What To Do About Nigeria

6 Nov

I was going to do a blogpost about my exciting discoveries as I go about my conversion to a purely natural skincare regimen but something else came up. That blogpost will follow this shortly.

I went out yesterday night, to a lovely hang out organized by my friend. It was in a lovely café in the middle of Victoria Island, great ambience, great food, lovely looking people. I got there a little late and when I did, I walked into a conversation about Nigeria.

Now this gathering was composed of young middle class Nigerians, working across industries from entertainment and media to telecoms to oil and gas. People with a diverse range of accents, divulging the obvious fact that most have lived abroad and/or schooled abroad or at the very least are well travelled; pretty much ‘posh’ people, the educated intellectuals, very eloquent, representative of the quite small percentage of Nigerians in this class.

And the entire conversation about Nigeria, passionate, loud, intense, was just one thing: COMPLAINTS. And it went on and on until the topic was forcibly changed. It baffled me.

How do people who have so much more compared to the vast majority of hungry, poor, suffering Nigerians still complain this much? A country where 70% of the population is below the poverty line and try as we may, the poverty is in our face, in the middle of the ‘affluence’ we surround ourselves with.

The complaints ranged from disgust with the way security guards ‘beg’ for money to street urchins who broke into cars to the truly sad police force and of course to the hopeless government. All the while, comparison was being made with other countries. There was a lot of, ‘in America, this is how xyz is done,’ ‘in the UK, this is what the government does

I’m not bashing the event at all, I honestly had plenty laughs and a lot of fun but as everyone got into their nice looking cars, windows all wound up and proceeded to drive home, I found myself  thinking, ‘we the ‘privileged’ few in Nigeria are a selfish bunch.’ I remembered yet again the article I read a while a back (I can’t seem to find the link anymore) where an American was chiding his seat mate, a Gambian man on a plane ride. Part of what he said was that the intellectuals have failed Africa because most of them want to serve and satisfy themselves only. They do nothing to help the poor majority who are not as empowered, they contribute nothing to development, they do nothing to alleviate hunger and suffering. They just sell their expertise to the highest bidder and then travel round the world, hang out  in clubs, buy designer clothes and show off to each other.

Interestingly, as I wrote this post, someone came to see me and started talking about this same thing! He termed the middle class in Nigeria, the missing middle, lol. It was uncanny, like he knew the issue burning on my mind. The term missing middle means the middle class is missing in social and economic development, they only work for the good of themselves and maybe their families and that’s it.

Now, it will be unfair for me to generalize this because a few people are doing something. This same guy told me about a young man, Otto Orondaam, who started an initiative called Slum to School, enabling kids from poor neighborhoods get an education by getting them enrolled in school and giving them needed resources.

My friend Aderonke of This Is How We Do has organized several soup kitchen initiatives in poor neighbourhoods as well.

There are a few people identifying needs and doing something about it for sure but the vast majority just complain and criticize the government.

The crux of my long tale today is that we all should just shut it, stop complaining and DO something. It doesn’t have to be anything great and mighty, just get a bowl of rice from your kitchen and donate it to the poor family next to you. And when next that security man says, ‘happy weekend,’ if you have the N200, give it to him, you were going to buy Orbit sugar free gum with it anyway, that might be his entire meal for the day!

Let’s stop being selfish, and it’s passé to blame the government, don’t you even sound like a broken record when you do? We have been blessed with plenty, we’re not part of the 70% below the poverty line, we must do something to help. If all our education and lofty knowledge is only to earn a fat salary and live la vida loca then boy, we are of all men most miserable and we are living on the highway to emptiness and zero fulfilment.

My brain is buzzing with ideas, I’m thinking of what I can do. Let’s think, what can we begin to do?

Some Beginners Luck & My Latest Discovery of Natural Oils

10 Oct

After looking everywhere for Quinoa and not finding it, I decided to start up a small business supplying Quinoa in my city. As is natural, I developed some cold feet because you know, the doubts always pop up. Thank God for the last minute ‘I’ll do it anyways’ and for my sister who always gives me the push. I bought a few packs and told a few people about it. In an interesting turn of events, I found a lady who runs a healthy foods business and I sold out on one of the sizes on the first day! What are the odds? Paulo Coelho would call that Beginners Luck. Well, it’s still surreal but I’m excited about this start and now planning to go full scale. To read more about Quinoa, check out my previous blogpost on the superfood.

The focus of today’s post is my recent discovery of natural and essential oils. Of course these oils have been there forever but I was simply not aware of them, sadly too. It’s absolutely amazing what God has provided for us in nature. It’s mind-boggling the treasures hidden in plain sight.

There are hundreds of oils – rare vegetable oils and essential oils – obtainable from various sources ranging from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots and bushes to seeds. In the case of essential oils, they are generally classified using the alphabets. There’s a Wikipedia page listing essential oils in alphabetical order. You’ve probably heard of olive oil, lavender, chamomile, frankincense, eucalyptus, ylang ylang or tea tree oil; well there are hundreds more, up to or over 300 more.

So what’s the big deal about these oils?

It’s the fact that they are natural, chemical free, paraben free and have vast benefits from aromatherapy to skin care, hair care and body care and even for uses around the home. They have healing properties, nutritional benefits and are packed full of minerals and vitamins. It is amazing what one oil gotten from a tree in Morocco contains!

For the purpose of this post, I will focus on one absolutely miraculous oil: Argan Oil

The Argan oil is a  type of vegetable oil sourced from kernel nuts from the ancient Argan tree which can only be found in Morocco today.

I first learnt about the benefits of Argan oil for the hair from my sister, see her blogpost here. I knew I had to have it after reading that blogpost! I even thought it was only good for hair but on further research, I found that this oil has myriad uses in both culinary and cosmetic fields and it has gained so much popularity in the beauty world in recent times that it is called ‘Liquid Gold.’ Just one or two drops of this oil is miraculous for the skin, hair and nails, it contains tons of beneficial nutrients.

It contains Vitamin E, Vitamin A, antioxidants which strengthen the skin and leave it soft and youthful and it also helps to clear scarring and stretch marks. It contains cartenoids which create a protective barrier against the ultra violet radiation of the sun – a desperate need for me. It’s used as treatment for acne and it helps the complexion. It contains ferulic acid and polyphenols which fight against skin aging, it contains proteins which help maintain the skin’s elasticity, keeping it tight and fresh looking. It also imparts luster and strength to the hair, it helps prolong hair life and stimulate hair growth by increasing the amount of keratin produced. It strengthens the nails and soften cuticles.

For culinary purposes, Argan oil is considered a ‘superfood’ due to it’s highly nutritive properties. It is high in unsaturated fat and beneficial for people suffering from heart conditions.

Post my amazing discovery of Argan oil, I am parking my Proactiv and plan to explore these natural resources God has created for us. Instead of looking for skin and haircare products packed with chemicals, I plan to explore natural products from here on out.

Here is an Argan Oil range I found on Holland & Barrett.

There are several products it has been used in but I zero in on 4.

MiaFlora Argan Oil 

This is pure argan oil for direct, topical applications on hair, nails and skin.

Mia Flora Argan Oil

Mia Flora Argan Oil, 59ml bottle £6.49 

 

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Body Wash

A moisturizing rich daily bath & shower gel based on Organic Argan Oil blended with Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Orange Fruit Extract, Clove Oil, Geranium Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Patchouli Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Wild Mint Oil, Mandarin Peel Oil, Vanilla Fruit Extract, Spearmint Oil, Kigelia Fruit Extract, Roselle Flower Extract, Baobab Fruit Extract.

Dr Organic - Moroccan Argan Oil Body Wash, 250ml, £5.49

Dr Organic – Moroccan Argan Oil Body Wash, 250ml, £5.49

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Body Soufflé

Ultra-whipped luxurious body crème formulated with Organic Argan Oil and Argan extract combined with Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Shea Butter, Orange Fruit Extract, Clove Oil, Geranium Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Patchouli Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Wild Mint Oil, Mandarin Peel Oil, Vanilla Fruit Extract, Spearmint Oil, Kigelia Fruit Extract, Roselle Flower Extract and Baobab Fruit Extract.

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Body Soufflé, 200ml tub, £9.29

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Body Soufflé, 200ml tub, £9.29

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

This is a restoring and hydrating shampoo formulated with Organic Virgin Argan Oil, Orange, Clove, Geranium, Lemon, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Rosewood, Wild Mint, Mandarin, Vanilla, Spearmint, Kigelia, Roselle and Baobab. So many amazing natural ingredients in one bottle.

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, 265ml £5.99

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, 265ml £5.99

 

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number…

13 Sep

I’ve had to learn that this age thing…is aaallll in the mind.

I have friends who you would swear are 10 years younger than their age, and friends who you would swear are 10 years older than their age. Who’s fooling who? Age in years is pretty insignificant, in the end, content and personality is king.

 

Finding this quote by Yoko Ono had me going…hmmmmm.

On the part that humans created the concept of time though, I doubt that’s correct. God created time. How we operate within time however, is entirely up to us.

Something to ponder on. Share your thoughts…

Will You Set Yourself Free?

10 Sep

I’ve been getting some real inspiration and food for thought from the Obamas recently. Yeah, you guessed, it was all sparked from Michelle’s speech and several other speeches at the just concluded DNC.

The way she stood tall, elegant and graceful all at once, with those beautiful nails and with determined passion, and spoke for her husband; moving us to tears and making us want to cast our votes and almost devote our lives to him. Even if those words were scripted, the passion in her heart came shining through – undeniably. She started her husband up on the path of victory.

The question I asked myself was what if I (just as I am today) was Michelle Obama? Would I take the stand and boldly declare my unflinching support for my husband or would I shrink back in timidity and say, ‘No I can’t face that crowd, let someone else do it, everyone will be looking, I may bumble and stumble, maybe Hilary Clinton do it.’

It sounds inconceivable right now, given the context, after all she’s the president’s wife but think about it for just a miniute and imagine yourself as Michelle right now, standing in front of that crowd! It’s amazing how we limit ourselves just because we won’t be bold!

That aside, what got me thinking even more today was the story of Scott Van Duzer, a 46 year old pizza shop owner in Florida. President Obama was on a bus tour and made an unannounced stop at Mr. Duzer’s pizza shop. You wouldn’t believe what Mr. Duzer did! He engulfed the President in a big bear hug and proceeded to lift him up off the ground!

Absolutely amazing stuff! Who hugs the President and lifts him up off the floor? Well, you can see the video for yourself here.

Now I couldn’t get over this. Yeah I know, some are introverts and some are extroverts, some have larger than life personas and some just smile quietly and light up the room. I couldn’t help but think though that what got into this guy’s head? Nothing clearly. He acted out of his excitement and passion in that moment because if he thought about it for one second, he couldn’t have done it. It’s the President of the United States! Secret Service agents are crawling all over, an FBI, MI6 or CIA sniper is probably in position in some building across the street! I am so sure Van Duzer didn’t think through that situation, he just followed his heart in that moment.

Now he stands out, because the President has made many unannounced stops at pizza parlors and ice cream shops and people just control their excitement and fold their hands behind their backs. This is one visit Mr. President won’t forget in a hurry!

Have you ever stopped to think how much our brain stops us? You see that friend and want to give them a big bear hug but then you think, ‘is it appropriate?’ ‘is it the right weather?’ ‘does he/she like being hugged?’ and there goes the hug, outside the window!

I’m making a case for spontaneous, ‘Be free Oh™’ living! Sometimes, our rational thinking is our worst enemy.

Have a fab week!

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

29 Aug

Maya Angelou’s poem came to mind today, it’s a beautiful poem of hope.

God has been teaching me in recent times to have joy in the middle of every type of circumstance. It’s a pertinent lesson given the state of the world today. Apt too for where I am at as a person. I’m really learning that happenings around, of whatever kind, cannot determine my mental, emotional and spiritual well being.

I also seem to be coming to a realization that we have a lot to learn from some animals! I read a poignant book about ants recently, this poem speaks of birds and it really really speaks.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

Comfort Zone Dwellers

24 Aug

So I discovered that I’m a comfort zone dweller. And it’s not just as in casual comfort zone dwelling, it’s the glued into the space kind of thing; with those types of glue for gluing wood or metal or something tougher.

Getting  me out of my comfort zone is like pulling a tooth with a plier sans anesthetic, you can expect to get varied reactions from fleeing like a crazed woman to hyperventilating to an outright temper tantrum.  And I confess, it’s frustrating, very frustrating. I know for a fact that no one grows in their comfort zone so I have to battle this one out. Battle it out I will, starting from the inside out.

I just find myself wondering, what’s the deal with this comfort zone thing? How does a person get so cooped up in a certain way of being or doing that it becomes so hard to break out?

I looked around my favourite internet spot ‘Google’ a bit, to hear what people had to say. In all, it looks like there are many comfort zone dwellers out there. Humanity loves the familiar, those shoes that are well worn but make you feel soooo comfortable or the weather beaten belt that you just won’t let go of because when you wear it, it’s just one with your waist line. Lol, I had one like that, my sister literally forced it out of my life, she had it in for that belt! We all tend to gravitate towards the path of least resistance, it just feels warm and cozy.

Staying in that comfort zone isn’t a winning strategy for life though. Nobody did anything great sitting in their bathrobe, sipping tea from their 10 year old mug. I personally don’t see it getting me to the next level or helping me with my growth strategy. That’s why tons of people grow in age but not in maturity, I loved my teenage days but I just found I had to let go! And even then, life thrust adulthood on me, I just was faced with adult issues and I had to adapt.

Change is the only one constant thing in life and it’s best to embrace it and anticipate it, that way it’s easier.

Oh well, this is one post where I feel like I’m rambling but the decision has been made, one step at a time, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone! Starting from today!

Have a fab weekend folks!

 

God Is Disturbing Us

26 Jul

So I got a free e-book by subscribing to Chance Scoggin’s blog. Very great blog I have to say, absolutely great.

The book is a compilation of quotes that have impacted him; I liked what I saw on the title, ‘Wisdom from the past, calling you to your future…’

I found an excerpt from the prayer below in the book, so I went in search of the whole. It was penned by Sir Francis Drake.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Sir francis drake -1577
If you ask me, God is disturbing a whole lot of us right  now, big time. May His disturbing yield plenty of fruit.
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