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Sunday 31 December 2017

Gratitude and Lessons Learnt in 2017

We have come to the end of the year, when people sit down to take account of their lives for the past 365 days, to review goals, identify shortcomings, take correction and make new year resolutions. While we are eager to focus on goals not achieved and to plan for the new year, I pray we do not forget to thank God for His faithfulness. The year might not have gone as we had hoped, but the One who is in charge of our lives might have altered your plans or allowed them go haywire because He is the One in control. He knows the end He has planned for you and if you love Him, then rest assured that all things are working together for your good. You might have made mistakes, recognize them, learn your lessons, leave behind the guilt and move on to the new year because God has so much in store for you. What lies ahead is much better than your past. 

I am particularly thankful to the Lord for this year. I am not one of those that make plans for the new year. I hardly have set goals to achieve in a year. I just always want to be a better me. I strive daily to gain strength in the areas of my weakness, to know God more, and to live a fruitful happy life. This year has been a year of great learning, foundations and mentalities corrected, fresh energy and passion to do the things I once hated, and a year of fighting the enemy called fear. By the experiences God granted me this year, I have learnt and unlearnt a lot, most especially about my attitude to work. Some of the lessons I learnt include: 
  • If you are not productive, you should not expect the earth to produce for you (simply put, if you don't work, you should not eat) 

  • Work is first about serving others and not about what you like or don't like 

  • Work is not first about what you can gain but what you can give 

  • Prosperity comes when you serve others and gain expertise in that service 

  • When you know that it is not first about you, but about the people you serve, you will do the inconvenient, you will seek more knowledge, you will acquire skill, you will show up even though tired. That is how wealth is created. Indeed, the complacency of the fool is his ruin (Proverbs 1:32). A little sleep, a little slumber, and poverty will overtake like a bandit (Proverbs 24:33-34). 

  • Dreams cannot be realized on a hungry stomach 

  • Fear robs us of great opportunities  
I am ready for greater productivity in 2018. I am ready to contribute my quota to planet earth. Thank you Lord for the past year. I am grateful and I trust that what's in store in 2018 is glorious. I step in with expectation. Make me know you more, make me more like You in 2018, strengthen my weak parts and make me be a blessing to many. These I pray in Jesus name. Amen. 

Have a productive and prosperous new year folks. I’d love to see your comments below. 

Radiant ~ December 2017

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Monday 6 November 2017

My London Office Experience

So I've spent 4 weeks in my internship at Action on Smoking and Health, a public health charity in London which deals with advocacy and campaign to eliminate the harm to health due to tobacco smoke. It has been a great experience working with colleagues from England, Scotland and USA and very cordial people at that. 
What more, I am excited to finally experience the corporate world especially since I never had a proper office job in Nigeria. All my work experience before now has been confined to hospital wards wearing ward coats and scrubs, or in consulting rooms listening, taking notes and prescribing drugs. Having to sit in front of a computer with my cup of coffee/tea from 9am to 5pm amidst other colleagues working on their computers is very interesting. Prolly says a lot about my personality. I don't like moving around too much.
The part of this type of 9 to 5 office job you'd think I will not like is the targets and deadlines. On the contrary, I actually like them. For some of us that need a little extra push to do stuff, an office job where you are accountable to a senior is ideal. Another thing I love about this office job is that once it is weekend, I can put behind me all work stuff and get a life. I couldn't get this much freedom working in a hospital. Let me now share some of the observations I've made while here. 
First thing I noticed was the speed at which my colleagues type. I used to think I was a fast typer but not until I came to ASH. They type at the speed of light and they don't look at the keyboard when they do. That's a skill I'd really love to learn. Secondly, they are very courteous. When someone gets up to make coffee/tea, he asks if anyone needs anything. I've still not been able to cultivate that habit. 
Another observation is their simple dressing. Office work in Nigeria is usually synonymous to high heels, corporate shirts, plain skirts/trousers. Or so I thought, at least from observing my banker friends. Here, dressing is the least thing to worry about. I remember I had a lecturer in Nottingham that would come to class barefooted or in her gym wear because she ran every morning. If she was running late, she'd just dash in to class like that. They can't care less. 
Also, I noticed that in my office, there is a very generous use of swear words. From the greatest to the least ranked, F-word is so commonplace.  
It has been a rewarding experience for me, putting my academic knowledge to practice in the real world, being at meetings that shape policy and seeing the world through a different lens. The other day I attended a political debate on England's tobacco control plan at the House of Commons. I am grateful to University of Nottingham for affording me this inestimable opportunity of a lifetime. This internship will be ending very soon. It's sad 'cause I'm already feeling comfortable and I'll soon be back to ward coats and scrubs. 
#lifeinlondon #londontales #officework #publichealthintern 
©Radiant ~ November 2017

Sunday 29 October 2017

5 Irritating Habits of a Housemate

Sharing a house with other adults can be an exciting and enriching experience. If not for any thing, a cure for loneliness, people to talk to, laugh with, and so on. You also learn from your housemates as no two persons are the same. We do things differently and are experts at different things, so we can teach and learn from each other. Unfortunately, these differences can be the cause of constant friction, irritation, arguments, bitterness, malice, brawls and all what nots. I have had roommates, flatmates and housemates. And there are not many things that piss me off as these 5 habits of a housemate.
1. Leaving used crockery and utensils unwashed for days. 
I understand that it's easy to forget. You might have planned to get the pot soaked so that when you come back later to wash it, the stains would come off easily, then you forgot. That's alright. But when this happens not once, not twice, c'mon, you're just lazy. Period. 
2. Smoking in the house 
While I don't expect you to suddenly change your habit just because I'm your housemate, I expect you to be sensitive and considerate. It is written boldly on the wall, "DO NOT SMOKE ANYWHERE IN THIS HOUSE". That actually includes your bedroom. The smoke percolates through the apertures on your door to the whole house and it smells like hell. It literally nauseates me. More so, please don't put me at risk of the adverse health effects of passive smoking. So I would really appreciate if you took it outside. 
3. Soiling the sink after brushing 
Why would you brush your teeth and not rinse the stained sink properly? If your own spittle irritates you, how much more me? 
4. Not brushing off stains in the toilet after doing number two 
Now, how do I confront you with this matter? To say that I love to meet a clean bathroom and toilet to do my business in, and not have to first clean up your mess, leaving a decent loo for you to mess up again. Rule of thumb - always leave the toilet in a state you'd be happy to meet it. 
5. Never cleaning 
Since when did houses start cleaning themselves, or kitchen stains disappear spontaneously or bins empty themselves? Will you say you have not noticed these changes? Or have you taken for granted the fact that I will always clean up? 
Somebody please tell me what to do about all this. How do you begin to teach adults to unlearn habits they've prolly had for years. I am tired of whining. 
Is my list same as yours? Please let's talk. 
©Radiant ~ October 2017

Sunday 22 October 2017

My Experience at Hillsong church, London

I visited Hillsong Dominion Theatre today. Scrap that. I worshiped at Hillsong church today. 'Visited' sounds like I went there for tourism. Well, there is a little truth to that, but I seriously was looking for a Pentecostal church to worship at and was glad the Hillsong Dominion Theatre was not too far.  
Two weeks ago, I was out on a church hunt. On Googling churches near me, all I could find were St. this, St. that. Though I was brought up Catholic, I have long become a Pentecostal that I feared I might find an Orthodox Church boring. I travelled three miles to get to a Pentecostal church I had seen on Google, but on getting there I discovered the church had moved. Sadly, I reversed my journey and since I was determined to go to church that day, I walked into the Methodist church that was close to my house. I wasn't surprised to be greeted by grey headed men and women. The church was from my perspective 60% black, 70% middle aged and elderly. As expected of an Orthodox Church, we stood severally to sing hymns. There was a sermon which I thought was rather too short. But the people looked happy and united. I was happy I was in the gathering of believers, even though like my guts had suspected, I was bored. 
Last Sunday, I was outside London. I felt I really needed to be in a gathering of believers. I didn't care what church as far as it was Pentecostal. So I attended a Deeper Life Bible church made up mainly of Nigerians, though there were other Africans and a few white folks. It was immediately I stepped my feet into the church, that I remembered that I was putting on trousers and had my hair uncovered. I thought, 'But this is UK. Does it really matter?' I scoped the premises and found out some women had no covering on their hair, but I was the only one in trousers. Anyway, I just told myself 'Chidiogo, this is your Father's house. Relax.' I actually enjoyed the service. We had a Sunday school, a very interesting question and answer session. I was blessed hearing other believers' contributions to the subject matter. We had a short praise session and I've been singing the first song we sang everyday since then. The brethren were lovely too. I didn't feel out of place with my trousers. I'm sure visiting again when next I go to Cranfield. 
So today I decided to go to Hillsong. I knew it was going to be an amazing experience because I've watched their YouTube videos and the worship sessions are Spirit-filled. There was a little bit of a tourist in me, like let's go to Hillsong and be able to say we've been in one of those rapturous worship atmospheres, but by and large, I wanted to be in a gathering of believers. I wanted to see a side of Londoners or White people that I hadn't seen viz. a God-passionate people. Yea, so I went. It was glorious, to say the least. It was amazing to see the number of youthful people in there. Of course the music was awesome as you already know from the videos, but more than that, I experienced true worship. The lyrics were on point with the salvation message. They did not spare the name of Jesus. When I was going I was concerned that the service might just be all about the music. But thankfully, it was not. We had a long sermon and I was marvelously blessed. I have always been one that looks out for The Word in services. I don't care how good your music is, if solid Word ain't flowing, I won't feel like I've found my Rehoboth. 
By the way, I would have almost missed my blessing because I got distracted. When the preacher stepped on the platform, first thing I noticed were his tattoos and in my mind I was like 'seriously?'. I tried so hard to see past the tattoos, but I just couldn't. All I could see was the verse in the Bible that says do not tattoo. In my mind all these thoughts were reeling, 'That's outright violation of scripture. Okay maybe he did it before becoming born again, but why display it then by folding up your two sleeves. Younger ones may just want to copy you. This is exactly how some people see my wearing trousers. Oh is not the same, blah blah'. It was not until he started preaching that I completely forgot about the tattoos and was immersed in the Word.  
Now this post is getting too long. I should end it here. Let's continue the discussion in the comment section below.  
©Radiant~ October 2017

Thursday 19 October 2017

UNMSA 012 Mourns Her Own

I pick my phone as I stand in the bus on my way back home from work. Reflexively, my thumb goes to Whatsapp checking for new messages. I notice the blackout DP and the group name that has been changed to '012 Mourns'. I'm worried. 012 mourns what? I remember last night in the group was a whole lot of lamentation about the state of the country. So I'm not surprised at the name change. Maybe my classmates are still mourning for the situation of things in Nigeria. But that dark DP - I only see that when the worst has happened. We just mourned the loss of a senior colleague a few weeks back. Even then, I don't remember the group name being changed to '012 Mourns'. Does this mean we've lost one of ours? OMG! I open the conversation and the first word that gets my eye is Linda. What happened to Linda? I scroll through the conversations for answers. It is confirmed. Another has bitten the dust. But she is not just another. She is one of us. She is Linda. 

They said she had a fever, she was breathless and then she slumped while walking on the road. Just like that! Just like that, a journey of twenty something years brakes to a halt. Just like that, a new life beyond the Jordan begins and all the struggles here are forgotten. Just like that, dreams truncate, an assignment is cancelled and a soldier reports back home. Linda is to be wed to the love of her life this coming Saturday. Just like that, a day of joy becomes a day of sorrow.  

Aaron Shust in his song, "My Savior, my God" writes,  
I am not skilled to understand  
What God has willed, what God has planned  
I only know at his right hand  
Stands One who is my Saviour...  

Yes living, dying let me bring  
My strength my Solace from the Spring  
That He who lives to be my King  
Once died to be my Saviour  

Rest in peace dear Linda. We are comforted that you knew the Lord.  

©Radiant ~ October 2017  
UNMSA stands for University of Nigeria Medical Students Association 
UNMSA 012 is the graduating set of 2012

Thursday 12 October 2017

Keeping up with Radiant (Life in London)

Hi guys. I know you've not heard from me in a while. Really, I have no excuses. I could say I've had a lot on my plate like relocating to London, writing a professional exam, starting an internship, and all that jazz, but the truth is - I've been pretty lazy. Nothing should be enough to distract me from doing what I love the most. So, I'm really sorry I haven't met your expectations. I'm sorry for the times you've visited my blog, all to see that I had not posted anything new. I know that feeling. Like all those days of going on YouTube to check if SGIT Season 4 was out. I just gave up. But thankfully, it's back now. Just that it is being released in aliquots and I'm not good with suspense. I think I might just wait till the whole season is out and then watch everything at once. 
So to catch up with what has been going on with me lately. Firstly, I am now a Masters in Public Health degree holder. Yippee! I am soooooo grateful for the past year, even though I was almost regretting that I did not make the distinction I so longed and worked for. I got a Merit instead and you know how it is - your mind tells you, 'if only you had worked harder in that one course that brought down your marks', 'if only you spent more time studying', 'if only you didn't have to work'. But looking on the bright side, I can say I had a great year. I got the chance to explore different things. I sang in the choir every Sunday, I performed Superman on stage, I launched a food business and got a few customers and learnt some business lessons too, I worked as a catering assistant so I understand more about the hospitality industry, I wrote my professional exams, I blogged (at least, to some extent) and I acquired new skills during the Masters programme (which I'm applying in my current internship). I also made friends and acquaintances. So I can say it was indeed a great year. My regret though is that I did not learn the guitar which has been on my priority list for so long; and less importantly, I did not visit any other European country. 
Secondly, I am now a Londoner and I'm trying to adjust to the cost of living and pace of life here. To begin with, my rent is almost twice what it was in Nottingham, whereas the room is about half the size of the one in Notts. Next, transportation cost is something else. Plus the human traffic at the underground train (tube) stations every morning. This morning I decided to take a bus to work instead of the tube because I heard that bus travel is cheaper. So I woke up very early. My dearest Google Map had said it would take 48 minutes, but I gave a one-hour leeway, just in case. The traffic was terrible, almost a gridlock. My bus driver had to end the journey abruptly and gave us temp tickets to board another bus. Story was that there was an accident early in the morning. People were dismounting and continuing their journeys on foot. Who was going to board another bus when all buses were in the same boat? I had no idea how to get to work from where he'd stopped us because I had no internet on my phone. After much perambulating, I got to work one hour late full of apologies. I can now understand why the tube is always jam-packed with people even though it's costlier. What I can't wrap my head around is how I'd buy a return train ticket to travel outside London and on my return journey I'd stand up throughout the journey because all the seats are occupied. I just don't get it. Y'all Londoners, please give me top tips on surviving in London so I don't have to learn from several bad experiences. Looking forward to your comments. Ciao. 
Radiant ~ October 2017

Tuesday 29 August 2017

For We Are But Donkeys

Let the King take His ride
On the street paved with glory
The hails and the cheers
The shouts and the screams
They are not meant for us 
But the One that we carry
For we are but donkeys

Let His choice not irk us
Should he pick a mule ne'er ridden
Or one without a medal
A newbie to pedal
May we remain content
To work while we're hidden
For we are but donkeys

May we never take pride
On the miles that we cover
It is not by our strength
Nor is it by our might
We achieve such great feat
But by the hand of our lover
For we are His donkeys

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Tuesday 15 August 2017

The Ultimate Protection for Your Children

So recently, there has been a lot of rave about immorality being introduced subtly into children content: cartoons, school textbooks, even biscuit designs. Parents are concerned and worried about their children going astray with all these as they cannot keep an eye on every single thing their children have access to.

People are disconnecting from Dstv, banning children from movies, replacing their entertainment with books, etc.

But there is one never failing protection.

I grew up watching Action movies not cartoons - Jet Li, Rambo n co. But my mom always watched the movies first before letting us watch. Any movie with an adult scene, once their heads were gravitating towards each other, she would switch to Tv, fast forward the video and switch it back to the movie. We got so used to it that even when we grew older and were allowed to watch movies on our own, the oldest among us would take it as their job to switch channels once they started "doing nonsense". Before we started watching any movie, we made sure the remote control was at hand. We only relaxed when it was Indian movies 'cause no matter how close their heads got, they would never kiss. Not until years later, when Bollywood got contaminated by Hollywood. With all this training, I was still exposed to immoral content.

During one of my secondary school holidays, my neighbour gave me a movie to watch. I was alone in the house that day. I slotted in the movie and all I could see was women with full frontal nudity. I thought I could go past the naked women to see what the movie was about but it was obvious this was not a matter of switching channels, I just pulled the movie out and returned it.

What made me irritated rather than excited to see a movie like that? I can say it was just the grace of God. God has mercifully delivered me from so many compromising situations I have found myself in over the years. These days, with easy access to internet and smart phones, it's even more dangerous for children and teenagers. I hear Ikydz is a great tool to control what your children have access to over the internet. Moreso, have you taught them what is right? Or do you shy away from discussing sensitive topics?

I believe in God's supernatural keeping. No matter how much we shield our children from such exposures, if they are not being kept by God, we'd be surprised at what they'd turn into. So train your children in the way they should go and in all your doings, make sure to pray for them. When you are not there, God will watch over them.

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Friday 4 August 2017

All work and no play

So I'm currently cooling off even though I have my dissertation hand-in deadline looming at me. My supervisors are going on vacation next week and I've been told to have my draft ready for them to go through by Wednesday next week though I still have some analysis to do which I thought I was going to be shown how to do but got bubble-busted today. They had told me they will "show me" how and I went for today's meeting expectant. I stayed awake till 1:30 am this morning getting ready the results I needed for the meta-analysis as it is called, all for them to tell me today, "use the guide in your notes". Anyway, I'm not very surprised. Thank God I was given a heads up by a friend and former MPH student who had told me not to expect them to put me through because they did the same in her time. I guess I have to dust my notes then. I have 4 days of labour in front of me. I've counted today out 'cause I need a breather from the past many days I've stayed up late to get these results out. I haven't seen a movie in a while. I'm going to have my fill today. I can't kill myself.

So after the meeting with my supervisors, I went home, dropped my laptop and went off to the city center for some shopping. If the next four days will not be hell, I need to have enough food stocked up to pull through. 

As I got to the city center, I realized that I have really missed out on this summer. I have been hardly out to the city to see the scenery and feel the sun because I'm at my study place 24/7. See all that I have missed. 

The city center has dramatically changed. It's so amazing how we can create any atmosphere or experience anywhere. Can you believe that beach is artificial? I mean, they got a wooden platform and just poured sand on it. Ingenuity. There are also roller coasters. It's all bubbling. This is the perfect time for a holiday and I'm spending mine glued to my laptop. Aal izz well!

I am back from my shopping and I've cooked myself my favorite Banga soup. Now lounging on my bed ready to see a movie. Iroko Tv had better have new movies. I need all the relaxation I can get this night to face the next 4 days.

So help me God!

©Radiant ~ August 2017

Friday 28 July 2017

Africans in UK: More than meets the eye

There is always more to people than meets the eye. I just had a 30 minutes conversation with a very sweet African lady. Once again I was reminded to respect every one not because of their status but because they are human beings.

It was 6:30 pm. I was alone at the center where I had gone to read since morning. When I was leaving the house in the morning, I had taken two packs of food with me because I knew I would stay till late in the night. However, I wasn't feeling hungry so I didn't eat until then. So I brought out my Egusi (melon) soup and Ugali (maize meal) from the fridge, microwaved them and began to eat in the African style (with my hand).

Then the door squeaked open. I turned round to see who had entered. I smiled at her - the cleaner who comes daily around that time to clean the room and she is African. Usually when I see her, I greet her the Nigerian way, "Good evening", and we don't have any further conversation beyond that. She noticed what and how I was eating and asked, "Is that Garri?" "Yes", I replied. "No actually, it's maize flour". I was already about to finish eating. "Can I taste?" I was surprised she'd asked to, but I didn't hesitate. "Yeah. Sure." She was so excited, she washed her hands. "It's been a while I ate with my hands." "Is it chilly?" "Erm.. not really" "I like chilli". "You can have it all", I said, "I'm done". She grabbed the plate cheerfully, but I quickly reached back for it. "Not with the meat. I'll divide it", I said jocularly. So I divided the meat, giving her the bigger portion. "Every body loves meat", she remarked. "Is this egg?" "No", I replied, "it's melon seed. It's called Egusi." "Hmm. How do you make it?" Then I went on to describe the process and that for the Ugali.

"Where are you from? ", she quizzed.
"Which part?"
"Lagos. Well, I live in Lagos but I am from Anambra. I dunno if you know it. Where are you from?"
"South Africa"
I was quite surprised 'cause save for her ignorance about Egusi soup, she would have passed for a Nigerian by her looks.
"I'm eating Nigerian food!", she exclaimed.  "Do they sell it in the African market?"
 "Yes. But this one (referring to Ugali) is from Kenya".
"You are mean. You didn't even invite me. How can you be eating African food alone?"
I stammered, "I ... didn't know you... erm... especially 'cause I'm eating with my hand"

So we went about chatting and laughing, then she mentioned that she graduated last week. It was then it dawned on me that she might be more than just a cleaner.
"What did you study?", I probed.
"Masters?" I had gauged her age to be around the 40s
"No just BA but I'll soon be doing Masters"

Wow. Here was a woman I had seen severally and just assumed she was one of the migrants who found no choice but a cleaning job because they were uneducated. Guess what? She is a graduate of Psychology with a 2:1 from the University of Nottingham.

I remembered I had another plate of food (Jollof rice) and I asked her if she would love to have it. She was so excited. "Today is my lucky day". "I'm going to enjoy my work and just sleep when I go home".

That was how I had some laughter brought to my long studious day. Next time you see an African who speaks good English doing a menial job here in UK, don't be deceived. They just might be a professor.

©Radiant ~ July 2017
Click here to read my previous post - International student: Surviving the UK

Sunday 16 July 2017

International student: Surviving the UK

I do this student part time job at the University residential halls to keep body and soul together while on my Masters programme. I'm a catering assistant. Technically, I run the errands around the kitchen and dining areas - get the dining and servery ready for each meal, serve the students/clients, clear the plates, pans and pots of food, pass them through the dishwasher, stock them back in their shelves, clean the kitchen, dining and dishwasher, and so forth. 
Yes. That is what you have to do to survive the UK. Minimum wage jobs like factory work, care jobs at old peoples homes, catering jobs, temporal student jobs at the university, etc. In deed, a lot of migrants have to do these jobs either as permanent jobs or temp jobs while they write exams and qualify for more professional jobs. Any way, this catering job has taught me so much. 
1. That if you don't work, you shouldn't eat.
Pretty straightforward, isn't it? But we tend to have an entitlement mentality when we are in our own country. Government should create jobs for graduates. Government should give unemployment benefits. In Nigeria, health professionals and lecturers go on strike almost every year for increase in salary and expect to be paid while they are on strike. However, when you find yourself in a foreign country like the UK, where it is the survival of the fittest, and your bills are staring at you in the face, such that you have to take up even if it’s a menial job and live scrimply, you will understand that money doesn't grow on trees. You have to work by offering a service to earn a living. If you are not adding value to the society, you shouldn't expect anything from it. 
2. It helps you see a direct relationship between your work and your pay
You are being paid per hour worked, which means if you want more money, you work more hours. When we earn monthly salary back home, we don't really see the relationship between our work and our pay. We just feel we are entitled to some fixed amount of money at the end of every month, it doesn't matter if we performed well or not. So we abscond from work, we come late, leave early, loaf through work and open our hands for our cheques. It's none of our business how the business thrives or how our employer gets the money he pays us. He just must pay us our due. But when you are paid for every hour worked, and a machine monitors when you clock in and clock out, and you have supervisors who can't stand to see you idle, then you will understand how the work you do amounts to the pay you get at the end of the month. 
3. It teaches you what asking someone for money really means. 
It's very easy to say, "Daddy please give me 200,000 Naira" or "Uncle please give me 50,000 Naira". When you do this kind of work, you will understand that by saying that, you actually mean, "Daddy please work some hours for me". Well, it may not sound so pathetic with your dad because you feel, he is your father and it's therefore his duty to take care of you. That is right as long as you are a child, but as an adult who can work (notice I didn't say who has a job), you are no more his responsibility. How much less your uncle. Of course, there are some financial burdens that I might not be able to bear alone even as an adult and I have to ask my father or uncle for help, but this new work mentality helps me to appreciate their help even more and not just take it for granted. 

4. It also teaches you that if God doesn't bless you, you're done for. 
The system here in UK is such that one has to keep working to survive. Nothing is free. Almost everything is taxed - your car, your house, you pay to watch TV (can you imagine?) in your own house; your own TV. You have to pay for TV licence, not to talk of essentials viz. electricity, gas, water (you are not only paying for the water you are being supplied, but also for drainage of your waste water. Then people are put in bondage by their ability to obtain credit on almost everything even phone. Can you imagine that? I have to pay a portion of my salary every month because I acquired a phone. Phone not car! And people fall for these things, living in perpetual debt their entire life. So they keep toiling and toiling to make ends meet. Typical of the curse God placed on Adam, until they cry out to God like Jabez, "Oh that you will bless me indeed." Because you will see people that don't have to struggle as much. They are not lazy, they are adding value. The only difference between you and them is that their own efforts are multiplied a thousand times. Then you will know that it is only God that can bless a man without sorrow. 
These are the things I have learnt by sweating it out doing manual labour in the UK to meet living expenses while undergoing my Masters degree programme and I am grateful for them. Await more work stories. 
©Radiant ~ July 2017

What temporal jobs have you had to do sometime in your life and what lessons did you learn from them? Please share in the comments section below.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Chyking 301

Dear chyker,

I am sorry you spent a fruitless 20 minutes sauntering about Primark with me this sweltry summer afternoon. Trust me, I wasn't playing hard to get when I refused to give you my number or answered your questions with questions. You, put yourself in my shoes. How would you take it if a total stranger walked up to you, not introducing himself but started with "Excuse me?" "Can you hear me?" "Where are you from?". I thought those lines were now archaic. Oh handsome you, how could you? In UK again? 

First, you didn't introduce yourself and you wanted to know where I come from. I hope you can understand why I had to reply you with a question. You still didn't get the point. You apologized for not introducing yourself, babbled your name, said you were from Nigeria and as soon as I said I was Nigerian too, you continued with your interview. "Where in Nigeria are you from?"

You know my main problem with that question? It just reveals your misplaced values. That your major concern about whom to date/marry is the state she hails from. Isn't that weird? 

In our 20 minutes encounter you wanted to know my age, surname, what I am doing in Nottingham, when I came into the UK, what school I attend, what course I'm studying, when I would be through with school, and indirectly if I had a boyfriend. 

I understand that you might be desperate to get a girl to marry and you are not the type that would suck up to the Oyibos. But please, in case of a next attempt on an unassuming decent African girl, remember to introduce yourself fully before demanding her biography. I think you will stand a better chance. Please read my Chyking 101, 102, 201 and 202 for further clarification.


Radiant ~ June 2017

Monday 17 April 2017

Chasing my dreams

Dreams are only dreams until you seize the opportunities of reality.

I have always wanted to be an entertainer. I wasn't really sure which line to go as I had many interests: music (songwriting especially), dance, creative writing, acting (though the fear of stammering wouldn't let me give acting much thought).

Well, for the love of music, I've tried to seize every opportunity to make songs. After medical school in Enugu, Nigeria, I partnered with 2 very talented friends to make an album. We called ourselves D.M.B, acronym for The Mixed Beed. We sold a few CDs though the quality was really poor and we got separated in a short while. I think 'twas mainly because we never had a vision of where we were going as a group. We were just 3 passionate singers excited to explore our talents. I had jumped at the opportunity to experience recording songs without much thought because one of us had already written all the songs and we had a readily available studio. So after then, with my new experience of recording music, I recorded my first single Adjust produced by Mr. Moi. Then I did Try featuring my colleague in medicine and music, NC and produced by Grandmix. It came out really good. I performed it twice at Association of Resident Doctors dinner and Nigerian Medical Association dinner in Enugu, Nigeria, though the performances were nothing to write home about.

Then I did another song which was never completed by my producer, then Paulo produced by Typikl. That was how I spent the most of my Housemanship money making music.
During my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos state 2014/15, I joined the Music Community Development Service group. As our project, we produced a song to promote peace during the Presidential elections titled Living in peace, which I wrote with Wale Wall and Bryan. Then I did Superman produced by Cikk0 which I released 2nd January this year.

So I had my first stage performance in the UK on the 1st of April at the University of Nottingham Nigerian Society annual entertainment and award night Wazobia. When I was invited by the president of the association to perform, I saw it as an opportunity to sharpen my talent but I developed cold feet as the day drew nearer. I had tried to push it off my mind with school and work until I saw my name on the flier one day and I knew it was a done deal. It was too late to chicken out. 
I had so many things to be worried about— the fact that my last song performance 'Try' was a disaster or so I thought. And did I even have time to rehearse as I wanted to have dancers and I had only 1 week? Where would I even get dancers? How much crowd was I to expect? Would they have a good sound system? Plus my Advanced Statistics exam was in the same week of the show. I could only pray to God for help and wisdom. The D day came as all dreaded days do. I performed my song Superman and it was a great success. All I heard after were compliments like, "that was fantastic", "you guys did great", "wow! you can dance", e.t.c. To God be the glory. I appreciate Gloria and Lois, my great dancers who believed in me. Also, many thanks to Kindels for the choreography.

About dance, my earliest memory of dance was in nursery/primary school when I was to lead a cultural dance group, then I danced on stage during social nights in secondary school, then in 5th year medical school I joined a church dance group, then during NYSC I attended DanceDeal Academy. While in Lagos for NYSC, I also began to act stage dramas with Snapshot Productions, the drama group of Covenant Christian centre. So every where I go, I seize opportunities to exercise my gifts. Church has been a very good platform for this as each time I change location and therefore join a new church, I join the choir. There's nothing as liberating as when I'm in a music studio getting a beat for my song, or dancing on stage or reading comments on my blog post. God has helped me overcome many fears and go for my passion. But I could still be quite confused a lot of times.

I have very big dreams for entertainment that I can't even imagine how to achieve. But I'll keep exercising my gift one opportunity at a time while enjoying the process. Are you confused about what path to take? Just take up one opportunity at a time, every chance you get to exercise that gift. 

©Radiant~ April 2017

To watch the video of the performance, click here.
Btw, I'm sorry my posts have not been quite frequent since I came to the UK. Trying to balance school and fun. Have a blessed day.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Life through Entertainment

I am really concerned about the message of pre-marital sex being normal that runs through all our movies. It's like Christians are such a minority group when it comes to our beliefs represented in the media. But on Sunday's, churches are full. So is it that we only claim our Christianity in church and not let it affect our lives in the world? Every movie paints guys as polygamous and relationships as when a man has started sleeping with a lady. This is our entertainment and it's having a stealth effect on us, changing mindsets, forming subconscious beliefs and expectations, moulding behaviours. Help us O Lord of salvation!
Christian believers need to speak out. We need to be more conspicuous. We are under-represented in entertainment. Nobody shows you the lady who is 30 and a virgin because of her faith. Nobody shows you the 35 yr old bachelor who has not slept with a woman because of his faith. Our lifestyle is so under-represented and we claim to be many. Growing congregations, yet our light is almost snuffed out in the world of entertainment. If what we hear in church and do amongst brethren is not reflected in our lives in the world, then we are only deceiving ourselves. I am not saying movies should only depict ideal scenarios. I am saying the typical believer should be represented. Nowadays our movies try to represent minority groups including LGBT, yet the millions of Christian believers are not represented or at most misrepresented. Any portrayal of Christianity in entertainment is in the bad light or for comedy.
Anyway, we do not expect the world to represent us truly as Christians because Bible says the things of the flesh are in constant conflict with the things of the Spirit. So the onus lies on us Christian believers to represent ourselves. We need to let that 16yr old girl know that there are many with the same beliefs as her who have not succumbed to the pressure of premarital sex. We need to let the 24yr old boy know that there are many like him whose bodies are on fire for sexual passion but who have been able to exercise self control till they are married. We need to let the lady who has made a mistake know that she doesn't need to keep sinning just because she's already been deflowered. We need to let them know that sex doesn't have to define a relationship.
People need entertainment. But more importantly people need the life of Christ. Believers wake up. Let's give life through entertainment.

Radiant ~ April 2017

Sunday 12 March 2017

Dessert, Fun and Bowling


Squeezing out time to drop the books, ditch the casual jobs, rest from other commitments and just unwind with friends is as necessary as service to a machine. First, I started my day with a new - well, not so new - let's say resurrected resolution to fast from cakes and junk foods. Of course grudgingly because I do love them and sometimes I sulk over the unfairness of this life. Why do some people get to eat all they want and yet have no chance of becoming even some inches thicker, whereas I have one bite, (just one bite!) and I have to change my wardrobe? So I reenacted the resolution because I couldn't fit into the dress I had planned to wear to class today. But as you can guess, I broke the resolve before the end of the day.
My classmates were going to have a treat at Heavenly Desserts and then go bowling in celebration of Ibtesam's birthday. I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to socialize, you know, take a break from the stress of studies and my part time student job. I didn't regret it after all. I had fun laughing, junking, bowling, chatting and all.

'Twas my first time bowling and I really enjoyed it. We went two rounds. The score on the last row is mine.
Happy birthday Ibtesam. I wish you more prosperous years. 
Radiant~ March 2017
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Wednesday 8 February 2017

Spending a night with friends

What better way to start my week?
Last Sunday evening, I packed my small box and started off to my friend Shamiya's. It was to be just an overnight visit, but I picked a box because as it is winter, I had so many layers of clothes to be worn to sleep and then for the morrow.
Shamiya and her flatmate Mariam gave me a presidential treat. The pictures will speak for themselves.
Dinner for 3 (chicken kebab, roasted vegs, stir fry spag)

Dessert (chocolate and cream cake)

Breakfast (left over of dinner plus toast bread with Nutella)

Lunch for 2  (parata, nan, daal palok, soup) This one is Bangladeshi/Indian meal. Fruit salad for dessert

Dinner for 3  (Basmatti rice and Iranian sauce plus noodles)

You can say that again. It was enjoyment galore. Movies, food, laughter, chitchats and well, study.
Looking forward to having more times like this with friends.
Thanks so much for your hospitality Shamiya and Mariam.

©Radiant~ February 2017

Friday 20 January 2017

Exam Shock

We had our "Epidemiology and Basic Statistics" exam of 20 units load last week. You could tell from everyone's face after the exam that they didn't have it rosy. 3hrs and 2 papers. 1 for Epidemiology, one for Basic stats. 2 hrs into the exam, someone got up and submitted. I had barely started the second paper by then.  
I spent the whole of my Christmas break writing an essay for a 10 unit course. I had thought I would finish on time so as to prepare for this exam during the break but the essay proved quite difficult. Thank God I finally got it off my desk on 5th January when we handed it in. I thought I had 1 week to then prepare for this exam but I was wrong. I had only 4 days. I hadn't factored in the fact that we still had our regular lectures running. I couldn't afford to miss lectures for this exam. In fact, I had underestimated it. In my mind I felt like, "is it not stats?". I thought I was pretty much okay in Stats and I only needed to brush up Epidemiology. So I started reading. It was while reading, I discovered there were take home practicals for many sessions that I never even knew existed not to talk of doing them. We had 27 sessions to read through. On Sunday, I was on the 5th session, Monday I had gotten to 10th session. I had lectures Tuesday morning. Tuesday night (eve of exam) I abandoned the lecture notes 'cause there was no way I was going to cover the remaining before the exam in the morning. Instead I decided to go through the lecture slides. It was easier to just scan through the bullet points even though they had less explanation. I ran through the slides for the remaining 17 sessions. That night I also practiced the Epidemiology past question and only looked at the solutions to the Stats past question (there was no time to practice).  
Then came the D-day.  
I started with Epidemiology 'cause I thought I needed more time for it since it had a lot to do with short essays. By 1 hr 20mins I switched to Stats. Oh boy. The painful part was seeing questions I recognized from the lecture slides I had gone through the previous night but not being able to answer adequately as I knew little of what they were about. (The danger of power point)  
Pens up! And I was still scribbling. Reluctantly I dropped my pen, and submitted my paper. Looked across the room and the gloom was palpable. Someone even asked when the resit exam would be. I asked the one who had submitted his paper so early how it was and he said he had to submit because he couldn't find the things he had read in there. 
Those including me that had courage to recall the questions were discouraged by the answers they got from peers. So we stopped asking.  
I asked my classmate, "if Basic Stats is like this, how would Advanced Stats be?. "O you're doing Advanced Stats?". You could see how relieved she was that she didn't choose Advanced Stats optional module for next semester. Across the room, you could just hear people say, "all I want is just to pass". "Let me just hit 50 and I'm fine". "I cannot repeat this exam". It sounded ridiculous that people were considering failing. Not that it was not tough, but I didn't think anyone of us could get below 50. But I could understand that it was the intensity of the unexpected difficulty that made them consider failing the course. 
Praise God! The result came out today, I didn't only pass, I made a distinction. 
©Radiant~ January 2017

To say "Jesus" or not

She asked me, "How are you able to do all these - this (referring to my blog that I had just shown her), your music, and academics and yet you're so energic every time?". She was asking, like many people have asked, how I'm able to have it all together considering the diverse things I've got my hands into. Usually, I just smile this question away, but her case was different. She was persistent. She really wanted to know.  
It occurred to me that this could be an opportunity to share my faith with her. But I didn't want to throw it in her face. I wanted it to come out more naturally.  
"How do you do it? You know you're a role model", she was still probing me for answers. The testimonies of those that would say "Jesus" at this point came to mind. But it didn't feel quite natural to say it just like that. Like I needed to lead her to Jesus, right? not throw the name Jesus at her. I thought of saying God but instead said,  " Emmm.. it's grace". Feeling the ambiguity of my response, I promptly added, "God's grace".  
"God?", she was quite surprised. "Like is it your beliefs...?"
"My faith. I'm a Christian" 
She seemed to begin to understand. 
I asked, " are you a Christian?"
"No I'm Muslim." 
I smiled. "Ok. Like people from **** (her country) are mostly Muslim right?" 
"Well, we have different religions. We have Islam, Christians, even Aramaic, the origin of Christians... But what is practiced is different from what true Islam is. True Islam treats women equal..." 
Surprised to hear that, I was quick to say, "Really?, I thought Islam subjugated women" 
"True Islam is what I was brought up with and taught. That men and women have equal rights. They have equal access to education." 
"I thought Islam was the Hijab, pray 5 times a day..." 
"It is practiced differently in different places. We believe in God and the prophet". 
"Have you been to the mosque since you came to UK?" 
"No. I didn't go to mosque when I was in ****. Mosque is for men...There is a difference between what is written and what is practiced. You see people bombing themselves". 
"Why do they do that?" 
"There are extremists in every religion. Even in Christianity in ****". 
"Christianity is different", I said, "It is not a religion". 
"I know. It is a lifestyle", she replied, "true Islam is a lifestyle". 
At this point our break was over and we got back to our class work.  
(The words of this conversation might not have been written verbatim but this captures the essence of what was discussed.) 
Reflecting on this: 
Is it possible that I missed a great opportunity to witness Jesus to her? Here she was, really desperate to know. The opportunity was right there at my feet. I should have said Jesus and left the Holy Spirit to work the rest in her life. I was logically reasoning how mentioning Jesus would lead her to Christ. Or maybe I was ashamed of mentioning the name Jesus to her in class. Or maybe afraid of being seen as witnessing (like depicted in the movie - God's not dead 2). 
But why should I be ashamed of Christ? He said if I am ashamed of Him then He will be ashamed of me before the Father on the last day (Luke 9:26). Why should I be afraid to give life to people? If I believe Jesus is really the reason for my energy, why don't I want to share Him? If He is the author and source of life, and here is someone looking for life, why would I hoard that knowledge? This is about sharing truth, not about a religious exercise of evangelism.  
Dear Lord, please give me a second chance.
And this time help me not to blow it. 
©Radiant~ January 2017