Photo credit: ©CreationSwap/mgruber. Artist: Matt Gruber
“What do you think happened to the Malaysia Jetliner, Flight M370?” I asked my students.
I point to the quiet little boy sitting in front of me, hoping to pull him into the conversation. Reluctantly, he raised his hand to talk and then…
“Me! Me! Me!!” the students chorused in varying tones.
“I think it’s a terrorist attack” said a boy.
“No, the pilot turned the signals off!” a blue-eyed 15yr old girl screeched.
“Yes, but the plane was diverted and two passports were reported stolen!” cried the others.
The class was in disarray. Those who believed the plane was shot down by terrorists insisted they were right, producing facts gathered from CNN and Time Magazine. Proud teacher moment here. Those who firmly believed it was a pilot error/suicide roared above the other claims, emphasizing the plane’s switched off responders. The class of 35+ students was roughly split in half as they debated fiercely among themselves.
After about five minutes I’d had enough. I acknowledged all their thoughts- even the ridiculous ones.
Then the little one spoke: (more…)
We all love to socialize, get acquainted who’s who in the society, and get noticed for the right reasons. We’re quick to display our wit and intelligence at social gatherings and are mindful of how we are perceived by others. Of course, we pay special attention to our contributions in public, making sure our feelings and actions are conveyed correctly. Affirmation is an awesome thing, yo! But sometimes this backfires and we have to deal with rejection.
Let me put it another way. How many of us would love to have many friends. Just me? Common guys, be honest. Who wouldn’t love to amass a crazy following on social media, tweet his/her waking up moments and get 4000+ re-tweets? We secretly envy celebrities and wish we had their voice and media power.
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a college graduate was rely heavily on alumni connections and professors to get noticed. I was a stellar student, always talked about— that model example most of us HATE being compared to. Months after my cap and gown ceremony, I reached out to my department for help in my job search. I scoured many LinkedIn profiles, looking for anyone affiliated with my school and department. Guys, the rejection was extra cold. In fact, I was doubly served. (more…)
You sent me a friend request. I added you, against all voices of reason in my head and my mother’s.
Two days ago you added the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Again, against all voices of reason, I responded to an instant message asking about my health. “I’m fine,” I answered begrudgingly. At the moment I had three computer screens in front of me, a ringing cell phone– of which I’m sure my pastor is the caller, and I heard a boisterous “MAGGI!”- a voice I’m sure belongs to my mother. Yet I replied, “I’m fine” to your message.
You called me fat and wondered what America has fed me. This you did openly, as if the public ought to be schooled on my average weight gain over the years. I don’t remember attending primary school with you yet I see you lurking in every comment section on my photos, cradling me with honeyed words, asking if I know this person and that person. Yes, You registered your presence. Authoritatively, too.
You offered me your email address, password, and other personal details, begging me to set up a blog for you because you were busy. I advised you to start when you’re ready and we can share ideas on blogging. As if that wasn’t enough, you sent me an IM asking me to help with your math homework. Boy was I pleased to help! Two minutes later, you forwarded your username, password, and left instructions on how to complete your online quiz due in two hours.
“That’s cheating, you know!” I countered. Then you asked me how much my services were.
Every month I received reminders from you not to forget my roots. (more…)
UPDATE: Pastor Andy tells Christians “How to be Rich” is unrelated to the article.
Luke 16:13- No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Thanks to this post, I got a chance to correct my erroneous understanding that mammon meant Satan. No, it means that we cannot serve God and money. Mammon is the Aramaic word for riches/wealth. Read on, please.
“When you pray to God for blessings, don’t ask for riches. You see, lots of rich men can’t have a night of peace because they’re too busy thinking about their containers at sea. They don’t have time for the things of God. Your only safe bet is to ask that the merciful Lord bless you minimally—
You see, Sunday is the day that I remember to bring my prayer requests to the Lord. Wrong, I know. I am always late to church meetings and each time I walk in and give apologetic bows, my mind is constantly shifting between quick reminders to God to provide a car for me so that I can be punctual to meetings and silent prayers for grace and forgiveness. I hardly make bible studies too; the weekly nutrient label for Christians to determine our caloric intake of The Word.
Every week, I am reminded of the need to ask God for a reliable car— preferably a car that would last several winters, thunderstorms, and can subjugate any diabolical missiles that are sent from my family haters. Every Nigerian family has one of those haters and God help you if yours have an extensive satellite network. My joy would know no bounds if this car is very good on gas as well, seeing as my weekly presence at church is a prediction of a healthy spiritual life.
A self-professed overachiever, I spread myself thinly over my volunteer and paid jobs. I have the most boring social life ever BUT mama tells me that I have a calling on my life. Pastor preaches it every Sunday as well. Hence, I would love that people remember me as that girl who had a positive influence on others while she was alive.
So, imagine the horror on my face when I heard the call to ask for minimal blessings. Would a God that blessed Job with 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East really abhor riches? Where did I go wrong? (more…)
I apologize for the mini absence on my blog. You know that when my maalu tadi si eyin, agbara lo lo mu wa. Meaning: He who fights and runs away, leaves to fight another day. Lol
However, I want you to know and believe this:
As a young girl, I loved the English Language but I loved writing even better. I don’t know why I started writing. I just wrote. I wrote because my mind was a mess. I wrote because the story books at my Primary School ended abruptly and I was sure I could craft better endings.
I remember burning the midnight oil writing short stories, plays, and modelling the characters after my parents and siblings. I was too young to understand what writing voice meant but my characters were strong, bold, and defiant. I mean- they fended off many spiritual and physical attacks but it was mostly a fight about discovering who they were and resisting ancient cultural practices.
From Wole Soyinka to Chinua Achebe, Shakespeare to Jonathan Swift. I read them all. Voraciously too. My schoolmates called me “efiwe” (bookworm/scholar). I brought joy to my parents- they bragged about me everywhere they went. They were so supportive of me that I never doubted my “skills” as a writer. I still get occasional messages from my old classmates that read, “So, are you a writer yet?”
Few months ago, I communicated my plans to self-host this blog with y’all and my desire to be a writer/author. Curious about how I’d be received in the Nigerian literary scene, I consulted three well-meaning Nigerians. (more…)
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