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What Are Your Intentions?

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I was walking out of a meeting when an elderly colleague accosted me. She asked me to follow her into her office and wait there, then she proceeded to bring three other women also senior colleagues into her office. Being a smart woman, my brain had already figured out that there was going to be trouble and that it had to do with how I looked because this woman and I had never crossed paths before now. I looked at my hair, neat not over the top, not coloured like a rainbow. My ward-coat was clean and neat and my shoes were flat and demure and then I saw it. My red dress (yes doctors wear red every once in a while calm down!) had ridden up a little to my knee instead of staying where I put it (which was below my knees)- not that that should matter which is why I hadn’t bothered adjusting the pesky thing since I had a coat on but alas I had been called into the principal’s office so all offences mattered. I hastily adjusted my dress as she walked in with the last senior colleague.

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“Oh you have adjusted your dress! Why do you think it’s okay to walk around with a dress like this? And see her earrings, her hair obscures them but they look to me like chandeliers”

I was dumbfounded and embarrassed all at once. Words failed me. Not that they would have helped at that point.

She looked at the other women. “She must be unmarried and a house officer or one of the new registrars just starting residency!” She finished. Awaiting their nods and oohs and aahs of similar disapproval.

I was chagrined!

One of the women spoke up. “She is actually married and a senior registrar”.

Madam was taken aback. Maybe if she knew I wasn’t a newbie she may have decided to call me privately into her office like a mother would instead of subjecting me to such open ridicule.

My ears were hot.

“Well then she must be a product of your institution because a graduate from MY prestigious school would not dress like this.” She muttered in further disdain.

One of her colleagues smiled quite a knowing smile and then asked me; “Young woman where did you finish from?”

“UNILAG ma”

At this point I would like to pause and say that ‘the woman never hexperrerit!

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I was married, a Senior registrar and an alumnus from the very same school she finished from! She thought she had me all figured out and as such had acted as accuser, judge, jury and hangman but I was actually just some married woman who left her house in a hurry that morning only to discover the fashion faux-pas as she raced to clinic. A faux-pas that I tried to salvage by leaving my ward coat on all day. I wasn’t a villain, I had never been accosted for ‘provocative dressing’ and I sure as hell didn’t have a secret agenda for the men in my department.

I found my voice…

“Ma, please I do not usually dress like this. This was a fashion faux-pas which I only noticed after I left the house. I am sorry”.

The matter ended shortly and she told me they all would be watching me for future offences.

The other senior colleagues had been quite uncomfortable throughout the whole exchange and one of them sweetly called me the very next day to assure me that the whole debacle had stemmed from only good intentions. I appreciated the call but I was still a bit shell-shocked. You kinda assume that when you’re married and part of the old girl’s club, older women will treat you more like one of their own and less like an errant teenager.

One of my friends who is a banker had so many issues with her line manager till she finally put in for a transfer. The woman was always picking on her dressing, accusing her of not dressing like a married woman even though her dressing was within the confines of the bank’s dress code simply because she was blessed with the kind of coke-bottle shape that made a sack look sexy! (HR would have promptly sent for her if she was erring) and even went as far as calling her husband an irresponsible ‘yahoo’ boy. A husband the woman had never even met! Another woman I know wore mildly distressed jeans (distressed at the knees) out with her husband and while he was parking the car, an older woman came to lecture her on why a married woman should never dress like this and then once the woman spied her husband, she said the younger woman’s behaviour was excused simply because she had her husband in tow! One of my older colleagues had gone for a meeting and had been chastised by a woman there that her suit was attracting too much attention and she shouldn’t have worn it. The suit in question was a dress suit with a sleeveless dress and jacket (she had the jacket in her hands because it was hot) her exposed arms were the woman’s problem.  My colleague calmly pointed to another woman who was wearing a very provocative suit and said ‘Why don’t you start with her?’ The woman promptly replied that the other woman was married with a son almost in the university but she had heard that she was single. My colleague shook her head and corrected the woman, she also was very married and her daughter was in SS2! I taya for some people oh. So if my colleague wasn’t married it would have been okay to embarrass her like that? And do women need to wear bigger wedding rings- not to ward off men but to ward off unsavoury comments from other women? These are the issues!

An older woman should be a mentor regardless of age difference- agreed! But what is her intention? To build up or tear down? To effect change or sprout bitterness? Is she speaking the truth with love? Or just telling it like it is regardless of who she hurts? A hurting human is more likely to be obstinate and resist change. Like one woman I know put it, sometimes a woman who is out there correcting other people’s children either has no control over her own or imagines hers to be perfect. Another woman pointed out that a scorned woman may be projecting her frustrations on the next seemingly happy woman beside her enshrouding her bitterness in chastisement. We have all been corrected in the past- old, young, single and married. The gentle old woman, who calls you aside to secretly help you adjust your skirt makes a more lasting impression than the one who loudly points out that your skirt is tucked into your briefs at the back when you exit the ladies room.

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Ladies- regardless of age or our diversities, we need to debunk the widely held beliefs that women tear each other down. Let’s be patient with each other and speak our truths with love. Let’s stand with each other and build up instead of tear down. The next woman will not steal the shine off your crown neither will she rob you of your spotlight, make you feel redundant or steal your man and she definitely isn’t the cause of all your problems in life. So many women have missed networking opportunities and opportunities to bond simply because they judged and misjudged another woman too hastily. Let’s be mothers and sisters before we are haters and fighters. Let’s spread love wherever we go. Sowing good never brought forth evil! What are your intentions? Let this guide your words, thoughts and actions.

FYI, the red dress in question is currently serving time at the back of my wardrobe! It cannor come and embarrass me and get away with it!

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Have a lovely Saturday Chutzpah fam,

xoxo

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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Me, Myself and I

 

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The Christmas Break…

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What breaks in a moment may take years to mend…Swedish Proverb

The holidays are upon us. Christmas brings with it days off work, endless feasts, merry making and all sorts of new and exciting adventures for both young and old.

Like all holidays it is a time for family and like all family gatherings friction is often not too far off. This holiday be mindful of the words you utter to those nearest and dearest to you. Words are like knives and a person once cut may end up nursing that
festering wound for the next 365 days.

Remember how you felt the day you broke that glass ornament after your mum specifically asked you not to touch it? You wished you could fix it, you prayed the pieces would magically come together and offer you the second chance you so needed.

Many things in life once broken, take years to mend, others are forever destroyed; Trust, Confidence, Friendship, Family-ties the list is endless. So as you delve into this wonderful holiday be careful not to break anything(or anyone). Family is like a pack of Skittles, every one is uniquely different but you get such a zing when they unite in your mouth. Don’t let a cherry ruffle you up!

Season’s greetings chutzpah fam!
Don’t drink and drive…
Xxx

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Top 10 lies employers tell you!

Most people have worked for someone either in the past or right now. Most people would agree that some bosses are horrible bosses but how about those who smile at you and imagine your IQ to be in the negative range or why else would they feed you bullocks?

Unfortunately the work force is majorly divided into three:

1. The butt-kissers. This is the largest group and some of them would munch any kinda ass, filthy as it may be. The thing is, some of the time butt kissing is the only way one can get ahead but it’s low down and dirty and it doesn’t change the fact that the butt-kisser more often than not detests his boss and would spit in his water if he could! 😉

2. The excuse-factory. These people don’t last long at their jobs unfortunately. They are either preoccupied or just darn lazy and wonder why they get fired so often. What they fail to realise is though their reasons for coming late or failing to carry out a task sound very complicated and authentic to their ears and while they secretly praise themselves for their ingenuity, people can see right through them and barely tolerate their excesses.

3. The eye-service pro. This group is different from the butt-kissers because they don’t really give 2 hoots about their bosses. They know their job description and know how things work. So as long as the boss is in the building, they scurry about pretending to be profoundly busy. The boss is overjoyed that his employees work so very hard. They remind him about meetings and seem very professional but soon as he leaves the building, it’s back to facebook and office gossip!

Very few workers actually work hard at their jobs and majority who do have the sort of boss who’d tell you one of these ten lies.

1. If you work hard, one day you’ll be the one sitting behind this desk. Yeah right, like he’d really leave his company to you. Maybe he was talking about some other smaller desk by faith. Certainly not the CEO’s office.

2. I hate liars! That’s right before he tells you to tell an outright lie to that client. Ah well, he probably hates himself too!

3. I always pay salaries on time. That’s probably what you’d hear during a job interview if it crossed your mind to ask but somehow along the line, payment of your monthly salary becomes an end of month prayer point.

4. The experience gained in this company is invaluable. You sit behind your desk swamped with work you had to figure out how to do on your own cos your lazy superior never took the time to put you through. Yes you do gain experience. Now you can write a whole bedtime story on how necessity is the mother of invention.

5. Don’t disturb me again about your money, I will definitely pay you- …Someday, most likely never, but I’m hoping you’ll be gullible enough to fall for that and get off my back… And they never pay!

6. The company didn’t make any profit, we are really broke. And then he’s off to SA with girlfriend number 4 for two weeks of bliss while you jump buses cos your car’s parked in the garage and your wallet’s running on empty!

7. When I was your age I worked twice as hard and never went on leave! Sounds almost like your parents telling you how they always came first in school till you unearthed their less than stellar school leaving certificate.

8. You are next in line for a promotion. Isn’t that the hundredth time he has said that in the last 2 years? The first 2 times you popped champagne at home. The next 2 times, you took your girl to that fancy restaurant. The 5th time had to be it so you splurged on that new wrist-watch…95 times later and it’s a prayer (and fasting) request.

9. There are too many public holidays. Are you kidding? Not enough at all. I feel like I wake up early every single day of the year. I work on weekends and sometimes on so called public holidays. The number of holidays is grossly inadequate, we should make it a tithe of the number of work days in the year at the very least!

10. I didn’t wear shoes as a kid! We all know where we’ve heard that one before. *rollingeyes. The next day he forgets himself and boasts about how his childhood can’t be compared to yours. “Nigeria used to be so much better then, things were cheaper, I had cleaner air and better food…” Yadayadayada at least I had shoes as a kid, you were walking around BAREFOOTED with a fat pocket and even fatter tummy! #bullocks

I love my boss 🙂

This is for my friend S. Don’t worry dear, one day if you are lucky, you’ll get to be a horrible boss too! 😉 😉 😉

Have a great week peeps…..xoxoxo

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Docs of Hazard!

…Daddy I wanna be a doctor when I grow up…

Many a child has uttered that cry as he/she got an epiphany. Some buried those dreams the first time they caught sight of blood gushing from an open wound, others were never given a chance to choose a life beyond medicine and yet for majority of the doctors in Nigeria, it was a life-long dream, which involved years of sweat, toil and tears (6yrs+X for some).
Now one can write about the many benefits of being a doc, from the title to the ‘efizzy’, to the respect, to the ‘god-complex’, to the money (not in Naija), to the certain degree of immunity from the police, to the good karma that arises from helping others, to the high market-value in the dating and marriage market, to the widely open arms parents use to welcome a would-be, doctor-in-law. The list could be longer and however long it takes to achieve this status, for some, it’s to die for. But no one ever talks about the bad…

We doctors have become the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ and here are 10 awful things you should consider before sending your child to medical school…

1. Med school is tough. To even start the race, you have to have been a really brainy kid in secondary school and the work load is structured so that the frail fall by the way-side.
I know a guy who ran mad during his exams in med school. #shocking-but-true! And then there are the strikes that thankfully, have become rare but sometimes keep a kid in school for up to 10 years. There’s also the issue of accreditation which has become a nasty new trend, leaving students hanging for long periods till their schools can get their acts together and sometimes totally interrupting their studies. My friends F and I who are currently doing masters in the UK say after med school, you can basically face any academic challenge or stress that there is. For them, the workload seems a bit too light at the post-graduate level when compared to the hassle of becoming a Nigeria-trained doctor.

2. They will rebel. Many parents think a doctor in the house is a must-have and have grown tired of paying the family doctor, desiring one of their own. While this is a noble thought, forcing people to do what they don’t wanna do is akin to delaying their destinies because one day, many years after, they’ll realise what exactly it is they are supposed to do in life. My friend A started out in med school and dropped out in his second year. Today he is a seasoned DJ and radio/tv presenter studying a business course on the side and says he has finally found fulfilment. My friend T now works in an auditing firm and if she had been allowed to follow her dream from the very beginning, she could have gained 3 years and would have been on a level far above where she is today. I have countless classmates who were forced into med school by their folks and dropped out of the race with alacrity as soon as they obtained the title. According to my friend F, “Daddy here’s the title you always wanted, now can I live my life?”…

3. The risk of infection. Doctors are prone to needle-stick injuries and blood and body-fluid borne infections on the job, HIV and Hepatitis top the list. Some call it carelessness but I tell you that many of these accidents are freaks of nature and some have been both life-altering and life-threatening! A colleague of mine was pricked by a needle she had introduced into a child with HIV when the child jumped suddenly. The mother was supposed to be restraining him and was profusely sorry but sorry doesn’t cut it when you have to take HIV medication for 6 weeks. She can never take back those 6 weeks of her life that she spent sick and vomiting due to the side-effects or the constant anxiety about the probability of testing positive to HIV. Thankfully she tested negative. I also know a male doctor who tested positive to Hepatitis when he was asked to do the test by the church weeks to his wedding… 😦 so many doctors have been paid with a measure of the patient’s illness in return for their services and have learnt the hard way that even if the hospital or government doesn’t put in place measures for personal protection, it is imperative that you protect yourself!

4. Any doctor who has worked in a teaching hospital or community clinic will regale you with tales of how doctors have had to run for dear life even jumping through windows because they failed to perform magic on a badly injured patient and as a result became targets for violently angry and grieving family and friends. It happens quite frequently in teaching hospitals where mortality is the highest because they are the highest point of referral especially those located in poorer neighbourhoods…

5. There was an episode at a hospital some years ago where doctors were robbed and molested sexually at night, while on duty by a gang of hoodlums that attacked the hospital. No one knows for sure if the offenders were brought to book but the memory of the trauma lives on in those doctors’ minds…

6. Doctors are their own enemies. We don’t have a strong enough governing body and many times it is outrageous how the doctors at the top are the very ones standing in the way of progress. A while ago doctors went on strike in a teaching hospital on orders from the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and were fired en masse by the state. Adverts were put out for new doctors and doctors flooded the institution not caring about the events that preceded the jobs becoming available nor the cause for which the other doctors tried to fight. The ARD seemed powerless but thankfully, the governor of the state granted the doctors leniency and recalled them. It was quite amazing that their sack didn’t incite a nationwide revolt. Wasn’t it a worthy cause they fought for? Every man for himself, God for us all… 😦

7. Patient wahala! Sometimes patients can be a handful and I’m not talking about the average run off the mill, disgruntled or stubborn patient. I’m talking big wahala! A female patient being managed for infertility was found to be problem free and the doctor suggested, as is routine, that she bring her husband to the clinic for tests as the fault may not have been hers. The next day an angry man with a raised voice barged into the consulting room accusing the doctor of telling his wife that he was impotent! Now you can imagine the scene that unfolded and there have been far worse scandals…

8. The residency exams. I know people who have failed those exams up to 5 times regardless of the depth of their knowledge on the subject matter all because they failed to satisfy an examiner in an exam which is highly subjective. Exams cost as much as 50k and there are update courses to pay for from our meagre salaries too. Abroad, most exams are objective so you can hardly fail because an examiner thinks you are cocky or thinks it is your right to taste failure in this lifetime!

9. We do not work for the devil! Some patients treat us no better than the devil but in their defence, it should be expected since we constantly deliver bad news. I have grown weary of patients giving testimonies in church that start with; “The doctors said I had…..but my God put them to shame…..”
It is not doctors versus God!!! We also offer hope and look after you, remember? We care but God heals!- Our mantra 😉

10. It has been said that doctors dress horribly and have terrible cars. The salary doesn’t help matters and sometimes a doctor has to do ‘locum’ (part-time job) apart from his main job to keep body and soul together. In other countries, doctors are amongst the highest paid but every time we rise up in protest, the people angrily tell us we earn enough already and should be content as our job is ‘humanitarian’. Humanitarian my foot! I know an elderly doctor who had to beg for 5,000 naira to feed his family because salaries had not been paid. With the above-listed hazards, should this ever occur? He had given almost his entire life to the people, I think it’s time the people gave back!

Most doctors after realising what they signed up for, look for the easiest way out. They try to leave the country but alas, a doctor trained in Nigeria is not readily hired in other countries despite his experience or skill till he has passed myriads of hurdles, exams inclusive and many have returned, after losing years abroad because they were unable to find suitable work.

So peeps, carefully consider these before you decide the life of a doctor is the life for you. I won’t even mention our crazy 24-hour work schedule or how our families suffer as a result because that would be complaining and we knew this was part of the package when we signed up and besides despite everything, I love being a doctor and wouldn’t pick any other life…

Today before you shout at your doctor or act rudely, remember this and realize that we are under-appreciated and a smile and a thank you from you, not to mention your co-operation would go a long way to help us serve you better…

‘Be careful how you treat me because I may be your doctor one day!’ 😉 😉 😉

Have a great weekend peeps, T.G.I.F (though I’m working tomorrow!)….xoxoxo 🙂 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Health, Inspirational

 

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Modern day slavery!

I was sitting in traffic disgruntled and trying not to enjoy the traffic show on WAZOBIA FM too much, it’s actually funny, especially the corporal punishment and since I wasn’t driving and my blackberry battery was red, I was forced to look around me and observe the goings on which is something I rarely do while seated in a moving car. Before you act all shocked, why would you spend your car-ride looking out when you could be looking at the person seated beside you or looking up as your camera clicks away or looking down as you reply a ping or update your twitter or bb status? Alas on this particular day, I could do none of these so I looked out the window hoping to find a sight for sore eyes in the dreary evening traffic…

What I saw, had me confused, curious and horrified though it wasn’t new. It was a black long beast, with tiny windows and through the windows all I could see was un-ending darkness and it had swallowed up plenty men. No, I wasn’t dreaming. As a child, I had seen this particular beast and assumed the men it transported were criminals, murderers at the very least, whose heinous crimes warranted such vile transportation. This beast made the yellow and black molue look like a luxury. Twenty years later, there it was again and this time I asked rather innocently who the people were who were forcibly transported in such a suffocating enclosure on wheels. The answer shocked me even further…they were workers for a popular German construction company being transported from their sites after a long day. This was a German company’s alternative to a staff bus??? I was mighty
disappointed. A black maria couldn’t be any worse. It hadn’t been that long ago that Airtel had been all over the news because of the controversy over slash in salaries brought about by a change in management. Foreigners again!!!

Yes, historical slavery has been abolished but it has given way to a modern form of slavery that is silent and barely perceptible yet deeply rooted in our every day lives and swept under the carpet by those who could actually set us free. Nigerians have become like South Africans before they were liberated. We have allowed foreigners come into our land and make themselves fat on our resources. A few bad men sold us again into slavery, governments were bribed and now these people do to us what we could never ever dream of doing to them in their country and yet we are grateful for any little left-over they hand out to us from our stolen inheritance.

They are given preferential treatment by the government, by the police, at the embassy, everywhere. They can afford things the average Nigerian could only dream of and live like kings amongst us. They say our Naira is devalued but it seems it’s not the only resource in Nigeria that has been devalued. Unconsciously, the average Nigerian kisses ass, once the ass has pale cheeks. Yet these foreigners look out for themselves like tourists in wild terrain sticking together for dear life. My friend C who works in a Lebanese construction company was telling me how a plumber was brought in from Lebanon and paid five times the salary of the Nigerian plumbers and could not even perform the simplest of duties.

Why have we as Nigerians been tricked into cheap labour? I was offered a job at a Lebanese clinic a while back and the HR guy spent long minutes on the phone trying to make me agree to a hundred thousand naira less than the agreed salary just because he thought he could get away with it. He was a Nigerian too and it was quite sad that he would go through such lengths to sell a fellow citizen short of her due. While serving in Akure, many of these foreigners frequented the big hotels, a couple had paid for luxury suites for two years, cash down. They were barely educated handy men in their countries who had left their wives and children behind to come and strike gold in Nigeria and lord it over highly-educated folk who worked so hard each day and yet were paid so little. In the job market, people shied away from working for Indians, Chinese and Lebanese because they worked you hard and dry for every Naira you were paid. Why do we allow this? At the airport, we treat them like kings yet at their airports we are rough-handled like criminals. Have we no shame? Why are we in a relationship where we are taken for granted and abused? No wonder the youths in some parts of the country were enraged, though misguided as violence is never the answer to a problem neither is kidnapping, they actually had a point. I wish they had gone about it in a more civilised manner so that their voices could be heard rather than being labelled as militants. My friend K studying at a university in Ghana would ping me for medical advise because the doctors there would not readily treat her as she was a foreigner. In Nigeria, I don’t see doctors discriminating in that manner.

The slavery doesn’t stop there. There is another form of slavery that we impose on ourselves. A long time ago, our ancestors were called coloured people, slaves, niggas and were beaten, maltreated and made to suffer and years after, we still felt the scourge of racial discrimination and our afro hair became a big black bush of defiance making a statement. What was once a sign of our rich bloodline, now became a flaw we would rather not talk about. We tried to hide it but we could hide it no better than we hid our dark skin and big noses. It was our heritage, it was our curse. It kept us enslaved for years and made us different from those who regarded themselves as superior, from those who sailed into our continent and took over our lives. Our tormentors were reportedly pale faces from the West and since we couldn’t beat ’em, we longed to blend in a bid to join them and acquire the pseudo-modernisation we had misconstrued to be the ideal lifestyle!

Yes we were free, old heroes with kinky black hair, shouting they were black and proud till their voices were hoarse, had fought with every breath they had to give us a chance but here we were, wanting more than a chance. We wanted to be like the people who had once enslaved us and seemed to win the race of modernisation. The Western culture had taken over almost every aspect of our lives even to our detriment and this could only be seen as a self-imposed slavery. One far worse than the first kind of slavery which was imposed by others because this particular kind gave us a false sense of being better than the next person…

The modern-day Nigerian will wear leather in the most humid condition, sun shades at night, a suit in the scorching heat, brazilian hair that costs three to five times the minimum wage, hair-dos that cover our natural hair causing it to be damp, smelly and unhealthy, perm our natural hair with chemicals even from a tender age, wear fur in a tropical country, bleach their skin at the risk of skin discolouration just to seem lighter and closer to the pale-faces, diet to be a size zero just to look like Miss Teen America, adopt a fake accent and slangs just to belong, wear heavy, gaudy jewelry just to look like a gangster from Brooklyn, have a million tattoos and piercings just to seem fashionable and we claim to be a liberated country. What happened to the old ways, everything old looks ‘country’ now, aka ‘razz’. Nobody wants to be left behind. We don’t wanna be old school but are we doing ourselves good? I visited a house a while back and the mother thought stuffing her young kids with KFC treats for lunch and dinner was a sign of good living. Needless to say, the kids were overweight. And quite unfortunately, while the Western world is moving beyond their mistakes and adopting a ‘Less is more/Save our World’ mentality, we are eagerly filling their old shoes, becoming a dumping ground for their below par technology, feeding ourselves fat with their junk food and killing our part of the planet with our non-recyclable litter. Even the women haven’t learnt the elegance of makeup that isn’t loud or colourful or jewelry that isn’t chunky or cheap-looking. We watch our famed goddesses on TV and falsely imagine they have natural beauty when they have put on tons of make-up to get a look that makes them seem like they have almost no make-up on. We assume they are naturally thin and envy their genes while we struggle into our jeans forgetting that this people have integrated diet and exercise into their busy lives. When will we throw off the shackles for good and embrace a liberty so refreshing that the world will have to stop and stare? They take our good but we take all they have to offer, mostly the bad.

We need to find ourselves, glory in our sense of identity, show the world what they have always suspected, that we are way smarter than them! Let’s stop showing up on the most wanted list, let’s stop using our great minds to commit crimes that baffle the CIA, let’s stop using our creativity to make ‘fakes’ of originals (Aba) instead of sticking our customised brand names on our amazing goods. We are a great people, the sooner we carve our names in history, the better for us all. 2012 dey draw nigh oh!

Enough said! I’m black and I’m proudly Nigerian!!! 🙂 Have a great night peeps…xoxoxo 😉 😉 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Inspirational

 

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Lagos traffic…the never ending story!

  Sorry I’ve been off radar for a while. The hassle of moving towns, getting a new job and developing a whole new routine got me busy as a bee with my mind doing cartwheels. I still had time for a mini-vacation in Benin tho’. 😉 That town does things for me that the hustle and bustle of Lagos could never do. Everybody needs a rustic getaway every once in a while, won’t call it a vacation per se cos vacations imply laulau spending and please note I wasn’t talking about your village, that would be too cliche! 😉

Of course I’m gonna miss Abuja and all the family and friends I left behind not to mention the peace and quiet and obvious laid back attitude everyone has. Even the hustle is done in slow motion unlike Lagos. Too bad Boko Haram has got everyone there living in fear. Every public place has become a checkpoint for our Naija bomb squad. Even women’s handbags are no more sacred, they get to be brutally ransacked when visiting some government offices. I heard the outgoing corpers in Abuja won’t be getting a POP in Abuja for security reasons, ah well they are better off stressed than dead. Was reading in the papers that MEND sent a letter that they plan to bomb Eagle’s square on Independence day and I found it amusing. The MEND group like a second wife are obviously bemused that Boko Haram has stolen all their shine and public spotlight. I guess no matter how full of terror a terrorist is, he still needs attention like a diva on a red carpet! 😉 May God protect us all as MEND and Boko Haram fight over the coveted most feared position this Independence day. Truly I pray for a peaceful 1st of October. Enough lives have been lost and our land stinks of shed blood. GEJ we need to get you some Redbull so you can put more energy into curbing this menace. Meanwhile your people are solidly behind you.

One thing that will always make Abuja seem attractive to me is the lack of traffic. It took me more than an hour to go from Ozone cinemas to UNILAG yesterday and I silently told myself ‘Welcome to Lasgidi!!!’ Anyone who lives in a major city knows there’s a price to pay. Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist or molue-ist every morning, every evening and sometimes in the afternoon just when the sun is hottest, the combo of blazing sun, blaring horns and speedometers reading 20km/hr (sometimes less) is as common as NEPA taking light and the sacrifice you pay for being urban!

I thought about making a list of the things that cause traffic, but that wouldn’t be quite an interesting list since the causes are usually the same. The biggest in my opinion being some impatient person usually a danfo driver who breaks a traffic law, tries to overtake and ends up facing on-coming vehicles and has his band of follow-follow goons behind him thereby causing a traffic jam cos the cars can neither move forward nor backwards. Other common causes are jalopies breaking down, flat tyres, LASTMA and MOPO picking the wrong time to do their jobs, accidents, floods, bad roads, armed-robbers and pedestrians competing with cars for road space. Many times the people would prefer to sit in their cars cussing and complaining rather than getting out of the car and tryna solve the problem. Thank goodness for the Lagos agberos who are God-sent for such a time as this. They immediately take on the role of traffic-warden aka yellow fever when the uniformed, pot-bellied men have gone AWOL!

So, instead I thought about the funny stuff you see people do in their cars or while sitting in a bus, when stuck in a traffic jam, things that you’d only see done in Lagos traffic! Naija 😉 Here are my top ten!
10.) Pinging/Tweeting: Since blackberries became pure water, Lagosians have made it their duty to update their status or tweet about traffic. Giving a second by second account of how hot or annoyed or late you are thanks to traffic has become the most common Lagos status update followed by ‘MTN ooooh’ and ‘Nepa please bring light’ and of course the occasional ‘Baba God noni!’ Usually one eye is on the phone and the other eye on the lookout for LASTMA or theiving agberos depending on your current location!
9.) Get out of the car to see what’s going on. This is a favorite for most men in traffic. They usually do it for aproko reasons though a select few do it to go pee in the gutter or hail the gala man or fan ice-cream seller for some quick chops! Usually they aggravate traffic cos they are not in the car when the cars begin to move leading to more horns honking. Other times, they cause unnecessary panic by peddling false rumours i.e thieves operating in front!
8.) Become the DJ of Club ‘Eko bridge’. Yeah everyone has a radio in the car, from the cab guy to the guy in the S-class and when the traffic’s heavy and cars are crawling, radios blaring usually substitute for car horns. From owambe songs to hip hop to gospel to hausa music, everyone has a radio and wants his neighbour to know that regardless of the way my car looks, I beta pass you! Some motorists even go as far as dancing in the stationary car which often looks like a raucous from the outside.
7.) Nose picking. I know all of us have seen this, and most of us have done it. But when traffic is at a stand still, it’s like everything becomes so much more extreme and so much grosser! I guess because you can REALLY see the person digging and scraping and twisting that finger up there and with bated breaths we look to see what will be done with the newly discovered treasure! Ewwww…
6.) Make-up application. No matter where a woman is heading, whether it is home or the office, traffic always provides an excuse for her to look into that tiny visor mirror and re-do her makeup. We could swear that some women pray for traffic to give them some extra time to apply the pancake and to keep the car in one position so the eyeliner doesn’t run when applied.
5.) Eat gala. Trust me if there wasn’t a huge market for gala fostered by the constant Lagos traffic, the street vendors wouldn’t consider it their number one merchandise.
4.) Sleep. Yes traffic in Lagos can be that bad. And after a long day at work, it isn’t unheard of to have to wake the man in front of you with your horn when the cars start moving and he has dozed off. After all there’s no traffic in dreamland…
3.) Honk the horn with all the frustration you have piled up. Who are you honking at? Nobody’s going anywhere. It won’t make the goons causing the hold up in front to get a brain and the noise aggravates the heat so just relax ok…
2.) Make advances. This is ridiculous but twice I have been asked for my number while sitting very bored, in traffic. Usually by the guy in the adjacent car who believes in making the most of a bad situation. I never gave ’em half a chance but I’m sure somewhere in Lagos, a couple are thanking Lagos traffic for leading them to true love!
1. ) Make out. If you haven’t witnessed a horny couple making out in Lagos traffic then you probably haven’t been stuck in traffic enough times at night! From kisses to suspicious female heads bobbing below window level, Lagos is a place where nothing is strange just look and you shall see… 😉

Anyway we Lagosians have learnt to adapt. We sweat less, our blood pressure shoots up less in response to the traffic and generally we have learnt to take all the stress in our stride. After all who wan die on top traffic? It is an evil that is here to stay and we are ready to combat, avoid, tackle and bear it any way we can. Many have resorted to waking at 4am, getting to work before 7, dozing in their cars till work starts and then after work, chilling at city mall or silverbird till around 10pm when the traffic eases up. Say ‘amen’ if I just described you! Ah well, it’s all part of the hustle. 🙂

May God bless our hustle, have a great night peeps…xoxoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Memoirs, Urban Culture

 

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Life&Times of a Lasgidi Job seeker!

  Ok so yesterday I was a corper and today I’m unemployed and sitting in the reception of a clinic on a street in Onikan waiting for my first interview. I’m in a waist coat and pencil skirt with a big handbag carrying my credentials and I can’t help but smile when I remember the days when job seekers would carry clear bags up and down.
The receptionist is nice though her shrill, bird-like voice and constant chatter doesn’t match my mood. I keep worrying if they are gonna ask me some very hard questions at the interview and from time to time I open my medical text book wondering what on earth I could possibly read in 20 minutes.
It’s finally time for the interview and all’s well till I’m asked what my salary expectations are. My mind goes to the cab guy I had to pay two thousand naira for cab fare and I start to do a mental calculation. Lagos is expensive, I’d make an Akure cab man’s week if I gave him two thousand for one trip. Anyway I give ’em a figure and the look on their faces seems to say I should have asked for more. Oh well, was playing it safe. But truth is, I heard that’s what they pay their medical officers anyway! Then I’m asked what I’d do if I was on call on a sunday morning and there was no water for the patients to take their baths. I attack the question Lasgidi style. ‘Madam first I go assure the patients that the matter dey under control, then I go call security make them get aboki way go fetch water, after that I go pay oh but on monday you go refund my money complete’ 😉
Lol! You know yours truly was at an interview so translate that into butty, Queen’s english and there you have it! The women laughed and then one of ’em said ‘Just call management.’
Now unless management is not ‘Naija-oriented,’ I’ll still be left with the only practical solution which is what I gave ’em. Then they asked me to stand up so they could assess my dressing. Thank God my mama had done that at home. Shirt on point, waist coat on point, skirt way below my knees and not too tight and medium-heeled shoes to match.
They said they’d call and I left just as the second candidate, my friend ‘R’ went in for hers.

After that our waka really began. There was a clinic in Obalende that we wanted to drop our CV’s at and the man we asked for directions assured us that we could walk from Onikan to Obalende, we walked first to an eatery to get some food since it was well past noon and we were at risk of succumbing to the combo of hot sun, high heels and hunger pangs. After that, we walked all the way to the clinic my pencil skirt did not permit okada-hopping and I learned that when going job-hunting in Lagos, trousers are best. We got there tired and breathless and still had to climb up four flights of stairs to drop the CV.
From there we took a cab to V.I to drop one more CV and my friend met up with a blind date.
Mr BD had a lot of attitude and no swag whatsoever in his puny frame and my friend called her matchmaker to give her a piece of her mind!
It cracked me up when she said; ‘How you go give me man way as we dey waka, I go run go front make people no know say we dey together!!! Biko oh’
And it got me thinking, in this day and age, blackberries and social networks have really given blind dates a pair of glasses. The guy obviously preferred a surprise attack!

We hung out at Ice cream factory and I was transported to a land of orgasmic flavors and sinful desserts. It didn’t hurt that the service boys were extremely pleasant and as my friend put it, as good on the eyes as the menu.
We ordered, we laughed, we ate, we had fun and I could’ve sworn it was the Lagos version of ‘Sex and the city’. Three women having a great time and some much-deserved rest after an afternoon of job hunting.
The waiter kept coming to our table to ask us if we needed anything else and my friend noticed his fly was open, we had a good laugh about that after he left. Maybe he was selling something else…
The ice cream was on point and just as I was wondering if it could get any better, eye-candies rolled in. Shout out to Lagos for having some of the hottest guys this side of the Sahara. We giggled and IM’d about ’em and of course the guys had this look on their face of ‘I totally know you girls are checking us out’. Please what happened to guys who in the good ole days were unaware of their obvious hotness? Lagos ti baje.
Didn’t realise I’d missed Lasgidi so much. Too bad my heart’s in another town but abuja holds a lot of promise….I can sense it!

I happened to glance at the time and I exclaimed. I’d totally forgotten that it was a friday and we had chilled till rush hour which was not part of the plan. Blame it on too much enjoyment. I called my trusty but pricey cab man and he said he’d be there in an hour. The girls and I were so engrossed in our discussion that the time flew by and the cab guy was outside waiting. We got in and as we joined the insane traffic I sighed…
Two hours later, still crawling in traffic with our bbs off and our moods borderline irritable, our cab guy had a brainwave and turned off the road. We drove for 5 minutes traffic free only to find ourselves in a traffic worse than the first. Lagos na wa! Going from the island to the mainland on a weekday evening is a hellish experience. L’il wonder most people prefer to chill on the island till the traffic thins out. Since I had a curfew and was wearing clothes I considered stuffy, battling traffic was the only option I allowed myself. I got home at past 9 after driving through inner city markets and unfamiliar roads, handbag and phones tucked securely between our legs on the floor of the cab.
My first day post NYSC and Lagos had already sucked me in and then sucked me dry. I was exhausted and my wallet was depressingly lighter. Spent 6k in one day and from what I heard I didn’t do too badly. I wondered how Lagosians coped with their meagre salaries and maximum expenses?
In Akure, life was so easy and cheap. I’m sure their life expectancy there must surely be higher but what is life if you don’t live it to the fullest right? 😉

Off to Abuja today for a week. Let’s see what the capital city has to offer. Holla at your girl….have a great day folks…xoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Memoirs

 

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