Singles Awareness Day

Red hearts everywhere. Red clothing in all shades and styles everywhere you turn. Blink and you just wont miss that fire engine red lipstick. Nothing brings home the truth about being alone more than Valentine’s Day.

Other days seem to be geared towards culture, tradition and family, but Valentine’s Day? I beg to differ. The celebrations have been narrowed down from showing all types of love, to just the one between a couple, as if that’s all Saint Valentine had in mind. For someone who has enjoyed being one half of a couple for a while, the loneliness hurts, so I would rather call it “Singles Awareness Day” than “Valentine’s Day”.

I’m learning to be alone, but sometimes the loneliness hits me like a ten-tonne truck. This particular year, I got to notice the adverts all over the place, because I am trying to use this same season to promote more giving and charity in my sphere of influence.

Sisu Prime Aromatherapy sells 100% natural, phthalate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, body and hair care products, that boost your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Our Loodus line is our first set of natural perfumes, and we are donating a part of the proceeds towards the lunch program of Street2School Initiative, a local NGO helping to keep children off the streets in Lagos, Nigeria.

sisu-advert
Sisu Prime is @sisuprime on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

I had to actually tune into all the messages and ads around, so that I could also come up with something nice enough to increase sales and ultimately make a sizable donation to the Initiative. It seems every company and entrepreneur has one form of sales or the other for this period. I am encouraged by the high number of sales tied to charity, motherless home donations and scholarships. Boosts my heart.

If you are like me, without a significant other today, I encourage you to do what I have planned: Touch someone else’s life today – be it a random stranger, or a friend that you have not reached out to check on, for a long while. Depression is eating away at everyone in our society today, and all the hype about love will only make it worse. Let us add to the other side of the equation: show love to someone that cannot expect or even afford it, today.

Above all, celebrate your achievements. Love yourself today. Give yourself a big treat – do you know how many babies were born on your birthday that did not make it to their fifth? Do you know how many others did not get to be a teenager? So many people went through just one-tenth of what you have been through to get here, yet they are gone. Count your blessings one by one.

Be grateful. I know I am.

Good Deed: A father indeed

I recently reached out to one of my fathers.

I know that sounds confusing, but in the African tribal system, having multiple “fathers” and “mothers” really means that more than one adult took responsibility for you while growing up, and not just your immediate parents. We have a proverb that says “It takes a village”, which means that the whole society raises each child.

One of the fathers that stood in for me while my biological dad was not available just retired, and his birthday was a few days ago. Let’s call him Daddy A. Back then, Daddy A would drop by unexpectedly, and give us gifts. He would call from time to time, to check on us, and sometimes would insist we kids come over to spend Christmas with his family. When I need a job for my second industrial training program in the university, he came through for me, in the blink of an eye. He would listen to my brother rant, or me lamenting about the issues I had at school, and quietly give advice. I can remember him being there at the precious moments in my life, as a teenager and a young adult.

So, we sang for him on his birthday, and promised to send a virtual cake. When he asked for the real thing, I promised to send it.

He was so surprised I actually did. I wish I could do more. His thoughtfulness over the years helped fill the void I needed a father to fill as I grew into a young woman.

Moral of the story: try to the all the good you can, when you can, while you still can. Every act of kindness leaves unforgettable impressions out there, especially if the recipients are children.

Cycling in Kenya Finally Getting Good Attention.

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A few weeks ago, Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris picked up her bike together with a team of cyclist and she took on the roads of Nairobi. This journey took her from her house in the suburbs of Kitisuru to the parliament building, about 11km.

Passaris is a lady of many firsts, her organization “Adopt A Light” was on the forefront in lighting Nairobi city. The city was in the dark and unsafe those many years ago. With a technology imported from South Africa, street by street we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Passaris after her cycling session said she would engage potential sponsors to see that willing Nairobians are loaned or rented bikes and champion legislation that will make the roads safer for cyclists.

She did not stop, on Saturday I saw her rocking her bike in the streets of Nairobi campaigning for regulations that will make Nairobi a better city for cycling. nI am reminded of days I used to commute 50km everyday on my bike. Mombasa road was a real monster for me, every morning and evening.

When you cycle on Mombasa road, (many times) you get initiated by the toughness it brings.  I became very tuff, I prayed a lot, and I learnt more and more how to put my instincts at work, and the power of intuition….when it says stop! I stop.

It was also fun to be on the bike those years, I saved money, I kept time of my appointment and everywhere I went, I had to tell a story of how am cycling on Mombasa road.

Today, I don’t do that as much as I would like to, but that doesn’t mean that I am done. Big things came but small things stay the same. I am glad that with people like Passaris in parliament, we are on a good road to reaching our goal of a green Nairobi, I mean the road has started.

It has been estimated that 90% of urban air pollution in rapidly growing cities in developing countries is attributable to motor vehicle emissions (UNEP, 2011) so while there are many sources of air pollution in Nairobi, including open air burning of refuse and biomass (Gatari, 2006), industrial operations and domestic cooking fires, motor vehicles play a critical role in the problem.

The county government in a plan to handle the traffic menace said they will be burning driving two days in a week. On this days, commuters will be encouraged to either cycle to work or use public transportation.

As citizens of Kenya and as Naironians, and most importantly as cyclist, we will keep pushing the government to make sure they put up infrastructure that supports cycling, regulations that keep cyclists safe and event awareness on how to share the road.

With members of parliament joining this fight, there is light at the end of the tunnel for cyclists.

 

Good Deed: Do_action Lagos 2018

Last weekend, I was part of a team of volunteers that worked in the do_action Lagos 2018. What is do_action?

do_action is a charity hackathon that uses WordPress to uplift local communities.

do_action hackathons are community-organised events that are focused on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organisations their own online presence. Each do_action event includes participants from the local WordPress community coming together to plan and build brand new websites for a number of local organisations in one day.

from the do_action website

A month ago, when I was asked about volunteering, I was sure I would not be able to participate because I could not see how I would be able to balance my time. The worst thing would be to volunteer, then not be able to show up or help. I was able to offer assistance a few days before the event though, and I am glad I could still find a place.

I was the official assistant to the convener, Mary Job, for the day. This means I was everywhere and running all over the place. I enjoyed it. My joy increased when I realized that one of my friends who runs an NGO made it to the final list that would be assisted.

The five NGOs that got websites that day were REEL Foundation, Life’s Beacon Initiative, St. Don Bosco Foundation, Seedtime Foundation, and Al Hurriyah Foundation. I spent most of my time working with the Don Bosco team.

Here are more pictures from the event:

Good Deed: #HelpChuksWin

  Last month, I got a jolt. I wished an old friend “Happy Birthday” two days before activity on her Facebook wall indicated that she was dead. Not only dead, Ada had been dead for two years. I was numb. Then I checked instagram, to try to buzz another old friend and be the first to wish him a Happy Birthday at midnight, only to see that he has cancer and was in need of funds for his second chemotherapy session. I wept. I have since reached out to tried to create awareness verbally, as well as donate a small token myself. I am happy to report that he has finished his chemotherapy session and is clear. We hope he remains a cancer survivor and never goes into remission. Please join us in prayers that Chuks will continue to win over this situation. Moral of this story: Reach out to your friends once in a while, especially old ones that you hardly hear from. Say hello and actually solicit a response. You never know what they may be going through. And I hope its not too late, like it was for Ada.

Good Deed: Girls4ICT Day 2018 Abuja

Once again, the Girls4ICT Day has come and gone. It was a lovely day, and we were able to host more girls from more schools this year. Last year, we hosted less than 200 girls, but this year we had double that number. Hassan Abdul, of Media Range Ltd, one of the partner companies that made it happen, said it better: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhassan.abdul%2Fposts%2F10214360857448719&width=600   So what was my Good Deed? As part of the organizing team, we were able to facilitate procurement of souvenirs for the student attendees, some of them from WordPress. I also was able to join via Skype, from Lagos to speak to the girls. Although the connection was really choppy (blame the country’s connectivity problems), here is what I tried to pass across:
  1. Be yourself
  2. Never stop learning
  3. Never let your gender hold you back – things are a lot friendlier towards women in the IT industry now, so use it to your advantage.
  4. Don’t forget yourself – take time off, exercise, do your hair, look good and relax.
  5. Listen then sieve – listening to advice is polite, but it does not mean you have to take all the advice you receive. Sieve out what is not beneficial. Focus on what will advance you towards your career goals.
  6. Make YOU happy – in every situation, focus on doing things that will give you joy, because at the end of the day, only you live inside your skin (except the times you are pregnant :D). Do what wont make you sad, bitter or angry with yourself later.
  7. Focus – focus on achieving your academic goals. Romance will come later, trust me.

Good Deed – Writing a Resume

One of my nieces came over for the weekend, and I was so entertained by her. She has developed into a full woman, and I kept thinking about what I must have sounded like, at her tender age of twenty-three. She is in her final year of the university, and I was shocked to find out that she did not have a CV or resume. I took the time out to help her with drafting one. We started off by visiting Google Docs, so that she could choose from the long list of free templates - using Google Docs was a new experience for her too. Then we drafted her information, which included her skills, competencies, educational background, work experience, and interests. I told her to finish off the document, then send it to via Google Drive, so that I could review. The next step would be to start applying for jobs that would enhance her career in Human Resources. I feel good knowing I helped at least one young person kickstart the search for a good job. Good deeds do that to me :)

Good Deed: WordCamp Lagos 2018

In January, a friend suggested I attend the WordPress Meetup in Lagos, since I was in the city. I thought, "What harm would it do?" and decided to go. Little did I know that just that one day would change everything for the next couple of weeks. I discovered they had a conference coming up. Not just any conference by the way. It's a WordCamp, the first in Nigeria. WordCamp Lagos 2018 promises to be a day filled with lots of talks, and workshops. We have several sponsors backing the event e.g JetPack, WordPress  (of course), Woo Commerce and more. There will also be a workshop for teens (discounted ticket, only 20). And there's the Happiness Bar, which is a desk that WordPress developer can approach with their challenges and get help. So what was my Good Deed? Well, since I heard about the event, I volunteered to be part of the organizers. I applied to speak as well. I was taken up on both offers. Since joining I have had a nice time working with other WordPress enthusiasts, who give their all to make things move forward in the community . I'm happy to be a part of this new family.

Good Deed: Creative Food

Photo credit: Pinterest
Late last month, two couples came over to see my mum. They had a major event coming up, three-in-one actually: their wedding anniversaries and the husbands' school alumni hosting. All on the same day.

 They wanted to cook and host the alumni meeting at the house, and needed permission to do so. They also wanted the food to be memorable. I listened as they discussed the menu, and it included cole slaw.

Now cole slaw in Nigeria is boring. Most usually it's chopped up cabbage leaves and carrots with cucumber and lots of mayo slathered on it. I just had to suggest something more creative.

Why not use a juliene peeler this time? I asked. It would definitely give a new twist to the normal salad recipe. They did not understand what I meant, so I went on Pinterest and found a few pics to show them. They got excited before they realized they didn't have the peeler at home.

 I have been looking for a good deed to do for a while now so I told them not to worry. I went online and ordered one each for them. I took it to them when it arrived, and demonstrated how to use it. They were extremely grateful and happy.

 The food was a success and I was glad I had a good deed 'under my belt'.

5 Good deeds!


I just realized I am owing my Ironblogger clan, five good deeds, or 25 Euro!
With this our economy ehn, where do I want to get that squeezed into my budget?
I would rather do good deeds and help those around me.

So, can anyone please think of something I could do, I am live in Lagos, but not mobile. Please share ideas!