Senator Yarima is not alone in the act

When issue like this gets out, Nigerians would advice you not to ‘waste your time’ talking about it as we have bigger problems to deal with. Eventually, attention will be shifted to more ‘important’ issues. If robbing a generation off their childhood is not important enough for open discussion, what is?

Senator Yarima’s attitude towards child bribe and boldness to justify his actions using religion as cover, confidence to openly challenge Nigeria constitution based on his skewed reasoning say quite a lot about leadership in Nigeria. It goes without saying that this is the country that lawmakers and religious leaders are above the law.  George Orwell’s phrase in Animal Farm could not be any truer “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

A friend sent the cartoon below to me via email in 2010 to coincide with Nigeria Children’s Day. It was supposed to be funny, just as Nigerians have learnt to make light of most issues even the very serious ones through arts. This particular cartoon was not in the least amusing at all as it was a case that I am too familiar with and I am neither a muslim nor child bride. I was not sure what to make of it but I remember feeling so disturbed that I felt sick from the pit of my stomach and had nightmare that night. I was not particularly worried for the child bride, I knew then that the issue of child bride is part of a bigger problem that can not be resolved on the surface alone.

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What we should remember is that Yarima’s child bride being form Egypt is immaterial, she could have been a Nigerian. I am wiser now than to point fingers at Muslims brothers as all evil and peadophiles. Northerners are predominantly Muslims and belong to Hausa ethnic group. Sabo is to Hausas as China Town to Chinese. Most towns or cities in Nigeria has its own Sabo, to get a glimpse of lifestyle of Hausas, you do not have to necessarily travel to the north.

I have visited a few Sabos in the past and have heard that children were groomed from early age. The first time I visited Sabo in Ile Ife, being a teenager from a christian home, I could not shake off what I saw, I kept telling all that cared to listen about the very young girls, some as young as six  years old with heavy make up on. I was told many times from different sources that those young girls were already assigned husbands, so they are ‘dressed’ up to impress their would-be husbands. Some of the husbands are older than their own fathers.

Yarima’s indifference to the public outcry is a further evidence to the enormous amount of unwarranted privileges that lawmakers in Nigeria enjoy on a daily basis. In fact, he could do and got away with just about anything. Yarima, like many Nigeria politicians is not a leader, he is there to impose his beliefs on everyone around him. Yarima is aware that the practice of child bride commonly practiced among Hausas is no longer specific to the north, in fact I have heard a story of a 14 year old Ibadan girl being married off. Since the practice is of public knowlegde across the country, he sees no reason why he should not be allowed to do the same and because he is a politician, he didn’t have to be secretive about it, as he has power and money. For everyday citizen there might be a bit of cover up until the girl is of age however, for Yarima, being a public leader further gives him ammunition to publicise his evil indulgence.

There is no clear difference between religion, culture or indeed constitution in Nigeria. Citizens, especially lawmakers and religious leaders would do whatever they wanted and use either religion, culture or constitution to justify their weakedness, whichever one that is more favourable will be adopted. It is tough enough to fathom the reasoning behind politicians acts sometimes for example in the case of corruption, you wonder if they actually realised the value of the sum they were looting. Dealing with religious leader imposition of their beliefs is unsettling, in this sense both Christian and Muslims. Imagine having to deal with a politician that is equally religion extremist? It is wahala, I tell you.

Was I suppose to be quoting Nigeria constitution and talking about what our rights are as citizens? Realistically, there are laws in Nigeria however, enforcement of law on any individual or groups largely depend on who you are and your connections. You could easily be given a life sentence for stealing a bag of onion while a murderer, rapist, peadophile could justify their acts by either quoting Quran or bible and they would be out of prison in no time. To test this hypothesis, all you need to do is to ask random people on any city or town few questions on morality, more often than not most would quote bible or Quran as the reason for doing the right thing,  hardly will you find one out of 10 quoting illegality as a reason for not engaging in unlawful acts.

While the whole nation is waiting eagerly to see Yarima’s case setting an important precedence to revolutionise child abuse case in Nigeria, I very much hope that this case would not be dragged on for too long that it gets swept under the carpet.

Also, while we are on Yarima’s case, let us remember that we have lots of Yarima all around us posing as religious leaders. In Southwest where I come from, rape happens daily and always the girls get the blame. Pastors get away with this all the time. I know this for a fact as there are just too many to forget. They never get reported in the news as the rape will continue until the victim could escape or until another victim is found. Nigerians placed so much trust on their religious leaders so much that the parents would send their young teenage girls to night vigils so pastors could do special prayers with them. The pastors’ case could only be likened to Jimmy Savile,  British child sex predator case. Infact, the first time I read about him, I knew we have many like him posing as religious leaders of various titles around us, it is such an easy way to gain trust of the gullibles.

Not so long ago, I heard about a young pastor in his forties, he is a pastor at a Pentecostal church, the type that have several youth prayer warriors vigil every week and monthly out of town top-of-the-mountain vigil. Usually, these vigils are exclusive to youths. The young pastor came with infectious energies that gained most parents’ trust instantly. Pastor Hakeem organises youths program around the clock, girls barely had time to catch their breath after school before  heading out again for yet another bible study. They pray, fast and believed all that Hakeem tells them to do. Most parents would never questioned any of this over-the-top weekly bible study as pastors knows best. Before long, Hakeem ran away with Sola, a fifteen year old girl in secondary school. She was supposed to be on the mountain with other girls praying for their sins and retentive memory so they could pass exams. It is only in Nigeria that you would have important exams coming and pastors would organise yet another prayer vigil for students. Anyway, while at the mountain, Hakeem took Sola aside as God had sent him a message to deliver to her, the outcome was that Sola did not return home next morning, she ran away with Hakeem and no one knew where they were. When Sola eventually showed up three days later, she had been brainwashed big time! Her mother was only happy she was back. The punishment that Hakeem got was to put end to his visit at the church only to be released to the street to search for another victim in another town.  In other words, Yarima proudly marries his child bride, christian leaders don’t marry theirs, they keep their victims under their wings for as long as they are pleased.

The issue of child abuse is much worse that you might think, it is beyond religion or culture, from what I have seen, it is mostly power driven.

Positive news about Nigeria hospitals

It is not very hard for Nigerians to talk a lot about all that could be a bit better in the country because what we see as obstacles to the progress of our efforts are constant reminder every second of the day. I would not remind you of any as today is all about what is going well in Nigeria.

In her recent article,  Ada Stella Apiafi at I-Nigeria, stresses the importance of embracing our people and the efforts lots are making to contribute to improving the country. She implores us to talk about Nigerians like Uwa Osamede Imafidon, a young lady who had excelled academically at a university in Texas, USA,  Nigerians participants at the 2012 London Olympics games, among many others. The article is all very good and I agree that we are what we say about ourselves.

I would also like to add to the list of all that is working in the country. Since we are all connected to one another one way or the other, here are a couple of instances where not so famous people are making differences in our communities.

My mother was seriously ill a few months ago. How she got to this stage untreated – long story. Given her state at the time, I cried, a lot. My family did not have a single success story about the teaching hospital in the area so we decided to take her to a private hospital so we could at least get a proper diagnosis.  After the initial prognosis, we did bunch of tests: blood, urine and all, after which was concluded my old lady had advanced diabetes. I cried some more. Dr Uche told us that because he is not expert in the area, we were to take my mother to Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital where they have experts and appropriate equipment to treat my mother. Hearing this from the doctor, I had a massive flashback – not a good one. Again, since it is all about positives today, I will stick to just that.

Dr Uche told my siblings and I that given our mother’s situation our best bet was to go to the teaching hospital and assured us she would be looked after properly once admitted. Having no other option as the other reputable private hospital around said they did not have any expert in the area to treat my mother, we took a leap of faith and went to the teaching hospital. By this time, Dr Uche gave her some medicine but we needed to act fast.

As soon as she arrived at the appropriate ward of OAU teaching hospital Ile Ife, she was taken into the emergency room and monitored for 24hrs while they use high-tech machines to monitor her progress. The next day, when her condition stabilised a bit, she was transferred to the standard ward and there again her progress was being strictly monitored. On the third day, she regressed a bit, I was worried and my siblings and I cried some more! Then my sister spoke to the doctor in charge and explained what she has witnessed, we thought a nurse lapsed in her duty of administering my mother’s drug at the right time. The doctor promised that he would see to the case, which we believed he did. My mother made significant recovery daily and was only allowed to go home when the doctors and nurses were completely  satisfied that her condition has stabilised. Now she goes for monthly check ups. Being a bit of Thomas (remember, the disciple?), I checked all the drugs and that little Accu-Chek device up online, they were all the same treatment used all around the world.

My mother was treated with dignity and we are today happy to have her with us. Yes, we did pay for all our medicines which is the lion share of the cost as they do all around the world. Dr. Adebayo quickly realised my siblings and I were ladies and he gave his time to listen to us, treated our mother with deserved respect. Kudos, to Nigerian doctors and specifically the folks at OAU teaching hospital, Ife who treated my mother.

I promised I would give you two instances that has helped to restore my faith in Nigeria hospitals. here we go:

Do you wonder why there are so many people with mental illness on Nigeria roads. They are all around us, in villages, towns and cities, living by road sides. Our law makers moving mentally challenged individuals from one state to the other – no one wants to be responsible for them. Yes, to have psychiatry problem in Nigeria is worse than any crime you can think of. Okay, all about positives now.

A very dear aunt of mine have a son who suffers from mental illness. David had his first episode when he was about 10 years old. He is a quiet boy, loved to play hard and had many friends. So this day, he cried endlessly and refused to get away from the corner that he sat at. That was the beginning as I was told. Mental illness is still largely seen as taboo, no one want to talk about it. My aunt suffered in silence for a long time until she confided to my a few family member. Since that the first episode, David has constant episodes and  the solution has always been to take him to various churches and being prayed so the men and women of God could cast out the ‘devil’ from him. Four years ago, he became really restless, a little bit violent not to any of his siblings but to himself. He was again taken to a church where he was heavily sedated for the duration of his stay, he was happy to be out to say the least.

About a year ago, I called my aunt one afternoon to say hello. She has been crying for days as David was sent home from school because he was crying loudly in class and would not stop so the teacher helped to get him home safely. At this time, my aunt had lost hope and didn’t want to go back to the church where his son was turned to vegetable. For the first time, she was ready to listen. I told her what I read about mental illness and the fact that it is a global issues that David’s mental illness could not be blamed on the witches and wizards of the village. Coincidently, I had just listened to Ruby Wax, an American comedian talk on her battle with mental illness so I was able to share her story with my aunt. We did a bit of research together and found out that University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan has a well run psychiatry program. She was reluctant and worried about the cost but I encouraged her that we needed a proper diagnosis as there were different types of mental illness.

My aunt went with David on a Thursday and after the initial registration, seeing a doctor was not a long wait. She was seen by a lady doctor who collected family medical history (ha ha in Nigeria), my aunt was made comfortable and treated like a fellow human that she was able to give the doctor all the information that she needed. David was diagnosed, prescribed medication and given appointment to come back in a month. David reacted badly to one of his drugs on the second day, my aunt went back to explain to the doctor, she felt she was listened to. Now David only have to go to UCH every three months, his mood swings improved significantly, my aunt says he has not had any episode at all for a long time. Needless to say I am glad for both my aunt and David, he could now lead a normal life and focus on his studies, he is 18 years old now.

Now my big thank you to the doctors, nurses, medical assistants and all the staff of UCH psychiatry ward for treating my cousin!

I am sure you too have one or two positive things to say about Nigeria/Nigerians. Share your stories.

Lack of proper sanitation in Nigeria: Let’s talk about toilet

Wouldn’t it be great if there is a law in Nigeria that insists all new homes must have a toilet before moving in?

Recently, walking around Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife campus to see the New Market. In this area were restaurants among many other essential shops. I needed to ‘go’ so I asked a lady where the toilet was, here’s her story – the market area was opened towards the end of 2012, in March 2013 each shop was levied  25k which she believed everyone paid. She said the person in charge of the project is working on choosing the contractor. For now, their toilet is the bush around the NM which is in close proximity to students eatery area. This is a university environment where one would expect school authority to place high importance on provision of proper sanitation – shameful.

peeing in the sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most villages in the southwest have no toilet so people defecate in the farm or nearby aatan (designated area). Often times when you needed to ‘go’ you’d need to visit aatan to do your ‘business’ and no matter how careful you were, more often than not, you’d get out of the bush with someone else’s faeces stuck to the bottom of your sandals…it is not only health hazard, it is disgusting and humiliating! My mother is hygiene freak, she tried to keep us safe, insisting we wash our hands and keeping the house clean, even with all her efforts – I used to believe that diarrhoea was the norm.

We once rented a place with 3 other families, in total we were about 15 people including the children. The owner had a bigger uncompleted property in the front that he hoped to finish when he retired he didn’t think he was obliged to provide any toilet and no one in the house bothered to ask as most of the houses around us had no toilet, only a handful of houses in the area had any form of toilet. We used his unfinished property in the front as our bathroom and toilet.

Presently, beside my parents house is an empty land with wild bush on it, guess what the neighbours used it for? – Yeah, you nailed it. My old man gets furious almost daily especially when the wind blows. I once suggested that people pull money together to build a community toilet so occupants of houses with no toilet could use it and contribute together for the maintenance, the responses I received was ‘no money’ and the same people who claimed to have no money had 2 or three mobile phones in one household.

Imagine my excitement when I read this blog entry:  Why We Give a Shit about Toilets and the fact that more people around the globe have access to mobile phones nowadays than they do toilets. I can relate to that I say!

Most of the people living in the cities today are either from the village or small town, hence the old habits would not die easily without calling awareness to it. Not the most glamorous topic, I know, but without bringing it to the open, it would not magically disappear. I am aware that many folks could not afford to dig their pits or any toilet for that matter without external help however, if everyone who has enough money to own a mobile phone lived in a house with no toilet, surely they should be able to contribute a bit towards building and maintaining community toilets.

I think it will be great if there is a law that insists all new homes must have a toilet before moving in. The villages should have community toilets that we all contribute to maintain. This is no job for government alone, we are all in it together and should proactively advocate that every house must have a toilet or community toilet for villages, if homes can be taken care of, office and market places would not be so hard.

There will be less traffic to the hospitals and health centres when the amount of faeces fed roaches, flies and rats were reduced.

 

Nigerians: Study anywhere but Nigeria

Education system in Nigeria today is in such a state that the decay is obvious everywhere you go in the country. The nation’s education system is in shambles.

The on-going strike by the ASUU got me thinking. Who is fighting for the future of this country? I mean the future of the common citizens? Whenever there is a strike action usually by the academic bodies, who do you think is mostly affected? Well, if you can ponder on this for a moment, and see whose education and livelihood is on hold, ONLY affected people in this mess are the youths whose tomorrow is blurred. In the long run, everyone is affected regardless of class or social circle.

According to Prof. Festus Ajayi, the former president of ASUU, the strike is largely due to the fact that the government failed to fulfil their promises to provide funding for academic research, resources for teaching aids and lecturers’ allowance. In his article,  that I encourage you to read by the way if you haven’t already, he points out the key areas in which universities across the nation is lagging behind in a way that teaching and learning is frustrating for all concerned.

I think the problem of education in Nigeria is like eru amukun. 

ASUU is mobilising, making themselves heard in the hope of getting sympathy from the public. Citizens were stating their opinions regarding a sector in society sitting at home refusing to work until their requests are attended to. This, by the way is not the first time ASUU will embark on strike action for the same reason. Last time they went on strike, in the end the government invited some delegates into a closed door meeting, the result? – strike was called off and the main reason for the month long strike action remained unresolved.

The lecturers will be paid fully for the months they didn’t work. By the time the strike is called off, students will face enormous pressure to start and finish a semester within a month, the result of this is half decent degrees all round. Evidence of this is obvious around us.

If ASUU has students interests at heart, then the union is mature enough to find a way to resolving the issues raised with the government in a way that will not leave thousands of our youths roaming the streets aimlessly.

To the government, what can I say, when any government shows no interest in the generations coming behind them, here is a couple of what to expect:

  • In 2012, Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola sent 98 students from Uniosun to study in Ukraine, costing the state 146 million naira. The beneficiaries are 300 to 500 level medical students. He came to this decision because Uniosun was not equipped to have faculty of medicine. More on the subject here. Why were they allowed to have a faculty they could not support in the first place?

Here is what the former VC of Uniosun, Prof. Sola Akinade had to say regarding the governor’s decision to spend 146 million naira of state fund on 98 students:

“The government believes closing down the programme and sending the students to a university in Ukraine is a better option. We were prepared to take the upgrading of a state hospital in stages, commensurate with immediate needs. Indeed, if the money being expended on sending the students to Ukraine had been released for upgrading the State Hospital, Asubiaro in Osogbo, or the General Hospital, Ilesa, which we were prepared to use at some point, the people of the state would be benefiting from improved services to be offered by the emerging teaching hospital”

  •  Government funding for study abroad – If private citizens pay from their earnings, this is no problem as practice existed all around the world. However, in the case of Nigeria from federal government to state level, they are all actively avoiding any investment in education so they take the easy way out by providing funding to families of special interest group to study abroad. Here

According to the Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr. Wale Babalakin, he states that Nigeria spent over 160 billion naira to send 75,000 students to study in Ghana, this was in 2012 alone! Large proportion of this funding comes from the government. Now, go figure!

And here comes the blame game – no be this administration’s fault o

Coming to the point I stated earlier on, who is fighting for you and I, to be sure we don’t end up on the street. Most Nigerians could not afford to send their children to study abroad, their children would never be among the ones hand-picked by the government to study abroad as they don’t have the right ‘connection.’

Watch above clip for inspiration – you and me, the sons and daughters of ordinary Nigerians can put end to this. Everyone is affected  in one way or the other during time like this, let us get our stories out so we can put end to this and generation to follow us will never have to go through this ordeal.

If you think 98 medical students in Ukraine will come back home to give back to the community in any sense, please think again. Remember, there will be no hospital equipped well enough for them to put to use their newly acquired knowledge, they probably do the same that most of our doctors have done – practice anywhere but Nigeria.

I wish the lucky students all the very best in their studies. And looking at their video, they will spend the rest of their lives indebted to Aragbesola.

Well, I try to maintain a balanced view, however, it is obvious most of us don’t know what our rights are and of course I am aware that Aragbesola has done more good than bad in terms of education especially when compared to his predecessors.  His passion, I think should go along with common sense when making decision that involves spending huge amount of state fund.

My father told me once  ‘omo eni o gbon, a ni o ma ku, kini o pa bi o se aigbon e?. 

Inspiring teachers

Do you remember a teacher/s from your school days that you admire because they imparted you in a positive way and still remember them today?

Rita Pierson’s talk reminds me of Mrs Adeniran from my primary school days, she was my very first class teacher – caring and always took interest in her pupils work. At the end of primary one, Mrs Adeniran came to my primary two class teacher to say my friend and I were special pupils so to look after us – I was not sure what that meant but I felt special and always tried to be more attentive in class as I didn’t want to let Mrs Adeniran down – the memory lives on. How I wish all my teachers were like Mrs Adeniran, oh well, I can be Mrs Adeniran to younger people around me now, I suppose.

 

Have you ever had a teacher that you really liked?

L’ede Wa

Okan ninu ohun ti mo fe gbiyanju lati se ni kiko awon itan mi ni ede Yoruba. Eyi ma komi lati ranti ipa nla ti ede ko ni igbe aye wa. Bi o tilejepe, ni aye ode one, opo eko ti a ko ni ile iwe lo je ni ede oyinbo, sibesibe iwulo ede wa ko see fi owo gba si apa kan.

O da mi loju pe ti mo ba te are mo ati maa ko ede wa lojoojumo, yio mo mi lara lati te siwaju.

Loni mo fe ko nipa orin ewi ti a ma n ko nigba ti mo wa lewe:

Irawo

7973488-the-night-sky-in-stars-and-blue-galaxies

Mo ri kini kan loju orun

To ba dale a tan yoyoo

Kini a ti n pe kini naa?

Irawa to too to, irawo

Iru iyanu ki wa leyii

Lati mo bi o se n tan

O n dan yinrin, yinrin, o n dan

FGM: Educate women using all medium possible

Photo Credits: Google
Photo Credits: Google

Female genital mutilation is one of the key issues that women especially in Africa are fighting ceaselessly to put end to. The practice is only there to inflict physical and mental pains and in some cases life long health complications that only the victims live to bear.

Raising awareness on issue such as this can not be left for government bodies alone. To achieve results, we need to involve and educate religious leaders and apply enough pressure on them until they comply especially those with “Mission House” attached to their church. Lots of churches in Nigeria, especially Pentecostal churches have clinics for both ante and post natal care. Locally, they are called Mission House. This is usually head by an older female church member sometimes pastor’s wife who has gone though informal training of midwifery.

Mission Mother does physical assessments on the expectant mothers, some of which are first time mothers and believed every words being told by the Mission Mother. A mother died in Ipaja area of Lagos a few hours ago after she has been retained at a church for a few days. Heavily pregnant and complained of dizziness. As a non medical professional, one could sense low iron here, the poor lady was retained and been prayed on until she was unconscious –  after which the Mission Mother decided to take her to the hospital, well in time to be pronounced dead.

Well, I digress a bit there, but you can see my point with Mission House and lack of accountability.

Couple of years ago, in my little town, a young first time mother had her baby daughter at a church Mission House, the delivery went well and the happy couple took their bundle of joy home. The Mission Mother  instructed the new mother to bring her daughter, let’s call her Tope back in two weeks for circumcision. In Nigeria, there is a fine line between culture and religion. Most people would believe whatever their religious leaders instructed them to do.  While at home, Esther tried to get her husband’s opinion on circumcision, the husband who was enlightened told Esther that they were not going to do circumcision as it is a very dangerous procedure with no health benefits at all to their little angel and they could loose her or inflict life long health complications on the baby if anything went wrong. Although the husband did his best to explain his stance, Esther went ahead anyway and met with the Mission Mother and did the circumcision on the arranged date. Unfortunately, the end result was a terrible news as Tope died due to the Mission Mother inability to control the excessive bleeding. The Mission Mother was arrested by the local police and jailed. Three weeks later, she was released, continued living her life as if nothing had gone wrong.

Maybe Mission Mother has performed hundreds of girls circumcision successfully but we need to stop the needless practice to keep children like Tope alive.

Educating women on issues that affect them can not be over emphasised. Most women over 20 years old born in the country had gone through this senseless procedures because our mothers just did what they were told, some of us were lucky to be alive, others have been scarred forever, while lots of women never made it beyond few hours after the operation.

In Nigeria today, most clinics and hospitals actively educate mothers on possible adverse effects of FGM, they encouraged women not to put their daughters through such ordeal. However, you will only get this message if you had your girls at a clinic.

We have large number of women who insist given birth at their church clinics for various reasons, we need to extend our focus into making sure these churches were informed and take responsibility for their actions.

Educating women through their churches, mosques and in market places will help to raise awareness of needless female genital mutilation.

See BBC recent statistics to see where Nigeria is on the practice of FGM in relation to the rest of African nations. According to the article 70% of FGM in Nigeria is performed by traditional practitioners, the category in which Mission Mothers fall under as they were neither trained doctors nor nurses.

 

Family: How do you support yours?

In African culture, supporting family is one of the duties one takes on without being explicitly asked. You just do it and for the most part, with joy. Especially for old parents, it is more of obligation that must be fulfilled. For most Nigerians, their parents worked hard to put children through higher education or apprenticeship with the hope that they will get decent jobs after graduation and take care of them in old age, usually, this is their pension. We grow up to believe that it is our responsibility to give back to parents and so we strive to do our best as much as we could to fulfil this obligation.

Nigeria, for example do not have welfare system for anyone. Retired civil servants have some form of pension, however, most citizens are self-employed. Older citizens rely heavily on generosity of their children or sometimes strangers for help. Quite a lot of these old people live in villages around the country and continuing living in less than ideal condition especially when children are struggling themselves.

In some cases when children are grown up, they migrate to towns and cities in search of better paying employment opportunities which will mean the aged parents will be left behind in the village on their own to fend for themselves. Some, out of obligation will want their parents especially mothers to live with them and their family in the city, the option that usually turned out not to achieve desired results. This usually is the case with mothers and their daughters-in-laws and son-in-laws.

Not so long ago, my mother’s friend in Ibadan who is an independent woman and has been living on her own for quite some time since her husband died. In her early 70s, she loved the comfort of living in her community and the flexibility of going back  to her village to work on her palm tree farm whenever she pleases. Last year, her two sons living and working in Benin City insisted that they wanted her to move to the city with them as they find it increasingly hard to visit as much as they would have preferred due to work commitments. Mama protested that she has no friends in the city and would not mind being the one visiting. The pressure got to Mama and she gave in as she wanted her children to be happy.

The sons, Joseph and Timothy did not think through their proposal, they only saw their offer as an honour to have their mother under the same roof as them and having one big happy family. Mama stayed with Joseph the older son. The first two weeks was a breeze, everyone got along quite well. The wife comes back from work to prepare dinner for 3 children, husband and mother-in-law as well as cleaning up after them all. By the end of the first month, daughter-in-law, Yemi is not so sweet anymore, her name has been changed to Alarifin (disrespectful one). Whenever my mother spoke to Mama, she sounded like she was in a cage. Unfortunately, she fell ill and had to be hospitalised for sometime. She never really talked about her illness when I saw her, she mostly talked about how much she appreciated being back in her little house where she knows her way all around. Mama is a very positive woman who in most cases sees good in everyday events and rarely complained. However, despite her easy-going attitude, she had a fall out with Yemi, the daughter in-law she used to admire and sang praises of. Now Mama has recovered and back in her home town and while she loved her sons unreservedly, Mama is not looking forward to ever be in a situation to live with either of her sons. Joseph is working really hard to repair the broken relationship between Yemi and his mother. From talking to Mama, she still loves Yemi like her own daughter but I guess Mama just loved to be in an environment that she could control as she pleases.

I am open-minded and hoping there is someone out there who has had positive experience with in-laws living with them. My mother enjoys been in control of her environment too and could not even imagine living with any of her daughters.

While I support helping parents in all ways that we can, I would be relunctant to bringing them under the same roof, as I am not convinced this is the best way of supporting them especially when there is limited space for existing family members and also when mothers or fathers for that matter are still healthy and could do most of the daily running around happily themselves.

Kindness of Strangers

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I came across an article the other day about a lady who was crying in the middle of the night for help. She knocked on a door and asked to be let in but she was turned down because the home owners were too scared to let her in as she was a stranger. For full article click here

After reading the article I immediately was taken back to my midnight ordeal several years ago when I desperately needed to be housed by a stranger in a town about 20 miles away from my home town.

It was on a weekend while in college I had travelled to my sister in Lagos, all worked according to plan on Friday. The journey back to Ilesha was a completely different story that if I had not been helped by two complete strangers that believed me, I am not sure what my story would have been today.

On my journey back on Sunday, I was at Iwo Road Ibadan mid-morning with the hope of getting a direct bus to Ilesha. I waited around for about an hour trying to make sense my situation. Apparently, in the space of 24 hours, the fresh crisis between Modakeke and Ife at the time had taken a new turn for the worse and drivers had been warned not to use that route as reports had it that vehicles were being stopped along Lagere road and passengers being forced to say a sentence or two to determine where they belonged.

Taking the back road, eventually we arrived at Atakumosa Market just after midnight after travelling for seven hours. Needless to say we were all relieved to be at Ilesha in the end. When I entered the bus from Ibadan, I had told my driver several times that I will be getting off at ’10 by 10′ hostel opposite my college as that is where I lived, the request he agreed to. However, the journey was longer than anticipated so the driver refused to honour his promise.

I was the last passenger on the bus so made my peace and got off the bus. Searching for an hotel didn’t cross my mind as I didn’t have much cash, even if I did, I didn’t know where to look.

Looking around outside of the market that I had shopped at for the last three years with ease, now in the middle of the night it looked different, I was gripped with fear of what could happen if I slept on the street overnight.

I spotted a teenage girl, she was about 13 years old, selling bread at the bus garage. She was the last trader to be there, also there were two okada riders waiting for their last passengers of the night

An okada rider didn’t want to travel towards college as he feared students cults might attack him instead offered to take me to his house as his wife goes to the same church as me – The Apostolic Church.

I went to the young bread seller, who immediately took pity on me and offered to take me to her Aunty, her house was just at the back of the market.

Tope did help but unfortunately her Aunty did not trust me enough as I was a stranger so was not sure – I could have been anyone or had evil plans, being a witch etc was her reason for not allowingg me in.

Again, crying would do nothing this time of the night.

As the young lady had been so helpful, I asked if she knew anyone around there who could believe my story and let me into their house for the night.

Tope then took me round the back of her Aunty’s house into an alley to a building with rooms in a row. She told me of a young man she knew that was kind, he attends Catholic Church.

I immediately was pulling all positive memories of Catholic church and people I had to ensure Yinka that I was a real human that genuinely needed help. True to Tope’s words, Yinka believed my story and offered me a space for the night. He lived in a room and a parlour.

To put him at ease I talked about my Catholic secondary school and luckily he knew Sister Veronica from school and had met Sister Antonia in my college at the time. I sat on his sofa for the few hours of the morning in a safe home and left his house at 5.30am for my college.

Needless to say, I was very grateful for this random act of kindness. Several years on I still remember and believed that humanity is awesome!