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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture Nature

Why you should visit Africa

If you are in rural Africa, when the sun set you will be very lucky to witness events that you may never see elsewhere in the world!

The sun rise brings joy. Dew, Heavens water, congregate on the roof tops, tree leaves and grasses. The sun may stay for a while but can rise as early as 7AM. If you love to swim in rivers and streams, oh nice! Yes, the rivers are cool but beware of river dwelling creatures. It is best to go with a guide.

Don’t forget to go for Safari, my favorite of all! Though I have never gone for one, I have been to many zoos and gardens. I have that natural love for outdoor animal sighting. Can you believe me when I tell you I have faced a spotted Hyena and an African python? Yes I have, but the cage separated us! There’s many species here, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Python, Rhino, Crocodile (I really don’t like those), Hyena, Ape, Gators, Hippo, Deer, Hyena, Jackal, Wild dogs, Wolf, Boar, Cheetah, etc.

In some areas, the Earth is scantily clad with few shrubs and dust and in other areas there’s the lush green forest. There’s the Savannah, the Sahel, the Sudan and swampy areas. There’s abundant wildlife. If you love watching wild birds, Africa is your place. East, Southern and Central Africa is a jewel in this regard.

There’s the Sahara, the world’s largest sand desert, there’s the Kilimanjaro mountain, the River Niger, the Cape of Good Hope! Do you know Africans love spicy food as well? Maybe you should taste the suya, prepared by the roadside; skewered meat mixed with crushed groundnuts, pepper, oil and vegetables. Don’t forget to get yourself palmy when you visit West Africa!

There’s so much diversity, so much life, so much to see and reflect on! But don’t take my word for it. Plan a visit to Africa. It will be a lifetime experience!

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Everybody has got a past

Everybody has got a past

It may be a dark one,

Or one so bright

That it shines even in sun down

Everybody has got a past

But we needn’t remember,

Unless the bad went to worst

Or if the goodness got better

Categories
culture/tradition Lessons from Experiences Series Uncategorized

Thoughts on Loneliness 4

It is hard for introverts to explain situations, especially the ones who are naturally taciturn. They have the loudest minds, act little and prefer to be left alone. I know a friend back in school who talks very little. Seemed he counted his words and one day a classmate lied against him. He was punished for what he didn’t commit. Why? He couldn’t explain himself!

I have some introvert friends, they can be very creative, amazing and intelligent. Maneva is a good example of a friend who says little but thinks and dreams big! She doesn’t show off, though she is an intellect and won’t tolerate noisy attitude and dominance from anyone. She prefers to do things her way. But when relaxed, you will enjoy the company of this ‘rigid’ person.

So it is nice to allow people (friends, peers, colleagues, partners, wives, husbands, kids) be themselves.

We may not be able to discern why people act the way they do. Why they chose to be alone. If you find someone who doesn’t like talking much, help by giving them some space. Normally, such people have their time to talk. Be patient and move with their flow.

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Thoughts: Friends or Foes?

In the story telling world, it is believed that rodents in the house are the ones to inform rodents outside where the fish basket is hidden. This applies in real life. Only those who know or are close to you can harm you with the information they have about you.

Sometimes we feel betrayed and then hurt over what friend’s do/did. Well, it’s true no one is perfect, but a real friend won’t put himself in a position to deliberately hurt you (It does happen though, once in a while, but the magnitude is forgiveable).

So how do we know a friend?

* In times of need: If someone can’t help you, it doesn’t make the person a foe. A friend goes beyond his comfort to make you comfortable. A friend is unselfish and wishes to serve you.

* Testimonies behind you: For instance my best friend, Franklin will always fight for me even when I was physically unavailable. The same with me. So the saying goes you know your true friends when they talk about you in your absence.

* Friendship can’t be forced. It just happens. So you know when someone is a friend. It goes with some understanding, feelings, concern, mutual interest and care.

* If you trust someone with your life then the person is a friend. If you can let someone guard your food or house, then he/she holds a lot of trust space in your heart. For instance, a friend took another’s prison detention so that his friend could go say final goodbye to his family. He did come back to take his punishment and relieve his friend of it!

Though it seems normal to share gossips, personal details and secrets with friends, it is wise to reduce the amount of personal information you give out. Info like bank ID details is very personal and must be kept as such.

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Africa culture/tradition folklore Pastoral Series Uncategorized

Reintroducing the Legend of Wawadomea

1

Now I write you a piece of my heart, tonight

In the growing Harmattan and her temperament

I am cut in two- halved in your Providence

One for your happiness, another for Your happiness

2

This piece of heart tells a tale of the sea folk

a story of survival, a war of loneliness and luck

Of a boy caught and taught by the sea, somewhere

A legend of the wild, of a land called Wawadomea

Permit me reintroduce this piece I’m working on. A fiction and fantasy of pirate life. The Legend of Wawadomea is a story and my creation which I hope to finish soon. I won’t give all details here but trust me it will give you the oldy tymey feel when you read some excerpts!

My major character is a poor boy, Yitzak who worked in a ship yard, located somewhere, on the Horn of Africa. One fateful day, he was kidnapped by sea pirates and had to live with them through their epic sea journey. Luckily, he had a pen, a booklet and some memory for his diary. He told of the sea and her strange ways, the love he missed at home, the hopes he has and the queer life of the pirate. He talked about the cannibals they met, the wars they fought, the Pirates’ seafaring competitions and more. You can read some parts of the story here:

The Legend of Wawadomea: The Cannibals of the East

Far out the lonely seas of the Indies
Our maiden vessel sailed
Hitting the strongest winds
Surfing the wild oceans
And at all times; bumping into the skies

In this quiet piece of the ocean
A strange sea of some sort
Where there stays a blue sky
An evenings journey with the Cods
A short lived companionship
For there came the black sharks
Gliding majestically; cunningly shy

But this time there was a sigh
A horn; calling from the masts top
“Ahoy, land! Ahoy, land!”
And those excitements that followed
“Aye!” the Lifnante growled thru raised binoculars
“That is some land for sure.”

An hour and some seconds
The Wave was tethered gently
Along those lonely coasts
A great vegetation stood before us
Strangely; the forests seem to have no life
We set about making some fire
For night was on its way
But we dared not stray near the woods…

The Legend of Wawadomea: Blue Horizon

The sunset drew a picture
Which lived with me,
Thru my younger life-
A strange uproar heartfelt
It was aye, very strange
That aye, I mean I
Will be amongst this lot
This people forsaken kind of clan
Living the life of a sea pirate,
Out in the weirdest part of the ocean

The blue horizon, carved on the skies
With birds returning, to their homes
And we, in a strange-looking island
Somewhere off the vast ocean
Caught and cautious, seldom willing to prowl about
A fading horn sounded, not so far away
All looked up, staring at each other
“I afraid, I wonder, what may that be?”
Tusky, wanting a left hand said
He must have spoken so loud
That even the half deaf Cron
Swiftly swerved around to look at him,

The Lifnante was glad we were off sea
I felt so, on an errand sent from Sundjata
The Lifnante was high on bottled spirits
“Git here boy, havee som rhum, will ya?”
I could feel the uncalled-for excitement
He was at the extreme end of the camp
There was a group of rocks
Bordering the beach and the forest
And he cared for less
“There’s a horn sire, a sort of bugle sire”
I delivered my message, but he
He waved me off with the hand
And grunted as a pirate filled his cup

The night was stormy, but all was calm
Just lightning and flash all the way
I was awake, I was scared all the time
But then I slept when I knew not…

©Oke Iroegbu

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Chevening Awards 2020

Chevening scholarships enable outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world to pursue one-year master’s degrees in the UK. Whilst there is no ‘typical’ Chevening Scholar, they are looking for the kind of people who have the passion, ideas, and influence to provide the solutions and leadership needed to create a better future.

Since 1983, Chevening has brought over 50,000 exceptional professionals from around the world to study in the UK through scholarships and fellowships funded by the UK government. This unique opportunity has helped to elevate careers, transform communities, shift and deepen perspectives, and build intercontinental bridges.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Chevening Scholarship you must:

  • Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country or territory.
  • Return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after your award has ended.
  • Have completed all components of an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry onto a postgraduate programme at a UK university by the time you submit your application. This is typically equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK.
  • Have at least two years of work experience.
  • Apply to three different eligible UK courses and have received an unconditional offer from one of these choices by 16 July 2020.
  • Meet the Chevening English language requirement by 16 July 2020

You must ensure that you meet the minimum work-experience requirement for the scholarship before submitting your Chevening application. Chevening Scholarships require that applicants have at least two years of work experience.

If you do not already have the required level of work experience, you will be unable to submit your application.

Eligible types of work experience

The types of work experience that are eligible for Chevening can include:

  • Full-time employment
  • Part-time employment
  • Voluntary work
  • Paid or unpaid internships

Work experience can be completed before, during, or after graduating from your undergraduate studies, however, any mandatory employment that counted towards your undergraduate or postgraduate course would not be eligible.

Value of scholarship

a) A full Chevening Scholarship normally comprises:

  • Payment of tuition fees (see point 1.2.a in relation to MBA fee caps).
  • Economy travel to and from your country of residence by an approved route for you only.
  • An arrival allowance.
  • The cost of an entry clearance (visa) application for you only.
  • A departure allowance.
  • A contribution of up to £75 for TB testing, where this is required.
  • A travel top-up allowance.
  • A monthly personal living allowance (stipend) to cover accommodation and living expenses. The monthly stipend will depend on whether you are studying inside or outside of London. These rates are subject to annual review. Stipend payments will be made to you on or around the 21st of the month for the following full month. Where you arrive in the UK or leave the UK partway through the month, the stipend for that month will be adjusted as appropriate.
Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Lessons from Experiences Series Uncategorized

Thoughts: Look Within

Africa is scarred by pangs of unemployment. Things drift from bad to worse. Things like good education, health care, clean water and equal opportunity, seem to run from our grasp. These things may have fallen apart. What is the remedy to fix this trend?

While African universities produce more graduates, the economy won’t be able to provide jobs to absorb them. Graduates now face the realities of unemployment.

It is time for young graduates to look within. It is time to use our ingenuity to solve our problems, to create jobs for ourselves. It is time to use our talents and skills to absolve ourselves from unemployment and become employers.

I will be documenting the opportunities that exist to explore/invest in Africa.

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Nature Pastoral Poetry Uncategorized

Amuse: Little flower

Dear Little Flower sitting,

On the wooden plate

I can’t help but wonder

Why you glow, so red,

Will it be, the squirrel

Asked you out

And now, you’re red with blush?

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Africa education Lessons from Experiences Series

Thoughts on Africa 3: Education

Research is diligent inquiry or examination to seek or revise facts, principles, theories, applications etc; laborious or continued search after truth.

Interestingly, the definition ended with search after truth. Apart from expanding the thinking horizons of man, research seeks to discover the why’s and why nots. Research offers sound recommendation and suggestions that can help fix problems.

Education is meant to improve lives. An educated man thinks critically and ‘out of the box’. While we have educated Africans we barely research in Sub Saharan Africa universities. One of the main goals of establishing universities is to improve our social, economic, health and political lives. This may be achieved through research.

Many universities in Europe, North America and Asia create new knowledge through research. Some good researchers in these universities come from Africa. So my question is, why do we not encourage research in African universities?

Why do African universities lack behind in research? I will try to list some reasons why. In future posts I may explain them.

1. Lack of motivation.

2. Lack of research materials and instruments.

3. No funding, as research requires much of it.

4. Even when proper research work is done, the recommendation is most times not implemented.

I may write more on this in my next Thought on African Education.

How is everybody? Remember our motto: Be good, be kind.

Good morning from West Africa!

Categories
education folklore Love and Christianity Nature Poetry Uncategorized

You and I…

You and I…

Is my idea of a team

Together, against odds,

In ups and downs,

Greatness and littleness,

Plenty and scarcity

You and I…

Is my idea of love

Our wish, against all odds,

My help and friend

My muse and madness

One whose joy makes me happy

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WordPress.com August promo

The last time I spoke with a friend, I told him the Internet is the greatest marketer of all times. This is the glaring truth. Most businesses seeking global clients can get this online. No flights, no traveling, no stress! The major way to start off, is to create a website and then social media networks. I can help you set up your site and any media you desire.

If you wish to monetize your blog or site, WordPress will give you the best experience. The taste of the pudding is in the eating.

We’re running an August sale for 20% off https://wordpress.com/alp/?aff=29589&cid=3067718 and https://jetpack.com/?aff=29589&cid=3060670 today, August 23rd, through Saturday, August 31st.

As an affiliate I will be giving a 20% discount on any paid plan you buy. Please share to your friends and people who may be interested.

Begins: Today
Ends: Saturday, August 31st
Coupon Code: oiroegbu@live.com

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Lessons from Experiences Pastoral Series

Thoughts: Keep your circle small

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20

Your company can assist or resist you. The people you keep around may destroy your dreams or may help you achieve them.

Consider the story of Joseph and his brothers. The brothers planned to kill him just because he shared his dream with them! (Genesis 37).

There’s a saying in the Igbo of the chick that watch the mother hen eat. The chick learn from the hen. If you hang around greedy or selfish people, there’s a likelihood you will pick some of their traits. Your company can bring out the best in you or the worst in you.

Some people might be in your boat but may not be traveling the same destination with you. Don’t let them sink your boat. Assess your company. Remember, an eagle has no business with crows.

Good morning from West Africa.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Nature Pastoral Poetry

Four Nature Poems with Deborah Nnagbo, Shawny Johnson and Franklin Onuoha

Ogbunike Cave by Deborah Nnagbo

There it lies with an open mouth,
Basking in the unadulterated air of tradition.
Bidding me to come in unto her,
Inside the sacred forest guarding the glory of a race.

Slowly, I tiptoed into natures edifice.
With eyes clothed with wonder.
I could not but see the finger of Chineke
In all shades and forms of the cave.

Ogbunike cave, ancestral home.
The hidden abode of friendly bats.
The meeting place of our ancestors.
Crawling up and down your little hills stirs up nostalgic feelings of my childhood.

Thou hast revived the strangled reality of Igbo culture in me.
And lured my heart to crave for the riches of thy land.
Your stream of nativity has revealed my identity.
I shall no more wander like a homeless lass when I have a room in you.

Formed by Shawny Johnson

Above and beyond
Falling to produce greatness
Running in the DNA of grains cultivating food of earthy particles pushing through the rhythm of GOD’s timing
Purposed for a destined designed
portrait of his own imagery cycling over again recreating the dust that formed the pleasure of you and I being man and man within
With rain drops cleaning away the imperfections of our disconnections from the ground that needs the same rain from the clouds that clash In dances only GOD can orchestrate to give life that we may live on

Nature’s Touch by Franklin Onuoha

It throws me into wild ecstasy
To see the bamboo
Twirl and dance
To the rhythm of the wind

And when I see the leaves
Of the Ukpaka tree wave at me
I feel at home because even the trees know
That I’m a son of the soil

The euphonious dawn chorus
From the morning birds
Fills me with the optimism
To face the day’s task

And the chirping
Of the crickets at night
Is a sweet sounding lullaby
To my weary head

Oh! How I love the caress
Of the evening breeze
And the sound of the flowing streams
Which soothes my perturbed nerves

Home is where I want to be
Where nature speaks to me
And reminds me of who I am
I’m African

The Waterfalls by OkeChukwu Iroegbu

Thou water that fall from the skies
Pleasing to my weary ears,
Your sounds wake my sweet sensation
Ah, you are then my inspiration
When you trap me in your web
I wonder freely
How much of your sounds I must listen to
With each passing day

Thou water that fall from the skies
Pleasing to my weary foot,
Your songs sooth away my pain
I’m at ease, when you win
Now you take the moment
When you spray your mild water
And with your falling white matter
You distinguish mud from water

Categories
culture/tradition folklore Pastoral Poetry

African tales by Moonlight

Living in the countyside was fun. I can’t forget the numerous activities/events I participated in. I remember the rodent hunting, farm work, fruit catching, swimming in the streams, wrestling fights and the night tales. My favorite was the night tales which was something else. How I love to sit in the warmth of other kids, out in the open space, under the tree shed and moon light. Ah! Words can’t describe the feeling. Don’t take my word for it. Come to Africa and try to find yourself a story telling community. There’s so much to learn from the tales. Much morals and old world wisdom are lost because most of the youth nurture other dreams. The modern youth think the countryside is not a nice place to settle in. So country life is not meant for them. I really think otherwise. I was born and brought up in the town, but I feel more attached to the countryside. I feel lost in the crowd and towns are places of pollution and noise, right?

Moon light tales are told in the late evening or nights. I call it ‘the African theater’. Major spectators are children, sometimes stray adults join. Usually the tales finish off as moral lessons and other times just a fun story, which may act as a lullaby for the night. We need to encourage and revive this culture of story telling.

So if you love folktales and happen to visit rural Africa. From Safari to Palm wine to melon cakes and weird but nice food, be rest assured you will have a great time.

Categories
Africa education global warming Nature Pastoral Poetry Uncategorized

The Wrong Way

I sit by the cliff edge

To watch the lights go out

And one by one they went

Nothing made sense

As we live in disguise,

Resting,

Relaxing,

Recessing,

Recouping?

From all our disastrous efforts

But are we prisoners of earth?

Do we have to let everything be?

If I write alone, no one will hear me

Now drums of carbon beat away

While we barely stirred from her way

Categories
Lessons from Experiences Love and Christianity

Thoughts on Love

Love is an intense feeling of affection and care towards another person. The English dictionary defines it as deep or abiding liking for something. A profound and caring attraction towards someone. Note the appearance of care and affection in all the definitions.

Let’s read from the Bible to get a clearer picture of what love suggests. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Wow. That is self explained. What I can make of these verses is that love is selflessness. It is forgiveness in the greatest of wrongs (for instance, love from Mandela’s experience) and a gift which can turn situations around. Let’s assume, the whole world has this kind of love. How do you think the Earth will look like? When we forgive freely we love, when we are selfless in service we love. If you are selfless, then you are humble. A loving person prefers peace, because he won’t stand violence which may destroy that which he loves. Love perseveres, love is not proud. Kindness is one of the highest forms of Love. Same with compassion and diligence (lovingly working hard in the things you do). So you can see the connections between great virtues and love. Is it not said that Love is the greatest of all?

Let love flow like a stream. Let it feed, water, cloth and bless the land around you. Nothing matters more.

Tell someone you love him/her today. Prove it too by being kind and showing affection. Let me start from you; I love you!

Good morning from West Africa.

Categories
Africa Igbo culture Nature Pastoral Series Uncategorized

Tradition: Iri Ji Festival


Let us pray (ka anyi kpe ekpere)
Nna anyi, we gather again
To celebrate the New Yam!
The King of all crops
Which you blessed us with
The crop whose soft tendrils crawl,
Through our fine, fertile soil
And carries with it abundance,
Greatness, joy, peace and love!
We celebrate the forests You till
On our behalf,
The greenery with shrubs and trees
With every fruit that we desire
And every kola and food we relish!
We celebrate the waters about it
The Waterfalls that surrounds it
The streams and rivers that feed it
And rainy blessings which You brought

Learn Igbo language and culture here.

As we split this yam,
We split open doors locking our treasures
And fortunes
Let every tasteless thing in our lives
Receive this new taste of life!
We split open the delays holding our blessings
So let the hills and valleys grow in abundance of food
As You provided the forests and rivers,
The Yams and the palm oil and kola!
We plead for the knife
With which to cut our Yams!
Let our lives be fresh like the morning palm wine
And tasteful to ourselves, clan and  community
We eat the New Yam!



Commentary:
Nna anyi: Igbo language for ‘Our Father’

☺️ Welcome to Igbo land, situated in the south of Nigeria. A tribe known for their resourcefulness and love for their culture and traditions. The piece above depicts a casual prayer made in preparation to the New Yam festival.

August is a beautiful month for the Igbo people. The most prominent activity recorded across Igbo land this month is the celebration of the ‘New Yam’ festival. Yams are perceived as the King of all crops and most times are harvested first in the region. The New Yam festival is a celebration of the prominence of the crop in the region.

The evening prior to the day of the festival, all old yams (from the previous year’s crop) are consumed or discarded. This is because it is believed that the New Year must begin with tasty, fresh yams instead of the old dried-up crops of the previous year. The next day, only dishes of yam are served at the feast, as the festival is symbolic of the abundance of the produce.

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Africa education Nature Pastoral Series

Thoughts on Africa 2: Education

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the true goal of education. – Martin Luther King, Jr

Education is crucial to self, community and national development. It is one tool that can bring social, economic and political change to Africa.

There’s little done to improve the African education sector by governments. So the work shouldn’t be left to African governments alone. To forge a brighter future, we need to work extensively to revive the nursery, primary and secondary education sectors in most African countries. These sectors are in a very bad state, especially in West Africa.

In some areas, school facilities are dilapidated. Buildings are in ruins, some do not have rooftops and some learn in the open, under the sun’s heat. We have records of children learning in flooded classes, in roofless halls and very bad academic environment. Some teachers are not truly teachers, just victims of unemployment. Salaries are sometimes withheld, why? I can’t even say. A time will come for that.

For teaching efficiency, I recommend training, more training and continued training of teachers and the education workforce. Knowledge is not static, it is dynamic and changes almost each day. So training is key to efficiency and we must adopt new ways of teaching through use of the internet and other media. Payment of salaries is another issue facing the academic profession. Public school teachers are sometimes owed for months! Therefore teachers lose the morale to work. Tell me how working in such hard economic conditions can bring efficiency. Private school teachers are not paid well. The income is quite ridiculous for a graduate!

Management should include technical/commercial education curriculum in academic work. Some students do not really care for Maths or History, but if you raise a drawing/painting board you can buy them over. We can create a diverse academic environment that will from the scratch develop skills and talents in students while providing a basic education. The convention of attaching core subjects status to some selected disciplines should be abolished. Allow students grow into their skin, on their best ability, preference of thought and pace (time). Government should partner with the ‘private sector’ to renovate schools and provide academic materials for teachers and students. Schools should endeavor to teach students in local languages as well as the lingua franca. Success comes from within and we will get there some day.

I will update more on my thoughts on Africa later. Have a great day.

Good morning from West Africa.

©Oke Iroegbu

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Thoughts on Happiness 2

Happiness is contagious. Happiness is like a light bulb in a dark room. It does not shine in a corner but lights the whole room. Note that happiness is not a function of material fulfilment.

Peace, joy, cheerfulness, contentment, happiness and gratitude are classed as a family. This family work as a team. If you are happy then you definitely have peace of mind. A happy person is a cheerful person, a person filled with joy and someone who doesn’t count the have-nots in his/her life. A happy person is grateful for the little things he/she has. So you can see the ‘relationship’ in the family mentioned above.

Why should you be happy? You should be happy for life, for your ability to detect colors and walk unaided. Even if you have a sort of disability, you still have life! Research says laughing (smiling, happiness) improves our health. So when you are happy, you age slowly while negative and toxic thoughts are far away from you. If you are a happy person, people around you will likely be influenced by your happiness. If you are the kind who hopes to see a positively changed world, then happiness must be part of your tools.

It is necessary that you try your best in finding ways to remain happy for the better part of each day. Think about what gives you joy always, read uplifting literature, attend meetings that bring you cheer and happiness, hang around people who truly love you and give kindness to people who are in need of it. Go, plant happiness in many hearts and your community.

Categories
Poetry

Muse: The African Bride

‘I will never leave you!

I will deh with you…’

He said,

Tears rolled, freely

She wept

As her face went red

It was clear he meant it,

His words cut her open

She must believe

So he went away

To fight in the World War

When he returned to Africa,

It was, with a body charred

From unseen bullets and wounds,

And a soul

Which will not love her anymore

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Uncategorized

A poem of Happiness

Grin

Gift your hair your hands

This is a great feeling…

Life!

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Uncategorized

New Media Writing: Open for 2019 entries!

The NMWP has attracted entries from the very best and most innovative writers in the field, from all around the world. For the 2019 competition there will be four prizes: The if:book UK New Media Writing Award, the Unicorn Student Award, the Dot Award, and the Digital Journalism Award.

To read more and submit your entry, go to their website:

Welcome

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Thoughts on Happiness

Happiness is a state of the mind. Joy, cheerfulness and a state of prosperity. When you are happy it affects activities (the environment) around you. It shakes away negativity and gloom. Happiness is when you don’t worry much on materiality. Contentment is related to happiness. When you are content with what you have then you have no reason to be sad. Waking to the morning sun, healthy and being grateful is contentment and breeds happiness. So what makes you happy? Why should you be happy? (To be discussed in the next thought on happiness).

Life shakes us all up. Sometimes we have a bucketful of water, other times we have nothing. But the truth is only the living can enjoy the warmth of life. An Igbo saying goes thus Life (health) is greater than wealth, (ndu kariri ihe eji azu ya/ ndu ka uba). So when you are alive, just be thankful and happy. We may not have it all. But are you aware that wealth does not make one happy? So as we struggle for our daily bread, resist any kind of sadness. Look for every means to be happy. If you have a friend that makes you laugh a lot then you are even luckier!

Also, to live a life of happiness one must be grateful. Understanding that you lived another day while many couldn’t make it, will give a picture of relay race. You are still in the race.

If you are reading this, I want you to be happy. Don’t wait for others to make you happy. Treat yourself, make yourself happy. I will write a poem of happiness in the evening.

Good morning from West Africa!

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Uncategorized

Tell the Stars

Tell the stars

To dress the skies

For there’s a banquet coming,

And everything must be in order,

Every dark cloud must be lighted

So let there be light

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Series Uncategorized

Thoughts on Depression

The English dictionary defined depression as a state of mind producing serious, long-term lowering of enjoyment of life or inability to visualize a happy future.

Many people experience this on a daily basis. Depression sucks out the joy and life from an individual even when the person is still living. Honestly, I think being sad is the youngest brother to depression. So we must watch it when we feel sad. For sadness may grow into greater grieve which is a doorway to depression. We must also watch what makes us sad. What we consume, people we let around us, and places we go to. Most times this depression is caused by the activities happening in our environment and other times it may be internal. One fact still remains glaring; it is not a good thing to be depressed. When someone is depressed he/she loses the vitality of life. The world becomes so blanked out from the person that he/she feels nothing. If care is not taken to remedy the situation it may lead to suicide.

I have few suggestions which I believe may help combat depression. These are my thoughts which had helped me overcome sadness.

First is talk to someone. If you ever feel overwhelmed or that the world is moving so fast. Hold your horses. Try to ride with someone else. Reach out to someone for help, for an advice or for companionship.

Avoid competition/toxic people. One of the ways to do this is reducing your time on social media. Social media has contributed to unhealthy competitions. You may think your peers are doing better and you are not doing well when you see people’s posts of vacation, marriages, career success etc

Be Kind: Do you ever feel good helping others? If so, this is a great sadness/depression killer. If you are compassionate to others, chances are slim that you will be sad.

Find a job you love: It is easier to get worked up, working in an environment that limits you. If you love what you do, at least you know something gives you joy. For instance, I write poems when I feel down. Then the poetry lights me up. Such a feeling, you must have something you do that gives you joy. Hold on to it.

Develop a skill/talent: I will tell you a story of my life soon. How this talent of writing has contributed to changes in the way I see life.

Keep close contact with Family and good friends: Is it not said, sometimes things change but we begin and end with the family? Come on, review your relationships and make them even sweeter. Drop toxic people. Be humble with life. Do not look down on anyone. Enjoy the love, people and resources Providence blessed you with.

Water, water, water/Stay fit: And food! Haha, my favorite part. Drink loads of water, eat good food. Exercise mentally, physically, spiritually. Take a walk by yourself or with someone special, enjoy Natural things. Watch birds sing, help the weak. Sometimes keep your phone off and sit in the garden or green park. Just make yourself happy and try to make others happy as well, if you can.

Love God: I know some people may not believe in an Almighty God but to be truthful having faith helps. If you are a Christian then you can relate more.

I hope this helps. If you have more suggestions please feel free. Drop in my comments section. Will be glad to read and learn from you. Thanks and remember to be kind today.

©Oke Iroegbu

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Nature Poetry

Anyanwu Ututu m (My Morning sun)

Anyanwu ututu m

My gift and joy from God

Onyem ji eme onu

You glow like the red chilli

And you are sweet,

Sweeter than the palm wine,

Ah nwanyioma m!

When the village drums beat

You dance with ecstacy

Laughing when you move

Sometimes, words fail me

I can only ponder on God’s creativity

The blessings He had bestowed on you

And how I am lucky to have you!

***

Commentary:

Anyanwu ututu m: My morning sun

Onyem ji eme onu: The one I boast of

Nwanyioma m: My good lady

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The song of a Shepherd

Tut, tsi, tsii, tuut, tsii

Will you think I was talking to myself?

Haha, not in any way! I call to my sheep that way

So we bond, we use a special code

And when they spread over the grassland

I sit to play my guitar- singing Hallelujah

Quivering fingers, dry in the noon sun,

Taste of dew on my lips, a twig poking from my mouth

Ha… lle… lu… Yah…

Lu… Yah, lu… Yah

Oh, what happy view from the Brook

How happy they peacefully graze

Ha… Lle… Lu… Yah

Lu… Yah, lu… Yah

Will you like to take a look

Of my sheep scattered like a maze?

***

Night fall

So, retired

Pillow of silk

Open window

Out was a bright moon,

A night to dream

And a wish to good night

Hallelujah, I pray

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Africa Uncategorized

Thoughts: Africa

Don’t be overwhelmed by what you see. Stay calm in the raging storm

Life has not been so fair to many. Sometimes it is easy to imagine from a safe part of the world, how people survive in war torn, disaster/disease stricken parts of Africa.

We wake up in the morning to different news. Economic news reveal that we may lose our investments. Political news talk of conspiracies, deals, xenophobia and closed borders. Religious news bring to our notice intolerance of one religious group to another. Suicide bombings, children dropping out of school, unclean water, unhygienic sanitary practices, HIV, poverty, unemployment, wars, natural disasters and more. But in all these troubles, we find joy living one more day. The sun shines brightly, the bees will hum for her, flowers welcome her brightness and warmth and the people wake up to their duties. There’s a bird singing melodiously from the roof top. Can you hear it?

If you ever visit any African country, the scenery will amaze you. You will live in a state of two minds. Across the streets you may see children playing happily in the light rain and just by the street corner, a begging hungry teenage mother. You can wonder again, how there’s so much joy amidst much pain.

Strange as it seems, Africa has all resources to make the continent a Haven. But the leaders keep on mismanaging the resources. We have the population, which constitutes some of the world’s youngest. We have arable land, solid minerals, abundant sunshine, water bodies and at large, the workforce.

I hope that things turn around for good. I have faith in the growing call for justice for all and quality education. I believe there’s a solution coming. That solution may not be far away. Let’s watch the sun rise. Good morning from West Africa.

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Uncategorized

August Night Poems

THE NIGHT
The night is full of fresh air
One which come with the wind
Talking of the Wind, she is irresistable
Sweetly, comely to the flesh of men
And a quick aid to the lullaby’s effort

RAIN
It seem it will pour heavily, sometime later
For the Lightning had come to snap pictures
Of the Earth and the men that dwell therein
And if it won’t rain, maybe the wind will go
Just maybe…

THE NIGHT SONG
The several songs of the night now come up
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star!’ How I wonder…
The ceaseless episode of the wailing bull frogs
And the fire bugs and warm crickets wake
Night birds; bats, owls and the rest
The hundreds of night voices unseen:
The wolves in the fields
The hovering mantis
The insects, the hogs
The things that walk the night
Gross and fair, thin and huge
Small and great, hideous and free
All in local unison sing a song like the choir
And rest on the night for their cover and shield

THE CHIMNEY
Down the chimney, a lot of drama unfold
The tongues of fire lick the woods quietly
The smoke move like a puff of air, rising into the air
And on the chimney lay a wake of dust, coal and soot

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Poetry Uncategorized

Tiv Princess

1

Princess

The sun rise of the Tiv!

From the Crowns crest

You wore a lace, weaved

Of many, herbs, jute, wool

2

In the midst of all

You stand dazzling in the sun rise

Hovering over others like the Iroko, tall,

Beautiful, with such grace and height

Leaving men wanting of desires

***

Commentary:

Tiv: People of Middle belt of Nigeria. Great farmers and hospitable people occupying regions of Benue and Taraba states of Nigeria.

Iroko: a great tree of the forest regions of Nigeria.

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Three songs of the Night: The Shepherd’s Tale, a Star and Stinginess

1

The Shepherd’s Tale:

Fast, from afar

The sun set

Golden streaks touch the skies,

So the sheep bleat with joy

Full bellies rumbling with forage,

In anticipation –

For the night came slowly

With her was the sweet breeze

And all left to worry about

Was a good night rest

2

A Star:

There’s a lone star up the sky,

Glittering feverishly

Bothered by the dark night

And the bright moon shine

There’s a lone star up the sky

From the window you can see

Her struggle, weak and faint

But giving light to heaven

3

Stinginess:

Stinginess is when you hold back,

When the dreams of others don’t matter

And when all that matters is yourself,

So to take all won’t sound bad,

To see someone in want means nothing

And to care about others is not necessary-

Aye! Guide your heart

Secure all that you consume

But do not be stingy with your love

***
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Thoughts on Loneliness 3

Today I was in school (where I work) and really enjoyed the time I spent with my favorite students and friends. I had a lot of hugs especially from Helen, a primary school kid who took fancy of me. I teach the secondary section but my friends mostly are those little kids at the kindergaten and primary who run about and play every possible play they could around me. I enjoyed those smiling faces. Most times, during break time, I visit the primary section to see my friends. What a welcome I always get! It warms my heart to see such love, undiluted! I will love to feel that way again and again.Why did I start this post with that little story? Because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that even an introvert needs some air. You needn’t stay away from people (include kids and pets) even when your senses are beating drums to. When I open up to nice people, I feel better and I could get back to my thoughts feeling very great!Man is a social animal. Yes! So don’t keep yourself back to yourself. Sometimes reach out and when people reach out to you don’t always hold back. Bless people with your time, attention, love, smiles and hugs. 😊😊😊

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Thoughts on Loneliness 2

Introverts do see themselves as threatened species. What I mean is that they feel overwhelmed in the crowd and most times misbehave in such environment. I, for instance can relate to this. I feel so consumed and inadequate when I’m in a place full of people. I won’t say this has to do with less self confidence but seeing a lot of people who share little or nothing with me turns me off.

I try to belong when I find myself in such environment. Act as a Roman when you are in Rome, right? At the end, I come back to myself and count my gains and losses of moments ‘wasted’ sitting with people. Understanding who yourself wants to spend time with is very important. Most times, you really need to spend more time with yourself. This is not being anti social. I believe we are not meant to force ourselves on people or to belong to a group. But, a little advice goes thus, try to belong sometimes not to displease yourself but to spend time with people who might be in dire need of your time and attention. You can always have yourself afterwards.

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Poetry Series Uncategorized

Titan

I’m a Titan!
For I dance under the greying skies,
Strip the trees bare of green leaves
And watch it slowly die with my pitchforks

I’m a Titan
I tease the streams and oceans
So when they wash up dying lives on the dust
I pity and sigh with discontentment

I’m a Titan
I dig the earth to make empty caves
And when it rains, the land slides
Down, upon surprised villagers

I’m a man
I look to profits more than my future
In snow, rainfall and sunshine
Adding my gains, without a thought for the growing pain

***

Note:

We are living in the reality of global warming. Believe it or not, the numerous natural disasters occuring are all functions of our work, years past. It is time to sit up and work to restore the Earth’s health. We can’t be healthy on an unhealthy Earth.

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Uncategorized

When love is wicked

Your love became wicked

When I watched you walk,

When you wished me away

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Your smile

Your smile is an elixir

To my soul,

When you smile at me

I take in more joy and life

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Uncategorized

The Flock

Fonuoha:
I dreamt of a flock
How I’d watch them graze
But I’m always out of luck
Like a mirage my dreams erase

Oiroegbu:
For some of the flock are mirages
And their mirages, people in my life
Those who cast their nets before my bridges
And dream to reap where they sowed strife

Fonuoha:

How then do I reach them?
They are only but shadows
My weird thoughts I thus blame
I’ve lost faith in all those

Oiroegbu:

Well trouble not the strange past
In the queer struggle of life
One must learn to cost trust
And know that it must with time thrive

****

Commentary:

There are people who are in your life for what they get. Some are just monitoring and watching to see where your struggle will take you to. I collaborated with my brother and friend to capture this, in this piece. The flock will represent people who are in our life’s for the benefit they get and disappointments, mirages of how we must have expected much from the flock.

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Dear Rendezvous

Dear Rendezvous,

Tell the green trees, I am coming back,
That the stars won’t fall from the darkening clouds
That the nights will be as airy and sweet as ever
And that our love meeting will remain beneath her shade

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Love Song

Still recalling our love story

How smiles turned to warm hugs

And how our hearts beat loudly

To the rhythm of the quiet night

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Uncategorized

Colors, the First part

Colors are very beautiful
They tell a lot about all;
And a little about this and that
The ocean, the sun
The mice that live across
The busy street roads
Or the golden corn field
And the wild, the deserts
And the ice of Antarctica
Colors describe our feelings
Red with rage
The royal purple…

Each day wakes with colors
Take the flowers as an example,
Some grow so pale like the purple
And some, like the blessed color of harvest
Gold, the suns’ face upon a field of wheat

The soft and mild wind move about, quietly
Up the great green trees where the pretty birds live
And on the grey soil where the mushrooms thrive
But none is able to paint her till this day
Why? I wonder, but none can truly say

Okay let us paint a color, a fair one
Just any color which comes to mind
Flaunt the blues, make a little mound
Of nice sweet dreamy hue of orange
With a bunch of hogs walking to forage

Okay, let us talk about the eye hues
About the red that signifies danger
And the blood-shot eyes of the Hyena
Brown, that makes all images muddy
And to me seems a lot more nasty

What if there was a color of feelings?
Now let us try to paint a color of love
Like a surge of water upon the wharf
How amazing it is to add a drop of ruby
A humble hue, just for you and me?