We all Pick Places 

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  It’s ‎4: 45 pm. I’m in church helping the lady decorating. This backdrop had been there for over six month’s. We were talking about her choice of colours. A discussion which seemed unnecessary to me because she had already bought the materials and ribbons needed. We talked anyway. I could not see how the colours would be matched. I needed her to show me. I gave up. I told her to do what she intended, “forget my talk and do as you originally planned”. I heard my stomach grumble. I don’t know if she heard it too. If she did, she did not feel offended. 
I looked at the time. We would have to set the work aside. Service starts at five. I was to take the Bible study, so I knew this had to be a quickie. while the one man choir took praise and worship I walked out of the building. 
The church had no toilet. They had not thought it necessary to build one when the church was initially planted. I looked around. I knew where I was headed. I had been there before. We were in the middle of Sunday School when I felt my stomach make this same noise. I stayed put, focusing on the teacher hoping it would pass. It got louder. I guess it was piqued by my defiance. Just like today, I walked out and headed for the road. 
The houses  in the village had one thing in common. No Toilets. When I was looking to rent a house, this was the challenge. The people had found a way to settle the situation. They called it Bush Business.
As I crossed the road today, I did the same thing I did that Sunday. I walked not as one having a cursor hanging over his head. I acted like I did not have anything burning me underneath my dress. 
I look over my shoulder, scan around to be sure I am out of view. I take a look once more at the church, I notice again, it’s distance from the next building. The church is in the middle of nowhere, because the community did not want a church  so close to them, I think they picked a stone and threw it with all the strength they could muster and this is where the stone must have landed; where the the church is now.
I knew my way around this terrain. The footpath had been created by charcoal farmers who longer plied this route. I starred at the spot where I had been before, a sort of bond existed between me and these trees, the leaves, and everything that made up this bush.  It had covered my shame, and was going to do it again.
I looked around, wondering where to settle. I moved closer to a tree stump. The leaves were withered. I did not like this area; I moved on. I settle somewhere without a stump. Plain ground, patched leaves carpeted the area. The way I felt I knew I was there. I went for my buckle, unclasped and zippers down. Squat. I heard the sound of a bike, then a car and another bike. Nothing was coming again. I remembered that verse, “my little children, for whom I travail in birth again… .” I am not sure Paul ever thought a missionary aeons after his letter to the Galatians would remember this verse in the bush, while taking a dump. I wondered how often Paul went into the bush to travail. I did not travail here. ‎I brought out the tissue. I swiped anyway. Got up. Zipper up. Belt buckled. 
I did a show of trying to bury it.
 I walked away.
I was happy to be myself again. Shaking off minutes ago when I had to submit to the mood swing of my bowels. As I neared the road, I looked back. I wanted to memorise the place I picked. 


Wondering Moments

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1. The house was shanty like. One room. Not dirty, but litters of a sort. There were mosquito nets leaning on the walls. Buckets. Pots. Pans. I looked around, no TV, no sound, no decoder, no chair. Only this fair, beautiful, innocent day old baby, a sign of something better in this room. I wondered for how long? 

2. My conversations with this particular lady was beginning to tend towards friendship. A colleague. I recognised she knew things I did not know in this work space. Though she hides her awareness under the guise of showing me around, I can still sense it. My friendship with her is too heavy for my ego. She is calling. She says my my conversation with someone earlier today was a bit brash. I should not be so direct next time. I wonder for how long we would be friends.

3. The house is empty. Just me. No friends, no appliances. My phones are the only contact to the outside world. Noise from outside weave with my thought. They are planing a christening. I prayed with the Igbo family yesterday. The mother is happy. Yet, I could sense the heavy heart. ‎The baby is a girl. This is her second. She can only hope.

4.‎ I have been standing at the bus stop almost an hour. I’m beginning to feel older. I feel the heat underneath my shirt. The sweat dripping down my body. I feel naked. Vulnerable. Where are all the cabs in Ilorin this afternoon? I hate to wait. I begin to pace. Not pace, but then pacing. I do not know if my anger is directed at the right entity.

5. It is 7:22am. I am at the park along airport rd. I am going to Ibadan. I’m wondering if taking the drivers word is wisdom. He says when I get to Ojoo, I should enter Iwo Road. The cry “Ejo edakun e fun Mi l’owo” interrupts my thought. The boy followed me here. I feeI like somebody interrupted my sleep on a Saturday morning. I want to think in peace. I look in my hand. I give him the thirty naira, so he can leave.  And then I remember that verse in the Bible. The story where Christ teaches on prayer. It’s Luke 11.
I wonder, maybe I’m not praying enough.

Still, Just Love

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“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.   Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”‎ (Romans 15:12-13; NIV)

I am not an expert on matters dealing with feelings and concepts. But the idea of love as a concept fascinates me. The above verse when read starting from verse 10 speaks of something beyond the superficial, it a sublime life story  of a man, who choose to die for His friends. A man who thought his friends worthy, willingly sacrificed himself for them.

I once heard a story of man who constantly was filled with jealousy and rage over his wife’s beauty the he constantly accused her of infidelity. And daily she would tell him, “I married you, it is you I love”. As the story has it, one day he returns home from work meets his wife and daughter in the living room chatting away. He requests to speak with her in the room. She walks in and he shuts the door, opens his brief case and brings out a small bottle. He empties the contents of the bottle on his wife; her face disfigured for  life from that acid bath.  And years and years after when the little girl is older, the man who walked out of the house after the act of cruelty sends a letter to the family he hurt and abandoned. He is alone now, dying of cancer, he begs his wife to let him come home, that she might take care of him. His daughter now narrating this story cannot comprehend her mother who is willing to take the man back.

I think this is what love is;  Loving those that do not deserve it; loving those who hurt us and spitefully use and abuse us. It’s like we can comfortably say, loving is not what we do when it’s comfortable and acceptable; it’s most powerful when we love those who do not deserve it.‎

Christ was careful to answer the question of which was the the most important commandment. He said ,”love the Lord the God and the second is like it, love your neighbour as I have loved you. On this two all the other commandments stand”.

Apostle Paul, in his First  epistle to the corinthians defines love with this simple everyday words: “love is kind…it is not self seeking, it keeps no record of wrong. (13:4,5; NIV)‎.  He further explains the characteristics of love in this verse, “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (7; KJV).

In the reality of it, it is almost impossible to love. Even when you are able to transcend your self, and become effacing, putting the other first (Phil 2:3-4), people will still doubt you, and “perceive” that you as having an ulterior motive

Take this personal situation for instance.‎ 

I called a friend  and after quick pleasantries,  said she was in the middle of something and would call me back in ten -twenty minutes. She called back 10-15 hours later apologising. My, “it’s not a big deal” feed back got her vexed. She was expecting that I’d be crossed at her. Any right thinking person, would have thought, she got so busy and forgot. She thought I took offence and was not happy that I was not saying my mind.

The cruelty that lurks the reality of our daily existence makes it seem so unnatural to be kind. Kindness is rare. Its almost like  contrarieties; Human being and kindness. But we cannot allow society define us. Our relationship with God should define how we relate with others, not the other way round. I know people who are loving, people who would go the whole nine yards when you have only asked for a walk across the lawn and they would do it over and over, even when it is most uncomfortable. Friends should love regardless; brothers should give without expectation because that is the example God set, and Jesus followed suit.

This is the conclusion of the matter, quoting ‎Tim LaHaye, “Love cannot simple wait to give”.

Can I leave God out?

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 My friend said to me a couple of weeks ago “don’t bring God into everything”. We were talking about his Business Ventures and a career path for him. 

 I have not been able to put that statement to rest. It keeps coming back to me. 

I can’t remember how I replied him, but I know I said something like we could not leave God out.

As I keep thinking about it,  I realise that his statement was  was an echo; a reverb. He was speaking his mind, but he echoed the minds of many others.  

Can I leave God out of anything? No I can not. He is in everything. Everything was created by Him. It would be foolhardy to try and take the creator out of the creature and expect that I would get full expression from the creature. 

Let me rephrase, when a person does not acknowledge God as an integral part of their relationship with people or events or things, they are bound to receive less than it meets their desires.

The full expression of an individual’s  ability is only attainable when he is aware and walks in the knowledge of the God factor.

You see, this my friend was at a cross Road; he was making an important life decision. What to do with his life? And he wanted to leave The Giver of Life out of the decision making process. It/he would have been disaster. He was about to do a trial an error test; an open window to frustration.

Actually, my friend is aware of the God factor, but like many in his shoes, he is not ready to walk in that knowledge. 

When you are aware of the “Boss” status of a person and fail to align or submit your self to his authority, you would have declared yourself an antagonist of him. 

If you know God is LORD, and don’t submit your self to his Lord ship you are walking on ice. 

Not able to recollect the things I said, I have decided to share some of what I remember and a bit of additions. 

I said “make your decisions but lay them before God. And if you are not sure which is which, lay it all before Him and ask for guidance. This means you would pray. Pray like your answer depends on it, because it does. In addition you would align your self with him. Let Him mentor you; show you things. Study His life and see how you can begin to be like Him. His life you would find in the Bible. 
And above all make yourself worthy of the friendship you desire. Let your character be like His.”

He went “Seun, I pray. I read my Bible when I can.” 

That’s the thing. Then God would answer you when He can. He would be available to you when He feels so. 

I wanted to tell him, you haven’t been able to keep a steady relationship in six years, because you don’t put your girl first. And then you think The God who created the girl who left you because, you put her second place would answer to your one minute grunts. Hian!  I did not. I could not. I would have  missed the opportunity. 

So I said to him you know how you were crossed with Ope ( not real name) cos she was seeing someone else, while she was with you. You thought she was not serious. And you walked away. And then when you met Titi ( NRN)‎, she would complain about how you don’t make time for her. You only see her when you are on your home from having been with us all day. 

“What does this have to do with what we are talking about” 
he said. 

Ignoring His question I went on. You left Ope because she was not into you. She only liked the idea of being with someone all her friends were talking about. You left Titi cos she was asking to be first and not second fiddle to you and your guys. And you could not stand being with Toby anymore because she was not honest about certain things in the beginning of your relationship. I paused, trying to catch my breath.

 “IGE, IGE why you dey quite now” came through. 

I answered, God wants the same things the girls I mentioned (to name a few) wanted and what you too wanted from Toby.

1. A real relationship. One that pleased both partners.

2. First place. Not second. Not,when-I-am-going-to-bed relationship. Priority status.

And 3. Honesty. No lies, no games. Straight and straight all through.  

Checking to see if I was speaking to myself, I asked, “what do you think?”

He sighed. So I continued, “take sometime this week and weigh your options. If you think you can adjust and make things right with God, good for you. You are the one who needs adjusting not God. You. But this time, you are lucky. 

I heard him ask “lucky, how?” 

Taking my time, I said, “God is patient. He is willing to help work on your relationship with him. He understands.”

A Question of Power: Ben Okri’s “Meditations on Greatness” at Africa Writes

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AiW Guest Réhab Abdelghany

I first saw Ben Okri in a photograph that the Africa Centre had sent me back in 2000 to accompany an interview with the first Caine Prize winner, Leila Aboulela, which I published later in Egypt. In that photo, Okri was congratulating Aboulela with a warm smile and a pat on the shoulder. Some months later in Cairo, a used copy of The Famished Road in a bookshop on the famous Road 9 caught my attention. I picked it up only to find out who this Ben Okri was; after all, the best way to know a writer is to visit the place where his creative mind is revealed. Ever since, I have been on the road.

Ben Okri at Africa Writes © Benjamin Elwyn Ben Okri at Africa Writes © Benjamin Elwyn

One day last month, this road brought me to the British Library for Ben Okri’s sold-out lecture “Meditations on Greatness” as part…

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Consumption Theory: Social Media vs Private Media

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Read and Enjoy. Thanks to Adejokeiyaibadan’s blog for the excerpt. Then i went looking for the piece.

R.G. Tamaki


Experience IMAX 3D and the ultimate home theater experience in surround sound and Ultra-HD. Welcome to the world of blogs and microblogs, of forums and comment sections where everything is about trending and tagging; tweeting and trolling; searching and snapchatting; installing and instagramming; logging in and never signing out.

In the age of the spinning wheel, the beep-beep-bops, and the dot-dot-dots, this is the era of the viral state of mind—the mass consumption of social media.

Now right off the bat let me just say that I’m all for social media. I like blogs, facebook, youtube, etc. I think they’re wonderful and I believe that Gary Vaynerchuck was right when he said that we are now living in “the second industrial revolution.” But amidst these technological tectonic shifts in our reality, it just seems to me that something is lacking. Like an obese person looking at himself in the mirror for the…

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Finding Purpose

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Thinking about life in itself will raise the absurdity of it all. But thinking about ones personal life, that entirely is a different ball game. You find yourself coursing the paths of destiny, faith, ideology, belief and the others. But more frequently, you find that you keep coming to your actions and the reasons behind them – wondering if you could have done it differently. Well, everything and anything could have been done differently. The thing you should examine is the reason behind your actions, what were they stemmed on?

In recent times, I have been reading less fiction; more biographies, memoirs and the likes, basically, non-fiction. I have found myself entertaining new perspectives. And some point, I have had to reassess my beliefs and stand points, whereas, realized that most of my decisions have been guided by irrationalities, a lot of them.

In all, I have come to one conclusion- rather sweeping and overblown though- nobody knows anything. We are trying to make an understanding of the things we see and hear; the things we read and believe in. We are all just trying to connect the dots. Nothing more.

Look, for some folks, it is easier to make overblown statements than accept ignorance.

Faced with the possibility of death I have found myself thinking the most puerile, hilarious, and sometimes vein thoughts. I have painted scenarios of no possible reality, all to account for the 50-50 chance in which I had found myself.

The world is filled with people who out of lack of logical answers for their questions have rejected the available answer.

I am here to make overblown statements. If you cannot take them, walk away now. That statement itself is overblown.

I have heard people say that life is meaningless. Yes, that is true if you think about it, on a parallel with existence. So, when l hear someone say such, I understand where they are coming from. A life of no meaning is a life driven by guesses and possibilities, a life where action is based on circumstance not direction or goal; a life where purpose is void. Life is individualistic. There’s no communal to purpose, just existence.

So, if one does not have knowledge of purpose of existence, existence becomes valueless, ergo, meaningless. Did the Bible not say my people perish for lack of Vision. When you are driven by purpose, one understands that bleakness is just a situation; vicissitude. A change in cycle and one must stay steady, move with the cycle while finding your path. One must take the griefs and joys that life throws at you, work the way to your miracles. Your small miracles are your building blocks to immortality. And miracles don’t just happen, you strive stridently, staying on course persistently, bit by bit, making a head way.

To this end, what wall is your ladder resting on? Making sure to succeed is small. Succeeding at the right thing is more grand. In ‘clichéd’ terms, fulfilling destiny is grander than grand.

Daily, it becomes more visible that the race to fulfilment starts at the beginning – creation. Another sweeping statement; ignore all that noble talk about achieving or walking in line with destiny, many folks are living life on terms of “what you love to do” or “what you find yourself doing”. Very few people are on the path to fulfilment.

Fulfillment is the result of having done appropriately what you are supposed to do, and within the scheduled time frame. Fulfillment is when we accomplish destiny.

Talent is not purpose. Talents are elements or factors that should, and or, would make living a life of purpose and or, achieving purpose easier.

The only way to access one’s purpose is through revelation – God reveals purpose. God created us; so to know and understand destiny go back to God.

There’s a purpose for the existence of a being, and a time frame too. Connecting with the source of that purpose is key to accessing that programme, and delivering in record time is even greater. You cannot enter into Gods divine plan for your life, if you are not consciously seeking God, and his purpose for your life.

Its like using a computer. Control+ V is programmed as a shortcut for cut. Unless you know this the Control and V would be two buttons with different functions. You never maximise a computer until you know all its functions and capability and use them to your satisfaction.

So, you could be achieving, and making mark, but if the heavens haven’t revealed your purpse, you are probably just doing good at your passion.

Holistically, our lives should give God glory and be of benefit to mankind.

Let’s start with, benefit to mankind; Does your life (in the least, tangentially) benefit mankind?