Saturday, 9 December 2017

Words that brought to where I am

Words that brought me to where I am

When God told Joshua in,
Joshua 1:2 : Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelite across the Jordan river into the land I am giving them..."
And in verse,
12: Then Joshua called together the tribes and said...[14] But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them[15] until the Lord gives them rest as He has given you rest, and until they too, possess the land the Lord your God, is giving them. Only then may you return and settle..."
  I realised something from the above passage: it was all about helping and teaching people on how to succeed in the areas you have had success in....
*              *                 *                    *                   *
   I was really excited when I first came into medical school. I didn't let the excitement get the better of me though. I read my books and worked hard but as the exams drew near, fear set in.
'Will I pass my exams? What if my results get missing? What if I fail and get kicked out of medical school?'

All sorts of negative thoughts ran through my mind that period. 

One day, I went for our usual once-a-week fellowship for year one Christian medical and dental students. In the course of the gathering, a senior colleague who had been invited, came up to speak to us. I don't remember all that he said but I didn't forget this part:
"I want to encourage you all that you can do it. You can serve God faithfully and still do well in school. Look at me for instance. In my year one, I had all As in my results. If I can do it, why can't you?"
My eyes nearly popped out! How could someone have all As? But there was I standing before a living proof. If he could do it, then so can I! That day, I began to believe it was possible.
So despite all my fears before, during and after my first ever university exams, those words of that senior colleague kept me going. 'If I could do it, so can you!' I worked hard. After the exams, I prayed fervently and daily for 'As' more out of fear than faith though. That first semester, I had all 'As' except for two courses. The second semester, they were all As. That senior colleague may have forgotten that day but I haven't. His words stuck with me then...it still does. I can do all things through Christ in me, so I won't be afraid.

   Year one ended and the long vacation began. During the vacation, I attended tutorials organised by our senior colleagues for us as we prepared to begin preclinicals proper. One of those days, a senior colleague came to tutor us. He was in year 5 then. I can't recall what he taught us that day but I'll always remember his words:
"You probably all know I read a lot. One day I read so much, I read for 23 hours straight!(chuckles)  I promised myself to never do that again but let me tell you something I do before I go to the next class. When I was in year 2, I would go to year 3 class to pray and declare by faith that by next year, I would be in this very class. There is so much that with hardwork, conviction and faith we can accomplish. Before you get to the next class, envision yourself there. Believe in yourself and never doubt. Personally, I have never repeated any class..."
Those words struck me and had ever since remained with me. Okay, I didn't follow that part of going to the next class to decree and declare but I always believed that if he could do it, then so can I! Ever since, I believed in the possibility of going though medial school without getting 'WAFed' (Withdrawn for Academic Failure) and without necessarily repeating a class.

   Eventually I got to year 3. This class was scarier and more stressful than the previous classes because this was the class I was to take my first ever professional exams(MBBS) but that was not the worst part. I had always heard that it was this MB exam that got many people out of medical school. Mehn...that period of preparing for my first ever professional exam was my most stressful, tiring and depressing moments in medical school. What really kept me going was my talks with God and listening to Hillsong's soothing music. 

During the preparation for our MB, our test(CA) scores for each course which accounted for 30 marks were released. For one particular course, I was the highest. The news spread like wildfire not just because it was a 26 over 30 score but also because some people didn't expect that score to be coming from me. Naturally, I was happy but became even more pressurised and scared. 'What if after this good score, I fail and get a resit?'

Not long after, I got a call from a senior colleague to see him. He was in year 4 then and was one of their best. I felt curious on why he wanted to see me and a bit honoured. We eventually met and talked. As you will guess, I can't remember all that he told me that day but I remember this:
"Do you think that God would give you such a good test score like that for nothing? Would He give you that only to you to fail or simply pass averagely? Look, you must believe that you will not only pass but pass with a distinction. As you have been doing, put in your best. You are already getting there. At the end of this MB exam, I want you to tell me that you have a distinction."
Thanks sir for adding to the pressure. Not only was the news round my class but it had got to the other classes as well. "But I'm not even sure of passing talk less of a distinction!" But still...I pondered on his words. Would God bring me this far only to fail me? During that MB exam period, his words helped give me courage and hope. I worked and prayed hard. And yes, I got a distinction in that course.

Another thing happened that period. Our senior colleagues in the Christian medical and dental fellowship organised a pre-MB programme for my class. Unfortunately, I came late and I mean towards the end of that programme. So, I practically missed the main thing but I was able to get a card from them. Written on it were the words: 'He shall order your steps to every paper you write.' Not much words but it made a huge impact on me. I believed that I was not alone, that God would see me through: the MB exam preparation, in the exam hall and after the exam. I believed that the God that began a good work in me will see it through completion which He did and is still doing. Eventually, I passed the exam, though I still have the pamphlet. Medical school is not yet over after all, even though I wish I was already 'there'. There are still more classes and exams to pass but I know God would see me through as He has always done.

There are many people who talked to me whether individually or in a group but their words have always remained with me. Those words always gives me courage to forge ahead. Nobody helped me read my books or write my exams but their words helped me succeed. 

I can remember when I was in secondary school, in the boarding house. On visiting days, my parents would come to see me. Then, they would tell me:"Do your best dear. We believe you can do it. We believe in you... " I excelled then, not just because I liked it, but also because their were people who believed in me and encouraged me.

From all these instances, I've learnt that just talking to people, encouraging, mentoring and advising them on how to succeed in an area may just be enough for them to succeed! Dr Ben Carson touched my life, not because I was once his patient, but because of his words found in his books like: 'Think Big' and 'Gifted Hands'. So also did Fela Durotoye in his book: '17 secrets of high flying students'. I encourage everyone to read these books.

  You've probably learnt one or two things from my story but just to emphasize some important points:

1. If you have succeeded in one path, show others the way. Encourage them, cheer them on, talk to them, mentor, believe in them and pray for them.

2. It is said that: 'A man cannot be bigger than his dream'. Reach for the stars! You can achieve even the seemingly impossible if you believe you can and work hard.

3. That other people failed does not mean that you will fail too and even if you did, get up and keep on trying. Never give up on yourself! Thomas Edison made 999 failed experiments before he finally succeeded in creating the light bulb.

4. Stress, depression and anxiety will come at one point in school or in some point in your life. That's life. During those periods, be courageous and forge ahead(Joshua 1). If you're facing it, God knows you can handle it. During such times, talk to God, seek advice and help from counsellors/mentors/believers/a trusted someone. (And just to add what I do in such times too: listen to Hillsong's soothing music or any other uplifting music).

  So my dear, you won't fail. I believe in you, that you can and will succeed in the future. Amen.
       

Monday, 30 October 2017

Nwakaego

 
     It was a night of celebration. Many people had come for Ifeanyi and Nneka’s wedding at Umuji village. Finally, the wedding ended. The newly wedded couple now had time alone together.

“I’ve waited this long for you,” Ifeanyi told his wife holding her lovingly.

“Me too,” Nneka whisphered.

He kissed her. “Darling, did you lock the door?”
Suddenly, five boys burst in holding guns. The couple could not scream for fear of the guns. The intruders had their way with the bride and left as soon as it was over. It was no longer a happy wedding night but a night of terror. The next morning, the whole village heard about it. Things would never be the same for this couple.

One day, Nneka broke the silence, “Darling, do you still love me?”

Ifeanyi was silent for a while. “I…don’t know.”

By then, her protruding belly was obvious. The following day, she left for the city.
 
         The city life was new and difficult for Nneka. There was nowhere to go till she eventually met a ‘nice’ Madam who helped and gave her a one-room apartment in her yard. Time went by and Nneka put to bed a daughter. She named her, Nwakaego meaning a child is more important than money.
Later on, the ‘nice’ Madam began demanding for her rent.
“I don’t have any job!” Nneka cried.

“Then, you have to work for me!” Madam snapped.

Nneka had no choice. She had a rent to pay and a daughter to take care of. So, she began ‘working’ for Madam.

Nwakaego grew and was fortunate to go to school and wear nice clothes unlike her mates in the yard. This sparked up envy among them.

“Na because your mama dey follow men!’ one girl lashed at her in furious jealousy when Nwakaego showed the girl her new wristwatch. 

It hurt Nwakaego deeply but it also opened her eyes to some things she never really took notice of. She noticed the revealing clothes her mother wore daily, her many male friends, her late nights out…. 
 Then she noticed her mother lose weight and complain of being sick. It became so serious, she had to go to the hospital. 

     One day, Madam picked her up from school.
“Your mother wants to see you,” she explained to a surprised Nwakaego.

Her mother was in the hospital bed. Nwakaego gasped when she saw her mother. She looked just like the AIDS patients she saw in her textbooks. Her mother could hardly move and struggled to talk; she began crying.

“Nwakaego, I’m so sorry… but I did all these because I loved you.”

Nwakaego too cried and held tight to her frail mother. She spent the rest of that day with her sick mother. When dusk came, Madam insisted that she leave the hospital; she had to prepare for school the following day. Amidst tears, mother and daughter kissed each other good bye. It would be the last time she saw her mother.

One day, Madam called Nwakaego. “Your mother is dead,” she told her plainly.

Throughout that day, Nwakaego cried.

As usual, she continued going to school until she was made to stop because she had not paid her fees. She ran to Madam for help.

“If you need money, you must work for me,” Madam said matter-of-factly.

Nwakaego agreed but it was not what she expected. At only age twelve, she was introduced into prostitution. Madam paid her money enough for only the rent and feeding. When she turned eighteen, she decided she was big enough to stand on her own and left Madam and the yard she had lived in all her life.

This time, she ‘worked’ for herself and was able to rent a one-room apartment in Diobu, the ghetto part of the city. She was well known as a ‘runs-girl’ in that area for her ‘work’ and never lacked customers. Even the so-called soul winners seemed to know her kind of work especially one Father Amadi who came every Saturday morning for evangelism. The most annoying part was that his messages always seemed to be directed at her.

“Give your life to Christ now,” he would cry over his microphone, “If Christ comes now, would you make heaven?”

Such talk never moved her. She had longed stopped believing in God. Why would God allow her to go through such a hard life?
One day, while on her ‘night duty’, a rickety car stopped by her. The driver had broken teeth, a blind eye and reeked of alcohol and marijuana. 

“Babe, come na. I go pay you well,” he drawled.

Nwakaego was really repulsed by him.
“You of all human beings?” she snickered, “Dog beta pass you. Abeg, no be me and you.”

His countenance changed in anger. “Wetin you mean by that?” he growled.

Nwakaego simply hissed and began walking away from the due-for-repair car.
“Get her into the car!” she heard him order someone.
Without warning, she was overpowered and her face was covered by a drugged handkerchief. She could not scream as she was immediately gagged, and even if she could, no one would hear her. It was a lonely street at a dangerous hour of the night. She could sense being hauled into a car back seat before slipping into unconsciousness.

         When she woke up, she found herself lying on a bed in a nice bedroom. “Where am I?” she wondered.

Just then, a plump-looking man came in. She recognised him.
“Father Amadi,” she croaked weakly, “Where am I?”

“In my house dear,” he replied standing by her bedside. “I found you lying unconsciously on the road on my way home from a night vigil. You had only a top on.”

Nwakaego could only imagine what could have happened the previous night. She closed her eyes in shame.

“It is well, my daughter,” he comforted stroking her head.
        Father Amadi was the residing reverend in the Catholic church just close to his house. He took care of Nwakaego and talked to her about God. One day, he told her the story about the adulterous woman in the bible whom Jesus forgave in John 8:1-11.

“Nwakaego, Jesus loves you and forgave you. Why not come to Him?”

But Nwakaego did not. She found it difficult to believe in a God who had let her pass through so much. Still, she wondered if Father Amadi was right. He said he was an imitator of Christ. He was very caring and forgiving. Could Jesus be like that too?

Father Amadi was a voracious reader and had a library in his house. Whenever she was bored, she would read the books there. She began to read the Bible but still had her doubts. She read Francine Rivers’ ‘Redeeming Love’. She cried after reading it; the protagonist’s life was like hers. She also read about Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. Both had been rape victims but did not allow that to stop them from becoming something in life. She came across newspapers with stories about girls who committed suicide after being raped. She was saddened by their tragic ends and felt their lives would have had a better ending had they got back on their feet.

  She was reading the bible one day when she came across a passage in Deuteronomy 30:19-20a: “Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live. You can make this choice by loving the Lord, your God, obeying Him and committing yourself to Him….”

Right there, she chose life.
One Sunday service, she entered the church where Father Amadi preached.

“2 Corinthians 5:17,” he was saying, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Yes, she believed in Jesus. That day, she gave her life to Christ.
With Father Amadi’s encouragement, she became a counsellor in church especially for the young girls. Through that, she was able to reach out to many broken girls and women. Then church members noticed her gift and began to invite her to speak in religious organisations, schools and conferences. Later on, she started an NGO for sexually abused and rape victims. With the many donations to her NGO, she was able to give out scholarships to female students from poor families as well as start-up capitals to promising female entrepreneurs who had neither jobs nor any business.

      Whenever she was invited anywhere to give a talk, she would always emphasise, “Anyone who believes in Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Your past does not determine your future; your present does! So, take positive steps today, so that your tomorrow would be better than your yesterday!”

The Kalabari's Iria

The Kalabari’s Iria
         Onyinyechi scrolled through her Mother’s What’s App contacts. She was going through each of them. One of them shocked her.

“Onyi, what are you doing with my phone?” Mother asked as soon as she saw Onyinyechi.

Onyinyechi was too distracted to respond to that question.

“Mummy, your young friend Aunty Ibufuro has gained so much weight just after her first child and why is she doing her traditional wedding again?”

Mother took her phone from her and looked at Aunty Ibufuro’s What’s App profile picture.

“Oh, that’s not her wedding. It’s just her Iria.”

“Iria?” Onyinyechi was confused.

Mother sighed knowing she had a lot of explaining to do.

“Iria is an important ceremony by the Kalabari people. Kalabari is an ethnic group in the South-Western part of Rivers State. It is made up of three local government areas: Akuku-Toru, Degema and Asari-Toru which is the traditional headquarters.
The Iria cultural dance is displayed at important occasions such as chieftaincy installations, marriage and burials. It is also performed after the ‘fattening room’ period. The delivery of the baby – usually the first child- marks the beginning of the preparations for the fattening room. The new mother – the Iriabo- is confined to a ‘fattening room’ for three to six months, depending on the financial capacity of her husband. During this period, she is pampered and receives many gifts and food items. She is served delicacies like ‘onunu’, ‘isila’ and ‘ikili-odu’. She is expected to gain weight – in fact, it’s a proof of beauty and that her husband has taken care of her well. She would be taught dance steps to showcase at the Iria cultural dance. For the dance ceremony, she would be dressed in the typical Kalabari traditional attire.
A wrapper – George or Indian- would be wrapped around her waist like a full skirt, and a piece around her chest area. Her neck, thighs, ankles, arms and waist, would be adorned with coral beads. She would also hold a saucer on one hand and a walking stick on the other hand. She would dance to the admiration of all, to the beats of drums and songs of the women. Some spectators even shower her with money or even traditional clothes. Later, the guests and families would be served sumptuous meals and various drinks.”

Onyinyechi was fascinated. “But is this necessary seeing the whole process is expensive and time-consuming?”

Mother bobbed her head in thought. “Perhaps it’s not compulsory or it is… You see, men whose wives do not go through this process are ridiculed most at times. The dance attests that the husband is able to take care of his wife. That is why the Iria is held in high esteem.”

Onyinyechi nodded as she took this in. “This Iria sounds interesting. I would like to see one someday.”

“If you marry a Kalabari man you will do it,” Mother said smiling.

Onyinyechi shrugged. “Maybe, but I will go on a weight loss diet after that.”

Mother burst into laughter at this and Onyinyechi could not help joining in.

Traditional burial in some parts of Ikwerre

     One Saturday morning, Oyinyechi and her mother paid a visit to Mrs Woke, the wife of the deceased – Mr Woke. 

Mr Woke had been a ‘Knight’ while Mrs Woke had been a ‘Lady’ in the Anglican church that Onyinyechi and her family also attended. The burial had taken place in Omademe, a part of Ikwerre Local Government Area, so Onyinyechi and her mother had to travel all the way from Port Harcourt to the Wokes’ family house in Omademe. The couple was well known in church, so the house was filled with church members, as well as their relatives and friends, helping in the house and comforting Mrs Woke. After paying condolences to Mrs Woke, Onyinyechi and her mother headed back to the city.

“Thank God for Christianity,” Mother said on the drive home.

“Hmmn…Why do you say that?” Onyinyechi asked curiously.

“I said that because Christianity has helped in removing some unfair traditional practices. In the past, widows suffered greatly in the hands of their in-laws and even their family members during the burial rites of their deceased husbands.
The widow would be dressed in black and would be escorted by a more senior widow to climb the Ojo. Ojo means bad. The Ojo is an elevated platform built from the Oturu tree. A long bamboo is then mounted by the side of the Ojo, on which the deceased’s Oha (red cap) and his old clothes are hung. This showed that the deceased belonged to the Oha – the company of leaders with the highest title in the land. The corpse of the deceased would be placed on this Ojo and there would the widow and her escort remain till the following day, when the corpse would be buried.
As she is seated on the Ojo, she was expected to cry for her late husband. Those around her – mainly women- would try to make her laugh even up to tickling her! If she laughed, she would be made to pay a fine for committing such an abomination.”

“But that’s not fair!” Onyinyechi chirped in, piqued, “That means she always has to put on an act of sadness and force herself to cry. It’s not easy at all and those tickling her are just making things difficult for her.”

Mother shrugged. “It was the practice then. The widow would be made to carry a machete with a small padlock tied to it anywhere she went with the belief that it would protect the widow from bad spirits. The widow’s hair, toe and finger nails would be cut and put in her late husband’s grave. In some cases, during and after the burial of the husband, the widow was beaten and forced to sleep on plantain leaves or mats spread on the floor. Throughout the mourning period, which was usually for a year, the widow was forced to wear sack cloth, walk barefoot, prohibited from entering any vehicle and forbidden from entering another relationship with a man. If a widow happens to die during this mourning period, it was regarded as an abomination and she was denied a befitting burial. Strangely too, such traditions were usually enforced by fellow women who may have acted out of jealousy or revenge.”

“So, such practices have stopped now because of Christianity?” Onyinyechi asked hopefully.

“I believe such practices are rare now or are now of the past.” Mother replied.

There was silence as the car drove on.

“Thank God for Christianity,” Onyinyechi muttered.

“Yes, thank God,” Mother concurred.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Advent of Christianity in Eleme

For all those that love their history, here's a story for you! :

  One Friday afternoon, Onyinyechi came back from school fuming.

“Mummy good afternoon,” she managed to mumble to her mother in greeting as she furiously banged the front door close.
Her mother, startled by the hard bang, looked at her in surprise.

“Onyi dear, what happened today?” she asked in concern.

Onyinyechi was already heading to her room.

“It’s our principal,” she said tightly, “And that his annoying new policy of ‘If you don’t pay your school fees, don’t bother resuming school’ ".

“But you have paid your school fees Onyi. Why is it bothering so much?” Mother asked, beckoning her to seat with her on the sofa.

Onyinyechi sat down heavily. “It’s not about me Mummy,” she explained, “It’s about the many students affected; more than half of the student population! I don’t know who gave him this new idea. Parents have been calling and begging him to reconsider his decision but he has remained adamant!”

“I see your principal is very unyielding and firm,” Mother said thoughtfully.

“Exactly!” Onyinyechi wailed, “It’s as if he wants to wage war on the ‘defaulting’ students.”

Just then, a thought came to Mother. “You said your principal is from Eleme?”

“Yes,” Onyinyechi answered.

“That may explain your principal’s unbending character. You see, the people of Eleme were known as strong warriors in those days. In fact, they usually settled their disputes by going to wars.”


Onyinyechi’s mood brightened up a bit. “I’ve heard about the people of Eleme in Rivers State but I don’t know much about them. Do they still go on wars to settle their disputes?”

Mother chuckled. “Perhaps not so much anymore with the advent of Christianity in their place."

"Eleme is a Local Government Area that is 20km east of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

Its headquarters is Ogale. It has ten main towns: Agbonchia, Akpajo, Alesa, Aleto, Alode, Ogale, Ebubu, Ekporo, Eteo and Onne.. Its head is known as Oneh-Eh-Eleme.

In the past, Eleme people settled disputes by going to war. There was always the loss of lives and property and yet, there was no guaranty they would win a war. So, they decided to go in search of a supernatural power that would always grant them victory.

The Elemes sent a group of people for this purpose who went to Opobo. There, they met a Christian preacher who preached about power in Jesus’ name.

This name carried power that enabled you to heal the sick, defeat the forces of darkness and even raise the dead to life. The Elemes were interested in this power.

“There is an ongoing war in our land,” they told the preacher, “Please give us this power so that this war can end.”

“This power can be got from God’s word,” the preacher answered.

“Where is this God’s word?” they probed.
“In the Bible!” the preacher exclaimed excitedly.

He went further to read the Bible to them, prayed with them and even gave them the Bible. They were disappointed; it showed clearly on their facial expressions.

The preacher smiled knowingly. “Brethren, this word of God would protect you if only you could have faith in God and obey His instructions here. One of them is that we should not engage in wars because vengeance belongs to Him. Instead, it is commanded that we show love to our enemies and spread this ‘message’ of love.”

When it was over, the Elemes returned to their land with the Bible the preacher gave them. They heeded to the preacher’s advice and began to preach the gospel and show love. This led to peace with their neighbours and brought the war to an end. With time, they built a church for their Christian meetings. This growing peace and love brought the people of Opobo and Eleme who were once fighting each other, together. Then, Christian missionaries established schools in Eleme. Today, Eleme has many churches,

 schools,

 petroleum refineries,
companies and one of the largest sea ports in West Africa located at Onne, one of its famous towns.”

“Wow, what an interesting story,” Onyinyechi said, now in a better mood, “Maybe our principal needs a preacher that will talk him out of his decision.”
Mother chuckled. “Maybe dear. Now go change into your house clothes!”

















Angry River Benue


  Hey story lovers! I decided to write a story about experiencing flood. You know, it's been happening lately and more frequently like Hurricane Harvey/ Flooding in Houston, Texas, America , flooding in Benue State, Nigeria and even in some parts of Rivers State and Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Flooding is terrible because of the losses, trauma and devastation it causes. So I included a few solutions on how to combat it as much as possible. Sometimes however, we can't truly avoid it. What could be the cause? : global warming? Signs of end time? Whatever may be the cause, may we never experience such.



Angry River Benue

That day,I thought God was angry with us and He was doing what He warned Noah about.

  It began one morning.Mum and Dad had gone out while my baby brother,Onnah and I were at home.Rain was falling and the sky had turned gray.That shade of gray that caused melatonin to be released and made me sleep.In my dream,I was swimming in a river.Suddenly,I was drowning.I was so overwhelmed with fear that I woke up...but my nightmare had become real.All around me was water;our house was flooded! From our open door,I saw waves of water pouring in but I didn't see...

"Onnah!" I screamed."Where was my little brother?" My heart beat rapidly; my adrenaline-filled blood coursing through my veins.I tried looking for him in the waist-deep water but the strong current was pulling my small body into its depth.

"Emiene!" ,my mother called out to me.She carried me into her arms.

"What about Onnah?" I asked. There was no reply, only her dragged breaths as she waded through the ocean that had intruded our home at Idye.
Days later, Mum,Dad and I were in a building filled with many people who had also lost their homes due to the flood.Onnah was not with us.Mum explained that God had taken Onnah to heaven during the flood.I cried.Dad said we were now refugees so the government was taking care of us for now.He told me that this would not happen again.He had written to the government, preventive measures to be taken and even read it out to me:

"Create good drainage systems and keep them clean.Dredge river Benue.Create dams,reservoirs,lakes and retention ponds to hold the extra water during flooding.Town planning to ensure waterways are not blocked Planting lots of vegetation to help protect the land from erosion and moving flood water.Decongest flood-prone and low lying areas.Educate the public on the importance of keeping the drainage system clean and teach people how to swim."

I nodded but I felt something was missing, so I added:

"Tell the government to build an ark."

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Do you know the story of the baby giraffe?

When a baby giraffe is born, it falls down from its mother's womb, some 8 feet above the ground. Still to weak to move, it's mother KICKS the baby giraffe into the air before it falls to the ground again! As it still lies curled up,trembling and weak, the mother KICKS it again into the air! finally, though still trembling and weak, the baby giraffe is forced to push its limbs for the first time and get up on its feet. Happy to see her baby giraffe finally on its feet, Mother giraffe still yet gives baby giraffe another kick into the air! The giraffe falls again but this time, recovers quickly and gets up. Mother giraffe is happy for she knows baby giraffe has learnt an important lesson:

"Never mind how hard you fall, always remember to pick yourself up and get back on your feet".

Mother giraffe does this because she knows lions and tigers love giraffe meat. So unless baby giraffe quickly learns to stand and run with others, it would have no chance of survival.

That's the lesson we should learn:"When life gives you kicks several times and you fall or stagger, you must bounce back again!

 Falling is part of life, stop pitying or condemning yourself. You're a work in progress because God is not finished with you.


Yes people may have mocked you like in Micah 7:8-10:"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy:when I fall, I shall rise;when I sit in darkness,  the Lord shall be a light to me. Then she that is mine enemy shall see it and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? "
Be patient because what God has in store for you is better and greater than you can ever imagine that it would shock those that looked down on you.

And of course, never forget Proverbs 24:16: "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again".

Creativity



Creativity is the quality or ability to create or invent something. It is the capacity to think independently or be inventive. It is the quality of being original, novel or pioneering.

  Every human is born creative but sadly, not everyone uses his/her creativity. As children, our minds were not limited. We may have imagined that we could fly in the air and even reach up to heaven and see how God looks like. We may have wanted to be super heroes, save the world or be president.

 But as we grew, we learnt that most of our aspirations and imaginations could not happen in the real world. We were dictated by society what was expected of us. We went to school and learnt oxygen is a component of air and had to accept it as that even if we could not see it. ‘Keep your opinions to yourself, please!’ We were told that we should go to school and become a doctor/lawyer/engineer, get a job and have money. Gradually, our thinking became patterned to a particular way.

We began to think that those who did well in school were smart and those who didn’t were dumb. We think that fortune had smiled on those who held white-collar jobs while misfortune had befallen those who had blue-collar jobs instead. We think that those aspiring to be artistes/artists/actors/models…were not serious about life. We think that politics or corruption is the only way to be truly wealthy. We look at our gifts – perhaps we write nice poems or make nice drawings – and we think, “Can this thing even fetch me some money?” If we think ‘no’, we discard it. Because we can’t sing, dance, play an instrument, fix a car or create an app like some of our mates, we may feel that we are not creative; we end up thinking less of ourselves.

    But you see, everyone was born for a purpose and because of that purpose, God has endowed us with different gifts. Our purpose is to solve a problem somewhere but the way that problem is going to be solved will be differently handled by different individuals. Now, this is where creativity comes in. Take for instance, the issue of reconnecting with long lost contacts, friends and families. Mark Zuckerberg, while still a student in the university, created Facebook. Another instance was the problem of communicating across long distances and different locations which was solved by Alexander Graham Bell who devised the first telephone. Who ever thought that a machine would fly on air and even carry people in it? The Wright brothers thought so and created the aeroplane. I could go on and on…Thomas Edison and the light bulb, Larry Page and Google, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Henry Ford and Ford Motors, Mike Adenugua and Glo.

They all found a problem and used innovative ideas to fix it.
You don’t need to do what others do. If you’re good in planning and organising things, you could consider being an event planner. If you’re good at listening and offering sound advice, you could make a good counsellor or psychologist. Perhaps you like details and going into the bottom of a matter, that’s what detectives do. You love planting and pruning flowers as an art? Why not be a horticulturist?


   You know what your strengths/talents/gifts are, work on them and add your unique blend to them. If it is designing homes, design homes so well and uniquely that people would come looking for you. You know that problem everybody is complaining about, then find a way to solve it. Most billionaires today solved problems. You have that burning desire to do or be something, then start now towards it.

Maybe you are yet to discover what you are good at. Ask yourself: “What do I enjoy doing?”, “What would I talk about all day long if I had all the time?”, “What do I do so easily, yet others struggle to do it?”, “What have people always complimented me for?”, “What problem do I always think of solving?”.

You would need to take out time to answer these questions and do more reflection and soul-searching to really discover your hidden gifts. In the end, you would find out that you have one or more gifts. You may need more guidance; ask the Holy Spirit or a someone that knows you well for help. When you’ve discovered your gift, try to take part in activities that would not only grow that gift but will also get people to know about your gift. You never know, one day someone may hear about your gift and call you to embark on something big that could transform your life for the better! This advice is to all Nigerian youths out there – whether you hawk, you're into trading or business, you're in school or you’re at home idle. Know your talents/gifts, work on them and get creative.

   Free your mind of limitations! Dream big, hope for the best, have faith, keep on trying and persevering.

Honestly, it’s not going to be easy to do something that nobody has done before or to pioneer things in your own unique way, but it is possible. Never anyone to make you feel inferior just because you are not good in what they do; you are good in what you do. Truth is, if God gave you all the talents in the world, many would go to waste because they won’t be used in achieving the purpose God sent you to earth for. Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking of it. Anytime you want to quit, think of all the people watching to see you fail… and think of the people who wants to see you succeed. Never live a life you would end up wondering, “What if I had tried?”

When you feel like giving up on your dream, think on why you started in the first place and why you kept hanging on. Look at how far you have gone; you may not be where you want to be, but you’re better than you were yesterday. Remember that your gift/creativity is only unique to you and it’s for a purpose.

 So, be creative, be original, be you…




Friday, 11 August 2017

I have a dream

         August 28,1963, American Civil Rights Activist,  Martin Luther King, delivered a public speech that would forever change American history. This speech is titled "I have a dream".

In that speech, Martin Luther King expressed his dream that one day, America would be free of slavery and racism.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.


 I have a dream,  one day,  right here in Alabama,  little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.


 I have a dream,  one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed,  'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal. I have a dream...."

At that time,  such a dream seemed so impossible in the midst of racism, boycotting, arrests, segregation and discriminating laws. Today, that dream is fulfilled or at least,  almost fulfilled.

   What is your dream? Is it to be doctor or an artiste one day? Is it transforming your society to a better place? Is it learning a new skill or an opportunity to display your God-given gift or talent?  Well, I have news for you: yes, it is possible!

  It may seem impossible now, but never you give up on it. Life does not become a regret when we fail at something but when we never tried doing what we deeply desired. You know what you want deep down? Then don't give up! Keep on believing, working hard towards it, hoping, being positive and declaring what you want. You may not be where you want to be after so many failed attempts but if you do these, you will surely get there or at least, close to that place some day. A saying goes thus: "Reach for the stars and if you don't get there,  you will land on the moon. "
Remember: "The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams. " Let your motto be, "I won't give up, because ...I have a dream. "


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Getting a scholarship


      One of our dreams as students is to get a scholarship but after trying so many times, we're it as a mere dream.  Truth is that dream can become real.  Yes,  getting a scholarship is possible though not as easy.  Students like you have got these scholarships, you can too!
So,  I am going to share with you helpful tips that would increase your chances of winning a scholarship :

1. Be up-to-date: Many have missed scholarship opportunities simply due to ignorance.  It is therefore important that you are always informed about ongoing or expected scholarships. Subscribe to websites that deal on scholarships, register with that Cyber-café in school that is into scholarships, regularly surf the net,  join What's App groups that share scholarship updates and of course, ask people around about any ongoing scholarship.

2. Always have the necessary documents: To be forewarned is to be forearmed . There are some documents that are always almost required for scholarship applications like JAMB admission letter,  JAMB original result,  birth certificate, O' Level result,  school ID card,  etc. Do not wait till you are applying for a scholarship before you start running around to get them.  If a document is required for one scholarship, chances are that it would be required in another. Get all your documents stored in soft copy in your phone,  flash drive,  computer or in whatever form you can easily retrieve it for future use.

3. Apply early: "The early bird catches the worm", the saying goes. Being among the first applicants would also put you among the first for consideration. So apply early and boost your chances of getting selected.

4. Follow instructions: When applying for some scholarships,  it is required that the document be in a particular format like JPEG, PDF, WORD or some other format. They may require a particular document stamped and endorsed by your HOD.  They may want you to arrange the documents in a particular order.  Do not assume that they would overlook your not adhering to instructions. Sometimes what can distinguish one student from others is simply adhering to instructions and please,  be honest with the information you give.

5. Try out past questions: Some scholarship exams repeat the questions they have given over the years,  others do not.  Either ways,  it is important to practice past questions. Not only would they teach you on the best ways to answer,  they would offer helpful insights on what you should expect.

6. Being selected: Never assume that because they have called you to take the exam,  it is as good as winning the scholarship. Follow instructions till the end.  Go early,  dress well and bring the required documents.

7. Taking the exam: Of course, you would not know all the answers to the different questions. Read the instructions carefully. Answer the questions you know as quickly and as carefully as you can first. For the ones you do not know,  look for the options that appear similar and the one that stands out different. Look out for any particular sequence in the options. Use common sense, obviously. Worst case scenario, answer all unknown questions using a particular options like option A/B /C / D through out.  Seems like gambling but chances are some will be correct.

8. After everything: If you eventually get the scholarship, Good for you!  If you do not,  it is not the end.  Find out where you went wrong and learn from it.  Keep on applying for scholarships; do not give up! Do not look down on a scholarship or feel you are not qualified enough or feel that the requirements are too much.  If getting a scholarship is your dream,  then keep pushing till the door opens.  Even if you still do not get,  do not beat yourself.  Try other rewarding opportunities like writing competitions, quizzes,  debates,  being the best in your department, talent competition, leadership or even beauty pageants. You never know where your breakthrough would come from!

    Remember,  the future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.








Tips on how to do great in a course


     An adage goes: "He that fails to plan has planned to fail." If you intend on doing well in a course,  you should have strategies on how to tackle it.
Outlined below are helpful tips on how you can go about this:

1. Start early:
 Before the beginning of the semester, you should know the courses you will offer,  the recommended textbooks and past questions. While others are still returning and recovering from the holidays, you should have started going through your books.  This does not necessarily mean that you should get all that textbook into your head but going through it would give you an idea on what you are most likely going to face.


2. Attend lectures:
   Although people have different ways of learning, it is nevertheless advisable to attend lectures as much as possible. Lectures can make a course easier to understand than mere reading it in a textbook. They give you an idea on what the lecturer expects from you in exam,  you will be able to ask the lecturer questions and sometimes, all that you need to pass an exam is to write what the lecturer gave in class.  If you cannot attend lectures,  at least get the notes from those that went for the lecture.

3. Get help! :  If you find a course difficult,  do not be ashamed or afraid to meet your course mates,  lecturer or any other person that has better understanding of it.  If the person you meet does not know or refuses to help,  meet another person.  One tough  topic you have been seating on for hours can be made easier within minutes  by just an explanation.

4. Develop passion: Have you noticed that you hardly hesitate to learn new things concerning the things  you are passionate about? So it is with courses! You tend to do better in courses you are passionate about. You want to do well in that painfully boring difficult course? Then be passionate or make yourself passionate about it,  at least till you are done with the course. They say, "Fake it till you make it ". Convince yourself by saying things like: "I love this course! ", "This is great course even if I don't see it as such now.", "This course would help me in future one day" . Then put in your best like your whole life depends on it.  You will be surprised on how much better you will eventually do in that course.

5. Discuss:
 Edgar Dale said "We retain 10% of what we read, 70% of what we discuss with others and 95% of what we teach others." By discussing what you have learnt with your course mates, it would not only stick better  but it would alert you to your mistakes. Sometimes it was those group discussion prior to exam that made you realise what you missed in your personal reading. Even explaining a difficult topic to your course mate can make you understand the course more.

6. Read to know and not just to pass: As much as possible, read your course to really understand it.  This can be painstakingly slow and mentally demanding, so it is best to do this before or early in the semester. Do researches and read widely especially books related to the course.  Not only would you gain more information that would help in presenting a better work in assignments or exams,  you will not easily forget what you have an in-depth understanding of compared to what you cram.

7. Be informed: No man is an island. Stay abreast of what is happening in class so as to know any information  concerning assignments to be submitted, expected tests,  scheduled practicals or classes and exam venues.  One vital piece of information can save someone from missing an exam.

8. Think positively: "Reach for the stars and if you don't get them,  you will land on the moon" . Believe you will pass and discard every thought of failure. People have successfully passed this course,  so why can't you? Aim for the highest possible grade,  impossible as it may seem.  You will see that even if you do not get that grade,  you will get close to it.  Believe you will pass it this time even if you did not pass it before. Have faith in yourself, in God and think big!





Friday, 9 June 2017

Destiny


We were born,
Despite the difficulties and pains of labour, we came into the world.
Destiny.

As children,.
 it was our dream, to be that "hero" someday
Destiny.

We were growing,
Our friends struggled to do it but we could easily do it...so naturally. 
Destiny.

We went to school,
For our parents felt they knew best, yet that childhood dream remained.
Destiny.

We got older,
Got a job, got married, got everything, yet something was missing.
Destiny.

We began to search ourselves,
We searched our souls, we searched our hearts, we searched for
Destiny.

Some stop,
For they decide the journey to self is difficult but we will not till we reach
Destiny.

We saw it,
In different opportunities. We felt its tug pulling us to what we were called to be; pulling us to
Destiny.

For those that get it,
They feel fulfilled. For others that do not, they feel incomplete for it is a life without
Destiny.


Even as our hearts beat weakly,
As our eyes closed to a forever sleep and our souls slipped to a world beyond,
We realise that was why we were here in the first place. We were born for it; it was our
Destiny.



     Dear reader,  don't give up on your dream for "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." If you can dream it,  you can do it!  So long as God laid that vision in your heart, He knows you can do it. Just keep on trusting Him,  believe in yourself, keep dreaming, keep pushing, keep declaring positive things. Remember "Aim for the 🌟 stars, if you don't reach it,  you will land on the 🌙 moon. "

Friday, 21 April 2017

Medical School?- WARNING : DANGER TO YOUR FAITH!!

        Before we entered medical school, we may have been staunch Christians, perhaps vowed to God that if He gives us admission, we will serve Him like never before. Then we got admission, Yay!!! But we find out we become less strong in our faith. We do not serve as before( vow broken). Going to church is now time-consuming. Worse, some of us lose our faith entirely.Why does this often happen in medical school?

1. Stress: Let's face it, medical school is not easy. We have to cram much within a short time. We have to make good grades to pass MB. For those who have to resit, the course becomes a 'god' that they always think of. Worse still, is the psychological trauma a medic has to face if he/she repeats. We feel so stressed out, we wonder if God is really with us. We may feel like giving up - perhaps in medical school, in God or both.

2. Life crisis: Unfortunately during medical school, we may experience devastating crises that makes us feel abandoned by our friends and God. I heard about a guy who had to repeat, lost his home to fire and then his mother and felt abandoned by his course mates. (What advice can you give to such a person? You can drop your suggestions in the comment box below).

3. Peer pressure: In the university there are many negative influences - bad friends, alcohol, cultism, pornography, drugs. If a medic happens to get involved with such, he/she may condemn him/her self as unforgivable by God and decide to remain there. Yet, no matter our sins,God is always ready to forgive us.

4. Idolatry: From missing fellowships, to missing church, to missing even our personal time with God, medicine then ranks first in our priorities. Gradually, medicine becomes an 'idol'.

So how can we avoid being derailed?
 1. The PPPs: Prayer, personal bible study, people of God( which means joining Christian fellowships or a church).  Medical school may make you feel like you can never have time but when you are determined to make out time for these 3 Ps,you will find the time and will still pass your exams if you read. It could range from few minutes to hours depending on your schedule. Besides, medical school has a funny way of letting you feel you haven't covered enough even when you use all the 24 hours in a day.

2. Be yourself: No matter how our peers may want to cajole us into doing the wrong things we should always take our stand on what we know is right just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Eventually such people would let us be even if they may criticise us.

3. Ask for help! : If you are feeling depressed, losing your faith or in need of help, please meet someone you can rely on( friend, family, church/fellowship member, CMDA). Don't feel like a failure or ashamed to ask for help.

4. Have fun!: Smile, laugh, play - just give yourself a break before you break down.    

       Above all, we are God's children. Medicine will end one day but God and His word will always remain. So let's care for our souls and faith as we would care for our patients one day.          

3 John 1:2: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."