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Articles Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria

#FreedomFriday – My Grouse!


I have noticed that most bikes in Lagos if not all, are without their side mirrors. This got me wondering why the manufacturers would risk lives in such a manner. Poor manufacturer, getting blamed for what its user re-invented. How did I discover this? A young fellow I spoke with this morning, when I asked why his bike was without the mirrors, responded in his defense that “Nah only Baba dem dey use bike with side mirror!” 😳 Meaning it is only the elderly who ride bikes with side mirrors. In other words, it is uncool and if you did that, you are old!

I watched him as he kept turning back to see if there was an on-coming vehicle, something he could have easily seen if his mirror was in place.

My second grouse, is with a certain presentable young lady whom we shared a ride with, who didn’t use a face mask and as if that wasn’t bad enough, kept putting her finger into her nose, dug around a bit, bought up ‘gold’ and effortlessly flipped the ‘gold’ from her fingers into the surrounding space. The first time I said to myself, probably I didn’t see that well, maybe she just touched the tip of her nose which was tingly. But when the digging continued for a while, I shook my trousers and sweater lying across my bag to ensure that nothing was left on them. Such things I think should be done in the privacy of your home and your ‘tools’ or fingers washed properly. If it must happen anywhere else, please use Kleenex.

Nothing annoys me more than people who get into a vehicle and the next thing you hear is ‘shift or adjust’ even when they have enough space to fit their structure, and the next thing is, they are shooting daggers at the one whom they think has consumed all the space. Mtchewwwwwwwwwww. Like one wise man said, we are only together for a few hours or less, so just endure me till I get off the bus!

Last line, but not the end of things people do that is annoying:
I had just crossed over a semi-busy road about to board another vehicle towards home and I heard someone say by my side “I love your boobs!” I was livid, bemused and wondering why a grown up man would look at another man’s wife and say that. Of course, you’ll say he’s appreciating God’s handiwork and who asked him to? I was a tad concerned if he was normal and genuinely asked him, “are you okay or is there something intrinsically wrong with you?” He looked somewhat unkempt, but I’m sure he was okay. I quickly crossed over and carried it back to the owner to avoid-stories-that-touch.

What do people do that gets you thinking, where are we headed? Please share.

@imanikel 151021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Freedom Fridays Life

#FreedomFriday – Flight Fright


I read my cousin’s first flight experience, a beautifully written article that got me in stitches, but also in fright as I was catapulted back into that airplane to relive my first one. Boy! There’s no shame in telling the truth. I never did understand why something that heavy will be in the air and not drop, before you go preaching about Newton’s Law of Gravity and four forces of flight, spare a first-timer the speech! 😋

The first time I consciously remember going on a flight was just after marriage and we needed to be in Lagos as a matter of urgency. Being my first time, I was walking forward with steps backward, Oba was practically pulling me towards the departure lounge. Many crazy thought flew past me and none of them I could cling onto except the arms of the ‘crazy fellow’ I had gotten married to who was doubly excited about this particular flight for reasons best known to him. He has always been a daring one and seeing him like this was no surprise to me but that even with my voiced concerns, he didn’t say, “because I love you and don’t want you to jump off the plane because of your phobia, let’s go back!”

No o!

The ‘Uncle’ joyfully nudged me on all the while saying “there’s nothing to worry about baby, it will be a smooth ride.”

Okay o!

We got to the lounge and the voice says, we are delaying *** Flight because of … (can’t remember what she said) and I turned to him as if to say in my silence, ‘shebi, you see that even the planes don’t want to be flown’, he noticed and responded, “baby, they are working on it.”

Why was I afraid, apart from my original fear of flights?
You see, hubby had just returned from Abuja and that plane he used, carried others who never made it to their destination.

So, I watched this plane land from Abuja and about to go to Lagos from Calabar, but needed to be repaired. See fear o! Hmmm.

After the repairs, the flight was called, NOBODY moved, there was a crowd of protesters at the airport, calling for the necks of that particular airline, for keeping them waiting and then proceeding to load them into a plane that was repaired in front of them?! No way, I no dey enter this plane.

The airline boss (an expatriate) came and spoke with us and decided to do the flight with us, so as to assure us, still nobody moved. The next thing I knew, Oba was pulling me up with wide brimmed smiles as he bounced towards the plane. All the while, assuring me that it will be okay.

I learnt to unstop my ears when it filled up with sound and hold on to him whilst praying in the Spirit under my breath as I climbed those steps. Wondering why my first flight had to be so frightful.

Do you know from take off, the flight to landing, that was my best flight ever! The crew were extra nice and we even did a standing ovation for the Boss and his team when we landed. As for those that refused to join the repaired aircraft, those who arrived late at the airport simply took their place and you can’t blame them, they didn’t know what had happened before their arrival.

It may sound funny to you, but I still engage myself in 30 minutes or an hour plus of prayers whenever I’m flying so that I don’t start wondering why something so heavy is in the air. Another thing I do, is programme my mind that in so so and so time, I’ll be at this destination and if I look at my watch I’m still in the air, panic attempts to set in, but I try (I dey manage) to overcome it.

On one of those flights, I was with my senior sister and the turbulence was crazy and no matter how I reminded myself that these were liken to road bumps, the Holy Spirit heard our groanings which were not uttered. 😊

Pray tell, how was your first flight experience?

@imanikel 180621 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Beauty Freedom Fridays

#Freedom Friday – Don’t hate me…


Don’t hate me for dropping lyrics to Him, ascribing to Him all the beauty my mind can conceive.

Don’t give me the eye for lines that fly, in sync with the One who makes me wink, but when I look into them, they make me sink into His unending love.

Don’t start a fight, it’s my right to respond to Him in words that describe how I see Him.

Dear God,
I think You are cool in jeans and a fitted shirt, with a touch of red. I love hats, so I’ll add that to the looks too and maybe some blues.

You are ageless and don’t need to lean, but I’ll give You a walking stick for more swag. I’m not really into blings, so I’ll leave that out, but a dash of grey on the beard is a fact.

I love eyes, I won’t imagine Yours, but when I look into them, make me find a kaleidoscope of colours without defining lines. Let me be drawn in as it goes from Greenish Grey to Brown and other mix of blue in-between.

Your voice, definitely deep and soothing but light enough to hit any modulation when we worship. Your touch, more comforting than any touch my mind could fathom.

You are beyond description, but if I had a choice to give You a face, I won’t because the awe would be too much to grasp.

This is me checking You out this morning and i hope You love my painting of a Friday You!

#UnapologeticallyMe #UnapologeticallyYours

@imanikel 09102020 Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Freedom Fridays

#FreedomFriday – Calm down


I’m not sure how many of us have seen the “calm down” video online that went viral. It’s about a little boy who probably disobeyed his mum and she threatened to punish him. What we saw was a weeping boy negotiating his case with his mum and unlike most motivational speakers today, his emotions were real, he wasn’t negotiating from a “I-heard-it-somewhere” point of view, but from an experiential one.

In my words, ‘Mum, I know you are upset about my bad behaviour. I admit I’ve done this severally and gotten away with it because it’s you nah (in Nigerian pidgin we’d say, ‘nah we we’). But I also know that if you relax, you won’t want to punish me, after all, I’m your loving son. Have you forgotten that you love me? That’s why you pardoned me the previous ones.”

In my words, Mum goes, ‘That’s why I need to carry out the punishment this time because you know my weakness of love towards you and you have been using it as an escape. Not anymore.’

‘I can see this first skill didn’t work, mum. How about you relax on the chair, not in the usual style, try out my method (and he demonstrates what he means, all the while sobbing), you will feel a lot better.’

I had a wonderful time enjoying his conversation even in the midst of his tears with his mum. The part that almost annoyed me, was when I heard that certain people were planning to take the mother up for saying she will punish her child. These persons or groups seem to have forgotten the many serious issues of child rape, abuse, kidnaps etc going on, the domestic battery and violence, the problem of depression from loss of work and no money or lack of proper health care that has allowed many treatable patients pass on to the other side untimely.

With the mighty logs in their eyes, they have left the more important things needing activist attention to disturb the net over a mother that recorded her private negotiation session with her son and put online. If she wanted to punish him, she would have done so without recording it and none of us would know what took place in her home. Apparently, he always makes her these kinds of promises and doesn’t keep them and if she shares the story outside, we won’t believe the young-man is good with negotiation, so she decided to play her home video outside.

If you don’t have anything to do, come I’ll point you in the right direction. Children of these days don’t need to be taught certain skills but encouraged to use it for greater good.

When I told my son to cut our video call, he refused and asked me to do it, I refused too. When his grandmother offered to cut it from his end, my one-liner 8-year son said to her, “that’s inappropriate!” Grandma, went her way o!

It’s #FreedomFriday, what are you on about? Like my mum used to say, “cool ya heart temper!” LOL

@imanikel 07082020 Frances Kelvin Otung

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Freedom Fridays Life Nigeria Rant

Why I love my country…


I might get stoned for this, but hey, it’s my opinion so you go get yours! I was discussing with Oba the other day and we realized (yet again) that Nigeria is just a sweet place to live in. I tell you no lie.

  • Has the dollar rates come down? No!
  • Is the cost of living better now? On the contrary, harsher.
  • Are our policies being followed through without hitches and endless bureaucracy? Nope
  • With all the plenty churches, prayer centres and mosques around, have all our prayers been answered? Not yet.
  • Seeing we have ample foodstuff, mineral and human resources, are we better off? You know nah

So what is the craze about my country?

It is in the way we make jokes, home-movies and songs out of every situation.

I refuse to mention names, you are chuckling already because you know them.

The intelligent way we discuss national issues on radio and TV (sometimes).

I’m not talking about political discussions o! I mean when forward thinking people proffer solutions.

Sadly, I don’t think that the leadership have people that work with them listening up for creative ways to change and move this country forward. They should.

It is the fun things we do to ease tension.

The bus-conductor and his passengers plus driver.

The Okada with the horn of a trailer.

Nah only for Naija, dis dey happen.

The road marshals (including agberos) and the very creative ways some collect levies from motorists. Hmmm, this one is something else.

It is the beautiful places surrounding us, the many talented people we have here, the many fun activities that are available week in and out.

It is in the different foods she has to offer. The well-dressed guest to a wedding reception that is neither friend nor family to the bride or groom or their friends’ friend!

Was passing by and saw an opportunity to eat free food and collect souvenir, the guy/babe turned in!

It is the ready-to-help-you-with-answer to any question attitude, even the one they know nothing of.

Hyenana indeed! LOL

Nigeria SHA!

Proudly Nigeria

(c) 2017. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.

Categories
Freedom Fridays Rant

Dollars and Sharing thingz


I don’t get it! When will you change your method of operation? Has it not occurred to you that we are in the 21st Century and if your Voodoo priest is still giving you the same story lines, then maybe you need a new priest or one that is on the internet, at least educated with the times we are in.

These were the same lines he gave to Mr. P and it didn’t work. Maybe it did, if not you wouldn’t have joined the bandwagon. But if you ask me, I think it’s lame, you are lame too for believing it and more lame is the greedy fellow that keeps falling for your very poorly scripted story played by 3 actors only.

Okay! I’m done with the steam now. So what happened?

Many years ago in Port-Harcourt (3 instances) and 1 in Lagos, 3 different cabs picked me up and the following discussion ensued immediately I was picked.

1st Instance:
I got into a cab with my ear-piece on, listening to my discman. I was headed to Artillery Junction from Rumukwurushi, the other occupants were busy having discussion in the car and we got before Shell Camp, the driver parked and his partner-in-crime got down with him and they returned complaining about a carton of Dollars behind, where did he get the money from and they wanted to share it. I ignored them and continued listening to the discman and when they noticed I didn’t buy into their game, the driver tapped me at about Rumuibekwe and said he wasn’t going my way anymore, that I should get down. LOL. Ole!

2nd Instance:
Same scenario, but this time I was going to work, so I began praying in tongues and I prayed out loud. And they quickly told me to get down, I refused, that they must drop me at our negotiated destination (of course I was looking for their trouble, so they could enter the traffic jam and burn a bit of petrol) but they had obviously calculated that they won’t get anything from me, so it was better I got down fast and they chased another victim.

3rd Instance:
Oga, I wan drop for “Our Men of Power Ministries”

I was seated behind with a female Youth Corper (new-to-town apparently). Immediately I looked up and saw a sign board that had the name above (can’t remember the exact name, but it was some church signboard by the road side) and for some reason I felt he just read it off the board, because it didn’t roll off his tongue.

Driver parks and says “pay me my money”, and this creep continues, “I wan go call my brother to come help me carry the load for back”. Driver gets down to help him and returns looking ‘upset’, “You sey you no get money, who get all the money for boot?”.

Immediately I heard that, I tapped on the Corper and said “Sweetheart, let’s get down here. Driver, we want to drop.” I didn’t know her name, so ‘Sweetheart’ was good enough. The driver insisted that he was headed our way, I insisted we were not going again and got down. The passenger aka Mr Creep, didn’t drop again, but zoomed off with the driver.

All these happened many years ago, but last week in Lagos, they picked a friend’s maid and she made them look more stupid than they already are.

She told them she wasn’t interested in their Dollars, as she doesn’t have where to hide it.

They asked about her employees, their kind of jobs, if she had an account with up to N50,000 in it. You want to give her $500, why are you asking her for N50,000? They said they needed a place to pray for the money before sharing, she advised them that her Aunty worked for a church, maybe they can go there and have them pray for the money. But she needs to drop off because her wards will soon be home from school. Eventually, as the owner of the money made to drop and check something behind, she quickly got out and slammed their door and they hurried away.

They probably would have hurt her, but God save the day. My point is, why do they keep using the same storylines? Get a new script-writer to work on your lines, maybe it will work on the greedy ones but for me and the rest of us not interested in your cheap dollar, go get a real job!

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved

Categories
Arts Freedom Fridays

#FreedomFriday – From my heart ♥


Hurrying up to go to work, I move from room to room and back again trying to ensure everything is in place. King Earl walks up to me:

KE: Mum!!! Please can I use your green pen?
Me: No, sweetie. I need to go to work with it.
KE: (protesting) but I need to use it, I want to write something from my heart!
Me: (shocked, but I did the adult face) you can use a pencil or a black pen to write it.
KE: Yes…but I need the green pen because I want to write something from my heart (he insisted)

I’m not given to joking with ‘heart matters’, so I hand over the green pen and continue with my concerns. Time to leave and I ask for my pen.

KE: I’m not through, Mum
Me: I need my pen, baby.

KE hands over the pen with a very sad face 😦 and I put it in my pocket. Picking up the ‘thing from my heart’, I realised it was a really beautiful drawing he had started. “Wow! It’s beautiful baby. I love it!” His face lights up at my words. “Please, draw it well ok. Mummy loves the picture”.

We are not done with the heart matter, but here is what he has done so far. What do you think?

Earl's Heart Drawing

 

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Freedom Fridays My Paraphrase

#Abraham’s POV


Going through Abram’s time and his situation(s), I viewed his world through his eyes, but in our times. It’s #FreedomFriday and I get to do what I want – with freedom. Yippee!

I remember minding my own business and helping daddy out with his Cattle business with my brothers Nahor and Haran in Ur of the Chaldees, hopeful that when he passed on, the inheritance will become mine or at least most of it, as the eldest. I recall the many father-son conversations and bonding time we usually had in the cool of the evening sipping on coconut water, whilst waiting for food to be ready; strategizing on the best location for grazing the animals. Oh! How I truly loved those time, until Haran died and left Lot without a father. I remember them now with sadness.

You see, daddy had to relocate from Ur of the Chaldees heading towards Canaan (I’m not sure what the real reasons were though) but when he got to the city of Haran, he pitched his tent there and died there. Despite our bonding time, I couldn’t bring myself to tell daddy that God had spoken to me and told me to leave Ur of the Chaldees, my siblings and parents and follow Him blindly on promises of a great nation, blessing, a great name and the rest! Who would believe me? Surely they would think me crazy. So I played along and though I am sad he died in Haran, I’m sure you can connect with my feeling of relief that I didn’t have to break daddy’s heart after he lost Haran. Hmmm.

I obeyed God and left Haran, got into famine, left for Egypt, had to ‘battle’ with Pharaoh for Sarai, my fair-to-look-upon-drop-dead-gorgeous wife. Thank God they didn’t kill me there. And did I just thank Him? Yes o! He had a hand in my deliverance. From enemies without, to enemies within – my herdsmen and my nephew’s herdsmen having a scuffle amongst themselves. Over what? Grass and space! My own brother’s son, whom I allowed to join me. Shebi, God had said to leave them behind, but I couldn’t let him waste in the village and become a bum. Well, no issue, we parted.

Did I mention to you that Sarai was barren? Yes, God gave me silver, gold and cattle; you would say I became famous in a way. But I wasn’t satisfied. Who will I leave all these wealth for? Definitely not Lot! After changing our names from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, God blessed us with Isaac. In-between, there was Ishmael, but I really didn’t have a hand in that matter, Sarah arranged it and I simply obeyed, (smiling at the thought).

God has come again o! (becomes pensive again) After all these years of listening to Sarah endure mockery from Nahor’s wife, then Hagar (her maid). After all these years that He had blessed us with Isaac and our home was filled with laughter, he says to me, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” – Gen 22:2 What will people say to me? That I left my inheritance for an unknown land, made blood money and used my son as sacrifice to appease the gods. They will not understand that God spoke to me. Why would God give me a son after all these years of waiting and then take him away from me by my own hand? *God, abeg if nah joke, I no dey laugh. If you wan kill am, use Your own hand. But then, Abraham says resignedly “I had no hope of ever having a son until He promised me one, so if He wants the son back, I will give him.” What will I say to Isaac? How will I convince Sarah? When did I become a mad man? I left family and friends, tired to deceive a King who had the power to take my head off because of my wife and now I want to kill my son, my long-awaited son, whom I planned on reliving the times Terah (my father) and I had. “When you are faced with this type of dilemma, who do you pray to?!” Abraham pondered as he gathered his bags for the journey of sacrifice.

#SpiritOfFaith #CrazyFaith

Words in Pidgin English:
*God if it is a joke, I’m not laughing with You. If you want to kill Isaac, do it yourself!

Picture Source: http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2014/02/21/commentary-on-genesis-11-12-abraham/

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.

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Freedom Fridays

#FreedomFriday – Truth


And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free! John 8:32 (KJV)

https://i2.wp.com/omidsafi.religionnews.com/files/2013/03/Tubman-LARGE.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/collections/graphics/freedom-enslavement-wall.jpg

Picture Source: http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/files/2013/03/Tubman-LARGE.jpg

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/visit/floor-plan/freedom-and-enslavement-wall.aspx

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved

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Food Freedom Fridays Nigeria Rant

#FreedomFriday – My Dollar Periwinkle


Ok…

It’s Freedom Friday and I’m a tad upset about the way everyone is going on and on about the DOLLAR and I’m tempted to ask, what has that gotten to do with the price of Mfi in the market?

What is Mfi?
Mfi aka Periwinkle is that shelled sea food I use to cook my Ekpang Nkwukwo. If you don’t yet understand, find picture attached.

20150124_204210_LLS
Periwinkle aka Mfi

I went to the market the other day and the Mfi was small for the amount I requested and the girl said to me “dollar is expensive” and I retorted “did you import the Mfi or you caught it in the stream beside us” and she replies “it is affecting everything.” See me o!

I am not an Economist, I am a woman and a thinking one at that, so if everything is tied to dollar, tell me the last time the market girl used a dollar to purchase anything in Nigeria and that’s if she’s had a dollar before (not being nasty, just asking questions that need answers). You see in Nigeria, we pride ourselves in being updated with information whether it is right, wrong or imcomplete.

In the cab today, someone said he heard over the radio that “dollar has come down (I wonder where it went up to in the first place), therefore he will pay less the amount he agreed with the cab guy before entering the cab.” The cabman didn’t accept it of course. I know it’s a chain-reaction, but I’m only voicing my annoyance and the attempt by dollar to deprive my Ekpang Nkwukwo and Plantain porridge of her MFI!

IMG_20160219_235306
Plantain Porridge

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved