Tuesday, 29 August 2017

For We Are But Donkeys

Let the King take His ride
On the street paved with glory
The hails and the cheers
The shouts and the screams
They are not meant for us 
But the One that we carry
For we are but donkeys

Let His choice not irk us
Should he pick a mule ne'er ridden
Or one without a medal
A newbie to pedal
May we remain content
To work while we're hidden
For we are but donkeys

May we never take pride
On the miles that we cover
It is not by our strength
Nor is it by our might
We achieve such great feat
But by the hand of our lover
For we are His donkeys

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Ultimate Protection for Your Children

So recently, there has been a lot of rave about immorality being introduced subtly into children content: cartoons, school textbooks, even biscuit designs. Parents are concerned and worried about their children going astray with all these as they cannot keep an eye on every single thing their children have access to.

People are disconnecting from Dstv, banning children from movies, replacing their entertainment with books, etc.

But there is one never failing protection.

I grew up watching Action movies not cartoons - Jet Li, Rambo n co. But my mom always watched the movies first before letting us watch. Any movie with an adult scene, once their heads were gravitating towards each other, she would switch to Tv, fast forward the video and switch it back to the movie. We got so used to it that even when we grew older and were allowed to watch movies on our own, the oldest among us would take it as their job to switch channels once they started "doing nonsense". Before we started watching any movie, we made sure the remote control was at hand. We only relaxed when it was Indian movies 'cause no matter how close their heads got, they would never kiss. Not until years later, when Bollywood got contaminated by Hollywood. With all this training, I was still exposed to immoral content.

During one of my secondary school holidays, my neighbour gave me a movie to watch. I was alone in the house that day. I slotted in the movie and all I could see was women with full frontal nudity. I thought I could go past the naked women to see what the movie was about but it was obvious this was not a matter of switching channels, I just pulled the movie out and returned it.

What made me irritated rather than excited to see a movie like that? I can say it was just the grace of God. God has mercifully delivered me from so many compromising situations I have found myself in over the years. These days, with easy access to internet and smart phones, it's even more dangerous for children and teenagers. I hear Ikydz is a great tool to control what your children have access to over the internet. Moreso, have you taught them what is right? Or do you shy away from discussing sensitive topics?

I believe in God's supernatural keeping. No matter how much we shield our children from such exposures, if they are not being kept by God, we'd be surprised at what they'd turn into. So train your children in the way they should go and in all your doings, make sure to pray for them. When you are not there, God will watch over them.

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Friday, 4 August 2017

All work and no play

So I'm currently cooling off even though I have my dissertation hand-in deadline looming at me. My supervisors are going on vacation next week and I've been told to have my draft ready for them to go through by Wednesday next week though I still have some analysis to do which I thought I was going to be shown how to do but got bubble-busted today. They had told me they will "show me" how and I went for today's meeting expectant. I stayed awake till 1:30 am this morning getting ready the results I needed for the meta-analysis as it is called, all for them to tell me today, "use the guide in your notes". Anyway, I'm not very surprised. Thank God I was given a heads up by a friend and former MPH student who had told me not to expect them to put me through because they did the same in her time. I guess I have to dust my notes then. I have 4 days of labour in front of me. I've counted today out 'cause I need a breather from the past many days I've stayed up late to get these results out. I haven't seen a movie in a while. I'm going to have my fill today. I can't kill myself.

So after the meeting with my supervisors, I went home, dropped my laptop and went off to the city center for some shopping. If the next four days will not be hell, I need to have enough food stocked up to pull through. 

As I got to the city center, I realized that I have really missed out on this summer. I have been hardly out to the city to see the scenery and feel the sun because I'm at my study place 24/7. See all that I have missed. 

The city center has dramatically changed. It's so amazing how we can create any atmosphere or experience anywhere. Can you believe that beach is artificial? I mean, they got a wooden platform and just poured sand on it. Ingenuity. There are also roller coasters. It's all bubbling. This is the perfect time for a holiday and I'm spending mine glued to my laptop. Aal izz well!

I am back from my shopping and I've cooked myself my favorite Banga soup. Now lounging on my bed ready to see a movie. Iroko Tv had better have new movies. I need all the relaxation I can get this night to face the next 4 days.

So help me God!

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Friday, 28 July 2017

Africans in UK: More than meets the eye

There is always more to people than meets the eye. I just had a 30 minutes conversation with a very sweet African lady. Once again I was reminded to respect every one not because of their status but because they are human beings.

It was 6:30 pm. I was alone at the center where I had gone to read since morning. When I was leaving the house in the morning, I had taken two packs of food with me because I knew I would stay till late in the night. However, I wasn't feeling hungry so I didn't eat until then. So I brought out my Egusi (melon) soup and Ugali (maize meal) from the fridge, microwaved them and began to eat in the African style (with my hand).

Then the door squeaked open. I turned round to see who had entered. I smiled at her - the cleaner who comes daily around that time to clean the room and she is African. Usually when I see her, I greet her the Nigerian way, "Good evening", and we don't have any further conversation beyond that. She noticed what and how I was eating and asked, "Is that Garri?" "Yes", I replied. "No actually, it's maize flour". I was already about to finish eating. "Can I taste?" I was surprised she'd asked to, but I didn't hesitate. "Yeah. Sure." She was so excited, she washed her hands. "It's been a while I ate with my hands." "Is it chilly?" "Erm.. not really" "I like chilli". "You can have it all", I said, "I'm done". She grabbed the plate cheerfully, but I quickly reached back for it. "Not with the meat. I'll divide it", I said jocularly. So I divided the meat, giving her the bigger portion. "Every body loves meat", she remarked. "Is this egg?" "No", I replied, "it's melon seed. It's called Egusi." "Hmm. How do you make it?" Then I went on to describe the process and that for the Ugali.

"Where are you from? ", she quizzed.
"Which part?"
"Lagos. Well, I live in Lagos but I am from Anambra. I dunno if you know it. Where are you from?"
"South Africa"
I was quite surprised 'cause save for her ignorance about Egusi soup, she would have passed for a Nigerian by her looks.
"I'm eating Nigerian food!", she exclaimed.  "Do they sell it in the African market?"
 "Yes. But this one (referring to Ugali) is from Kenya".
"You are mean. You didn't even invite me. How can you be eating African food alone?"
I stammered, "I ... didn't know you... erm... especially 'cause I'm eating with my hand"

So we went about chatting and laughing, then she mentioned that she graduated last week. It was then it dawned on me that she might be more than just a cleaner.
"What did you study?", I probed.
"Masters?" I had gauged her age to be around the 40s
"No just BA but I'll soon be doing Masters"

Wow. Here was a woman I had seen severally and just assumed she was one of the migrants who found no choice but a cleaning job because they were uneducated. Guess what? She is a graduate of Psychology with a 2:1 from the University of Nottingham.

I remembered I had another plate of food (Jollof rice) and I asked her if she would love to have it. She was so excited. "Today is my lucky day". "I'm going to enjoy my work and just sleep when I go home".

That was how I had some laughter brought to my long studious day. Next time you see an African who speaks good English doing a menial job here in UK, don't be deceived. They just might be a professor.

©Radiant ~ July 2017
Click here to read my previous post - International student: Surviving the UK

Sunday, 16 July 2017

International student: Surviving the UK

I do this student part time job at the University residential halls to keep body and soul together while on my Masters programme. I'm a catering assistant. Technically, I run the errands around the kitchen and dining areas - get the dining and servery ready for each meal, serve the students/clients, clear the plates, pans and pots of food, pass them through the dishwasher, stock them back in their shelves, clean the kitchen, dining and dishwasher, and so forth. 
Yes. That is what you have to do to survive the UK. Minimum wage jobs like factory work, care jobs at old peoples homes, catering jobs, temporal student jobs at the university, etc. In deed, a lot of migrants have to do these jobs either as permanent jobs or temp jobs while they write exams and qualify for more professional jobs. Any way, this catering job has taught me so much. 
1. That if you don't work, you shouldn't eat.
Pretty straightforward, isn't it? But we tend to have an entitlement mentality when we are in our own country. Government should create jobs for graduates. Government should give unemployment benefits. In Nigeria, health professionals and lecturers go on strike almost every year for increase in salary and expect to be paid while they are on strike. However, when you find yourself in a foreign country like the UK, where it is the survival of the fittest, and your bills are staring at you in the face, such that you have to take up even if it’s a menial job and live scrimply, you will understand that money doesn't grow on trees. You have to work by offering a service to earn a living. If you are not adding value to the society, you shouldn't expect anything from it. 
2. It helps you see a direct relationship between your work and your pay
You are being paid per hour worked, which means if you want more money, you work more hours. When we earn monthly salary back home, we don't really see the relationship between our work and our pay. We just feel we are entitled to some fixed amount of money at the end of every month, it doesn't matter if we performed well or not. So we abscond from work, we come late, leave early, loaf through work and open our hands for our cheques. It's none of our business how the business thrives or how our employer gets the money he pays us. He just must pay us our due. But when you are paid for every hour worked, and a machine monitors when you clock in and clock out, and you have supervisors who can't stand to see you idle, then you will understand how the work you do amounts to the pay you get at the end of the month. 
3. It teaches you what asking someone for money really means. 
It's very easy to say, "Daddy please give me 200,000 Naira" or "Uncle please give me 50,000 Naira". When you do this kind of work, you will understand that by saying that, you actually mean, "Daddy please work some hours for me". Well, it may not sound so pathetic with your dad because you feel, he is your father and it's therefore his duty to take care of you. That is right as long as you are a child, but as an adult who can work (notice I didn't say who has a job), you are no more his responsibility. How much less your uncle. Of course, there are some financial burdens that I might not be able to bear alone even as an adult and I have to ask my father or uncle for help, but this new work mentality helps me to appreciate their help even more and not just take it for granted. 

4. It also teaches you that if God doesn't bless you, you're done for. 
The system here in UK is such that one has to keep working to survive. Nothing is free. Almost everything is taxed - your car, your house, you pay to watch TV (can you imagine?) in your own house; your own TV. You have to pay for TV licence, not to talk of essentials viz. electricity, gas, water (you are not only paying for the water you are being supplied, but also for drainage of your waste water. Then people are put in bondage by their ability to obtain credit on almost everything even phone. Can you imagine that? I have to pay a portion of my salary every month because I acquired a phone. Phone not car! And people fall for these things, living in perpetual debt their entire life. So they keep toiling and toiling to make ends meet. Typical of the curse God placed on Adam, until they cry out to God like Jabez, "Oh that you will bless me indeed." Because you will see people that don't have to struggle as much. They are not lazy, they are adding value. The only difference between you and them is that their own efforts are multiplied a thousand times. Then you will know that it is only God that can bless a man without sorrow. 
These are the things I have learnt by sweating it out doing manual labour in the UK to meet living expenses while undergoing my Masters degree programme and I am grateful for them. Await more work stories. 
©Radiant ~ July 2017

What temporal jobs have you had to do sometime in your life and what lessons did you learn from them? Please share in the comments section below.