Book Reviews With Oumissa 11: A Life Elsewhere by Segun Afolabi

From the title, it is evident that this is a collection of immigrant stories. The entire work traverses the varied experiences of black people in the diaspora. For the most part, the setting of their new abode is England.
Most of them were written from a male viewpoint while the inner workings of a female mind can be strongly felt in the remaining. The age range of the characters is diverse. We find people at the end of their careers and young children analyzing their immediate environment in that intelligent yet innocent tone peculiar to them. In capturing all demographics, the author delivers a well rounded view of life as a foreigner. The common background however, appears to be South West Nigeria as heavy Yoruba presence is seen in the names, customs and memories.

In one story, a diplomat mother grapples with the cold austere winter in Japan while raising two young children. The author goes ahead to illustrate the myriad forms of life immigrants lead as medics, musicians or tourists. This rich diversity is united by one single pervading theme – the struggle of integration and acceptance in a foreign land.

People are grateful to leave poverty and a lack of opportunities behind but beyond missing the familiarity of home, they do not find it so easy to earn and save in a new land.

Navigating life outside one’s home isn’t as rosy as it appears. I found this crucial because it is still a common view in many parts of Nigeria that going abroad is the solution to any and every problem. People are grateful to leave poverty and a lack of opportunities behind but beyond missing the familiarity of home, they do not find it so easy to earn and save in a new land.

For starters, tax is more heavily enforced than in their home country. Some lose themselves in the new culture and end up in a suspended state when they disconnect with home and are still not fully accepted in the host country. This affects their state of mind, leaving them sad, lonely and distrusting of both citizens of their adopted home and rather ironically, fresh immigrants.

Everyone is thinking mostly about adjusting to the new climate, food and culture while battling old demons. There were some shocking stories in this book. Afolabi was not afraid to take us to the inner recesses of the minds of some of the characters.
With a kind of abstractness running through this work, the core narrative was in the thoughts and not in dialogue. The whole book appears to lead nowhere but the careful tapestry lies just beneath the surface. You need some level of focus to get through this as it isn’t a light read. Perhaps it is just as well that it was written as a collection since the many breaks ease the weight of what was plaintive in many places.

SpaceX Launch – A Triumph of Innovation

L E G E N D A R Y
This photo right here about to beat that iconic Neil Armstrong’s.
Yet another reminder that ideas flourish in an enabling atmosphere. (all shades of pun intended).

G O A L S
By making space exploration look so cool and fun, Elon Musk has inspired millions around the world. He made history by sending his other invention, a Tesla with a mannequin into orbit .You know when you achieve and everyone- even your haters- respect you.
That’s the level of success we must try to attain. The type that makes humanity proud.

I N S P I R E
To all the kids who get bullied for being a geek,nerd or whiz, keep believing in your dreams and never stop working to make them true. For when they do,the world (and space too!) will watch you shine.

N O S T A L G I A
I kind of understand how the Apollo ’69 moon landing must have felt like. I was obsessed with space as a kid and for a while I wanted to be an astronaut. This is so exciting!

Please share your thoughts about this amazing event.

P.S Thanks to @bonsaisky for gracious permission. Follow him on Twitter.

-OumissaInspire

Lagos, Nigeria

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.

ACHIEVING ZERO HUNGER

It is World Food Day 2017.

The reality of human nutrition today is a picture of stark contrast. On the one hand is food waste with food insecurity on the other. These and the few in between exist in all countries only with different levels. The smouldering embers of conflict old and new has worsened this problem. Many farmers reside in the rural areas where land is often abundant but security is less sophisticated than in the urban centres. Generally, in the absence of peace, services break down and everyone flees to safety. Stores become depleted, farmlands are ransacked, livestock are abandoned or killed and the once bountiful acres turn to a desolate landscape. This is played out numerous times as evident by the current refugee crisis described as the worst since World War II.

OumissaInspire

Goal #2 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is Zero Hunger. Of course this can only be achieved in sync with the otherĀ  sixteen goals. It is hoped that by 2030, we would all achieve our aim of making this planet a better place. If you want to make a difference in this regard, join me at @mystreetkitchen (Siddiqah NGO) and @thenigerianchildinitiativeĀ  (TNCI) two of several Nigerian NGOs doing great work in this area.

I do appreciate every other individual and organization working tirelessly to make sure people do not hungry in a world that wastes so much of the food it produces.The following steps are a good places to start.

  • Eschewing violence,push for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
  • Eating whole and natural foods will boost physical and mental health. Malnutrition has greatly stunted the growth and development of millions of children. This predisposes them to preventable diseases thus increasing under -five mortality.
  • Sharing extra food with people around us instead of throwing it in the bin. Wasting good food is absurd but most of us are guilty of it in one way or the other.
  • Encouraging agriculture via investment, provision of infrastructure,growing our own food and supporting farmers. There is so much benefit and potential in it. Beyond providing our food, it can be a huge source of sustainable revenue that will ensureĀ  wider societal development.

Together, we can achieve food security for all.

Oumissa