Why I Won’t Give Up…

So my brothers and I have this inside joke, whenever I start to tell a story that they have heard a hundred times before, they start to sing “story of my life, searching for the right”…(I know, it’s only funny if you hear them sing it)

6:10 am; standing in front of my bathroom mirror, toothbrush in hand, trying to gather myself to start my day. My tooth was throbbing so hard I was very afraid to put the toothbrush in my mouth. So I stood there for a while, and then I did what children do when they are in pain, I called my mother. She cheered me up, told me to be a big girl, brush my teeth and get on with my day but before she hung up, she said; wait, let me tell you a story of why you should never give up, Insert music; ” story of my life”…

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December 1988, Olodi Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. I had been sick for months, been admitted at LUTH for several months, I was not getting any better and the doctors gave up. They told my mum to take me home and let nature take its course. My fever was so high that my mother couldn’t sleep a wink, she had been up for days and she was exhausted but this particular day she was really tired and had to catch a quick nap. She had barely closed her eyes when she heard my cousin screaming for her, yelling at the top of her lungs because I had stopped breathing. My mum did not even look to see if it was true or not, her daughter was dying and she was terrified so she ran, she ran out the door into the street, wailing and crying for help, she was so overwhelmed and all she could do was cry.

I was convulsing again, and this time my jaws had locked up and my airway was completely blocked. Mama Chiago, one of our neighbors had heard my mum wailing and she ran into our house; she and my dad managed to pry my jaw open and administered medication to me. My parents weren’t even born again at the time, but my mum said she could remember my dad praying from the depths of his soul saying” Amarachukwu, you will not die! Not today, please God not today. It is safe to say that God answered that prayer because here I am today!

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My mother,my hero

My mum told me that after that day, I never had another seizure and I thrived and grew like I was supposed to. She recollects holding me for hours, looking at  my tired little face, bruised and battered from the efforts to pry my jaw open and just weeping and thanking God for sparing her little girl’s life. Amara, If God didn’t want you here, He would have taken you that day, you are here today for a reason. You went through that, you can go through anything! You see why the woman is my best friend? Anyway after we hung up, I braced myself, took a couple of pain pills, finally brushed my teeth and went about my day with a huge smile on my face. My tooth might ache like hell, my life might be going in the opposite direction from where I planned for it to go, 2016 might have been a whirlwind of tears and low moments; but I won’t give up! I have come too far from where I started from, God has been my God through all of it, and He didn’t bring me this far to leave me…

Don’t give up, not when the sun is just about to shine. 2017 will be our best year yet… ps: this is a heartfelt thank you to Mama Chiago, God bless you wherever you are today!

Fall seven times and stand up eight.”- Japanese Proverb

The Lekki Joggers…

Fitness is important, no doubt. Jogging is a good cardiac exercise and is highly encouraged. Men and women all over the world, keep fit in so many ways and the primary aim of jogging is to keep fit.

In the suburbs of Lekki however, jogging has become a social activity. I was going to work one morning minding my business until  I saw a lady, very well endowed I must say, clad in a sports bra and a pair of itsy bitsy shorts, she looked like a Victoria’s Secret angel, strutting down the run way that is the Ikoyi Link Bridge. What struck me as odd was the fact that she was fully made up! the whole nine yards, complete with false lashes and red lipstick and I found myself wondering why she needed makeup to jog, since she was going to get so sweaty anyway.

I didn’t have to wonder for too long because my questions were answered almost immediately. I became aware that I was not the only one who had noticed Her Royal Sumptuousness’ in all her glory stopping every now and then to dab delicately at her sweaty brows. Then came a guy who was dressed as though he was out for a jog but couldn’t possibly be because he had his ipad and two cell phones with him. From my vantage point, I saw him beckon to Miss. Itsy Bitsy shorts and she flashed him a super bright smile. They got talking and just when I was about to crane my neck to see what would happen next, the traffic jam in front of us cleared and the shuttle zoomed off.

Over the ensuing weeks I have observed the same trend, ladies jogging in the sexiest apparels they can think of and while I agree that we live in the 21st Century, this is Nigeria and such sights will still give some people a jolt.

Am I closed-minded? not at all, I just found it interesting to note how jogging, a seemingly dull activity has been transformed into a social activity.

Now That We Have Gone Back To “Suya” And Infrequent Hand Washings.

Few Months ago, there was panic and terror in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) had struck and no one was safe. Hand sanitizers that were hitherto abandoned on supermarket shelves, sold out faster than anyone could imagine, Suya stands were deserted because we were told to stay away from certain kinds of meat, suya included, and people made conscious efforts to wash and sanitize their hands often. On the other hand, those that believed in bitter kola, salt and water therapy, and ewedu, indulged to their hearts content.

Handshakes and hugs reduced to a minimum, even in churches! Lagosians became civilized, frighteningly so that even at Oshodi and other rowdy bus stops, people formed queues to get into buses, and all the rushing, pushing and shoving became history.

Thanks to God and to the valiant effort of the Lagos state government, the disease was contained and mercifully the death toll wasn’t alarming. Gradually, things have returned to their status quo. The hand sanitizers that were suddenly so scarce and expensive have slowly returned to their places on the shelf. The Mai Suyas are smiling to the bank because their booths have been restored to their former glory and slowly but surely, people have gone back to washing their hands less and less.

Though it took the scourge of Ebola to remind humanity of basic hygiene, we should know that Ebola or not, washing our hands is key. Especially before and after meals, after using the restroom and whenever necessary. Keep your surroundings clean as can be, wash fruits thoroughly before consumption and avoid unnecessary body contact.

Nigeria is free from fresh cases of EVD, but other African countries are not and people are dying by the numbers. Husbands have lost wives, children have lost parents, and families have been decimated.  Let us remember them in our prayers.

Cleanliness is not next to godliness, It is part of it!