Together, We can End HIV- World AIDS Day 2018

For thirty years , thousands of warriors, among them patients , carers and healthcare workers have fought this ravaging disease. The early days of the battle were bleak but as research brings new treatments and knowledge, hope and recovery is here with the promise of victory on the horizon.

Today, we remember the struggle of all the heroes of HIV/AIDS – those who died before we figured how to treat or before treatment could get to them, the many health workers and researchers who sacrifice so we can have solutions, the many aid organizations who have donated so much to the cause in vulnerable groups (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO etc) and the silent ones- the caregivers of people living with HIV. We commit to continuing the struggle to achieve an HIV-free world.

Growing up, I was sternly warned by the adults around me not to share cups , needles, haircare instruments and other sharp objects with strangers. This helped me stay safe outside the home. The stigma then was however rife and thus led to high rates of transmission. There were scary stories of people who knowingly infected others. Just imagine if they had received the care and support they so badly needed. Perhaps the most vivid memory of that time was a neighbour of ours named Dogo. (This is an Hausa word for one who is tall). He was a lanky giant of a man and was loved by us all. One day, he fell sick. After a while it was revealed he had HIV.

I didn’t have much details about his treatment. I watched him deteriorate and lose so much weight. Then the harrowing coughs began. By just listening to them, you could feel the depths of his pain. His eyes gradually lost their sparkle, his wide grin ebbed in radiance until all that remained was a hollow husk of the kind and lively man we once knew . Sadly, after months of fighting this disease, he was taken up North by a relative. A few weeks later, we got word that Dogo had died.

He couldn’t have been more than thirty-five.

That devastating experience made the disease very real for me. I knew first hand how it could cut promising lives short in their prime.

I remember having VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) as a medical student. That was the fourth time I was getting tested (two previous ones were for university entrance health registration and one at a blood donation exercise). The healthcare worker asked me what I would do if it came out positive. I replied, “I’d commence treatment immediately and continue living my life as normally as possible.”She smiled and continued teaching me and my colleagues how to carry out the test.

I sensed her mild surprise. She may have expected me to say the common Nigerian refrain of ‘God forbid!’ What she didn’t know was that I had seen the worst of it as a child and knew this happened only when treatment was not started on time and when the patient faced stigma. I knew that facing a positive diagnosis with courage could make a huge difference.

I was not afraid.

I remember having VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) as a medical student. That was the fourth time I was getting tested…….

Being a part of HIV/AIDS awareness walks, campaigns and community health outreaches as a volunteer for non-governmental organization has kept me aware of the need to continue education and not relent until we end this disease. I still have one of the campaign T-shirts. For years, it has kept this message alive for me and others.

As a physician, I have seen colleagues who got exposed but got prompt and timely access to PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) medication which contains the virus before it can spread in the blood . Sadly this is not always available in Nigeria and thus, many healthcare workers have become infected while trying to save lives. I myself have had quite a few scares in the line of work. This hazard is always present inspite of observing universal precautions. There is always that delirious or aggressive patient, the crying and kicking child, the honest mistakes that lead to these accidents.

Needle pricks are real and scary!

I have also worked on obstetric and gynaecology teams where our HIV positive pregnant mothers were able to deliver babies free of the virus. This was only possible with the full cooperation of these brave mothers who got tested or reported their status early and were fully involved in all stages of the PMTCT* programme. They made the work easier for us their doctors. The joy on everyone’s faces when the baby’s results come in negative is immeasurable.(*Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission)

Being HIV positive is not a death sentence. With prompt treatment and an absence of stigma, you can lead your best life; get a degree, have a great career, get married, have HIV-negative children and be happy!

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-View my Twitter thread on World AIDS Day here

-These organizations do great work in HIV/AIDS

AidsHealth Nigeria and Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS

-Watch this UK MP Lord Russell-Moyle give this powerful speech about coming out as HIV-positive in the House of Commons in this video.

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I know my status because I go for VCT regularly. You can too by visiting the nearest health centre or clinic near you.

Know your status.

Spread the knowledge not the virus.

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Thanks to contributors – Adefola Toye, Adetola Toye. ( No, this is not a mistake. They are two different people)

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With Love,

Oumissa,

011218.

Tenacity : The Making of Success

Founder of ScaleMyHustle , lawyer, investor and global entrepreneur, @Mochievous received great news today. Her paper on innovation which had earlier been turned down was accepted by the World Bank for its 2019 Conference on Land and Poverty. Her joy was palpable as anyone who has toiled over something similar can testify to.

This has great impact and inspiration for all young people especially young women. News like this encourages them to believe in their dreams, keep working through defeats and sustain confidence that they will succeed. As if one could not be happier to see such heartwarming news, she goes on to offer two lawyers a chance to research and co-author the final work. Way to go! Sharing the spotlight and giving talent some opportunity is a crucial way to hasten development across groups.

Congratulations Moe!

View her Twitter thread here

Too often, we are afriad of taking the next step in our professional , academic or personal life. We must remind ourselves that if we do not try, we will not find out the amazing things we can accomplish. We effectively deny the world of value when we hold back and let fear keep us in a state of limbo. Worse we let rejection dampen out optimism and then we stop.

So please do it and don’t rest until you win.

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With love,

Oumissa

291118

Longreads- Reeling Cascades by Adefola Toye

Wiping the tears running down her cheeks as she walked down the road leading to the refugee camp, she replayed the events that led to that day in her head. It was a windy harmattan afternoon. The sky was hazy and the air dry and windy. She unconsciously licked her crackled lips as the falling leaves from the swaying trees along the walkway travelled across her face before gently gracing the ground.

God, please let her be here, she prayed. Takwa had visited all the camps in Southern Ayema in search of her to no avail. As soon as she heard the news of the surrender, she packed a few of her clothes and her passport and boarded the first bus she found heading to the South. She had heard the news on the radio at the Government General Hospital, Hage the country’s capital. She had begun working there after she was rescued that day.

It had been two years already but she always felt a cold shiver each time she remembered. The 5 year war ended 15 days ago with the Coalition Movement, the rebel force surrendering to the Government Forces of The Republic of Ayema. The civil war began when the Coalition forces launched an offensive bomb strike on the National Military School Headquarters, Hage. This marked a series of events that altered the courses of many lives forever. Takwa’s was no exception.

She could still feel the throbbing ache in her feet. She had no choice but to walk the distance to the camp. The military had still not lifted the ban on vehicular movement in the newly occupied Wagbe province. She had walked this same road during the siege. She recalled it was bathed with blood, and decapitated bodies. She had vomited on the side of the road at the mere sight of the gory scene. Takwa had covered Sami’s face with the scarf around her neck. Sami was in her arms and couldn’t stop crying as they both ran to safety.

A truck with the emblem of the Ayema military on the side, drove past her and came to a halt. She was unaware of the vehicle even as she walked towards it.
“Excuse me. Young lady” the soldier in the driver’s seat said
She was so lost in her thought that she couldn’t hear a word.
“Madam. Hello!” He exclaimed
She was jolted back to reality this time.
“Yes”. She took in the soldier and his mate beside him. He reminded her so much of her husband Deyi. They were in their smart uniforms and shiny medals hung from their suits.
They definitely just got awarded. Look at them she thought. So happy. I’m sure they’ll be promoted soon.
She felt a sadness overcome her. This could have been her husband.
Do they have wives or children to go home to? Did they lose someone special like I did?

Takwa and Deyi met a year before the war and got married four months later. He was a lieutenant in the army and resided at the Military Base, Hage. They had met at the hospital where she worked as a doctor. Her parents and many of her friends were opposed to the marriage.
“How can you marry a soldier? Common soldier. Do you want to be a widow at 25?” her mother ranted.
“Deyi is the one for me. Besides being a soldier makes me love him more?
“Oh really. You couldn’t find a doctor like yourself or a politician like your father ehn”
“Ma, he defends our country. At least he’s way better than Dad who swindles this nation’s resources.
“Shut up. Let me make this clear. It’s either your stupid soldier or this family. The choice is yours”
Takwa made her choice. One that may have changed the course of her life forever.

“We can give you a ride ma’am. We are heading to Magbe Camp. Where are you going?”
Oh. Sure. That’s exactly where I’m headed. But is there room for one more? She asked.
“Yes. My good friend here would seat at the back.” His partner nodded and got down from the front seat.
She walked to the other side of the car and hopped in. She cringed as she saw their rifles laying on the back seat. The war had ended but it would take a long time to forget, she admitted.
“Thank you” she said as she turned to face the driver.
“Not to worry. You’re still quite far from the camp. Beside, it is hard to access because of the large crowd at the entrance.
She knew that already. All the camps she had visited so far had been crowded. There was a stampede at the last one she searched.
“Looking for someone at the camp?”
“Yes. My daughter”.
“I’m Sergeant Aije. Sorry, soon to be Second Lieutenant Aije. “He smiled.
She nodded without uttering a word.

They rode in silence. The young soldier tried to start a conversation a while after. This time she ignored him completely. She had enough on her plate than to start a conversation with a complete stranger.
Will she be here? Fear creeped into her thoughts. This was the last camp in the region Sami could be. If she eventually couldn’t find her, where else would she search? Some refugee camps were in the neighbouring countries. She would cross the border to find her. She had no money left but that wouldn’t stop her. She’d do anything to see Sami again.

Takwa was three months pregnant with Sami at the start of the war. Days after the National Military School was bombed, they both decided that she was safer at another location far away from the heat at the capital. Besides, Deyi would be enlisted soon to go to the front. Days later, she moved to Wagbe, a province in Southern Ayema, to stay with his aunt. It was far away from the crisis and was most likely not to be taken over by the rebel forces. Or so they thought.
She said goodbye to Deyi amid tears. He promised to send word as soon as he could.
“Don’t be scared, the war would be over soon. These rebels are so divided and that’ll be their undoing. Trust me”, he reassured her.
“I’ll try. Be safe. For me and the baby. We need you.” she cried.
“I will.”
“Deyi, please don’t die. Please.” She cried.
“I won’t. I promise.” He said.
That was a promise he couldn’t keep. Deyi died in a bomb explosion two years later . He never got the chance to see his unborn child.

As they drove towards their destination, she could see faintly the large flux of people walking towards the camp.
Magbe Camp was established specifically for the displaced people in the neighbouring Wagbe province. Two years into the war, the umbrella of rebel groups formed a Coalition movement which saw their rise in control of many provinces in the South of the country. Wagbe was one of the government forces held provinces until the Siege of Wagbe by the rebel forces started. It was a shock to all because it was a strong hold for Ayema.

Takwa had received the news of Deyi’s death a week before. She was still distraught and heartbroken. Her daughter was eighteen months old and had just begun talking. She became over protective of Sami. Never letting her out of her sight. Sami was all she had left and she’d do everything to keep her safe. On the eve of the siege, Takwa and Sami had gone to the hospital. She had been carrying Sami to work for days now. Her ward rounds were just completed and she was about to lay restless Sami to sleep. Just as she closed her eyes, the noise from an explosion rocked the hospital. The intensity rocked the hospital buildings that the incandescent lamp on the ceiling above broke shattering the pieces over them. Anyone could tell that the incident was not so far away.

The explosions didn’t stop and Sami burst into tears. Takwa knew at that instance that many casualties and injured would soon be brought to the hospital. She had to be ready but there was nowhere to keep Sami. She couldn’t leave her by herself. She decided to strap her on her back with the blanket she put her to sleep with. She tied her scarf around Sami’s eyes. If she wasn’t prepared herself to see the sight to come, Sami would fare no better. As she got to the emergency department, people had arrived at the hospital. The entrance was obstructed with mutilated victims and rescuers. Blood oozing from people’s wounds had completely disfigured the white tiled floor. She could see people writhing in pain while others laid lifeless on the bloodied floor.

They are just too many. Takwa, still confused, said to herself. We can’t save them all. Oh God, what is happening? She got to work immediately. The nurses had to separate the victims that weren’t seriously injured from others that would most likely not survive. This was terrifying for Takwa. Sami was surprisingly still through all these. Takwa had to shrug fervently to be sure she was fine. When Sami replied by calling “Mummy”, she knew her daughter was trying to help in the little way she could.

She got prepped for surgery amid the confusion. As she ran down the aisle towards the operating room with other doctors and nurses, another explosion rocked the building. Takwa was pushed to the floor on impact and this time, Sami yelled. The affected area was the emergency lobby where she had just left. The air was clogged with smoke as she heard screams echoing from the walls. People scurried from the ground with other severely injured laid still. Takwa saw one of her colleagues with a shrapnel sticking from his throat. The blood dripping from his neck had stained the collar of his white coat red. He lay with his side on the floor and his eyes stared right through Takwa as she stood up eventually. That would mar her dreams from years.

Before Takwa could fully grasp the severity of the disaster, men armed with rifles and grenades stormed the destroyed building. They began to shoot everything they saw. Men, women, children, the injured, the walls and ceiling. They shot everything in their way. The screamings intensified and more bodies dropped dead to the ground. It was pure horror. Takwa fell face down to the ground on reflex and prayed Sami stop crying.
“Shh. Sami, Sami. Stop crying” she begged.
Sami was too terrified to stop. Takwa knew she had to get out fast. She crawled to the rest room on the aisle leading to the operating room. Immediately she got in, she locked the door behind her and got Sami off her back. Sami still was weeping. Takwa had started crying too.

She knew what was going on now. The war had caught up with them. How could this have happened? They couldn’t have defeated the Army at the Southern front. Oh no. Is this a dream? She knew she had to think fast but she was so scared and the tears wouldn’t stop. She heard gunshots just outside the door. She could recognize the voices of her colleagues as they begged for their lives. The shots followed and all was silent. Not until then did Takwa realise she was holding her breath. Sami had become quiet too. “Good girl” she mouthed to her daughter. She tied her child around her again and opened one of the stalls. She climbed the toilet seat and escaped through the open window. She landed on the grass outside checking immediately for any injury on Sami’s body. When she found none, she held her tightly to her chest and ran as fast as she could.

Beep! Beep!
“Out of the way! A vehicle coming through. Out of the way!” Sergeant Aije yelled at the crowd in front of him.
They were finally at the entrance of Magbe camp. Takwa was so nervous that her hands began to shake. This was the last camp in the country. She prayed her daughter was here.
“Don’t worry. You’ll find her.” Aije said reassuringly.
“Thank you”.
The truck finally escaped the crowd at the entrance. They drove to the vehicle stop in the compound before halting.
“Well, here we are.”
“Thank you. “She managed to utter.
They all alighted from the vehicle. Aije walked over and stood in front of her.
“The large green tent over there on your left is the identification centre. You’ll have to search for her name. The name goes with a picture. Do you have a means to identify her?
“Yes I do.” she nodded.
She turned to leave then stopped and walked back.
“Thank you so much. I’m sorry I have nothing. How can I repay you?” said Takwa.
“You don’t have to. Just find your daughter.”
She smiled and walked towards the tent.

The camp was still filled with a lot of people because many had nowhere to go yet. She increased her pace as she got closer to the tent. There was an array of boards lined at the front of the tent. People were gathered around it and Takwa had to stretch to see. It was the identification board. It had the names of each refugee in the camp and their photo. She squeezed her way to the front. As she stood in front of the first board she thought of Sami and the last time she saw her. She would be a big girl now she muttered as she recalled their last moments together.

It was the evening of the seige. She had ran for hours after escaping the hospital. While walking the bloodied Magbe link road, she had trampled on the bodies laying lifeless on the roadside. She tried to hide from plain sight. She made up her mind on what to do. She was going to head to Magbe. Hopefully the government forces would still be there. As she tread the bushes she heard the sound of moving vehicles. She hid immediately behind the vegetation. From her hiding spot with her hand to Sami’s mouth, she saw that the vehicles were trucks and vans carrying men from the direction of her once peaceful home. They were chanting a song she couldn’t recognize. Now they have control of Wagbe she thought. How long until they took over the south. This meant the war was going to be longer than she had imagined. Her life had already been distorted enough. Her thought were of Deyi’s aunt and her family. She recalled overhearing a victim saying that their neighbourhood was worst hit by the attack. She knew there was nothing she could do. She just had to get Sami to safety.

She continued walking till nightfall. It was a full moon and the sky was peaceful like it was unaware of the hell below. By that time, she had walked to the outskirts of Wagbe. She would get help here. Maybe the Ayema military will be on standby. As she reached the nearest town of Ije, she knew she was wrong. Ije was on the outskirts of Magbe province and the closest town on the highway from Wagbe. The moving crowd she met was unbelievable. The only source of light asides the full moon came from some parked vehicles everyone was headed.

People, most likely residents had their loads on their heads walking to a group of buses. Takwa could see mothers carrying their babies with baggage dangling from both shoulders. She could hear a lost child crying out for his father. The commotion was disturbing for Sami. She wailed frantically. Takwa was too disturbed by the noise. She walked towards the parked vehicles. She saw a man in uniform directing people. She could see that not everyone entered the buses. Families were separated with mostly women, the elderly and children boarding. She got in front of the man and shouted at the top of her voice.
“Excuse me. What is going on?”
The man ignored her completely and continued his job. She dragged him by his sleeves so she was right in front of him.
“What’s going on? Where is the bus heading?” she asked again.
It was probably because of her coat she still had on from the hospital or because Sami’s cry was pathetic to his ears. This time, he answered.
“The rebels are getting closer. We have been ordered to evacuate the residents of Ije. We believe this is their next target before moving to Magbe.” he screamed above the noise.
“Where does the bus go. “She questioned as she nodded.
“I don’t know for sure. To the closest refugee camp I guess.”
She attempted to get inside the bus.
“No. You can’t get in this one. It is full. As you can see, we can’t take everyone.” He said as he stopped her from entering.
“Another rescue is on the way. You could wait.”
“What! You said it yourself, the enemy will be here any minute” Takwa was outraged.
“Ma’am there’s nothing I can do.”
“Oh God.”
She ran off to the other buses. All was full.
She had to get on one of them.
The buses had started leaving and Takwa and her baby were not on one.

She had to do something. Like an epiphany she had an idea. She rummaged for a sharp object in the pockets of her coat and found a pair of forceps in the left pocket. She must have placed it there in the confusion at the hospital. As she put it out towards Sami’s arms, tears welled in her eyes.
“I have no other choice.” She wept trying to convince herself.
As if she knew what was about to happen, Sami began to struggle.
I’m so sorry. She took Sami’s left shoulder and began to inscribe Sami’s name.
S-A
Sami’s wail was amplifying. Takwa wiped the tears swelling in her eyes before she continued.
M-I D- .
She stopped. The last bus had its ignition on. She tore her scarf and tied it around Sami’s pierced shoulder. The bus had started moving. She ran with her daughter tightly held around her and stood in front of the bus. The driver stepped on the horn but Takwa didn’t budge. As he moved closer he had no choice but to stop. She ran instantly to the passenger door and begged for it to be open.
“Madam it is full. No space.” the driver yelled.
“Please no. My baby! My baby. Just take her please.”
“Look here, there is no room. We have no time”
Takwa continued to beg amid tears. She ran to the passenger’s window.
“Please help me. Take my baby. Please take her.”
She ran back and forth desperately for help. An old woman summoned her.
“Bring her here” she said.
“Oh thank you. Thank you.”
She carried Sami over the open window and the woman took her child from her.
“Her name is Sami Deyi. Sami! Sami!” Takwa said.
“Please she’s injured.” She added.
Sami face cringed in a cry. Takwa didn’t let go of her hand until she was settled on the woman’s laps. She couldn’t let go. When she summoned up the courage and released her grip, Sami yelled.
“Mummy! Mummy!”
She began to cry as the bus started to move. Takwa couldn’t bear it. She turned and tried to shut out Sami’s voice.
“Mummy! Mummy!”
Takwa held her arms around her body and ran away weeping. As the bus went out of sight she could still hear the faint sounds of Sami screaming Mummy.

What happened next was still blurry to Takwa. The Coalition Movement rebels landed soon enough but by then, the town was almost deserted. Those left behind had taken refuge in the town hall. Fortunately, troops from the Ayema army arrived and both sides were locked in combat for hours. Eventually they were rescued. Takwa returned to the hospital in the capital to work. That was the only thing the war hadn’t taken from her. She dedicated all her time at the hospital. If she couldn’t save Deyi or Sami, at least she could try saving others. But she swore that as soon as the war ended, she wouldn’t stop until she found Sami.

Three years after and this was it. She continued to peruse the boards but to no avail. She couldn’t find her name. Didn’t they see the scar on her arm? That should have been enough to identify her. Her disappointment could not be concealed. She struggled out of the crowd and walked aimlessly away. Could she be dead? This thought had never crossed her mind. It was over. This was it. She wandered into the camp and arrived at the make shift clinic. She saw a wooden bench right by the entrance and sat. With her face in her hands, she let out a sign of resignation. She had no plan. No next move.

She could hear the sound of children playing. She looked up and saw three little girls playing feet away from her. Something caught her attention. She had no idea what it was but she took a closer look at them. They were about four or five years old. Their clothes were worn out. She took them in one by one. The one who caught her eye was a little girl in a green floral gown. She had her back to Takwa. Soon she turned with her left side in her direction. Then she saw it. On the girl’s arm were marks. Takwa stood abruptly and walked towards them. It can’t be. As she walked closer she could see more clearly. On the girl’s arms were a series of scars in the shape of letters. They read SAMI D.
Takwa couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Sami! Sami!” She screamed.
The little girl and the others turned to face the caller. She had no idea who Takwa was.
Takwa got in front of Sami, went on her knees and took her long lost daughter into her arms. Tears flooded her eyes. She was so overjoyed.
Finally. She found her. She found her Sami.
The little girl was perplexed. She had no clue who this teary woman was but she hugged her anyway.

Written by Adefola Toye, 2018

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Note- This short story has previously been published in the University of Lagos Architecture Students 2018 Year Book.

No part of this work can be reproduced or stored in any form without prior permission of the publishers.

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Thank you for finishing this. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

With love,

Oumissa

Amazons Helping Women Build Business Empires – Femfunds Workshop 2.0 Review

Femfunds, an organization which grows female-owned businesses by providing female entrepreneurs access to interest- and collateral-free loans hosted a workshop in Lagos this Saturday. ( Learn more here.)

Ushers with warm and non-plastic smiles welcomed you from the registration point all the way to your seat. Treating every attendee like movie stars are. This gave the impression I was going to enjoy this. The ambience of motivation emanated from the neatly arranged seats, hall lighting and 90s I-can-do-anything themed songs.

It is no surprise as Landmark Events Centre has a way of bringing events to life. And it was a delight to see the hall was half-full at about 30 minutes before the program started. Henceforth, I don’t want to hear anyone say Nigerians can’t keep to time. The workshops went smoothly for a number of reasons which I’d highlight as you go on.

Oh the joy of all-women panels! (You don’t see this every day.)
Line up
Tosin Durotoye – Consultant Strategist, TechAdvance.
Mo Odele – lawyer, Curator ScaleMyHustle.
Chika Uwazie – HR expert, CEO, Talent Base.
Oluwatosin Olaseinde – investor, Founder The Money Africa
Arese Ugwu – author, CEO Smart Money Africa.
Afua Osei – media entrepreneur, Co-founder She Leads Africa
Dr Chinny Ogunro – researcher, Co-Founder Africa Health Holdings

Video- Watch Afua Osei give an electrifying talk on building a digital tribe .

Content

Moderators set the tone for an event and Lamide Akintobi (award winning journalist and TV presenter) was remarkable. The speakers are young, accomplished women in fields ranging from real estate, academia, and health to law, sharing experience about career, family, and confidence and having the right attitude towards money. It was indeed a brilliant selection of successful Nigerian female entrepreneurs with local and global impact.

They held the attention of audience all through. Loud cheers reverberated across the hall to herald the presence of these women, who between them, have inspired millions for years via social media.

The talks and panels centred on the art of negotiating better deals and salaries, scaling business to global markets, pitching brands, investing in real estate, understanding money intricately and a short guide to digital marketing. Tasks were assigned, burning questions answered and free coaching sessions given out. It was an eye-opening session with every one of the attendees charged to implement these lessons in their businesses.

Food
Meal tickets were handed out at registration. After the talk, attendees went on a queue for food and drinks. The food was tasty party jollof and beef. The caterers did not forget the topping almost every Lagos woman likes- dodo. (Is there anyone who doesn’t like dodo?). It was a free event so no grand feelings of entitlement with the menu. But in all, the organizers provided a decent meal.

Souvenir

A beautiful book combining event agenda and a weekly planner. A blend of thoughtfulness, functionality and cuteness.

Convenience
This was neat and again reflects the great choice of venue. The restroom was clean, properly maintained by cheerful staff with everything needed present in abundant supply. It smelt so good that you forgot what it was meant for. I’m particular about this because dirty conveniences spread infectious diseases. And we all have attended fancy events whose planners forgot this important part.

Organization
There is a special type of beauty in time management. Two email reminders prior to the event urged attendees to be punctual. That is the kind of follow up we need more of. There was strict adherence to time allotted for each speaker. This highlighted the importance of rich quality content. Being able to effectively manage hundreds of guests is no easy task but rewarding when done to near-perfection

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In all, the impact of workshops like this is far-reaching. More young women need to be supported in their ground-breaking ideas. They should not think of themselves as extensions of anyone else but individuals with equal rights to financial independence and stability.

Imagine a world with more accomplished women in their twenties just as some of the speakers are.

It is possible.

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Were you at the event? Kindly share your thoughts.

-Oumissa

Read and Dissect with Oumissa

Dear Philomaths,

A new idea popped into my head as I tried to keep my smile in Lagos traffic. I have many brilliant people (bless all their hearts) with whom I analyse selected articles on trending issues daily. I’m moving this robust experience from WhatsApp here. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments. And yes you can suggest interesting articles of your own.

Let’s start with these six.

1. What happens when three brilliant young minds from different skill sets come together to provide a solution to long waiting time in Nigerian hospitals? Find out in this TechCabal article.

2. Do you, like me, use lara.ng to navigate the jigsaw puzzle the city of Lagos is? Lara.ng is a chat-based transportation solutions platform that provides directions and ridesharing services especially for those knotty routes that stump even Google maps. Another by Tech Cabal.

3. Is there something about smart , reserved men that makes them incapable of commitment? Find out in this brilliant article by Jennifer Lowe.

4. Young skilled people in competitive fields are often grappling with mammoth workloads and deadlines with talons they cant escape from fast enough. They sometimes turn to energy drinks to keep them awake help finish their tasks. But are these the best performance aids ever or do dangers lurk within those stimulating gulps? Let Caffeine Informer take you on an awareness trip .

5. Streets across the UK were recently awash with bright red poppies honouring the sacrifices of British Empire soldiers in the colossal loss of young life WW1 was. Little known is the crucial contribution by Muslims in this war. This BBC article goes back in history in this detailed analysis.

6. Follow two globetrotting sisters across the world of designer clothes and accessories, a lavish lifestyle funded by billionaire paramours, and a discovery of their own talent and ability. Many surprises await in this New York Times piece .

You’d see why I saved it for last.

P.S.

Have some questions? Ask qualified people of Quora
Interested in design, check Tutpad.
Want to add some more skills to your portfolio? Skillshare!
In an academic emergency? Need a presentation real fast? Thank me later for telling you about the lifesaver that is Slideshare

Have a fun day. I’m looking forward to a great discussions!

…………..
Love,
Oumissa.
Lagos, Nigeria
14 Nov 2018

How Our Society Tells The Victim How To React – Danfo Episode

I am trying hard to get my breathing back to normal as I type this. It’s a sunny Wednesday morning and I have the good fortune of free Lagos roads. Looking forward to a great day, I try to enjoy my bus ride. But this city brings up the craziest surprises.

Somewhere around Yaba, a man who is carrying 5-foot long U-shaped iron rods gets down from the back and takes a seat at the front row where I am at the left window seat. I watch him as he arranges them on the floor around our feet and ask him to be careful.

Impact of iron rods on shoes

The regular battles with conductor for change go on. Next thing like a flash, I feel the weight of said iron rods suddenly fall on my feet. They had lost their precarious balance and landed on me and the lady beside me. I bear the brunt of the curved parts where they fold. Is this how my toes will get crushed? I shout in pain and annoyance asking him why he wants to paralyse me, the lady also said she felt some pain.

He picks them up and says “E má binú.”

Then he gets angry (the nerve!) and tries to seek sympathy for what he perceived as the hurtful choice of my words. I start to see stars at this point. He must be joking. This guy wants to send me to orthopaedic hospital on this blessed morning and has the guts to take offence at how I object to this?

Other passengers (women) plus conductor join in saying E má binú (sorry). I tell them sorry is not going to cut hospital bills and they should call Mr Iron Rods to account instead. He could have conveyed these dangerous metals in a way that does not maim other passengers.

This manner of entitlement , is it a Nigerian thing or a male thing or worse, both? I scream at him and tell him he has no right to gauge the intensity of my pain or to nitpick at my reaction. It’s in a mixture of English and Yoruba.

Next I hear , “Sorry eyin olóyìnbó” a non-apology mixed with a common street insult reserved for educated people. i.e. ypua re speaking too much English. I was not expecting this as he (barring his antics) appeared educated. I do not stop telling him that he hurt me badly and is doubly wicked for trying to play the victim. He then goes on to say a barrage of fake Ema binus….other passengers and conductor help him to do same. Their sorry is doing nothing for the pain shooting across my toes.

I was calming down when suddenly the driver, who should have mandated the man to strap the iron bars on the hood or something and is therefore complicit in my injury said ,

“Oro eyin obinrin gaan le” (You women are difficult).

I rounded up on him with the fury of ten lionesses.
“Don’t tell me nonsense! Face the person who did wrong. Will you people’s sorry pay my hospital bills? Because I’m a woman, I should smile until you kill me right? You think you’ve seen a fool who won’t fight for her rights ”

(Was the English too much?)

Frankly, we all couldn’t wait to reach my bus stop. Them to get rid of me, me to be free of this madness. They all continued to beg this man like he was the one who would be limping for a day.

This attitude of taking sides with the person who is obviously in the wrong have weighty consequences often costing limbs, lives and affect the victims in many other ways. This brand of injustice is worse when women connive with men when they should be defending those who have been wronged.

In trying to brand me as an over- reacting woman and him as someone who made a simple mistake and should be let off easily, they let me down. None of them sought to check for wounds or provide first aid. In times like this, I like to imagine how sorry he would have been if he had done this same thing to a soldier or a policeman. But I am reminded that brutality is not a great solution either.

I hope they all have a great day.

Meanwhile I have examined my metatarsals and they seem fine, none are broken thankfully. My foot will hurt for a bit, and I think the shoes will survive too.

Thank you all for your concern.

OumissaInspire

Lagos, Nigeria

171018