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Monthly Archives: February 2018

MY WAKANDA MUSINGS by Folarin Lawrence.

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I have contemplated my state of mind in regards to being an immigrant, and having lived here in the United States for so long, being extremely wary about relocating to Nigeria, my place of birth and homeland.

Is it the myriads of basic infrastructure that just are not stable? Or the fact that Africa having been independent from her “colonizers” as Shuri rightly mentioned, is yet to produce leaders that are not interested in lining their pockets and offshore bank accounts with the very wealth of the people.

If I never left Nigeria, I will definitely have survived and surely “thrived” but that is a story for another place and time. This brings me to the here and now that fuels thoughts deep enough to be labeled musings.

Last week I was in a Black Panther state of mind, after surviving the very long line at the movie theatre, buying into the excitement all over my kids and the priceless “Hmm, this-Marvel-thing-had-better-be-good” expression on Yinka’s face. We finally made it in, settled down and even had enough time to grab Popcorn!

I was whisked on a whimsical yet reflective, euphoric and again poignant journey to “Wakanda”, a place… ‘No, Kingdom I have dreamed of and been lost in at very different segments of my life most especially my formative years! A place I believed existed even at the time not being acquainted with the Black Panther universe, yet it existed in my mind’s eye.

Growing up in Lagos in the 70s I remember a society that was burgeoning, as Nigeria had discovered vast stores of oil: Bonny Light! which signifies the #Vibranium of Wakanda, which was said to be one of the best grades of crude oil at the time. And, yes at that very beautiful period in the annals of Nigerian History “almost everything worked”.

Yes, there was corruption just like there is in any part of the world, but our basic necessities were met. The general infrastructure worked. There was power, good roads, healthcare, education and most of those things politicians have since promised and have not been able to deliver.

I remember waking up in the morning and looking out of my grandmother’s window at #39 Aralile Street, Surulere on Lagos Mainland to the site of women dressed in uniformed native wear (iro, buba and gele) with long brooms and big baskets sweeping the streets.

I remember not having to be coaxed by whip wielding policemen to use the over-head bridge at Barracks Bus Stop, I remember the traffic lights at Adeniran Ogunsanya,

I remember watching Bonanza on Nigerian Television Authority Channel 10 and telling my late Uncle Jose “I Jam Blocker” (Dan Blocker) and I had just ridden my horse over my grandmother’s roof this morning while he was still sleeping”. In hindsight, I cannot even remember why Dan Blocker was my favorite actor from  Bonanza, I guess maybe because he was the biggest and he knocked more guys around.

I also remember the news on television with Ikenna Daguba, Mike Enahoro, and Julie Coker, not to forget the sports segment with Yinka Craig and once in a while Bisi Lawrence with some specials.

So, which brings me back to Black Panther’s Wakanda. Nigeria was my Wakanda, only because through the lenses of my childhood I never imagined in my wildest nightmares that a nation with boundless potentials, vast resources both natural and human, would be quasi developed as it is today whereby basic amenities are only available to the mostly affluent corrupt and the bourgeoisie few.

This is not to say that there are no honest, hardworking individuals in Nigeria, the conundrum being faced is how to replace the moral fabric of the society which has rapidly descended into a cesspool of decadence, an unbelievable callousness which unfortunately seems to have reached a point of no return.

I tell my 11-year-old son that he comes from a very proud heritage and culture, but I am also very conscious of explaining to him why it may be difficult for us to once again settle in Nigeria, but make a point of saying “difficult” and not “impossible” because I still have dreams of “Wakanda-esque” utopia, super-imposed on the African landscape with a government for the people, technology that even the western world will envy, with proud and eloquent black men, beautiful strong black women with children whose future is as bright as the morning star and older generation with histories as colorful and magnificent as the sunsets of the Motherland.

This is a dream that has yet again been awakened by the complex kaleidoscope delivered by Ryan Coogler in Black Panther. #Kudos #MustSeeMovie

I want to believe that there are many dreamers like me out there and even if we are not able to bring this dream into fruition in my generation, please begin today to inculcate these dream into your young sons and daughters here in Diaspora, give them the hope that they can and should achieve that which we may not be able to achieve, let them know whose sons and daughters they truly are.

Do not forget to tell them it is going to take the grace of God to achieve this as they will face a continuous barrage of difficulties along the way.

Here is a snippet of what is yet to come:

The “Wakanda-esque” utopia in my dreams comprises of three very uniquely diverse group of young, bright and beautiful black people in this order; Born on the Motherland, Born in Diaspora of migrant parentage, and Born outside of the Motherland often with a broken link but of African descent.

God’s Peace.

Kaylaw.

 

 

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A Display of Unsung Affection

AjokeDo you believe that some people are actually positioned into our lives for a certain season, to accomplish a given purpose?

They show up, help nurse our hurting wound, seal the broken patches and then challenge us to pay it forward during our lifetime.

And then One Day, they vanish into thin air!

Just like that!

Gone.

While sorting through some old storage boxes in my garage, I came across an old photograph taken in 1995! It wasn’t the usual fancy studio-ready, happy-selfie type, but one filled with Kodak memories that brought tears of joy, fondness and pure love, for a group of selfless strangers I had once known, dearly.

It had the back drop of a tiled-well-washed hospital ward, with a giant inscription of GHI (General Hospital Ikeja), merry face of a smiling light skinned, British-accented female doctor with a dangling stethoscope around her neck, sprawled across a patients’ bed; it also had me, in a hospital gown smiling but with a confused look, not sure what to expect in this my new and strange abode!

There was Mercy my pretty Sapele-born teenage roommate/patient awaiting her ruptured appendix removal and Adejoke, my other roommate, who was also awaiting her 2nd knee surgery from an infected wound caused by a car accident on her school campus.

If pictures could capture the other hidden features around us, I bet you could smell the poignant and acidic aroma of antibiotics, Izal-washed floors and stale fruits…

One thing we all had in common: Fear of the known and the unknown! We all needed comfort from within to help ease our trembling minds or to erase the horrid stories of the mishaps of the theater room drama; and then, there was always the agitated head nurse grumbling about the traffic of my bedside visitors that’s exceeded the mandatory number allowed,  bringing gifts of homemade food, bedding fixtures and Lucozade drink!

This is no hotel or hostel! It is late, you need to go home” the head nurse would grumble and complain as my mother and then boyfriend-turned husband-now would linger at the reception area, hoping to spend more time with me.

doctorAnd then, there came Dr. Lovette! The female doctor in the picture, Yes! That was what she was fondly called.

She instantly became my adopted Sister! Never knew her from anywhere… but connected with her in such a way that…’count down to the dreary theater for my surgery became a breeze! Un-certainty, fear, worry and doubts were erased by her comforting words and her open conversation about my emotional wellbeing!

Catching up on latest gist became an evening routine and an escape out of the constant depressing memories of seeing other patients being wheeled out with a coded sign of final dismissal.

She erased all anxiety by creating a comforting space we all looked forward to. Her famous words…‘we are all here for a reason, each and everyone of us! resonated within me until I had my partial thyroidectomy and was discharged.

And that was it… ‘The last time I saw her… ‘a void and ache was created inside me, maybe for a good cause. Last I heard, she’d returned to the UK to take care of her own personal ailment…’something no one knew she was dealing with even as She was taking care of us!

Oh! Such selfless and painful dedication of uncelebrated affection! And we all know that ache that always leaves a void within us.

So, there are times when our own heavy heart-burdens cry so loudly that we struggle to hear the voice of others or to remember the unsearchable, inescapable presence of God; times when we think our prayers seem to go unanswered and our broken situations seemingly painful and unfixable.

Tell me, ‘Where is the time to care for others? ‘Don’t we already have enough on our own plate to deal with? Who’s going to do it? Hmmm.

I am sure at some points in your life’s journey you have been blessed with certain people and moments that have left indelible marks on the landscape of your heart and in some way challenged you to dig deep and continue to forge this chain of selfless love and care so that the cycle thrives.

Today, let’s ask ourselves, ‘what vision-goal have we thought about or written down, to do for Others Who Are In Need? What Care Network have we envisioned in our minds and planning to connect with? What Circle Of Kindness has been laid upon our hearts?

Can we make plans to elevate others so we can celebrate their victory, unconditionally? Have we set aside time to visit a nearby shelter, share lunch with that homeless guy we pass by every time, can we walk-into-an-hospice and volunteer or sign up to play the silly puppet-show at the children hospital and amuse kids awaiting or recovering from surgery, as it is? Not when fulfilling a duty of self-recognition or self righteousness?

Chances are you already know a family taking care of a needy child, who need your care? or a family handling a terminal diagnosis? who need your prayer! Perhaps it’s that hurting friend whose profile picture displays a seemingly happy-perfect-made up face but carries a hidden burden never addressed? Or…when was the last time you volunteered to take over the household chores of another family going through life? Just for an hour, while they get a chance to breathe?

When do we begin to put our real radical-impact hat on and stop playing eye-service religious-obligatory task, when do we stop paraphrasing ‘It is well’ and actually mean it by  Making it well’ just-by-doing-our-part?

When do we turn our phone’s selfie mode off and take real life pictures of others to be able to see the pain they are going through? or when do we disconnect from our social media world to spend real quality and uplifting one-on-one time with one another, over a soothing cup of organic roasted dandelion root herbal tea, a tantalizing fruit tart under the soothing and calming aromatherapy candle infused with essential oils? #TeaTartsandTranquility.teacup

While probably we have not been called to save an entire nation from destruction, God has certainly called us to be a care network He can use.

According to Missionary Amy Carmichael, “Often His call is to follow in paths we would not have chosen.”

Whether God is calling you to be a catalyst for saving someone from physical death or being an incentive for saving someone from spiritual and emotional separation, when we move forward in obedience, we are empowered, strengthened, bolstered and confident as we see Him accomplish great and mighty works through us.

Visit http://www.developmentalcarenetwork.com and connect with a care network team!

Yours in Hope as I share ‘One Day” by Matisyahu!
Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

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