Celebrating the journey… 1

This early morning I was in a celebratory mode.

Despite all the hiccups, one goal has been met. The result? The book is out! A hardcopy version as well as an ebook version.

Let me give a brief recap. Recently (On my birthday , I announced that I had finally gotten the courage to release a book I d written circa 2015. )

I had originally typed it on my mum’s laptop. But in the process of moving some of my stuff to another device ; I had mistakenly deleted the latest version. This was before the birthday announcement.

Then in March I d found an older version of the manuscript file on my external hard drive  , so I had started working on it on my tablet device just before the birthday.

Immediately I posted about the book on Facebook, I heard the inner voice tell me, email yourself a copy of the manuscript file and eBook cover file. I did that immediately. I had learnt in a hard way never to ignore the gentle nudge.

Thank God I obeyed, … Because a few days later till now, the phone tablet has refused to boot till completion. Three repair centres later, I m finally accepting that the tab may never work again.

If that had been all, would have breathed a sigh of relief, but then the trusty old laptop I d borrowed from my mum also developed a fault. A couple cybercafes- later and leaning on a senior colleague for use of her laptop occasionally; we are finally here. Behind schedule but definitely done.

From_Depression_to_H_Cover_for_Kindle

Had to give up on the Okada books idea because the email I sent asking how to give out some free copies of the book even when there is a price on the site; went unanswered..

Kindle solved that problem and so occasionally I will be giving out free Kindle copies. Yay!

P.S .

2 major changes…

Reduced the book size in order to make it handy and edited the book in order to make it as concise as possible. When you are depressed , reading voluminous tomes is not usually a favourite activity.

Looking ahead with Hope

Random Musings …

Random musings …

 

I am a testimony that life does not end when everything turns topsy – turvy. That what your eye sees is often different from what the camera captures…
That there is always hope…
That today’s struggles and pains are simply a foundation for an about to be unveiled glorious beauty.

It is not because I have all that I want that I write this…

This is a solemn acknowledgement of God’s mercies and gratitude for how He has helped me thus far.

In September 2013, it looked like my world ended… it was an avalanche of challenges and at the time, things really looked hopeless…

NYSC looked like it was a closed door, a long relationship ended and then Malaria ( not the regular malaria ooo) happened and completely changed my perspective about healthcare access and life. Clinical Depression became a personal reality ; one I was not prepared for ,, nor even equipped at the time to deal with.
2014 was a period of trying to find my way back to hope … it was a struggle… a really tough struggle.
Thank God for all the friends and family who consistently prayed for me and kept loving me through it all.

Thank God for the ones who did not… Losing those friendships toughened the weak parts of me and helped me to realise the importance of value.
For all my friends who struggle with depression… stay strong.
It may look bad, it may even feel really bad, but it is never all bad.

It is simply a veil that must be opened before the light shines again.
You are a winner and you will win this too…

Do not be afraid of the changes life may bring. Embrace every moment and look up to the sun … and the rays of abiding hope.

30977340322_33d2c48415_o
P.S.

I m not sure why I had to post this just now. I hope it helps someone out there … to hold on to hope…

#GhanaTales

#YaliWestAfrica2016
#VictorySongs

Eku Chronicles 2

Eku Politics

 

Politics in Eku is largely like it is in every other community. There are dirty deals that ensure that the most popular candidate may not often get the nod for party representation and of course there are the godfathers. The ever present godfathers of Nigerian politics – unfit for political contests but totally deciding who won.

 

Like in the larger society, here too the politicians called the shots; their majestic houses comparable with the finest of houses in Maitama while not quite 10 minutes from their posh marble terrace houses lived some of the poorest in houses that could at best be described as shacks- low slung structures built disgustingly close with paths for roads and outhouses for toilets. Almost impossible to believe that the photos in this post are of houses in the same community less than 10- 15 minutes from the each other? Believe it, all of these photos are of houses in Eku.

The traditional council was an enigma indeed. Men, mostly old and provincial in look wearing flowing wrappers sat round a large hall and deliberated on matters of state. The town hall; a spanking new building built in the latest fashion complete with marble tiles, interlocking stone pavements and  the understated elegance of the latest modern architecture found in faraway Lagos – spoke of a traditional council that still wielded much power and influence.

The majestic Eku town hall at night

Eku town hall

So, it was a real letdown to hear the oldest chief, the Ogisi defer a matter that would ordinarily be called trivial – to the desk of the female Local Government Chairman who was ironically on leave outside the country.

 

Elections had just been concluded at the time I resumed duty and the stench of the rivalry and the quarrels that usually mark Nigerian elections was still very strong. Apparently, for a position that the community had been required to produce one candidate, they had presented two ; from different political parties – both sworn enemies and long time rivals. No one agreed to step down for the other and at the end it cost the community the slot that would have been theirs at the legislature. Their votes were divided along party loyalty lines; family ties and even church affiliations.

 

I doubt though that any lessons were learned as it appeared that the second man from the less popular party had intentionally been fielded to defeat the other aspirant. Community good did not win and it is doubtful that any good came out of the entire political season.

 

When the Presidential elections rolled round, I was suitably shocked that many in this small town had no support for their South South Brother. They were simply indifferent. Along with the dashed expectations of expecting a rain of money reminiscent of the Odili glory days, many felt that GEJ had deliberately ignored them while spending more money on other regions of Nigeria. It was not uncommon to hear glib denouements like “when we asked him to give us money for the elections runs, he refused and said he had no money” or “ who he help?” “he no try for us at all – Obasanjo sef better pass am”.

 

Up until that time I had been quite passive about the politics playing out in the larger society ; on the National stage. But, hearing these negative reports of a man reported to be stingy and not parochial convinced me of the need to do more research and learn more about the then incumbent President.

 

It was thus the keen interest in politics in this small town – often called a village; that thus spurred me to take active interest. From animated discussions in the hospital lobby, to discussions at the hairdresser or even in front of the hospital gates at the mini supermarket like row of stalls selling everything from assorted wines and snacks to local fruits and even food; came the clear voice of the Eku townspeople, they had expected more from their man and since he had not delivered, he was on his own. Ironically, my newfound interest led me to different conclusions; maybe because my evaluations were not based on stomach infrastructure or the evidence of the personal gains I had gotten from the administration.

 

On election day, it was quite calm – many stayed home and the few who ventured out did not make too much of an effort… Few stayed behind to monitor the votes or to ensure that their candidate won.

 

It is a sad testimony of how Nigerians allowed the  rot in our political sphere to grow unchecked. For Eku politics is but a microcosm of the larger Nigerian Politics.

The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind

 

Can be tasking,

Sucking all life out of a weary soul,

Leaving only the  residue of a paper thin existence,

Dry, lifeless and soulless.

 

Many walk around,

I see them, not a smile nor a dimple  remains,

Cares and fears have choked  out the tiny seeds of hope,

Forlorn, they bear the weight of burdens unshared,

For the glimpse into their soul – which they shared did not comfort bring,

Rather,  mockery and shame from hitherto called friends.

 

No more trusting,

Once; more than was bearable, bitten,

So like zombies they trudge daily,

Rushing to meet some long forgotten ideal,

Forgotten in the grind of failed hopes and dreams.

 

But, like a dry stump,

There is hope – if only life giving moisture be found,

A life giving smile,

Touch or even a miracle of a revived dream,

Then life springs forth anew,

And from corpses  of old,

Rises another- a phoenix is born.

 

It matters not how many times t he daily grind kills,

Each day is another opporunity for life,

For hope and a better existence.

Go and LIVE daily.

 

Abimbola Onaoluwa. 2016

 

For several days I could not publish from my netbook as it would not even save a draft. So, Valentine day passed with me unable to post the poem I had pencilled for the day. But, I have learnt to take it all with a smile and move ahead with other tasks. In the long run, that attitude is a lifesaver.

Life is challenging, truly- but whatever you do, always smile and reestablish the origins of your hopes and aspirations- beat new paths and keep flourishing. I love you.

 

Onaoluwa.

Eyes that see…

Fret not that the gifts are not piled  high,

Some have no gifts,

Many do not even have a Christmas tree on which to hang stockings,

Many a reason to sing and dance,

If only you will see,

IMG-20150221-WA0014

Look and see,

Many smile under the weight of burdens,

Gifts are a luxury never imagined,

The tears of worries,

On dark lonely nights their only companion.

 

Think and see,

The gifts you give,

Already bring benefits,

The good health and goodwill,

Many plead to have.

 

Abimbola  Onaoluwa (Dec. 26, 2015)

Nothing lasts forever…

Not even pain, troubles and sundry challenges,

Everything  has an  inbuilt expiry date,

So be patient, resolute and strong,

for even mountains, obstacles are not permanent.

 

Winners don’t quit,

They may hibernate,

But, like the Phoenix,

Always come back renewed, rejuvenated and ready to triumph.

 

Abimbola Onaoluwa 2015

 

Nothing lasts forever…

Good to be back.Photo0370Photo0364

The vehicle accident and then the events after that silenced my voice here since February- are history. Painful, the remembrance may be, but there is joy and gratitude that the only loss was of gadgets and devices- no lives lost. Scars are healed and  there is renewed hope of better days just ahead.

 

Keeping Faith

Today, I have a beautiful piece written by Akintunde Aiki, read and share… Blessings.

Akintunde Aiki

“It’s a loud and crazy world we live in. Sometimes we lose our way. But the Good Lord always sends someone to bring us back home”
-Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House)

Hoping this helps a soul. Or two.

SOUTH

image

Credits: Sethu Priyan

“Dad, I saw it all. Your journey to here, I saw it. Everything.”
My hands tighten on the wheels. I stare ahead and say nothing. He stares too, straight ahead, his eyes unseeing. He uncaps the bottle in his hands and takes a swig of ice-cold Coke. He burps. I steal a glance at his aquiline nose, half-expecting a sneeze. He sneezes. Twice. 

“Standard procedure.” We say together. A smile plays at the corners of his lips, but his expression remains sullen. I shift in my seat, my unease growing. How can he see anything? 

“I grew up sneaking to the closed library door at home every time I hear you wake up. I would press my ear to the door, waiting to catch every word you said to God as you prayed. My heart overflowed with joy whenever I heard you return thanksgiving for a prayer answered. And dad, those days they were a lot. It was the time of day I looked forward to most. I always wondered what you did in the quiet minutes that came afterwards. I would hear only the ticking clock and nothing more. I asked mom one day and she told me it was the minutes you spend listening to God. I was enthralled.”

A lump forms in my throat as memories of a time comes flooding my mind.

“I knew you told God a lot about us. Mom and I. I heard the cries on countless mornings. I felt your pain when as the years went by, you had not returned any thanksgiving for those prayers. But I admired your courage. And determination. Your prayers were the lights that guided me in my darkness. I was not only secure in the world your life built me, I dared to hope too.”

He pauses.

I swallow hard, but the lump remains. The cheerful and spacious cream and brown interior of the car now seems dreary and stuffy. The air conditioner is the only sound to be heard. I shift again. 

image

Credits: Poetryvoice.wordpress.com

“Dad, it was those days that mom’s voice would compete with yours in singing worship songs aloud as we played together in the house. You would throw in a couple of love songs for her. She would laugh lovingly as she teased your croaky voice. Then you would read to me amazing stories of God’s awesome power to me from the Bible. I would tell you to repeat them and you would gladly oblige. I would wish I had eyes to read them myself. But they were beautiful times.”

His voice has dropped a few decibels as he says the last sentence. I dread what comes next.

“Then, mom passed away. I didn’t know she was ill. You spared me that knowledge. A few days later, I was at the library door as always and I heard you speak to God in a tone you had never used before. You asked him why he couldn’t heal mom of the tumor. Mom was the kindest woman to ever live, you said – the best human to have ever walked this earth. And she didn’t deserve to die so young. I was devastated by mom’s death. But it was the tone you talked to God with that day that haunted me. I knew then something had changed. I was right. You were never the same again.”

I raise my right hand. It is a reflex movement. I want to protest. I catch myself and return my hand to the wheels.

“Then, you would go into the library, and all you would do was sob. You stopped saying anything. I would wonder what God would be thinking; coming to your regular meeting place and seeing you cry and say nothing. Then the crying stopped. And still you wouldn’t say a word.”

“Demi –“

He continues, unaware of my attempt at interrupting him. 

“Then you stopped doing important things. You stopped waking up early and stopped going into the library. And you stopped reading the Bible to me. It was as if you too had stopped living like mom.”

He sighs. I want to interrupt him, but no words come out.

“In a funny turn of event, I did lose you. You didn’t die. I just lost you. The life you exuded was no more. Only emptiness. And darkness. You would laugh, but it would be without life. You would sing, but the words would be empty. When mom left, you, dad, left with her.”

He stops. And turns to my direction and stares. His blind eyes seem glazed today.

“Why, dad?”

I blink.

“That was five years ago, Demi. I am still here.” My voice sounds like a torn drum – hollow.

“Are you?” They are the most accusing two words I have heard.

“Ok, you really think you know? You really think you can blame me? You think I have done what is wrong? Ok, I’ll tell you.”

I won’t spare him, I am sure.

“When I accepted the Gospel of salvation, I took it seriously. Very seriously. And like things I take seriously, I gave it all I had: my time, my money, my life, my skills, and wealth, all I have ever had. Just so I may have the life He promised. But what did He do? I’ll tell you” I have warmed up, and today, He will have it all. 

“He took everything I gave him. And more. He gave me a child and when he began to talk, he took his sight. I wanted more children, but I couldn’t have anymore. Then, the only woman I have ever loved was diagnosed with tumor. And I spent all my money on therapy. And my faith on believing. And He did nothing. I lost her, and my money and my faith. And He didn’t give a damn!”

My voice trembles with pure hatred. I bite my lip to hold back tears.

“Demi, He is a fraud. F-R-A-U-D. I do not doubt His existence, I know He is. But, He isn’t what He says He is. He isn’t a healer. He isn’t a helper. Of course, He is not a comforter. He is a fraudster! He gives you meaningless stipends and takes the most important things in your life.”

image

He is quiet. I feel relieved.

The minutes deepen.

He is still looking at me. His unseeing eyes seem to bore into mine.
He sighs. He seems to shiver.

“Dad, -“ He sneezes. This time only once, “you are crying.” He says.

Yes. But I can’t tell him that. I do not want him to think I am sorry for the things I have said. I am not. I reach for a tissue roll between us. He picks it up and rolls off some of it. He offers it to me. His eyes are on me the whole time.

I hold the tissue in my hand and stare at the road. There is absolute silence. Even the air conditioner is silent. 

“Why aren’t you cleaning your face?”

I give him a queer look. He smiles.

“What is that look on your face?”

I open my mouth. I make to say something, but I can only stutter.

“What!” I finally mange to say.

“Yes, Dad. I can see! I can see!” 
I slam the brakes in astonishment. A car screeches behind me. The driver is honking.

“Oh! Sorry.” I say to the driver that cannot hear me. 

I pull over and park properly.

I can’t believe the calmness in my voice as I asked:

“Since when?”

He sighs.

“Yesterday night was the fifth year since mom passed away. I was on my bed and was recollecting everything that happened when she was around. I missed her. But I missed the times you spent in the library more. 
What I missed most, however, were the Bible stories you used to read to me. So, I dared to ask God for one thing. The first thing I have ever asked for. That he’ll bring back your joy so you can read the Bible to me again.”
My heart is thumping furiously at his words. I can barely breathe.

“I woke up this morning and I saw light come in from the windows. I wanted to rush to tell you immediately but I remembered it was a return of your joy I prayed for. And I wanted to know what really took life away from you, so I played the blind boy one final time. I have heard it all Dad. This is all I have to say: He is not a fraudster. I can see that much.”

I want to sob, but I smile. Here is my answer. Here is my comfort. My heart goes to Demi in a way only a grateful father’s can. At fourteen, he is everything a hundred children are to me.

Copyright – Akintunde Aiki 2015.