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Tribute to my Father, My mentor and friend.

 

Mr Ganzy

Arthur Kayode Gansallo – Land Surveyor – Jan 8th 1933 – Feb. 24th 2018 (85 years old).

The departure of life eclipses everything’. When a death is good, the room is filled with peace, and all the pain, that went before it is forgotten. Where there was mystery and anxiety, there is knowledge, where there is fear and doubt, there is love. And when asked how to move on afterwards, I whispered, ‘I just want to DO IT (life) again with you, Papa-mi’.
‘Narratives of my Father’ – Yinka.

With Loving memories, this is how I want to remember my beloved father, Arthur Kayode Gansallo. To others, He was known as Daddy, AK Gansallo or Brother Surveyor, but to me, I have always called him “Papa-mi” ‘which made our relationship very personal and special. Sometimes even indicating affection that’s cautiously guarded with youthful zeal implying “mine only”.

While growing up, I have always been reminded of my resemblance to his late mother, Madam Emily Gansallo (nee Coker) fondly known as ‘Mama Upstairs‘ (I guess the fondness emerged from that maternal-reflection I carried with me while around him).

She usually sat at one of the bow-windows on the top floor of her glamorously decorated baroque Brazilian architectural influenced parlor; with exuberant and individualistic styled doorways, brightly painted facades and chunky concrete columns, flight of polished wooden steps with brightly colored panels and delicate floral plaster motifs of the Brazilian artisans!

Gansallo Family House

Gansallo Family House – Lagos Island.

Yeah, my late grandmother was always strategically located in such a way that she had a bird’s-eye view of both Tokunboh and Oshodi streets, at this perch she was able to view the comings and goings and ready to call out anyone who’s out of order….I grew up learning those boundaries too from my father.

Where do I start? All through my life, He’s always been my shield, especially where I usually seek shelter when I am in trouble due to my smart mouth or need to escape some sibling scolding or from my mom’s non-stop-nagging about why I needed to step up my game and claim the 1st position in class!

I usually run to hide in his home-office, where the entrance marks no-allowance to violence and the red sea for the offended-ones chasing after me! He always protected me from altered hot slaps, or sibling-beatups, listened with an open mind to my talk about life, my dreams and my future plans, and gave re-directions without being overbearing.

From my 1st primary school best literature award, his glowing face with his Polaroid camera, proud as ever! Even encouraging me to buy more books at CMS bookshop to read as we drove home from school that day and thereafter enrolling me at Teacher Pat (of St. Mary’s Private-afterschool) lesson for mathematics clinic! I remember him forbearingly tutoring me for common entrance exam and patiently waiting to pick me up at St. Gregory’s college after the long yearly 5k-Corpus Christi procession!

From the set of French curves he gave me when I informed him I was taking Technical Drawing in school and aiming to be an Architect trailing after him; to Alliance Français French school when I changed my mind and wanted to study foreign language instead, He encouraged me all through, emotionally and financially.

My 10th birthday party, where He officially became the DJ and MC, even though He practically played his own favorite music (FELA) all through, we still had a blast;

Oh, my 1st day away from home at FGGC Sagamu, the panic attack once we crossed the toll gate and the long dreary drive in his car as He continuously encouraged me about the unknown, Apparently, He had labelled all my belongings, boldly scripted in his fine cartographic hand writing ‘A.O. Gansallo’ (Anthonia Olayinka Gansallo) even on my school sandals, my red checked house wear and school bag legible enough for other students to be amused or read from afar.

He never missed any visiting days or our usual stop over at Uncle Ladipo’s (his brother) at All Saints school Ikorodu to review my report card and make plans for summer school! Phew!

I remember my 1st visit to a fancy restaurant, at Eko Hotel when I was just 9 with him, my 1st table etiquette training and tableware placement. Our religious visits to CFAO Moloney supermarket to buy chocolates, biscuits and of course Benson & Hedges and thereafter our painful visits to the dentist together.

Our weekend drive to Museum Kitchen, to listen to high life music with a sip of fresh sour palmwine! or to Bar Beach to watch the sun set or to see Grand Uncle Akin Coker at his beach house on Elf Estate, off Lekki road in the early 80’s (which was formerly Maroko swamp). Or our visit to the stadium to watch Abiola Babes and Iwuanyanwu Nationale soccer match at Onikan!

I got to learn a lot about land acquisition, families with landed properties and sometimes history behind land allocation, all mostly within Ibeju Lekki & Eti Osa Local govt. as I was usually in his company during some site visits and very inquisitive about his passion for his job, drawing up maps and calculating numbers nonstop!

My 1st & 2nd graduation from college and His advice to keep on aiming higher, not to stop there, to be all I can be, as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a woman who stands out in her generation.

One funny thing is that, He actually knew and remembered all my girlfriends by name, and would approach them when they come to visit and usually engaged them in ‘girly’ conversation, even decoding our secrets codes over the telephone! They usually call him, Mr. Ganzy of which He usually smiles at and could sit with them for hours talking about his favorite movies – especially Gremlins!

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My wedding day. (Dad & I) – Aug. 14th 1997.

I can never forget the big smile of accomplishment and joy on his face on my wedding day, 20 years ago, as He proudly walked me down the aisle, clutching the marriage certificate afterwards close to his heart and looking at me with that fondness I grew up knowing.

I thank God that I can proudly say today that I have been so blessed to have him as my Father and friend, ‘would do it again and never could have traded him for anyone! I am who I am today because of the devotion and love of my parents, more especially my father’s undying love and His belief in me.

Last time we spoke, just after his 85th birthday in January, He muttered under heavy breaths…

Yinkus baby! I am still here, even though all my friends are gone, I am counting down to your next graduation commencement” and I had joked with him saying

Ah, Mr. Ganzy, you are still very young, I will be back home soon, to complete that Autism clinic project we’ve always talked about”….we both laughed over that as He hung up the telephone.

 

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Feb. 2018 Commencement.

And those were his last words to me. 

He was a fantastic man. He was a great father, loving husband, caring brother, nurturing grandfather and dear friend to many people. To me he was more than just my father; he was my friend and my hero.

I always admired my father and had a great deal of respect for him. I pray the everlasting love and peace of God dwell with him in his new abode.

Eternal Rest, Grant Him O Lord!

Your loving daughter!
Yinkus Baby (as He fondly calls me).

 

 

 

 

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Accepting the “Shift in our Atmosphere”

camp-5When something exciting and unexpected jumps at us during one of those cloudy days of our lives, how do we manage the emotion?

Have you ever questioned or struggled with certain circumstances that sometimes come to you suddenly as a pleasant surprise, a shocking revelation or a hurdle of nerve-racking challenges or indecision? A test or a leap of faith?

So, the moment my father’s powder blue Volkswagen Beetle drove off the visitor’s parking lot of Rima house (my hostel), I knew one thing was certain that day! I-was-doomed!

1-     Maybe Mr. & Mrs. Gansallo were not my real parents after all (I was probably adopted or kidnapped as a baby)  or

2-     Maybe my mother, being the tough Up Bendel’ woman she claimed she was, was just at her best to frustrate me and drive me to my early grave! While my father, all dressed up in his favorite Cuban shirt was too terrified of showing his emotion in public, and of course, didn’t want his wife to nag him all the way back to Lagos, reminding him of how much He had spoiled me rotten!  Phew!camp-4

I was just 11 years old, and my parents had just dropped me off in the deepest forest, concentration-camp-like boarding school, about 400 kilometers away from home!

Who does that? How did I get here? Why do I have to travel far away for secondary schooling? All the way…to FGGC, Sagamu! Ogun state. Whatever happened to schools down the road from my house?

OMG! They really hated me! I thought to myself as I cried myself to sleep that night on my upper bunk bed, Ohhh, so even my pet name “Atupa Parlor” (the glowing lantern in a room) didn’t mean anything to them again. I-have-been-robbed-emotionally!! 😦

In my solitude and grief, I found comfort in the company of about 50% of my old classmates from primary school who were also dropped off by their parents, who had also driven back to Lagos, smiling happily and about to enjoy all the luxuries we were missing here at the boarding school.

It took me days to adjust to the tons of rules passed down by Madame Chaudhry, my bulbous Indian house mistress, the early morning bells, the sluggish and sleepy-eyed tweens and teenagers in fancy oversized nighties or awkward red-checked house wear, the long walk to the massive dining hall where breakfast is usually consumed as fast as it takes to say the grace, the mandatory early morning assembly gathering as our beautiful flawless light-skinned British-accent VP (Mrs. Odusote) begins her ‘oh-not-again speech!

‘Girls! Girls!’ ‘Wake up to your future” or “Oh dear! Bad Girls,  My heart bleeds for you…blah bla bla!camp-6

That’s the moment I always remember my parents actually did something great for my future. Yeah, dropping me off in the middle of nowhere to emerge a doer amidst the craziness behind those tall walls overnight. Such transformation! From that fragile, tiny over-pampered girl into a grab-the-horn and move-it woman! – all by the grace of God.

Today, here I am eagerly packing and sending my 10-year-old son off to his school’s 5th grade science club camp, deep into the woods and pure lakes of Michigan. Aha!

Here I am feeling my heartbeat double and triple as I merge into the season of change that’s launching God’s plan for my desire, reflecting on my own younger days away from home, diving into the grace to start well and end well, leaving the past behind and summoning on courage to continue the journey, of my main purpose of leaving home!’ but even this kido isn’t moved or sober or afraid of change. He’s elated! Oh Vinny! 😦

And am here freaking out and remembering the day I had to push all of him, 9lb+  out of me that early morning in April at Pennsylvania Hospital!

“Mom, wake up to your future! I will be just fine!camp-1

That was all I needed to hear to bounce back to reality. My VP’s piercing words of advice “Wake up to your future” That was my lesson and the booster I needed afterwards that made me travel another 1,000 kilometers away from home to attend college and even further and further as destiny calls…

If you are reading this and feel a kind of disconnection to your dreams or passion or niche for life, honestly ask yourself…‘Am I waking up to my future? or ‘living it in my dreams?’

You see, because you know you want something! You deserve that GOAL! You crave that PATH! ’It breathes and oozes your name in every aspect, it speaks your language and has your DNA of perfectionist spread all over it! But you aren’t really prepared for the pomp and pageantry that could come with it. That was my own personal excuse for years..

camp-7The crowd cheers you on, you’re like a super star in your little corner, a small fry in a broken pan…a small fish in a big lake, the bill board has your image space vacant, its waiting for you.. ‘but what’s holding you back? Are you also afraid of taking that bold step into your assigned destiny? Are you afraid of Change? The journey? Transition issues?

The carving process called change knocks us into a deep slumber of uncertainties…maybe, well maybe it isn’t time yet! Or maybe I will wait and wait…till the baby boomers launch your ideas in their retirement plan!

How do you manage change or adjustment or transition? Do you look at it as an avenue to finally launch your life’s purpose or could it be that you are God’s brewing subject in the making all the while? So happens that, NOW is just the right time and right place! You just never saw it coming. Did ya?

Or, have you ever gone through a period of discouragement or disappointment? because you tried once and it failed? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. Trust me, I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and finally sneaked into the desert with Moses. #FearOfMovingForward

Our fear and discouragement of accepting a change comes when there is a gap between what we always expect and what we eventually experience, like when there is a gap between what we hoped would happen and what actually does happen. #GreatExpectations

Believe me, our blessings is hanging in the atmosphere. It’s the move or shift we ignore everyday.

garlicAre we aware that there are people God places in our path for an eternal purpose? The beauty salon or barber shop stylist you patronize needs to see God’s love in your smile.

That unplanned stop where you run into an old friend who needs encouragement is really an opportunity sent by God.

You get a text or email from an unwanted friend and ignore the burden of a lonely soul, Does she/he need to know that you care … so she can know God cares?

Where are we looking? Behind us? At things of the past that make us cringe in fear for the future we don’t know, are we still reveling in the glory of a past long gone? Let’s look for God in our circumstances … in the people we meet … in the unwelcome intrusion of a neighbor … in the infuriating behavior of a co-worker or the exasperating antics of a teenager.

camp-9‘Moving forward, onward or along is an acceptable shift for our atmosphere.

Rooted to the same circle of confusion is a deadly disease we take for granted, because it’s a safe prescription and a very cheap one to manage. ‘We are what we MOVE.’ – Yinka.

If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. Because the devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God. #Goals

Today, I am hoping someone will wake up to their future plans by turning their dreams into reality. By turning uncertainty into sureness. Take the risk and make it happen, surprise your dreams by dragging it into the future.

I am hoping that someone will eventually let go of debilitating discouragement, procrastination, fear of change or just plain old-fashioned waiting on someone for a move first, and take hold of their next shift! Change is the only constant.

I know I just did by moving forward into my next assignment in life, and still in AWE of God’s goodness.

In my conversation with God and my daily journal, I’ve had to pinch myself back to reality saying “No human could have done this for me, But God did!  All because of His mercy and compassion, overlooking my craziness, errs and mishaps, He picked me out to be moved and used for his glory! and is still moving me forward”. #Praises

**Thanks again to everyone who made my transition easy! Wow! ‘am still beaming with love and affection for the book I received during the ‘love-filled see-you soon send off dinner’ ‘I appreciate it.

“It would be all so easy if you had a map to the Maze.

If the same old routines worked.

If they’d just stop moving “The Cheese.”

But things keep changing.

-Spencer Johnson, M.D.  “Who Moved My Cheese?

Yours in HOPE as I share Jason Nelson’s ‘Shifting The Atmosphere”

Yinka.

 

 

 

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Branding our optimism: Standing up straight and tall. PART ONE.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to threaten me whenever I hunched over at the dining table. “If you don’t sit up and finish up your food,’ she’d say, ‘I’m going to have to buy you a therapeutic back brace from Bola Chemist.” Honestly, I don’t even know if Bola Chemist make or sell back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me. Just the thought of passing through St Nicholas hospital or General Hospital all next door to Bola Chemist gave me nightmares! So I decided to cultivate a habit of always sitting up straight even when my mother’s prying eyes are not following me. And it worked out well, even until now as I’ve had to deal with some of life’s deep slumping experiences. And still ongoing.lag 3

So, I recently just returned from one of the greatest and fulfilling trips of my life! I was very blessed for encountering such beautiful and dedicated people back in Nigeria who deeply shared my passion for creating and making success stories happen. Not because the society requests it for status quo or cheap publicity, but because their love for humanity and community service is genuine.

wazobia 1

Talking about CANCER AWARENESS.

I’d learnt that carrying a banner to display a passion is not the same as connecting one-on-one with real life people, dealing with real life issues. Sometimes, creating a platform of awareness for our passion or a desired cause goes beyond media or social network. Connecting with the soul-carrier is deeper.

For the great opportunity given to me by Samson @TREK magazine who met with me at my parent’s house on the Island for the one-on-one interview on AUTISM AWARENESS IN NIGERIA and my proposal on establishing a support group/Autism school in Lagos. I am very grateful! For connecting me with various NGOs and Healthcare Administrators in Lagos. Thank you.

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ON AIR with KBABALOVEDOCTOR of WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, Lagos.

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With K Baba, Host of WAZOBIA FM’S “Love Clinic”

My midnight ON AIR radio show host connector! Ogunleke Kayode Clement aka. KBABA THE LOVE DOCTOR of  WAZOBIA 95.1 FM on Etim Inyang Street, V/Island. DR. Love! I hail! I salute! I am so thrilled and still excited about our ON AIR show. Thanks for giving me the platform to discuss more on #Moving Forward With Yinka! For giving me the opportunity to be your special guest on ‘Love Issues – relationships and marriage segments. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the panel for taking on calls from concerned and confused callers who needed help pertaining their love lives! Thanks for embracing my optimism on CANCER AWARENESS in Nigeria and allowing me to talk ON AIR to numerous wa 6listeners all over the world about my own personal journey as a 5year-cancer survivor. Oops! (Thanks for bringing out the best Pidgin English in me! Lol). You are truly appreciated. God bless you plenty my broda! – “As u don do for me dis good so! Na only better go dey come ya way o! (Lol).

60min tv

Autism Awareness Interview with Olori 60 Minutes TV in Lagos.

Special thanks to my team at 60 Minutes TV, Lagos! Olori 60 minutes! My PA and favorite niece! My personal graphics and studio manager, LeeGrapher! And everyone at 60 minutes TV. For the interview on Autism Awareness and support group in Nigeria, for connecting me with all the different families dealing with the challenges that come with caring for a special needs child in Nigeria. For every family who showed up and have embracedlag 4 the need for Autism awareness, and were more interested in finding a common ground for intervention! Because of you all, my journey to Lagos was successful! I pray that God continues to strengthen you all, emotionally and physically.

sagamu gals

FGGC Sagamu class of 1990 reunion @ Lekki.

A girly-shout out to my Almer Mater, Federal Government Girls College Sagamu class of ’90, for organizing a reunion luncheon at Lekki on OCT 1st! Love you all great shagamites! So good to see/hear from you all. Special thanks to Oby Ejekam-Ekekwe for creating what’s App Class of 1990 “P” Girls chat room! Babes, even after 25 years! You all still look smashing in your 40s! God’s hands’ is surely on us.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself, what does it take to stand up straight and tall in your life? What is it that hinders my growth? Am I failing to thrive? Do I know my purpose for life? How can I package my idealism or confidence? Talk to me! Hmmm…

To be continued next week…

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

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Awakening the stolen dream.

 Do you remember how fulfilled and excited you felt the last time you worked very hard on a given project? The success story and fantastic feedback has your talented fingerprints scribbled all over! People are amazed and surprised at the wonders of this enigma. Wow!  Nice Job!  Who did this?  How?girl 2

Oh! look at you! grinning with smiles of accomplishment.

But not for long. So you decided to brand your creativity, by stamping your image to it, the same astonished world starts to stammer and stutter, there’s fidgeting and uneasiness. Everything begins to go wrong from nowhere. Suddenly, your title shifts to “weird” or “proud” or “non-efficient or not-so-good”.

As criticism sets in, self-awareness seeks comfort in pity-party. Why? ‘Is it because it’s your swag? But, that’s what makes you stand out in the crowd of plenty! Your own God-given capability. It cannot be stolen, knocked down or reproduced. Its your WOW factor!

While some label it Destiny, others says it’s a blessing to be destined for greatness without being tortured by negative people. And because the world cannot handle your achievement, you begin to wonder-out-loud…”Where-did-I-go-wrong? Hmm.

You peep through the portals of your heart and discover that traces of pretentious doubt and cowardly low self-esteem were actually planning on visiting you soon! So you sit alone in the dark cold room and ask yourself, is it your fault? ‘that God has so blessed you with such gifting that others can’t contain the volume? Should I fall through the cracks based on a critical point of view? Or should I just keep heading towards my goal in life, pushing aside any storm? What to do?

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to climb up to the top of the playground swing bar and spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, childish and fun.

And so, my idea of primary school breaks became swinging and hanging on to the bar of the swing set at the school playground with my adorable childhood best-friend, Virginia Wilcox (now Mrs. LeBouf) She was my main dream maker, cheerleader and also my competitor. We will do cart wheels on the hard terrazzo floors! Twirl around and somersault on the cobalt blue wall to wall carpeted auditorium during Mrs. Benson’s music class, as the other students hiss, applaud or watch in dis-belief!girl 1

What a joke! Such silly boyish girls!

With our tightly knotted woolen emerald green dangling ribbons, we didn’t care if our short green school uniform would become dusty or torn from the constant mounting of the swing bars; we didn’t care if the boys were actually peeping to see our oversized mommy-made PE (physical education) shorts.

We just loved to express our athletic talent, especially as the other prim and proper girls, with perfectly pressed silky hair pulled back in assorted rayon ribbon pass by with looks of disdain and disgust! Rolling their eyes in unison.

Virginia and I. Two best friends with so much in common, two tiny mischievous  primary school girls, one in scattered box braids and the other threaded hair, nicely packed up with that very annoying silky black thread! But, we couldn’t have cared less, we weren’t bothered that we were not playing “Miss Mary-Mark” or ‘Mother May I” In our own way or world, we were just genuinely happy and content with ourselves. We were pace-setters, trend-setters and annoyingly so darn confident in our tiny selves!

Eventually we both attended the same secondary school and then same University, and after graduation, we both drifted away apart slowly and totally surrendered to life’s new extension of a real world roller coaster. A much serious one to swing on! But we never gave up on our quest to be all we can.

Today, ask yourself; How do I fight back?  whether you are criticized poorly or ignored intentionally because of that powerful element in you. Believe me, life will surely throw one or two storms of self-doubt  and distraction your way once you begin to rise. The plan is to make you feel less worthy or discouraged about your vision. Don’t fall for it!what they say

Whether you have been hurt, jilted, abandoned, used or called weird names even after you have so proved your self-worth with true sincerity; Be Encouraged! it is just a mere distraction building you up for tomorrow. It is time to wake up from that deep slumber and face the dream breakers or dream killers in your life with one thing; Fight them back with that same creative zeal or crazy passion and be hungry for more success! No matter what people think about your value, You need to know your own worth first! and be grateful to God for choosing you above all others, but don’t be patronized.

Yours in HOPE as I share Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song’.

Yinka.

 

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