Gratitude

gratitude1

I know activities dot every square inch of your life. I know your commitments stretch you past breaking point. I know you have been planning and failing to go to bed early, to get a good night’s rest, every night for the last fortnight. I know.

That is why your reading my posts and foraging in the archives, sometimes laughing, sometimes sharing with a friend, sometimes shaking your head, means so much to me. If I stood on a hill and shouted my gratitude, the echo would not reach the valley fast enough, would not carry the meaning trapped between the words, would not overwhelm you with the thing bubbling in my heart. I can’t say thank you enough for your being here, especially in October when I wasn’t really here.

Thank you.

My family of bloggers, who adopted me, no questions asked, you understand me more than most. You know what it’s like to fill a blank page with your thoughts and then do what Stephen King recommends: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” For lifting my airplane with your wings, thank you.

I start blogging again in November. I haven’t finished reading the books I planned to read in October. I have some days left from my annual leave—there is hope! I didn’t complete my half-written posts, you know, the ones I planned to develop later. This Friday night na die!

What did I do? Movies. Food. Friends. Family. Laugh. Cry. Talk. Music. And graphic design. Through it all, I scribbled on yellow post-its. My task is clear—to make new things familiar, and familiar things new1. So, don’t leave me now you know I have half-baked gist to share. Stay with me?

 

Take lemons & make life!

timi signature wordpress

 

 

 

1. “The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

 

 

Image Credit: blue European pattern vector background- http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-background/blue_european_pattern_vector_background_278520.html

design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The ‘Forgotten’ Groundnut Pyramids Of Nigeria

Kitchen Butterfly

I am not a party girl; I’m a food and talk girl. Informal dinners with friends and conversations that go on and on, and on and on, way past dessert and midnight… hmmm, that’s what this post reminds me of, and I’m filled with nostalgia, a bitter-sweet longing.

Okay, so I’ve just romanticised epa (Yoruba for peanut), but that’s what Kitchen Butterfly has done also—weaving tales about how Nigeria was, in between telling us how to boil groundnut. Word connoisseurs, and lovers of history, photography, fine food (groundnut), would enjoy this as much I did.

“The past may hold treasures, still remembered but the future is bound in hope, in belief and in the knowledge that with life, all things are possible.” Continue…  http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com/2013/08/08/the-forgotten-groundnut-pyramids-of-nigeria/

Photo credit: © Kitchen Butterfly

gingering your swagger without tears

Now that having some swagger has become as essential as having an education, Bellanchi’s tongue-in-cheek tips about how to step up your swagger, will perhaps leave your wallet intact but your sides aching. In his own words, “… Even I don’t agree with some of the irreverent stuff I write, but all in good fun.” Enjoy!

bellanchi

It wasn’t that long ago that Naija was swept by an epidemic called swagger. There were so many Nigerian songs about swagger, you couldn’t listen to a rotation of 10 songs on primetime radio without at least half of them having swagger as their theme. But it was no surprise that after tiring of crooning about girls and champagne, Nigeria’s hip hop artistes turned to swagger. For that opportunistic class that is not known for its creativity, swagger was the next logical thing. Ironically, swagger – an attitude whose very essence is its distinctiveness – almost became commonplace.

I am sure there were people, in the height of swaggermania, who didn’t even realize “swagger” was an English word. It is forgivable (okay, on second thought, maybe not) to have assumed it was one of Nigerian urban culture’s many slangs. Although inspired by its equivalent in English lexicon, the Nigerian swagger…

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The Benevolent Dictator Theory

You’ve done it and I’ve done it too—huddled with friends and turned a debate on which way Nigeria into a prayer meeting. The kind of prayer meeting where one person declares, “Only God can save Nigeria!” and the others inwardly chorus amen. Weep no more; the Messiah we’re hoping for could be closer than we think…

The Chronicles of Chill

When people gather to discuss the future of Nigeria, the consensus is usually 2-pronged. The first is that the brand of democracy we have now clearly is not working. The second is that we are probably screwed if we don’t address our fundamental deficiencies. The third (yes, I know I said two) is that we need a benevolent dictator to set us right.

The mind that proposes a benevolent dictator has probably considered that  returning to military rule would not be a bad option, given how slowly we have moved since 1999. However, that is not a thought that we are allowed to entertain, as constitutional law jingoists insist on drumming it into our heads that “the worst civilian regime is better than the best military rule”.

I think we can agree that the evidence suggests to the contrary. The world’s oldest democracies are in the middle of economic…

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7 Annoying Things Nigerians do on airplanes

So, a friend tells me that on a recent flight from Lagos to Abuja, the pilot said, “We’ll be flying at 35,000 ft to Abuja. The weather is okay. Only light clouds, I will try and dodge them so there’s no shaking.” Is this the ninth annoying humorous thing Nigerians do on airplanes—employing Akpos’ brother to fly the plane? Hmmm….

 

The Crazy Nigerian

sleeping on planesLike me, I bet you’ve all run around with your bathing towels wrapped above your shoulders like a cape and pretended to be Superman (and if you haven’t then it’s never too late!). Ever since I was a little brat I wanted to take to the skies. Air travel is the next best thing and I’m always looking forward to having a glass plastic cup of ice-cold apple juice which always tastes better at 10,000 feet. What could possibly disrupt this moment of long-awaited bliss? Cue the Nigerians… On my recent return trip from New York alone I encountered 7 annoying things Nigerians did on the plane:

1. Securing beds…in Economy Class! There’s a game Nigerian passengers play whenever they’re on-board a semi-full airplane – It’s kind of similar to Musical Chairs…but without the music. Passengers snub the seats assigned to them and scout for a stretch of three to four empty…

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The Volume of Happiness

Nigerians are the happiest people in the world and you can measure the volume of our happiness. Now I know why people here stop and stare at me and my Naija friends—it isn’t because we are so fine! Oh no, we are Nigerians and we are loud.

 

Òjògbón

Fans cheer on the Nigerian team during their World Cup qualifier soccer match against Algeria in Ora..You know, I have heard this thing over and again. That Nigerians are the happiest people on the planet. And I’m wondering, really? If it’s happiness that gives us some of the traits which are universally now synonymous with Nigerians, then I would recommend that we take some dose of chill-pill and please calm down! At least, a little!

First off, why do Nigerians shout so much?

I know you have all experienced this. You see an old friend whom you haven’t seen in a while and he screams, “MY GUYYYYY!!!!!! THIS GUYYYY!!!! HOW FAR NAAHHHH!!!!!” The first thing you want to do is, “ooohh..kkk??? what is this serious?” But being a Nigerian, you totally understand and you respond in this same high pitch, “AH! I DEY O!!! WETIN DEY HAPPEN???” Then you would have to endure a huge SLAP of a handshake which usually leaves your hand smarting and red!

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Something New in October

coming soon

I’m doing something different. I’m focusing on Naija life this October. Okay, don’t roll your eyes and go, “duh.” I know, I write about Nigeria, a lot! According to William Faulkner, a writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. No apologies here, I’ve got Naija in my blood.

What’s different? I won’t be sharing my posts. I’ll reblog posts that made me laugh and cry and think, posts that mirror you and me and your neighbour and that man you’ve wondered about.

While you’re reading about Naija eccentricities, I’ll be back stage reading the novels that decorate my coffee table and writing a post for November. So, enjoy and remember to be as generous on the other blogs as you are on mine. Biko, share and leave a comment—they write their stuff because of you.

If you haven’t already, read Naija Movie Night, get a preview of what’s in store.

 

Take lemons & make life!

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Photo credit: Sepia Film Strip clip art- http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-clip-art/sepia_film_strip_clip_art_23195.html

design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Naija in My Blood

naija

A lot has been written about hazards such as driving in Lagos and on Nigerian roads. I do not mean to flog the issue, but it was this very thing that revealed some needed home truths.

You see, I am not one to allow my blood pressure levels rise over a little thing like another driver cutting into my lane without permission. The lack of simple courtesies that supply grease for smooth driving relations leaves me unruffled. Watching other tense drivers gripping their steering wheels for dear life as they struggle not to be outmaneuvered, provides witty relief from the unending traffic.

These hooligans—both the ones in black suits and the ones sooted from the ash heap of life—have shown me that aggression is the normal way of life here. The proximity of Lagos to the serene breeze from the Atlantic has done nothing to cool the pepper that burns in their veins.

On the roads, tempers edge dangerously close to boiling point, so, loud arguments and disputes settled with fistfights are not uncommon. No wonder I gave up eating pepper long ago, cucumber is more my style. But, I was soon to discover that the cherry does not fall far from the tree.

NAIJA

Nigeria, a place we all call home

Anger that constant simmering over decades of rape

Independence, a cherished hope; the impetus to rise again at 4 a.m.

Jaded after half    a century of promises unfulfilled

Affection, a feeling that continually binds us to the Motherland

Two weeks ago, my driver was going nose to nose with another vehicle. Normally, I would have cautioned him and asked him to yield to the yeye driver, but that day was different. Whether it was the roaring inflation or soaring unemployment, I cannot tell. It may have been the cumulative effect of bumping my head against the car window as my driver navigated one pothole-ridden street after another. Perhaps it was the sinking feeling that yet another con artist promising much and delivering little had swindled me. Whatever, I was tired of being a fool. My redundant aggressive genes surfaced. “Do not give him any chance,” I warned.

Both their countenances showed strong determination. A mad rush of blood had made the veins visible on their hands and temples, a sign that neither wanted to lose this race for survival. As my driver and I struggled to gain supremacy, he from behind the wheel, and me a cheerleading accomplice from the owner’s corner, the inevitable happened.

An ugly screeching sound rent the air as metal kissed metal. I had a taste of nauseating reality as the beat of the ancient talking drums in my head ceased. My driver jumped out, his rage fuelled by the sudden remembrance of his N5, 000 accident-free monthly bonus.

As he sparred with the other driver, I realized that their loud voices were a mere whisper in the buzz of a Lagos that never pauses. My car had finally been baptized with the telltale marks around the fender that speaks of a skirmish or two in traffic. After both drivers traded sufficient insults, they unanimously agreed that the scratches were not worth coming to blows over.

Rhetorical questions swirled in my mind as I tried to make sense of what had just happened. What was it that made my blood boil? How could I have Naijanized so fast?

Back home, my resourceful driver applied a little brake fluid to the scratches and the car looked almost as good as new. I guess it was a little insurance to secure his bonus. It reminded me of the shoddy patch jobs on our roads that are exposed by heavy rains. Yes, Lagos is getting greener on the outside, but true redemption must go beyond skin-deep.

As for me, years on foreign soil only camouflaged my leopard’s spots. The power of Naija, as the large billboards scream, can never be underestimated.

Pride Power Naija

Yeye: a derogatory term used for an annoying person, thing, or situation.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: author- Darwinek
Title: Flag-map of Nigeria
Page URL: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFlag-map_of_Nigeria.svg
Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: e.r.w.i.n. / Foter / CC BY-NC
Title: PRIDE POWER NAIJA
Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eherrera/4950205845/
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reinventing Hope

Nigeria-Elekoe Beach

Fifty-three years ago, Nigeria became independent of British rule. Since then, OFN, Green Revolution, MAMSER, Better Life for Rural Women, SAP, WAI, SFEM, Deregulation, June 12th, Privatisation, and The Seven Point Agenda, among others, have come and gone. They made their mark in the sands of our collective consciousness and then disappeared into the bottom half of the national hourglass. But, we have remained like a palm tree, flexible in the wind.

Although we are lacerated by stereotypes, propagated from within and without, and although bloody sweat drips from our brows as we bake the national cake, we have always found ways to sustain hope, to restore hope, and to reinvent hope as we grease the wheels of the nation’s locomotive.

In my post, In the Beginning God Created Nigeria, I wrote:

 It is true that the Nigerian landscape offers many reasons for sober contemplation, but within the dim picture, I found moments of patriotic pride, quiet amusement, and downright hilarity.  Glimpses of our heydays managed to peek through ominous clouds, an indication that lost causes can be found

I found a lost cause. I found hope one grey morning when rain fell at a steady pace.

A man struggled to open his umbrella as he stepped out of his car. Holding the yeye umbrella that refused to fully unfold above his head, he hurried into a building. Ten minutes later, he braved the rain with his spoilt umbrella and rushed to his car. Once inside, he flung the black umbrella in the middle of the road. It tumbled, unfolded properly, and gaped at the sky. He drove off, leaving a water receptacle and a trap waiting to bite other motorists.

Soon after, another man walked by. He looked left then right, and then left again before running to the middle of the road to snatch the umbrella. He closed it and set it neatly on the pavement.

Curious, I invited him into our office for a chat.

“Why did you pick up the umbrella?”

“Because it can cause accident.”

I didn’t need to ask because his shoes, shaved at the heels and curling to heaven in front, revealed the answer. But I asked anyway, “Is your car parked around here?

He laughed. We both laughed.

I nor get car.”

We both laughed again.

“Then why did you….”

He shrugged his shoulders, “It can cause accident. Some drivers will not see on time.”

“Wow. Not many people will do what you did….”

He shrugged his shoulders again, “Make I begin go.”

“Hold on. Let me find something for you. We need more people like you in this country.”

“For what? Wetin I do? Please keep your money.”

“I just want to give you something to show appreciation. If more people were like you, this country will change.”

“No need. Make I begin go.”

When he stepped outside, he gauged the drizzle with the back of his palm, shut his umbrella, and kept walking.

Little hinges swing huge doors.  Change will elude us as long as we only point fingers. When I look for a dustbin to dispose of the empty Mr Biggs take-away pack instead of dumping it on the road, change will come. When I wait in traffic instead of turning the pavement to a fast lane, change will come.

Light a candle of hope with me. Share your encounter with a Nigerian whether in Washington or Aba or Ogbomosho or Manchester, which defied the stereotype that we have come to know. Surely, for Nigeria, the future is still pregnant.

 

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Photo credit: Zuorio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Title: Nigeria – Elekoe Beach

Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuorio/282076831/

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.