Categories
reflection Uncategorized

What 2020 Taught Me

Failure Is Not Final

“What did you learn in 2020?”

That is the big question for everyone. So I’m going to share a bit of what 2020 taught me and how I have evolved into a resilient individual.

Indeed a lot had transpired this year; wars, disasters, locust infestation, Brexit – EU trade issues, MAGA, novel coronavirus, US-Chinese tit for tat economic warfare, global anti-government protests, racial and gender equality campaigns, and recently Trump’s electoral defeat and the Israeli-Arab peace signings. You will agree that 2020 has been a tough one, and some of the subjects mentioned above contributed to that.

Even amid the chaos, I have learned a lot. I evolved into part-time human rights and environmental activist. I became more courageous to advocate for human rights, good governance, quality education, and youth employment in Africa. Instead of withdrawing into my shell when things go wrong, I spoke up.

I became a man too. I have, with the help of other family members, nursed my sick sister and witnessed her last days on earth. I saw her being lowered down six feet below, realizing it was a final goodbye. I remained positive and strong in times of adversity, and this gave others hope. I have assumed responsibilities I never dreamt of and helped many people in my little way.

I also improved my writing skills, made excellent networks abroad, and broke out from a portion of the introvert cocoon. I took up the sole responsibility to start a blog for my church messages. I currently volunteer to help human rights organizations and other NGOs. I taught some friends and students how to start a blog and use it to live meaningful lives. I’m equally available for any legitimate virtual work. Thanks to the novel coronavirus that contributed to the changed work standards, I can work remotely.

Generally, the pandemic taught everyone a lesson or two. For me, I acknowledge that owning a business is prudent. Many firms could not afford to pay their staff during the pandemic, so they laid them off or applied cuts to their salaries. Even though some businesses couldn’t survive the time, but many did come out stronger. Those who failed could take a lesson too. Also, the pandemic had shown that what the world needs are talented and creative people. We could see how industries and organizations raced to find solutions to the myriad of problems that surfaced this year. Face masks, vaccines, alcohol-based disinfectants, and more were produced en masse to curb the spreading virus.

In a few hours, the year will be over. I’m also aware that in some parts of the world, it’s already January 2021. I have a piece of advice for everyone; lay aside your doubts and fears. It’s time to start afresh. I will see you in 2021!

Let’s make this wish together for better things to come. What has 2020 taught you? Delightful New Year everyone 🙂✨

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nature

Plant Trees, Plant Hope

We can’t replace trees that are thousands of years old. But we can plant new ones; we can instill hope for our future generations.

Sad image

Sequel to my earlier post on uncontrolled bush burning, which destroys plant and animal habitats, I decided to write further on this sad image I stumbled upon.

Man and trees are life partners, but greed has caused one to harm the other. But there is hope. Even though we may be unable to take the world back to its original state, our little acts today can help it heal. The truth is, man is carried away by personal gain that he forgot the value of his own life.

The picture is from TJ Watts and explains a lot about human involvement in environmental degradation. It portrays how man is busy destroying the magnificence around him. By cutting down these trees, man is slowly strangling himself. It’s just a matter of time for nature to return ‘full’ hostilities to him.

Terrible consequences

It’s awful to realize that the world is not dying, but we are the ones killing it. It’s not very pleasant too when people cut down what they didn’t plant – for personal gains. This is not progress at all. Our actions aid the disasters that plague our environment. We are yet to witness more landslides, avalanches, tsunamis, and floods. But it’s time to change for good.

These forests support the lives of many organisms, including man. They give oxygen, food, shelter, and more. I am worried that whole histories are lost with these century-old trees. Thousands of stories are gone when trees are hewn down. What will take its place, a lifeless building?

I call on everyone to create awareness of this. Youth and environmental organizations must play an active role too. We need to include teaching conservation in our schools; children need to know how important it is to maintain the earth’s forests. For governmental agencies, 2021 will be the perfect time to begin implementing ecologically friendly policies starting from grassroots street and local councils. Let’s start the coming year with a resolution to end all manner of injustices, not only to man but to all members of his environment. A little deed can go a long way. We can never know.

In addition to protecting our forests, let’s plant trees; we instill hope for our future.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education

The Masquerades of Amune

Masquerades in Umukwu-Amune

Today was the Masquerade’s Day in Amune, Ovim. I was on a visit when I came across this masquerade band. In a situation, one comes across the masquerades face to face; it is crucial to ‘acknowledge or plead’ with them by calling out their names; if you desire not to be whipped. Sometimes you can offer them gifts to let you be. Masquerade floggings are traditional. To avoid those, one must stay as far as possible.

So I wrote the little poem below to talk about the sudden appearance of masquerades and the commotion they caused.

Threads hold fast upon your coat of colors
When the stage is set, you are the conqueror
All village folk flee from you, but older men sit
Gazing into space when men transform into spirits

Uniform dyes are of several displays
Dark green, brown, yellow, grey
The dust raised over the rooftops
Signals the onset of celebrations
Children hide, but hawks circle the sky

Many believe your arrival from ant holes
Others think you are ancient deities
Or spirits engaging the past and present
Reincarnated through the mortal man
Attending to the interests of the clan –
A place where hill dwellers call home

Categories
hope love

Hope

Behold

life prevails
on ship sails
and up the horizon
if one won’t look down

For,

new daylight
brings distinct gust
rapidly take it in
and claim another win!

Categories
love Love and Christianity love poems

Love Poetry: She

she wears pleasant flowers
and bakes cakes made of flour
she sings in the morning
and my heart dance with her song

Categories
Africa reflection thoughts

A Big No To Wild Bush Burning

Home again

It’s a full moonlight tonight. The evening air is modest. We are all sitting outside, just in front of the house, discussing the day’s work. Some lay, rolling on mats spread close to one another. In between the lead tale teller’s story, distracting dialogues transpire, though as whispers. Incessant noises made by insects break the general stillness. The highlands bring down cold air. The hills continue to nourish the village with sleepy breeze. The moon stayed put, her glow however intact.

I’m drawn to nature’s beautiful lyrics, such that came from nocturnal insects and animals. Suddenly, from a distance, I observe a thick smoke rise. A massive fire accompanied it. In no time, soot started to descend upon the hamlet. I could smell the acrid smoke and realized at once why many insects hurried toward our gathering. They were running from the blaze. I’m pretty sure that the person who started this fire left it unattended. It could spread to large swaths of land, you know. It is awful that people still burn wild bushes without considering the impact of their actions. I can’t imagine those once happily vocalizing insects scampering for safety, away from the comfort of their dwellings. Unfortunately, many won’t make it out alive.

Well, several dangers accompany uncontrolled bush burning. We lose whole soil organisms, soil texture, and soil fertility. The earth’s vegetation cover is destroyed, leading to soil erosion. The air is polluted, and insects and animals’ habitats are destroyed. We still have a lot to do. We should certainly make an effort to save this planet. It’s worth trying.

Collective Responsibility

Back to my reality, I just had a loaf and half of the cassava flour (akpu) with tasty oha soup. I’m nearly heavy. My little cousin, alongside his sister, play with my stomach, saying a lot of strange things. Indeed, this traditional meal is the real deal. Some people may think differently – it’s not my favorite anyway. But this sudden smoke and fire took away a portion of my amusement.

While we gist, I’m absent-minded. I am profoundly reflecting on the best ways to encourage everyone to play a role in protecting our beautiful planet. We still have a long way to go in conserving our land, and indeed uncontrolled bush burning should be one thing prohibited.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love christmas love Love and Christianity

Oscar Wilde’s Selfish Giant: Seasons Greetings

I came home yesterday and saw my dad’s favorite Oscar Wilde book of tales. The selfish giant is my best of them all; there’s a big lesson in it. I’ve applied a minor revision to the original story.

The Selfish Giant

Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden.

It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games to listen to them. “How happy we are here!” they cried to each other.

Decorative graphic of children in garden

One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years were over, he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his castle. When he arrived, he saw the children playing in the garden.

“What are you doing here?” he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.

“My garden is my garden,” said the Giant; “any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.” So he built a high wall all around it and put up a notice-board.

He was a very selfish Giant.

The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over and talk about the beautiful garden inside. “How happy we were there,” they said to each other.

Then the Spring came, and all over the country, there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant, it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board, it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. “Spring has forgotten this garden,” they cried, “so we will live here all the year-round.” The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden and blew the chimney-pots down. “This is a delightful spot,” he said, “we must ask the Hail on a visit.” So the Hail came. Every day for three hours, he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.

“I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,” said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden, she gave none. “He is too selfish,” she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King’s musicians passing by. It was only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. “I believe the Spring has come at last,” said the Giant, and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

What did he see?

He saw the most beautiful sight. Through a little hole in the wall, the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see, there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms and were waving their arms gently above the children’s heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner, it was still winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The low tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. “Climb up! Little boy,” said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could, but the boy was too tiny.

And the Giant’s heart melted as he looked out. “How selfish I have been!” he said; “now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever.” He was very sorry for what he had done.

So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him, they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the park became winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant’s neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. “It is your garden now, little children,” said the Giant, and he took a great ax and knocked down the wall. And when the people were going to market at noon, they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

All-day long, they played, and in the evening, they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.

“But where is your little companion?” he said: “the boy I put into the tree.” The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.

“We don’t know,” answered the children; “he has gone away.”

“You must tell him to be sure and come here, to-morrow,” said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived and had never seen him before, and the Giant felt very sad.

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend and often spoke of him. “How I would like to see him!” he used to say.

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. “I have many beautiful flowers,” he said, “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.”

One winter morning, he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep and that the flowers were resting.

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass and came near to the child. And when he came quite close, his face grew red with anger, and he said, “Who hath dared to wound thee?” For on the palms of the child’s hands were the prints of two nails, and the images of two pins were on the little feet.

“Who hath dared to wound thee?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.”

“Nay!” answered the child, “but these are the wounds of Love.”

“Who art thou?” said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.”

And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

***

It’s the season of love, peace, and joy. From here, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Categories
Africa quotes

Quote on Resilience

The oak fought the wind and was broken; the willow bent when it must and survived.

– Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love

A Shepherd’s Song

Tut, tsi, tut, tsi,
Do you think I was talking to myself?
Haha, not in any way! I call on my sheep that way
So we bond, using this unique code
When they disperse over the pasture
I sit to play my guitar, a song hallelujah
Trembling fingers, dry in the noon sun,
The flavour of mountain dew on my lips,
Ha… lle… lu… Yah…
Lu… Yah, lu… Yah
Oh what view from the brook
How glad they peacefully graze
Ha… lle… lu… Yah…
Lu… Yah, lu… Yah
Oh, will you like to take a look
Of sheep scattered across the grass?

***

Nightfall
So retired
Pillow of silk
Open window,
Bright moon
Night of dreams,
A wish, a good night
A song hallelujah

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love

Quiet Night

A silent night from the inside
A noisy one out in the wild
Nighttime for cricket buzzing
Lullaby against a sleepy wind

Categories
gender equality respect virtues

Quote on Respect 1

Let’s build a world where women don’t have to become violent just to be respected by men.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems night poems

Poem: When Tree Leaves Fall

Tree leaves dance when they fall, trembling quietly
Brown leaves, some dull in red and lighter green
All manoeuvre in the same direction of the wind
When bold leaves fall off the branches
They twist and sail through the wind
Some set up leisure, settling on the moist below
Sailing off, noiselessly to other stream banks
But those who fell on the ageless rocks
Clasped to the grasp of the fern
Idling patiently for the wind to free them
Tiny insects seeking nectar fly around the river greenery,
Slowly, the water finds its way through rocks
Rushing peacefully, polishing pebbles, shoving stray fish off
The air is icy cold, so is the beautiful waters of the stream
This dawning paints a modest, peaceful scenery,
One which waits quietly for the noisy bird cavalry

Categories
Poetry

What Is Poem?

What I Think of Poetry

We’ve discussed many issues in the past, but in today’s Poets Corner, we will be talking about poems. Poems are known by other names, namely: verse, ballad, ode, dirge, elegy, passage, lyrics, songs, hymns, stanza, epic, haiku, and more. I will say poetry is a function of mood and situation. It all boils down to the expression of personal thoughts and emotions.

For me, it’s a perfect way of letting off steam. When I write, I am delighted to play with words. It gives me peace. Poetry is expressing thoughts in a manner that provides stability and succor to the writer.

Other Poets Thoughts

As usual, I will take some time to reproduce what each poet thinks of poems. Of course, poets will always color up definitions, and poetry defined won’t be an exception. Most poets, like myself, feel it’s an expression.

I will start with April Joie Marie Cruda; it’s an art of expressing someone’s hidden feelings. It’s another way of telling what the mouth can’t utter. Jessie Love agrees with this definition, hear her: “all the words that your heart wants to say, but your lips will never speak.” Boogieman Fatts says: “call me simple if you may, but to me, a poem is a spoke a word that rhymes.” John Andrew Villan believes it’s what we feel and how we creatively define life. For Makola Lēfā, it’s expressive interaction between feelings and nature. I can relate.

B Mathepe Seerane explains thus: Poem is an expression of emotions, nature, storytelling, and message. This includes things around us, which are in the past, present, or future, things we cannot relate, but poems can with deep thoughts and beautiful descriptions. Poems are the circuit of life through our own experiences; it comes to you how you want to write. Many poems are free verse. Tsegaw Weldeyohaness says it’s a language of a soul.

For Freeabuky Jamal, it’s the truth. A breath of relief. Dennis David feels that it’s the best word in the best place. “It’s the full expression of one’s feeling and the feeling itself,” Vincent Raphael Dirain says. Safiya Shehu thinks it’s inner mind thoughts put on paper using an aesthetic expression. Isn’t that wow? Julie Foreman was more academic in her approach: a collection of either perfectly rhyming or none rhyming phrases or sentences that run on or end but always end up making you question something.

Mézõ Phürå’z Måthå opined that a poem is a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their beauty and sound and are carefully arranged, often in short lines that rhymes. This is a beautiful definition, indeed, but poems don’t necessarily rhyme these days. Gift Clifford Ngobeni believes it’s the description of life. Itumeleng Ramohomane says it’s a blast of carefully selected words by the poet inside the host. The poem is all the questions and answers put in one. Ibrahim Ansari says it’s a way to dress up a feeling in a cloth of language. Bona Peruse quipped it is the extension of one’s soul.

Eunice Ndagi says that a poem is a feeling expressed through the choice of words. Leo Castilar Bragais believes a poem is a rhyme of words from emotions and experiences. Rachel Kaufmann says it’s the recasting of life and thought into meter and rhyme. Simon Cosmas says it’s a work of art written in a heightened language to express ideas. For Gautam Jain, it’s the license to put a line break wherever you want.

According to Sally Skeleton: “A poem to me is something that I can express my feelings when I’m sad, happy, lonely, or depressed. It sometimes gets me through the day lately. It’s just been rare.” Nyx Nanin believes they are the unsaid words of a writer that cannot be expressed verbally. Mensaje Ever says it’s the hidden mystery of the world which it takes great thinkers to bring to reality.

“There are many great things that you can say when it comes to poems or creating them. We do have a wide variety of explanations on what it is. For me, a poem is something you start to embrace your ideas and perspective in the world. And it’s also your feelings, emotions, etc., as long as you express yourself in a creative way of using words. That’s a poem for me.” Paolo Cruz explained. Maybe Madi was creative. She said a poem is a ‘Piece Of Everything Mental.’ Notice the capitalized words? For Ellie Ellie, a poem is life, and for Infant Prabhu, it’s words of your soul.

Mudasir Ul Islam says it’s just a feeling. Isn’t that an honest one-word description? Obaid Karimi, it’s dipping words into sense. Bin Bas Dawaki has this to offer, “Poem is a literary piece of writing which produces pleasure and imaginative productive of thought.” Emmalyn Monteroso says it’s little words with limitless meanings. Hmm! That’s a deep one. “Poem defines our personality and experiences.” Unspoken Words says. Prince Ynicia Pepito’s idea is that it’s a way we write our tears, either joy or grief.

Wāmë Bëē says a poem is the art of feelings. For Andrea Badiango, poetry is a way she expresses her thoughts and feelings; she could construct a poem if it’s from what she feels. Stiina Saluste says poems are words of one’s soul and heart. Phumla Mchunu says it’s a sequence. Just like numbers, it’s unending. It’s a pour out of purity, adventure, and discovering the limits of words and the feeling of letters. Though I agree with this definition, I still feel that those who write dark poetry are not doing pure justice. Don’t you think?

It is the devotion of emotion for Queen Dot Jah Ladi. It’s telling a story full of feeling expression for N’wana Mhani Khensani. Vanessa Fafali Kpenyo thinks it’s the expression of feelings in the form of writing. I do think so too.

Teendoor Mike Takaz says it’s a strategic way of expressing the inexpressible. For Wilma Erin Eros, it’s like a song. Shannon Scott says it’s an expression of one’s thoughts. Nodana Odidnac says it’s a compilation of thoughts and ideas, and that is art. Ihyisham Ahmed defined it as a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines. “A special way of expressing. If the poet considers what he or she has created is a poem, it’s a poem. Whether or not it’s a good poem is a matter for the person who considers it.” That was from philosophical Tom East.

“A poem to me is therapy; it’s a way for me to express all of my demons and say things that I can’t talk about because my mind won’t let me, in poetry I can’t explain it, but I feel free and can write down anything that I think.” Austin Mickle said. Nia Sanders believes it’s another language to speak. It’s your thoughts and emotions formulated into words. It’s freedom and clarity.

How do you define a poem?

Categories
Africa leadership opinion reflection

Reflection: A King Without A Crown

A King Without A Crown

I used to take on a noble character whenever it comes to acting among my peers. I remember performing King Nebuchadnezzar in a high school drama class. It was sport hearing my classmates address me as the king. Nebu – the short-lived nickname that followed after wasn’t much fun. Please don’t listen to me; I enjoyed the attention. Haha!

Spending my holidays in the countryside was fun. I won’t forget my childhood moments and those who made them memorable. I recall not-so-cozy train rides to and fro the country, hunting rodents with my buddies, running an insect zoo (this is very personal to me), killing straying poisonous snakes and chipmunks that destroyed furniture in the house, swimming in shallow streams, and catching crabs, wrestling with other boys, numerous farm adventures, and more. These are stories to be told. It gives me extreme joy when I recall them. Hence, I’m grateful for the experience. I try to keep records of stories and lessons learned in my evolving blog. A lot has been written here and elsewhere, but sadly much is nearly or entirely forgotten. Well, I will work hard to put the pieces together.

More to Africa…

There’s a lot yet to be revealed about Africa. While many may choose to focus on the ills in African societies, many good things are going on in the continent.

I launched this blog to document my past and future nostalgic moments. I aim to promote the dignity of the African homeland and her rich heritage. Also, my blog seeks to persuade people to acknowledge their humble beginnings. It is the past that made us who we are today. As for me, my life experiences made me resilient and desirous of contributing to positive change.

My love for Africa goes beyond boundaries created by man and perceived primitive traditions. It saddens me to see such a beautiful continent wallow in poverty and deprivation. It is my dream to travel the length and breadth of the continent – to tell more stories. Indeed, storytelling is Africa’s foremost tradition because it unites us all, and everyone has a story.

It’s my wish to see much of the African hinterland, to fright lions with the Masai, swim in some of her greatest rivers, live with and learn the ways of local tribes, collate much tribal folklore and poetry from budding African talent, start a series about this beautiful land and spread the message of hope. Now, I won’t be needing a crown to continue to spread this hope and love to my people.

Suppose you didn’t play in the mud as I did while growing up; you may not understand how dear this is—good night from West Africa.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love love poems

Love Poem: Twilight

wpid-gb.jpg

Evening lurks behind
Even as sunset float ahead,
It heralds the end of daylight
So we watch it go in installments,
We feel softer airs traverse
Drifting with pure grace
Upon our hair and coats
It gets darker; nature’s notice
We wonder what it meant
To follow orange twilights
As it glides down the horizon
Leaving all for evening
But the silhouette of love
The best of it we keep for us

Staring into your pretty eyes
Is my favorite sunset moment

Categories
Africa politics quotes

Reflection on Responsibility

A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of – Nelson Mandela


Everyone has got a role to play in our society. Even the smallest can contribute to positive change. Often, people think that responsibility is only a leadership process; consequently, it is the leaders’ duty. I think otherwise. I believe that responsibility goes beyond being led. It’s a commitment to seeing things done right. A changed person who looks beyond the mirror called self seeks to make a difference in his community while transforming himself to be the good he seeks in others.

Suppose we could look beyond ourselves, imagine what the world could look like. Let’s be the change we seek. Let’s be the book that millions of children and youth read. Let our lives preach responsibility and love because everyone has got a role to play. If not at present, ultimately in the future.

This responsible change we seek begins with us. It’s in our hands to make our communities and the world a better place.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love ghana proverbs

Ashanti Proverb: When You Walk In Your Father’s Path

When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him – Ashanti proverb


This excellent Ghanaian adage is self-explanatory. I’ll try to explain some salient points.

Generally, it’s an African believe that a child who goes nearer to his father grow up acting and speaking like him. Indeed, this is true in every society and even the animal world.

Father‘ here symbolises anyone who one observes or follow. For instance, if John, a Zimbabwean, is obsessed with American pop culture, he will end up dressing, talking and living like a pop star. In other words, we are influenced by who we look up to as role models and what we chose to feed our minds with.

A similar proverb talks about chicks watching and learning while the hen scratches and picks seeds from dirt. What do you think?

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love leadership Lessons from Experiences love

The Journey Is Short: Do Good

I champion good leadership, love, peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. That’s why so much of my stories and writing emphasis those virtues. I like to borrow a leaf from Mandela, who, after encountering great tribulation, did not adapt to his prosecutor’s ways.

The short story below was copied from a friend’s Facebook timeline. I decided to share it after applying a minor edit.

Our journey is short, indeed…

A young lady sat on public transport. A grumpy old lady came and sat by her side as she bumped into her with her numerous bags. The person sitting on the other side of her got upset and asked the young lady why she did not speak up and say something.

The young lady responded with a smile: “It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant; the journey together is so short. I will get off at the next stop.”

The response deserves to be written in golden letters in our daily behaviour and everywhere: It is not necessary to argue over something so insignificant; our journey together is short.

If each of us could realise that our passage down here has such a short duration, to darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others, ingratitude, and bad attitudes would be a waste of time and energy.

Did someone break your heart? Be calm; the journey is short. Did someone betray, bully, cheat, or humiliate you? Be quiet, forgive; the journey is short.

Whatever penalty anyone serves us, let’s remember that our journey together is so short. Let us, therefore, be filled with gratitude and sweetness. Sweetness is a virtue never likened to bad character nor cowardice, but better compared to greatness.

Our journey together down here is short and cannot be reversed. No one knows the duration of his trip. No one knows if he will have to alight at the next stop.

Have a great week ahead!

Categories
Africa Nature nature poems night poems

Night Poem: Peace

A tranquil evening is nature’s way
Of welcoming a weary shepherd,
Sundown – his thoughtful views heralds,
Memories in which trees fiercely dance
And soft grasses wait when birds fly home

Categories
animals love poems Nature nature poems

Commentary on A Tale of the Wild Woods

This is folklore written a long time ago when I was a teenager. I still feel the mix of the honest voice of a boy who loves nature and a budding young writer, happy to engage his wits on imaginative adventures. This work wasn’t meant to be political in any way. But reflecting on it, I can, however, see atoms of politics in it. Well, it could just be another lullaby, tale or other kinds of entertainment for my readers.

While rereading it, I’ve grown an admiration for the wolf’s blunt character. He is of course, wild and most times ridiculous. Despite being a wolf, he had managed to trigger an idea that the government is responsible for all woe-happening. I don’t doubt him much. Please take a look at what is happening at present; it’s evident that stupid governments indeed ruin economies and the environment.

I’m amused at his speech about blaming the government for everything that happens – including imposing the monstrously cold weather on all. I only do not see any rationale to force everyone to accept his theories.

I’ve included some study questions. I’ll love to read your opinion.


Once upon a time
It was winter
And a night of bitter cold
The snow lay thick upon the ground
And upon the branches of the trees
Two Woodcutters made their way home
And when they came to the Mountain
She was hanging motionless in the air
For the Ice, King had kissed her
So cold was it that evening
That the animals and birds
Knew not what to make of it
‘Ugh!’ snarled the Wolf
As he limped through the brushwood
With his tail between his legs
‘This is utterly monstrous weather!
Why doesn’t the Government look to
it?’
‘Weet, weet, weet! Twittered the
crickets
‘The old Earth is dead
And she is laid out in her white shroud.’
‘The Earth is going to be married
And this is her bridal dress.’
The Turtle doves whispered
Their little pink feet were quite frostbitten
But they felt it was their duty
To say something romantic about the
situation
‘Nonsense’ the Wolf growled. ‘
I tell you it is all the fault
Of the Government
And if you don’t believe me
I shall eat you.’
The wolf had a thoroughly practical mind
‘Well, for my part.’
Said the philosophical Woodpecker
I don’t care about an atomic theory for
explanations
If a thing is so, it is so
And at present, it is cold.’


Notes: The poem is self-explanatory. Some weather conditions can be extreme, and fauns feel the cold as much as we humans do.

Study Questions:
1 Comment on the Figures of Speech used here.
2. Do you think that the Wolf’s comments were made out of ignorance and selfishness?

Categories
Africa Muse Nature nature poems

Muse: Sunrise

Fortune may rise with the sunlight
For dawn, flourishing lovely dew,
Presents a distinct day for a new start
And to every man, equal odds to grow

Categories
Africa Isuikwuato Nigeria

My Hometown

One wakes to the call of Nature every day, with the sun ushering the day

Huhuhu-Lalala-kiki, all sort of songs welcome the sun’s golden streaks
Crickets quiz, wasps and bees buzz, snakes hiss away, the clock ticked
Familiar sounds echo, strong wind rushing through the high tree lines
Underneath the vegetation, silent waters flow, but we hear her soft current

On the hills of Ovim, where the butchers sell their quarry
Vultures and kites circle around the smoke which rose from a fire
Down the mountain, pretty girls giggle and walk toward the stream
Disturbed mambas drag through the dust to escape contact with them
Lazy millipedes fall from the treetops, the mud grabbing their oily bodies
Great winds surge through forests; shrubs twist in a native dance I knew
As the seeds of trees crack and fall into the calm and quiet waters of Kpere

Pots of wine rattle at the back of wagons, happily setting for the market
The smell of squashed fruit bless the blazing day, with smoked melon balls
Which tastes unique, the palm oil mills churn out fresh, sweet-smelling oil
And when you see the farmers yams, you will understand why they are happy

Now I have water – rainwater, plenty of it, on the farms, at home
When the rains fall, the heavy clouds turn to our village drum;
Drumming beats of fulfilment and joy and hope and profound love
On the trees, birds build many nests, singing out their hearts
The partridge call from the forests, the sounds echo,
The hawks circle the skies scouting for stray mice,
The woodpeckers work on their tree, minding their business
And yet they all combine to one event; one I behold daily


Commentary.
Isuikwuato is the name of my local government area. Ovim is my hometown. I consider it the most delightful place and a source of inspiration for me.

Hopefully, I will get some images of my hometown this holiday.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love night poems Poetry

Old Poem

I like to think that the stars had seen it all—the beginning of life and the present.

The stars are always up there, day and night, and they have seen a lot happen on earth. They have witnessed government regimes come and go; kingdoms rise and fall, and all we can ever imagine – known and unknown.

If you connect to this short poem, then you might just be seeing things the way I do. Haha, it’s only one of my happy night muses. Good night.

Little twinkle stars bold
Upon the vast void
Where invincible forts hold
Abundant stories untold

Categories
Africa ethiopia

Opinion: Ethiopia and Tigray 2

This senseless ‘war’ is far from being over, but the Ethiopian Supreme Leader is declaring victory.

As far as I know, war can take any twist. When one side thinks they have seen it all, the other side might just be preparing to unravel mayhem.

Thanks to Abiy’s refusal to dialogue with those he described as TPLF criminal elements, the war drags on. Abiy, the Ethiopian Federal leader is mindful that Tigrayan combatants are ready to fight till death. So his victory declaration is an obvious hoax. On the other hand, Gebremichael is tactical – retreating into the hilly terrain with his boys to continue defending their homeland. Let me digress for a while; at one time, both leaders wine and dine together. So what went wrong, will it be sheer greed or personal grudge?

I firmly believe Abiy could resolve this issue as he had the Eritrean border matter. With this war, Abiy has proved that he is an intolerant leader. TPLF, on the other hand, had withdrawn from direct brawls with Federal troops. They are slowly turning the conflict into a guerilla war. Abiy, a former military staff, must realise that guerilla warfare can go on prolonged.

Before now, Abiy was Ethiopia’s transformative leader, bringing significant reforms to the nation’s economy. Last year he was awarded the Peace Prize for his role in settling Ethiopian-Eritrean border issue. But this prejudice and intolerance for Tigray’s leadership downplay all his achievements.

That brought another question to my curios-self: was Abiy trying to encircle Tigray by making peace with Eritrea? I’m disappointed that he would let sentiments and grudge get the better of him. All African leaders need to take a lesson from Mandela’s life. Abiy should quickly summon the Tigrayan political leadership for dialogue. After all, they are his people, and he their leader.

To prove himself a good leader, he should listen to the yearnings of the Tigrayan people. Tigray is an Ethiopian federating unit and pro-Ethiopia. Suppose Tigray was Abiy’s tribe, would he use extreme force against them? The answer is glaring. I am thankful that the TPLF has not declared their independence. This shows that they still consider themselves Ethiopians. All they want is to be heard, and their demands met. Will that be too much for the Ethiopian Federal Government to hearken to?

Ethiopia has been an authority in African political, economic and cultural leadership. I’m not pleased with the ongoing war. It might destabilise the region and Ethiopia’s shaky economy. It is a bad thing for Abiy’s government, as he is praised for expanding Ethiopia’s economy, he will also be remembered for how he destroyed a portion of it in a few months. The war is not over yet. We don’t know what may come out of it. Well, Abiy’s youthful vision and commitment to Ethiopia’s general welfare is applaudable, but this brutal way of resolving issues won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Abiy should end the war by asking the TPLF for dialogue. Now that Federal soldiers are in control of Tigray’s capital city, he should ask the TPLF leaders to surface for discussion or does he have something to lose? He should ask the AU or UN to arrange one. If this unnecessary war continues, the blood of innocent children, women and men will haunt the two heady leaders. I support dialogue – a peaceful resolution, one that will involve all Ethiopians.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Eswatini

Someone There by Njabulo N.

Today I sit in a room clouded by darkness,
With pain dominating my body system,
Writing for a better tomorrow.
As the butterflies flood my tummy,
With the air breeze so sweet and calm.
I can see beauty deep inside my eyes.
Show me the sun that shines bright,
Bright more than a bulb in a closet,
To brighten my beautiful day.
I asked myself if there was someone there,
I’m alone, and I’m not lonely.
Found myself searching among the stars,
For beauty that lies in me,
Not knowing that the moon,
lighten the universe even when it is not full.
As the natural light brighten my beautiful day,
Triggering the beauty in me,
I no longer hide my true colors,
I no longer act robust and unaffected.

Someone there?

Do my words create a voice in your ears?
Do they trigger sense in your head?
My heart always speaks in volumes,
Yet the universe turns a deaf ear to it.
Memories are just tattoos in my heart,
The beauty of the tattoos is the pain endured,
Scars are a confession of beauty, survival, and strength.
Great things happen when there are fewer wars,
Great walls rise a soul to walk tall,
Even when it is cold,
With my eyes and mouth closed,
Silence becomes loud when I’m a listener.
Words are everything I need like basic needs,
Even when I bleed, it is the words that heal me.

Categories
Africa gratitude

Night Poem: Tranquility

A walk away from men
Silent songs on dry lips,
A cold evening, guitar strapped behind,
All explained, there a delighted quiet time

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love nature poems night poems Poetales

Amuse: December Cold, The Hill, and Two Foxes

December Cold

Once upon a cold night,
Trees knew little peace
When a strong wind swept by,
Slippery was the grassy pathways
Leading to the small village
But many won’t risk it outside
For the wind was growing to a storm
“What do you make of this cold?”
A grey-furred rabbit broke the silence
His comrades won’t have much time
To discuss a freezing matter, which they think
Concerned only the stupid government
“Argh! Is it always freezing in December?”
A pine tree called to his friends
“I wonder too; I always get weak
And sleep illness when it’s freezing.”
Another pine said, yawning slyly

The Hill

By the corner, some few miles away, stood a hill
Which the simple villagers revere
It was confessed that all cold and wind
Came from the foot of the hill
And so the villagers admired it,
If they had a hot and cheerless day
It will be that someone angered it:
Either a piss on the trees by the hillside
Or some kids threw stones uphill!
It must be something to do with it
Well, that’s a village and its beliefs
And who am I to deny people’s believes?

Two Foxes

Two foxes stroll in search of a mill
What a long day it must be for them,
Sleeping in the shadows of tree roots
Dreaming of summer when it’s just winter coming

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love love poems

Love Poem: Remind me of the sun

Your pretty face reminds me of the sun,
When she rose from the back of many hills
Dragging her gold blanket before farms
So if I am to paint this beautiful muse
I would imagine sunrise over wheat fields
And fast approaching evening when birds fly home

Categories
Canadian Poem love love poems

Love poem: Tumbleweeds by Tracy Windisch-Mason

tumbleweeds I send

Love is a waterfall
with
A river behind

come back to me
in the end

Categories
gratitude proverbs

Video: What Is Life By Schneider Dean

Gratitude is Life

Every morning we wake up to the greatest gift we have: the gift of Life. Every living being on this beautiful planet, including you and me, is blessed with life.

Life is a limited period we have been given on this planet to find and fulfill our purpose. The funny thing is that most people spend their entire lifetime searching for their purpose: waiting for the right moment to act, invest time, emotions, and love. But what most people don’t realize is that the right moment is now.

We all can make this world a better place. The most significant value you can contribute to this world is to be the best version of yourself. Your best me will inspire others to become the best versions of themselves too.

When I started to follow my passion and live my life to the fullest, I became the best version of myself, and success and meaning followed immediately.

Life is filled with challenges. Remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose. Denzel Washington once said, “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship!” Stop waiting for the right moment to work hard. Stop waiting for the right time to love. Don’t wait to move on and beginning something new. Your life is happening right now. The time is limited, and the purpose is clear.

Become the best version you can be NOW.

©Schneider Dean

Categories
Africa Christianity happiness Inspiration/Motivation

True Happiness

December: Happy New Month

Hello Dear Friends,

I’m delighted to be writing to you. We’ve made it to 2020’s last month – December. We’re resilient, and hope with faith kept us. First, let me congratulate everyone on making it this far.

It’s a unique month, and I’m glad to see it. This short story below was taken from a Whatsapp group. It explores a man’s quest for happiness – acquisition of material wealth versus philanthropy.

This story got me thinking. I pray it does the same to everyone. I wish you the best this month and always.

With love ❤️,
Oke Iroegbu

Femi Otedola

When Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola in a telephone interview, was asked by the radio presenter, “Sir, what can you remember made you the happiest man in life?” Femi said: “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life, and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness.

The first stage was to accumulate wealth and means. But at this stage, I did not get the happiness I wanted. Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realized that this thing’s effect is also temporary, and the luster of valuable things does not last long. Then came the third stage of getting big projects. That was when I was holding 95% of diesel supply in Nigeria and Africa. I was also the largest vessel owner in Africa and Asia. But even here, I did not get the happiness I had imagined. The fourth stage was when a friend of mine asked me to buy a wheelchair for some disabled children—just about 200 kids.

At the friend’s request, I immediately purchased the wheelchairs. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with him. There I gave these wheelchairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on the wheelchairs, moving around and having fun. It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot where they are sharing a jackpot winning. I felt REAL joy inside me.

When I decided to leave, one of the kids grabbed my legs. I tried to free my legs gently, but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly. I bent down and asked the child, “Do you need something else?” The answer this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my attitude to life completely. This child said: “I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognize you and thank you once again.”

What would you be remembered for after you leave that office or place? Will anyone desire to see your face again where it all matters?