Monthly Archives: November 2018


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Today I am reflecting on the significance of the poppy to me. Before I came to live in Europe, I had never spared a thought about the world war 1. Not because I did not care but mainly because its significance was never impressed upon me as a person. Sadly in Africa, history is poor. It is the responsibility of a nation to hand down significant historical stories about various issues to each coming generation. Sadly, we are impoverished as a people by a government who do not feel the need to tell us stories about our past. To impress on us the need to keep in remembrance, the sacrifices made for us by generations past that have enabled us partake in this future of peace alongside the rest of the world. Recently, it emerged that Prince Charles made a trip to Nigeria in commemoration of the Armistice Centenary. Why go to Africa, I thought. Surely we were not involved in the world war 1? No sooner had I blurted out my surprise than I was corrected by my friends. Nigerians took part they said. In fact, one of my friends disclosed that his father had enlisted but never got to travel because the war ended before he could. He said it solely, with somewhat of a grief. To the extent that he described his father’s exclusion from the war as unfortunate. It was as though, the singular fact that his father did not fight in the war reduced his emotional connection to the on going commemorations that were taking place all around the world. After hearing this, I found it a bit sad that as a nation, we had mostly been deprived of our connection with the current events as a result of the omission of our historical stories from most of our lives. And so I had to find a way to connect with the wider story of war, conflict, sacrifice and now peace. In death lay the connection with this story. These veterans who we remember today fought in a physical battle. For many, their participation was voluntary but for others, they simply had no choice. There was a battle and they had to play their own part in it. Some found the prospect to be exciting while others were petrified. We all are faced with different battles in life for which we too struggle, fight, sacrifice and hope to find peace from in the end. Some of these battles are physiological (within our bodies), others are social. Some are psychological while others are cultural. I could go on and on listing the possible forms and shapes that our battles may take but the fact remains that we are constantly at war with one thing or another from within or without. For the war Veterans, the poppy emerged to commemorate their sacrifice and be for us a sign that helped us keep them in remembrance. This was rightful. Once a Canadian physician named Lieutenant Colonel John Macrae wrote a poem called In Flanders fields where he spoke about the poppy. In it he referred to poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers during the war after personally burying his close friend in battle. poppies happen to grow from seeds. These seeds die to the ground before growing out beautifully. This in a way is significant in that it gives us hope about the future. That having toiled and struggled, suffered and died, like the seed, we will rise again in splendour and beauty. In his poem, Macrae wrote from the perspective of the dead, urging us the living to carry on holding the touch and fighting on till victory. Part of the poem also asks us never to forget the sacrifice of them who once were but now have fallen so that we might live. For when we forget, the poem suggests that they will not sleep so sweetly in their graves. Today, I remember many who have died fighting different wars. Some for my sake, some for the sake of others. Some even fought their own battles gallantly till the end for themselves. We remember you today and always. We hope that we too will keep on trying our best in this life to leave the world better than we met it. Not only in terms of conflict resolution but also in terms of the way we interact with the physical world- our environment. On a final note, I salute all the veterans war, current service men and even those currently enlisting. I acknowledge the sacrifices you have, are and still make for us to enjoy the freedom that has become normal. I also remember those families left behind to bear the sacrifice of losing their loved ones- those service men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives. Thank you for reading Please see other posts Photo credit Pixabay

Reflecting on the Armistice Centenary


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The Dread worms   Yeah so yesterday night I finally did it! I locked my hair!     But since I woke up today, I have been prettified….   These are not dreadlocks?!?!  They look like worms coming out of my skull.   Dread worms!   Is it me or am I missing something?   These dreadlocks look as skinny as the ones I hear people call sister locks..come on!   I told the lady that I wanted fat locks. Why do I have these as my end product?   Sometimes I wonder why I let my brain talk me into deviating from things I know.   You might argue that it is a necessary part of growing up but it still sucks!   I hear it takes time for the locks to bulk up.   Sadly, when John got his own locks, he had extensions in them so they looked fat and healthy.   These my own locks look hungry and malnourished.   Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh because they are shiny and somehow lovely.   But what if these worms don’t bulk up? I know that I am just fussing but I can’t help myself.   I can’t even express these fears because I had been going on an on about wanting dreadlocks ever since.   This is literally day 1 of my dreadlocks journey and I am not coping well at all.   Sincerely, I feel like washing them off. Perhaps the fact that these locks are temporary is a bad thing.   I keep feeling like I can abandon ship like nowish and maybe that’s not helping me confront this new reality.   “Sweetheart, these are dreadworms”, I blurted out  to John. I finally said it out loud. It felt good to admit it to someone else   instead of just bottling it up.   “Hahahahahha…like literally, you describe things so aptly”, he was looking at my hair as he spoke and could not stop laughing.   Then I think he looked at my face because he stopped laughing abruptly.   “It’s not funny. You were not supposed to agree with me silly?!” I said   “Sorry boo, they just looked like worms and to call them dread worms was just perfect”, he said again trying not to laugh.   I pouted my lips.   “I don’t think you can even relate with the way I am feeling right now”, I said angrily.   “Seriously?”, he said pretending to be amazed as he pulled at his glorious back length locks.   “You know I am the Rasta man!” he said mockingly.   “Sharrap!”,  I said sarcastically, “says the man who masked his short locks with long extensions!”, I sniped.   “Yeah, fair enough, but you remember my hair was short”, he replied, pretending to sulk.   “But did you not come home with a sample lock after the initial appointment, even that one was fatter than this”, I said in   frustration.   “That’s true, he said, but don’t forget that he used the crotchet method. It was permanent right from day one”, he added.   That was very true. Now I began wondering why I had allowed the locktician lady talk me into the twisting method.   She had said, it would give me time to see how I felt because it was temporary.  I could wash it off if it wasn’t for me. That   sounded like a good idea at the time. However, she did not warn me that the output would differ from the locks I was used to   seeing people wear on the street!   She did say I needed to be patient and “let the hair do its thing”. What thing.? This hair stood no chance. These worms!   “See if it’s any consolation, I remember this lady in my office some years ago”, he said cupping my face into his arms and   cutting through my thoughts. “She appeared one day with dreadworms”, he said smiling   “You should so trademark this your terminology”, he digressed beginning to giggle.   “Leave me John”, I said pulling away and laughing.   This guy was just too funny. Trademark? Who says that?   “See…. that made you smile”, he said “that’s my beautiful girl”.   “So wetin happen to the dreadworms colleague”, I asked   “Ehen, so she can to work with the dread….”worms” I said cutting in, “continue the gist jare!”, I said still laughing.   It looked different … and skinny. That was like 3 years ago. You know when I worked with Cooper and Holistic Associates?” I   nodded in agreement.   “Well, I ran into her last year and her locks were as big as mine and very long… intact they were beautiful?   “Really?” I asked   “Yeah” , he said smiling.   “I hope you are not just saying that to console me?” I asked   “When have I ever deceived you?” he asked   “Well…. don’t get me started” I replied smiling.   “You know what I mean boo, be serious”, he said.   “For real, her hair is long and glorious. I think you just need to give this hair time, it’s just day one. Patience is one of your   strongest virtues”, he said   With that we burst into laughter. We both knew there was absolutely no truth in that. I hated waiting…even for the bus.   But somehow, what he said made me happy. Someone with my kind of skinny locks later got huge one. Cool!   I hoped my OH was not deceiving me because, if he was, he had won.   To be continued   Photo credit Pixabay   Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or Not? The Dreadworms (3)



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Finding a locktician  My OH was aware that I had come up with a new life saving plan for my hair. I was going to lock it! Yay! He really welcomed the idea. He had worn his locks for the past 8years and was quite keen to have a partner in crime. I always thought he was a boring guy with it though. He only either spread the locks on his shoulders or he packed it in a bun. Anyway, he decided to help look for a suitable person to lock my hair. One day he came home and handed me a card “Sweetheart, I don find who go help you do this your hair”. Well, he ran into a lady at the fuel station. she was handing out her complimentary cards to people. A locktician she was… “Make sure say you call am to book the appointment o!”, he warned because he knew that I was the queen of procrastination. “Yeah, yeah”,  I replied collecting the card from him. Sister locks specialist…. it read. Hmmm… which one is this again? Sister what? Please… please… I beg! I wanted dread locks not sister or brother locks. The tomboy in me hated the sister locks straight away.  “I bet it would be too subtle and girly girly”, I said “Look at this begger who has a choice”, John said. “Stupid girl! Don’t talk yourself out of calling her now!”,  he added mockingly We laughed and I tucked the card away somewhere. 3 days later passed… “Have you made the appointment?”  “Erm…no …”, I said, “I have been too busy”. “Seriously? Too busy to make a call?” he asked looking surprised. “Ok let me call her now”, I retorted feeling irritated. Talk about pest! To be continued Photo credit Pixabay. Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or not? Finding a loctician (2)


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Trust me, I had said no for too long. I was too scared to enter an adventure where there was no way out. Let’s say I am the kind of girl who likes to enjoy all the options and not have to choose. If I had known that being grown up was all about making decisions, I would have stayed young.  Choices? I hated them. Why do we have to choose? Why can’t we have everything? While choices gave people freedom, they constricted my ability to have everything available. How could one ever choose one thing over the other? Every option had pros and cons. Why could people not just have all the options so that they could enjoy the pros and not have to worry about the cons. So what has this got to do with my day Yes in the dreadlocks journey? Well, Let’s just say… it was a choice I had to make. Choosing to have my hair locked means that I would be choosing to have one hair style. I would be “choosing” long streaks of hair on my head instead of having the varied options and versatility I enjoy with my fro.  See what I mean? With my Afro, I do not  have to choose one look  I can Weave it, Plait it, Pack it in a bun Add some extensions or simply wear it as it is….as an Afro! With the dreadlocks, I will lose these options. However, that said, I find myself feeling frustrated most times. I have no time to make my hair as often as I need to. Now in my second year at university, I find myself prioritising my studies over my hair, as you would expect. To be fair, with student life on full gear. I was combing away the glory from my hair. I literally went from long hair to short hair because I was combing it so often in less than a month. I was not happy with my hair at all. I even contemplated chopping off the hair for the sake of peace. Until… I reconsidered my decision about the wearing  dreadlocks. Since I was willing to snip off the hair for the sake of convenience, this seemed like a more viable option. I heard that all I needed was a locktician say every 6-8 weeks to relock and absolutely nothing apart from oil my hair in between. I heard that locking my hair will allow the hair grow as nature intended I would miss my Afro though, but I heard that with time when the dreadlocks had grown, I style it in different ways.  So it would not even be monotonous after all. That was right up my street. Trust me. I think this was a seriously good idea. But how on earth would I lock my hair. Who would do it for me?    To be continued. Photo credit Pixabay Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or Not? A leap into the unknown (1)



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I wish that university were all about attending lectures, meeting new people and attending different school social events. Sadly wishes are not horses in real life therefore I cannot have such a free ride through the university education. Assessments happen at university to give students the opportunity to evidence the fact that they have understood every learning outcome proposed by the module leader at the start of the programme. When I first began the nursing programme, I realised after a few lectures that I would have many assessments. Some were examinations, essays and even practical. There never seemed to be enough time to study. We had lectures nearly four times a week initially. As a mature student I still had my family, work and personal commitments to balance against that. I also had to be prepared for the lectures. There was no use attending a class without adequate preparation. That just made it difficult to get the best out of the interactive sessions on offer. In no time, I began to struggle. I fell behind on schoolwork and I knew I could not meet up with the demands of university unless I made some changes. It became apparent that I had to make sacrifices, compromises and tough choices if I wanted to succeed. Below are a few tips that helped me along the way Acknowledge your struggle It is quite normal to feel lost as a student. From the perspective of being a parent-student, it feels more daunting. As a parent, there is the assumption that you will always know what to do when things get tough. However, this is not always the case. It is alright to acknowledge that you cannot always have the answers. Fighting the feeling by refusing to confront the reality of school becoming overwhelming can be like struggling in quicksand. It almost always ends one way- with you sinking deeper and deeper. Realising that you will remain at a loss unless things change is always a good first step.   Talk to other students It really helps when you ask other students about their experience of university. Sometimes it can make your feelings less alienating. It was such a relief to hear that other students in my cohort were experiencing the same challenges as me. It provided the opportunity for us to share ideas. I learnt from them what was working and felt more confident about trying to make my studies work. Attend university support events While it seems obvious, in reality, support events organised by the university can sometimes feel like an additional task to add to an already over squeezed time. However, I found them to be very helpful. At University of Northampton, there are many sessions offered to students by the learning development/library team. They teach time management, timetabling, note-making, rest and self-reward yourself to sustain your interest and motivation. Come up with a plan. Sometimes, plans are easier to view when they are written down. Something called “being organised” happens when you write out all you have to do. It really makes sense. By the time you know all that needs doing and balance that against the time you have available to achieve them, it becomes a bit easier to come up with a plan. Such a plan may be as simple as prioritising your activities, changing work shift patterns, cutting down on housework, parties, accepting more help from family and friends. These little strategies can make a big difference to your ability to cope better with the demands of university. Create time for study Spreading out activities through the week instead of cramping them all up into a day gets them done at a slow and less exhausting pace. Doing too much in a day can be overwhelming and tiring. However, spreading activities through the week can free up time within the day for studies. For example, many mature students find that they sometimes try to do all their housework and have no time to study. They find that by undertaking a little housework at a time or delegating tasks to others they free up time that can be used to rest or study.   Study smart Being a smart studier is not just about having big brains. It is also about learning to make the best out of the pockets of time you spend studying. There is really no use reading for hours when you are not clear about what the focus of the study would be. Being more specific about what needs doing ensures that you maximise every available study time that you create. Having a timetable or essay plan can be helpful. Referring to learning outcomes for each topic also helps to focus your study. The learning outcomes are the module leader’s way of telling you what you should be learning within the subject. It is also their way of telling you what will be assessed. Academic study has to be specific to be effective. Use your reading lists When you first start the course after a long study break, getting to grips with how to use the physical library, electronic library or how to get relevant study materials can be daunting. Referring to the reading list provided for the module you are studying can help save time. The reference lists within relevant books in the reading lists can also provide books with higher likelihood of relevance to your study. Make an appointment with the academic librarians If you are really struggling, make an appointment to see the academic librarian. They are happy to give direction and answer questions related to using the online library, essay writing and other academic skills. They have flexible appointments that can be either Skype or face to face. Every little always helps When you are a student sometimes you need some more non- academic help along the way. It can be in form of kind offers of assistance from family and friends to help take some of the strain off. A good […]

Nursing Diaries: Lessons from my first year