Please ask that question

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When was the last time you travelled, what excited you and what were your expectations? It’s been said people on a journey often look out for the destination and hardly take note of the experiences on the road especially if the trip was by road; not many people can remember the cities they passed through. I recently went on a trip with my friend that ended up becoming a weekend to remember and to think it was just a night beats me.

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We had set off by train and for some funny reason when we got to the last stop we stayed back thinking it was still going further to the final destination which was in the same city, while we were still wondering the train started going back. You don’t want to know how confused and funny we looked, while my friend went online to find out, I quickly asked the lady sitting close to us and she explained what happened and advised us to get down at the next stop to join another train. We eventually got down in a place that looks like a hunted place and did I mention we were the only ones at the station but after about 30 minutes a train came forth.

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That moment nothing on the board makes sense

 

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Please look beyond the smile on my friend’s face and look at the surroundings. Doesn’t it look deserted and No i wasn’t smiling, that was a confused face.

 I will spare you the entire story of the trip but will highlight something really important. It’s okay to ask questions when you are in doubt; in my native language it’s said this way onye ajuju anaghi efu uzo (Someone who asks questions never misses the way). Imagine for a second we chose to keep quiet and act cool. No one knows it all; you may just be an information away from that job, scholarship, business funding etc. Ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse in this era we are living in; this generation is referred to as Generation X and it’s not a mistake.

I remember watching a programme where the mistakes done by medical personnel was highlighted and one of the advice given was to always ask what drug was been administered. I can’t forget the woman whose breast was removed; not 1 but the 2 as a result of a mix up of a cancer test result, apparently the result of another person who had cancer was given to her.  There are many more mistakes that have been made in the past and who knows another one could be taking place now.

I would rather been known as the person who asks lots of questions than the one who dies in silence out of ignorance or the fear of asking. So can we go out there and become better informed by asking the required questions. While you are thinking, take some time to be grateful you’ve a roof over your head, everything may not make sense now, you may not have achieved your life’s goal for the past 5 months but be grateful. We got teary-eyed over the weekend when we passed some homeless people protesting.

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Loads of Love

JMAD

N/B: Nigeria just successfully and peacefully handed over to another government that will be led by President Muhammadu Buhari. I pray for wisdom upon you Sir, the entire world is watching and hoping for a miracle. The task ahead won’t be easy but I pray you surround yourself with wise counsellors. God Bless Nigeria

Muhammadu Buhari

Photo Credit : Reuters

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Dealing with grief

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I recently wrote about my walking trip organised by SVB where I am volunteering. I work with the African Caribbean Women’s group. You never really know the essence of coming together to share different experiences until it hits you and you realise how much you want someone to just listen to you. This is what the group does; women come together to draw strength from each other. In our last meeting there was a reoccurring issue that came up, not just with one woman but 3 women. They had each lost someone in their lives at different times but got the same response from those around them. People expected them to grieve in a particular way, in fact one was recommended for psychiatric evaluation because she wasn’t responding to grief the way they had expected her to. The good news is all three women have moved on, they have become pillars of support to others around them.

Grief is something everyone will experience in life whether we believe it or not; no parent wants to bury their child hence the child will go through grief when the parent dies or whenever anyone experiences any form of loss. It may not always be death; it could be the news of a terminal disease, loss of a job, failure at exam or anything that causes distress. We are either at the receiving end or have someone within our inner circle going through this phase. No matter the position you occupy you are still affected, and your response affects many people. Let’s look at the person experiencing the loss in whatever capacity; we shouldn’t always expect them to cry all the time, some people express their emotions behind closed doors and it’s perfectly okay besides they often do it to remain strong for people around them. Often times they may not need you to come around to start asking lots of questions, they may just need your presence without your words and it’s equally acceptable; we need to learn to be comfortable with silence.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt in life, it’s that feeling of knowing people have got your back, that place where you can come together and just be yourself. It’s found in friendship; you don’t try to act like superman/woman before them rather you are comfortable showing your vulnerability, inadequacies knowing full well they may not have all the answers to life but all of you can come together to discuss possible solutions. After all it’s written Iron sharpens iron. No one should walk this earth alone; a close friend recently made a drastic decision from an experience he was going through and when I found out I was extremely sad and I asked him why he didn’t reach out to me? Granted I may not have had the solution but we would have reasoned together and probably sought help from elsewhere. There have been stories of people who had died in their apartments for days and no one even noticed their absence because they had lived an isolated life.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am not saying you should run off to go make friends with everyone rather be friendly, look out for friends of like minds or support groups. Never live in a place where no one knows you exist. This sums it up perfectly ‘Two are better than one… for if they fall one will lift up his companion but woe to him, who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up’ Eccl 4:9 – 10.

Phote Credit : Google Images

N/B: Sharing Voices Bradford isn’t just a women’s group, it is for men too, just in case you need help or want to refer someone.

Loads of Love

JMAD.

Close to the edge

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I am a firm believer in looking beyond the surface; the earth was created in a way that prompts our instincts to act without prior knowledge or experience. I watched a documentary where an Eagle made the nest uncomfortable for the Eaglets at the top of the mountain and eventually made them take a dive from the top. They had never flown before it was a scary sight just watching them fall from there; some of them let out their wings and started gliding while others died by crashing at the bottom.

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I recently went on a Walking Trip to Malham Cove with an organisation Sharing Voices Bradford I’m volunteering with ; it was an interesting journey. I never knew Penguins are faithful partners; I think humans should observe them and probably learn from them how to remain faithful to one partner, the female Octopus dies after her eggs hatch, there were other stories of other animals and their behaviours that is rated PG18 for this blog. Thanks Saba for the enlightenment.

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But this post isn’t about animals, on our way to the fountain we saw this massive tree that had been cut many years ago. It had many coins stuck into the body; I’m guessing it has to do with people making a wish but the remarkable thing about the tree was that it was still alive. I just said it is close to the water and it can never die and another person responded ‘Isn’t it like the verse in the Bible, a tree planted by the riverside shall never wither ‘. We finally got to the fountain and my daring self climbed up to the top, although it wasn’t so high but a lady taking a walk got scared and called out ‘Be careful, you are close to the edge’. I smiled, looked down, took the pictures and went down.

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imageIn a space of less than a mile I had experienced two scenarios of staying at the edge, one was the tree at the edge of the running water from the fountain and standing at the top of the fountain. Going back to the tree at the edge; it will remain alive so long as it remains close to the water, regardless of what happens around it, if the water remains its source it will never die. As humans we all have our individual sources, no matter how much we claim to be self-sufficient we can’t live without the Source. The question is what is your Source? Have you cut-out supply from the Source?

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Getting to the top of the fountain wasn’t like climbing Mount Everest but at the same time, not many of us on the trip climbed that far. If the woman had told me while I was on the way to the top that it wasn’t a good idea, I probably would have listened to her but she told me when I was already there with all the excitement. I may have gotten nervous and who knows something crazy would have happened but I just calmed my nerves down and looked down which made it less scary. We all get to the edge once in a while in life. You climb the height of success in your career, just when you are about to take another leap to the next phase the voices either in your head, through friends, associates or family start to go off giving you reasons why you are not capable or inadequate. You experience a life threatening situation, it gives you the option of either holding onto what you believe or jump off the cliff to an unknown territory, hoping you’ll find solace there only to find out at the end, it was never really worth it.

imageWe can’t predict how our lives turn out neither can we successfully plan to stay off the edge but we have control on how we react when we get to that stage.  The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble – Prov 18:14a Amp. I may never know your Source but it’s what you’ve drawn out of that Source that sustains you when you get to the edge. Guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life.

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Loads of Love

JMAD

Language; a reflection of your Identity

I recently had an interesting journey; it’s not always about the destination but what happens along the journey. I had already reserved a seat when I booked my ticket; because it was a connecting trip an elderly man was on my seat, apparently he was supposed to be sitting on the aisle. I had wanted to tell him but I noticed his wife was sitting opposite him, so I just smiled and sat in his seat. They were a very happy couple; the way the wife was tapping him to buy crisp reminded me of how little kids always want to pick up everything in the mall. He left a couple of times to either get a sandwich or a cup of tea; meanwhile we kept on passing this amazing scenery of the sea which definitely caught my attention and the man’s wife. The man adjacent to our seat noticed the excitement in our eyes when we saw the sea, somehow in one of the episodes of the elderly man getting up to go get something again the other man asked me to seat with him to get a better view of the sea.

From observing the sea, we got into a conversation that went from Peace studies, Arabian language, Religion, Art, Nature to Molecular Biology. In the course of the conversation, he said he couldn’t understand some of the words I spoke because of my accent and maybe his age is affecting him too (He’s English and probably in his late 60’s or 70’s). He said it in the most polite way, but I was quick to tell him it was Okay, I grew up in Nigeria and I have an accent. After that I slowed down in the way I spoke to him, and we had an amazing conversation although it was a short one because he got off about 30 minutes later.

I’m sure you are wondering why I am giving all that information. I have observed and heard many people complain that their accents or languages are often mocked, hence you see a couple of people trying so hard to change the way they sound if they get to leave their country. It’s amazing to see someone who went on a two weeks’ vacation to Dubai and comes back with an American accent (insert confused smiley). I watched a friend’s YouTube interview and in one of the comments someone said you still have your Nigerian accent, I couldn’t help laughing.

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The truth is, everyone has got an accent, even in the UK someone living in Yorkshire sounds different from someone living in London or in Scotland. You should never feel sorry or shy you have an accent; the only issue is when it affects your communication but if you can be understood then that’s fine. Am I saying you shouldn’t aspire to sound different? No but don’t lose your Identity in the process. Nations have experienced violent conflicts because people wanted to be taught in their languages. Your environment and your mother-tongue has a way of influencing the way you speak; pretending to be someone else only robs you of your Identity.

So next time someone says you have an accent; don’t feel offended rather use it as an opportunity to bring up a healthy conversation. It will amaze you to know the stereotype people have; I heard one of the most hilarious stories from my cousin. She told her classmate she was from Nigeria and he responded, you must be poor then. Just thinking of it makes me laugh real hard. Cheers to all those who are upholding their identity and an encouragement to those who are struggling to retain theirs in a globalized world.

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google