From Kutara : Influencing lives

One question we often ponder over at different stages in our lives is “what is my purpose”. The Purpose driven life by Rick Warren has sold over a million copies and many years from now it would still be on the shelves of bookstores. Experts say, in finding your purpose look out for things you hate and seek to change. A few friends and I haven’t fully discovered our entire purpose but we all share one thing in common, putting a smile on someone’s face and giving them a sense of belonging. We are the Friends of Kutara IDP camp and we spent some time with them a few months back.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 21.59.25
Amazing team

 

If you are a frequent reader on the blog you may have read our first visit to the camp. You can always read it up here. Something Adamu – the camp coordinator said that still resonates with me “We were displaced, but placed by God here”. Most of them are from Borno and Adamawa states who were affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria. They are currently 55 men, 99 women, 136 youths and 208 children.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-11 at 12.14.51

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.18.56

We started planning for our second visit and just like the first one, God smiled down on us through people. A few lines on a whatsapp group gave us two amazing Doctors – Babarinde and Mariam who happen to be classmates and hadn’t met since graduation. A friend donated his truck, two others sent in money to contribute to hiring a bus, another person sent in money to buy sanitary towel. People sent bags of clothes, books, shoes even damask gele. Not to talk of Marie Stopes International who sent three staff with their equipment to facilitate talks on family planning and Halima became our Hausa translator during the talks.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 20.22.49

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 20.15.37
Halima and Marie Stopes Staff during the family planning talks
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.34.58
Women waiting to be examined

The greatest gift you can ever receive is the gift of human beings and we sure received such gifts. Chioma was generous enough to capture the moments with her camera. Babarinde and Mariam attended to 43 patients mostly women (hopefully the next visit we would attend to more people including men and children). With instructions from our Doctors Efe, Halima, Chinwe and Akachi became pseudo nurses by dispensing drugs to the patients. The men Ebuka, Emeka, Tochi and Anthony were not left out. They spent time with some of the men and some of us visited their homes.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.31.25(1)
Our amazing Doctors – Mariam and Babarinde
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.12.41
I didn’t know a medical examination was filled with so much happiness…lol
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 21.16.26
Halima and Akachi: pseudo Nurses
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.35.06
From L-R Efe, Halima, Akachi, Chinwe, Emeka and our lovely Photographer Chioma who finally gets captured
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 18.09.31
Chinwe in her element…babies make her world go round. They sure shared a moment

One thing we all agreed on was the transparency in the way they shared the relief materials. We saw how they shared everything into 79 parts to cover the number of families they had in the camp and I mean everything. They all took turns to pick up their items by sending a representative when the family name was called.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.35.07(1)
Sharing of the relief materials according to the number of families
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.35.08
A family representative collects their share of rice
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 18.28.44
Ebuka, Emeka, Anthony, Akachi and some children

We are planning another visit in a few weeks from now and would be extending our hands to you to be a part of this amazing trip. So while we hope they can go back to their previous communities and resume their normal lives we can do a few things to improve their present condition. These are the current needs we would be meeting

  • Clothes (Men, Women, Youths, Children and Babies)
  • Shoes
  • Food items (Rice, Noodles, Tomato Puree, Beverages etc)
  • Toiletries ( Bathing soap, Washing powder, Sanitary Towel)
  • 4×4 Trucks
  • Buses
  • Medical Professionals (Doctors, Pharmacists, Dentists, Medical Lab Scientists)
  • Drugs
  • School Materials (Note books, Text books, Pencils)
  • Transferable skills (Soap making etc)
  • Renovation of their make-shift class-room block
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-11 at 18.57.23
The make shift black-board. They are raising distinguished students with such topics
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-11 at 18.57.53
Babarinde and I having a refresher course on Civic Education. You are never too old to learn
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 20.09.15
Efe addressing the camp on behalf of the team

Sometimes I wish I had the power to end the suffering in the world but sadly I can’t but I believe in the power of changing one life. We are doing just that and you can be part of it. You can reach us through the comment section or send an email to ccogbogu@yahoo.com.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.19.59
It was a good visit, the various facial expressions prove it *winkwink*
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 18.23.18
Of course i had to dance.
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 20.29.08
Boss lady. Events Planner extraordinaire
WhatsApp Image 2018-02-10 at 19.27.33
Yes young man, we love you.

Loads of Love

Friends of Kutara

Advertisements

Just a lil’ bit closer

A few months ago I had a conversation with a lady from the Eastern part of the country. I jokingly told her I was married to a man from the North and she literally rained down fire and brimstone, you know that kind of thing the Igbo people will say “tufiakwa” or “Chukwuaju” which both literally translates to God forbid. She had every right to make such statements after all, her brothers and sisters were been killed in the North, all of them in the North are killer herdsmen, all of them are members of Boko Haram. While you’re wondering where I’m headed with this story I’ll paint another picture.

Sometime last year I had attended a program organized by my local Church for the youths. It was a week long program with some adults from Church living in a camp with about 700 youths. On one of those days the organizing team for the variety night was supposed to shop for the gifts for the pageant winners. One thing led to the other and I was co-opted to join two (2) ladies. I literally fought my friend who made the suggestion… “I don’t know her well, we don’t talk, it would be one awkward drive” – my words to my friend and to make it worse, the second lady goes to sit at the back and leaves the front passenger seat for me *insertrollingeyes*. The first few minutes were indeed awkward and then a word here and there, then music, then more talk, then hysterical laughter, then we end up eating in the market (Agidi and pepper soup), then we buy boiled corn and coconut and then I peel to give her to eat while driving and then we start to dance to loud music in the car on our way back.

How often have we made decisions on assumptions, half-truths, media-sensational news? I have a colleague who is against globalisation. He feels everyone should remain in their countries. But here’s the thing about such statements no one is an island. Life happens, and we find ourselves constantly on the move. You will never understand anyone from a distance, you’ll make false assumptions when you don’t understand someone. Can you make an effort to get to know that loner in your class who everyone thinks is weird? Can you choose to seat close to that colleague over lunch and get to know her better although your colleagues feel she’s mean? Can you spend an extra minute speaking to that security man in your estate who you can’t stand his guts?

In the two stories certain assumptions were made. On one hand my new-found friend attended the same Church with me, served in the same ministry with me but I didn’t know her. Did I forget to add she also felt uncomfortable going with me – in her words it would be one awkward trip. On the other hand what I didn’t mention was my dear Northphobic lady had never lived in the North, all she knew about them was what she read and heard. What she doesn’t know is my first night in England during post-graduate studies was in Zainab’s house – A northern and a Muslim (We are not related, she was referred to me by a friend in Nigeria). What she may never know again is the few weeks I was using crutches to walk in school, it was a Pakistani-Muslim who offered to be dropping me off in school and asked I called him after my lectures to pick me up. The only link I had with him was we shared an apartment building.

Yes we live in a world dominated by technology and you’re a keypad away from any information in the world. But the question remains who controls the information you read about? Whose narrative is it? Is the information verifiable? If it is verifiable, what is the criteria? Cos at the end of the day, you will never know the person you don’t understand. If you don’t understand the person, you can’t make excuses for the person cos of misunderstanding. If you can’t make excuses for the person, you’ll be quick to make judgements. By making judgements you fall into the category of generalisation. And honestly almost everyone is fighting some demon. Can we all take a step closer to know someone.

Judgement

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google Images

Just one more

There are some movies you see and you literally forget it’s a movie – suspension of disbelief. You know that moment you suddenly feel your eyes getting wet and it’s not a vicious cry, it’s just that gentle stream of tears  that run down your cheeks. Unlike other tears you just let this one run down gradually cos’ you love the movie and at the same time it’s affecting your emotions in some way.

So a friend and I were discussing such movies that open the flood gates of tears and he suggested I saw “Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson. Of course I cried, it’s Mel Gibson – how can you see The Passion of the Christ and not say the sinners prayer over again. He now decides to move a notch higher with this true-life story of courage and faith. If you haven’t seen hacksaw ridge, I advise you do.

But we are not here for my tears. A part that struck me was when Private Desmond was on top of the mountain and letting down wounded American soldiers with a rope, his palms were already scarred and bleeding from the friction of the rope but he kept on saying “Please Lord let me get one more”. I wouldn’t be a spoiler, once again you should go see it if you haven’t. Wondering where I’m headed, just stay with me a little longer.

I joined an online workout group called The Challenger. It’s a small group of people interested in keeping fit and experiencing a total well being. We have different variations of workouts that’s most suitable for you. Recently cycling was added but on the condition you have to record 10 km before it can be calculated as a complete workout. I love cycling, but I usually do 3 – 5 km. So when I saw the distance we were to cover I fainted in my heart but then again that’s why it’s called the challenge.

I decided to attempt it this morning, woke up pretty early and headed out. By 2 km I was considering going back home. Energy was low and I had the option of combining the cycling with other routines to make for a complete workout but I remembered Private Desmond so I said one more and for every time my phone notified me of completing 1 km I said again just one more. And guess what, I completed and exceeded the target – 10.56km (waving my pom-pom).

We are gradually winding down in 2017, some of us have probably given up on our plans for the year. You may be thinking it’s November what can possibly happen in the 11th month that couldn’t happen in the entire passed ten months. It was recorded in Matthew 20 one of the parables of Jesus Christ that a man went out at the eleventh hour to recruit workers. Can you imagine what those workers had been thinking for the past 10 hours. They may have sent out countless CV’s, written multiple business proposals, who knows they may have even applied to the same company of the man and got rejected but in a split second their stories changed.

The interesting thing is, the man went out to look for them. These workers didn’t throw in the towel cos it was almost the end of the day, they were ready once they were called. A typical example of when opportunity meets preparation. The icing on the cake was that they were paid the same wages as those who started at the break of dawn. I’m sure you’re beginning to catch my drift.

What is your one more? What do you have to give the extra push? Who says you can’t start out that business this month? Who says you can’t sign that new employment contract? Who says you can’t get pregnant this year? Who says the amount of time you spent waiting is the same amount of time it would take to get it? Whose script are you reading? Who are you listening to? You’ve got 43 days left in the year and if you ask me, a whole lot can happen. So cheers to one more shot at our plans.

Loads of Love

JMAD

Rahab; a foreshadow of Nicki

When was the last time you heard some “good news” about someone you used to know? You quickly go into your brain archives to dig up all the contrary evidence you have of this person. Their not so good history, the history that holds all the reasons why they shouldn’t be beneficiaries to such good news. You’re probably not like that, in fact you have never had such thoughts about anyone. Doesn’t the Bible say “whatever things are pure…think on them” and you’re such a “good Christian”. You have done pretty well for yourself and deserve a standing ovation. But you see, some of us are still in the Potter’s Hand, our minds are still being renewed daily, we are constantly torn between who we are and who we ought to be. I have a confession to make and while I’m at it please try not to judge me.

The month of June is always extra special to me but this year added some toppings to the cake. If you’re a Nigerian you probably were aware of the #HallelujahChallenge but for those who are in the dark I’ll explain it. Nathaniel Bassey a Nigerian Gospel artiste inspired by the Holy Spirit, hosted a 1 hour praise session everyday in the month of June. What made it amazing was the fact it was online and started at 12 midnight. People tuned in from all over the world and because it was live, you could see when anyone joined and even dropped a comment.

 I remember joining and after a few days I started seeing some names pop up in the feed and when I mean names I’m referring to some “Secular Artistes and Actors”. I’m not sure what went through my mind but I could literally hear my self judging them and wondering what they were doing in such gathering. They should probably be sleeping and not staying awake to join some bunch of people who were praising, reading the Bible, praying in known and unknown tongues. But God reprimanded me, who was I to determine who joins in a praise session? Was my blood offered to God on their behalf? Who made me judge? Oh!!! My foolishness stared at me and I repented.

Just when you thought the world had few of my kind (before I repented) multiple headlines make the news.  Few days ago the justification of Tasha Cobbs featuring Nicki Minaj on one of her songs was and is still a topic of debate. While listening to a Mix on YouTube the song popped up. I instantly remembered the ongoing debate, and because my mind is always very busy I remembered my perception during the #HallelujahChallenge and it didn’t stop there, I was equally reminded of Rahab the Harlot in the Bible.

Rahab

For a long time I wondered why Rahab was mentioned in Hebrews 11 in the hall of fame of faith. At the back of my mind I knew she deceived the soldiers who were looking for the spies and I’ve always questioned the rationale of her making the list. But I was so wrong and God wanted me to know the truth. A teaching series on the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11 has been going on in my local Church. It’s been an exciting journey but so far Rahab’s teaching has been my best. Joshua 2: 9 – 11 holds something profound and “she said to the men,I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror and dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted [in despair] because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan [on the east], to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted [in despair], and a [fighting] spirit no longer remained in any man because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” While God sent signs to Abraham, Sarah, Moses etc she only heard of God’s exploits and believed He is God. Her faith came by hearing and like the Word says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God”.

for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” While God sent signs to Abraham, Sarah, Moses etc she only heard of God’s exploits and believed He is God. Her faith came by hearing and like the Word says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God”.

Rahab the Harlot, the somewhat “Nicki” of her time although not similar in occupation but are both unlikely candidates for the job they carried out. Negotiated the safety of not just her but her entire family, she would later become the great – grand mother of King David and many years later Jesus Christ was born from the descendant of the King. A look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1, only five (5) women were mentioned : Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah’s wife and Mary. Go and do an extensive research these women would never have ticked the boxes of our holy standards to birth the Savior of the world. Oh!!! May God break us especially those of us who sit in the front row in Church, who lead the Prayer team, may He break us to see through His lens. The “good, born-again Christians”, what does this even mean? Once you’re a Christian in the true sense of the word you’re Christ-like. It’s either you’re Christian or not, no extra qualification.

So hear it from a repented heart, God loves you as much as He loves Nicki. Yes, she may not tick your box of Christian standards but God sees her through the Blood of Jesus. What I think we should do as the body of Christ is to lift her up in prayers. God’s ways are sooo far from ours and He works in mysterious ways. He can use anyone and anything to His glory and like Rahab said “He is God in heaven and on earth” and like Nicki said in I’m getting ready

‘Cause me and all my angels shot the devil up
While you was trying to pull me down I levelled up
I levelled up twice, I levelled up three times
He tapped ’em and told ’em “she’s mine”
So even when I cried I knew I’d be fine
Prepare for a miracle blessing in these times
Now praise Him, raise Him, name it, claim it
Every tongue that rises up against me, shame it
I breathe success in and out my lungs
I got the power of life and death coming out of my tongue

And like she said God tapped them and told them she’s mine. These are prophetic words and as you said believing the power of life and death are in your tongues, I speak the life of Christ over you and may your life point the world to Christ.

May we all be gracefully broken that we can accommodate others.

Loads of Love

JMAD

N/B Photo Credit : Google Images