“Keep walking” was the command I got? A bit confused I queried my heart.
Perhaps, He said “working”. “No, Keep Moving” was My word!
Relieved, though unsure. I obeyed and received His peace!
@imanikel 200323 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
What would the world be like without women? I wonder.
Lacking lustre without a doubt, on these I will not ponder.
Say not that I praise her because I am one…
But then you may not be far from the truth dearest one
Known for her ability to multiply seeds and bring ease
The world stands to benefit from her and find peace
Little wonder the Proverbs 31 woman may sound like myth
Yet a simply search and you find her in every midst
We’ve heard it said, “why so many days celebrating women?”
Deep down they realise what bore it would be with just men!
Don’t think for a second we would have it otherwise…no way!
With the men around we roll on all sides and sway!
Celebrating women everywhere and the men who are not afraid to have us in their space. It is not a man’s world, it is not a woman’s world.
It’s simply OURS!
Happy International Women’s Day
@imanikel 080323 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
“Remember” is not the word you use for someone unforgettable! You simply don’t go a day without reminiscing over something they did or said and even when you do, your life by default responds to what they would have said given the situation you find yourself.
Uncle Sam is present! He is not just present by being here through the legacy he built in lives and communities, for Kingdom and humanity, he is a PRESENT, a gift that we will always be thankful to God for.
When you passed on last year, I couldn’t bring myself to cry, I still haven’t. I went into shock because we had plans about uniting the family, rebuilding broken down altars and changing the few negative narratives around our families for good. Sometimes, when I think about our several conversations from my teenager years – how you encouraged me to speak up, how we would negotiate my ‘punishment’ because I dropped the ball concerning something you had said not to do…I smile. I’m always in your defence, telling all who cared to listen, that you are not a difficult person to live with as long as they obeyed your instructions. But they don’t believe me and truly never did stay long with you, but I did and our friendship (despite the age gap) grew till you passed on.
Being a voracious reader with no TV to watch back then (because you didn’t want one contaminating my values), I remember the look of disappointment on your face when you ‘caught’ me reading a James Hardley Chase! If anyone knows a “Chase” book, you would recall that the cover would definitely be that of a semi-clad woman. But like I told you in my defence, that it was a thriller and had no sexual thingy in it..and boy, I love thrillers! You still felt, the pictures were suggestive and would pollute the mind. You bi Deeperlife Pastor, what did I expect?! I particularly didn’t like the pictures either, but I needed to read the stories. So I resorted to taking off the back…or covering them with used calendar to avoid-stories-that-touch. I think eventually I stopped reading them whilst with you so I don’t feel guilty.
One of our favourite pastime were our conversations! You would ask me what I did during the day after school, write about my holiday when I returned from Port-Harcourt (it was in one of my “How I spent my holiday” that you learnt what I had been up to as I would give details) poor child, what did I know. I was just being myself, saying it the way it is. But these are the values I learnt from you, speaking the truth at all times and with boldness. Our conversations even after I had gotten married, was one that Oba couldn’t interrupt. LOL. He had his own special time with you.
I remember on one of your visits to see Daddy, you said to me, “you guys are still ‘disturbing’ popsie” and I responded, “you know your brother, he doesn’t know when to stop because as far as he is concerned, we will always be his children”. You continued that he still treats you guys as little brothers too even after marriage and children (and I wasn’t even married then) and we laughed conspiratorially because that’s Daddy for you.
Your commission to Ini and I to gather information and write about the family was never done. Will we do it? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is, I will keep sharing your values, the Word, listening to your VNs and reading the few chats I have left of you and remembering the Uncle who became a 2nd father to me.
Happy posthumous 70th birthday to you Uncle Sam, I miss you so much!
@imanikel 02032023 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
I Manifest Adonai’s Nature
If no year has taught us anything, 2020 took us to school and had a spreadsheet of lessons to train us in various ways of living and survival, and live, we did! Sadly, as with all things human, once a phase is passed, we forget the lessons it brought and carry on as usual. But, some of us didn’t!
One phrase or thread you are likely to hear or see in my articles is, “Family is everything!” Another is, “I love Love!” By family, I refuse to limit the definition to those bond to us by blood, but expand it to include relationships that transcend blood and birth to bond via connection and friendship! Everyone should have one or more communities they are connected and committed to, not just for the help the community gives, but for the platform it provides us all to serve and help humanity.
Do you have a community?! Do you have a common union you can fall back on?
Our friend and brother passed on recently in another country far from his nuclear family. It was the community he had joined who reached out to his immediate family to inform them, whilst making plans to ensure his transition was almost stress-free to his immediate family. This is the GOSPEL of Jesus, having communities that propagate what Kingdom lifestyle is all about and living it. Don’t go thinking NGOs and don’t get me wrong, NGOs are good, but before you begin thinking of establishing one, branding it, getting a building and all the nitty gritty of having the papers to run one, we can all have pockets of communities where people can reach out to and find help, support and care. In some faith-based organisations, they are called fellowships, family units, home-cells, house fellowships, these should not only be about spreading the Word or doctrines we believe in, but true care for members.
I’ve been a member of one for a while and though it’s been ages I physically attended a meeting, yet we are constantly in the know about the well-being and welfare of our members. It is not always easy to assist, however, the few times we have stood our grounds and helped, we have had success stories. Beyond these fellowships, I have a group of ladies that we connect and share posts that help with life and sound mental living, we plan on hanging out which has not happened yet (because of our busy lives), but that is one hub we are ourselves, we laugh, cry and pray! Your family can also be a community, but you need to have a common focus and a foundation and no foundation can be best than having the Rock in place, so regardless of the storms and weather that life brings your way, you are still standing.
Being Christ-like is beyond speech and eloquence, it is deeds that show the characteristics of Christ. If we truly walk our talk, then will be fulfilled in our days, “Thy will be done on earth, as is in Heaven” and when there is a ready ground, it is so easy to plant seeds, water and the increase which God gives to come. We need to be the body of Christ in truth. How are you spreading the tents of this gathering, it is greater than the already established unions of the world. It is one (or more, as many as you love to build) which common ideals, faith, beliefs, goals are established and pushed for greater good. Mark those words, “GREATER GOOD”… if we decide to stand together in love and truth, no person or group of persons can overturn decisions we make. Interestingly, we have higher power as supernatural beings, let’s put it to work, your faith has been at ease for too long, work-mode activated!
The message is becoming increasingly clear and it’s no gainsaying, we need to grow our communities and strengthen the bonds of friends and family. Only then can we truly show our love for God by showing up for one another. The Community starts with you, your friends/neighbour, check up on one another, create a hub to log in a “hiya” every morning or evening or an emoji that says how you feel. I just checked up on mine…have you done yours?
@imanikel 28022023 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
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.” Otherwise, we would be saying that Jesus was unable to heal him and that’s not true. The next thing Jesus did shocked me… Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, “Don’t enter the village.”
What is a village?
What happens there?
Why was the man who had just been healed given that instruction?
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’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! 😂🙈
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?’ 😳 😋 for this particular set, I think the best response should be, “do kindly introduce yourself, I’d love to make your acquaintance” hilarious! 😂😅
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 😤😡
*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
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. 🙈😳
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 😮(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 😮. 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
🙈 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
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’ 😌), 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 “the child of the landowner”. 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 😂 others lose their Keke foot mat.
For what it is worth, Lagos has a mix that I love sometimes. How about you?
*Tricycle or Auto rickshaw
*Lout – an uncouth and aggressive man or boy.
@imanikel 121121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
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 🙉, meat inside the food loud…sorry BIG😂, the bikes don’t have side mirrors but some definitely have boomboxes blasting away, their greeting, loud…across your afro or wig! 😅 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 😅 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 😉
*wakapass – extras
*gra-gra – uncoordinated opinion
@imanikel 051121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung
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