Thank you for stopping by; if you're inspired, please join in

Sunday 2 December 2012

Thank you and Goodbye!

Image source
It’s never easy to say goodbye but like the saying goes, all good things come to an end. My adventure with blogging has certainly reached the point where I can no longer carry on for many reasons. I am never one to engage in an activity that I’m no longer fully committed to as my many months of absence would suggest.

My last post on here was after my return from Nigeria on a family holiday in August. Since that time, I have been back again to Nigeria only recently for my late father’s funeral. Then there are huge family commitments, work and other interests that I am currently pursuing which has made me take the decision to discontinue blogging.

I may be back one day who knows but for now I am bowing out. My sincere thanks to all those who have followed, visited and commented on my blog posts. Thanks for the memories while it lasted. My email on this blog is still active if anyone ever wanted to contact me in future.

Thanks once again, happy blogging and stay blessed.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Naija Visit

Hello people, hope all is well in blogsville. I recently visited Nigeria with my family. Enjoy some pictures of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I spent some time in Enugu and I was mightily impressed with the many stretch of roads that have either been newly constructed or repaired. It was also similar story in some rural areas I visited.

Inside Shoprite in Enugu - long bread queues!
New merry go round facility outside Shoprite

In contrast, the Enugu-Onitsha Road was in a terrible state.

Onitsha was even worse! Me and a friend drove through Onitsha on our way to Asaba to visit a relative. To describe the roads as horrendous is truly an understatement, it was really terrible.

Abuja rocks and hills povided some stunning view of nature. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Nigeria especially my kids who were visiting for the first time even though they're still quite very young to fully appreciate it. Despite our many challenges, Nigeria is a country full of potentials, if only we can harness it to its maximum.

Monday 23 July 2012

Cervical Cancer: Have you had a smear test?

Image source
Hope all is well in the land of blogsville after some time out attending to other commitments ~ my apologies as always. During my absence, I stumbled on a recent article in an online publication about cervical cancer. I've  read about cervical cancer and how it affects women in the past but this publication was of particular interest because recent research has shown an apparent apathy towards going for smear test by women of black and ethnic minority origin in the UK. An alarming 40% of Black and ethnic minority women feel the smear test is an unnecessary health test. Well in my view, the days of labelling cancers as a 'white man's' disease is well and truly over. Changes in lifestyle, environmental factors and even genetic factors puts us as much at risks in comparison with any other ethnic group.

The story is not different in Nigeria where a poorly resourced healthcare system in addition to very low enlightenment means many of our women may or are likely to suffer from cervical cancer and its consequences now or in the future.

I encouraged my wife to go for a smear test only recently and thankfully the results came back with no issues. I am also encouraging every woman who reads this post to seriously consider going for a smear test if not already had one done. It is a painless procedure that only takes a few minutes and you should get the results back in a matter of days. If you live in the UK, it is free on the NHS, you just need to book an appointment with your GP. I would imagine that would be the case in the rest of the western world. I know it won't be that easy for those who live in Nigeria but I'm sure if we create the awareness needed, it may help bring about support from Governments at every level and NGOs to ensure as many women as possible get tested.

Please spread the message and in doing so hopefully more black women will either be vaccinated or tested for cervical cancer. We don't want to blame another 'untimely' death to 'witches and wizards' which could have been better avoided by just making a sensible choice.

Sunday 3 June 2012

One Tragedy, too many

Image source
Words cannot describe how deeply saddened I am with the tragic Dana Plane crash in Lagos and the suicide bombing in a church in Bauchi. My thoughts and prayers goes to the families of the dead and injured in this very traumatic and immensely difficult times.

Every country have their fair share of both human and natural disasters but the frequency and severity with which these are happening in Nigeria is very alarming. The biggest worry for me is that within a few days from now, after a 'committee' would have been set up to investigate the 'causes of the incident' everything would have being forgotten about, we carry on as normal like nothing ever happened.

I hope those we have entrusted to find the answers to the challenges we face as a nation will come up with solutions to help us navigate our way out of all these mess, most of which I believe are self inflicted. Those who fail to learn from history may one day become history themselves.

May God bless Nigeria.

Saturday 26 May 2012

It could have been worse

Image source
Laura Brashier is not a name that rings a bell, certainly not one I have ever heard of or read about until recently. A few days ago, whilst waiting in the reception of the garage where I went for an MOT test on my car, I found myself flipping through pages of the January edition of GLAMOUR magazine. I say that because I don't read celebrity or glamour magazines but then to fill the void of the 45minutes wait which I was told it will take meant I had to pick up one from the different magazines scattered on the side table.

I stumbled on an article written by Laura Brashier. I will spare you the details but it was a story about what she went through after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. However, after what was a successful treatment of chemotherapy, what she didn't realise was she was never going to have sex again. Doctors advised her not engage in sex which is a common side effect, apparently the extensive exposure during chemotherapy, as well as destroying the cancerous cells also narrows the vaginal wall and makes it almost impossible for any sexual activity to take place. Since that time, Laura has had 3 failed relationships. However, she refused to be defeated by this realisation and has spent her time researching how to support people with similar medical conditions that has ended their sex life.

Reading that article immediately made me to reflect and put things into perspective. Only last week I was providing encouragement to someone I know whose wife has a medical condition that is making childbirth proving difficult. In this case sex wasn't the issue but inability to conceive. I would like to imagine Laura would not mind being in this position. But then again only recently I lost a very close distant relative, who only married a year ago. I'm sure if she was giving a choice of either to live and be put in the other two situations I've just described or death, I'm sure she'll choose life.

In essence the message I'm trying to get across is that in as much as humans we do often despair and worry about our circumstances in life, things could have also been a lot worse. For every bad situation, there's always a potentially worse thing that can happen. It's about putting things into perspective, whilst not always accepting what life throws at us but at least to find the courage to put a positive spin in what can be very difficult and challenging times that will inevitably confront us.

PS: Apologies for the recent absence, as always work, family and other commitments means as much as I love blogging, it's not number one on the 'to do list' I'm afraid.
Support the Give a book campaign, it's very much alive.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Understanding Female Genital Mutilation

Image source
I remember back in Nigeria, I heard and read bits about Female Genital Mutilation otherwise known as FGM. At the time, I must admit I didn't really understand or should I say pay too much attention to what it actually involves other than it was a procedure that was  performed on young girls to prevent them from becoming promiscuous later in life.

Only recently it came up in conversation and my wife did explain to me that it basically involves cutting out some external parts of the female genital organ. I was also made to understand there are alternative methods used instead of cutting. It involves dipping a piece of cloth into hot water which is then applied at intervals spanning days or even weeks to serve similar purpose to FGM but without having to cut anything. I know this is a taboo subject for some people but we need to talk about these issues to understand them better.

I've done a few bit of research since that time which seem to corroborate what she rightly told me. The World Health Organisation's website also provides some very useful information covering all aspects of the practice.

What worries me is that the intention of those who carry out the procedure is to limit sexual pleasure and in doing so aim to achieve their purpose of making their victims less likely to become promiscuous. I haven't read or come across any research that links female genitalia to sexual promiscuity. Even if their was any, individuals have a choice of how they choose to live their sexual lives but that is a topic for another day.

What really struck me and in fact spurred me into blogging about this issue is that just today (22/04/12), reports in the UK media seem to suggest there may well be over 100,000 victims of this practice in the UK. The practice is thought to be rife among African and some Asian communities.

Despite legislation and a possible 14 year jail term for anyone engaged or arrange to engage in the practice, it seems, it still hasn't deterred the practice in African communities in particular. If this practice is rife in our communities in the diaspora especially those of us living in the west whom you would expect should know better then you can imagine the scale of the problem in Nigeria.

More needs to be done to deal with the problem. Legislation is certainly a step in the right direction but from what I gather there are no Federal laws that directly prohibits the practice. Even though some states have laws to tackle FGM, a National approach would be more effective.

But laws alone are not enough, FGM like most social issues requires plenty of enlightenment and education to challenge long held beliefs and attitudes which in my view is at the heart of practices of this nature. This will require lots of persuasion, convincing and a paradigm shift in deeply rooted culture and traditions. It shouldn't be treated as a cultural issue anymore but as a public health matter.

There are no health benefits for subjecting young girls to undergo this procedure and as such more should be done to put an end to it. We can certainly do our bit through talking and educating our relatives, friends, supporting NGOs and raising awareness. It's not too late to start now otherwise we'll be storing up huge social and psychological problems for future generations.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Potential Pitfalls of Social Media

Image source
Whenever the term social media is used, what usually springs to mind is Facebook, twitter and Youtube. In reality, all forms of Web based applications are an integral part of social media which undoubtedly has changed the landscape of how we communicate.

I still remember towards the turn of the new millenium when the only way I could contact my sister in London was through a NITEL phonebooth. Mobile phones and other forms of instant communication where few and far between. Then came yahoo messenger, msn and fast forward to a decade later, we have witnessed an explosion of different platforms that facilitates easy communication. The benefits that have followed as a result are enormous and there are many more technologies of this kind that I'm sure will follow suit.

As social media continues to grow and expand with its attendant benefits, our lives and rules of social engagement will continually be shaped by how we use them. I'm a big fan of modern technology and social media certainly falls into that category.

However, the use of pseudo names on social media platforms seems to give some people a false idea that what they type behind their computers or mobile devices in the comfort of their home is anonymous. A visit to a popular Nigerian web forum (which I'll prefer not to mention) seems to reinforce this argument. The use of vitriol and abusive words seems to be the norm and the sad part of it is that it does appear to be acceptable. Most debates seem to quickly turn into a tribal war for no apparent reason.

What people who use abusive and inappropriate language on social media platforms fail to understand is that whatever you put on the web remains forever. Deleting something from a website or web application doesn't necessarily gets rid of it from the web. Websites and social media contents are stored on servers and likely to remain long after you may have forgotten about them or think you've deleted them. We cannot predict where we'll be or what we'll do in say 10 or 20 years from now and you never know in what ways things you've put out on social media platforms may haunt you later in life.

Sometimes we may come across a topic or opinion we don't necessarily agree with, my top tip is not to respond to such issues when emotions are running high. Chances are that you're more likely to write something that you may rue later - try and do so when you're in a better frame of mind.

Recently a UK university student was jailed for aiming racists abuse on twitter at a footballer (Fabrice Muamba) who collapsed during a football match. There have been similar cases of this nature in recent times. What it shows is that what you say on social media is far from being anonymous. I know some people may say they are in Nigeria and it will be difficult to get them but believe me modern tracking technologies can make it very easy in the event your ISP is unable to provide information about you.

The next time you go for a job interview, chances are an Internet search about you may have been carried out. In the US, some employers have gone a step further. I read recently about the practice by some employers asking job applicants their Facebook passwords as part of their job application process. Whilst most social media platforms have security settings to protect our privacy, including our dear blogger, in reality they are all vulnerable to hackers and people with a different agenda. Only few days ago, an anonymous group made the UK Home Office website inaccessible, reinforcing how vulnerable the web can be.

As we blog and enjoy the thrills of using social media platforms, please be measured in what you say. Whatever content you want to share online, photos, video etc, be sure it's something you won't look back later and regret. Whilst I would like to dismiss any perceived perception of scaremongering, it would benefit us to know that each time we use the web, we leave an audit trail of who we are and what we've been up to but let it be for the right reasons.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


The written materials and ideas on this blog are subject to copyright and cannot be reproduced without written permission of the blog author who goes under the pseudo names Naija4Life (A Pen and A Heart). Unless stated otherwise all quoted articles, paragraphs, titles or excerpts must be credited to the blog author. To contact the blog author to obtain permission or other copyright issues, please email and await a response:

Live Trafic Feed