Monday, December 28, 2009

Arise O'Compatriots!

The title of this post's the very first line in my homecountry's 'National Anthem'.Since the unsuccessful attempt of the suicide bomber last week,I really didn't think much of  it until today.
Hubby and I were at the Nigerian Consulate earlier in the day to collect our new e-passports('e' is the abbreviation for 'ECOWAS  which stands for 'Economic Community of West African States).The previous one is not even half-full and still has a couple of years more to expiration.But there's a deadline to its expiration for Nigerian Passport holders across the globe.Anyway,to cut a long story short,being there really made me feel somewhat nostalgic and I just felt this sense of  patriotism.The Channel on the DSTV was CNN...go figure!Fellow Nigerians present there joked about how US's going to halt any visa offering to Nigerians because of this shocking discovery.I had a few words to say too.I mean,applicants practically sleep at the US consulate in Lagos,so they may as well just close it up,if that's what they wish to do.
But coming back to the real issue here,I am personally affected not just as a Nigerian,but as a Muslim.I have eased things for myself by accepting that 'islamophobia' is here to stay.But that doesn't suffice to say that I won't get concerned whenever there's some news (which happens more often than not) about some Suicide bombers in Afghanistan,Karachi,Pakistan,Iraq or anywhere in the world for that matter.It is really mindbuggling and saddening that people take things to the extreme and do not value human lives.Since when did my country get 'international attention' for 'bombing'?I mean,it used to be '419' and the famous 'Computer Scam'...like those weren't enough for negative publicity.What really bothers me is the 'stereotyping' one gets,innocent or ignorant,guilty or not.The fact that once you mention your nationality as a Nigerian,you get a quizzical look and a very suspicious one too,surely doesn't want you to scream 'am proudly Nigerian' anywhere you find yourself;hostile territory or not!And here I am clamouring for 'peace','patriotism','giving back' and all that mantra'bout true nationalism....I must be kidding myself,I think!
I mean,where do I actually begin?The consequences of the 'label' we have been tagged as a nation not really affects the so-called leaders directly,but the ordinary citizens like myself.
I will never forget the Bank experience while in England,a few years back.We were refused practically because we were first of all 'Blacks' and to worsen an already bad situation,by being 'Nigerians'.Hubby told me some of the Banks wouldn't open an account for me but he wasn't going to accept that lying low...I trust him for that.After the 'diplomatic' refusal at two different Banks,we ended up at Barclay's and we got our way..not without some resilience of course!
The South African experience is far worse,but not  just because  am a Nigerian....for a regular South African,being a foreigner is all you need to be stigmatised!No pun intended,that's the effect of"post-apartheid.Hopefully,they'll get over it sometime in the future.But what came as a teeny,weeny,tiny relief was the fact that an average South African knows something about Nigerian soccer or 'Home videos,really gave me a sense of 'patriotism' and made made me 'a little proud'.I won't go as far as saying that I can 'walk with my head up high'.. that would be overstating the fact.
I won't beat myself up for something I wasn't 'directly responsible' for,but it just isn't easy (at least not for me) to discard the news or hold it with a pinch of salt either.I mean,we've got enough going on in our backyards as it is already.We certainly do not need some spoilt and confused brat adding salt to injury.One thing I can say for certain is the fact that,the young man had his 'hypnotic state' into this cult of suicide bombers abroad.I do not have the statistics,but I don't even need one to ascertain the fact that,'my people love life' and suicide isn't just our thing..we'd rather suffer in silence and top it with a smile!People do not want to die,not for anything whatsoever.And if we'll be rated on a scale of one to ten,we'll probably be in position two or three.I know my people well enough and I can assure you we are very rugged and have a positive attitude to life,no matter how bad the situation gets.....it's still "suffering and smiling" according to the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti's lyrics.
And so,need I say at this juncture that,if at any point in time,you have been misguided into thinking ' all Muslims are fanatics,fundamentalists and hence,terrorists-YOU ARE VERY MISTAKEN!
I will first and foremost ask if you know me well enough,and if so,then tell me if you ever for once think I'll take a human life,an innocent child's life,defenceless women's lives,young, valued and promising men's lives as well?If your answer is in the negative,then think of all the Muslims you've ever known,had the privilege of interacting with and ask yourself,if ever for once you felt threatened by them,if you ever felt insecure and unsafe in their presence,if you ever had any cause to stop interacting with them nor associating with them because you fear for your life?Need I say more?Draw your conclusions therein.
I speak for the true and God-fearing Muslims across the globe when I say that,"the God,Allah that we worship does not grant us the permission to kill innocent people,destroy people's homes,render babies fatherless,incure huge unwarranted expenses on the government by committing arson or tear families apart and leave them in anguish....No,no,no,no,no way!
The word "Islam" means "peace".And no matter what Osama bin Laden is known for,he does not represent the world population of Muslims.He may have followers but that does not mean "every single Muslim' you come across is out to get you.You do not need to live in fear or be afraid to associate with people of other faiths.....God bless Nigeria and God help us out of this mess...!
I rest my case!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

'been a lil'while!

I've had 'moments' and times to myself that  I could have spared to update my blog,but I didn't.Even though I had the free time,the thoughts were just not co-ordinated....
I haven't stepped outside this house in the last fourty-eight hours,but it didn't feel like a"cell" unlike the past.I have come to appreciate what not having much to do,mentally does to your brain and psyche.There were two concurrent days I didn't even put on the PC at all.It was deliberate.I mean,there are other things I could have been doing and preoccupy myself with,had I the privilege of  physical contacts.Since I got my sewing machine a couple of months back,I have developed a keeness for sewing,however amateurish the sewing turns out.But so far,I think I have done well.With no one to put me through and limited resources (the Internet's actually the only one available) and failed promises of assistance by my neighbour and our staff;I decided to keep exploring by myself.
It's a holiday but nothing in my neighbourhood gives one that feeling,with the exception of some ill-mannered few causing pandemonium,playing loud and intolerable music from their cars,and another insensible one speeding through the streets with a motorbike,oh!Lest I forget,a couple of houses had the ritual Christmas decorations...Otherwise,you'd have thought the community was evacuated..yes,that's how quiet it is!
Or should I say"boring" and "overly dry"?It's a beautiful day and it'd have been a good day for picnic if we had plan to go out.But that's not up to me,so it's better I don't fantasise too much...

I know the Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) is holding presently back in my homecountry.It's an avenue for the muslims to also have something doing and to improve their religious and spiritual well being at this time of the year.I was never a 'regular',but I most likely would have attended as a 'visitor',were I back home.
Am almost bored now being on the internet and sewing both,requires me sitting down.And I just get tired of sitting with the lower-back pain that wouldn't go away...I think I better resume my sewing now...after grabbing something to eat of course.Am famished!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Very inspiring story...copied &pasted from another site!

THE MAYONNAISE JAR
----------------------

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, When 24 hours in a day is not enough; remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and starts to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded With an unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car.
The sand is everything else -- The small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, You will never have room for the things that are important to you.
So..Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.
'Take care of the golf balls first -- The things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. 

'I'm glad you asked'.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The pictures I promised to post...




and the weekend get=away at the same venue..


A very lonely night here..


I read a lot.I read almost anything I can understand and benefit from.I read till my eyes are strained and then remind myself to pause.And in the past,I usually ended up having headaches.Today,I can't say the headache I've had all day was caused by"excessive reading".I think somewhere deep down in my subconscious,I'm disturbed about something,but I can't put my finger on it.The weekend was quite hectic,I was under pressure to'deliver' the goods and deliver the goods I did!The guest house staff received a call from my homecountry on Friday and the person had insisted on speaking with"the boss"!Eventually,I had to speak with this enquirer.She wanted transportation from the airport to somewhere  in Johannesburg and then back to the airport later in the day.It was a very tight fix because we hadn't been able to get the remaining seats for the Bus..oh!There's the bus by the way.But we 'made a plan' as the South Africans' would say.Well,since hubby's away,I was in charge and had to make decisions on my feet.the taxi man refused to show up and we were just fortunate to get another one impromptu.Also at a good bargain since we couldn't charge the guests extra after they've made part-payment.But I was at my best and made things work.It's just so strange that I do better when hubby's away.I think I underestimate my managerial skills and give little credit to myself.

I wasn't happy leaving my kids at home since the housekeeper doesn't come on weekends and the guest house staff can't really be with them the whole time.They almost burnt down the kitchen..thank God they didn't.It just confirmed my fear of not wanting to leave them alone in the house.I have said this before but people who don't know my kids think am just exaggerating or being paranoid....my kids need 'extra-attention.I am used to being cautious and protecting them both because they play really hard and rough than most kids and needs special attention.I know am not a paranoid or an over-protective mother.Sometimes,I may get blamed for not looking after them  properly.Just today,seeing my daughter cling on to the pole of the cloth-line,I starred and asked myself how I've been able to do it.How I've been able to prevent them from broken bones and scarred faces and even drowning in a non-covered five feet deep pool.But it's really not my making.God is really watching over them,even though I try my best always.Their dad has has told me I worry too much on different occasions.
My headache's subsided but I don't think I'll be able to go further this night.A couple of hours ago,I was feeling really sick and now am suddenly feeling lonely and a little homesick altogether.There are times I want to be on my own and meditate..I've had most part of the day to do that at the office.The kids're asleep now and am just on my own...this night,that "space' feels more like a vacuum that needs to be filled.
But hey,this is me..I'll get over it once I get up from this seat to do something else.I think I've inducted some of my friends into my 'appearing offline to everyone' status of  yahoo messenger,when am actually online.I told them so and now they're the 'pros' of that 'coded status'..!!!Talk of boomerang!
Signing out...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

...my fantasy world (concluding part)

So besides worrying about my next house neighbour's dog littering my compound with their faeces,turning my bin upside down and messing the entire place with rubbish,I had to deal with a househelp that "refuses" to do dishes with sponge but napkin instead (against my instruction of course),take my kids out barefooted while she had a pair of slippers on,and feed them with chips and bread,prefers sweeping the carpet with a mop inplace of a brush or a vacuum,packs coloured and white clothings together for laundry in the washing machine (she's discoloured a few clothes doing this and I now check before she presses the 'start button,but I wonder what would happen on days that am away)!Isn't that something?I've never seen worst combination of meal!Fries with bread???As I write this post,the same lady's been having breakfast for over one hour,seated on the couch.And after she's done,now she's standing behind me,holding a napkin,but standing still ,leaning against the wall and watching t.v.This is a routine and I've never complained.I ask what she wants to eat for breakfast and lunch,never imposed any meal on her.We sometimes eat at the same time in the lounge,she watches about three Soapies everyday and even took a nap yesterday afternoon when she finished her chores.She said she wanted her pair of jeans reduced and I did that for her using my sewing machine.I even asked her if she wanted the zig-zag design or the straight sewing.She relaxes after her meals to watch t.v without being interrupted and I do joke with her despite our communication deficiencies.......she must be really afraid of me indeed!Common,gimme a break!
I don't raise my voice when I speak to her...(I yell at my kids when they're driving me nuts like now) .And I have never made her feel  inferior in anyway.As a matter of fact,she even comes to work dressed more'elegant' than I do and that's no exaggeration.You'll only be able to differentiate the'ma'am from the employee when I give instructions.Material things have never been the centre of my life so that does not bother me one bit.On the contrary,my simplicity is synonymous to me for those who know me.I couldn't be more humble even if I wanted to.The way I've always related with all my husband's staff,they feel very relaxed around me.I joke with them,discuss and have conversations on real life issues.So much so that some of them confide in me.This lady's not as respectful or dutiful like the other staff in the guest house.She walks around the house pausing to watch t.v every second or minute.Yet,I've never complained-or should I?Am very sensitive even too sensitive that most of my friends who really know me say I worry too much.I'm always asking people if they're alright even if they're unwilling to admit it.I did ask her yesterday if she was okay or needed aspirin when she took a nap,thinking perhaps she wasn't feeling well.I was on the phone with a friend who heard me asking her this.And she couldn't help teasing me of being'too kind' !She asked why I was worried when the lady was taking a nap and of being what she refers to as "being too concerned and unnecessarily generous".She's always warned me not to be"too nice" and that these people don't deserve it, because they still end up being ungrateful.Some of them even steal from you or backbite and bad-mouth you behind  your back.

The southern Africans have their own peculiar "language" and way of addressing people.There's less courtesy and respect in comparison to most African countries especially the West Africa where am from.So my people're generally offended by the way South Africans address them and their lack of respect.We're both (West and Southern Africa) coming from different backgrounds and were raised differently.So one needs to exercise a lot of patience and tolerance especially because you're thousands of miles away from home and these aren't "your own people".The least of the annoying things I could complain about is her lack of intelligence in simple things as arranging plates according to their shapes (square plates and round dishes).Lumping everything together,covers and plastics without concern and just awaiting the pay-day.What can you do?I already told her to be less wasteful with food and water within this short space of time she's been with us...don't even get me started!All these are things I had to pour out here because I can't even take her through how to do things when she doesn't understand English and I don't speak her language!
Where I come from,you don't stand around watching t.v while your boss' around,with you in the same room,when you're on duty!Still,I've not complained'.......so is this lady really afraid of me???

I guess I should just remain in my fantasy world of wanting things done rightly and correctly (not necessarily my own way)!!!

My fantasy world....

......is my own imagination,where I"wish" for not every dream;but the"good and positive ones to come true"!I welcome you to my world of fantasies.

Okay,confession time!I may not be the snobbish girl on the block,but I can be a little irritable when I start asking things (almost everything,that is) to be 'perfect'....Yeah,I am like that.Let me tell you about what I call "my domestic dilemma'.The newly employed house help is actually supposed to'drive me to the walls',but I try not to let her.Especially since I've resolved to expend my energy on the most important things in life and let trivialities remain at bay.In all honesty,I am never one of those that undermine the power of communication (not because am studying "Communication Science though).And so it was that I either had to still "do it myself",or continue to complain until am tagged"the nagging boss (or boss'wife)"...Oh!she calls me"ma'am by the way...and don't giggle because I don't let it get into my head.Many people refer to me as ma'am or Hajia (title for a female Pilgrim in Islam).But I haven't performed the pilgrimage yet.I pray to do because I am supposed to as a Muslim or at least have the intention to do so in my lifetime.It is better to die with the will and desire to perform the pilgrimage, than to see it as a'non-obligatory' act.It is just a sign of respect or simple courtesy in my homecountry for Muslim females with head covers to be referred to as such,having performed the pilgrimage or not.
I also realised that this young woman...(BTW,she's within my age range..what money can do!) seem a little uncomfortable around me or is pretending to.And am disturbed by that.I had been a victim of intimidation,suffered some low self-esteem at some point in my adult life and do not wish that on anyone.I associated the lack of coherent communication to this.But I had to be sure and had a conversation on this with the other staff at the guest .The poor woman...and clever too (this one's far older than me&even hubby as I found out a couple of months ago) didn't mince words in saying perhaps,she's "afraid" of me!!!!What????Afraid???Since when did anyone get afraid around me?As a matter of fact,I am on the contrary been taken for granted and could be disrespected because of my petite nature.The Nigerian lad who used to work for us was even misconceived to be my brother because of the way I relate with him.even my neighbour asked me this.The bottom line is,it is not a misconception that, from our association and interaction with the Southern African indegenes,they are far more passive than my people are and that's a huge difference...you may call us 'rebels'!In reference to South Africa in particular,the post-apartheid syndrome cannot be eliminated.It is still very much there and evident.So when dealing with them,it's like threading on egg shells and you have to thread carefully.And they could also be resistant because they still feel cheated and denied of their rightful place.....trust me,South Africa has enough Labour unrests the entire year to go round the entire world protests,all put together (the facts are there)....

Anyway,what am driving at is that,within the last couple of weeks this lady's worked for us...(it was my decision that she only comes during weekdays so I could have my space at least and maybe some family time too ), she has taught me to be more tolerant.I used that adjective because,she just doesn't do things my way or correctly in respect to certain things.And it's been nerve wracking trying to explain things to her.Well,I told this older staff to tell her that she doesn't need to be 'afraid' of me (I know she's not).I admitted my fault of being sometimes.....(most times actually) annoyingly meticulous and am used to doing things'my way'.Don't blame me!I grew up doing chores and when I reached the stage of being my own person,I got used to being organised,wanting things done right,disliking habits like nail bitting,nose-blowing or or making noises of clearing the lungs,overall,any kind of habit that's not publicly acceptable.I admit,I can me an annoying perfectionist..(but am not really a perfectionist)!
One thing I can tell you for certain is this,am a naturally considerate person and I get along very well with people.I'm also adaptive.Like I had written in one of my previous postings,I'm not an addict of 'anything'.I'm neither an extrovert nor an introvert.As some psychologists put it,am "an adaptable-social".And that suits me just fine .So,I have decided to pick it one at a time by not saying that she's doing things wrongly everyday.
I will try to correct one wrong at a time and save the rest for the following day.What I cannot fake is to pretend she's doing things right when she's actually not.The reason she was hired in the first instance was to have someone relieve me of my unending domestic chores so I could have time to get involved in something more lucrative like giving hubby a helping hand at the office and here at home with the guest  house.Also someone to look after the kids when am at work...not to baby-sit an adult with an already formed opinion and incurable habits like making continuous sound from her teeth,like hissing in place of using a toothpick...(she's not picking anything..it's just an old habit that wouldn't die;which doesn't sit well with me).But I've never complained about this!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

rat race (part two)

I wasn't really tired last night,I was so darn sleepy I went to bed earlier than usual..I couldn't even stay up to see'Heroes'!!!Am actually having this slight headache that's been there all day.But I won't give-in just yet..I've got to do this.I've been on the sewing machine for most part of the afternoon and just had to squeeze out the strength to update my blog.
So we took the little lad to the Physician before we headed for the mall.Since they were not included in the plans before,we had to drop the kids off at home before heading to the Consulate.We were running late but still made it..they didn't get started without us!!!We had lunch, pleasantries and well wishes for our beloved country...then group pictures.....
We checked into Birchwood  on Saturday and returned home on Sunday afternoon.
My thoughts have been interrupted..I had to chat with my very dear cousin,more like a sister to me actually.

Todays' my father's birthday,I don't have any recollection of spending any of his birthdays with him.At least my kids're more fortunate.I didn't get to live this long with either of my folks.I pray God spares his life and grant him a sound health so that I can still get the opportunity to spend some time with him and for my kids to know him as their maternal granddad!
Here're some of the pictures from our recent get-away:





Sunday, December 6, 2009

rat race...

It's indeed a rat race,the way I want to catch up and update everything?I think am way over my head.Alright,this past week was jam-packed with the"Conference on MDG" but it was  a little disappointing.I sensed this would happen but couldn't do anything to change it.Hubby made a point and I agreed with him-he had to do it irrespective of the low attendance.If he plans on hosting it next year,then he had to make it happen and so he did.Without mincing words,my hubby's one of the unrelenting and most persistent personality I've ever come across.Okay,let me briefly summarise how it all went.The first day was on Monday the 30th and the Nigerian delegate had arrived  on Saturday as scheduled (she happens to be a family-friend as well).So we were honoured to host her in our guest house,which was way too low for her portfolio.So,the luncheon was held at Emperor's Palace,Kempton Park but,the Namibian and Kenyan ambassadors refused to attend.Hubby having a thick skin didn't let it get to him.In the end,we had the lunch in their absence.And Monday ended.
Tuesday we were at a different venue-Birchwood Conference and Convention centres.A very beautiful scenic with ambience.I love the place because of the way nature was blended with the modern structures.Don't salivate,I shall God willing post the pictures very soon (after uploading that is).You should trust me,even if I had to use my mobile phone.There was no way I was going to narrate everything especially since am still working on my'adjectives',without supporting it with pictures...COMING SOON!
The guest speaker was from UNDP and as usual,you'd be enthralled and captivated by his intellectual deliverance.He knows his stuff,there's no doubt about it.He delivered his speech (we finally got our very own Projector after much delay) and we went for lunch.I was the first to arrive and had to receive him and take him to the conference room.We awaited others not for too long.While waiting,we chatted about politics (afterall,that was why we were there in the first instance).It turned out to be a fruitful day.I had explained our situation with the unattending delegates to him and he was superbly understanding.
Wednesday was supposed to see the representatives from NEPAD,we had only one delegate out of the two that were supposed to attend~~~~~~as my people would say"nothing spoil" (i.e 'It's all good)!The topic was on ICT and we had contributions...the speaker was a Malawian lady from the NEPAD office here in Johannesburg.Again,we had lunch after the question and answer session we headed to the office to drop off the staffs and then off to my appointment with the OBG....don't ask me what for.But am not preggo just in case you're guessing or imagining things!!!We headed home afterwards and looked forward to the following day.Oh!the conference's ended by this time and what was left was touring Johannesburg.The full package wasn't going to happen since the attendance was unproductive.
On Thursday,we , moved around and paid a Courtesy visit to the Nigerian Consulate-very amiable and down to earth man.Hubby had spoken highly  of him and had praised his   good nature.We were welcomed to his office and were given a warm reception.Are you wondering if I pinched myself ?Don't because I didn't...I just basked in the moment and was just 'myself'!It went well and the CG organised lunch for us for the following day and apologised that he wouldn't be around..he had to be at the Draws for the World Cup held in Cape Town.He had to be there to receive the Nigeria diplomats.
And then comes Friday....on Thursday evening after we got back,one of the staffs at home informed me my son had rashes and she suspects it's measles.Him and his sister had been vaccinated,so I was a little concerned.We agreed we had to take him to the physician just to be on the safe side.I don't take chances with health matters.So we first headed to the Doctor's....
I want to sign out now..will continue tomorrow God-willing!!!I want to rest my eyes for the day(it's past midnight BTW)..but I want to see this Gandhi movie till the end.And my backs hurts from hours of sitting on this chair....


        

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'been busy

I always remember this day,I mean the 1st of December celebrated globally as World Aids Day.Fourteen years back while in Secondary school we acted a drama on the topic.It remains one of the most memorable moments of my life.I had been down memory lane since morning and had the privilege of sharing it with two of my old friends,who partook in the drama back then-one via a text message,the other via an Instant chat.And the highlight of the day has been attending the'supposed' conference at Boksburg along with hubby on the MDG.It's been an exhilarating experience-me again with top officials.
But am a little tired and cannot type out my written thoughts meant for today's post.I had to while away time before the conference started.it's very unlike me to go out without any book to read while waiting (even  while on the queue at Banks).But I knew it wouldn't be appropriate to take any magazine with me since I'd be busy with the conference.I think it's about time I resume to bed for the night.Am quite sleepy and can't or maybe "won't" fight it.I really need that sleep as I've got another hectic day ahead of me tomorrow,God-willing.
Eid's alreeady gone and we hosted some guests and hubby's friends on Sunday.
I have suceeded in sewing one Kaftan as my first practising sewig lessons.It turned out good and I've already launched it.I wore it to my son's 'graduation' from Creche to Grade1 on Saturday.I think I'd have to donwl;oad some pixtures here to display my practice.that'd be nice..
gatta go now..am very sleepy and am already commiting blunders..nighty-night!