sister Bel, the twins; Georgia and Bessi, and baby sister Kemy who desperately longs to belong to the twins’ inner circle.
It’s a coming of age tale of the twins. 
The book deals with togetherness and separation. Togetherness of a family unit and separation of it. Togetherness of twins and separation.

“and this: Oneness in twoness in oneness- for ever. But how?”

This book touches on identity, culture and roots. Aubrey’s stay in Nigeria is horrible for him and Ida’s stay in England, horrible for her. It questions how far a person’s tradition goes with them

 “Ida had retreated back into her dressing gown as the Sekon Sun had faded. For her, home was not homeless; it was one place, one tree, one heat. She made herself a bubble and It was called Nigeria-without-Aubrey. Her children were allowed inside, Bel on her right, Kemy always on her lap where the lastborn never left, and the twins a little way off, in a bubble of their own. At dinner, Ida sometimes said “pass the salt” in Edo and Aubrey would stab something on his plate; or in the early mornings, she said, ‘at home now, they’re singing.’ She held Edo lessons in Bel’s room on Saturdays, because language was loyalty and Ida was not pleased when Aubrey told her to stop. ‘We’re in England now,’ he said ‘the girls don’t need Nigerian here. They’ll forget It soon enough’…”

It also touches on sexual assault and its reverberating effect; On peer pressure and the loss of innocence; On depression and its every fibre, even the thought of purchasing milk.
One thing that makes this book quite difficult at its end, is that it deals with loss. And no study on loss is ever easy. Loss, is never easy.
It’s reflective of the separation that comes to ties that were meant to bind forever.
Inspite of its solemn theme, lots of pages in the book are exhilarating. I was taken on a ride to Neasden. I understand “it’s good, eve”, “the Apple tree”, “Bessi’s best bed”, “mr hyde”.
I certainly won’t be able to share the good excerpts without revealing too much. We’ll make do with this:

“It was foreign to them, living like this, coming across each other in the playground the way others did, as if they were the same as them, the twinless ones. It felt to them like being halved and doubled at the same time.” 
“Neasden was easier. A little hilly place next to a river and a motorway with nodding trees and one stubby rows of shops. One bank, one library, one optician, one chemist, one chip-chop, one Chinese takeaway, pub, hairdresser, off-licence, cash ‘n’ carry, green grocer and two newsagents, a full stop at each end of Neasden lane”
“It could be the sound of the youngest screaming . Or it could be the sight of the oldest hurt, that makes a woman lose completely the order of things, the sense of past and future and what if, what would happen if.”

It’s a good piece of literature. Diana Evans has a sharp eye that I commend. All the details about Nigeria are credible.

“Very enjoyable, Evans writes with tremendous verve and dash. Her ear for dialogue is superb, and she has wit and sharp perception…a constantly readable book filled with likeable characters; a study of loss that has great heart and humour”
-Independent

I’ll love to have some discussion with someone who has read this book. I judge this to be art because it provokes something that was previously resting.
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in reading this? Have you read this? What can you judge from this review?

A Phone Call

A man ran by, panting hard. The end of his oversized red shirt flying in the wind, as the air from the cross ventilation and ceiling fan mingled in the room, the force came close to being outdoor.
He ran with a slightly open mouth and by all indications, was out of breath.
As he pounced through the room and out the opposite swing door, we all looked up from our computers.
Bodies worn out from sitting for so long, bodies bent over computers while creating models, we couldn’t care less at this point.
Five minutes later, two men ran right back with this same man.
A minute later, a fat, dark complexioned woman entered speaking loudly and rapidly on the phone, not glancing once at those of us at sitted.
“Yes, call the fire services. Call them” a pause. “Okay, call abefele. Just call somebody. Ehn… They should come down to the department of computer science” she said, all in the one minute it took her to waggle through the room.
At this point, nobody could face their laptops again. We all looked at the back door, as though it would become transparent in the very next second and let us in on the cause of commotion.
Tobi stood up from his chair and stretched as he grinned playfully.
Break time?”
Working in that room over the past month with the other M.sc students had been slightly interesting. We formed a good bond in between frowning at incomprehensible samples on our computers and having group dicussions.
We often had our break time twice in a day. The first was to eat late breakfast from “all food cafeteria” just across the open yard. The woman made the best amala on campus. She made me ignore my belief that solid food shouldn’t be eaten in the morning or noon time.
The second break consisted of eating roasted or boiled corn while some others took a nap.
Mercy, who was sitted beside me, stood up and went out the screen door at the back, all alone. The rest of us also inched to the door. I did so unsure. There was no window overlooking the back that we could have gazed through.
The back door to that room opened to a collonade. Across, was the “all food cafeteria”. At the back of our own work station block, was another block of rooms.
We walked down some more, till we got to an old store which overlooked a stream. Some of the water from Odua dam still ran down to that place. It was surrounded by overgrown grass.
The men and the woman we had seen previously, were gathered together. They all glanced back at us when they heard foot falls. They jumped a bit. Or perhaps paranoia was already setting in for me.
There was something they had previously been gazing at on the floor.
It was an human body . I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. A body. I was often told of things like that, I never witnessed them.
We didn’t know if to go any closer, there was no assistance any of us could offer, so we remained a safe distance away.
Two school security officers dressed in their maroon coloured uniform appeared from around the building where we came from.
They went forward and asked who she was as they bent to inspect the body without touching it.
Men clothed in fire fighters garb came almost immediately too. There were about six of them. I instinctively moved further away. I thought it was best for us to leave at that time.
The wind blew harder and soon it was blowing real hard and the clouds were gathering. The clouds moved visibly in the exact manner I loved as a child.
I would glance up at the sky whenever it threatened to rain. I loved when the clouds were impatient and revealed their otherwise secret manner of floating by. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed watching it.
Helen did.
As one of the fire fighters bent by the body to turn it, the slightly brown shade of relaxed hair began to strike me as familiar. The wet clothes clung to her body, she must’ve been drawn out of the water. I couldn’t shake off the goosebumps that rose on my body. Her body form was too familiar. I was feeling sick.
I didn’t think I could turn back and leave all alone. I didn’t think I could trust my voice to ask my friends to leave with me either. I just stayed there and willed it to rain. Anything. My body was slipping to another time and moment, hearing another voice.
Something out of the ordinary was happening to me.
The man turned the body and it was a different face.
Not regarding that, my goosebumps remained, even long after we had been asked to leave.
That night, I slept fitfully; plagued by dreams I forgot as soon as I woke up, and a cough which I had suddenly developed.
I sat up and checked the time on my phone. 2:54am.
There was a time in Jss2, our English teacher, Mrs John, had come to class and in a burst of  quirkiness, requested that the twins in the class come forward to share with the class what it was like, to be twins.
I had been at a loss of what to say, due to the suddeness. Helen spoke up though, and soon everyone was laughing, and gazing on us steadfastly the way I imagine the crowd was often gazing at Jesus.
I swiped open my phone and punched in a phone number I still knew by heart.
Hello” She breathed, more than said. “Irene?
Helen” I said. ” I thought you’d be sleeping”
I was. I stirred and saw your number on the screen of my phone”
“oh. It’s been long enough, hasn’t it?”
We were silent until she said “wow. That’s it.”.

I sighed. Time crawled.
“There were days, Irene, there were days. Days when I wondered when you would do as Kainene did. Why didn’t you?”

“I’m doing so now”
I closed my eyes, beads of perspiration formed on my skin. Among us, I had never been the one for many words. “I’m sorry it took so long”

Ever simple, she said “Our own grandfather never made such a profound sentence like theirs did. Let’s blame grandpa.” I involuntarily chuckled as she said this. I could picture her smiling at that.
Some things do change your perspective though, it doesn’t matter how many sage counsels you recieve.”.

“Kainene and Olanna waited for a war.”I could read her mind and I knew she would never ask me what ours was, even though she longed to know. Why I would speak to her after so long.
All I could tell was it was over now. Over. We could now continue in our telepathic ways. she could now be the Helen to my Irene again. The freedom that came from that knowledge allowed me to chuckle. Then I laughed, and it emanated from deep within my chest, a million constricting bubbles dispelling. Constrictions permanently gone.
—————–
Make that phone call today. You know you need to.

BOOK REVIEW–STAY WITH ME

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The major themes in this book are captured in the blurb:

“…this is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family,the wretchedness of grief, and the all consuming bond of motherhood”

The story opens up in 2008 and we find a seemingly lonely woman, Yejide, and she directs her thoughts to someone. We’re intruders into this baring of her soul.
It’s direct and we’re not ushered into the book carefully. We must follow on to see who she converses with, in her head.
We’re taken back to 1985 to encounter her life with her husband and how their bliss is often punctuated by the offending relatives who proffer solutions to Yejide’s “barreness“. She often stays on her knees, smiling as they speak, after which she observes the routine of offering them food; their choice often being pounded yam.
Akin, her husband, types away on his phone every time they talk  and the illiterate relatives are happy he is paying detailed attention to their words, but what he really does is write his to-do-list for the week.
This scene we’re open to is, however, different. She becomes the first wife, iyale, with hopes that the new wife, Funmi, will give birth and this will usher in the children she needs.

“Our wife, our people say that when a man has a possession and it becomes two, he does not become angry, right?” Baba Lola said.
I nodded and smiled.
Well our wife, this is your new wife. It is one child that calls another one into this world. Who knows, the king in heaven may answer your prayers because of this wife. Once she gets pregnant and has a child, we are sure you will have one too”

Yejide’s world seems to end.

“I did not feel better. I would not feel better for a very long time. already, I was coming undone, like a hastily tied scarf coming loose, on the ground before the owner is aware of it.”

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We are introduced to Akin’s view of her and we see immense love. Similar to Ifemelu and Obinze’s, if you know what I mean. We’re flattered by his love but we’re soon to find out there are things even love, can’t fix.
Life goes on, and all Funmi does, in spite of herself, is to strengthen the bond between the two. We see an example when armed robbers visit their house and leave. Upon hearing a gunshot, Akin made Yejide lie down and stayed atop her and didn’t shift till day break, not even when Funmi asked if he didn’t care about her too. When she cried, he said nothing but went out to check what had happened.
The armed robbers are ushered in, along with developments in the country. We discover the time when estates had no fences and armed robbers began to send letters of intended attacks, and how ridiculous it had appeared at the first. They followed it up with detailed letters adressed to each home; to one, on family planning; to one, of lovers etc, there is dread.
We move into that era where everyone left the radio in their homes on when they went out, to wade off robbers, giving an impression someone is at home.
We’re also nudged into the happenings in the political sector and we live through each coup d’etat that happens. We also experience the anticipation and doubt that follows the announcement of a change from military rule to democracy, the 1993 election, and the pinning after news.
Funmi, is in effect, not the end of their lives.
The book made me appreciate life some years back and the richness of culture at the time. There are a number of Yoruba proverbs and innuendos.
Yejide and Akin try to cope with the expectation of family life. We find out the impact of hate and acceptance from siblings and parents. We understand sacrifices made for family as we’re lead through yoruba folklore stories told to children.
The plot climaxes and the attrocities man is capable of, begins to get revealed, but it is cloaked with good intentions and we observe the “desperate attempts to save ourselves and the people we love from heartbreak” even when it fails.
The book is written in a 1st person POV alternatively between Yejide and Akin. I could follow the common thread of the book easily.
The style is semi-formal. The language is clear and well defined. I particularly enjoyed the way the author weaved her words.
The author, Ayobami Adebayo, has published stories in magazines and anthologies and this book has been shortlisted for bailey’s prize for women’s fiction.
The publisher is Ouida books. It’s been published in the U.k and came out in Nigeria only a week and two days ago . It has 306 pages. I bought it for 3,000 naira having ordered it through roving heights.
ISBN 978-978-959-320-0.
The main characters are Akinyele, Yejide, Yejide’s stepmothers, Dotun, Moomi, iya Bolu. The characters are credible. The characters run into a million problems. Yejide is my favourite character especially her OAU version. Her reasoning is relatable.
I like the book.
I believe everyone who is exposed to adulthood would appreciate this book. I recommend it to those who value family and I rate it 4.5/5stars.
Other excerpts:
On rejection from family:

“Two weeks later, her father died and I was shocked by how her step mothers went out of their way to ensure Yejide stood without any family member at her side. They all moved from one side of the grave to another so that Yejide and I stood alone like outcasts. When I nudged Yejide and asked that we both follow her siblings and step mothers, she smiled and told me they’d moved because of her and if we went to their side, they would simply all move again”

“We can’t keep fighting over this thing, you know. We are brothers, we are blood. A woman can divorce you, family can’t…brother mii, get this right, you can’t fight with me

On love:

“I loved Yejide from the very first moment. No doubt about that. But there are things even love can’t do. Before I got married, I believed love could do anything . I learned soon enough that it couldn’t bear the weight of our years without children. If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends,cracks, comes close to breaking and even sometimes does break. But even when it is a million pieces around your feet, that doesn’t means it’s no longer love”

It was not the outrage in Iya Martha’s scream that stopped my words. It was the tender way Akin’s thumb stroked my Palm. I looked away from his eyes”

On family:

“Every time he married a new wife, my father would tell his children that a family was about having people who would look for you if you got kidnapped. It was a bad joke and I was the only one who ever laughed . I laughed at all his jokes. I think he believed in this myth of his large harmonious family. He probably thought i would still visit my stepmothers after his death.”

“I sat by his bed looking, waiting for the faintest signs that he had decided to return to me. There was no sign. I was afraid to touch him,afraid that my touch might stress him and carry him into the unknown, away from me, forever. By the third day I was on my knees praying to him in muttered words only I could hear saanu mi, malo, omo mi, joo nitori olorun. Saanu mi. Duro timi. Have mercy on me,don’t go please. Stay with me. “
“…and your family, which for a misguided period, I thought was mine”
“I was not strong enough to love when I could loose again”

On having children:

“I never began the story with moomi’s olomo lo l’aye saying. I’d believed her once, I’d accepted it- like the tortoise and his wife- that there was no way to be in the world without offspring. And though I told Rotimi the story many times, I no longer believed that having a child was equal to owning the world”

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Debby
What do you think? Have you read this book? Are you interested? The conversation never stops. Don’t forget to share too!

The boy must Know Book!

So, my mum steps out of the car at the market to buy some items.
I’m in the car, I stare at her back.
Every time she gets down from the car without a second thought in order to buy foodstuff regardless of the fact that we’re (my sisters and I) in the car and she could as well send us to buy whatever it is, I’m awed. And she does that sooo often.
I even feel guilty. Grown as I am, I sit in the car. Sighs.
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She walks to where the mallam had set up his stand for the fried rice ingredients.
Another woman at the same spot looks away seemingly uninterested while my mom prices the items. From here, I can tell my mum bargains in Hausa language.
When my mum shifts slightly such that her back is turned to the other woman, the seemingly uninterested woman resumes admiring her.
I smirk.
That’s not my focus Today. I only want to capture details.
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From this vantage point where I sit in the car,
I see a market woman perched on a bench, her legs on either side of it, as a man would sit.
I take notice of her when my mom, on whom my gaze is fixed, asks “who is crying?” while she gazes lovingly at a young toddler wailing badly. Wailing badly!
It is then I notice the market woman, and I see another boy of about four years of age with her. She leans over a flimsy note book that is spread open on the bench.
Then I begin to hear her when I pay attention “oya, write four, write four!”
The boy, I assume her son, looks at her, no defiance on his face. No expression. He just looks at her.
She hits him.
“write four! ” she says as she raises and keeps her right hand hanging in a position set to hit him. She does hit him again.
” oloshi alabukun omo-ale”
And I gasp.
I know, I know, children are insulted everyday but really what has this boy done?
The boy is now crying. The toddler is also crying. But it’s a market, noise is allowed.
She threatens the four year old that if his tears drop, she would beat him even more.
He keeps crying.
What I see next as I picture an intervention in tones of sepia, is my mum walking up and explaining to the mother why she should cuddle him a bit and tell him to write the number she desires. Maybe teach him again.
We know after rain, comes sunshine right? Surely there must be another way to tackle this crying child.
Yorubas in Nigeria say “ta ba if owo osi na omode, a fi owo otun fa morawhen we use the right hand to discipline a child, we use the left hand to pull him close
As I imagine my mum explaining to the boy’s mother, I imagine the woman flaring up, fed up.
This is Nigeria. To this market woman, her son must “know book” he must become literate. He must drive cars and care for her. He must become more influential than anyone she knows.
This is the way of hope.
So I can imagine the good intentions with which this market woman now orders her son to kneel down.
Without the imagined scenes and tones of sepia, the boy doesn’t kneel down and she doesn’t beat him any longer either. I’m not in the market for much longer to see her(a market woman howbeit a mother)  train her son in the way she thinks best.
This one thing I know, the boy must “know book”.
This brings to mind the words “motherhood”, “education”, and the phrases “financial privilege”, “developing countries”, “a means to an end”.
The boy must know book!
Share your thoughts…

I am Security-concious

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Hello to you today. These days i’m mostly drawn to watching YouTube videos ranging from messages to DIY to music videos to speeches and interviews. On the issue of DIY, lest I forget, I bought bicarbonate of soda yesterday, it was really cheap, #110 to help whiten my teeth. I need the perfect smile y’know. I’ve always considered using braces and the only person I’ve told, my elder sister has repeatedly said no, I shouldn’t use it. I could pursue it further but I recently read a person’s account and she said she had it on for two and a half years.  That’s quite a while guys😁. I always thought it was about a year. In any case,  mind me not, it is such an half-hearted attempt otherwise I would have done my research.  Today is a slow Saturday for me, I’m going out this evening for a program in commemoration of our youth anniversary in my church. In the meanwhile I thought I could Just paint a picture I nursed in my head in a few words. Come imagine with me.
I believe growing up in my world made me a slightly paranoid person. I sense every form of danger miles before it could happen. Truth is, I hate it. On days I am in the kitchen, and the electric bulb is switched on, I would feel uneasy about the kitchen window which faces the small unilluminated store at the back of the house. Anybody could hide in the store and be watching me. When I catch  myself with such feeling, I would berate myself and feel awashed with a sense of inadequacy. The store is made up of net, wood and iron pan. Rats die and stink in there, then mummy would call the gate man and ask him to clean up the place.
There are empty bottles of fruit wine and old newspapers and big coolers for Christmas time and old cabinets that are still too good to be thrown away. The store holds close to everything and on the day thieves attacked our neighbours about three years earlier, Adamu, our former gateman had run into the store and gotten a cutlass with which he made a gash in the back of a fleeing robber as he scaled the fence. Daddy found a reason to pay him off the following week. Even though he did well, we weren’t comfortable with having someone with such temdency of violence.
When the landlords association decided to do something about the security situation in our neighbourhood, they hired vigilantees and made rules such as if you were to drive later than 10pm on the street you will present an ID card.
Daddy had complained tirelessly less than a month later of how the vigilantees only drank beer at night and kept Fuji songs booming from the radio. It was a waste of the associations money and he said so at another meeting where the vigilantees demand for an increase was raised. That meeting had been in our own house.
When mummy had first learnt of the meeting she had said “ah no. Not here o. We are busy now. How are we even sure we will be around on that day?”
“since we moved here we’ve not hosted any of the meetings it’s either one wedding or burial every other Saturday. We have to host it” He said, his tone low, neither rising nor falling.
“so you have now told them yes?” Mummy asked
” hmnnn” Daddy grunted, face buried in a newspaper.
That Saturday morning, mummy was quiet, not shouting at my brother to bring down his blanket to air it or to clean up his room. The woman who came fortnightly to do laundry was at the backyard switching from singing from one Tope Alabi song to the other.
I stood in the stufy kitchen shifting from end to end as my mother moved in perceived dignity to pick something everywhere. My phone constantly buzzed with notification from social media but staying around my mum that day I felt the need to be solemn. Most times she would yell at me telling me to “put that phone down” in rapid Yoruba. Or she would say “I don’t see to this carrying the phone around hot oil” “ehn ehn ehn don’t put my phone beside water. Don’t treat it like your own”
Before the landlords came, daddy called me and my younger ones together to the sitting room.
“you see, when someone has visitors, you don’t become too relaxed” eyan o kii n darale . “you must be security conscious because you don’t know who is who. That’s not the time to leave both doors to the house open. The kitchen door should be shut because if everyone is in the living room, you can never tell who will turn around to pass the back door into the house and all the while no one will know” he instructed and instructed and instructed, most of them, things we already knew. Things he often told us. As he spoke, the aroma of egusi soup kept wafting from the kitchen and my phone would not stop buzzing. I really wanted to tell my dad it was okay.
With my growing impatience, I remembered I learnt Bisi my technical drawing set-square last time she asked. I had an assignment due for Monday, there was no way I would turn it in that morning. I sighed inwardly, my nerves grated.
“Tobi, are you hearing me?” dad asked cupping his right ear with his palm
” yes sir” I said.
“you are the eldest. You are the example. Don’t let me catch you with ear piece plugged in so that you don’t even know what is going on and if we need your attention we have to run around the house. Are you hearing me? ”
” yes sir”
By the time I got back to the kitchen, the jollof rice had started to burn and mummy was making the semovita.
 
Debby 

Denrele

Denrele swapped away the many flies. She was irritated. She longed for a better life, more so after the new teacher who came to her class today. Denrele’s mother always told her she was one for comfort. Her siblings never understood. They always turned up their nose whenever she acted better than them.
They lived in Offa but schooled in Ilorin. They were constantly at their grandparents house in Offa with the smell of goat faeces, dried elubo, amidst dull houses with uneven cement.
Denrele was closer to her father. He wrote a few poems at his spare time when he came for the weekends at Offa. Their house in Ilorin was a small two bedroom apartment in a crowded area, it was only convenient for their father to stay there so as to get to work early. The six children styed with their mum and grandparents at Offa and schooled at the outskirts of Ilorin.
Denrele wanted more to life than helping the aging baba and mama. Sometimes her mother will call her an impatient and ungrateful girl.
Whenever her father came for the weekends, Denrele would read the one or two poems he had written. He complained more often at that time of how busy he is. Actually he only wrote in the bus on the way to Offa. Her father wrote about the peace and serenity of Offa, he wrote about the ruggedness, determination, community life and rebellion of the Offa people, he wrote about the importance of family and of siblings cordiality, he wrote about the bird who longed for freedom. Perhaps he could tell already what the future held.
Much later, when Denrele would write, she would write about the busyness, and sharpness of Lagos. She would write about confusion, individualism and the personal struggle of man, about the smell of sweat. She would write about separation, about the illiterate student. But for now she remained the illiterate student. She would go to school, listen to her teacher teach an unintelligent lesson and desire rather to be in Miss Oge’s class .
Miss Oge had stood in for her computer teacher on that day last week when he was ill. The youth corper had spoken with delicate intelligence. Denrele was happy to answer questions in her class. She longed for her praise, the gentle smile that creped systematically but beautifully along her chubby face. The corper spoke about her own different secondary school life in Lagos. Denrele’s back was straight, she listened, she wanted to hear this. She wanted to be told the truth. She wanted to hear without restriction the struggles of life, not just the serenity of it. She wanted to hear about the importance of choices and not destiny. Not fate. She wanted to hear that she could and would go to Lagos.
She used a technique after class. She told the teacher she had a problem and wanted advice. She spoke about a boy who liked her and asked her to be his girlfriend and how the whole thing confused her in an endless pool. In sincerity, nobody had asked her to be his girlfriend. She only wanted to talk some more. They would in future laugh about her antics. The corper advised her that day. The corper would then always greet her when they walked along the same route. The corper would ask about her family in passing but Denrele would delve into a full launch of her ancestral lineage and their well being. The corper grew fond of the girl and knew about her longing for Lagos.
The corper called her one sunny afternoon and gave her a slip, a common entrance application form to one of the best secondary schools in Lagos. In that moment, Denrele doubted her parents would let her, a short twelve year old girl go to Lagos. She leaned back on the wooden chair letting it squeak. She felt ridiculous to have dreamt and thought all this while that she could ever have her life the way she wanted and not the way she was destined to, from birth.
” Denrele” the corper looked her squarely  in the face. ” you would never know until you try. Study extra hard, grumble less at home, fill out this form. Show your parents, let them sign it. If it helps, show your father first, convince him. Don’t let your opportunity slip by you.” she glanced at her wrist watch.”if all works out well and you pass, then you would apply for the scholarship test, get invited for the test and ace it, by the time i’m leaving here at the end of my service, you would be coming with me. You always believed in choices. Here you are faced with them. You would look back and remember this day whatever your choice would be”.
Denrele went home. She couldn’t sleep that night. She was pumped about it, the time she had been waiting for. What also preoccupied her mind were things like how she would start jss1 afresh in Lagos at age 13. she thought about how everyone back at Offa would be advanced in class, how young Tayo would be her mate in class.
Denrele’s parents agreed to it all. It was a night of hushed conversation in their bedroom. Denrele crept to their door and tried to figure out what they were saying. Mama came out of her own room to use the toilet when she saw Denrele. Denrele sped back to her room her heart in her mouth wondering if mama would tell her parens she was eavesdropping.
Denrele studied, her siblings and their friends would sit away and whisper about her, they wondered what was wrong with her.
Her father took her to Lagos to write the exam. Her pencil kept slipping off her sweaty palms as she shaded carefully within the box, never out of it, never too thick. Everything the instruction indicated, she obeyed.
She prayed in Yoruba and in English language while in the exam hall. She promised God she would never spite her grandmother again no matter how unfair she treated her. She promised God she would say a testimony on new year’s eve even if legs and voice fail her infront of everybody.
It was after the exam she could marvel at the school premises. Her mind, earlier on, was preoccupied with success. She loved the beautiful school. Aunty Oge had spoken proudly about even the trees in the school.
” it is not like those new schools springing up everywhere and trying so hard to fit everything they need on a small piece of land. This one has so many trees and flowers”
On her way to the gate, she saw the school chapel and contemplated going in. She had heard of stories of people who did like Hannah, who told God their request solitarily in the chapel and how it came to pass. Ire’s mummy had testified in the church of how she did that and she got a promotion that had been long due for six years. Denrele dreamt of the day she would grauate in this secondary school, clothed in a robe and how she would make mention of her prayer in the chapel. However her feet kept moving towards the gate not the chapel.
The next three weeks were the longest of her life. Denrele would leave her food cold and study. There was a scholarship exam to study for. There were normal classes too. She claimed she couldn’t afford to be an average student when she resumes. She kept the newest cloth she had, in readiness for the new year eve service when she would say her testimony infront of everyone.
Today, just as she had done for the past three weeks, Denrele dropped her school bag at the entrance of the computer lab.
”I’m checking already” the corper said in a sing song voice, smiling.
She sat on a chair ” aunty Oge?”
”uhm?” the corper replied, typing away.
”aren’t you going to teach me how to use the computer before i go to Lagos?”
” my dear, they don’t expect you to know everything yet. They’ll teach you there. But i could always teach you the basics before then”
The corper’s heartbeat took on a marathon as she saw the result was now on the site. Freshly posted four hours ago.  for a second, she was afraid Denrele’s name would be missing.
” ah” she sighed ” Its not yet bee released. I wonder what’s taking so long”.
”No problem. I have to get home early. But i’m anticipating the result o”
”I believe it would be out by tomorrow”
After Denrele waved goodbye and left, the corper wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans, stood up and increased the switch of the ceiling fan. She prayed, then scrolled down the admission list checking for Otunola.
She saw Otepola, Otomi, then there it was, sitting averagely like all others: OTUNOLA DENRELE.