It is so exciting to see this book released finally.
I wish I had this guide before starting my house job journey but I remain grateful for all the guidance I gathered from different sources.
We at Health Hub Africa present our contribution to making the path easier for those coming behind us. We must end the cycle of undue suffering. The rigours of medical practice are enough to deal with. Young doctors do not have to face extraneous ones that do not help their overall growth, care delivery and wellbeing.
It has been shown that many who get disillusioned with medical practice feel that way due to the lack of support or proper guidance during their crucial first year. By sharing this free ebook, you are investing in the career of young doctors and by extension strengthening the Nigerian healthcare system.
Well done to everyone who made this a reality. It was an honour to be the contributing editor of this work.
Help share word by using this picture, the Twitter hashtag #HouseOfficersGuide and the download link bit.ly/mintstethoscope.
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.
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.
Title- What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky
Author- Leslie Ann Arimah
Winner ,Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa
This is a collection of short stories delving into a rich mix of human experiences. The book has a strong Igbo presence of characters giving valuable insight into the culture, language and contemporary life.
The themes range from immigrants, class divides, naughty children, folklore, Biafran/Nigerian Civil War, family tensions, finding and staying in love, a dash of fantasy, to a futuristic story about a mathematician with a secret formula for emotions.
Racism, sexism , poverty and mental health are some of the issues Leslie Nneka Arimah explores in this book. She twists reality to tell us what we already know but are refusing to accept, and that is perhaps the most powerful aspect of her work.
I did enjoy some of the stories. But still think it was over hyped. Like I should have been allowed to discover this book sans the heavy marketing, I may have liked it a little more.
It has a fresh take on many pressing issues.and I like the use of futuristic and fantasy to retell stories we are all familiar with, relive experiences and show the struggles we face as women , children, blacks , immigrants, Igbos etc.
What did you think of When a Man Falls From the Sky?
My favourite story was the one that shares titles with the book.
In a triumph for justice and rights, after months of legal battle, Amasa Firdaus, the Nigerian law graduate who was prevented from wearing her hijab during the call to bar ceremony has finally won her case. She was allowed and now Muslim female lawyers don’t have to remove their hijab. The sorrow theu experienced on their most joyful day has thus become a thing of the past.
She challenged the order in court. Obviously knowing her books!
Thank you Amasa for being the beacon,for standing firm, bearing the pain and ridicule (from both Muslims and nonMuslims) and your perseverance.
May Allah reward you.
Many thanks also to her family, friends, well-wishers, the online Muslim community, international media like AlJazeera and the BBC who provided more publicity, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs,(NSCIA), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and other Nigerian Muslim organizations who stood by her.
Of note is the support of notable non-Muslims like Dr Joe Abah (lawyer, public policy expert who tweets about public service reforms) who stood on the side of truth and eschewed religious intolerance. They used their good office and influence to join in the fight and today are honoured.
This is a lesson for the many Muslims who attacked her back in December. We pray Allah forgives our shortcomings.
By her steadfastness, she has written her name in gold.
Lastly, this news boosts confidence in the Nigerian legal system which is currently undergoing much-needed reform.
Mental health is coming into the limelight as a major threat to overall wellbeing for many people. When a celebrity is lost to suicide, it is easy to detach oneself from it. But when it affects someone close to you, it takes the shape of a more vivid reality.
It results in a rollercoaster of emotions. You feel sad about losing them, you feel helpless for not being able to help them.. you may even feel guilty in the terrible case that you may have contributed to their trauma.
Being a young doctor in Nigeria of today is an existence that is tough. The system is not suited to latest standards of care, your career prospects may look bleak, you grapple with exams, and you see your friends moving ahead in life. The mirages of good pay and prestige fritter away before your eyes as you run for cover (in both literal and figurative ways).
In all of this, it is important to have a good support system of both colleagues and mentors who can help navigate the treacherous waters and work together with you to find your way.
A colleague who is an epitome of excellence in her work, studies, leadership, friendship and helping others wrote this message on a forum for colleagues. In the hopes of reaching more people with this lifeline, I asked to share it here. Now, it was directed at a group of young doctors but it’s words can apply to anyone feeling like they are underachieving.
“Hi guys, good afternoon. This is random but I thought I should put it out here. I know it might seem like everyone is out on a path, figuring their lives out, getting married, getting fantastic jobs, writing and acing exams and stuff.
I just want to leave a word of encouragement to folks who feel their life is a mess or they have no idea what to do, say post housejob or post NYSC. Somehow, the government planned our lives from primary school to NYSC level and there might be someone here confused about what next.
Please guys, there are always folks around to help. We are a family here and I really like what Leo did some weeks back about appreciating everyone. Perhaps you’ve written IELTS again and again and keep failing, say Writing tasks, or you’re studying for USMLE and you keep forgetting what you’ve read or you lowkey did Primaries and didn’t pass.
Don’t worry, keep pushing, try again and again and again. Weird but I have this belief that if anyone who can pass 300Level Pharmac exam can pass any exam in the world. Perhaps you’re the one person that your whole family looks up to, you hardly saved anything during housejob because of responsibilities here and there and you don’t even have money for exams right now, always remember God’s got you and there’s a time for everything.
I honestly don’t know why this came to my mind this afternoon but please guys, SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION.
Have a nice day, fam.”
– Dr. Akudo Umeh
I really hope this helps someone at least to trust their journey and believe they will surmount all obstacles.