Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon- A review of Nike Campbell-Fatoki’s second book

Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon
Autographed copy

Title: Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon

Author: Nike Campbell-Fatoki

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 178

Publisher: Quramo Publishing

Published: 2016

This collection of short stories is as enjoyable as it is powerful. I attended her book reading and signing event at Patabah Books a couple of years ago. Learning about her inspiration, background and the stories behind her stories before reading them brought on a more profound meaning.

The variety centres on the lives of Nigerians home and abroad, the longing for old memories is existing with the pull of the foreign land. The stories are split between the immigrant experience; from the tumultous to the mundane; and the joy and troubles of living in a country like Nigeria. She fluidly paints many ways in which home and abroad are different and yet so similar The book is laced with humour that relieves the reader’s heart of some of its weight.

Moral dilemmas are presented in a way we can associate with, a sort of mirror for our own situations. Thus, we understand the characters’ struggles without judgement.

Familiar everyday scenarios brought to life in this book include rebelling against an overbearingly strict Pentecostal father, the public transport system and underworld in the sprawling, unforgiving city of Lagos, mental illness and a patriarch exacting posthumous revenge on his uncaring family through his will.

But it does make us stop and tell ourselves, the negative things need not be part of life.

Others are green card fraud, learning disability, nosy neighbours, rosy teenage love soured by pregnancy and family disgrace, domestic violence and how women continue to condone it for the sake of the children seeing it a necessary part of life. They make a life facing off blows and yet remain resilient and in some cases, even triumphant.

But it does make us stop and tell ourselves, “The negative things need not be part of life”. We can identify secondary characters who, in their own ways, change the status quo for better.

One of my favourites is A Brewing Storm. Nestled in the middle, narrated with the innocence of a child’s perspective, it explores domestic violence with brave depth , elicits a sense of shame that we as a society have allowed this evil to go on for far too long. The physical and psychological pain, the constant inching to the precipice of death by the hand of a husband, the scars on the children’s psyche all clutch at your heart strings.

Worst of it for the character is the support system of close women (victims themselves) who accommodate her and the kids after each beating. They tell her there is no other way but to endure it. She must maintain the worth accorded to her in the society, the value that comes with being in a man’s house.

There is a remarkable finesse to which Campbell-Fatoki delivers this and the wider societal norms set against women. We see how women (like mother-in-laws) are complicit in this. This chapter is not written as funny. Even as she plays with friends, the fear of her mother’s death is palpable in the child’s consciousness. In a fitting climax, a battered woman and her kids take different desperate stands to protect themselves from an abusive man of the house.

But we also learn that it is and should not be the norm. This was beautifully written about in Searching For Miss Anderson. A woman living with schizophrenia from her teenage years finds unwavering support, the most she’s ever had, in her husband. He stays by her side, actively involved in her long winding recovery process. Happy marriages resplendent with mutual love and respect, providing a safe space for nurturing children is possible and do exist. That balance is necessary, a true depiction of reality

Happy marriages resplendent with mutual love and respect, providing a safe space for nurturing children is possible and do exist.

The Rake and the Wallflower, set in the seventies, details the discrimination people with learning disabilities face in an engaging story about a Nigerian girl who is married off to a man she knows only through a photo in. Abuse and restrictions follow as soon as she lands in America. Doubly due to the norms of the time that said he could treat his wife anyhow but also because he considered her a retard.

People treat those with learning difficulties with condescension often forgetting that they have thought processes and register all of it. It is a brilliant story. It was heartwarming to see this woman escape the horrific domestic situation with the help of her neighbour, a lovely American old lady and her father back at home who never considered his daughter as any less than others.

In all, in presenting what we recognise, in the laughter and tears it evokes, Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon calls us to answer deep moral questions. I appreciate its dedication to family which is present as a common thread throughout. Beneath the hilarity and resonance of the tales is a call to us to keep enjoying what is good about us but commit to rectifying the many faults we have as individuals and a society at large.

Rating 4/5

What are your thoughts about this book?

Sunday Brunch With The Ladies and Patricia Cornwell

oumissainspire.com
Alhamdulillah for these amazing, talented, loyal , driven and loving women. They are so committed to growth and are a good support system for one another.

Pathology was one of my faves in college. Was it because it was taught by groundbreaking female professors? One of them was a great Muslimah role model who did a lot to help us hijabi students (there were battles we faced that only people like her could help us fight) but she really was and still is a mother to all students.

Or because it is such a rich and intriguing field; the basis of disease, the bedrock of medicine itself. For if we do not understand what is wrong with the body, how can we begin to fix it?

Morbid anatomy had the heaviest textbook in that year. I remember being scared of my Robbins and Cortran falling on me from my overhead bookshelf and crushing me in my sleep haha.

This love had started way before med school. Patricia Cornwell and other forensic pathologists/medical examiners/coroners were favourites. It was so cool to see doctors in them using findings from the autopsies they performed to help detectives nail serial killers and other perpetrators and close difficult cases.


I honestly wonder how my strawberry milkshake looked like vanilla with pink stripes. But I loved it anyways.

I’m still enjoying this book. It just got fast-paced.
What are your thoughts on forensic thrillers?

There are Manners to Correcting Others in our Deen

“Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

-Malcolm X

Truly helping others by calling their attention to their mistakes is enjoined. But this does not mean you are perfect or should act like you are.

Correct the way you want to be corrected too. The practise of being harsh on others, publicly shaming them including on social media but forgiving towards yourself or people you like for same mistakes is bad. Bad for you, your chosen ones and the wider Ummah.

This toxicity in our circles is pushing people out of the deen. You watch, waiting for them to make mistakes and pounce on them. They start to lead double lives because of you. You should be afraid of being responsible for this.

If we truly want the best for them and not disgrace, let’s employ the manners from the Sunnah. And better still, make dua for them. Be patient, Prophet Nuh (AS) did not get everyone to listen even after centuries. So who are you to think the one you are correcting will change immediately? Also be more concerned about your own mistakes to save yourself from hypocrisy.

There is a book ‘The Prophet’s Methods of Correcting People’s Mistakes’.

May Allah help us all to obey Him and be of best character.

______________________

The Ramadhan Baby

The Eyes of the Skin- A Glimpse of Pallasmaa

There is a certain haste with which one finishes a book borrowed from someone who themselves have borrowed it. Coupled with a life changing deadline in the air, it was a thrill to read this book in less than three hours. I enjoyed it and wish I could have reread it.

Man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5-6 feet from the ground.”

Architecture is an amazing field. Much of our experience is based on the spaces in which we live, learn, laugh, and love. It explored architectural history especially how they have shaped humans through millenia.

We also learn about the author’s background, life and influences. His exceptional love for books was endearing. The genius of his mind jumps out of the richly illustrated work. There are references throughout the text about the work of Frank Lloyd, Louis Kahn, Leon Battista Alberta and a host of others.

What is missing from our dwellings today are the potential transactions between body, imagination and environment.

Though a necessary resource for students of architecture, it was easy to grasp its basic concepts and create a yearning for more.

Rating 4.5

___________

Mariam Toye

Sefi Atta’s A Bit of A Difference Book Cover

Detanglers and silk caps are now ways of expressing confidence in our richly textured Afro hair. If you were a woman of African descent at a certain time, you knew no other reality than relaxers, hot irons, hours under hot dryers, braids, wigs to be fashionable or even accepted.. It’s refreshing to see pride in natural hair have a resurgence..Hopefully it stays and doesn’t go away like the Afro movement of the 60s and 70s.

Other people wear their hair naturally, it should be a choice for us too. Myths about African women having short hair have been debunked with knowledge about how the pomade we’ve been sold for long hurt our hair growth. Now more and more women are relearning the hair care methods of our grandmothers, the miracle of coconut oil, natural hair styles in addition to recent advances in hair care. Our hair grows to great lengths and bulk when cared for properly.

Our hair grows to great lengths and bulk when cared for properly.

You can have healthy hair too. And be respected when on it. You shouldn’t lose a job offer because you express your natural self. You should not be forced to conform to European beauty standards in the public and in the home. It is disconcerting to hear that some African men ask their female partners not to wear their hair in its natural state. Hair is one of the ways we resist racism as it has been one of its tools for far too long.

Sefi Atta in a calming voice tells us the story of Deola a woman who grew up in the West and decided to come back to Nigeria. It details her experiences reuniting with relatives, adjusting to inconvenience like power outages, falling in love with the energy and warmth of home and finding love.

A narrative that explores the life of a young successful woman moving across continents and absorbing the tumultuous changes that come with it.

Enjoyable.

Easily a 4 star.

Collaboration, The Key to Healthcare Reform in Nigeria

Image Source- Nigeria Health Watch

The healthcare sector in Nigeria is in need of urgent development. Only when this change is led by the most influential players can the results be tangible. Titans of the industry and stakeholders from other sectors of the economy came together in Lagos recently to deliberate on solutions based on the public-private partnership model. The policy dialogue tagged ‘Disrupting Healthcare: PPPs As A Model For Health System Strengthening In Nigeria’ was organized by Nigeria Health Watch and PharmAccess group, two bodies improving access to healthcare in Nigeria using advocacy and technical assistance respectively.
Through partnerships, international organizations have rehabilitated health centres that had hitherto been operating below par. Most of this effort is targeted at the primary care level which is the first contact for eighty per cent of the population.

Nevertheless, health transformation is a struggle that must be undertaken across different levels. Much emphasis was placed on the new idea that for it to be sustainable, healthcare must be run as a business and not a social service.

Simple yet effective solutions like clean water and sanitation will yield the remarkable results in a country where forty-six million citizens stool in public. Currently, there is the binary option of care with the rich accessing the best available care and the rest of the country scrambling for what is left. The level of care in some primary healthcare centres is tragic. Quality is, therefore, a key element of viable healthcare PPPs.
There were two panel discussions with members from government and private institutions. The first emphasized the need for a stronger influence by doctors and other health stakeholders to push for reform at the federal level. The masses are more likely to protest against fuel price hikes but this energy is not reserved for another vital aspect of life- the dismal healthcare obtainable in many parts of the country.

It was also noted that the nation is in dire need of more health economists, health finance experts to formulate policy in the various health ministries. The current situation where every decision is made by only doctors whose training sadly often doesn’t include these fields will not help us achieve our goals.

Panel Session 1

Panel Session 1Session 1: Mr Voke Oshevire, Executive Director, Dr Ola Orekunrin-Brown, CEO, Flying Doctors Nigeria. Dr Jide Idris, Commissioner for Health, Lagos State. Mr Anthony Abou Nader, CEO, Tanit Medical Engineering. Dr Olaokun Soyinka, Director, Independent Verification Agent for Saving One Million Lives Nigeria. JNC International Ltd. Mr Abiodun Amokomowo CEO, Ibile Holdings Limited. Mr Felix Ezeh, Investment Executive, GroFin.
According to a recent TechCabal report on health tech sector, there are over eighty health tech companies in Nigeria providing solutions to a myriad of problems. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs often lack access to financing and incentives to scale their companies. Creating an option for medical or premise licenses to be used as collateral was put forward.

Contrary to popular belief, finance is not limited to cash but includes personnel, material, endowments, real estate. It is imperative we are open to options and not be myopic. Patience is required of all involved for the process often isn’t an overnight one. Available resources must be maximized as wastage poses a huge threat to the proper utilization of allocated funds.

The true measure of a community’s health is the quality of its maternal care. –Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor

Government initiatives put in place through the Basic Health care Fund include those that simplify the payment process for people in need of care. The banking sector is contributing to healthcare by improving access to funds, educating providers on the cost benefits of establishing optimal services and facilitating partnerships. They also help health facilities bring their accounting systems to standard, provide flexible payment models and ensure controls are put in place to tackle the lack of trust.
In between the discussions were documentaries highlighting different missions to underserved areas showing the drastic impact personnel and cash financing bring to underserved communities, many of which are remote. Through initiatives like hospital camps, free emergency surgeries, education and health insurance; the quality of life in these communities was vastly improved with the joint efforts of PharmAccess and Toronto Hospital, local and state governments.

Panel Session 2

Panel Session 2

Session 2: Dr Tayo Lawal, Permanent Secretary, Lagos Primary Healthcare Board. Mrs Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and Founder, JNCI. Dr Ben Nkechika, DG Delta State Contributory Health Commission. Dr Jide Idris, Commissioner for Health, Lagos. Prof Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Dr Oyebanji Filani, Senior Technical Assistant, Hon Minister for Health. Engr Chidi Izuwah DG/CEO, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.

Distrust of digital health records is rife in many centres necessitating gradual implementation and compromise. Pregnancy should not be an emergency as there is ample time to plan for childbirth. The absurdity of the current risk associated must be communicated with all members of the community. Mobile health clinics can be used in some areas to provide care and this circumvents the huge cost of facilities. These are a few examples of the unconventional options being applied in interventions across the country. In addition, adapting from a wide variety of working health systems worldwide to our local context will help us move closer to the desired level of development.
Nigerians spend millions of dollars on healthcare abroad. This amount is comparable to the health budget. This is a symptom of a deeper problem! Efforts need to be amped to ensure the working conditions here are brought to standard if we are serious about stemming the current tide of brain drain and haemorrhaging of funds to countries with better health systems. While some level of specialized care is available, most Nigerians do not know about it or trust it.

Documentary
Documentary

The onus is on us to build and maintain world class institutions to keep our health professionals, patients and money at home. To achieve this, the expertise and management of the private sector should be combined with the infrastructure and political will of the public sector. The distrust that currently exists between them can be mitigated by putting quality control in place. Within the private sector itself, collaboration rather than competition should be the watchword. This will help the health sector to be unified force and voice at the policy-making table for lasting progress.

The future is so bright, you are going to need sunglasses.

Mrs Clare Omatseye

On the bone of contetion that is health insurance in Nigeria, theappalling extent of coverage ofe constitues a barrier to providing universal health care. This has left the crowdfunding method of health financing as the only hope of many in need of expensive care. The estimates hover around one to five percent. Only twenty-eight states have a legal framework for health insurance with some like Lagos and Osun implementing state level schemes.

Through public-private partnership, government centres have been outsourced to the private sector with improved efficiency of service delivery, a marked reduction in mortality, increased profits and sustainability. Adequate communication at all levels with all stakeholders is however crucial to the success of these models as there exists cynicism towards it. Infrastructural gaps have been filled.

It is reassuring to see many stakeholders working and committing to improving the Nigerian health sector. Hopefully, these forged partnerships yield measurable results soon. To achieve the phenomenal change needed, we must be ready to disrupt!

Dr Mariam Toye

TwentyFifteen Collection 3: Deen Books

OumissaInspire

This part of my library is special as most of the books are hard bound tomes that cost more than most of the others. They are guarded jealously for their value is inestimable. Never a light read, perusing them can be tedious as I try to jot down words of wisdom and so I just give up and soak up the goodness.

About these pearls. They can be found in millions of homes and libraries around the world.

The Sealed Nectar is the winner of a writing contest about the Prophet.
Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb is a collection of essays on the female companions. Stories extolling their grace, wisdom, courage, loyalty, honour and piety.
Enjoy Your Life by is a treasure by Muhammad Al Arifi Let it hold your hand and show you the beauty of life in the obvious and the hidden
Don’t be Sad by Aidh Al-Qarni. Well, that speaks for itself. It is a modern day classic that has impacted the lives of millions around the world.
Why Women Are Accepting Islam by Muhammad Shahid explores the many reasons reverts to Islam in the West are mostly women. .

In the years since, I have read more Muslim books written by Muslim women to have a more complete experience. This is very important as more women need to see their perspectives being recognized, and girls need to learn that this religion encourages them to seek knowledge and teach it.

Award winning writer, Naima Robert is a contemporary example of Muslim women writers. There are countless women in Islamic history with great knowledge who authored treatises and taught notable scholars. Starting from Aishah bint Abu Bakr. We should read more of them and share their work.

What is your favourite Muslim classic?

________

With love,

Oumissa.

150419