Get Through Harmattan Well, Warm and Fresh

After 2018 ended with little more than a whiff of the cold dry wind many love to hate, the harmattan’s grand entry as the past year wound down came as a shock. The absence of traffic on Lagos roads due to the annual exodus of residents to their hometowns seemed to pave the way for the gusts carrying dry, cold air and dust from the Sahara. One morning you were battling the simmering heat, the next you woke up with your nose dry.

Here comes winds whose voices you hear conversing, faces white and dried up and air that goes up your nose and settles behind your forehead head with some hammering. All of which is reminiscent of the Night king in that last battle.

Do you remember how in elementary science class, we were taught that our hair, scarves and even bedsheets will have sparks of electricity due to the friction generated by the air’s quality at this time. How magical it is to run fingers on beds and see the sparks flying about.

Hair: Your hair doesn’t have to be like that of Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands. There are a wide variety of oils and organic hair products you can use to keep your hair from being more frizzy than usual. Wrapping the hair in a silk scarf while you sleep is even more important right now so you don’t lose moisture while you go out, remember to keep it protected.

Oiled Skin: As a danfo coasted down a busy Lagos road, the driver teasing someone standing by her stall, “See as harmattan come make your face dull.” It was a young girl and it appeared they knew each other as she smiled at him with recognition and mild bemusement. Then he went, “me wey i dey talk na my beard dey hide my real face. My face be like person wey dey suffer. This harmattan ehn.”

You don’t want to look like you were mistakenly locked in a walk-in cold room for some time, lips dry, white and chapped, white lines appearing whenever you scratch your body and colour draining from them. Body moisturizers would help you lock in moisture. Leaving your skin unprotected will make it dry and may lead to itching.

Drink Water: Imagine your kidneys pulsing with glee as they get what they need to keep your internal plumbing going smoothly. Kidney disease is a chronic condition that can be expensive, long term and stressful. If there’s a way to prevent it or reduce your chances and it is drinking water please do it. This weather would make you more thirsty than usual, please do not wait for this to happen before you drink water.

Home: Dress warm as the cold can be biting at least in the morning. You could use water heaters or just boil water for your bath. Don’t be a hero like Folabomi Amoo said. Be humble and care for your body. Dust the surfaces at home and work more frequently, keep your windows shut and get a humidifier if possible.

Fire Safety: Be more watchful of fire as the dry air makes fire a big risk at this time. Turn off cooking gas when not in use, unplug electrical aplluances, servuce your car, keep fkammable objects like matches, lit candles and phones (yes, phones) awsy from diesel cans, petrol kegs and generators.

People living with medical conditions: Sickle cell patients need to drink more water, dress warm, drink warm fluids when it is cold and keep their clinic appointments. The weather may increase the frequency of crises. People with asthma need to protect themselves by wearing masks. The Yoruba say, ‘ma fi itiju karun’. Roughly translated as not to fall sick due to worrying about what people will say. Wear your mask or use a clean handkerchief. The exhaust on this city’s roads is bad enough, don’t let the dust be another trigger for you. If you are living with any other condition like kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes and are worried about how this weather may affect you, please do not wait till you feel worse, see your doctor.


Vulnerable groups: Children, pregnant women and the elderly are more vulnerable at this time and we must do our best to keep many people as warm as possible. Homeless people, mentally ill people who are not being cared for in a psychiatric facility but are left to roam the streets are also at risk. You can leave extra sweaters somewhere they can find. You could donate to the organizations procuring blankets and warm clothing for people in the northern part of Nigeria who feel the cold more. Remember the temperature drops to 11 degrees in some places and that these areas mostly do not have access to regular power supply and central heating.

Lastly, men!: Before harmattan some used to have white lines, ash like feet. It’s 2020, please moisturize. It doesn’t make you less of who you are. Even better, it keeps you healthy, confident and keeps your loved ones happy to see you. Besides, you would be raising a new generation of boys who look up to you and realise that adequate self care is important and a complement rather than a diminisher to masculinity. Keep your beard from being frizzy with the variety of oils available.

It may be tough for many reasons. That cold air especially can make one feel ill but everything has its end, we just have to do our best to survive. Two good things though- clothes get to dry quickly unlike the rainy months. Secondly, agbalumo is out!
How do you cope with harmattan?

Passenger – Commuting in Lagos in the rains

Rain in Lagos is a leveller. It has the power to upset your plans and make you want to cancel the whole day. But we can’t let the weather stop us. We get up, pack our books, laptops and other stuff in waterproof lining, get a sturdy umbrella, strong shoes and match on to face a new day.

This Keke was empty and I loved the upholstery (some Lagos kekes are masterpieces of decoration.) I couldn’t resist a picture with my companion for weeks now. I knew it would fit her perfectly and frankly doing this made the gloomy morning a lot brighter. Would you believe it was raining just outside? Gratefully, the breeze did not carry this darling away.

How do you handle the stress of your morning rush?

October Tijaarah Tea by SMD

Mixed salad. One of the five courses.

If you attended previous editions or at least read reviews, then you have an idea what to expect with the just concluded one. It was the first one to be held at the SMD Place; a thoughtfully and aesthetically designed space.

The opportunity to learn the principles guiding business in Islam, network with active Muslimah-preneurs, being taught valuable lessons ladies seasoned in business is indeed unique. Did I mention the five -course delicious meal which was prepared sans artificial seasoning? It was indeed great value for money.

The introduction part was fun! Sisters got to know each other through their professions and businesses. It is amazing how many different ways the attendees are impacting society. Old acquaintances reconnected and new ones were made.

Next up was a lesson by Sister Rofia Olaniyan explaining the Shar’i rulings on contemporary forms of business. Many grey areas were clarified because keeping it halal is so crucial.

Then came Hajia Nurat Atoba, the MD of BT Ventures Ltd. In a very captivating manner, she shared practicable ways to succeed as a woman both in the home and at work. There were countless gems to select from her wealth of experience and success in running a successful business alongside demanding roles as wife and mother.

SMD still had more in store. Mrs Gbemmy Oyekan-Fasasi the e-commerce guru charged the cozy atmosphere with awe-inspiring tips on running a lucrative online business. The level of motivation was off the charts. It is safe to say, no one expected to be so serenaded.

Mrs Sharifah Yunus-Olokodana (culinary artist and the brain behind SMD) shared illuminating lessons from her business journey. As always, they were priceless.

In all, it was a great way for this unique group of women to spend Independence Day- working towards being more economically viable and by extension, productive citizens.

P.S. If you haven’t already signed up for the next edition, kindly send a DM for more details.

Of Eclipses Partial and Total

From literature books where they were a cause of much consternation to our ancestors to elementary science where they were illustrated with diagrams of the sun, moon and the earth; eclipses have always been phenomena of amazement.

Till today I still find them awe-inspiring. The last one I saw was in 2006. I remember it was a big day in school where everyone viewed it as reflections in large basins of water placed on the assembly ground for that purpose. It was beautiful and special.

Today, much the wonder remains the same. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s solar,lunar,total or partial. At first, it didn’t seem like it was going to happen. I mean who isn’t tired of Nigerian BBM broadcasts and their propensity to contain rumours already? I got a lot of messages saying to avoid superstition and pray instead.

Suddenly, I got a picture thrust in my face. The eclipse! Taken right where I was! Excited, I ran outside and marvelled at the beauty of Allah’s Creation. Everyone around came out and took pictures. It felt really great.

Even more amazing is what I have learnt today about eclipses. I would love to share it with you.

During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there was a solar eclipse on the day that his son Ibrahim died. Some superstitious people said that the sun eclipsed because of the young child’s death and the Prophet’s sadness on that day. The Prophet corrected their understanding.

Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: On the day of Ibrahim’s death, the sun eclipsed and the people said that the eclipse was due to the death of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life. So when you see them, invoke Allah and pray till the eclipse is clear.”

Reasons that Muslims should be humble before Allah during an eclipseAn eclipse is a sign of the majesty and power of Allah.Narrated Abu Masud: The Prophet said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death of someone from the people but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. When you see them, stand up and pray.”
http://islamqa.info/en/9954
Please follow the links below to learn how to pray this salah.
Lets revive a sunnah in our community and enlighten those who are not aware.
Baarakallaah feekum.

How to pray Salaat al-Kusoof (prayer when there is an eclipse)?
http://islamqa.info/en/6111

Call to the eclipse prayer should be made by saying “Al-Salaatu jaami’ah
http://islamqa.info/en/9954

P.S If you are living among Yoruba-speaking people, do not be surprised to be greeted or visited, “Eku eclipsi yii”. They have a special greeting for everything and everybody!
More hilarious are those Nigerians that must celebrate everyday and so would ask, ‘Wetin we go use take wash this eclipse nah?’

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