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Africa Igbo culture opinion proverbs

Igbo Proverb: Sound of The Bitter Cola

Igbo: Ùda akùilu abùghí ùtō ya.

English: Bitter Cola doesn’t taste like its sound (literally).


Background:

Just like the name, bitter cola is a very bitter fruit! Sometimes I do wonder why it’s not called a ‘very bitter cola’.

Alongside the kolanut and garden egg, it is commonly used as a ‘welcome fruit’ in West Africa. There’s a loud crunchy sound made when a soft fruit is chewed. The sound is more like one made when we eat waffles or some kind of buiscuits. Those are really delicious right? But that doesn’t work for bitter cola; the crunchy sound will not translate to a sweet taste! Most juveniles who had never chewed on one before could think otherwise, because of this loud crunchy sound.

Meaning:

As I mentioned earlier, the crunchy sound can be very deceptive. The Igbo people of southern Nigeria believe that some things are not what they seem, hence the proverb. It relates to the English saying, ‘looks can be deceptive’. What is your opinion?

Categories
human rights opinion politics reflection thoughts

Opinion: Eurasia & Nagorno-Karabakh 2

Is enough not enough?

Civilian casualties

In peaceful times, it is easier for the victor to reconcile with the vanquished.

It’s ten days already and I kept wondering why these two governments prefer to use force over dialogue. I regret that the Armenian political leadership failed to engage the Azeri in peaceful talks when they had the upper hand (after winning the 90’s war and occupying western Azerbaijan). If they had acted on that maybe we would have some peace.

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially Azeri territory, but settled by ethnic Armenians. Let’s look at a scenario where the Armenian Government used the occupation period to rally and hold a referendum for the breakaway state. Let’s assume further that they did attempt to make peace with Azerbaijan while rallying regional and international support for a plebiscite. Azerbaijan would either say yes or no. If no, then something could be done to pacify them. Give back some occupied territories (not Nagorno-Karabakh) or agree to grant the territory a greater autonomy under Azerbaijan. If the Azeri accepted, then all this stress will be long forgotten. The two countries have legitimate claims but can only find a solution by consensus.

Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh and some Azeri areas are under heavy shelling. Two neighbours constantly exchanging fire as both record military and civilian casualties. News agencies play videos of destroyed homes, offices and farms. Few months ago these people, now victims of war suffered from Covid-19 pandemic. Now that the impact is gradually reducing, a war greets them.

It’s in every human nature to want freedom from where they feel marginalized, threatened and subdued. In fact, many places still seek self governing status. Denying that leads to rebellion and conflict. This happened in Biafra – Nigeria’s bloody war and is still happening in Ambazonia – Southern Cameroons.

Role of External Influences

It’s obvious that each side has a cheerleader and also has a national ‘pride’ to protect. So it hurts some pride to want to cease hostilities first. My anger is that innocent people bear the brunt of the war. What a waste of resources and lives in these hard times.

Turkey has openly pledged support for Azeri forces, while the Russians are committed to Armenia where it has a military base. Greece (recall the territorial issues with Turkey) supports Armenia. It now seems like an unfolding ethno-religious war. Syrian mercenaries are fighting alongside Azeri forces. If care is not taken, this may escalate into a full scale regional war. This time, Turkey, Greece, Iran and Russia will be drawn into a direct conflict with each other.

Since Nagorno-Karabakh is the bone of contention, why not administer a joint plebiscite on the territory with international agencies as observers? Excuse me, but you can’t force a cat to be a dog. Whoever anyone chose to be, well let them be!

Role of the United Nations

I have a couple of questions to ask the UN, the warring nations and humanity in general. The first is for the United Nations: should we continue to look away while people die in this meaningless war? To conflicting nations: Hasn’t the Corona virus done enough harm to your people and economy already? And now to everyone: Does it occur to you that some nations are trying to use a regional or global conflict to resuscitate its economy or influence? It may not make much sense until it does. Time will tell.

The United Nations needs to wake up before it’s too late. I don’t know how the protocols work but the UN can mobilise a peacekeeping force to help broker a ceasefire, create a buffer zone and return all parties to the negotiation table. Why do we always wait for the last minute to act?

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opinion politics thoughts

Opinion: Eurasia & Nagorno-Karabakh

The drums of war has been beating since the beginning of this year.

Eurasia

‘When it starts, it will be over there. Eurasia* may introduce the world to a global conflict.’

Those were my words as I sat watching BBC’s global news. Before the news on Nagorno-Karabakh, I had always predicted that a future global war may start from Eurasia. I will share my opinion after reflecting on the events that happened this year.

And I’m not talking about Corona virus or the upcoming US presidential election. Of course, 2020 will always be associated with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic which took the world by surprise and drew attention away from many things. While the world was distracted something else kept on brewing behind the curtain.

If you follow global news you may agree with me that the political tensions flaring up in Eurasia is not ordinary. Well Africa, known for violent political clashes is enjoying ‘some peace’ when compared to Eurasia. There’s an ongoing battle for political and economic control in Asia. Nationalist feelings is on its zenith and countries are disinterested in reaching an agreement through dialogue. It is now necessary to engage in military drills and showcase hardware to intimidate others. What an unnecessary show off of military strength in times when many economies are crumbling or struggling.

Eurasia is boiling hot, old rivalries and wounds scratched open. Consider the territorial dispute between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over drilling rights in the Mediterranean. Iran is at the background though quiet at the meantime but protecting it’s interests. Syria and Yemen hasn’t really gotten over their wars. Israel is weary of Hezbollah and Hamas. Let’s look at Pakistan and India over Kashmir and internal issues in Afghanistan and Iraq. Consider also the Chinese aggression over the South China sea, and the Indian, Taiwanese, Japanese borders and currently the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In the past, nationalist feelings and movements preceded dangerous events. Such was with the years preceding WW1 and WW2. While the leading world governments look elsewhere and show indifference to the collective responsibility to protect fundamental human rights, rogue nations grow morale to intimidate their citizens, political opponents and bully other nations. This further encourage barbaric misadventures of territorial expansion and resource grabbing.

This is not good for humanity and not good for the world.

Nagorno-Karabakh

I kept wondering why the forces want a conflict in Eurasia. Many questions float through my mind. With the world’s current position, one conflict can trigger a bigger global war. Some nations make a lot of money through sales of military hardware and weapons. Will I say they are innocent or guilty for the rising tension?

How unfortunate it is for Armenia and Azerbaijan to allow their armies to be drawn to this crave, this madness for a senseless war. These are trying times indeed and any discerning leader should be weary of that. The drums of war kept beating since the beginning of this year. It has drawn two Eurasian nations to its dance floor.

I hope this two beautiful brothers find a peaceful way to settle without hurling bombs at each other and that things do not get out of hand.

Time will tell.


*Eurasia: Subcontinent comprising of large portions of Europe and Asia linked by history and culture. In this blog post I am referring to both continents with more emphasis on Asia.

Categories
opinion reflection thoughts

Opinion: A Divided House

China and America
I was wondering what the world will look like should China attack America or vice versa. It’ll be a disaster, a man-made catastrophe. But I’m not only weighing the destruction that will follow a war between the two but the economic stress it will cause the world. Or maybe I’m a bit exaggerating over two giants fighting for global economic leadership and control? Let’s imagine a situation where human progress (medicine, agriculture, education, health, infrastructure etc) and civilization came under attack and all had to be wiped out. What a collosal waste it’ll be! The happy fact is that wars are avoidable. All we need to do is sit and talk around it.

America is gradually driving away Chinese products and excluding their social media apps from her internet space. On another note, I’m aware that China has in operation before now the Great Firewall which blocks Western internet structures from accessing information from China. The Great Firewall also censors and blocks her people from accessing foreign websites. So this Trump and Xi dilemma has turned a tit for tat affair; a tooth for a chin, an eye for an ear.

Let me stray a bit. But if I was president, I’ll draw up a table to count costs of war against the costs of peace. If peace, which is in fact costless can get my nation more jobs in place of economic hardship, more food in place of starvation, more life instead of death then I’ll definitely chose it. I’ll dwell on lessons from past wars – that alone should be a good deterrent for anyone. Unfortunately, some world economies are built on war that is why some are beating their drums of war. Sad indeed!

A Divided Chinese House

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Abe Lincoln

I read stories of young Tibetian volunteers who helped carry supplies to the Indian army stationed at the Chinese border. And they often did this by carrying heavy food and equipment on their backs through some of the most uninhabited and inhospitable ranges on earth. It’s strange to see members of a country help a rival prepare to fight their own nation. Something is amiss.

When people are held against their will, freedom of expression becomes costly. Its pricetag go a little extreme – imprisonment or worse. There are concentration camps in a supposedly ‘peaceful modern society’. Yet there’s no war. I’m left to wonder the rate of human rights abuses recorded in China and how easy it is to cover them up without drawing public attention. China is making progress economically, this is what we in the so called Third World countries believe. But success in material things is not good enough.

I’ve a couple of questions to ask. How can a society, economically and militarily powerful stand on the rights and privileges of it’s greatest resource – her people? Is the Chinese public aware of their government actions and decisions but chose to keep silent? If yes, does it mean that they are helpless just like other minorities?

The ‘Chinese nation’ is divided. Hong Kong protested the new law, Tibet is seeking her own nationhood (with a government-in-exile), Taiwan is on red alert for any Chinese aggression, Xinjiang is reeling in oppressive concentration camps.

Shouldn’t this be a clear warning to the Chinese government and her advisers that all is not well from within?

Categories
opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Racism

It costs absolutely nothing to be kind

Live and Let Live

An Igbo (African) proverb goes thus: Let the Eagle perch, let the Kite (bird) perch also. Any that forbids the other from perching let his wings break!

We say that as prayers in West Africa because it’s a reminder and belief that all men are born equal and so must have equal rights and privileges and (I add) should be free from ALL prejudice and discrimination. When I talk about men, women and children’s rights are included. All men are equal and everybody should have the opportunity to be their best selves. In summary the above idea is founded on the African concept of live and let live.

Racism

Consider racism as a weed. It’s existence can suffocate other useful plants in the garden. Racism is worse than cancer. When it attacks, it destroys the human soul. It’s like locust infestation which leaves behind destruction.

Racism is an evil root that is no good to anyone. If it stays unchallenged it may grow deeper and can alter a society’s sense of reasoning.

Pumpkins begat pumpkins. Not only that, little pumpkins will learn to be one either by association or emulation. Children are easily influenced with what they are taught or perceive.

We can never foretell the full extent or form racism can take or assume. For instance consider Hitler’s hatred for Jews and the consequences that followed.

Humanity will die when good people look away from racist acts and words.

Truth and Love

Good news is that many people are joining the fight against all manner of racism and oppression. That’s a good thing to be thankful for. At least there’s some good out there.

Truth is a bitter pill when swallowed. But it can set the world free! When we truly understand that we are one people and that we are equal before the law and society then a bulk of the problem is solved.

While we talk about the truth we must know that love is key to our fight against racism. Racism can be stopped when we let true love reign. Love suppresses discrimination and prejudices. It stops mistrust and fear. It’s the foundation of all human values.

With truth and love we can lay a greater future for our children and their children. Live and let others live.

Categories
opinion Poetry reflection Series thoughts

Poets Corner: Difference between Wisdom, Knowledge and Education.

My take on this…

It’s generally believed that knowledge is power. Yet many find it difficult to differentiate between wisdom and knowledge. For me knowledge is having the stuff while wisdom boils down to application of the stuff. To differentiate both from education is even a thing of further logic.

In my opinion education should come first, followed by knowledge and wisdom. That’s the order most of us acquire them in.

What’s the difference?

My aim on todays blog is to identify the differences between education, knowledge and wisdom through the minds of writers and poets. Have fun.

Suzanne Uchytil offered that “Education isn’t a type of intelligence – it’s something that is usually forced on us. Whenever someone is called educated, it usually means they’re knowledgeable (they know facts). Education can be good, though, if we choose to gain knowledge from it. (For instance, I’ve never had a college class that I didn’t find at least interesting and learn at least a little bit from, because I approached all my classes as opportunities to gain knowledge.) Then wisdom means applying that knowledge in real life and understanding consequences.” This sounds exactly like my thoughts.

Gareth John Jones opined that knowledge is understanding and remembering your education (formal or not). Wisdom is knowing how to use your knowledge. I surely agree with this definition.

David Franklin has this to say “Education is when people try to stuff knowledge into you. Knowledge is what you know for yourself. Wisdom, though, that’s something else. I know very knowledgeable people who are fools, and fairly simple people who are very wise. It’s about using one’s judgment about situations, knowing which piece of knowledge to apply when. Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is control of power.”

For Fiona Margaret Jones, education is only what can be given to you. Knowledge is what you take from it and wisdom is what you make of it.

Jimi Gardner says that education is received for outside. Knowledge is created by testing education. Wisdom is created by diligently observing the outcomes of testing knowledge.

David Gilbert observed that one can’t buy wisdom, education means plaque on the wall gates opened and knowledgeable is your cumulative wisdom.

Annette Bergman has this to say: “Selling real estate for over 30 years I can say I have met educated people who were not very knowledgeable. For instance I showed a house to an Engineer and he asked me what the line out to the garage was. It is an electrical so you have lights in the garage. Another engineer went directly to the sellers and negotiated a small possession problem. He agreed to 60 days after closing for possession.I praised him for his brilliant compromise. I will bet money when he had two mortgage payments to make plus his two months of rent, he had to have figured it out. It takes all kinds and the creative people only need a skilled traded to make a great living. Another college education person said to me. Those of us who went to college know that The United States wasn’t founded religion. She probably still thinks that and will vote accordingly.”

J Christopher Harman showed his disappointment on others opinion. He said, “How sad that so many of you have such poor views of education. Education should be the key to both. What a shame we live in a world (at least for most countries) where education is such a dire experience.”

I hope this discussion was helpful. What is your opinion on it?

Categories
Africa opinion reflection thoughts

Farewell Nkosi, the Black Panther

Life like the mist is temporal but legacies live and last forever

The Black Panther

I get easily bored with movies. It’s hard to see me watching TeeVee anyway. No matter how much I try, I can only watch National Geographic Wild and Discovery Documentaries. But when a movie gets me hooked I can see it a hundred times without losing interest. I saw The Black Panther early last year. Then it didn’t make much sense to me (again with the little interest on movies). But I saw it again and again because I was impressed with a lot of things. First the casting; the actors and actresses were top-notch. I was impressed with the display of African culture and tradition: the casts intonation, dressing, setting and more. Talking about the setting, Wakanda portrayed beautiful Africa. Each scene even the fighting ones had a view of something spectacular at the background: hills and vales, waterfalls and rivers, chains of mountains and vast forests. Diverse tribes fought for dominance and this added some taste to the plot. This was Wakanda (Africa), an advanced modern technology driven society which managed to maintain her ancient tradition despite contact with external forces. I was excited that the directors brought in reality too. The rigour and stress of power tussle shown in the movie reveals the norm in African societies. Such tussles normally drain the people and her resources. I give Marvel Pictures a big thumbs up. Also, the use of domesticated Rhinos as a war animal kept me glued to the screen. I wanted to see more, though afterwards I was left to ponder on the directors ingenuity. The Black Panther is a good movie. No wonder it is Marvel’s biggest hit yet.

Chadwick Boseman

I can write a long story about this down to earth actor, but that won’t be today. Instead I aim to highlight the exceptional qualities that made him a true king both in cinema and real life.

Chadwick’s fictional character brought colour to the movie. Just like Bruce Wayne with his Batman and Peter Parker with the Spiderman, he switched from being the kind King T’challa to being the strong community vigilante (Black Panther). The good thing is that he used his powers to protect and lead his people. But there’s more to the man who played the Black Panther. He was open, humble, kind, considerate and determined. He wasn’t the loud type so I barely noticed or heard him on the news.

Chadwick’s determination is worth emulating. He didn’t give up when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Instead he went forward to gift the world great movies. It’s sad to know he did these movies amidst chemotherapies and treatments. Nothing could be depressing. It’s even sadder that he was just starting to a greater future. Who knows, he could have been the next Denzel Washington or Will Smith.

To the King T’challa I’ve this to say: “You brought hope to many African youth“. He has taught that we can be anything we want to be. I picked another lesson from the life of Chadwick Boseman: never jump to judge people because you don’t know the secret battles they are fighting.

Rest in peace King, the Black Panther. Africa mourns you. Wakanda forever!


**Nkosi: King

Categories
Africa Inspiration/Motivation opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Quote on Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson MandelaAt a time colonial forces and indigenous South Africans fought over land rights and freedoms, a courageous man spoke up for his people. He was imprisoned for decades but that didn’t deter him. His resilience contributed to a free South Africa. We call him Madiba.

Categories
Christianity Inspiration/Motivation Love and Christianity opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Quotes on Resilience

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ Joel Osteen.

A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose. John Maxwell.

I love the light for it shows me the way to go, but I love the darkness more for it shows me the stars. Og Mandino.

We can’t speak about resilience without speaking about hope. Hope is the bedrock of resilience. Reeta Roy

You can stay fours days without food, but the minute you lose hope, you’re dead! Eliud Kipchoge


Always remember that when battles are like a flood there is a standard, a red line it cannot cross. We gain strength by overcoming obstacles.

Ever had to give up? Remember why you started at first. That purpose is the reason why you must persist. Have a great day.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion reflection thoughts

Reflection: Counting the Costs 1

At times you need to stop everything you are doing to sit by yourself and mend your broken wings.

Cold evening and a To do list

I sit outside. A cold evening out here with me. A community of crickets quizzing through the grassland. A gust of wind upon my face, swinging my helpless lamp back and forth. The crickets, just like myself must be musing over the changes in weather conditions. Before now the noon was hot. Strong wind blew hot air and it has been two weeks since we saw the last rain. So all is dry. The mud on the once flooded road is cracked up, exposing the debris. I overheard an elderly man speak that the harmattan will come a little bit earlier this year. To me it’s too early to predict. Maybe the earth is recovering after all. I think.

The year is far spent and almost over. Memories of New year’s eve still fresh on my mind. I remember my wish to start my graduate education and to support some friends and relatives with their endeavours. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck and had most plans canceled or postponed. In spite of that, I’ve made outstanding success in some areas. But the year is not over yet.

On relationships

I’ve learned many things about relationships (dating). Sometimes it scares the trees out of my head to even think about those.

I’m not an expert when it comes to dating. In fact I’m not into one at the moment. I’ve observed my close friends try and it’s crystal clear that managing another person’s emotion(s) can be one huge task. Toxic people and relationships can suck the life out of other people. I’ve seen it happen. Yet I know that many relationships can change things for the better.

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Inspiration/Motivation Love and Christianity love poems opinion quotes thoughts

Quote on Love

Of all the magic in the world, none is more powerful than love.

…And that’s if we accept that any other thing qualify as magic.

Love is a driving force. It can change things; perceptions and imaginations. Great achievements are accomplished through it. Great writers wrote about it. It’s something beautiful to love. Imagine what the world will look like when we love genuinely. Show love today.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral reflection thoughts

Poem: Twilight

Beginning and end
Light after dark
Dark before light
Darkened skies
With dancing fireflies
Breezy evening
Joyful moonlight
And glittering stars
A shepherd’s lore
Down the country
Sheep and goats,
Green and gold,
Patches of life,
Water and fire,
Dust and wind,
Heaven and earth
All in fine contrast
But happy unison
Shallow roots shoot
Masqueraded shadows
Of life or death,
Again beginning and end

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

Beirut

Beautiful Beirut and AUB

I’m writing about this lovely Mediterranean city because of my connection and attachment to it. I’ve seen several YouTube videos of it’s beautiful landscape and neighborhood. Beirut combines the tranquil setting of ancient history with the thrill of a modern city. I followed some Beirut based vlog channels and it’s always exciting to see another video made in this fine ancient city. Honestly I fell in love with Beirut.

The city lay on the foot of swift flowing and tumbling waters of the Mediterranean sea. AUB videos showed white beaches under the mild romance of sunshine. Date palms and coconuts, typical of such climate stand here and there. Perfect weather for outdoor reflection and relaxation, one unique only to Beirut’s position and location. Tall buildings block away the sun when the day was far spent. And just behind those skyscrapers you will find the view of spectacular mountains. I also saw restaurants preparing mouth watering dishes and surely this appealed to me. I love good food and admire places known for it. Paris and Beirut are my favourite good food cities in Europe and Asia respectively.

What actually brought my attention to the city at first was my application to the American University of Beirut (AUB). During this online application process I met compassionate and kind people who turned out to become friends. One in particular helped to keep me informed of school activities. Fortunately my application to the Master of Finance (MFIN) was accepted at the Olayan Business School (OSB). But for financial reasons I deferred this offer.

Unfortunate events

Few months ago Lebanon suffered from economic depression. The national currency lost its value and inflation went hyper. Food was scarce and cases of suicide was reported. At the background, reports of human rights abuses were rampant. Domestic maids who came from Africa and Asia were abused and many left unpaid for months long. Echoes of modern slavery rang out through this beautiful hilly country.

Early August, an explosion devastated the port and surrounding neighborhood. Hundreds died and more went missing. The wounded was in thousands. Hospitals and medical centres were overwhelmed. It was horrific. The video I saw captured the fumes as it enveloped the port, sending shattered glasses and debris across it. Cars and buildings were overturned and damaged. The cost of lives and property destroyed in this blast was in millions of USD.

Pray for Beirut

I read some heartwarming news. Several countries sent aid to Beirut. Greece, France and others contributed to this aid. Even the French President visited Beirut. This shows that the world stood with the people of Lebanon at this trying time. I also read promises made by other nations and corporate individuals.

No matter what led to the explosion or what really happened on that fateful day; the reaction and aid from the international community proved that Lebanon is truly loved. I only hope that the cruel treatment of domestic workers are stopped and that the radiant beauty of this city shine forth upon her residents. I’ll always remember Beirut in my prayers.

Categories
culture/tradition education lifestyle Nigeria opinion reflection thoughts

Opinion: Leadership Woes

Admitting imperfections are great ways to becoming a better person, people and leaders.

City of Talents and Resilient people

I was born and raised in Ogbor hill, a suburb of Aba, a city in Southern Nigeria. Aba is known for its industry and export of labour to many Nigerian cities and overseas. The city is full of talents and all manner of craftsmen and women live in it. As a manufacturing town, traders and private businesses such as leather works, pottery, brick, electronics, food processing, plastics, metal, cosmetics, distilleries, and fabric call the city home. Most of these factories are owned by private residents. Many foreigners also trade in the city’s large markets and the enterprising spirit in Aba can be likened to none in Nigeria. The city itself is a big market. Aba youth is highly skilled. It’s common to see graduates turn to business as means of livelihood. This enterprising spirit led many to pick up different skills and develop talents to fit in with Aba’s resilient business environment.

Little is done to encourage the budding enterprise which has been in the city for decades. Yet Aba can contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth if her potentials are well harnessed.

Sadly I remember dead startups and factories and even more on their way to moribundity.

Leadership woes

Like most African cities, government neglect is common. Lack of proper economic planning and public infrastructure kept the city running in circles. With no visible economic plan on ground, Aba records low growth and decline in economic activities each year. In civilized economies, a city that shows promising private ventures involved in wealth creation and industrialization is aided by the government. When government steps in, it should be to create an enabling business environment. But this is not always so. There are key areas to focus on should the government decide to fix Aba’s unique economic landscape. First and foremost, good road network and stable electricity should be in place. Sadly, Aba’s road and drainage systems are in a state of limbo and contributes to road accidents recorded each year. In Aba electricity distribution is epileptic, or let me put it in milder words: not consistent. This push away investors and increases cost of production as businesses resort to generators for power.

The Way forward?

The two best ways to start government intervention is by bringing uninterrupted power supply and building good roads in Aba. This two can go a long way in encouraging businesses and startups. Providing clean water, markets, tax incentives and holidays, patronising local content will help too.

Not only will good road networks encourage inter state trading, it will enable access and more businesses to thrive in rural places where electricity is cheaper. If steady electricity is achieved, government can work to reduce the electricity rates paid by startups and businesses.

Despite years of government neglect, the city’s people had grown thick skin to negligence and the saying that life must find a way vividly applies to the city’s hustle and bustle. Aba will continue to live because it is a city made resilient and popular by her own people.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

Keeping Valuable Relationships

Sometimes those who crown kings don’t look like kings and may never become kings but they can help one wear the crown.

A short story

There was a poor man who wrote a book at the age of 40 and decided to launch it on his birthday. He had no money to fund the launching and so he decided to seek help from a millionaire in his community.

He made a visit to the millionaire’s home and after they exchanged pleasantries, he told his host what brought him. The millionaire told him to take out a piece of paper and pen. He said, “I’ll give you a test. If you pass it, I’ll give you the money you need and if you fail, I’ll still give you the money”. He then told him to write down the names of 10 people who could give him 10k each for his book during the launch. Surprisingly, the man could not write even 3 names.

Relationship is a currency

It’s not enough to have talent and skills. But there is much gain in building valuable relationships. A wise man once said, your network is directly proportional to your net worth.

Relationship is a stream of income.
Everything in life actually reproduces on the basis of relationship. Men are lifted through men. Many are talented but lack the right direction and person to announce them.

Who one knows matters a lot in life. There are heights and opportunities one will never attain if one don’t understand the power of keeping valuable relationships. Classmates and colleagues at work may be the ones that will lead one to his/her destiny helper because you have no idea who they know.

It takes just a recommendation to change a story. Don’t despise anyone. They might be needed one day.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle opinion Pastoral reflection thoughts

Story: Be there for someone


An old man once told me the story of how as a young man, his mother used to ask him: “What is the most important part of your body?” Through the years, he would take a guess at what he thought was the correct answer. First time, his answer was: “The ears.” The mother replied: “No, many people are deaf. But you keep it and I’ll ask you soon again.” Several years passed before she asked him again. His second answer was: “My eyes”. The mother told him: “You are learning fast, but the answer is not correct, there are many people who are blind.”

Then a year later, his father died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was crying. Then the mother looked at the graveside and when it was their turn to say their final goodbye to their father, she asked him, “Do you know the most important body part yet, my son? He was shocked when she asked him by the graveside. The mother said to him: “Don’t be confused or shocked. This question is very important now and it shows you have really lived in your life. For every body part you gave me in the past, I have told you that you were wrong and I have given you an example why. But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.” Then the mother looked down at him and threw her head to his shoulder and hugged him. With tears in her eyes, she said “My son, the most important part of your body is your shoulder.”

Wow! This young man was forced to ask: “Mum, it is because it holds up my head?” She replied, “No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes in life. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.” There and then this young man knew the most important body part is not a selfish one. It is made for others and not for yourself. It is sympathetic to the pain of others.

People will forget what you said and did. But people will never forget how you made them feel in their crises times. Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but you always know them when they around you. No wonder a wise man said “If you want to be wisely selfish, care for others.” Yes! It will come back for you. Be someone’s shoulder today.

Culled and editted from the ODM.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion reflection

Mechanics of Savings: a Christian perspective

Mechanics of Savings and Financial Intermediation

Savings as described by financial analysts are the portion of income which are not used for consumption expenditures. They are referred to as investments, because huge portions of such savings in financial institutions constitute the capital extended to businesses, governments, individuals and other entities as loans. This is done through the process of financial intermediation. Financial intermediation involves three key parties, the Surplus Economic units, the Deficit Economic Units and the Financial Institutions. The SU’s are the economic units that their current income exceed their current consumption expenditure thereby leaving them with more funds. The DU’s are the economic units that their current consumption expenditure exceeds their current income thereby arousing their desire to borrow to supplement their income. The SU’s and the DU’s do not have direct contact, rather a medium or some kind of intercession is provided by financial institutions. Both SU’s and DU’s can be governments, private individuals, businesses or firms etc. Savings is an important factor in any economy and as such its role can not be overemphasized.

What the Bible says about Savings

The Bible teaches that saving money is a wise practice for many different reasons. God is our source and provider for everything we need.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). One of the main ways God provides for us is through money, and it is our job to steward that money well (Matthew 25:14– 27). We are accountable to God for how we use everything He gives us in this life, including money. Saving money demonstrates good stewardship of the resources God gives us. Saving money allows us to be prepared for the future, and being prepared for the future is good. Proverbs 6:6–8 shows us that this principle is lived out even in nature: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and its food at harvest.”

Planning ahead and saving money makes it easier to accomplish goals and allows us to be more effective in ministry (see 1 Corinthians 16:2). When we don’t plan ahead and save money, we are more prone to go into debt, which the Bible tells us is unwise (Proverbs 22:7). Of course, there are plenty of wrong motives for saving money. If we’re saving money out of
fear of the future, it shows we’re not really trusting God to provide (see Luke 12:7; 2 Timothy 1:7). Miserliness is sin, and it’s foolish and arrogant to make money our security. “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.” (Proverbs 18:11), yet riches “will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” ( Proverbs 23:5). 1 Timothy 6:10 warns against greed, saying, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” To fully understand the value of saving money,
we must remember what the Bible says about giving. God desires His people to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s impossible to out- give God! “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Sometimes when God gives us things, be it money or something else, it’s intended for us to give away. Other times, He gives us things that are meant for us to keep for ourselves and use in His service and for His glory. It’s wise to hold everything God gives us loosely so that we can give it away if He asks us to.

More Study Texts:

Proverbs 6:6-8
1st Corinthians 16:2
Proverbs 21:20
Proverbs 13:11
Proverbs 10:4-5
Proverbs 13:22

Categories
Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

8 August: Birthday Wish

Birthdays are rare
They come once in a year

Unique Birthday: A set of Eights!

Ah, it’s today. 8th day of 8th month of the year 2020. I usually write poems or stories to celebrate but this year’s birthday is unique. So instead of a poem I’ll muse about the actual numbers that made my birthdate special. My birth certificate reads that I was born on 8.24 AM in the year 198*. Even the minutes are multiples of 8, haha! If I had to scribble out my birthdate it will read thus: 8.24 AM, 8/8/8*. One princess from the United Kingdom share exactly this day with me.

How do I feel?

‘So how does it feel to be a year older?’ a close friend had asked me over the phone. I knew it was a rhetorical question meant to reflect on what I’ve done with my time and self since the last birthday. Normally I would have said I feel nothing since the question focused on my self. Personal achievements are not a yardstick to measure overall success.

‘I feel special. I feel alive. I feel fulfilled and I hope for better things to come, not just for me but for every good person.’ To be honest this is what I feel, at least for these past few months. The year 2020 had been a tough one. It brought death, disease, drought, and man-made disaster. Poverty is still at large. Many lost loved ones. I lost a sister, an uncle and some relatives and friends. The lessons I picked broke the mirror called self. I started engaging in humanitarian work and volunteering online for charities, foundations and organizations. This threw me out of my introvert shell. I met great people who had become a strong network. The opportunities I sought before the pandemic came calling and I grabbed them with both hands. I’m glad to be helping other people with my talents, no matter how little. That’s what I count as real achievement.

So I won’t dwell or reflect on my personal success. If I do, I’ll say I achieved very little this past year.

Birthday wish

What do you wish for? This is the big birthday question. No one can give an appropriate answer in one response. At the moment, it’s futile to wish for some things. Nevertheless, I’m just happy to see others happy and successful.

So I make this wish for myself today; for longlife to continue in service to my faith, my nation and humanity, for prosperity to help the impoverished, destitute and be the voice of the voiceless, and for success to inspire children and other youth around the world. Finally, I wish that the world may know tolerance, peace and love. I wish myself a happy birthday.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection

Happy Belated Friendship Day

– Friends are family we chose for ourselves.

Didn’t forget

I didn’t forget about the World Friends Day. I do write about friendship because it’s dear to me. I was extremely busy with personal and family errands. I also volunteer online for a company based in North America and so had little time to pen my stories, thoughts and poems. At the end of each day I’m left weak and tired. So I sleep earlier nowadays.

Friends are Family…

I’ve so many friends. Strangely, my friends are not limited to street, school, church pals or any human acquaintance made. I’ve adorable friends too: babies and little children, dogs, birds, ants, even plants and trees. To me friendship goes beyond the physical. It’s a mutual thing ordained with understanding, respect and loyalty. It falls in-between trust and love. True friends can give up anything even their life for one another. Take for instance the story of Antonio and Bassanio in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

Everybody is capable of friendship

Someone, somewhere look up to you. It might be a person or a pet. It might be the old milkman walking by your window to see you smile and say good morning. It might be a pair of rose flowers dangling in a vase waiting for its daily dose of water and care. It could be anyone.

I ask that you check on your friends. Times are tough. A simple call or chat can bring back hope to the heartbroken or depressed. Hope is a strong force. Remain a loyal and trustworthy friend to someone. You might be the reason someone looks forward to another day.

Here is to wish you my friends and family what I should have these past few days: Happy belated Friendship Day. And I love you so much. Stay safe.

Categories
opinion reflection thoughts

Thoughts on Global Tension

An African proverb goes thus: when two elephants fight the grass suffers. The only issue in the case I’m about to discuss is that both the elephants and grasses suffer.

News
Before the advent of novel corona virus, the world knew some peace. I mean there were wars, civil unrests and some economies wobbled on unsteady legs, but the world never came close to this level of distrust, hate, and xenophobia towards one another. Before corona virus we could sit and reason on the same table but this is not the case anymore.

Each day I wake to heart breaking news. Nations isolate, build wall boundaries as the US did across its southern border with Mexico and Brexit from the EU. Other nations focused on territorial expansion and conquest: China, Pakistan and India in Kashmir and Lakda; Israel and Palestine Territories; Greece and Turkey; China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and South China Sea. Spying and economic sabotage is the new. Corona virus for example crippled some economies. Suddenly more satellites are sent into space, more equipment are purchased for armed forces. India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries are purchasing military equipment. Lands (and islands, previously without military presence) are rapidly fortified. Economic guru’s say the world economy is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Countries retreat into their shells, to withdraw from alliances and agreements. Nationalism are on record high. It had overtaken common human reason. The human selfish and greedy nature is awoken. Nations pledge loyalty to their benefactors or brethren. Communism and capitalism engage in a ruthless tug of war. Yet the world is faced by other pressing issues like rising poverty levels and insecurity, unemployment and lack of quality education. Lebanon’s economic woe has more than our eyes see. Hong Kong, an important international financial hub is no longer under the influence of the West and this is causing ripples globally. Religion is persecuted and minorities silenced or sent to camps in Asia and Africa. Freedom is gradually suppressed. At this time, things don’t look good for the human race. The truth is that the world is heading for a conflict.

What am I really talking about?

I’m no politician but I follow political trends. I need no gainsaying to know that the world is very sick. I also don’t need a soothsayer to tell that corona virus is not the major bone of contention. Why should America and Europe bear the brunt of the Corona virus disaster while China, where it came from record lesser cases? I don’t want to buy into theories. Not yet.

Every nation and region has a fair share of internal disturbance. This shows that no national ideology is perfect. So we must stop trying to impose on others our ideologies. America and the rest of the world is still contending with racism. Recent global riots on racism and black life matter protests attest to that. China is grappling with human rights violations like the case of the Uighur muslims. The EU has shown its weakness by taking biased decisions. The UK is not perfect, Scotland is dissatisfied and nationalism is growing. The German, French and Italian economies are not that strong anymore, Brussels has a big job to do. Talking about economy, Venezuela, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and some other nations suffer from hyper inflation. Does it look like someone is testing how inflation rates will look on selected samples from each continent? Sine Fein wants political and economic unification of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Middle East is divided into factions; Iran and Saudi Arabia leading different factions. The war in Yemen is one of selfish interest and does not reflect what the average Yemeni wants. Turkey is fighting for her interests in Libya and currently having a roll with Greece. From Burma, to Thailand and Malaysia human rights abuses are recorded. We don’t need to talk about North Korea, it’s a very secretive country. Siberia just like Biafra and Catalonia demand their independence and liberties from Russia, Nigeria and Spain respectively. This is a global uproar.

To summarize, I have few questions that I’ll like to answer. First, why the sudden land grabbing, territorial expansion and intent to exercise economic and political influence over other people? I know this has been happening before now, but why the sudden intensity? In my opinion, I’ll say with the look of things, it seems that some nations are grabbing resources and spaces in preparation for something. What is this something? Whatever it is, it won’t spell good for anyone.

I’ll end with a rhetorical question: do you agree with me that there are forces anxiously fighting to destroy the global economy and possibly ignite a worldwide conflict?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems opinion Pastoral Poetry

Courage

The breadth of earth lay wet
But the sun rise from the east,
From vague sights and mists

The dark jungles, hot and serene
Yet lions stride through the green
Fearing neither man or faun

A shriek up the skies…
Eagles soar high; many miles
Hopes high, they seeth thru’ times

The wind surfs wild oceans…
Whale’s horn blows far beyond
All tremble, sea-dwellers and stray crustaceans

Now if the skies were conquered by a bird,
And the jungle by a fearless king, crowned,
And the waters by a giant strongly revered

Then this little piece is written specially for you
To bring you a blessed combination of these virtues


This is a thank you poem for all my readers and followers. You guys are awesome. Let’s do more.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love folklore Nigeria opinion Pastoral Poetry

To my childhood…

I like to watch the sun rise, to wait while she cast her beauty on earth,
So I wake early to fly my kite, to gather the stray bugs, worms and locust,
The fields are my playground, a partner to hides and seek,
I watch the sun, her golden smile, and light it brought to my community,
I adore pretty butterflies that dress in fine hues and dresses,
I dig holes for my little flower stalks, hoping they grow in no time,
I wait for the moon to rise at night, peeping through the window
With hope that when it comes, it will wait far into the cold night,
And if she came I would watch her shine through those dark skies
I danced alone in loud evening storms, raise my hands
To grab slippery raindrops as they fall mildly upon me
Even when lightning sang and her cousin thunder clapped,
Each day and night was always a new beginning
Memories of home are joyful and happiness

Categories
opinion quotes reflection

Quote: Dream big

You’ll never know… Just dream. Dream big.

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

Art of Divine Poetry By Bhagirath Choudhary (Translated to Italian, Filipino, Albanian, French, Romanian, Spanish, Serbian)

Art of Divine Poetry

Poetic imagination
Praises beauty of creation
Giving words and voice
To every human nation

Poet feels the pulse
By his poetic impulse
Bard’s heart resonates
With loving sonnets.

Loving poetic spell
When rises well
The ordinary mortal
Becomes divine poetry portal.

With sacred passions
Poets dress up naked nations
Bards like holy masons
Build temples of civilizations.

All rights reserved
© Bhagirath Choudhary
June 11, 2020


Translation into Italian by celebrated Poetess Patrizia Girardi

Arte della divina poesia

Immaginazione poetica
elogia la bellezza del creato
Dando parole e voce
Per ogni nazione umana

Il poeta sente il battito
Con il suo impulso poetico
Il cuore dei vati risuona
Con sonetti amorevoli

Amorevole incantesimo poetico
Quando si alza bene
Il comune mortale
Diventa il portale della poesia divina

Con sacre passioni
I poeti vestono le nazioni nude
Ai vati piacciono i santi costruttori
Costruisci templi di civiltà.

© Patrizia Girardi


Translated into Filipino
By: Eden Soriano Trinidad

Sining ng Banal na Tula

Matulaing imahinasyon
Pinupuri ang ganda ng nilikha
Pagkakaloob ng mga salita at tinig
Sa bawat bansang kinabibilangan ng tao.

Ramdam ng makata ang pulso
Sa udyok ng pagkamatulain
Puso ng makata ay nakikiayon
Na may pagmamahal ang bawat tula.

Gustong gusto ang nakakaakit na tula
Kapag ito ay hinusayan
Ang ordinaryong mortal
Nagiging banal na daluyan ng panulaan

Sa masagradong damdamin
Dinaramtan ng mga makata ang kahubdan ng mga bansa
Mga makata ay tulad ng mga banal na mason
Nagtatayo ng mga templo ng sibilisasyon.

Translation in Filipino
© Eden Soriano Trinidad


Translated into Albanian by Seli Murati

Arti i Poezisë Hyjnore

Imagjinata poetike
Vlerë e bukur e kriesës
Me fjalën dhe zërin e bukur
Për çdo komb njerëzor

Poeti e ndjen pulsin
Për nga impulsi i tij poetik
Zemra e Bard rezonon
Me sonete të dashura.

Dashuri magji poetike
Kur ngrihet mirë
I vdekshëm i zakonshëm
Bëhet portal i poezisë hyjnore.

Me pasione të shenjta
Poetët vishen kombet e zhveshur
Bardha si muratorë të shenjtë
Ndërtoni tempuj civilizimi.

Të gjitha të drejtat e rezervuara
© Seli Murati
July 02, 2020.


Translated into French by Gordana Saric

L’ ART DE LA POÉSIE DIVINE

L’ imagination poétique
Apprécie la beauté de la création
En donnant des mots et une voix
A chaque nation humaine.

Le poète sent le pouls
Avec son impulsion poétique
Le coeur du bard résonne
Avec des sonnets d’ amour.

La magie douce d’ amour
Quand il monte bien
Le mortel ordinaire
Devient un portail poétique divin.

Avec une sainte passion
Les poètes habillent les nations nues
Les bardes en tant que saints maçons
Construisent des temples de la civilisation.

French translation by Gordana Saric
©Gordana Saric
July 01, 2020


Translated into Romanian by Georgiana L. Gheorghe

Arta poeziei divine

Imaginația poetică
Laudă frumusețea creativă
Oferind cuvinte și voci
Fiecărei țări.

Poetul simte pulsul
Din impulsul poetic
Inima bardului răsună
De sonetele duioase.

Frumoasa vrajă poetică
Când crește mare
Omul nornal
Devine portalul poeziei divine.

Cu pasiuni sfinte
Poeții îmbracă națiile goale
Asemeni sfinților pietrari
Barzii ridică temple de civilizații.

Toate Drepturile Rezervate.
Bhagirath Choudhary
11.06.2020
(Traducere în limba română: Georgiana L. Gheorghe)


Translated into Spanish by Tony Delgadillo

“El Arte De La Poesía Divina”

La imaginación poética
elogia la belleza de la
creación, dando palabras
y voz a toda nación humana.

El poeta siente el pulso
por su impulso poético.
Su corazón de bardo resuena
con sonetos amorosos.

Amando un deletreo poético,
el mortal ordinario se eleva
y se convierte en portal
de poesía divina.

Con pasiones sagradas,
los poetas visten naciones
desnudas. Los bardos, como
santos edificadores, construyen
templos de civilizaciones.

Todos los derechos reservados
© Bhagirath Choudhary
11 de junio de 2020
(Traducción al español
y conversión a prosa: Tony Delgadillo.


Translated into Serbian by Ljiljana Samardžić

Umjetnost Božanstvene Poezije

Pjesnička mašta
Hvali ljepotu stvaranja
Dajući riječi i glas
Svakom ljudskom narodu.

Pjesnik osjeća puls
Svojim pjesničkim impulsom
Bardovo srce odjekuje
Sa voljenim sonetima.

Kad se voljena pjesnička čarolija
Dovoljno uzdigne
Obični smrtnik
Postaje božanstveni portal poezije.

Sa svetim strastima
Pjesnici otmjeno oblače gole narode
Bardovi kao sveti zidari
Grade hramove civilizacije.

Translated from English to Serbian by Ljiljana Samardzic
© Ljiljana Samardzic

Categories
Inspiration/Motivation Lessons from Experiences lifestyle opinion reflection

Abraham Lincoln’s Story

Abraham’s Humble Story

When Abraham Lincoln became the president of America, his father was a shoemaker. Naturally, egoistic people were very much offended that a shoemaker’s son should become the president. On the first day, as Abraham entered to give his inaugural address, just in the middle, one man stood up. He was a very rich aristocrat. He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family.” The whole Senate laughed; they thought that they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.

But certain people are made of a totally different mettle. Lincoln looked at the man directly in the eye and said, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes for your family, and there will be many others here because he made shoes the way nobody else can. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into them. I want to ask you, have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself. If you have any complaint I can make you another pair of shoes. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator and I am proud of my father.”

The whole Senate was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was. He was proud because his father did his job so well, with so much enthusiasm, such a passion, and perfection.

Attitude matters, a lot…

It does not matter what you do. What matters is how you do it of your own accord, with your own vision, with your own love. Then whatever you touch becomes gold.

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.

Moral

No one can hurt you without your consent. It is not what happens to us that hurts us. It is our response that hurts us.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry

Cranky Old Man: Anonymous Poet

A brief intro

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later when nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!


What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man… not very wise,
Uncertain of habit… with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food… and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice… ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice… the things that you do.
And forever is losing… A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not… Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding… The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am… As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding… as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten… with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters… who love one another
A young boy of sixteen… with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now… a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty… my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows… that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now… I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide… And a secure happy home.
A man of thirty… My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other… With ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons… have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me… to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more… Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children… My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me… My wife is now dead.
I look at the future… I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing… Young of their own.
And I think of the years… And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man… and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age… Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles… grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone… where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass… A young man still dwells,
And now and again… my battered heart swells
I remember the joys… I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living… Life over again.
I think of the years, all too few… gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact… that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people… open and see.
Not a cranky old man
Look closer… See… ME!!


PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM!
The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Poetry

Poets Corner: What have you gained writing Poetry?

Poetry

Poetry is a composition in verse or language exhibiting conscious attention to patterns. The bolded are key to understanding the true nature of poems. Poetry has been in existence for centuries. As an art that survived centuries, I was curious to find out why poems are written for so long. And to those who write them, what they benefit from it. So in this blog post we will focus on what a group of poets has to say on what they benefited from writing (poetry).

For me poetry is more than art…

Poetry is more than art. It can be produced and performed. It is styled and can rhyme. There’s a plot even. It tells stories. It creates fantasy and teaches in subtle ways. It has deeper meanings which may require a certain amount of attention and exposure for readers. Poetry made me see and understand life from a new perspective.

Poetry is rhythm played softly into the night by a lonesome guitarist. Poetry are songs that creates emotions, it understands the times we live in, and play life’s videos. Poetry is the soul of meditation and reflection. Poetry is a bucket where all other forms of art grow from.

Many authors have different definitions and ideas of poetry. But this post is focused on what poetry has done for poets.

What has poetry done for you?

Truth is that there are reasons why we do the things we do. Be it for fun or business.

I will start with Philip Philo Kassner. Poetry dissipated his anger, helped him organize his thoughts, gained confidence, put him on the stage and he met his wife. How poetry helped him meet his wife, he didn’t reveal but that’s sweet to me. Allanah-Elizabeth Higgins says “it cracked me open to the very core and allowed my souls highest expression to flow through me.” Rupal Caricature said that poetry made him find another better way to spend time alone. I can relate to this. Erin El Kalla said it gave her the confidence to be herself. Artie Shorts gratefully said “It has reminded me how very very clever I am. Thanks poetry!” Yaqub Muhktar opined, “Nothing materialistic… I enjoy its beauty and creating the beauty. Poetry has made me happy and more self confident. The joy of writing gladdens my mood.” Hear Helen Freya, “Writing it is currently helping me to work through some past trauma; reading it is helping me to connect to brilliant minds.” Evie Ivy said it made her world a beautiful place. Satischandran Matamp says “Some poems can heal and empower, breaking the glass ceiling. Some can bring hope to the disappointed and a breeze of consolation to the lost. Some poems are like sunrise, while some others are like the sunset. Final interpretation rests in the hands of the readers.” David Allen says “it gave me a great creative outlet and introduced me to some extremely interesting people.”

Arlene Rocero said that poetry helped keep her sanity. “It has helped me find out more of myself. It has helped me express my inner feelings and thoughts better by writing. It is significantly helping me a lot through my battles no one knows about.” Deborah Mears says “it made me laugh, cry, feel sad and mad. Brought out my creativity, humour and introspection. And I made lot of great friends.” Cozett Dunn has this point: “Allowed me to create in higher states of consciousness and express more of my true self.” Tracy Pflieger has this opinion: “I find that poetry is a way for me to hit my deepest emotions when I actually allow myself to get into the writing of it.” Kondwani Stanley Simwaba said it kept him alive. Kenneth Wright writes that “poetry provides a tangible connection to that place in the mind where problems too big for me are under constant review.”

John Green says “it made me laugh, it has made me cry. It has made me ponder adversity and to wonder why. It has made sit in silence and in awe, question the law, what has been established. Parts of society and those who have been black-listed. Colours of the rainbow, LGBTQ, what people have been through, and what I have no clue. Lives touched by violence, touched by love, touched by more adversity, and those who have seen push come to shove. Where has poetry taken me? On journeys most never want to experience. The pious, the fake, the real, and the deviant. I don’t relish where I have been, it creates a pickle. It either pours down troubles or it is a slight trickle.” That’s a pretty serious one, don’t you think? For Sara Bourland it helped her heal from serious traumatic brain injuries. Paul Gardiner says it opened his mind. Paul Armando Gabuat says it made him a better writer. Here is Steve Howards: “Provided me with yet another neurological gibberish translation device.” Jarmara Black said “it kept me reasonable sane through some very tough times.” Beaux Thorburn said it showed her inherent talent and (which) is so good for venting. Justin Robert said “not to be dramatic, but it has saved my life.”

Hobby Jones says, “I never thought to look at it that way, but it’s done a lot – taught me to read closely and write carefully, helped me parse my own thoughts and feelings, given me fresh perspectives on the world (inside and out), filled my mind with ideas and my heart with song, and provided many, many hours of mindful pleasure. So, thanks, Poetry! You have my undying gratitude.” Alex Silverstein opined “The poem is the prize from having something that was awful to deal with or it can be an expression of appreciation for something good that has happened. What has it done for me? Made me me a little more brave by sharing how vulnerable.” Josh Smith says “It gives me a space to express how I feel without worry of being judged. Words I’d like to say to people, but can’t, or wouldn’t know how to word it otherwise.” Kristy Lewandoski says “Given light, helped me to understand things that I couldn’t name on my own, helped me not to feel alone, made me feel alive, feel inspired, taken me on adventures, given roads to empathy and insight into life and humanity. So much!”

Steven M. Mwalusi has this to say ” it made me find another way of living. It will outlast me and speak to future generations.” I sincerely adore the outlasting part. Mohammed Ahmed Daldoum says “I use what I write to understand myself, it helped me to cope with life and overcome my insecurities.”

For me it has connected me to people whom ordinarily I wouldn’t have met. I became confident in my writing and can imagine anything.

What is your take on this? How has poetry benefited you as the writer?

Featured Poems:

DEADLIEST CRAFT by Colin Smith

To scream softly is the poet’s gift — one of whispers so gentle as to shatter illusions, then to expose the power of truth and beauty.

The poets of war have held the souls of so many. Yet the poets of love, for a moment, have stilled the hearts of lovers yet to be.

Simple poetry in natural form describes the elegance of a tree or anything as it may be.

Poetry is the science of language sharpened, the expression of Gods, as the ancients now speak to those who care to listen.

Practice this most deadly craft, for it can stir an army to sweet victory.

The Wife I Never Had by Bernard Arkoh Asante

Poetry turned my pain into art
After I lost someone I loved dearly
My college girlfriend called Ruby
To another man, Another Bernard
The pain was the genesis of this special gift
As I let the blood within my veins
Flow through my pen, I scribbled my first masterpiece in fine piece like Italian tapestry.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love Lessons from Experiences Love and Christianity Nature opinion reflection Series

Self Confidence

When you believe in yourself anything is possible.

Why not?

If you are lucky enough to find your passion, then how could giving up be an option? Giving up means accepting a lifetime of wondering what could have happened if you just believed in yourself enough to follow through. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, just keep going and don’t lose hope.

But you may not achieve much if you are not self confident. So let’s consider attributes of a self confident person.

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Attributes of a self confident person

Smile: For me, smiles are facial dresses. People love and admire people who smile. Not the one that begins and ends with the mouth, the one that starts from the eyes. Genuine, loving smile attracts people, creates friendship and unlocks doors! Be a genuinely happy person and show it by smiling at people. Smiling makes one confident.

Humility: Humble people don’t lack self confidence! In fact it takes humility to have self confidence. When you learn to accommodate all class of people, you learn to serve others. That makes you grow dynamic and open minded. You also learn to be respectful and submissive to authorities.

Confidence: Confident people are attractive any time. Knowing who you are, pursuing your dreams, vision, passion and goals makes you a confident person worth investing in. When you find your passion you approach life with a positive mind set. You become energetic and believe in yourself. You have a sound self esteem and people are irresistibly drawn to you.

Friendliness: Being friendly is different from being desperate. When you go out, attend positive programmes, conferences, seminars, workshops, symposiums and serve in your local church or volunteer, you build a network and grow your confidence. So enjoy meeting people and getting to know them purely for friendship.

Generosity: Be generous to people. Be generous with your smile, love, talent, service, money, prayers, whatever you have that can bless lives. Generous people are like magnets, they never lack admirers. Compassion is a beautiful virtue. It builds self confidence.

Forgiveness: Forgive your past. Forgive all who disappointed you. Practice advance forgiveness, forgive people before they hurt you, because more people will offend you. If you find it difficult forgiving people, you will grow bitter and that kills self confidence when people stay away from you.

Intelligence: People like and admire intelligent people. Know when, how and where to talk. Know what is going on around you. Read about every topic. Know a little of everything. Intelligence builds self esteem.

Neatness: Dirtiness does no good. A disorganized and rough person lacks coordination to say the least! Take good care of yourself. Haircuts are essential. Tattoos and rings are not made for everyone. Appearing neat and presentable boosts self confidence. Because you don’t need to worry how you look or smell. Is it not said that cleanliness is next to godliness?

Dress sense: Wear something that fits you, not what is in vogue. Get a good tailor who can sew clothes that fits your body shape. Learn about your body shape and wear something that flatters your figure. Make-ups should be moderate. A good dress sense makes you sweet to look at and simply irresistible! Remember, the way you dress is the way you will be addressed.

Love yourself: You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. Celebrate yourself and your uniqueness. Accept yourself the way you are, because you are simply the best. No one will be as unique as you. Don’t envy people because not everyone has what you have.

Godliness: Godly people carry golden virtues. Those virtues are in fact the summary of all attributes listed here. Honestly people find good godly people irresistible.

There’s a goldmine in you!

Take charge now. Start working on that talent. Bring your ideas to life and never stop believing in you. If not now, when? If not you, who?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry reflection

July Wishes

Dear Friends,

I’m grateful that we made it to July 2020. You’ll agree that the year has been a stressful one. I hope you’re well and keeping safe. Don’t be anxious, things will make sense soon and we’ll live to testify.

Few hours before new year, I made a wish that I wanted to see a happy me in a peaceful world. New year arrived with a Greek gift. While we got news of this strange virus, I lost my elder sister and several relatives. I even lost several academic and career opportunities. Then came global rioting and demonstration caused by the killing of George Floyd in America. The world wallowed in suspicion, distrust and economic warfare. We never had it this tough for decades. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The outbreak exposed human fallibility. We trusted so much in science. The outbreak exposed that human activities hurt our environment. Yes it exposed science and its weakness. It exposed that we only love in lip service. It exposed how selfish, ignorant and wicked hearts of men can be. It exposed that governments don’t really care about the people. It exposed the beast – greed in man. Nature recovers slowly. We can’t help much, but we can encourage it.

As the world face a pandemic that knows either creed nor colour, we need to love more and show strong faith. Love is mother of all good things. Yes, the world can heal with love and faith gives the assurance of a better tomorrow.

July is here and we’ll surely progress through it. Remain focused on your goals. Show compassion. Be kind. Be courteous. Forgive freely. Remember the destitute, the homeless, the ones without food and clothing, when you give. Pray for one another.

I have this prayer for you: The sun, the moon and the stars will shine for your good. Divine Providence shall protect you. You shall prosper in good health and riches even more than your expectations. My soul rejoices with you for great testimonies. Happy new month.

With Love,

Oke’

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion proverbs

Igbo (African) Proverbs

Hello there! This is a post on selected Igbo proverbs. I wrote in Igbo language, translated in English and then gave its meaning. I did a blog post on proverbs used in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe sometime ago. You can access it here. Have a great day!

1.

Igbo: Nwaanyi muta ite ofe mmiri mmiri, di ya amuta ipi utara aka were suru ofe.

English: If a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the foofoo before dipping it into the soup.

Meaning: One should learn to change tactics to suit a situation.

2.

Igbo: Onyeubiam adi(ghi) aza “Omeokachie.”

English: An indigent does not take the title of “Omeokachie” (i.e. one who completes whatever he puts his hand to)

Meaning: Don’t make false claims.

3.

Igbo: Agwo emeghi nke o jiri buru agwo, umuaka achiri ya hie nku.

English: If a snake fails to show its venom, little kids will use it in tying firewood.

Meaning: There are times when one defends ones capability.

4.

Igbo: Ukpana okpoko gburu nti chiri ya.

English: The grasshopper that is killed by a Crow is deaf.

Meaning: Once forewarned of danger, flee except one is deaf.

5.

Igbo: O na-abu akota ihe ka ubi, e lee oba.

English: Whilst farming, if one encounters what is bigger than the farm, one sells the barn.

Meaning: One who incurs what is beyond one’s ability may sell all one has.

6.

Igbo: Okirikiri k’ana gba ukwu ose, anaghi ari ya-elu

English: The pepper shrub is not climbed but circled.

Meaning: When faced with dicey situation, approach it with caution.

7.

Igbo: Egbe bere, Ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwaa ya

English: Let the eagle perch, let the kite perch; if one does not want the other to perch, may his wings break.

Meaning: Live and let live.

8.

Igbo: Ugo chara acha adi(ghi) echu echu

English: A mature eagle feather will ever remain pure.

Meaning: One well trained will stand the test of time.

9.

Igbo: Anaghi eji na aguu na-agu noo ukwara.

Meaning: No one swallows phlegm to appease the pangs of hunger.

10.

Igbo: E gbuo dike n’ogu uno, e ruo n’ogu agu e lote ya.

English: Kill a warrior during skirmishes at home, you will remember him when fighting enemies.

Meaning: Don’t destroy your leaders.

11.

Igbo: Aka a na-ana dike bu itube ya (abuba) ugo.

English: Appropriate handshake for the valiant is to cap him with an eagle feather.

Meaning: Noble deeds should be appreciated.

12.

Igbo: Oke soro ngwere ma mmiri, mmiri guoro ngwere agagi ako oke.

English: When a rat swims with a lizard, his hairs won’t dry as the lizards.

Don’t do what others are doing; you are not the same.

Meaning: We shouldn’t copy others just for the sake of copying. Every human has a distinct identity.

13.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na olu oha di mma, mana oriri oha na-aka ahu.

English: The tortoise said that many hands at work is enjoyable, but many mouths to feed can be embarrassing.

Meaning: It is not easy to feed many mouths.

14.

Igbo: Nkụ onye kpara n’ọkọchị ka ọna anya n’udu mmiri.

English: Ones actions today will determine his position in the future

Meaning: Good or bad, today’s acts may either come back to bless or to haunt.

15.

Igbo: Ngwere nile makpu àfọ n’ala, mana onweghị onye ma nke àfọ n’asa.

Meaning: Everybody in this world have one or two problems; it’s only our dressing that covers it.

16.

Igbo: Onye tétárà n’ùla na-atù mkweke, ò bû mmadù kpótere yá?

English: Someone who woke up from sleep and still staggers around was he/she forcefully woken by someone else?

Meaning: Don’t be found wanting on his/her statutory obligation.

17.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na e jighi ehi kwa nne ya di na nso, mana a si ya wete na ya enweghi.

English: The (king) tortoise said it is an abomination not to conduct his mother’s funeral with a cow, but if asked to produce one he couldn’t afford it.

Meaning: Emphasizing the importance of the necessity of an object even though one cannot afford it.

18.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na nsogbu bu nke ya, ya jiri kworo ya n’azu

English: The tortoise said that trouble is its own; that’s why it carries trouble on its back

Meaning: One should try and shoulder one’s burdens and responsibilities.

19.

Igbo: Ada agwa ochi nti n’agha esula.

English: You don’t tell the deaf that war has broken out.

Meaning: Some things need not be announced, their occurrence stands as enough announcement.

20.

Igbo: Ukwa rue oge ya, o daa.

English: There’s time for everything.

Meaning: Things should be done when the time is right for them.

21.

Igbo: Udene na egbe anaghi azo nri: udene na-eri ozu; egbe na-ebu na nkike.
English: The vulture and the kite do not scramble for food: the vulture is a scavenger; the kite, a predator.

Meaning: Don’t demean yourself by competing below your level.

22.

Igbo: Si kele onye nti chiri; enu anughi, ala anu.

English: Salute the deaf; if the heavens don’t hear, the earth will hear.

Meaning: Let’s endeavour to do right even if no one is watching.

23.

Igbo: Oboloko abughi aha ejiri luta nwanyi, kama obu aha onwu di guru ya.

English: Widow is not a woman’s maiden name, but it is as a result of her husband’s death.

Meaning: Nobody likes suffering, but it is always a bad circumstance that leads to it.

24.

Igbo: Onye tétárà n’ùla na-atù mkweke, ò bû mmadù kpótere yá?

English: Someone who woke up from sleep and still staggers around was he/she forcefully woken by someone else?

Meaning: Don’t be found wanting on his/her statutory obligation.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle Nature opinion

Modern Scramble for Africa

A Bitter Pill

What comes to your mind when you hear about Africa? Savages. Poverty. War ravaged. Disease. Uneducated? Let’s face it, Africa is what it is today because ‘the world’ contributed in keeping it so. We’re only poor by the world’s standard. This is a bitter pill.

Another Scramble for Africa?

The economic hustle and rivalry between the East and West is rooted in selfish interest and greedy conquest. Capitalism vs Communism. Colonialism. Imperialism. Gold-plated forms of modern slavery, with Africa almost at the middle of the tug of war. It’s unfolding to me that some nations are already on course for a second conquest of Africa. It’s easy to play on the gullible African mind. So we trust so easily. We corrupt easily too. The first recorded conquest began late 18th century, when European nations sat on a table to share Africa’s land, people and resources (Scramble for Africa). Not even an African was present to discuss his people’s future but many will play roles in keeping the roots of colonialism watered later. I’ll like to note that more nations has joined this hustle for Africa’s resources. Recently, African children and women in search of greener pastures travel abroad to work as laborers. Some end up in drug peddling and prostitution. Late 18th century saw the European slavers draw up agreements and maps that will enable them exploit Africa’s abundant resources. Now these countries in addition to new arrivals sabotage each other economically to achieve their aims. Every Greek gift; loan, grant and aid play a role in modern slavery. Foreign governments want African resources for themselves and this is not because they care for Africa. I follow trends concerning Africa. I see how Africans are treated abroad. Yet these countries are foremost in exploiting African people and resources. I’ve this to say to all modern slavers: Stay away from Africa.

Kafala System

Have you heard of the Kafala system? The concept is based on buying people to work in private homes abroad. I’ll tell you why I used buy. This idea originated from the Middle East and it’s backed by law. Normally a sponsor (family) pays local and foreign agents to recruit domestic workers (mostly females from Africa and Southern Asia) to work in their homes. On arrival most of these workers are converted to slaves. They are exploited and treated inhumanly by their sponsors.

Let’s look at what may qualify one as a modern slave: when physically abused for no reason, personal belongings like phones and travel documents seized, under fed, locked up in the house when others go out, raped and sexually abused, not allowed to sleep on a bed or couch, sometimes not paid as when due or at all, ignored when sick or just asked to take pain reliever for every kind of sickness, works from morning till night (with little or no rest) and not allowed to socialize. What will you call that? I made the list after my interaction with many victims of the Kafala slavery. Some who had the boldness to speak to me revealed that their mistresses value their dogs over them. Some countries have failed to make laws that protect the rights of domestic workers. This is shameful. Shame to anyone who treats another human as slave. We’re not free until every man is free. Now activists ask that Kafala be abolished. I’m in full support. Abolish Kafala now or make laws that will protect the rights of domestic workers. Abolish all forms of modern slavery now!

Modern slavery goes beyond this flawed Kafala system. Consider rich nations that control the resources of another. That’s modern slavery. When a country instigate chaos in another country. That’s modern slavery. When a country interferes in another’s election or economic decision. That’s modern slavery. Those points may not define slavery exactly but as far as there are elements of exploitation and lack of total freedom, it’s slavery to me.

The end

By now you might have noticed my obsession for Africa. It’s a beautiful place honestly. It’s only bedeviled by bad leadership. Bad leaders contribute to Africa’s suffering. Yet some are only corrupt because of foreign influence and interference. So I won’t blame all African leaders completely for Africa’s woes.

I’ll end with the words of Pocahontas: If you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew. We’re only poor when measured by the world’s standard.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry

Writing a Poem by David Thane Cornell

Writing a poem
is like picking flowers
in a minefield.
Lay down your life
spread-eagled,
so that the grass,
sharp as syllables,
won’t cut you.
Let your fingers
test the soil.
Don’t tug at the roots.
Seize adjectives
for hostages,
negotiable at the border
between war and peace,
leading you
all the way back
to silence.


DAVID THANE CORNELL
Copyright 2012, 2020.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle nature poems opinion

Poets Corner: What Is Beauty?

JUST A LITTLE STORY
Let me tell you a little story. I remember a picture story of a man that sat close to a girl in a park. The first image portrayed the man as ugly, dressed in unbuttoned black shirt, with all manner of rings, deep scars and tattoos. The pretty girl was dressed in angelic white gown with curly hair. Now both had one hand behind their backs so that no one could see what they held. People (including myself) admired this lovely girl (and oh my, she was cute). On another image their hands were revealed. The raggedy man held a bunch of flowers and the pretty girl had a sharp knife. The knife made me rethink how lovely I previously thought she was. Looks are deceit.

WHAT BEAUTY IS TO ME

Beauty is everything that makes someone or a thing pleasing, attractive or fine. To me beauty goes beyond the physical. To some it may just be things they see or feel. Blue clouds, sunset, corn fields, white beaches, red lips or moon shine may appeal to sight. Yes they are natural things we feel or see. Another person may look at them as common and nothing special. Everyone has a viewpoint. When I admire flowers that grow by the roadside, it may just be a weed to someone else. Beauty is when we see things differently. An Indian actor said that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beer-holder.” I agree but one may not need a beer to see.


I love it when poets discuss issues. I and Adekunle Ridwan VW moderated on the topic and compiled what poets has to say. I hope you enjoy this.

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

Rose Marie Raccioppi says that beauty are WORDS… Letters that call to be sounded, silent ones in support… and so BEAUTY calls to Being, Exchange, Aspiration, Unity, Truth, Yielding to the grace of creation. Be this known heart to heart. The petals of a flower, the fingers of a hand… Beauty in its manifestation, in its giving. Maxwell Rae says it’s seeing beyond the flesh of anything and seeing the beauty in everything.

Ricky Guiang said beauty is calmness and serenity. Beau Blanchard says it is a recognition of peace and comfort in and with another individual. Ashley Yelhsa has this to say, “Beauty is the magnifying radiance and essence of all things good and pleasant with a hug and a kiss of grace with Its loving kind and gentle nature. It’s the sweet savoury of all things pleasant and good.” Theo Perry says “a Poet’s perception to beauty is a line of being genuine, a display of confidence, a portray of positive love. Each one entails more to please with a smile.”

Cathy Deslippe aptly put it thus: “To some beauty is what you see. To others it’s a scent. The sound of a child’s laughter. A gift you haven’t opened yet. For me beauty is the opportunity, to write poetry.” Bella Michel puts it thus: “Little details. Small moments. Genuine emotions. Spectating on large events and taking in the details as an observer. Silence is beauty. Solace is beauty.”

C. J. Mitchell has it that beauty is whatever intrigues and inspires the soul in any given moment. Esther Cenat said beauty is subjective. Left to interpretation. Barbara Newman said that beauty is colours. Rich Granvold opined “Beauty is what is seen with the eyes of our hearts.” R. Paul Howell said beauty is transparency.

David Gammon has this to say, “beauty can be many things to us. For me personally, it is a space, an area of nature. Rolling hills and valleys. A sunrise, the smell of wet ground after a shower. To me, beauty is defined in words and actions. If I meet someone on my rounds that isn’t obliquitious and judgemental, then that is beautiful. I have met people who look pretty outside, but inside have nothing but bullshit to offer. You know the sort, the one that will bad-mouth you.
Some of the best people I have ever met and known in my 50 years existence have had mental illness or not been good looking. I embrace our imperfections, because that is what makes us human.” He went further: “Beauty is defined not in the fine lines of a careless whisper, but in the actions of one.” Kami Velasquez supported, “Beauty is the gift of giving with no thought for anything in return.”

“Life itself is proper definition of beauty. With all its ups and downs, happiness and sorry… because one side is always incomplete. And what can be more complete than life.” Pranaj Raj. Mattie Green says “Beauty is in everything I see, live and breathe it. Beauty is what the eyes cannot truly see it’s a healing that took place before life and even after death it’s a beauty that no one can see. It’s an aroma. It’s a taste and see with your mouth lips and tongue. It’s as refreshing as the morning light and as beautiful as itself is indeed. Beauty has no definition but can be defined by others.”

R. J. Williams believe that there’s no one correct universal answer. “To some, beauty is a flower with a bee pollinating it. To Jeffrey Dahmer type people, beauty is dismembered body parts on a dinner table.” Read A. Paul Owens, “Beauty is everything that inspires any kind of lust. From sexual to just. Beauty raised 10,000 armies and rode peace on 10,000 sunsets. Beauty is living each day in the moment with the absence of regrets. Beauty is making love to someone you can’t live without. With every orgasm growing greater the absence of doubt. Beauty is the innocents in a childs mind. As they fulfill their dreams playing with toys they find.”

To Ugomma Ezewuiro, beauty is simply life! While Hitendra Kumar Shrivas said beauty is Nature, nothing else. Sameh Ibrahim quipped that beauty is being. Dom Capobianco offered that beauty is just a human concept. Nancy Melendez says it is authenticity and Bethan Williams called it truth. Charlotte Gunning’s offered that “it is not a shape but a mindset and the best indicator of it is self confidence.” Elizabeth Folsy says it’s that which makes the heart sing.

Kristine Perito’s idea goes with mine. She said “Simply put, beauty is different things to different people.” Vanda Kudlackova said beauty is being yourself. To end Millie Richie Kiefer says it is everything and nothing!

FEATURED POEMS ON BEAUTY

Mike Noxaura

A baby cooing.
A star going nova.
The smile of a bride.
The blush of a teenage boy.
The laughter, unafraid of a grandma
The solid advice of a grandpa.
The wind in the trees
A tiger on the hunt.
The smell of sage and sweet grass burning in a sweat lodge.
The peyote and ayahuasca visions.
Fresh grilled veggies.
Laying in the arms of love.
A healthy poop.
A cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.
Children playing.

What is beauty?
Life in action, but just contemplation.

Bryan Perkins c/o L. N. O.

The currency of the mind
In my eyes
It’s the flaws that drive me crazy,
To me the true beauty of a woman is in her flaws,
That’s what distinguishes her from the all rest
Every man desires a beautiful woman
But no man desires a flawless woman
And when you find that woman
And fall in love with her flaws,
You have then found a flawless woman
Imperfection is everyone’s
Most brutally beautiful feature
So thank you,
For being perfect,
Not for the world,
But perfect for me

Anju Kalra Sethi

Thank you dear God
For down by my sidewalk
Under the shining Sun
I saw a pretty little purple butterfly
It stirred me up
In stillness I grew and encountered the hidden me in mine
Underneath layers and layers of shields and swords to linger on
to the thought I dwelled in
Caressing love leaf twinned pines and roses
Further more
While I kept the walking feet the pretty creature fathomed
Filled me with more some love
Thank you might today tomorrow be let it .
Listen memories in this moment I am fine

Adekunle Ridwan VW

What’s beauty?

The world of creation;

The gentle smile of a little child.
The sparking of the stars and glimmering sunshine.
The radiant colours of the rainbow.
The grace that flows from a river that never runs dry.
The sweet melodious song emanating from the skylark.
The abyss of the ocean.

What’s beauty?

The smile;

So tender
Contagious
Captivating
Heart melting
Crystal clear.

What’s beauty?

The words;

Soothing
Appealing
Pacifying
Alluring
Enchanting.

What’s beauty?

A virtue;

Love
Kindness
Honesty
Respect
Forgiveness.

Beauty is

A great phenomenon;
Indescribable
Unending
Immeasurable
Overwhelming

The world is beauty!
The heaven is beauty!!
God is beauty!!!


So what comes to your mind when you hear the word beauty? Have a great day.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education opinion

Opinion: The 2020 World University Rankings

As children in the typical agrarian world of Northern Cross River State, Nigeria, it was the tradition for mothers to leave their young babies in the care of the older ones while the mothers went to distant farms. Across the day the older children grappled with the occasional frustrating cries of their baby-siblings, sometimes grappled with hunger and even with the sheer anxiety of being left alone at home to fend for their younger siblings without an adult. At the onset of evening hours mothers began trickling back from the farms. For the child whose mother had not arrived, it was a great moment of anxiety, of frustration and worry; and it was this situation that gave birth to the usual children’s short song, addressed to the beetle called “Whukpalib” in the Bette-Bendi lingo. The short song goes: “Whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, everyone else is arriving [home], but my mother isn’t arriving!”

This was the song that leaped to my lips early this month as I flipped through the list of names in the 2020 world ranking of universities as released by the Centre for World University Rankings. My non-arriving mother in this case was, first, the name of any Nigerian university, and then the name of any African university. Three of the first four mothers to arrive were neighbours from South Africa: the University of Cape Coast at number 268; the University of KwaZulu-Natal being number 477; while the third neighbour was University of Johannesburg, which is the 706th on the list out of the 2000 universities recorded. The other African university is Cairo University, Egypt, which is the 558th on the list. The next neighbouring mother to arrive was Uganda’s Makere University, which was established in the same 1948 as Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, by the British colonial government. Makere came up as the 923th best university in the world; yet, my real mother, the first Nigerian university to arrive, didn’t come up until I got to serial number 1,163, where I found our own great University of Ibadan. This places this best Nigerian university four times below the best in South Africa, University of Cape Coast. Down the list another Nigerian mother arrived at number 1,882, the University of Nigeria. This is only 118 universities away from the bottom of the list of 2000; and that ended the arrival of my Nigerian university mothers from distant farms.

Beyond the anxiety about seeing or not seeing the names of Nigerian universities coming up on the list, there were musings and reflections and some fun, too, around me as I went down the list. I was always pleased to find the names of some of the universities around the world that I’ve had some close career and professional involvements with, or have heard about, or whose histories I am familiar with, or in which I have some friends. For instance, my heart experienced glow when I saw the names of a few of the universities in New York which I’d visited as a Fulbright scholar. Similarly, I was excited to find on the list names from among the cluster of universities in India’s Tamil Nadu axis, whose doctoral candidates I have examined for over 15 years now. The Ghanaian age mate of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan, University of Ghana, Legon, whose campus I am reasonably familiar with, came up also a bit late at number 1,346. Even at this number, it turned up earlier than Kumasi’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which surfaced at number 1,460. The arrival of certain four universities or so stirred up goose pimples all over me. They are Wuhan University (243), Wuhan University of Technology (555), Wuhan University of Science and Technology (1381) and Wuhan Institute of Technology (1494). Whenever a Wuhan name appeared, I thought of my nose mask and hand sanitizer as emblems of covid-19!

Malaysia’s Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) has some special significance to me. I was at this great university in 2005 when the results of the world rankings of universities for that period were announced and Malaysia’s best universities shifted a little backward from where they had been in the preceding rankings. The reactions from Malaysians shocked me pleasantly. The daily newspapers were awash with queries and criticisms and anxiety by almost all Malaysians; and it looked like the citizens were going to ask for the sacking of the minister of education. I bought some of the papers just to show Nigerians what education meant to citizens of some other countries. But not many persons I gave the papers to saw anything striking in the fact that the entire citizenry were so concerned about the state of the nation’s universities. Also, it was at this university that I saw how much serious-minded governments cherish intellection as a necessary synergy between the gown and the town. Here was where I found directors from government ministries participating actively in the international conference and taking down notes most furiously and copiously to factor into the business of running government. And it was here, too, that I experienced the then-former Prime Minister (He is back as Prime Minister at over 90 years, though), Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed, presenting a keynote address on the nation’s language policy, and making vital intellectual contributions that define the boundary between the need to promote one’s mother tongue for use in the domestic domains, and the English language for global and international communication. Yet, Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed is a medical doctor by training.

As I went down the list, my mind also reflected on the Nigerian university system. Here is a nation whose University of Ibadan was rated among the best ten universities within the Commonwealth at a time Commonwealth nations looked down on the American university system, generally; but today Ibadan can only take a miserable 1,163th position among world universities. Here is a nation whose universities’ products Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu boasted proudly of as being responsible for the scientific and technological feats the Biafrans recorded during the unfortunate Civil War. Here is a nation whose children who have managed to find their way out of the country are excelling everywhere they find themselves in the world. Here is a nation whose products as teachers and researchers are making breakthroughs in all manner of human endeavours wherever the environment is education-friendlier. Here is the same nation forming a huge valley among the world’s universities today. And as I went down the list, images of some of our current gladiators in government flitted past my head. I could see the Honourable Minister of Labour seated, his beard of affluence in place, sipping a healthy cup of coffee or tea, a resting newspaper in front with just the labour-related stories asterisked for him as he thinks of what rough tackle to use in “defeating” the nation’s striking university lecturers. I can see the Honourable Minister of Finance, her venom whetted and ready to strike further at the university lecturers’ salaries. I can see her loyal subaltern, the Accountant-General, with his Director in charge of IPPIS, ready with a fresh punch at the lecturers’ lean earnings. And then as I continued down the list, my eyes stumbled on the image of the Honourable Minister of Education struggling against odds to explain the tragedy entailed in killing education. He looks strange and alone among his colleagues in his favourable posturing towards ASUU’s system-saving interventionist measures.

These images invoked severe pain in me as I looked at my great nation almost absent from the comity of world’s universities. Not that all Nigerians do not know the truth about ASUU’s struggles for the survival of public universities, two of which are the ones represented on this year’s rankings of world universities. Many Nigerians know and are truly sad about the situation. For instance, while we, the Nigerian lecturers, were deliberately starved during the Covid-19 total lockdown, my great friend, Kayode Komolafe of Thisday newspaper, strengthened me much. He assured me that when the history of this country will be written, ASUU will have a place of gold in the account as that is the only union that is sincerely fighting a lone battle for the survival of Nigeria’s universities. When he mentioned that ASUU is fighting a battle that all Nigerians ought to be fighting, I remembered my Malaysian and Ghanaian experiences. At independence in 1957, Ghanaians decided to insulate education from politics such that any government, military or civilian, that tampers with the nation’s education, faces the wrath of the entire citizenry, not just the actors in the education sector alone. Another great mind, Pastor Udeme Ukpong, used the story of the snake which bit repeatedly the hand that wanted to save it from a fire as an illustration of how Nigerians are destroying or biting incessantly the ASUU that is battling to save the nation’s education system. And who are these snakes? The government, which should take the glory for having a healthy system of education, the parents who should be happy that their children are being given a globally competitive education quality; and the students themselves, who should be appreciative of being properly baked for survival in a competitive world. The student body, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), especially under the successive treacherous and leadership of Yinka Gbadebo (under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan) and Bamidele Akpan (under the current administration of President Mohammadu Buhari) simply spent more time daring the lecturers to please the government than fighting for the improvement of the education sector.

Further, in a rather pensive, almost mournful tone, one of my most gracious and promising former students, who now resides in Britain, said to me, “Sir, we all know what ASUU is fighting for. The Union certainly wants the system to survive, but I doubt that the Union will achieve its goal because the British economy will be seriously and negatively affected if the Nigerian education system regains its good state of health. You need to know how much this country [Britain] makes every year from fees paid by Nigerian students; and the people here [in Britain], who control our governments back home would never allow any positive changes in the state of our education”. Not that this was new to me or to my colleagues; but the import of the statement is that it was coming from a non-ASUU member, a patriotic, altruistic and well informed Nigerian who told me she was still proud of her Nigerian university education background in spite of the lack of facilities and the strikes that had truncated her learning while here.

In sum, while the atmosphere in other countries must be charged now with robust discussions about how their countries fared in this year’s world ranking of universities, Nigerians, with only two out of the nation’s over 200 universities making the list at 1163 and 1882 respectively, are quiet and going about their businesses as if this nation is no longer a part of the world – or can only share the world’s woes such as in Covid-19. Still worse is the fact that while the rest of the world’s governments are either celebrating the enhanced positions of their universities in the rankings or working towards improvement in the education sector, the gladiators in the Nigerian government led by the ministers of labour and finance, and armed with the crude implement known as IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System), is busy plucking the few feathers that are left in the body of the bird called Nigerian University System through the current sacking of contract and visiting lecturers. Thus, like the racist former American White police officer, Derek Chauvin, who savagely pinned down the African American George Floyd to death late last month with his knee, the knee of the Nigerian government is on the neck of the Nigerian university system, and the system cannot now breathe given the sacking of lecturers on contract and visiting appointments, government’s dragging of feet over the renegotiation of its agreement with ASUU, government’s reluctance to pay the lecturers their long overdue earned academic allowances, government’s repeated reneging on the provision of fund for revitalization, and the now routine amputation of even their already paltry monthly deceptions called salaries. Strangely, however, the Nigerian students themselves, their parents and most of the Nigerian populace are either urging the government to press its knee harder on the neck of the lecturers or struggling to lend a knee to government’s murderous one already on the neck of the nation’s education system, while the advanced economies that have programmed the system to this death watch with satisfaction, their universities showing up very early in the list of any world rankings of universities. Meanwhile, the Nigerian nation remains represented in this year’s world rankings by only the University of Ibadan, which comes up at 1,163, and the University of Nigeria, which takes the 1,882th position out of the 2000 universities on the list.

– Professor Joseph A. Ushie

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems Nature nature poems opinion Pastoral Poetry

I am Poetry

I am needle, needless of pain, driving through fabric, to create a happy stitch,

I am dance, sometimes something sane, twists and turns, breaking within or without,

I am fury, memories may wane, trust on mere ink and paper, pale but yet transparent

I am innocence, a cry too soon, living for the weak, suns glam and joyous warmth

I am poetry, needle for needless pain, innocent cry not heard, dance within sanity and fury of many spirits


Happy Father’s day 👪

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nigeria opinion proverbs

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Proverbs and Meaning

Onye aturu ilu kowaa ya, ego eji luo nne ya efuola ohia.

Before I start this post permit me to greet Igbo people; those who own the proverbs I’m about to explore; Ndi Igbo kwenu! Ekelem unu o. Ndewonu.


•Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on Igbo traditional Isi-agu attire

INTRODUCTION: PROVERBS

There are many definitions for proverbs but as it is said that all routes lead to Rome, we won’t go far. Instead we’ll look at a definition that highlights the key points we seek. Proverb (Ilu in Igbo language) is a phrase expressing a basic truth which maybe applied to common situations. The Igbo defined it thus: Ilu bu mmanu eji eri okwu, (meaning that proverbs are oil with which we eat words). This explains literally that words are eaten and that proverbs helps to digest it. Proverbs are at the center of every African conversation. The traditional village council convene in proverbs, the trader and blacksmith converse in proverbs, and children even play with it. Parents speak to little ones in proverbs, so a visitor may expose himself if he is unable to follow the community trend. It is common to hear people speak in proverbs in Africa. This proves that proverbs are very important in African societies. Likening it to the saying that the “Leopard can’t shed its spots” – the average African won’t speak much without using proverbs to oil the conversation. African proverbs are rich sources of wit and wisdom. Now let us look at the proverbs we encounter in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

PROVERBS IN THINGS FALL APART AND THEIR EXPLANATION

In the book “Things Fall Apart” the people of Umuofia which represented the larger African society used proverbs extensively. As a book set in pre-colonial times it dwells on the effects of colonialism and imperialism on the African society. In this section I’ll be exploring the proverbs Achebe mentioned in his book. I’ll explain its general meaning in context of modern usage. I will also set all proverbs on bolded letters.

1. Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.

This means that proverbs makes conversations easier and understandable. It suggests that proverbs are words of wit which gives deeper insight to statements.

2. If a child washes his hands he can eat with kings.

In ancient Igbo culture children are not allowed to eat with elders from the same plate. This is a show of respect and honour. So this means that a child is allowed to dine with his elders or the king only if he achieves or did something exceptionally great.

3. When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for walk.

This may read hilarious, the cripple is basically someone who has lost ability to walk. This proverb is talking about enticing opportunities that may strike up unrealistic hope.

4. A man who pays respect to the great, paves the way for his own greatness.

Is it not said that respect is reciprocal? Only that in this case we are more tilted to giving honour to whom it is due. The Igbo is a very proud people, they are known to disregard unfavorable royal order. It is believed that every man is king in his own house. Respect is earned and not just attributed in Igbo and other African societies.

5. Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other let his wings break.

In Igbo land the general philosophy is live and let live. This proverb summarize this philosophy.

6. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned.

People tend to be uncomfortable when negative issues concerning them are discussed.

7. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.

This talks about understanding strategies one can use to overcome issues. Life is dynamic, and people must learn to change with it.

8. Looking at the King’s mouth one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breasts.

If you consider how arrogant people talk or behave you may think they are invisible. We can also say that the king actually is representing the crown and thus say that he is too confident that one may think he is fearless. Which may not always be the case.

9. Those whose palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.

Some people are just privileged in life, while many are not. Some inherit wealth and empires while others had to build from the scratch as the case of Okonkwo in the book. The proverb speaks of being humble when one is more privileged than others.

10. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.

This suggest that proud people may never know when they fail because of their attitude.

11. When mother cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth.

This suggests that we teach by our actions or deeds.

12. A baby on its mother’s back does not know the way is long.

It is left for the one who works hard to determine how much hard work he did. You can feed people with your earnings but not everyone knows how much time and effort you had to work.

13. If one finger brought oil it soils the others.

This explains that one persons action may affect everyone.

14. There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.

In Igbo land it is always assumed that people who make noise are cowards. The English version is the empty drum makes the loudest noise.

15. A child can not pay for his mother’s milk.

This explains itself. One won’t pay for what rightly belongs to him.

16. Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, know that something is after its life.

People do not visit another for nothing. They might have come to ask for help. Something must be the reason for every action. Another version of this is the toad does not jump during the day if nothing is pursuing it.


The explanation for the Proverbs are my opinion. I’m available for discussion on African literature and Igbo culture/traditions. Drop a comment or query here or on the contact me page.

© Oke Iroegbu

Categories
Africa love poems Nature nature poems opinion Pastoral Poetry

Traveler

is.jpg

The traveler is like the sun
Which traverse the length of Earth,
Seen her people, food and cultures
He is like a blast of the wind
Blowing cold and hot at times
And fine dust is his companion
The traveler is like a compass
Searching for North pole
Seeking gladly new lands
The traveler is a big book
Though he may have read little
Pass for a walking encyclopaedia


Image taken from http://www.wiautism.com

Categories
lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature opinion Pastoral Poetry reflection

Warm Hugs from Africa


Dear Friends,

We wake up to awful happenings around the world. The media churn out stories that make people sick. Nothing makes sense anymore. For the past few months horrible things had happened. We lost many good things and people.

But don’t despair, don’t give up yet. There’s still good in the confusion, we need to keen our minds to see it. This cold morning I send warm hugs, prayers and thoughts your way. Stay safe and sane, trusting that things will make sense soon.

Please send someone a beautiful message of hope and love. Let’s have a beautiful week ahead.

From Africa with Love ❤
Oke’
Categories
Africa education haiku lifestyle Nature opinion Poetry reflection rhyme Series

What I think of Poverty (Poetry)

What if I told you a poem of poverty
Will you wave it off and call me silly?
I will tell you what I think
Why communities continue to sink,
School children trek miles to get a bus
Their worn-out shoes make it worse,
Bright girls will deliberately miss school
Sanitary pads their excuse, without it a woe,
There is a lad sitting near the street bend
His foot sore, his hair torn in the wind,
He is a victim of poverty, he has no home
So he and others sit it out, in rain and storm,
Slavery, a grandchild of poverty takes
People, in order to help for goodness sake,
She humbly breaks the back of hard-working men
And throw their conquered will into her mothers den,
Cold night won’t help anyone either
She is cruel to both the rich and the pauper,
Poverty gave a meal once a day
To wish deceitful luxuries away,
If poverty was a product and so man-made
It is dished as soup in fancy bottles of pomade,
Now will you sit with me and reason
About wealth that is tactfully hidden
And enjoyed by those we trust with votes?
You will agree that poverty is not by choice

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion Series

Quotes on Children

Seeing a child laugh or smile at me gives me exceptional joy. As a math teacher, I am privileged to work with them. I have collected some quotes on children to celebrate my love for them.
  • “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” – Wess Stafford
  • “Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott
  • “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” – Henry Ward Beecher
  • “You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.” – Barbara Bush
  • “Children make your life important.” – Erma Bombeck
  • “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” – Diana, Princess of Wales
  • “The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” – Orlando Aloysius Battista
  • “Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” – James Dobson
Let’s put smiles on those little faces. Have a happy day! 😊

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