Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Journey so far... 2

The Journey So Far...2

The Flight from Heathrow London to Atlanta was nine hours long. I was seated close to this really cute Indian couple, the wife was fine and small boned but still managed to appear fleshy and smelt of spices and some flavorful scent that was both ethnic and hot at the same time, the smell was musky and heady, I shifted slightly away from its richness, I didn't want to end up smelling like them.
I settled into my seat, this time bent on watching as much movies as I possibly could.
After the first two movies, I couldn't concentrate anymore. I was awash with a good dose of anxiety. I had bought some much required naija food (crayfish, pepper, etc you know now) and suddenly I was morbidly sure I was going to be stopped and questioned extensively like those Malaysian visitors I watch on 'Border Security' on Reality channel trying to enter into Austrailia.
I imagined how the food will be taken away and I had to apologize to my nephews that I couldn't bring in the sugared groundnut and plantain chips they had begged for.
After a while I decided to stop fretting and enjoy the trip, abi na? na once person dey die! 
We landed in Atlanta at 7:25, sun still blazing even though it was evening, I vaguely wondered whether I had mistaken 7:30 am for pm, but i was sure I hadn't, na wa o! obodo oyibo, sun dey shine at 7:30pm!
I looked out of the window, a slowly started to smile, I dey America!! I thought giddily, forgetting all the things that was making me anxious earlier on and simply looking forward to seeing my nephews and having a great time.
We eagerly piled out of the plane and made our way to immigration.
Soon enough, it was my turn, i stepped forward with a smile, looking around for the dogs we've seen on TV shows sniffing out drugs. they were probably on holiday, cos I didn't see any.
I handed my papers to the nice officer who asked whether I was a nurse, i shook my head, wondering if i looked like one and as I was being processed, I was asked to write the address i was staying.
I stared at him dumbly.
I had forgotten to ask my nephew for his address and my phone was dead.
I told him I didn't know the exact address, but he was living in knoxville. Na so bros pack my paper put inside one folder, call one security person to escort me enter! shoo! make una see me see border security o!which kind wahala be dis sef?
By now, all the stories I heard of other people who had difficulties entering resurfaced, I begin 'scalibash' again o!
The next thing I knew, I was sitting in this room, with some other passengers waiting to be called. Ah! 
I inhaled deeply, stretched and as casually as possible, brought out my Chimamanda book, aptly titled 'Americanah'.
I opened the pages, tried to read but my mind ran amok, my worst fear had befallen me!
After about forty minutes, I was finally called, by now we were like five in the room.
I got up and followed the officer to the room with 'secondary inspections' written on the door. I sat down and he asked if I had my nephew's number, I explained that my phone was dead and I needed to charge it, na so him help me plug the phone, I con dey pray make the phone come on. after what seemed like forever, it came on and I called my nephew and the phone rang and rang!!
The panic bubbled up again, what if I couldn't reach him? what would happen? Chineke ekwe kwa na ife ojo! God no gree!
Finally I called another one of my nephews in Texas and he immediately picked up. He was excited to know I had landed, I promptly asked for his elder brother's address which he gave me and I wrote into the form.
 As I finish the officer stamped my papers and I was cleared to go! Just like that o! na so I waka go carry my luggage from the carousel, they were standing alone, I dragged the back through customs without a hitch and as I walked out of the airport into the dark fragrant night and I saw my nephew.
Finally, I exhaled and started to laugh! my holiday had finally started!

Friday, 30 May 2014


The Journey So Far...

If you’re wondering what the items on the picture are or whether I've started selling such items. Well, wonder no more, these items, my dear peeps, are the stuff I journeyed with to Atlanta! The cup was the first cup of tea I bought when I got to Heathrow. But this story no go sweet if I don’t start from the very beginning. So here it goes….

I got to the international airport extra early (you know how inconsistent our people can be which is both good and bad. Good- because it makes everything fresh and not mundane and bad, because sometimes you just want to be right when you say stuffs like, “they’ll start on time!”  I mean I love naija, but sometimes me sef I dey wonder… so I spent an hour and half waiting for check in, eventually it started and I checked in without a hitch, bade farewell to mia familia and headed to the boarding gate.
That was when I noticed the pain on my right thigh. I shrugged it off at first and passed through immigrations like speedy gonzalese, again I vaguely wondered where those ‘officers’ that used to rag for money went because no one did except the one who called me her sister and was even speaking vernacular with me. I gave her a tip for effort and chortled on.
When I finally sat down at the hall, whether na because the place was hot enough to pass as sauna, or I was just anxious, the pain on my thigh intensified. By now, my trusty blackberry battery had conked out and I couldn’t call anyone. Na so I start to ‘scalibash’ o. I binded all the ‘spirits’ that were trying to ‘hold me down in naija, I casted all the demons that were sending arrows, I loosed the hold of every illness from my body!
Laugh all you want, but one has to believe in something or you will be open to everything! Anyway, I finally charged my battery and called home. I was thoroughly prayed for and told to take some pain killers and was reminded of how days before my trip I’ve been walking around like an enthusiastic manic shopper, visiting the most boisterious markets for bargains.
I took the analgesic and we finally boarded just when I thought I was cooked through and through by the heat. As I enter the large body plane I strolled to my seat and collapsed gratefully into the air conditioned and soft cushioned comfort the plane offered. Before we took off, I was fast asleep, either from the fatigue or analgesic I wasn’t sure, but it was grateful sleep.
On getting to Heathrow where I had a ten hour wait, I noticed that the pain had started again Chineke! Which kain winch come follow me cross my Jordan? I pondered as I limped towards the escalator. Me wey carry clothes to change into when I get to Heathrow so I can enter America with crisp new jeans and fresh top, I no come fit change sef! Na so I dey manage, all the oyinbo dey ask, “are you ok?” in my mind, I’d imagined the worst; torn ligament, bone marrow katakata, I intensified prayers o! God can heal and do anything, chikena!
By the time I was on my last hour in Heathrow, the pain had finally subsided! Dem no dey fear? I thanked Baba God and hopped into another plane for another nine hour journey to Atlanta.

My people, I go pause the story for here. The next leg will follow shortly! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Finding My Oil 2...

Finding My Oil 2

So i called my trusty confidant up and i told her what i was thinking about. i wanted to quit my stable job that got me steady income to pursue my dream as an actor! i expected the usual, "are you nuts? you're too old for pipe dreams!" and such, but all i got was encouragement to follow my dreams. when i prayed about it, i got the go-ahead i needed so come October, last Thursday of the month, i typed out that resignation letter and submitted it to the HR person. To say everyone was shocked is the biggest understatement of the year, but i had to do what i had to do, i was a man on a mission (or woman in this case...) and nothing could stop me!
 How did i know what my oil is? Well...
I have to tell you another sermon my pastor preached (i know, i really pay attention in church!) i cant remember the title, but he broke it down for us and made it easy for us to figure out what our oil is, so i will try to do the same, okay?

First, your oil is a God given talent. it is something (a skill if you must) that comes very easily to you. it is not something you treasure ( but may count it worthless because you can perform it easily)
Secondly, it is something you enjoy doing! something you're passionate about that other people admire you for ( don't say arguing o! i know some people have a knack for arguing, and please for the love of God, don't say sleeping either! *sigh!!)
Thirdly, your oil is something you're so good at, you can actually get paid for it, (but even if you don't get paid for it, you wouldn't mind doing it for free) you have expertise with regards to this particular skill ( for some people its cooking, some its baking, for some, well, its writing or acting. *big smile)
 so if this was a mathematical equation it will be thus; 
Something that you're good at + Something you love doing + Something you can get paid for = Your Oil! Easy! 
Understand that if you're good at it, but don't get paid for it, then its just a hobby(like knitting without instructions and hoping for the best).
If you're not good at it, but get paid for it, well you're about to be fired (if its your job, that is!)
And if you're good at it and get paid for it, but don't enjoy it, then its just a JOB!

I always loved acting, in fact I'm in the drama team in my church (which means i do it for free, cos i enjoy it so much!) and I've been told I'm good at it, that's how i found my oil! 
How far have i gone in my new career you ask? That's story for another day!
But i'm happier, more fulfilled and so eager to start everyday! Because I'm where God wants me to be... I'm taking the bold (albeit scary) steps into my future and Pharrell's new song "Happy" is playing as my OS.

If I've made any sense, well, You're Welcome! and if you still think I'm bonkers, hmmm. You probably are not alone, I'm sure there are people with similar thoughts out there, but people will always criticize what they don't understand don't let their criticism stop you!  
It didn't stop Einstein, or Jesus Christ for that matter. 
And it definitely wont stop me!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Finding My Oil...

Finding My Oil...

Hey folks!! i know its been a bit since i dropped a few words! what can i say? i cant say i haven't found time to, neither can i blame it on lack of inspiration... i think (and i'm only thinking mind you!) the reason for the long absence is inspiration!!! (is there anything like too much of it?! Don't know....)
I have to (like folks say) start from the very beginning...

It was one bright Sunday, i went to church like I've done most Sundays since i can remember, sat down and the pastor (God bless him!) started to preach a sermon titled, "Jesus is Waiting" (bear with me okay? don't roll your eyes just yet, it gets better!) so i settled into my chair and wore that sanctimonious look we wear when we feel the pastor is talking to 'sinners' (the unsaved) Jesus couldn't possibly be waiting for me, i thought piously, i'm in church already
But my pastor was not talking to the unsaved that day, he was talking to 'die-hard, hard-core, tongue lashing Christians (like me or i think i am o!). 
He talked about how we always wait for God to move before we make our own move and he used the bible passage about the children of Israel by the red sea to buttress his point. 
When they got to the red sea and Pharaoh's army were on the other side, the people of Israel started to panic and Moses, like any good leader, stretched his hands and said to them, "Stand! and see the salvation of God!" something like that sha... when Moses turned to pray to God, God didn't say to them, "wait o my people, i'm coming, let me fix the red sea problem" 
God said to Moses, "tell the people to move forward!" (like seriously??) If Moses was like us today, he would have asked for clarification, he would have probably said, "em, dear God, apologies for questioning you, but, where in God's name are we moving forward to? there's a sea in front of us in case you missed it!" you know how some of us totally lose our heads when you're under duress...
Anyway, Moses just went forward and lifted up his staff as instructed by God and the sea parted! Just like that! 
See the message here is that God was waiting on Moses and the Israelites, you know how the bible says " the earth earnestly awaits the manifestation of the sons of God.."
so what has this message got to do with finding my oil  you ask? I'll tell you...Everything.
After I heard the sermon, I realized I couldn't hide behind a desk in an establishment in the guise of making a living while fervently hoping, that God will make a way for me to showcase my talent. What did i do (you ask again in bated breath?) Well... You have to wait for my next blog to find out. it is nothing short of inspiring, or calling me crazy! 
Depends on which side you're on anyway...
Till next time, when i tell you how i found my oil and hopefully, teach you how to find yours, its your one and only Vidagirl!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Life, as we used to know...

Life before Technology...
As I sat clutching my raffia bag between my legs, I looked back over my shoulder and saw mama wiping tears from her eyes with the multi-colored wrapper she tied loosely around her waist. She waved at me feebly and I nodded instead of waving back, I was afraid to let go of my precious belonging. I heard the canoe driver shout and push the canoe away from the frothy shore, we are on our way! I thought as he leaned back and pulled the long stick out of the murky water and repeated the process again.  Slowly, we pulled farther and farther away from the shore until it was completely covered up with the early morning mist that surrounded the river most mornings. I sighed heavily as the fat woman beside me readjusted herself on the hard planks we used as seats.  I was on my way to uyo to visit my mother’s brother and hopefully start the modern school that the missionaries just opened in the area.
 I wanted to go to school, but I didn’t want to leave mama and my younger sister, Eno behind in our village. We were currently enveloped completely in thick, white mist; the canoe man continued to push the stick under water but not with much effort now as the strong current carried us along. I wondered wildly if we were going in the right direction, but there was no telling since we couldn’t see where the boat was heading. He started calling out, warning other canoes of our presence, his voice sounded hollow in the grayness that surrounded us, I bent my head and prayed that we go in the right direction; I didn’t want us to get lost and be swallowed up by Ukoyium, the great mammy water that ruled this river. Only two months ago, my friend, Udo and his mother had been swallowed up on their way from a neighboring village where he was taken to for medical treatment. The canoe bobbed gently as we entered another current. I tightened my hold on my bag and kept my eyes open as wide as possible, I wanted to see the mammy water before she attacked me. The man sitting in front of me coughed and leaned forward, slowly resting his head on his folded arms, he closed his eyes. I stared at him as if he was mad, sleeping? How was he able to do that? I pondered as I heard another hollow call back from another canoe, suddenly, their canoe grazed ours as he silently glided by. I exhaled; this method of calling out to each other had been in use since my grandfather’s time, that’s what my father told me when he was still alive. I must have drifted off at some point, I woke up with a jolt as another canoe rammed into ours in the mist, the fat woman beside me shrieked and grabbed my shoulder, her nails dug into my flesh as I winced trying not to panic or cry. The sleeping man in front of me opened an eye in the commotion and shot it again as our canoe man deftly steadied our canoe and moved off in another direction, I stretched my aching body as I tried again to figure out how he knew where we were going. He didn’t . 
After several hours in the mist, the sun finally came up and we discovered we had gone a full circle and almost heading back to my little village. Several passengers started abusing the canoe man and telling him how a skilled canoe man would have known we were not going anywhere. I wondered if anyone would have been able to perceive anything through the thick mist. We finally entered uyo shores close to evening, we were tired, hungry, and stiff from sitting in one position all day, as I climbed out of the canoe into the insipid waters of the shore, pins and needles shooting up and down my leg, I thanked God that Ukoyium didn’t swallow us, but I wondered how to get word out to my mother that I arrived safely. It was much later in the night, when uncle Effiong  had fed me some cold Ekpankukor and he was reclining outside the one room bungalow he lived, that his friend Bassey, a trader came to visit that I finally got my answer. Bassey was going to my village in three day’s time, he agreed to take word back to mama that I arrived safely and school was not in session till a fortnight. Instead of travelling back, uncle Bassey agreed to teach me arithmetics and English until the modern school reopened. 
 Though I was a long way from home, in just one day, I knew my life had changed forever.