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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 15
I drink milk. 

Breast- milk was the only form of nourishment in my infancy. I also enjoyed it as a toddler. It took some time for me to outgrow it. But I was all the better for it in my formative years.

In many cultures, milk is a major part of the diet. In English and American families for example, breakfast is not complete without milk and cereal. Milk is added to coffee, tea, cocoa and porridge.

In Nepal, milk is taken with rice. In Arab countries , milk is a common drink and it is called “laban”. In the Prophet’s time, the sick were given milk to drink. 

Here in Nigeria, nomad Fulani milk their cattle. This provides a big portion of the local milk output. Local foods produced from milk include ‘fura de nunu’ and ‘wara’.

Milk is essential for growing children as it is a major source of calcium and Vitamin D which are needed for strong bones and teeth. It also contains protein, vitamins,minerals and some amount of fat.

In my meals, I combine milk with oats, corn pap, bread, tapioca, corn flakes, Golden morn, garri. It is also used in baking.

What saddens me is that, for all the cattle in the Northern Nigerian grasslands, we still import most of our milk. Nigerian children consider dairy foods a luxury as their parents cannot afford it. This is a grim situation one in which the nutrition of the Nigerian child is being jeopardized.

My advice to parents and older siblings: give young children milk instead of fizzy drinks. This they need for physical growth and mental development.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 14
I stand against injustice.

Everywhere around us, people are being cheated, stolen from or being deprived. I feel  very sad when these kind of people can neither fight back nor defend themselves. 

Why must the strong oppress the weak? Why do the rich rip off the poor? Why are our leaders treating us this way? The degree of injustice is just too appalling.
I’d illustrate with a few examples.

~ starving a child because she was naughty is not fair. This form of discipline makes no sense

~ sending your wife packing at the slightest provocation or going as far as battering her for silly reasons(only weak men beat their wives) 

~ refusing to pay workers’s wages for their labour.
Maltreating casual workers also falls in this category.

~ when the police becomes your enemy and murder unharmed civilians for refusing to pay bribe

~ the rich using the police and thugs to deal with opponents

~ rape is a form of injustice

~ selling the same piece of land to more than one buyer

~ landlords ejecting tenants on whim

~ bus conductors holding on to passengers’ change
 while drivers wantonly hike fares

~ all forms of cheating in business transactions

~ armed robbers smashing the heads of babies just because the parents have nothing they can steal

~ aborting a foetus because you do not want to face responsibility

~ political office holders helping themselves to the public treasury while they abandon the masses and their needs

~ bullying

~ doctors denying a patient adequate treatment because he is poor

~ discrimination on basis of gender, race, tribe or religion

~ a suicide bomber setting off his bomb in a crowded marketplace, church or mosque

~ sexual harassment

~ blackmail

~ election rigging

~ when siren-blaring governors  brutalize a young mother and her children because she did not  give way

~ when militarymen beat up a woman and her colleagues for daring to compete with them on the road 

~even traffic officials brutalise motorists

~ forcing women and children into hard unpaid labour or prostitution( home and abroad)

~ when drug manufacturers sell fake drugs that kill patients including babies

~ starting a war based on lies, occupying a country under false pretexts,causing the death of innocent  civilians, destroying their heritage and future

~ taking inadequate safety measures around nuclear establishments leading to horrible diseases and mutation in the local population

~ keeping people in prison without trial
 
I said a few right? If you can identify each of these scenarios, then you know many more.
In every case of injustice, the one with the upper hand subjugates the weaker. The latter can not resist. The oppressor knows this and exploits the victims. 
No matter how insignificant it may seem, injustice is injustice.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the world’s major religions condemn injustice yet ‘believers’ are the worst culprits when they commit atrocities in the name of religion.

Please let us stop this in whatever way we can, even if it means returning a stolen sweet to a crying child.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 13
I used to interrupt conversations.

Oumissa had this irritating habit of cutting people off in the middle of their sentences. Apart from beimg rude, this attitude made whoever was talking lose interest in what they were saying. 
If the conversation involved more than two , the atmosphere then became uncomfortable. She knew this was a bad habit and did not like being at its receiving end . But she didn’t seem to know how to stop. 
Over the years, she had been admonished and sometimes reprimanded for this but it wasn’t any better.
Then one evening, she heard someone quote an Hadith, “The greatest respect you can give your brother or sister is to listen to them when they speak”. It seemed the message was specifically directed to her. She strengthened her resolve there and then to change for the better.
Even though it has been a little difficult (old habits,they say, die hard), I have noticed a marked improvement in her discussions.
I sincerely hope she doesn’t relapse to her old ways.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 12
I am a Nigerian. 

You might be wondering why I didn’t put this up earlier. You might even think I was worried that the negative image of my country would rub off on your perception of me. The reason why my nationality is the twelfth fact about me is that I think of myself as more of an international citizen. I believe who you are is more important than which country you are from.

I’ve spent most of my life in Lagos but my family comes from somewhere up- country. This is not uncommon as only a little percentage of Lagosians are indigenes.

Nigeria is located in West Africa. Her culture is diverse. Though the major languages/ethnic groups are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, there are numerous other cultural identities.
 
Nigeria was colonized by the British and she gained her independence on the 1st day of October 1960. The national flag consists of three columns painted green, white and green.The
official language is English.

Abuja, a city located in the central part of the country, has been the capital since 1991. Petroleum is the mainstay of the economy even though the country is rich in agriculture and other mineral resources. There are 36 states and the system of governance is democratic. The literacy rate is about 70%. Nigerians have an average life expectancy of 48 years.

Asides Lagos and Abuja, other major cities include Ibadan, Enugu, Kano, Oyo, Onitsha, Jos, Sokoto and Benin. The population is approximately 140 million with an annual growth rate of 2% making it the most populous black nation on earth. The major religions are Islam and Christianity although many people practise traditional religions. The national currency is the naira.

Lagos is the largest city, the main port and the economic, cultural and intellectual hub. With a population of over fifteen million, it is one of the largest cities in the world. It was the capital city from independence until 1991. Lately it has been undergoing a lot of transformation.

I can not say enough about my country now but I would cut it short here by saying,”I’m glad to be Nigerian”

Source : Encarta

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 11
I do not shake hands with men.

I’ve got two reasons for this.
First, I never really liked handshakes. Whenever someone extends a hand, I can’t help but think of the places that hand has been to or how many surfaces it must have touched. You can’t blame me, I’m always trying to avoid germs. I always preferred to hug.

Secondly, as a Muslimah I avoid unnecessary physical contact with men outside of my family. This is out of modesty and not pride. I simply do not subscribe to the fact that physical contact and attractiveness will earn me male attention. I rather much prefer to be judged by my intellect and not by any part of my body. And so, I really do not understand why there is so much fuss whenever I politely refuse these handshakes.

When I greet anyone, I usually do so with a smile. That’s about as far as it would go if you are male. For females, I might give a hug if we are close friends but I steer clear of handshakes. Many people do not even wash their hands after making use of the restroom!

Sometime ago, a British study revealed that hugging reduces the spread of flu as handshakes spread germs. I know we can’t totally stay away from germs. Of course that’s why we have immunity but I still squirm inside when I touch surfaces in public places – bank counters, door knobs, elevator buttons,bus handbars and even naira notes!
One thing I’m sure of is that I reduce my exposure to germs by half by sticking to my little principle.

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20 Facts to a Score

FACT 10

I usually walk very fast.

Markets in Lagos are well known for their hustle and bustle. Mother used to take me along whenever she wanted to shop. She walked very fast.  I used to struggle to keep up with her pace and most times ended up being dragged along. Once, my hand slipped from hers and I lost her for some minutes. I was momentarily confused as there were so many people rushing past. I frantically searched for her but I couldn’t find her. I thought I would never get home. I did not call out to her because the market noise was deafening. After three terrifying minutes, the sea of people washed me over to Mother. I saw her worry blend into relief. Angry, she said, “You naughty child! why can’t you hold on to me, ehn?”, while pulling me closer at the same time. Never again did I walk behind her. I had learnt my lesson.

*                     *                       *                       *

I became used to it. When walking in a group, I walk faster than the others can keep up with. It’s like I’m always in a rush. Most times, I want to get somewhere quickly and so I try to avoid wasting too much time trying to get there.

When I  read it in a science journal that walking fast was good for the health, I told all those who used to complain about my walking pace .

Walking briskly for  thirty minutes every day can do a lot for the health. Some of the benefits include :

1. It is an easy exercise.

2. It is a good way to reduce abdominal fat.

3. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes

4. It lowers blood pressure.

5. It keeps the body fit.

6. It increases longevity.

7. It is good for mental health.

8. Walking for a mile each day burns approximately 100 calories.

Many of us do not realize the value of walking to our health. It is recommended to drop a bus stop before your house so you can walk the remaining distance. Walk around the house. Don’t sit for hours in front of the TV. To make it fun, take walks in the morning. It would be more enjoyable with a friend or relative, enjoy the scenery and breath in some fresh air. Come on people, let’s walk our way to good health!

Sources: about.com, AARP.com

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 9

I pray five times a day.

Prayer is the second pillar in Islam. It is more appropriately called Salat. There is a distinction between this and supplication. The latter involves putting forward requests to Allah (S.W.T.) and can be done at any time. The rest of this post is about the former.

Salat is observed at fixed times. Muslims pray in the same way at the same period all around the world.The rak’at (units) of each  prayer are universal

At daybreak, I observe Fajr (2 rak’at)

Noon is the time for Dhuhr (4 rak’at)

Asr comes along in the afternoon (4 rak’at)

Maghrib is at sunset (3 rak’at)

I end the day with Isha’ at night (4 rak’at)

Daily, we are preoccupied with worldly pursuits but Salat provides a direct means of communicating with our Creator. It is really a test of faith as only a sincere believer will leave daily activities to observe Salat at the right time.

Muslims pray in congregation in the mosque. It is wonderful to watch this unique form of devotion in which hearts worship in unity.

Before Muslims pray, they must fulfill some conditions. These are :

~ablution which entails washing the hands, mouth, nostrils, face, forearms and feet in addition to wiping the head with wt hands and cleaning the ears (with clean water)

~wearing clean and modest clothes

~praying in a clean mosque or praying area

~humility and concentration

Salat starts by the Adhaan (call to prayer). This is followed by recitation from the Qur’an, bowing and prostrating; all the while glorifying Allah. The intricacies of Salat are well-known by Muslims irrespective of geographical location. Thus, if I travel to a country where my language is not spoken, I can join the Muslims in prayer without missing out any part.

It is amazing that Muslims pray in exactly the same way that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) prayed more than fourteen hundred years ago. They face the same direction that he faced then- the Ka’aba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Personally, I plan my day around each prayer. This has made me time-conscious. Salat makes me remember my Lord constantly and reminds me to be thankful to Him always. It fosters brotherhood and equality. It also ensures cleanliness, concentration and humility.

Finally, it is of utmost importance in the life of a Muslim for it is the way to attaining peace.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 8
I can be bossy at times.

Don’t be surprised , Oumissa is not perfect. She’s got flaws just like every other person.

She’s used to taking responsibility . This is because she grew up with many younger siblings. She ordered them to do things like tidying up the house, doing their assignments and made sure they behaved well. She also had to take care of them whenever their parents were away.

I guess being in a position of authority from a tender age has made her used to calling the shots. Or maybe it’s just a streak from one of her ancestors. The thing is Oumissa naturally assumes she’s the leader in every group. She gives orders that must be followed to the letter.

She therefore likes things being done her way. This of course makes other people angry. How awful!

She loves giving advice and offering solutions. But she’s not satisfied until you take her advice. This is not a good thing as other people have a right to put forward their own ideas. Thus I think she needs to listen more to the opinion of others.

To her credit though, she realizes this fault of hers and is working on improving this aspect of her character. For in the real
world, leaders are listeners while bosses are bullies.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Facts to a Score

To all the wonderful people that take time out to read this blog, I say thank you. For some reason, the facts were held up for a while. I sincerely apologise for the uneasy suspense.

FACT 7
I enjoy reading.

I became fascinated with books early on in life. At first, I couldn’t make out the big words but I still read them anyway.
It was a normal thing for me to exhaust all the school books in my English Literature list before the term began. At the sound of Father’s car horn, we all would rush outside screaming excitedly,”Daddy! Oyoyo!” in anticipation of goodies. I always found a way to outsmart the others and run off with the newspaper. Then I would spend the next two hours poring over each page. My favourites were the articles about politics and science.
Schoolbooks were not my forte. I studied them just enough to earn good grades. However, I read novels long into the night by the light reflecting from the hallway. This opened the doors to an enchanting world where I shared adventures with the numerous characters in my novels.
It was kind of weird reading ‘big books with no pictures’ while others read illustrated children books.What many of my peers didn’t know was that Father discouraged me from watching too much television. When I was eight, he gave me a present – Collins’ Children’s Encyclopaedia. I learnt a lot about the world and was imbued with so much information. Thus at a young age I could reason along with adults.
Often, my teachers would catch me reading novels in class. I only found more clever ways to read them in class. There was this informal book club in school. You get to borrow a book only if you read fast. It didn’t take long for me to get any book I wanted.
Any time I came across a good book, I wished I could write like the author.
Reading became a form of relaxation and a source of comfort. It widened the horizon of my imagination and made me think a lot about things around me.This made schoolwork less boring and easy to understand. The books, articles and magazines I read were about art, culture, science, adventure,religion, politics,romance, business,detective stories, geography and many other topics. As I grew older, I lost interest in romance novels and read more of religious literature.

At breakfast, I would peruse the tin of Milo and milk or the packets of cereal. Till today, all the vitamins and minerals are stuck in my head along with their metabolic functions.

The first part of the Qur’an revealed was, ” Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). {Q96v1}. There is an Hadith(saying of the Prophet {S.A.W.}) that goes thus, ” Seeking knowledge is mandatory upon every Muslim male and female.”
Sadly, almost nobody reads anymore.I think more leaders should read books with children. Let’s learn to love reading . It is the key to national development. The government should budget a lot more for education and revamp our libraries. Parents should make their children see that reading can be fun. This is essential as the literacy level of a people determines their level of development.
Readers become leaders, writers and thinkers. As Father rightly said, ‘The mind that reads retains the sharpness of youth’. Let’s join hands to revive the reading culture. We’d be better for it as a nation.

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Cerebral Pops

20 Fact to a Score

FACT 6
I am particular about cleanliness.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so spooked by filth. I’m utterly convinced it must be an allergy of some sort.
It hasn’t always been this way though.

As a child, I didn’t understand why my folks were so neat. They always forced me to tidy up and I wasn’t happy about this. Mother especially was always saying, “Haba! o ti rough ju”.

Having to do the chores in her presence was the worst form of punishment. She never was satisfied until the whole house gleamed. Since there was no escape from this back-breaking routine, I accepted my fate.

Till today I do not know if this obsession with cleanliness is as a result of my genes or Mother’s influence. 

From my appearance to my handwriting, everything had to be clean and neatly arranged. This has saved me a lot of trouble. In time, I tried to change people’s attitude towards being tidy.

What peeves me is the common notion that poverty makes people unclean. One might be tempted to believe this but that’s before this comes to mind, ‘Filth cuts across all social classes’. That someone is rich doesn’t mean they can’t be scruffy. Yet there are poor people that are really tidy. It is a thing of the mind and not the number of zeros in a bank account.

Hygiene as a topic is included in the school curriculum and is taught in Home Economics, Health Education, Physical Education, Integrated Science and Biology. How we end up with a dirty society makes me doubt the efficacy of the classroom in ensuring proper sanitation.

A Yoruba adage says, ‘Imototo lo le segun arun gbogbo’. It means, ‘Cleanliness defends against all diseases’ RadioLagos aired this line on a kiddies programme sponsored by USAID. How on earth did we forget that cleanliness is next to godliness?   

I was glad the day I learnt that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was spick- and-span. He said in one Hadith,’Cleanliness is half of faith’. This means a Muslim must be hygienic. Back in the Middle Ages during the reign of Harun Rashid, the streets of Baghdad were washed with soap and water. This was at a time when much of the world was did not realize the value of sanitation.

From all the if-i-don’t-take-care-of-him-who-will adverts many of us know that proper hygiene is key to healthy living. It is good to be clean. Wash your hands    before eating, after using the toilet and immediately we get home. This reduces the spread of germs and exposure to infections.

Lagosians are a bit lucky. Every last Saturday of the month, there is restriction of movement  from 6-10a.m so we have to clean our homes and surroundings. This has been going on for as long as I can remember. Markets are closed till 10 a.m on. Thursdays for the same reason. I wish we took the sanitation exercise more seriously.
 
On my part, I prevent my friends from littering. I sometimes throw their waste into the nearest dustbin. For this, one of them named me ‘Medical LAWMA’. 

If we all contribute in our own little way, our streets can stand side by side with those in London, New York or Dubai.’