ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF – ‘This child will be great.’

A short first 3 chapters review:

I’m mightily fond of biographies but I’m the first to admit there is a major demerit of Biographies/Autobiographies of notable persons, fact that we know how the book concludes. So if you’re all about extended suspense & sudden dramatic endings, you won’t enjoy Biographies of notable persons. Biographies are more about information & content.

CHAPTER 1- The Beginning

I will be more elabourate in this chapter because of its foundational place in the story.

ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF starts by telling of the old sage that visited soon after her birth to reveal her title: “This Child will be Great”. It was prophetic as it turns out but living through educational difficulties, marital problems, economical turmoil etc, Ellen & her mother couldn’t possibly see this laughable prediction coming true.

Her initial challenge in campaigning for the presidency was in establishing her indegenious credentials, and not the elitist Americo-liberian that she was labeled with. Her popularity didn’t just hold her in good stead.

Her Grandfather (Jahmale) was a local chief who emerged as a popular negotiator between settlers & indegenious tribes because of his command of local dialects. His abilities was sought after by even the 7th President of Liberia (Hilary Johnson), the first President born in Liberia. Though he was the son of one of the Liberia’s elitist first settlers, Elijah Johnson.

Ellen’s father was sent to the city as a ward, which is a guardianship system that still flourishes in most part parts of Africa. It entails sending grown children/young adults to assist in meeting up with the crucial need for cheap labor. These youth are transplanted into better off families to work at
hauling water, collecting firewood and coal, cooking, cleaning, tending crops & other domestic work. It was also a means by which colonists spread religion & civilization to indegenious folks.

Not all the wards had an easy go at it, but majority of families, regardless of how discriminating or unjust, gave the wards in their care some opportunity for education & in some cases had their names changed to suit their new status. Ellen’s father, who was taken in by a family named McGrity, was given the last name of Johnson, after the president & his first name, Karnley, westernized to Carney. Thus becoming Carney Johnson at 15, a rebirth she called it. He became a ‘poor man’s lawyer’ (an apprenticeship lawyer), started a career in politics, met a befitting lady & married.

Ellen’s mother, had a more thrilling tale. She was half German. Her grandfather being a German who left after German traders were expelled from Liberia at the commencement of WWI. He never returned & Ellen’s mum put it off as a past she never wants to recall. She was almost white & was marveled at for a that reason. After a brief time of bad treatment as a mere servant with a family, she was taken in by a prominent childless woman from an influential family, where she got the best local education, even studying abroad for a year.

Five years after seeing Martha, Ellen’s father; Carney, divorced his first wife, won the affections of Martha & her guardian & married the pretty half-caste. The young family blossomed in Monrovia until they fell down the success ladder. Here Ellen gives us a brief glimpse of old simple Monrovia & the historical background of how separate states & cities in the USA had settled their freed slaves in separate colonies in Liberia. A huge death rate from the malaria that killed alot of the settlers. Some came willingly, most joined unwillingly, as conditions for freedom or as cargo from enforced seizures of slave trading ships. Thus captured ships with rescued slaves were sent to Monrovia. Persons of the most diverse tribes in present day West African countries & beyond were simply dumped as ‘liberated’ slaves in ‘Liberia’.

Ellen’s family settled in one of the posh areas, with a modestly grand house. She is the third of four children( two boys & girls each). She was named after her mother’s friend. She was a tomboy of sorts, climbing trees & playing ball with the boys with discarded tennis balls.

She fell in a pit toilet hole once. She was so tiny, left alone she slipped through the boarded pit toilet. (If you’ve seen ‘slum-dog millionaire’… Well, you get the gist.) She was rescued by a bypasser after calling out for help & washed up by her mum. 🤣

Theirs was an illustrious home, with her father keeping good company & aspiring to be the first indegenious speaker of the parliamentary. A sitting President visited their home. Her father was a socialite & womanizer, which was common place then, with polygamy accepted. Even Christian white folks kept concubines & had ‘out-children.’ with their spare women. Her mother was religious & ran the primary school they all went to.

She writes of her childhood trips to the villages for vacation, where she learned to swim. There’s her proud indegenious roots which her father never let them lose, even though they easily could. She is proud to flaunt this credential of being an indegenious child of Liberia, a clarity she made to distractors during her presidential campaign. Her respect for the unique biodiversity of the Liberian Flora and fauna, is all highlighted in this opening chapter.

CHAPTER 2 – Childhood Ends

Ellen’s sweet Childhood took a tumble with the sudden stroke of her dad in his forties. He was still trying out to be the first indegenious speaker of the parliament. The then President was encouraging & supportive in this regard. The ‘growth with development’ in the nation was being challenged with this drive. The national economic growth was concentrated in the hand of the few American repatriated elite. On the down side, President Tubman was Tyrannical, building a strong security force to fend off dissent. Ellen’s father saw Tubman as the man who ‘opened the door’ to progress for the indegenes but his sudden illness brought an end to his family’s cosiness. In those days (1950s) medicine was still basic. Her dad felt he was bewitched. As he blamed juju, family adjusted to care for his handicapped needs.

Ellen’s sister left for London to become a nurse so she could help, Ellen was in highschool. She was active in sports. Only downside was being teased for her fair complexion by the indegenious people, as they construe her to be of the elitist group of settlers.

She met her to-be husband in her last year in high school. James Sirleaf was of a Mandingo father & an elitist mother. He was also discriminated against for this. As an added pressure, his Mandingo clan are mainly Muslims & they tend not to assimilate into the conventional Liberian community, till date they are perceived as outcasts. Ellen & Doc, as James was known, met via a friend; Clave. The jealous irresistible Doc swept Ellen off her feet.

He was seven years older than Ellen. Without her handicapped dad’s enablement, Ellen opted to marry early, since college wasn’t affordable. 1956 she was married, January ’57 got her first son, Jes & incredibly, by December ’57 she got her second son Charles, while her mates were off in college.

Doc had returned from Alabama with a degree in agriculture before they got married. It was a big deal then because agriculture was the bedrock of Liberia’s economy then, as it is now. Iron ore, timber & Cocoa were the major export, before the civil war impaired these economic trend. Still it took Doc a while to get a footing at the ministry of agriculture. To make ends meet Ellen took Secretarial work with expatriate firms.

This was her first venture into finance. She borrowed trucks from work to lift the sand they built their first house with. They farmed & lived in rural settings. Doc had to work at a teaching job long before he finally got a ministry Job. Ellen’s sister had returned, married & had 3 kids of her own. Ellen believed in herself & her potential.

Doc got a government scholarship for his masters & Ellen jumped at the chance but it wasn’t easy, without her father’s connection like her sisters had it back then. Ellen’s father had passed on, neglected by his political buddies. Finally she got the scholarship, she got in to study business at Madison business college. They left their four kids behind, splitting them among their grand parents. Here she lingers on the support virtues of the African extended family.

America wasn’t all rosy. Doc’s jealousy had not quite abated. He also always had a drinking problem. Ellen worked at a posh store alongside her studies, a job Doc considered demeaning. After a single scene at her work place, he grumbled but back down because they need the money.

She was working the day US President JFK was assasinated. Doc’s jealousy moved dangerously to the physical, with gun threats. There wasn’t much she could do but bear it. Doc finished his course and returned a year before Ellen, who stayed back to finish up. When she returned and started work at the debt office of the ministry of finance, she felt her ambitious streak let lose as she played catch up. Doc grew more jealous of her progress. She threw herself into work.

They quarreled increasing. After an incident with his gun, when their first born sprayed insecticide at the father when he threatened Ellen with the gun, it dawned on her she had to leave him. When they agreed to separate, he kept the boys & she moved in with her mum. She secured a divorce when Doc was out of town. He made a number of scenes at her office later on. They ended up as friends at long last when he remarried. He migrated to Florida & she gave the keynote address at his funeral. He was cremated. Her youngest son stayed with Doc’s brother, a medical doctor. That son is now an MD himself. The third boy; Rob, was returned to her because he was unsettled without her.

CHAPTER 3 – America Again

Don’t blame the man in me, but I like the way she started this chapter.

“Divorce is difficult, even when it is absolutely necessary.” This goes both ways, believe me. I’ve seen it play out countless of times, on both ends severally, to know well. The guilt & adjustment is common.

Ellen’s was more of fitting in with the disrespect & suspicions that female divorcees experience. Her placing in the finance ministry gave her holistic view of the dire economic situation of the country. From the onset, the economy of Liberia wasn’t particularly well off as a colony of sorts before independence. As late as the 1930s, some leaders were still counting on a mass exodus of black Americans to shore up the country and its economy but instead the black Americans moved to industrial northern U.S. cities. Then came World War I—and Liberia couldn’t compete with the more established trade affairs of the British empire or French in the late 1800s & earliest 1900s.

Here I beg to quote a section:

“One cannot talk long about Liberia without discussing the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. It is our largest private employer and runs what is considered the largest rubber plantation in the world within
our borders. For better or worse, no other single company has had a more significant impact on the history and development of our land. Firestone arrived in Liberia, excited about the country’s perfect conditions for growing rubber as an alternative to its single Asia source and intrigued by the small, defunct British commercial operation at Mount Barclay, a lowland coastal plantation of about two thousand acres situated on a former mangrove swamp and jungle about twenty miles east of Monrovia. Firestone and the Liberian government easily reached an agreement for Firestone to take over that plantation; the company was granted a long-term lease for $1 an acre the first year and a flat $6,000 per year thereafter. But Firestone had larger plans. After much negotiation, Firestone was granted the right to lease up to 1 million acres of “suitable” Liberian land for 6 cents an acre and 1 percent of the tax value of
the rubber exported—and to do so until the year 2025.

“By any measure, it was a sweetheart deal for Firestone.
According to the Dutch economist and historian Fred P. M. van der Kraaij. After the draft concession agreement was approved by the national legislature, Firestone suddenly introduced a new clause. This
so-called Clause K made the agreement dependent on a $1 million loan from Firestone to the Liberian government. At the time of Firestone’s establishment in Liberia, the nation’s economy was stagnant and bankrupt. Although the loan proposal and ensuing negotiations raised fierce protests both outside and inside the country—where some Liberians feared the influence such a loan would create on the Liberia government—under pressure from the U.S. State Department and eager for the cash to repay a $1 million debt to
British bankers, Liberian officials eventually agreed to the deal.
Thus Firestone gained—for nearly a hundred years—almost unlimited control over an area equal to 4 percent of Liberian land and nearly 10 percent of land considered arable. And, by virtue of the loan the company’s entry into Liberia served mainly to reinforce Liberia’s financial dependency. For the next eighty years Firestone amassed huge profits and had a strong and decisive say in Liberian politics.”

End of quote.

Firestone had it’s foot on Liberia’s throat. The army of workers suffered & not much was done to ease the burden on them. Firestone didn’t establish industries but carted away resources & paid next to nothing in revenue.

When 1944 Tubman’s reforms took root & foreign investment flowed in, few Liberians outside the settlers’ elite clique truly benefited from the influx of foreign businesses. Thousands of Liberians were given jobs, but almost always lower-level, manual-labor positions, with
little effort made to train indigenous workers so they might move up to technical or managerial slots. Hospitals and schools were built only for workers of the investors.

By 1960s the economy was in another slum. Tubman lost favor & beefed up his security. There was an assassination attempt on him in 1955. He got a scapegoat in Fahnbulleh, a diplomat serving as ambassador to Kenya & Tanzania. He was arrested, charged & convicted for trying to overthrow the government. Not part of any activism, Ellen had simply accidentally started off in that direction when she stood on the edge of disloyalty with a speech she delivered criticizing the Liberian government’s economic policies. Representing the Treasury Department at a conferece by Harvard Institute for International Development. (HIID initiative). Harvard man, the economist Gustav Papanek, later president of the Boston Institute for Development, was concerned for her safety after that blatant criticism of the Liberian authorities. Professor Papanek gained Ellen admission to Edward S. Mason Fellows, Harvard’s oldest and largest international program. Ellen sat for & passed the U.S. Agency for International Development scholarship exam, scoring the highest marks recorded then. While she shores up her undergraduate credentials, Rob went to live with American friends.

A year later another speech got her into serious trouble. She then plunged into the study of the history of West Africa, learning more about Liberia in Harvard. Returning to Liberia alongside her sister on a ship, Ellen smoked her last cigarette ever. They both learned of the death of President Tubman while eating a meal on the ship. He was 71 & had ruled for 27 years. It was 1971 (& I was just a year old then 😊).

She ends the 3rd chapter with this;

“Jennie and I sat together in that dining room, praying for the soul
of our departed president and praying even harder for our families & our land. We were anxious but not frightened, not really. Like most Liberians, I suppose, we felt in some way shielded from the worst
manifestations of evolutionary struggle and change.

“We always felt that if anything really terrible began to happen, if ever things went seriously awry, America would come to our aid. America was our great father, our patron saint. It would never let us suffer. That’s what so many of us in Liberia thought. But then we found out that EVERYONE HAS TO STAND ON HIS OWN!”

I just wish some of the multitude of violently protesting Black Americans will learn from these words that they are just wasting away in the streets, shouting themselves crazy. At the end of the day, they can only make the white man respect them with what they achieve, not what the white man gives them.

Stick to it

By Randy Baker

Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!

Seriously…it has been a long time since I have heard such BS…

A month ago, your “expert” business was doing fine…

You were providing solutions…
Fixing stuff…
Solving problems.

But today…not so good, right?

Things have changed…
Peoples problems have changed…

So the experts tell you to pivot…
To do something new.

WORST ADVICE EVER!

If something doesn’t work…. Give up and try something else?

Why not just find a better way of doing what you are great at…
Especially when the cause of the change is not related to you – or your client?

Why stop doing what you are good at to try something else?

Here’s a better solution…

Your product and solution are probably still top notch…
But it is your messaging that is wrong in today’s world…

Fix your messaging to apply to tomorrows problems…

And deliver the solution you know will work…
Just like you always have…

And you will be in a great position in the future.

Don’t pivot… refocus, rebrand and rebuild with tomorrows needs in mind.

This is how The Core does it…

And now you can too.
The Core: Your answer to the pivot!

Let’s go.

On Religious Tolerance: From the Archive

By Abba Kyari: 12 January 2014.

(Sent: Sunday, January 12, 2014, 9:29:03 AM GMT+1)

Subject: Re: Religious Tolerance:

The centrality of religious identity in our society in the last two decades or so, fills me with grief, in a society where people lived together and socialised together.

Two Friday’s ago, I was in Wusasa for the funeral service of late Mrs Yarbaba Baikie, wife of Prof Adamu Baikie. The service was attended by both Christians and Muslims.Mrs Baikie, a Hausa from Kano was the only Christian in her family. Every Easter and every Christmas, her Muslim relatives will come to Zaria and join in the celebrations. Every Eid–twice a year too– she and her family will travel to Kano for the celebrations. That has been the practise until she died.

If you visited the Baikie household during the period of mourning, you will not fail to notice the age old practice of living together and socialising together. Not even Jerry Gana could tell who is a Christian and who is a Muslim, apart from the people he knows.

I attended St Paul’s College, Wusasa. It was an Anglican Mission secondary school but was 75% grant aided by the Northern Nigerian government without any interference in its running. It was an Anglican school.

Although the majority of the students were Christians, there were a few Muslims too. That was never an issue, we were all students, majority of us never knew who came from where. It was only last year when I went to Lokoja for the funeral service of a classmate’s mother that I discovered one of our classmates is from Edo state-47 years later.

In form one, when I chose to take Bible knowledge, I was denied, because it would not look like my voluntary choice. It was only in form three that i was allowed. Every morning, all the Muslims stayed out in an adjacent classroom during the morning mass before we were allowed into to the hall for general assembly. Every Sunday during service all the Muslim students must attend Muslim students meeting. Every Friday all the Muslims students are gathered and put in the the school van and driven to the juma’a mosque in Zaria City.

Every Ramadan Muslim students were woken at 3 am for sahur, for a freshly cooked meal and not leftovers. In my five years, we had two Head Boys who were Muslims. In all our social activities religion was NEVER an issue. It is only against the backdrop of what is happening today that one is recounting these examples, then they meant nothing.

About 22 years ago, I was the best man at a wedding in Owo between an Ibo catholic and Yoruba Anglican. It was not an issue. I am the godfather to the first son of that union.

The religion that is ‘dividing’ our communities, is not the religion of God, it is the religion of Nigerians, it is the religion mammon. It is all about fight for political and economic space by a very few people,creating chaos and bloodshed.

©Abba Kyari: 2014

The Awesome Power of Forgiveness

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

I have just finished watching a BBC documentary that featured the attached family (L-R) Rizqy Setiawan, Iwan Setiawan and Sarah Setiawan flanking Ahmad Hassan (2nd from L) Iwan is the father of Rizqy and Sarah.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Hassan is on death row. He was one of the conspirators of a bomb attack that killed Iwan’s wife, the mother of Rizqy and Sarah. The program put together by the maverick BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke was such a profound experience for me. It is a poignant reminder that the best way to fight against evil is through forgiveness. As Abraham Lincoln famously asked;

“Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?”

“Setiawan was on his motorbike, speeding past the Australian embassy in Jakarta. His mind was on his wife, whose arms were around his chest and whose pregnant belly he could feel pressing against his back. Their second child was due within weeks and they were on their way to hospital for a check-up. Suddenly there was this incredibly loud sound and we were thrown into the air,” he remembers. Iwan didn’t know till much later that it was a suicide bomb, planted by a militant group a responsible for a series of attacks in Indonesia, including the Bali bombing in 2002 that killed 202 people from around the world. “I saw blood. Lots of blood. Metal went flying into one of my eyes, destroying it. His wife was thrown from the bike, landing metres away. Both were rushed to hospital and, in a state of shock, a badly injured Halila Seroja Daulay went into labour.

She was rushed into the operating room after getting contractions. But praise be to Allah, somehow she was still able to give birth naturally,” Iwan says. That night Rizqy was born. His name means “blessing”
According to Setiawan “I lost my best friend, my soul mate, the person who completed me. It’s so painful to talk about it,”. At first, he was filled with a desire for revenge. “I wanted the arrested conspirators to die, but I didn’t want them to die quickly,” he says. “I wanted them to be tortured first. I wanted their skin to be cut and salt put in the wounds so that they had some idea of the pain their bombing caused, both physically and mentally. My children and I have struggled so incredibly hard just to keep living.”

The car bomb attack that killed Mrs Setiawan went off at 10.30 am Jakarta time on September 9, 2004. It killed the suicide bomber that triggered it, 8 others, injured 150 and destroyed not just the Australian embassy but that of Greece and China shattering glass windows up to half a kilometer away. 6 persons were eventually arrested and sentenced to death. They are currently cooling off their heels in a maximum security prison on a jungle covered island that the surviving Setiawan family members met Ahmad Hassan including the mastermind of the bomb attack Darmawan Munto Rois. Setiawan senior had all previously met them before bringing his children along. Who by way of introduction started;
“I have invited my children to meet you, I want them to understand too why you did the bombing that killed their mother and caused me to lose one of my eyes. They have to know because they lost their mother when they were so young” Ahmad Hassan nods solemnly and replies;
“I never wanted to hurt your father, he just happened to be passing by, and my friend who was carrying the bomb blew it up at that time. I hope that you, the children of Iwan, can forgive me.” His voice starts to break.

“I am a flawed human. I have made many mistakes. My friends and I were given the wrong education and learning. I wish that we hadn’t acted before we had really gained knowledge and understood what we were doing,” he continued.
Sarah summons up courage and says; “I would always ask my dad when I was little, ‘Where is my mum?’ and he told me she was at Allah’s house. I asked where that was, and he said it was the mosque. So I ran away to the mosque. My grandmother was looking for me, and when she found me I told her that I was waiting for my mum. I was waiting for my mum to come home. But she has never come home.”

“Hassan closes his eyes and opens his hands in prayer. Over and over he mumbles a prayer seeking forgiveness from Allah. “Allah wanted me to have to meet you and be forced to try and explain,” he finally manages to say. “But I can’t explain to you my child, I am sorry. “I can’t hold back my tears. I take Sarah as my own child. Please, please forgive me. It’s in your hands.” Everyone in this tiny room is crying – except the mastermind and financier of the bomb attack who on his part stated; “I have a child, too. I haven’t seen my wife or child for years. I really miss them. I am even worse off than you. You’re still with your children. My child doesn’t even know me.” Darmawan continued “I didn’t do what they said I did. Why did I admit to it? Maybe when you are older you will understand” he said directly to the Setiawan children but added

“All humans have made mistakes. If I have wronged you in any way I apologise. I feel pain. I really do”

The entire meeting is part of a De-radicalisation program by the Indonesian government that brings captured terrorists and their victims face to face many of which have found healing and moved on with their lives without bitterness. Quite a number of the terrorists have also recanted because they are kept in isolation. Without their death sentences carried out and group solidarity they break down. Can the same template be applied in Nigeria? Will one day Shekau pose for a photograph holding hands with the Sharibu family? Are terrorists not actually pawns on a chessboard they neither understand nor have real control over? Truth is the real terrorist grandmasters never blow up themselves or get in any harms way.

They always pose as good guys because terrorism is the continuation of politics by other means. That not withstanding there is power in forgiveness.

The various aftermaths of the Nigerian Civil War during the Oil Boom 70s, the emergence of a Rainbow Nation after dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa and the current soaring of Rwanda after the Hutu genocide against Tutsis are all examples of that awesome power.

Col. Gadaffi’s Warnings: 6 years on

By Mohammed Babafari (on Facebook)

It’s exactly 6 years since Muammar Gadaffi was assassinated!

Muamar Gaddafi’s Prophecies:

“I will not go into exile to any foreign country. I was born here in Libya, and I will die here. This country was a dessert, and I turned it into a forest, where everything can grow.

“No one Love this land more more than its citizens. If Europe and America tells you that they love you, be careful. They love the wealth of your land. The oil and not the people. They are helping you to fight against me but, it will be more wise for you to fight against them because they are fighting against your future and progress.

“My message to you the people of Libya is, they are helping you to kill me but you will pay the price because you will suffer. And my message to you America and Europe is, you will kill me, but be ready to fight a never ending TERRORISM.

“Before you realise your ignorance, terrorists will be hitting you at your doorstep.”

COL. GADDAFI’S IMPACT IN LIBYA:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya, electricity is free for all its citizens.

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens are at a 0% interest by law.

3. Home is considered a human right in Libya. Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home.

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinars (US$50,000) from the government to buy their first apartment.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi, only 25% of Libyans were literates. Today, the figure stands at 83%.

6. Libyans taking up farming as a career, they received farm land, a farming house, equipment, seeds and livestock to kick- start their farms – all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they needed in Libya, the government funded them to go abroad for it.

8. In Gaddafi’s Libya, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation, the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child under Gaddafi, received US $5,000 as child benefit upfront.

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man- Made River Project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

If this is called “Dictatorship”, I wonder what type of Leadership Democrats have!!

Making Coffee or Tea

I love this analogy!

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

Just begin

*Copied
A very inspiring tale to encourage you.

Just after I received my fee structure from Moi University for my PhD, totalling N850,000 in 2012, I met my dad, Alhaji Abubakar at Cooperative bank in Kaduna.

I explained to him that I had the admission letter and he smiled.

I told him however, “Baba, there is a problem. They need N850,000.”

He held my hands, then slowly but reassuringly, said, “Just begin, my son.”

To ensure his point went home, he got into his account and gave me N14,000 in an account that had N20,000.

I was touched.

I added N16000 and paid N30,000 into the account, and my journey to PhD began.

Today, having reached the dream, I remember the words of my father.

In everything you do, always remember, JUST BEGIN.

Just begin, no matter how difficult it seems to be.

It appeared to be difficult, but as time lapsed, I realised dad was right.

At some point after my defence, I gave up.

I still had a solid N300,000 to pay and they wouldn’t give me a chance for my final defence.

Then came a very unlikely help.

I had supported a gentleman to undertake a project evaluation two times in the year.

I received his call cautiously asking me to meet him.

He was carrying a brown envelop in his hand.

He began, “Aliyu, you will forgive me if you find my action inappropriate. For two consecutive times you have given me a job without asking for a Cent. This is very unusual with many people. I did not know how to approach you, but I am deep with gratitude. Please accept my small gift.”

I quickly peered into the envelope and saw they were two bundles, likely in hundreds.

He confirmed that it was N200,000.

I told him, “I have helped so many people, many known to me, some were my school mates who never returned a Cent. God bless you. Please don’t give it to me. Pay it straight into the university account.”

I couldn’t believe it.

The words of my father, “My son, just begin” came to mind.

Don’t worry how it will end.

Just begin.

If you are building a house, just begin.

If you are planning to buy land, just begin.

If you want to continue with your education, just begin.

If you want to pay dowry, just begin.

Nothing is more powerful than that advice.

We just need to begin.

And I have revised this philosophy.

Whenever someone is doing something, I always encourage them to just keep trying.

When things get thick, I always say, keep walking.

When things are intimidating, ignore.

Let’s keep trying.

Don’t give up on life just because your challenges appear to be insurmountable.

Do not be defeated before you begin.

Whatever looks like a mountain will soon become an anthill…but only if you begin.

Not long ago, someone asked me, “Aliyu, are we going to manage to build the office we want?”

My answer, “Let’s just begin.”

I believe in the power of starting.

No one loses a race until they respond to the sound of the gun and begin.

The secret lies in beginning.

Overtime, God has seen me through a number of projects because of this philosophy.

I have parcels of land that I acquired by simply paying N50,000…and, overtime, these have multiplied.

I persuade you this day never to allow yourself to be threatened by the size of your problem.

Begin in a small way to do something about it.

If it is lack of money do something small to get something for yourself.

If it is a marital issue, look for a way to solve it.

In whatever you face, just begin.

Even those with big debts can do something about it.

Just begin and it will shrink each day.

I was not a millionaire, but sometime ago, I wanted to have a feeling of being one.

I drew a plan of how to hold a million in my account, at least for a few days.

After some months of beginning, I discovered it was possible.

Three years and half of savings later, I got my first ever million.

Even though I used it later on investments and expenses, it felt so good.

Let’s all begin.

Let’s ignore naysayers and prophets of doom that believe we can’t do it.

JUST BEGIN!

LESSONS OF THE HEN

ELEVEN POWERFUL LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE HEN

  1. She first lays enough eggs before sitting on them.
    GOOD PLANNING.
  2. When she starts sitting on her eggs, she minimizes movements. DISCIPLINE.
  3. She physically loses weight while sitting on her eggs due to decreased feeding. SACRIFICE AND SELF DENIAL.
  4. She can sit on eggs for another hen. INDISCRIMINATION AND GENEROSITY.
  5. She sits on her eggs for twenty one (21) days, patiently waiting, even if they do not hatch, she will lay eggs again. FAITH, HOPE AND NOT DISCOURAGED.
  6. She detects unfertilized eggs and rolls them out.
    SENSITIVE AND DISCERNING.
  7. She abandons the rotten eggs and starts caring for the hatched chicks even if it is only one. WISDOM, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND REALISTIC.
  8. No one touches her chicks. PROTECTIVE AND LOVE.
  9. She gathers all her chicks together. UNITY OF PURPOSE.
  10. She cannot abandon her chicks before they mature.
    MENTORSHIP.
  11. She always be at the front of her chicks.
    LEADERSHIP

“Acquire the principles of the hen, and your success is sure”

Be blessed

*copied


Why Chickens Walk

WEDDED WITS

You will love this COPIED Story

A woman went shopping. At the cash counter, she opened her purse to pay.

The cashier noticed a TV remote in her purse.

He could not control his curiosity and asked

“Do you always carry your TV remote with you?”

She replied “No, not always, but my husband refused to accompany me shopping today because of football match, so I took the remote.”

Moral: Accompany and support your wife in her hobbies….

The story continues…

The cashier laughed and then returned all the items that lady had purchased.

Shocked at this act, she asked the cashier what he was doing.

He said, “Your husband has blocked your credit card.”

MORAL: Always respect the hobbies of your husband.

Story continues….

Wife took out her husband’s credit card from purse and swiped it. Unfortunately he didn’t block his own card.

Moral: Don’t underestimate the power and wisdom of your WIFE..

Story continues…

After swiping, the machine indicated, ‘ENTER THE PIN SENT TO YOUR MOBILE PHONE’

Moral: When a man tends to lose, the machine is smart enough to save him!

Story continues….

She smiled to herself and reached out for the mobile which rang in her purse.

It was her husband’s phone showing the forwarded SMS.

She had taken it with the remote control so he doesn’t call her during her shopping.

She bought her items and returned home happily.

Moral: Don’t underestimate a desperate woman!

Story continues….

On getting home, his car was gone.

A note was pasted on the door

“Couldn’t find the remote. Gone out with the boys to watch the premiership match. Will be home late. Call me on my phone if you need something”.

Damn… He left with the house key too.

*Moral: Don’t try to control your husband.
You will always lose.

Matters of the Heart

This is a chat with Dr. Abdullahi Oluwalogbon (Heart and Utility Specialist). The transcript of the chat is given below. Useful for everyone.*

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Question 1: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his or her heart?

Answer:
1. Diet – Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise – Half an hour’s walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control BP – Blood pressure and Sugar

Question 2: Can we convert fat into muscles?

Answer: It is a dangerous myth. Fat and muscles are made of two different tissues – fat is fat, ugly and harmful. Muscle is muscle. Fat can never be converted into a muscle.

Question 3: It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?

Answer: This is called silent attack. That is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Question 4: Are heart diseases hereditary?

Answer: Yes

Question 5: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?

Answer: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Question 6: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?

Answer: Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints.

Question 7: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?

Answer: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.

Question 8: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?

Answer: Extremely rare.

Question 9: Does cholesterol accumulate right from an early age (I’m currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?

Answer: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Question 10: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?

Answer: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Question 11: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?

Answer: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Question 12: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?

Answer: Fruits and vegetables are the best and oils the worst.

Question 13: Which oil is better – groundnut, sunflower, olive?

Answer: All oils are bad.

Question 14: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?

Answer: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Question 15: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?

Answer: Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him or her to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Question 16: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?

Answer: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Question 17: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 years of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.

Answer: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Question 18: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?

Answer: Yes.

Question 19: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?

Answer : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may NOT have a software engineer as a child.

Question 20: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?

Answer: When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Question 21: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?

Answer : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Question 22: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?

Answer: No.

Question 23: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?

Answer: No.

Question 24: How would you define junk food?

Answer: Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, Samosas, and even Masala Dosas.

Question 25: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?

Answer: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Question 26: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?

Answer: No.

Question 27: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded e-mails on this)?

Answer: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Question 28: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?

Answer: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Question 29: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?

Answer: Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Question 30: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?

Answer: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Question 31: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?

Answer : Diet, exercise, drugs on time, Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Question 32: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?

Answer: No.

Question 33: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?

Answer: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Question 34: Does aspirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?

Answer: No.

Question 35: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?

Answer: Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men )

Question 36: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?

Answer: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 (once in six months recommended).

Please, don’t hoard knowledge. It takes sharing of knowledge to discover and understand the world in which we live.

*copied from twitter