Sunday, August 31, 2014

Of Girls and Drama.

Girls have drama. It is just the way we are wired. Very early on in life, we are dressed in pink, our tiny tufts of hair are forced into tiny braids or puffs with colored rubber bands, our feet forced into dainty bright colored shoes, belts, pop socks, tights, skirts, and of course, the lil dab of lip balm to prevent any dry lips.

We are fussed over by everyone and anyone. We get compliments that we are cute, pretty, lovely. And we grow up believing we must remain the center of attraction and attention every single day in life. And then one day, we realize that the world revolves and rotates without our command.

Girls have drama. I vividly remember in University where there was this big fuss about who needs to say hi first. It got so bad and mean spirited that we had to create the "Law of Greeting": If you come into class, and you meet a group of girls seated already, you have to be the greeter. If on the other hand, a group of girls walked into class, and you are the only one seated, then you have to be the one to say hi first. Net, the 'greeter' always had to be minority while the 'greeted' had to be majority.

I can bet that no guy on earth has ever had to go through such silliness. Today, I cringe in embarrassment when I remember. But for us then, it was THE most important law ever.

Girls have drama. Unfortunately, I cannot give examples from work, because it will cut too close to home but the stories and legend abound of the 3 Macbeth Women. Myself included. Enough said.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Of ALS, Ice Bucket and Giving.

So, I was nominated for the ALS ice bucket challenge. I turned it down. There is a lady who is battling renal failure and needs roughly 9 million naira to save her life. There are 4 kids, who are struggling in university, with no financial support given their father's demise. There is a lady who got fired after having a baby, and she was the sole financial provider. There is a girl, who needs 200,000 naira to save her eyesight.  All this in Nigeria. In Lagos. In Ikeja.

I could go on and on. Poverty abounds. Even the good book says  in the book of Matthew that the poor will always be in your midst. But then it goes on to say, that it is imperative we help them.  As much as we can. And much more. And then some more. Else we may just run the risk of missing the reward of eternity.

Sadly, we tend towards being more selfish than sincere. Selfishness which is linked to greed. My father used to make character links all the time. He would say - A Thief is Always A Liar. Think about it, it makes sense right? When someone steals, he for sure will have to lie to cover his tracks. For selfishness, he would say:- A Greedy Person is Always Selfish.  Another no-brainer here. There is just something about wanting everything (greed) that lends itself to not wanting to share as well (selfishness). 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Of Calamity Crow and tempers.

Super HEROES!!!!!!! Heroes of the City.........
If you are forced to watch kids channels, I am sure you must be familiar with JimJam. There is a program called Heroes of the City, where the lamppost, the fire truck and the police car all race to save the city from fires and any disaster; and sometimes from the silly and clumsy bird called Calamity Crow. 

Now, Calamity Crow is a sweetheart,  always singing to himself as he skips along the road (yadiyadiya, yadiyadidoo), but you know he is going to destroy something, or get himself entangled in some calamity like setting his house on fire as he tries to cook. The list is endless. Despite that, he has such a sunny disposition and is always trying to help.

In one episode, Calamity Crow overheard the city's baker complaining about a late delivery of flour, meaning no bread for the town for that day. The baker also muttered something along the lines of being so angry to the point of losing his temper. Now, Calamity Crow was quite concerned about the lack of bread, but he was more concerned about the baker's missing temper. So he decided to go help the baker find it. Yes, find the missing temper.

He searched everywhere, in and out of bushes, down the small streets, in the playground, earnestly looking for the baker's temper. But it was so difficult to find because Calamity Crow didn't know what a temper looked like. Add to that the fact that no one was willing to help him! As soon as he mentioned what he was looking for, people just started giggling. But that didn't stop him. He just kept on looking.

I cannot remember how the story panned out, but it made me quite ashamed. Reason is that just a few days ago, I lost my temper as well. With a longtime friend. To clarify, I do think that the reason for my irritation was well deserved. I felt the friend was being overly critical, and his criticism came from a sense of superiority as opposed to genuinely wanting to help. I also felt the friend was falling into the trap of holding a lot of people to high standards but making exceptions for select people, himself included.

But then, I overdid it. And as all things 'overdone' goes, said too much, too fast, too deep. 

And you know the way God works, something like this happens, and during the week, a ministration would come to prick your conscience. Our Wednesday meditation study reminded me of the 3 questions we all need to ask ourselves before we speak about another person, which I can argue are the same set of questions we should ask ourselves before we speak at all:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Of Resumption, excellence and other things

First of all, I  must apologize for my deafening silence. It has been a full 2 weeks since I wrote on the blog. I would like to promise that it will not happen again, but like the saying goes..... Man Proposes, God Disposes! 

What have I been up to? A lot actually. Aside resuming work and all the drama that comes with it, I am also preparing for a church choir concert on the 23rd August, a couples retreat workshop organized by the church on the 24th of August. And I am part of the planning committee of both programs. 

Work is as always work, with the fire fighting, strategic session, creative collaboration and passionate politics. It does feel that with the Ebola Virus Disease, everyone is acutely aware of his or her own mortality, and with that comes some measure of calmness and tolerance. It  feels wrong somehow to argue over the accuracy of a financial budget or who should be rewarded for a great business result when doctors and nurses are risking their lives to protect the country. We owe them a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude, for those who have lost their lives and for those who fight on.

For the couples retreat, which is a first of its kind in our collation of churches, I am really looking forward to hearing from seasoned experts on how to chart the roadmap to marital bliss. After all, I am but a jambite in the University of Marriage. When you talk to people that have been married for 15, 20+ years, you wonder - How on earth did you survive that long and not like explode? So, I am hoping that the one day retreat will provide the much needed answers, among other things like parenting and alternative sources of income.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Beginning and The End.

Someone smart once said Everything That Has A Beginning Has An End. Which is great if you are going through some challenging times. But when it is the END of your long awaited vacation, you just want to find that smart-ass and stuff his mouth with cotton balls.  Which is not possible, since the phrase has been around since 1702. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, it is true. Vacation is over. I would like to think I accomplished 80% of my to-do list. And to KM, who has been pinging me to check if I rested, permit me to say I did not leave the house today (Thurs Aug 7th). Please do not ask what I was actually doing at home. You know the drill "Ask no questions and you will hear no lies". 

I would like to say I am all brimming with energy and inner zen and looking forward to going back to work. But truth be told, I am freaking out because of the almost 400 emails I would have to go through, and the 'well, we agreed this when you were out on vacation" conversations which I would have to live with for at least six months.  

I am also wary of Ebola. As I wrote on Facebook, when the government puts out a statement that everyone in Nigeria is at risk of this extremely contagious disease, then we all should get worried. Because if it is not contained, at some point, Lagos will have to go on lock-down. To be honest, I am wary of sending the lil one back to school in September if there is no positive news. 

It doesn't help that hand sanitizers have suddenly become extinct. Pharmacies, Supermarkets, Shops have all run out. And when there is scarcity, the fake-dom market thrives. I am told there is a new brand in the market called Ebola Hand sanitizers (no idea if it is true or another lame joke). Add to that this wrong information about bathing with hot water and salt! Tsk tsk. What is important is that we all need to be super uber careful, and yes, go overboard with the best hygiene practices (handwashing with soap and water), and pray, pray, pray for this curse to pass over us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

RECISION - Resolution

Bibi was singing in the shower, or at least she tried to. It was a tough couple of weeks, she feared she would lose her mind. Thankfully, Tonye was there to pick her up. He was the perfect husband, wiping her tears when they finally came, spending time with her constantly, never complaining when her mood darkened.

The fact that he even agreed to see a marriage counselor took her by surprise.  And true to his word, every Saturday evening, they went for their one hour session, where they painfully got to know each other again. 

Somehow, it was fine the way everything worked out. It would have been heart wrenching if she had seen Tony but thankfully he relocated to South Africa with Sesan. She never got any correspondence from him. No phone calls, no emails, nothing. She found it strange at first, but realized the clean break was better for everyone. 

Hey babe, are you done with the shower?” Tonye opened on the bathroom door.  “Not yet, still trying to get this facial mask of my face, it feels gross.”  She felt his gaze sweeping across her body, glistening with soap.  He asked– “shall I join you?”  
“No no,” she responded, “we do not have time, why don’t you clean the car a little? You know the driver is not coming today.”  "OK babe", Tonye said, closing the bathroom door behind him. 

Bibi returned back to peeling off the irritating facemask, thinking how great it was to have the caring Tonye back.  The mask didn't appear to work, so she decided to exfoliate her face as well. She dashed out of the bathroom all dripping wet and naked, thanking heavens that the kids were with the grandparents for the summer holidays. 

She got the cream and started the slippery journey back to her bathroom, when she overheard Tony laughing. He was on the phone, and she could hear bits of the conversation.   “I told you not to doubt me. It worked just as we planned. Tony dey craze. Hope no wahala, else I will resend the reminders.…. …. Miss you too shadow. Please visit soon, …... his voice  lowered and she could not hear him……don’t worry, I can handle Bibi, she's pretty but not that smart"..

Bibi didn’t wait to hear more. She walked back to the bathroom, and finished her shower. Her mind went on overdrive – “who was Tonye talking with?”

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Of Singlehood

What is the worst thing you have ever been told regarding your single-hood? I bet it cannot be as dramatic as mine. You do not believe me? Lets give it a go!

First, an elderly woman from church:  "The problem with you girls is that you are too selective. You are looking for ready made husband. There is nothing like ready made husband. So just humble yourself and just agree to any man who comes to marry you!". 

A guy from my advertising agency (context is that I was given a visa to Saudi Arabia), "I guess they gave you a visa because you are over 30 years, and they figured, you are not a temptation or risk to Saudi men, because if you are still single at 30, that means no one wants you any way!" 

OUCH, I still think that was the rudest thing anyone has EVER said to me.

Lets face it - if you have crossed 30, and you are not married and you are female, you must be used to the aunts who wonder why you do not want to settle for Johnbull with crooked teeth and an even 'crookier' smile, smug married women who pretend to actually be worried that you are not yet settled, and the uber righteous sisters, with the zillion kids who always remind you every week how you are on their prayer list.

Don't get me wrong. I am a big believer in intercessory prayer. The Bible teaches us to pray for one another. But I vehemently abhor the type that reads more like an insult.  Case in point is when a newly married person in church said "I am praying for God to bring you to my level"  How do you respond to that?

This Thing Called LIFE. Vanity. Upon. Vanity

Cynthia. Cynthia Amaize Cynthia Ovuede. Federal Government Girls College. 1989. We liked FGGC Benin because at least we could make ou...