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Joy. Tears. Laughter. Pain. Death. Life
Lately, I’ve been taking deep breathes. A whole lot has been happening, but in all, more than ever before, I’ve come to realize the power of telling our own stories.
Over 70 Lockdown Stories • 11 Countries • 1 Anthology
Featured Art By: CoilyandCute
Countries: Nigeria • Ghana • Burundi • Italy • USA • United Kingdom • Sweden • Cyprus • Ecuador • Turkey • Sudan
I’ve been working on a collection of lockdown stories. It has been most fulfilling and awe inspiring thus far.
…and some day, when all this is over, we would look back and smile.
Because we came through it all.
And whilst the DEATH that came with COVID-19, we were a part of a LIFE birthed.
The birth of an anthology that carries: Our Stories • Our Song • Our Truth
An Anthology that would tell our stories even long after we are gone.
An Anthology that would sing our songs to generations yet unborn.
An Anthology that would serve as a fountain of the truth of how we lived through the days of COVID-19.
How it came. How we saw. And how we conquered.
Hey, if you have survived through the beginning of the COVID-19 phase till date, then you have conquered a lot in your own unique way. You are a Champ!
COVID19 • Rape • Murder • Crime • Fear •Uncertainty
Has life always been this fragile?
…glad to have covered over 70 different stories all beautiful in their uniqueness.
how we fought wars that bring peace.
how our health workers led this war.
how the COVID-19 days masked more than our faces. Masked more than illness.
Covered evil • Deceptions
World Rape • Murder • Word Depopulation • Crime • Pillage
(because “the true dis-ease is our disconnectedness)
how some of us looked fear in the eyes and went on with our WEDDINGS. Rewriting our love stories. Because ” most times, the WILL is all we need.”
how the days of COVID-19 badly burnt the homeless, the poor and even the rich. Yet, the scars only served as a map to thrive beyond all odds.
how we adjusted to the new normal, and rose above the boredom, setbacks, depression.
how many stayed: Productive • Creative • Charitable
how more than ever before, we cherished each passing time, knowing how fragile life is, especially with the pain that comes with losing a loved one.
how some of us added weight physically, while some others added mentally. All beautiful
how the lockdown was a worldwide holiday. A time to breathe. A time to pause in a fast paced world. A time to learn, unlearn and relearn. A time to rethink and restrategize. A life changing time in all.
how the lockdown made “sugar and salt battle for dominance in a chilled glass of water.”
COVID-19 hunts at neither a particular race, gender, age nor religion or status, but blood.- Humanity.
how we lived in a phase filled with so much uncertainties. It was never easy, yet we hoped “we would be proud we never went on lockdown in our hearts and minds.”
how we searched for God in all of this, not knowing he was right there in our actions and inactions. The kindness, love, hope shared. Our God in all magnificence was right there in all these little things that matter the most. And there lies the answers.
On The Stories Published
At first, I thought 30 would be the highest number of published stories for the Anthology. But the stories kept coming. Each story so unique, making me tell more people, who told more people.
And here we are now! 😊
I AM UTTERLY GRATEFUL
-To God, for the strength and (vibes) to carry on with this project till the end, even on days when life seemed like an empty bottle floating on the oceans.
-Grateful, for the impacts made beyond my wildest imaginations.
-Grateful to everyone who is a part of this.
Your stories reached even places (countries) you and I have probably never been to.
You touched a heart you do not even know by simply telling your own story!
You. Are. Amazing 🏆
Long Live Our Stories• Our Songs• Our Truth
Cheers! To the history preserved, for days when memory may fail.
Cheers! To the stories that would serve as a map for the journey towards a brighter future.
A guide from where we are, to where we ought to be.
Cheers! To Us.
It’s funny how this ‘lock down’ had to scream the word ‘REST’ into my ears. Eden, breathe. Rest. Breathe. How often do we include ‘rest’ to our success tips?
I know it’s Monday, a very unlikely day to talk about resting- especially in a world where almost everything reminds us of
-how time is running.
-how time flies.
-how we have to catch up with life.
But not so much reminds us of how we need to take a deep breath, because time will keep running, even long after we are gone.
I’ve always been a workaholic. I’ve always been that girl who likes to put her ALL into what she does, per time. Well, this is not bad, and not good either, until a balance is created. And creations do not just emerge, it’s always mainly from a conscious effort made.
In the earlier days of the lock down, I pulled up a long ‘to-do-list’ (as usual), knowing fully well that, staying at home wouldn’t affect my kind of freelance job. -Writing, editing and speaking, sometimes.
However, like an overused phone, I began to hang😂
My head. My whole body began to speak one dialect -Rest Eden, rest. Reset
For a girl who wouldn’t mind working, even while stuck in traffic. For girl who would stay awake from the hours of 2am-5am writing, editing, reading and doing various other personal projects… Rest began to sound like a new word to me, and I had to relearn it, during the lock down.
I know how ‘nice’ social media has been to my art and I, but I had to take a break here.
I also did a ‘little what’s app holiday’ and closed my eyes to all the ‘noise’ of the world,
-because “sometimes, we need to slow things down, to speed things up.”
And on the seventh day, HE (God) rested.
Why shouldn’t you?
Please, as you make beautiful plans on how you’ll cross seven mountains and seven oceans, add ‘rest’ to your ‘to-do-list’. ❤
P. S: Soooon, in my favorite corner at ‘Express-Shun’ I’ll be sharing super inspiring ‘Lock Down Stories’ from some of the most beautiful humans on the planet! Stay tuned
Do not forget to create a balance in all you do this WEEK!
#edenbenibo #ace #pace #grace
First things first. How are you? Sadly, it’s been a while here, but trust you’ve been pulling through. Keeping afloat in a world flooded with so many ‘this and that’.
Trust you’ve been- Staying safe. Staying clean. Staying hydrated. Staying at home. And most of all staying happy.
I know telling you to stay happy in times like this may seem absurd. But I insist. Please, stay happy
-because being sad won’t change a thing.
-because staying happy is everything.
-and finally, because wearing a ‘proper’ smile from the heart will serve as a bullet proof for guarding your health, your peace, and your ‘everything and more’. However, putting on a fake smile is simply what it is- a mask. Making you resemble the same things you frown at…(story for another day).
Just for emphasis
Staying safe- Why?
-because I need you. I do. Having you read my works and allowing them get to your heart to leave positive footprints, gives me fulfilment untold.
– because you need me. Yup!😊
– because we all need each other.
-because we are all that we have.
Now To The Matter
Still, baffling! That in a jiffy, the world is put to a stand still. Everything we’ve always lived for. Our businesses. Our daily ambitions. Our daily lives, all seemingly paused.
Well, this article isn’t to fuel your fears by going on and on with the ever alarming statistics and all what we already know are the negatives of the times we are in.
This, is simply a gentle call for us to breathe. Pay attention. Listen, and read the handwritings on the wall.
“During each disaster, we have to invent a magnificent tomorrow.
Always, be ready to pickup the stars during the dark.”- Amirah Writer/Friend
I strongly agree with the quote- “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel”, but it’s high time we realized that the LIGHT is you. Me. Us. The makeup of our world. When we get sick, so will our world. And when we heal, our world heals also. I bet you now better understand the phrase – ‘we are the world.’
All these years of existence, we (our world) kept moving in such a fast pace. Daily, we woke up to changes. New innovations. New technologies. New thought patterns; birthing ‘refined humans’ constantly trying to keep up with the trends. To keep up with life. Maybe in this race, our beings got modified too. Our ability to pause. To listen. To feel. To be human. Maybe, just maybe the world grew too cold. The clouds got full
And COVID- 19 stormed
a world where anxiety has no color and fear has no race…
And for the first time (in a long time) the world paused. To breathe, after all these years of panting ‘to meet up’ with many things inexplicable. Running within its own circles. The world paused. A break time to: – reconnect with our God/our families/ourselves
-understand our essence
– relearn how to listen
-reframe our priorities
-broaden our perspectives
Noting the very things that matter, in all.
Do not talk about ‘heal the world’ without speaking about healing ourselves…
P.S: The power of words in times like this cannot be overemphasized. As we continue to share the statistics of death. Let’s endeavor to share life too.
I’m currently working on a collection… To be a part of it, kindly forward just 2 lines of hope/life on the current pandemic to [email protected]
You don’t have to be a “writer” to be part of this… 2 lines😘 links to published works will be forwarded via email.
More to come on this space: edenbenibo.com
-a duet on Covid- 19 by a new ‘writer friend’ and I.
-forthcoming article- On Covid- 19 and The Roles of Communication in Our Lives. (To be published by Etu Odi Communication)
There is no career without challenges, regardless of who you are.
It takes more!
It’s not enough to only have dreams and visions for your career, it’s pertinent to also have a driving force which will lead you to those goals in the long run. In other words, It’s not enough to know what you want to do, you’ve got to know what makes you do what you do because this is what will keep you going when the heat gets hotter.
According to Chika Akinwale, founder of Cambridge Leadership Academy, “A vision is fueled by a deep desire or conviction within”. This is where passion comes in.
Passion keeps you going…
The fact is, challenges will come at every stage of one’s career, but, the truth is that, you have the power to either be burned by the heat or go through that heat and come out refined.
Going through the heat is definitely not an easy task in any career; this is why you need to be constantly fueled by passion.
The awesome truth about it is that it is not static. It drives you to thrive, even in stagnant times.
Passion is like a stronghold, when the heat burns at whatever stage in your career, you will gradually rise above the ashes of your fears.
…the language of go-getters
Look through the tunnel of time past, you’ll see stories of great men and women who failed countless times in their various careers, yet, in the long run; they became world champions.
These achievers were definitely not of the same age, race or gender; they only spoke a common language; the language of passion. The fact is, they failed at one point or the other. But, the beautiful truth is that, they went through the heat from the kiln and came out stronger, with well baked triumphs!
The big picture
Here’s the big picture: the same heat that makes gold out of a career; can fold that same career. People go through the same challenges and come out with different results. The big question here is: what makes the difference?
Passion! The difference between those who come out with solid results and others who are left with melted goals.
It takes passion to not just keep holding on, but to keep taking positive steps in spite of the heat, until you get your desired results.
It’s all on you!
Passion will only come effortlessly when you love what you do. When you love what you do, failure won’t be an option. Your passion will keep your eyes on what lies beyond the heat.
Your passion may not prevent challenges, but it won’t let challenges stop you either.
Even with passion, you’ll still ‘sweat’ (that’s why challenges can be synonymous with ‘heat’). It’s high time we understood that without passion, one will definitely be discouraged when the heat in any career starts to burn.
You need not be afraid of challenges, only be alarmed when you have a dwindling passion. With passion, you may fall on your face, but you will have the energy to keep rising.
At the end of it all, the choice is yours! To either glow or blow, to either be refined or burnt; but, always remember, beyond the heat lies a stronger, more fulfilled and refined you!
never to be afraid of releasing her wild brightness,
even in a world that seems to reduce the sunlight.
When the clouds are dark
and they try to hold her rain,
let her lightening thunder as songs
let her heart,
continue to beat to the melodies of her passion
Soon, the world will dance to its tune.
I pray we pass these words like football,
till the goals are reached.
I pray we spill,
forming a rainbow splashed from the colours that we are.
I pray we tell💥
If we are already ‘friends’ on Facebook or Instagram, you probably would have read this already. I shared just few days to the beginning of the month, but here’s to (for) those who haven’t. The feedbacks I got were overwhelming. I’m glad there were lots of people that could relate, and most importantly, I’m glad it helped stir something positive within various readers as individuals:
I was that girl who would sit in class, quietly, when questions were asked. Questions I knew the answers to. Sometimes, I would even whisper words to myself, to the hearing of those around me. And many times, the whispers turned out to be the answers.
I really do not know why I kept mute to the questions I had answers to. There were times I wanted to… I really wanted to voice out my answers. But I only wanted to. I never did, and those days are gone.
It’s the second to the last day of February, 2020. What are those old, probably dusty dreams seated somewhere at a corner in your heart?
It’s funny how we sometimes like to play small. How we like to ‘curve’ ourselves like question marks, when we have the answers within. When we are the answers.
Sometimes, it’s fear of rejections.
Other times it’s the weight of procrastination.
And most times it’s nothing. Or maybe something inexplicable.
What is that thing you’ve always WANTED to do? Is it a dream that seems like what nobody has ever done? Well, that’s the more reason you should go for it!
Back in my “classroom days”, not everyone who raised a hand to speak, had the answers. I remember there were days no hands were raised. Yet, these same days made me fret even more, and I never spoke until the exact answers I had were announced as “corrections.”
It’s high time we turned up the volume of those whispers, as we gradually MARCH into the new month.
P.S: A few days ago, I met Tamara Aihie and her energy giving words and smiles. Speaking with her felt like I’ve known her all my life. Everything, just packed in one moment! Many thanks to my ‘travel partner’ Nifemi for the recommendation.♥
MARCH. Take those steps already!!! Your dreams might just be the reality of the very answers the world needs.
The color of the sky and me coalesced
A thick strong bond of smoke and dust
Under naked heavens-
Celestial bodies of half sun and full moon
I was born with a cord-
Of twisted fibers that tied the bundle of me together.
My umbilical refused to heal
Leaving a scar of my escape
From heaven to earth
Identical to the one Mome bears on her tummy.
We all bear this mark,
Somewhere beneath there
Shaped in our own handwritings
A signature to the wars ahead –
From birth to death
Having escaped the boundaries of a holy capture,
Into the confinement of earthly Freedom.
Originally Published By: Etu Odi Communications
World Cancer Day 2020
Theme: I AM AND I WILL
Her name is Nkechi. She was just 25 years old when the news struck. Regardless of how gentle the doctor announced it, the word ‘cancer” still had its way of striking a chord. Injecting fear, and seemingly putting life on a hold.
“Oh I could”
Becomes our religion when things go awry.
The gods must be angry
When bad things happen to a pagan.
Another virgin for the gods.
The white man said it’s arrant nonsense.
Why are you a sucker for pain?
But worse comes to worse
when bad meets evil,
‘It’s the work of the devil’
So says a christian.
Prayer after fasting, sewing seeds in doubt, springs forth the question:
‘Or is God not a christian?’
I know a doctor who lost his patience
Because he didn’t get any answer for more patients when he prayed about it.
And I know a casket seller who keeps praying for customers.
But who answers the prayer of them all?
Maybe there’ll be none remaining on the last day,
If the heart desires of each man be granted.
Haven’t you heard that the doctor hands over
His mistakes to the mortuary attendants?
The relay continues…
©David Williams (Davespeare)
About The Author: Here’s one of those beautiful souls with words that resonate deeply. Below are the words of David, giving a glimpse of his entirety:
I am David Williams, known by the stage name Davespeare. I’m a poet, spoken word artiste, songwriter, and more. My style/genre of poetry is what I call rhythmic poetry, although I love to explore other forms, since I’m still growing, (yes, I believe we stop growing in death).
My writing journey started in the year 2017. I write to tell my story, in such a way that it should motivate, edify, entertain and educate.
I hope that my art would be able to influence people’s lives and mindsets in the best possible way.
Glow on Dave! We look forward to seeing your works thrive in the literary sphere and beyond!
I gave a slice of kindness
Buttered in love
To the old woman on my street,
Who sat on roads
Half as dusty as the sound of her laughter
Made me see the pain
Screaming in my neighbors eyes.
It took just a meaningful stare –
Of one and half seconds,
To realize death was nearby
Was all I said to the artist
Whose works went unnoticed
By a world too busy
Carried away by the things,
That should be carried.
Our burning passion,
leaves a tribal mark
printed on our smiles
are a beautiful a capella
of selfless goals and dreams.
make sweet melodies of loud strength
in silent places
We are the Stories
glowing on rainy days.
We are the Colours
of the rainbow
smiling through the clouds
We are the twinkling stars
on dark heights
We are the beautiful flames
that burn and light
To all we are
And all we’ve been
Written and Dedicated to all the Nominees of the Super Woman Under 30 Awards 2019
Growing up, (during my primary school days) I became a ‘little’ addicted to the cartoon, Justice League. I could skip any other cartoon, but I never missed this one on Thursdays, 3pm; not even when I was flogged or scolded for always watching this cartoon with my school uniform still on, or at least my school bag. I felt these super heroes all had a peculiar uniform, so, even when I was ‘dragged’ out of my school uniform, I would still hold on tight to my school bag. Holding on to the two hands of my bag, gave me so much positive vibes. It made me feel I would fly like the animations I was so engrossed with.
The next day in school, my friends and I would gather during our break time, talking about how the last episode went, and screaming which of the super heroes we were.
“I am Batman!” One would say.
“Me, I am Wonder Woman! Another would shout.
And I would scream with all the life in me:
” I am Superman!!!! ”
He seemed to be the leader of the pack, was he? I loved a lot about him, from the storyline of how he became who he was, to his intelligence. How he would stand, hold his head to think, and formulate strategies for challenges. How he would literally break the grounds with his bare hands. Fling a huge car on a ‘bad guy’. Hold back a gigantic building, from falling on a little child, and to crown it all, how he flew blew my mind.
He didn’t need to ‘over stretch’, disfigure himself, use a web or anything. He was among the super heroes who just did what seemed to me as an effortless soar.
And for a long time in my life, I insisted that I was “Superman”.
Until gradually, life began to teach me about life:
I began to understand:
-one needed no uniform to fight the battles of life. You just fight!
-challenges may not come with the large scary faces in cartoons, but they would come. They came.
-Speaking about soaring: Sometimes, the pain from the sores beneath our feet, will help us find our wings. A test we can pass in flying colours.
And most all, I finally realized:
– One doesn’t have to be a man to be super.
So, when I hear a woman call herself King, I wonder if she feels being a Queen makes her less. Superwomen like Queen Ngozi of the Benibos, Queen Elizabeth of England, Queen Adichie of Literature, Queen Michelle of Obama and Queen Serena Francis of the Super Women Awards Tribe, are picture perfect proves to this…
However, this is the beauty of life, in the end, we all need each other (male or female), regardless of our ‘super powers’, talents or intelligence.
It’s left for us to discover these super powers and use them while we still can, on earth. I discovered mine quite early. Writing.
Although I didn’t know how to use it initially. As a little girl I would write on everything I saw. Including walls, calendars, just any paper! I became a terror in the house, writing jargons o! On any book, including important documents. I finally got the beating of my life, when one fateful day, I wrote on my mother’s Bible!!! To be contd.
..so that was how it started for me, till I began to write words that made meaning. Mome said, some of the words were just too much for my age, in both meaning and the context they triggered.
Initially, I just wrote for myself. The art was a healing process to me. I would write, feel better and hide what I wrote. But you can’t hide light, you know. Especially one quite bright.
My works were found by friends, shared, and that was how the spread began.
Today, I may not fling a huge car on a ‘bad guy’ or hold a gigantic building from falling on a child (like it fell on me) but I am glad I can break grounds with my hands (writing) and somehow lift a weight from a heavy heart. This and more are the joys my super powers bring.
Here are some clues to how my ‘super journey’ began:
I was grown.
Grown enough to be Mome’s shock absorber,
Life electrocuted too
I learnt to fly
My heart had lumps of dreams too thick to dissolve,
Solid enough for take off
I had become the sky
A reflection of boundlessness untapped,
The dwelling of twinkling stars awake
I found myself trapped in me,
Beneath golden diamonds in poetry shapes.
The stones were rolled away
I began to live
Unafraid of the deaths I had died
A discovery of the undiscovered.
…and my story goes on and on with me left with the beautiful responsibility of carrying my Father’s legacies along.
Many times I just like to be in a corner, unnoticed. Quiet. But I guess the super powers will always push me out, somehow into a leadership position or a kind of fame or just one height from nowhere. The awards started coming, the recognitions and most of all the fulfilment in knowing your words have a positive impact in the lives of others.
Particularly, the Superwoman Under 30 Awards 2019 means a lot to me. The name alone is a reflection of my childhood fantasies.
I am becoming
The wishes of my yesterday
And the goals of my today for tomorrow.
My sister, brother (sometimes), friend (always), father (in between) being a mother. No, she’s not an Angel, she’s the god sent by God to guide and guard His Garden, Eden. How much more Super can a human be?
“Here’s To Strong Women,
May we raise them
May we know them
May we be them.”
Stars need not announce themselves, they simply shine. Neither does light, it glows, even from afar and so does she.
But most of all, I am in awe at the level of empathy she commands, effortlessly. How much more super can a woman be?
Some years back, I got to know I was nominated for an award, just a week to the event. An error made that happen though. So, when I was finally contacted, I was told to send in a lot of details via phone calls for easier access (due to the timeframe). But this wasn’t the issue, the issue was that, I had to always give a rather lengthy ‘explanation’ whenever I called…
But this wasn’t Oke.
She would even call you by your name and the rest is history..
Giving each person a personalized feeling is no small feat. This, was one of the most beautiful and unique attributes of the awards.
Indeed, some are blessed with jara superpowers! How much more super can a group manager be?
Mercy Olufunmi Sunshine
I call her Melzy!! I knew her long before the awards. She was one of my very first roommates and big sisters in Uniben.
Now among others, here’s a short story about what Melzy did to me.
It was few days to my matriculation and my mum promised to bring along the the gown for the event, when coming. In all Melzy kept insisting she doesn’t disturb herself to bring any gown. I agreed with her, but in a different direction. I felt I could wear any old gown in my box, to save Mome the stress of getting a new one.
Meanwhile, I nor know say na different plan Melzy get for mind.
Hey! That was how Melzy told me to escort her to go get a gown for her younger sister, who was about my size. I innocently followed her.
And when we got to the market, we finally saw one that fit perfectly.
For my mind, I like the gown erreh
But no be my own na. Na just testing..
Suddenly, Melzy started asking- “are you sure you like this one?” I nodded.
But I was still wondering why she wasn’t asking “do you think my sister would like it.”
..and that was how Melzy told me the gown was mine! For my matriculation!!
It’s more than four years after that day already, but how do you forget people like this?
How much more super can a heart be?
Thanks a lot for reaching out to me, even in my ‘hidden’ corner. Knowing you is a blessing too❤
Justina Anurika Godwin
My Mome’s namesake! Thanks for the laughter your words triggered, and thanks for the happiness shared. How much more super can sisters be?
Sadly I couldn’t go for the awards. (You know my stories are always long) make we leave that wan.
So, it was just a day to the awards and the news struck! The person who was to stand in for me, couldn’t do so anymore. (It’s fine, she had her reasons though)
Then we started to brainstorm! Until my Super Aunty Lizzy flew into our minds. Like why on earth did I skip telling her in the first place. She is that brave, jovial, ‘no dull moment’ kind of person, always. And I heard she did justice standing in for her girl, Eden.
How much more super can an aunt be?
Finally, I must ‘say’ this one!
Maybe I wouldn’t have travelled to Port Harcourt this Christmas, but thanks to the Super Woman Under 39 Awards 2019. I had to travel to go thank my aunt and see my cousins who insisted I come take my crown, myself
And seeing them after two years was one of the most beautiful moments of my 2019.
“The things that make us different –
those are our Super Powers.”
First Black Woman
To Win The Emmy For Comedy Writing.
With this, I salute everyone out there, being super in their own unique way.
May we continue to shine the light that we are, now and always!
The aroma of an anticipated holiday. The sweet melodies of Christmas in the air. The tingly feeling of a 12- months ride, rapidly gliding towards an end. And the beautiful uncertainty of welcoming a new phase, in the forth coming year 2020. These and more are the triggers of the usual exciting calmness that comes with the month of December.
However, like the saying goes- “It’s not over, until it’s over.” Thus, before the year runs out, below are ‘5 Possible Things’ you should add to your to do list-
Rest: Yes, create time to rest. True, the month of December is one cab best be classified as a festive season, with so many ‘Parte After Parte’ to attend. Hence, one can be easily carried away by the groove of the season, with little or no time to relax during this ‘sweet but swift’ holiday. Therefore, regardless of the many invites or tempting events here and there, one must consciously map out time to rest, at different intervals within the month. It could be a deep sleep, or a quiet time listening to that favorite song of yours. Whichever way that seems best for you to relax, simply note that these moments for priceless.
Spend Quality Time With Family & Loved Ones: Imagine a world of all the hustle and bustle, from January to December, with no family, true friends and loved ones to keep the exciting bubbles of life going. These are the people that matter in our lives, and spending quality time with them should never be an option. The beauty of this is that, it doesn’t necessarily require you to spend much cash or energy. All it may require is the quality time spent together, the laughters shared, the memories made and a quick reminder of our love for the people we value. True, work can be hectic all year long, but the little quality time spent with family and loved ones will go a long way. And there’s no better time to keep the love fire burning than this holiday. Please, do not postpone to next year.
Reflection: This is the time to spend quality time with yourself. Not to rest, or sleep now, but gently reminisce on the year 2019. A pen and paper may come in handy here, for quick jottings. Let’s just call it, “counting our blessings and naming them one by one.” Beyond our wildest imaginations, this will reveal more than what we thought we achieved in the course of the year. This will leave us with nothing but a grateful heart. And this no doubt is one of the best frames of mind in approaching the coming year. Regardless of the ups and downs that may have come with the year 2019, we all deserve a pat on the back, for pulling through till this moment.
Show Some Kindness: Beyond being a season of celebration, most importantly, we are in the season of love, care and sharing happiness. To that person who probably may not be able to repay you. To your grandparents in the village, the very ones you probably never called throughout the year. To that nanny or housekeeper who has been faithfully carrying out her duties. To the gateman at the entrance of the estate where you live, who blesses you with a broad smile each morning. It’s time to dig out all those unlikely places and show just a little love and kindness in our various capacities. Being the source of another’s joy and happiness is golden!
Merry Christmas Beautiful People
Do Have A Most Prosperous and Fruitful New Decade in 2020
From Mome & I
To some, it’s holiday already! While to some others, the work still goes on and on, nonstop. However, the two categories notwithstanding, it’s the year 2019 gradually gliding to an end and we cannot deny the fact that music, in it’s own unique way, played a paramount role in our lives as individuals. Whether during just our time for relaxation, or giving us the right vibes during one “parte” or another in the course of the year; the colours that music add to life cannot be overemphasized and the sweetness it brings is beyond words.
There is this heartwarming connection it creates beyond language differences, tribal sentiments and all other sort of boundaries.
Well, they say music is a universal language, and we all have that special genre that gives us the liberty of fluent expression in diverse music forms.
From the peace that comes with listening to a song, to the joy and excitement another song triggers, these all reflect that music is indeed food to the soul.
With this, I’ve dug out 7 Amazing Scientific Benefits of Music
(Whispers: You probably didn’t know) Just so you add up to your knowledge bank, before the year runs out.
Music Helps One Eat Less
If you’re watching your weight this Christmas, and you knoe you may be tempted to ‘eaaaat wild’, then this is for you! What???? You may ask! But yeah! It has been discovered that listening to soft music while eating can help one slow down with meals, consuming less food at a time. Let’s just say it kind of creates a divided attention that makes for a diminishing return in consumption.
Music Helps Premature Babies Stay Calm and Alert in Duality
Scientific research shows that sweet lullabies and live music has a way of impacting suckling patterns and feeding behaviors in premature infants, this in turn helps their calmness and alertness.
Music Reduces Depression
From top celebrities down to our neighborhood, the rate of suicide recorded in this year 2019, which ultimately generated from depression is alarming. With the dwindling economy, emotional struggles and various negative vibes choking survival, the reasons for depression are not farfetched.
However, we must consciously guard our inner peace and fight for our happiness at all cost. Music is one veritable weapon we can use to reach the goal of fighting depression. “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between notes and my back to loneliness”- Maya Angelou
Feeling down or just overwhelmed? Kindly shut the ears of your heart to the noise of this world and find your way to that favorite song that sets your soul on fire!
Music Improves Memory and Learning
Although there is currently no cure for the Alzheimer’s disease, music therapy has been used to help people with the disease recall seemingly lost memories. Experts has shown that repetitive elements of rhythm and melody aid the brain pattern that enhance memory. In a study of stroke survivors, listening to music helped them experience less confusion and better focused attention.
Music Can Improve Our Relationships
Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral investigator with Science of People revealed that “hearing music alters the neuro chemicals in our brains and triggers the release of dopamine and endorphins. These neurotransmitters boost our mood and allow us to share that positive chemical rush with people we are with.”
Music Helps Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Yet another studies on children with spectrum disorder who received musical therapy showed improvement in social responses, communication and attention skills.
Music Lessen Anxiety
Time and again, music have been seen to help relax patients before and after surgery. It is also an inexpensive and widely available stress management tool.
So yes! Beyond even entertainment and the general vibes it brings, music goes a long way in facilitating our mental health and wholeness as individuals.
Indeed, Music is Life!
It’s just two days to Christmas
Do Have A Most Fulfilling Holiday Ahead!!
With the above picture, you probably can tell the end of this story, even before a glimpse of the beginning.
Yes, I know today is Monday, and double yes!! I insist on ‘doing’ my own throwback today. Cheers! To everyone that sticks to the Tuesday and Thursday throwback tingly. As for me, I enjoy breaking all these tiny rules here and there.
So, here’s a throwback to Felabration 2019, when I met one of the very queens of my heart.
Like I earlier mentioned on social media (Facebook), I’ve always known somewhere deep deep down in my heart, that I would meet the Queen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie someday. However, I never knew the day would be this close.
As a Content Writer at Etu Odi Communications, I was assigned alongside a colleague turned sister, Nifemi, to cover selected events and make reports for the company’s blog posts. So, when I spotted that the legendary Adichie would be coming for the Felabration Symposium, my spirit, soul and body, and all the hosts of Heaven knew, I must be there. Perhaps, with the joy and excitement of seeing a name that rings a loud bell in my head, I noted an incorrect date of the event. A date rather closer than the actual day.
When the assumed day came, Nifemi and I were just about booking a taxi, before we discovered we actually had three more days to the D-day.
The day finally landed!
Well, I’m one person who is hardly starstruck, but for this case, with the fire and excitement burning in my eyes, even Nifemi could tell that aside just seeing Chimamanda, if I didn’t stand or sit to talk to her, I would have left that hall as sad as sad can be.
Well, I’m glad my heart desires were met though. Lately, I have noticed the swiftness to which my thoughts transcend into reality. (Story for another day)
Brethren, like play like play I spoke to the Prose Queen, discussing personal stuffs about certain ‘self-limitations’, breakaways and breakthroughs for my writing career.
Meeting her made me love her more, and made me understand the gospel she shared even better.
Most of all, beneath that daring and strong woman, I saw a beautiful, tranquil and kind soul beyond words.
Now to the official assignment that made me attend the event.
Below is my cover story of Felabration 2019,
As published by Etu Odi Communications:
The song ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’ released in 1986 by the great Nigerian music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is one that can best be described as evergreen. With over 30 years of impact, its conscious lyrics on various social issues remain a didactic guide many generations later.
The song title was chosen as the theme for the recent Felabration symposium held in Ikeja, Lagos. The event kicked off the one-week annual festival of music and arts in honour of the musical legend, Fela. Graced by four outstanding speakers: Prof. Akin Oyebode, Chimamanda Adichie, Bobi Wine from Uganda and Akala from the United Kingdom. All the speakers gave various insights to the theme beyond its literal meaning.
“Music remains one of the
most powerful tools of communication”. – Felabration 2019
One of the most prominent attributes of Fela was his passion for creating songs that go beyond entertainment. Songs that challenge various inhumane norms, well highlighted during the speech of the Veteran Prof. Oyebode, who channeled the theme towards the capacity of music as a tool to educate and positively influence.
This, in turn, served as a wake-up call to musicians in Nigeria and Africa in general. Musicians were urged to use their songs as a tool for retelling our stories and showing the world a better perspective of Africa.
Using the theme of the event as a basis, Akala, a British rapper, journalist, political activist and poet, related his experience while growing up as a schoolboy in London. Akala shared a lot on how Africa was falsely portrayed to him as a student back in the day.
No doubt, this is one of the many reasons for the dilapidating image of Africa, created in the minds of so many Westerners and Nigerians in the diaspora.
In support, Bobi Wine revealed how these wrong teachings are prevalent in even Africa, by Africans.
There is a dire need for restructuring in our Education system. It is no wonder that among African youth of today, seeing Whites as superior remains prevalent.
“Where I come from,
Children are told that a man from England discovered the river right behind”. – Bobi
This and many others are examples that further buttress how the stories of Africa have been wrongly told. Bobi Wine disclosed that all these underlying factors led to him changing his music from entertainment to edutainment.
“In this country, we need to know history.
If we start to teach our children civics and history…
They know that despite the flaws we have,
Every nation has flaws and every nation has greatness.
They know that Northern Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria,
Western Nigeria and Southern Nigeria were once
very interesting and vibrant places where people traded. – Adichie
Giving the final speech was the award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who emphasized the need for constant learning, unlearning and relearning; the need to teach the younger generations history, as this will help us to become long term thinkers as a nation.
Adichie further discussed how we confuse fear for respect and also, how we so much confidence channeled in the wrong direction.
“We channel our energy to the wrong things.
We are people known for ‘overconfidence’,
At the same time, it’s almost as if we have forgotten how to be ashamed.”
For instance: Jumping queues at the airport and still claiming to be right. However, we do not display such guts when we should. The writer, therefore, urged Nigerians to have such courage and confidence in retelling our stories and teaching the world our values.
“They think China will matter
They think India will matter, not us.
We don’t really matter. But it’s up to us to make that change.
We can react to this, and it starts with self-confidence. It’s the most we can do.
Self-confidence comes from you knowing who we are.”
This brings us back to knowing our roots and our history, as a good knowledge of where we are coming from will always be of great help in leading us to where we ought to be.
Undoubtedly, the theme ‘teacher don’t teach me nonsense’ was explored from different angles that caused a stir within participants just as the song itself does, decades after its release. Indeed, content is King and this should guide us in the kind of music we produce, the things we do or say, as these carry messages that portray who we are to the world at large.
In all, it was an event where knowledge freely flowed from intellectuals of all calibre.
I look forward to meeting all the speakers time and again, most especially Queen Adichie. I believe the next time we’ll meet will be a perfection of her words to me, in display!
We all have our
Our voices to speak
Messages to give
Lives to change, people to teach
Stories to tell, Melodies to sing
But fear keeps us from what you should willingly bring
Seriously, so you mess up and you’ve messed up
Guess what? you still live
Courage is one thing we must acquire
Let our voices be heard and not retire
We’ve been given this gift for a reason
A weapon to withstand the seasons
I wrote this poem a while back , I may have tweaked it a little (to the OGs that may recognize it). I remember the feeling of satisfaction when I first wrote this poem(I know it’s no Shakespeare but I was like 11 when I wrote it , give me a break) I thought to myself “OUTSPOKEN?, ME? NIFEMI?
Growing up you see different qualities/ features in the girls around you and sometimes ( I know this isn’t a good thing but it’s a true thing) you start to compare yourself to them saying things like “How come when she does that hairstyle, her base glides gracefully on her face like a gazelle or swan and mine flies like a scared bird ?, How come she doesn’t have acne on her face? How come boys are more into her? ( Please tell me , I’m not just projecting here).” Anyways like most teenage girls I had my fair share of insecurities but the one thing I was a jealous of in my peers was the amount of CONFIDENCE they had, at least compared to mine.
Nifemi and award-winning writer, Chimamanda
I was a terribly timid child, I say this all the time but I don’t think people really understand the gravity of the situation. My first real prayer points were around the lines of ” Dear God, in school please don’t let Mrs……….. ask me any question in front of the class and I promise I’ll be of good behavior starting now, I’ll even let Taiwo be my friend “( Most times Taiwo and I ended up fighting almost immediately after the prayer, maybe that’s why my prayer didn’t get answered, I had no follow-through).
I remember my mom always saying to me things like “Be confident!,Say how really you feel!, Don’t you know who’s you are ?,Don’t you know who you are? What’s the worst that could happen?”and like her saying “Never go to an owambe with an empty stomach” she wasn’t wrong but it just wasn’t easy for me.
Hey, if you’ve read this far , we’re practically friends now, so I’ll let you in on a secret I’ve learnt over the years “Confidence comes easily for some lucky people, but for some of us it takes a little more practice and that’s fine ,we all have things as humans we should and can work on”. Like the legend Hannah Montana taught us “Nobody’s perfect”. I still have days I swallow my words and twiddle my thumbs but that’s no longer my basic instinct and that to me is progress. It also helps knowing and truly believing ” In Christ I can do all things” on the really bad days, Plus having people that believe your thoughts and opinions are valid and worth hearing.
I have to be honest at this point and say, I really don’t have any tips on how to be confident or more outspoken , “Who am I really but a 21 year old graduate that actually believes the reality tv show THE BACHELOR is actually about finding love and commitment ( I wonder who Colton will end up with?)” but I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite writers :Dorothy Parker, she said ” The first I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue” and I try to live by that . Each morning I say to myself “Today I will be confident”, “Today I believe that my opinions and words are valid” and hey what’s the worst that can happen?
P.s I do however understand being outspoken doesn’t equate to being confident and I am aware sometimes people talk a lot to cover up some underlining insecurities but hey that’s a topic for another day okay.
About the Author:
Nifemi is a graduate of Mass Communication, University of Lagos (UNILAG). She best describes herself as “Quirky with a lot of spirit.” Need we forget to add that Nifemi is a twin, who believes in the gift of an individual uniqueness, regardless.
The art of writing to Nifemi has been her greatest channel of expression.
With this, we look forward to seeing the world dance to the melodies of her art, soon!
To read more of her works,
Kindly visit her personal blog at: https://thingsishouldreallysayoutloud.wordpress.com