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Articles Freedom Fridays The Word

Don’t Enter The Village!๐Ÿ˜ฒ


I was shocked also when I saw that command. I thought of my father’s really beautiful house and the lush grass in front with several mango tress, and the backyard which boast of African Pear (Safou), Udara (African Star Apple) and Palm trees, not to mention the pineapples that are spread in the bush. I left out the Pawpaw trees and the native Apple (Rose Apple) tree amongst others; Daddy loves his farm and fruits!

I remembered the streams, the long path that leads to my maternal Uncle’s house, whom we call Captain. My 2nd daddy’s home, Uncle Richard and the rest of my family members that are in the village. The generational church (The Lutheran Church) we attended as children and still visit when we go for Carols and prayers. I looked at the statement again and I shuddered.

I have read Mark 8:23-26 in the King James Version (KJV) many times and my focus is always on the man and his failing sight; a sight so bad to the extent that even when the Sight-Giver touched him and he still didn’t see! My focus has also been on the need to see men for who they truly are, not metaphorically (I see men as trees, walking), but what and who they are, what they represent and who they represent.
Mind you, trees don’t walk, they can sway from side to side, be uprooted, but walking isn’t their thing. It has always been about clear vision that ends all deceit.

But this time when I read it in The Message (MSG), it hit me! That the man had already been healed, but his faith didn’t pull hard enough to see through the maze. In fact verse 25 (KJV) says “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” Jesus made him, encouraged him, redirected his focus from the mundane to the supreme (above) and when he obeyed, he saw clearly! MSG collaborates this by saying, The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus.”ย Otherwise, we would be saying that Jesus was unable to heal him and that’s not true. The next thing Jesus did shocked me…ย Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, โ€œDonโ€™t enter the village.โ€

What is a village?
What happens there?
Why was the man who had just been healed given that instruction?
I wondered…

A village is a small community or group of houses in a rural area. Jesus, the all-knowing Saviour of the world, knew the source of his trouble. He knew the man had a community he loved hanging out with, whose company he enjoyed, a group whose advice he took – hook, line and sinker without doubts, the familiar, the place he lets his guard down, the place his vision is downplayed on and he is robbed of his purpose to the point that he can no longer differentiate right from wrong, a zone he walks in greys – an astigmatic zone. Jesus says, “Don’t enter, don’t go there, go straight home!” Return to base, your vision, the place you have root, the place of certainty, where your heart is at peace. Stop the vacillation! Take a stand!

How many times have we been caught in this place of deceit where we keep thinking that a particular place or person holds the answer to the clarity of purpose we seek? I’m not sure if I have cleared your doubts, but one command I’ll leave you with is, whenever it has to do with your sight or purpose, go back to the Word, don’t enter the village!

What is your village?

@imanikel 11032022 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

I Manifest Adonai’s Nature
#UnapologeticallyMe
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Articles Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria

#MyLagos – *E Bi Like Sey…


I’m wondering if to go full pidgin English on you today or do a mix on this aspect of #MyLagos people. Well, a mix would be delicious, but the core will definitely come as it was said. I maintain, Lagos offers you countless stories daily, if you have seeing eyes and a listening ear, I’m sure where you are does the same too.

So one of those mornings, on my way to work. Our ‘seeming’ peace was rudely interrupted by some actions on the walk-way and of course accompanied by loud noise and spectators.
Note to readers: If the action doesn’t have spectators, then it’s not worthy of taking notice of it, spectators just keep moving.

Back to my story:
The spectators were finding it hard to contain him from causing bodily harm to his opponent (who is apparently, an annoying bus conductor, who after collecting full bus fare, decides to off-load his passengers half-way) and the next thing we heard from the conductor as he bent and picked up a weapon (a discarded piece of plastic) was, *“e bi like sey you wan wound…” and everyone in the vehicle went “ahhaa” signaling a case of “we have heard this before, all pump and no action”. Funnily enough, the one without the weapon (the passenger) was the one being detained because truth be told, the conductor was all hot air and if the spectators had let go of the passenger, someone would have had a bloodied nose and definitely not the passenger! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ

Daily, on our way round #MyLagos, we encounter the ‘E bi like sey’ WhatsApp group people, always spoiling for a fight and never having the strength to actually go for the jugular. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not campaigning that anyone be violent, I’m just saying wouldn’t it have been better, if we had a dialogue on whatever the issue was? It’s the same whether the person is learned or an illiterate, there’s this “I-can’t-be-seen-as-a-weakling-syndrome” going around and many have lost their lives or limbs engaging in this conquest, on the highway, I must add!
If it is not ‘E bi like sey’, it is ‘Do you know who I am?’ ๐Ÿ˜ณ ๐Ÿ˜‹ for this particular set, I think the best response should be, “do kindly introduce yourself, I’d love to make your acquaintance” hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…

Well, my charge to you today, is a call to have a rethink about our behaviour in public. Every time that lout or another ‘sane’ thinking person pushes your upset button, stop, count and calm down and ask yourself; Which WhatsApp group am I about to join?
How beneficial is what they are offering?
Will it do my rep or BP any good?
Which brand am I representing right now?

I think the answers to these and some other unasked questions, will put you in check. Or what do you think?

By the way, what is it with people (drivers), immediately you indicate that you want to make a turn or change lanes, they quickly close up the space that was in front of them caused by their playing with their phones on a highway – traffic jam or not! Mtschewwwwwwww ๐Ÿ˜ค๐Ÿ˜ก

Glossary:
*E bi like sey – it seems
*E bi like sey you wan wound – it seems you want to be injured

@imanikel 04022022 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos People I've met

#MyLagos – The Comical Driver


One thing I’d miss when I stop my daily commute with commercial vehicles, will be the stories from drivers/passengers and their different perspectives to life. Everyone has an opinion and in my Lagos, the one with the loudest voice and knowledge (whether it’s true or false) gets an audience. But, the beautiful thing is, people are aware, so you’d want to be careful with the information you trade or you will be ridiculed even in my Lagos and amongst the agberos (area boys) sef.

I happened to be in this vehicle with a very comical driver. He said so many things that had me in stitches:
1) He picked a guy along the way, gave him a price for his destination and the guy beat down the price. The driver asked him if it was his first time in Lekki, because the price he was negotiating for didn’t sound like someone who had been to Lekki before. ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜ณ

2) My comical driver, received a call and from the tone of the conversation, he was supposed to remit money to the caller. The driver explained that he had lost his phone and had been praying that the caller would contact him. He promised to pay him at the end of the month (this was 26th January o). The caller was confused and asked him, “this month or next month?” The driver replied, “when is month-end?” The passengers erupted with laughter, as the conversation was not a silent one (though peaceful). It then occurred to the driver that the month had ended already.

3) I happened to sit in front with a young-lady between us. Apparently, the driver had been teasing her throughout the journey, he even bought water for her and they were in a conversation of some sort. I noticed someone kept interrupting their conversation with his call and she would say “I’m almost there”. During one of the calls, she told the guy who had been waiting, that she was near to his location. But this was about 5 bus-stops away ๐Ÿ˜ฎ(she was at Igbuefon, but told him she was almost near Mega Chicken).
At this the driver stopped teasing her and said to her, “God said I should tell you, if you change your ways, He will bless you this year!”
She scoffed at him and his declaration, but he continued, “If I was a General Overseer or Pastor, you would believe me and shout ‘amen!’ don’t ignore me because I’m a Danfo driver”.
Her ‘man’ called again (by this time we were at Chevron and the traffic was not smiling) and she said she could almost see Mega Chicken ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. At this point, the driver shook his head, and informed her that it would take another hour + to get there. I was bemused at such bold lies and suggested she better get down and fly a bike rather than tell lies. She got off and that ended her chapter.

4) Still in traffic, as we drove past the Chevron tollgate, into a sea of slowly-driven cars, one of the lady passengers enquired about his conductor and the driver asked if she wanted to leave a message for him, she responded that he was owing her a balance for her fare.
Uncle driver, told her that she could alight from the bus, that he will pass on the message to the conductor, when he picked him up down the road. after a while, Uncle driver asked her where her destination was and it was the last stop, to which he responded, “so why are you disturbing us?”

5) Further down the road, he picked someone he had been looking for and couldn’t reach. Another tale of missing phones and contact came from the fellow. Also, he recounted the drama that led to his abandoning his place of work. He mentioned how his employer accused him of stealing a client’s phone, only for the phone to be found in his employer’s brother’s bag; and the matter was killed without any drama.
According to him, that his name had been tarnished and until his former employer corrected this misdeed to his name, he wouldn’t have anything to do with him. The driver asked him if he wanted his employer to write his name in crayon.

This is just an evening on my way home. How has your day been in #MyLagos or your city? Do share.

@imanikel 280122 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Life

#HNY – Step in…


๐Ÿ™ˆ I know you are wondering, it’s 21st January in the 21st Century, did she just wake up! Actually, yes…when you wake up I hear is your morning. I started out writing this on the 21st and today is 27th…Lord, have mercy! The year is already so busy.

Well, we made it into the year, which I keep reiterating – it’s just another day that turned over. Use your positive eyes to look at it and stop fretting!

Actually, when I was thinking about the new year, having been ill at the ending of last year, what I heard in my spirit was STEP IN! So you can only imagine my joy, when I listened to my Pastor’s end of year/New Year message and He said to “March In!” for me that was a confirmation.

When Oba (hubby) was praying for it, he said so many things that resonated with this word, so I’m stepping into God’s rest for me.

How about you!?

@imanikel 27012022 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos – A pot-pourri of their lifestyle.


Early one morning on my way to work, we passed by a healthy black goat (she looked pregnant, that’s how I knew it was a ‘she’ ๐Ÿ˜Œ), who fled from our path as a car approached and I mused to myself, that even the goat was wise and loved her life better than whatever it is she was attempting to pick up from the road.

So, how come, when you are walking or speeding down the road, grown-up men stand casually and intentionally in your path, expecting you, the car, bike or *Keke to manoeuvre around them rather than them stepping off harm’s path. You get to hear things like, nah “Omo ni le” meaning โ€œthe child of the landownerโ€. The last time I checked a vehicle with failed brakes or one driven by a drunk doesn’t recognise titles or anything in it’s path that won’t step aside.

#MyLagos people not only stand in the way to assert ownership, the *louts, do worse. For that driver trying to make ends meet, who probably ran away from school because he didn’t understand the signs and symbols or whose parents couldn’t afford to pay his basic fees, he found himself a new ‘teacher’ complete with marker on the road, to score the number of times he has settled his logistics bill. It’s amazing how they (the taskmasters) recall if you had paid the morning, afternoon or evening’s charge or you had a balance to complete.

The really funny one is that every day the marker or sign for the day is different.
Did it end there? For where?!
After the driver has survived the ‘usual’ suspects, the next day he meets a new group who are collecting money for their own branch and guess who suffers this “teacher’s” fees? The passengers, of course!

You asked what they do with the money? If only I knew, but it has been said that the owners wait patiently to receive as donated.
Suffice to say that the teachers are global, by this I mean, they come from neighbouring towns and states. I know we have a lot of Ibadan and Abeokuta “teachers”. I’m wondering if they don’t have vehicles in their vicinity to obtain. It is surprising what the “teacher” uses his own ‘salary’ to do at the beginning and end of the day – drink sachet gin, eat small rice or beans with plenty huge pomo (cow-hide) and beef and more sachet gin and water in between.

Permit me at this point to say that if you are loud enough and have the coarsest of voice! You will make a good teacher and your marker makes you ready for work. Did I mention the flip-side of not submitting your windscreen for the marks and your money for the course manual? You either lose your fuel tank cover, the rubber that protects your window or door, your wiper (if you have one) or your side mirror if it is convertible. Talk about convertible side-mirrors ๐Ÿ˜‚ others lose their Keke foot mat.

For what it is worth, Lagos has a mix that I love sometimes. How about you?

Glossary
*Tricycle or Auto rickshaw
*Lout – an uncouth and aggressive man or boy.

@imanikel 121121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos: Action People ๐Ÿ˜ณ


My buddy, Dee seems to think I should continue writing about My Lagos till I end the series. But can you ever really run out of drama in Lagos?! The City thrives on the noise and the excess drama and when I say “excess”, I mean excess. Their parties are loud, music loud ๐Ÿ™‰, meat inside the food loud…sorry BIG๐Ÿ˜‚, the bikes don’t have side mirrors but some definitely have boomboxes blasting away, their greeting, loud…across your afro or wig! ๐Ÿ˜… Their fight? Legendary! Hmmm

Speaking of which, on my way to work yesterday as I attempted crossing over to the other side of the road to catch a vehicle, I heard someone walking really fast behind, as if to catch up with me and sounded very angry as he was talking. I quickly turned, so I’ll know if to step out of the way or something. Thank God I did – phew ๐Ÿ˜… because from the corner of my eyes, I say his hands fling past my hairline literally, as he described whatever to the other listening party in the phone! So, here am I feeling like a bulldozer was behind, meanwhile someone was just having a descriptive conversation with another and his hands spoke more than his speech.

Another thing about My Lagos is their ‘Eye-witness’ nature. To get home from my estate gate, you either drive, walk down or take a bike. I was on a bike in and I saw someone running away. He had good reasons to, because the next fellow was shirtless, but clothed himself with “you go hear am today” and had a big stick in his hand, chasing after him. Of course, the street and the house they came out of, had enough spectators to form a *wakapass crowd for a movie. Who knows, maybe they were playing a movie role. But I didn’t allow my bikeman to wait and watch, which would have been natural for him because the fear I noticed in the first man’s strides and face were real. It is better to be safe than sorry.

“Na which person *gra-gra loud pass, nah him dey win argument”. That’s what they are trying to turn me into, but God pass dem. Last night, I had to walk a distance towards the bridge before getting to another bus-stop. An unknown ‘pally’ who doesn’t live in my side of Lagos walked with me, as I tried helping him with directions to where he was headed last night. From the corners, some boys came out and tried surrounding him to get money ‘for the boys’ and he told them he didn’t have any.
So this is the new pattern now, not only do they harass bikemen and buses, they harass pedestrians too – mostly guys. So, I continued our conversation and told him to keep moving (stopping is an error he would have regretted). The first lad left apparently because he saw me and the genuineness my unknown pally spoke.

Were we in the clear? For where?! A taller bully showed up and demanded for money, I told him there was none and he said to me, “you dey like person wey dey give person money?” I told him if the first person who had asked initially came back, I’d give him money. But no money for this bully. He was upset and talked about how I would cry if my bag was snatched, I offered him the bag, but he kept saying “you get money?” All the while looking around. I wonder if he was checking to know the source of my boldness or an escape route should he snatch his grand-mother’s bag ๐Ÿ˜‰

Glossary:
*wakapass – extras
*gra-gra – uncoordinated opinion

@imanikel 051121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Daily Prompt People I've met Rant Thankful Thursday

#ThankfulThursday – People


Listening to my friend and colleague Vaso talk about people on his podcast this morning, I could totally relate. But I won’t ask like McReynolds to be delivered from people, but that I will be able to help people recognise their best selves daily as much as I can. Sometimes, it’s truly difficult to do that, but the power of the tongue doesn’t permit me to say some things my tongue desires to, cause I’m afraid I’ll just birth or bring into existence what I don’t want to see. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Well, the trick lately is to look at me and see, what part of me still needs working on, and I work it. So it seems my patience has been pulled in all directions lately, my mind attacked, my self-esteem tugged out…but the funny thing about my self-esteem is I had dealt with this one when I was a lot younger. So the attacks don’t reach there, they simply reinforce me!

How?
Since you asked, let me share…
So at an early age, I heard things like, “you are too chubby, too fat (for heaven’s sake I was a fat baby and fat babies are cute ๐Ÿ˜Œ, though heavy to carry and I didn’t like been carried while sitting, do the maths! LOL), your head is big, your …is big, your …is flat, are you Chinese – no disrespect, my people, but I heard a lot? Once, I took a tape and measured someone’s head and his was bigger than mine and yet he said I had a big head!
So whenever, someone mentioned my head, I told them that’s why I was wiser than them.๐Ÿ˜‹
As for the big …, I see most of them now doing surgery to enlarge theirs…rolling my painted eyes at those memories. ๐Ÿ‘€

Well, people will always be people, but you have to determine the access you give them, the access into your space and mind to the point that they begin to matter or not.

When I wake in the morning, it’s refreshing to see people, even those who are outright annoying, at least they bring you back to reality that you are not yet a Spirit and there are still more for you to work on in this side of eternity. Beyond that, they form my daily interesting characters for #MyLagos Series.

Whatever you are thankful for today, be thankful for people!

@imanikel 041121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles My Lagos Nigeria Rant Tuesday Thoughts

#ThoughtfulTuesday


Where are my thoughts this warm Tuesday afternoon…on my Lagos of course! Someone would think I hold shares in the way wealth is distributed in Lagos by my claims, “My Lagos!” But you see, I used to live in the Garden City aka Port-Harcourt and ever since I relocated by force abi nah choice (I don’t know again), I tried adjusting to Lagos speed-life and couldn’t (or so I thought). But by the time I went to visit Port-Harcourt, the City felt too slow for me. I just couldn’t cope! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Now, I can comfortably say I’m a Lasgidi person but there are things that I still don’t get that put me off. Here goes some of the complains:

  1. The always wet street, because Iya (somebody) is cooking rice or ewa (beans) for her numerous clients by the corner and it’s only natural to pour the pepper-water on the tar or sand in front of the shop, but definitely in the middle of the road. So, the LG chairman ensured the road was patched with interlocking stones, but Iya Somebody still pours her pepper-water faithfully like libation. Mtschewwww ๐Ÿ˜‹
  2. The ‘normal’ habit of conductors, market women, a passer-by speaking to you in Yoruba, because you are in Lagos and therefore must speak Yoruba. For these sets, when they do, I respond in English to enquire what they are talking about and trust a typical Yoruba person to bad-mouth me because I don’t understand, that’s when I go FBI (Full Blooded Ibibio) babe and respond in my language, “Abo di e?” So both of us are stuck in a field of no-experience. Unlike the ‘Field of Experience’ in Communication, where interaction is achieved. ๐Ÿ˜Œ
  3. Why do bus drivers or bikes always have the desire to buy fuel, when you are rushing to work, or stop to gauge their tires.
    Speaking of which I’m reminded of an incident yesterday. So, we managed to secure occupancy in a bus headed our way and the ‘Uncle’ decided to pump his tires. He passed a vulcanizer who was relatively free and went to his ‘customer’ who was patching another vehicle’s tire, with a trailer waiting in line (to do who-knows-what) and our bus was number 3 – on a Monday morning in Lagos (Ajah) traffic ๐Ÿ˜ณ One of the occupants in our bus, ‘Aunty’, dared to complain about this stopping, which would make her go late. The ‘Uncle’ responded in a very angry and rude manner, that if she doesn’t like, she should come down and collect her money. Trust ‘Aunty’, she subsequently demanded for her refund. As if drawn by some unseen spirits 8 persons joined ‘Aunty’ to drop. The conductor returned their monies to them, but used ‘Aunty’ to do ring-a-ring-a-roses (she didn’t stop following him and demanding for her money because the driver didn’t know how to speak to someone). The conductor kept at it, till the vulcanizer seeing our forlorn faces skipped the trailer and attended to us! Pheww ๐Ÿ˜… Just as we drove out of that spot, ‘Aunty’ was still by the bus-stop yet to find another vehicle. Remember, I told you it was a Monday morning and you swallow your pride on Mondays, as bus no dey dey! I don’t buy into the rudeness arena but when it comes to a Monday morning and I’m carrying an extra bag which is heavy because of content, I’m humble o! Did I also mention that the driver was initially nasty to me too, I ignored.

Well, my Lagos isn’t so bad (sometimes) but that’s where the life is. Share a bit of your ‘Lagos’ or world with me. I’m keen on discovering it with you!

@imanikel 021121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

A Year After…๐Ÿ˜Ÿ


Last year, a normal day which began with a planned protest against certain ills in society, didn’t end well. Several stories went viral, but truth be told, we lost a lot that day. Some may say those losses were seeds sown to the cause. Some may say, those losses could have been prevented. Hmmm. Truly a sad one which leaves a bad bitter taste in our mouth and in the fabric of our history if you ask me.

A year after…we remember the pain of the losses and all the trouble that came from the day we call the #BlackTuesday. As I think back in retrospect and desire to celebrate the changes that may have occurred, I am held back in my expressions, as I still see those ills replay themselves on an another level…lets say in a subtle brazen way. I sense an unspoken “speak and I squash you” in the atmosphere. I sense a “we are not saying don’t protest o, but I dare you to show your face.” If not, how else do you interpret the flood of security manpower all over our access routes this morning in my Lagos especially around the site of earlier protest? How else do you explain why people are scared to come out and go about their usual business today because of a perceived attack. What do you call the ORDER to not gather at the location.

Why is a protest that will bring change, often considered dangerous and yet killings of innocent citizens in different parts of the country goes unchecked, because we don’t have the resources to handle such. My mind has so many questions, are you able to answer them?

Well, we have a proverb in Nigeria, “If hunters have learnt to shoot without missing, birds have learnt to fly without perching”. Hence, the drive-through protest. What do I mean by this, remain in your car, drive past the Lekki-toll and say whatever (but you know you can’t say some things sha), but keep moving. Trust Nigerian youth, they are maximizing it to the fullest.

The tear gas has begun to spread, some persons have been arrested whatever for, I don’t know, the men in black look on waiting for a call – perhaps, the youths refused to be gagged, as they sing ๐ŸŽผHow many people government go kill o! (2x) eee dem go kill us tire (3x) How many people government go kill.
The others chant ๐ŸŽผNo Justice, No Peace!

Truth be told when people get tired to being tossed about, they take a stand and that reaction never sits well with anyone because it is coming from a place of ‘we have endured this for too long, been silent for too long, we are done being passive because this is a time for action.’

I just passed by today to remind you that we didn’t forget this day last year and whilst that seed is yet to bear the fruits we desire, we will keep watering it, till it buds positively in our land and nation.

@imanikel 201021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Daily Prompt Impact Lyrical Mondays

#MondayMatters


Sometimes, the beginning of your week gives you the feeling that weekend should already be back here. But that is because you are allowing another decide for you how your day should be.

Whilst most people are usually thankful it’s Friday. I’m grateful for all days, because these are opportunities.

#MakeYourMondayCount

@imanikel 181021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung