A Place of Refuge…A Place of Horror

CHURCH

Desecration in the holy places. Horror of horrors.

A long moment of silence followed as I tried to digest the latest tragedy in far away Charleston, South Carolina.


I know, the horrors we battle daily in our land is more than enough to keep anyone occupied for one zillion lifetimes.

Nonetheless, nothing could detract from the jitters, afresh that washes down one’s spine on hearing and reading of such atrocities.

A place of worship is to many a place of refuge. Of hope. Of refreshing. Of awakening. Of peace. Of cleansing. And so much more.

How then did a place of worship become a place of easy target for supremacists?

I use the word ‘supremacist’ loosely because anybody that feels threatened by another enough to want to get them out of the way is definitely suffering from something more than ‘supremacy’.

The ailment plaguing such is more like a mixture of hate (self and others), racism and psychologically induced inferiority.

An ailment that could have been spotted early on.

If the foundation is destroyed…

A home is meant to be a place of warmth. Of nurturing. Of rest. Of love. Of bonding. Of refuge.
How are the homes today turning into places where little monsters and horrific plots are birthed?

On Wednesday, a young man -Dylann Storm Roof joined a bible study session inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and reportedly shot nine people dead after sitting with them for over one hour studying the bible together.

What was on his mind as Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the other members warmly welcomed him into the gathering?
What was he thinking as he sat close to the man and gazed into the eyes of the other members of the group whom he would come to mercilessly gun down several minutes later?

Victims: Nine people died in the shooting. They are (top row, left to right) DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myrah Thompson, (center row) Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, (bottom row) Daniel Simmons, Clementa Pinckney and Cynthia Hurd
Victims of a warped society…RIP, people.

He reportedly admitted that he did not want to go through with the ‘plan’ because they were all nice to him and I wish he had allowed that tiny good voice to prevail.

I find it particularly disturbing that the horror was unleashed with a gun, gifted him by his parent(s) on his 21st birthday.

A question that has been scorching and searing my mind and which I am not likely to get an answer to is why any loving parent would present their son with a gun -not a toy one  but a real .45 caliber handgun for his birthday.

I admit, getting a 21 year old a gun is as brow-raising as spoiling a ‘baby’ girl with replicated custom-built expensive sport cars a la Range Rover and Lamborghinis.

Both instances and reasoning are questionable but what do I know?

What are we churning out? What are we raising?

If the objective is to raise marksmen, sharp-shooters, killers and self-obsessed materialistic narcissists, then all is good.

I digress.

I looked at all the pictures of Dylan I saw on on the web, different pictures spanning different periods and what stares back at me tells a different story.

Burning flags, posing with guns and flags, etc
Sad, expressive eyes.
Deep melancholic expressions that screams of a dark hideout within the deepest part of his twisted soul.

roof
Credit

If I were Dylann’s mum, I would definitely be worried. Severely worried. Moreso that he was reportedly introverted for a long time.

Something was not right there. And it took nine lovely people to be gruesomely sent untimely to their graves to discover that fact.

The world has gone completely bonkers. The society is warped. And it starts from the home unit.

I believe Dylan was not born with hatred in his heart. Nobody was. Nobody is.

Nobody came to the world hating or loving anyone, the major and only concern on getting out of the birth tunnel is survival…getting in some much needed gulps of worldy air to get going.

We all learn these ‘vital’ life skills and whatever is good / bad enough to be learnt could very well be unlearnt.

No day old baby understands the difference in skin colors until they begin to develop enough to visualize and verbalize happenings around them by which time the immediate society -the family may have chosen to delete the factory settings and re-write the psychology program.

Programs are written and re-written as circumstances demand. Systems are formatted, re-installed, re-set, etc but nothing beats getting it right from the get go.

Today, we ignorantly create the imaginary supremacy divides that grows to gargantuan devastating proportions and wreaks catastrophic havoc.

If the foundation be destroyed…

It’s so sad what the world has turned into and my heart goes out to all those beautiful people’s families and everyone else suffering from the aftermaths of hate campaigns today.

BUT…

How about we go back to restore the default factory settings and prevent future ‘Dylannic’ tragedies?

How about we start preaching the message of love right from the home?

How about we drum the equality message right from babyhood and stick by it?

How about we closely monitor our children / wards, become their best friends and get into their minds while they are still very young?

How about we really create time to train them in the way they should go that would make for a peaceful nation / world and co-existence?

How about we devote our all to this cause in order to prevent our places of refuge -the home and church from turning into places where horror is birthed and unleashed?

How many more heartache and tragedies would the world endure before we understand that none is supreme and we all have the same red blood flowing underneath the white and black skins?

Love is All They Need

relayforkids 
Photo Credit 

”Mummy, you are the best cooker in the whole wide world” . 

‘Cooker’ is oftentimes interchanged with ‘maker’ or ‘baker’ depending on the circumstances…and on what the trigger is (food or tea or treat).

”Mummy, I love you…you are the best”

I get to hear these words followed by bear hugs at least 8 times daily averaging 4 emotional-laden words from each starry-eyed boy per day.

It has become a part of me as much as it is a part of the daily ritual of living and nurturing in a peaceful and loving environment.

My children currently know no other way to express love- triggered by security, shelter and a full tummy in this growing phase of their lives.

Growing up for me was not without some reasonable measure of security, joy, fun, exhilaration spiced a tiny bit with pain but in our times, life was simpler than it is, now. Worries were of a different kind.

Young children could walk short distances on errands unchaperoned and there were no fear of being attacked or kidnapped on some lonely pathways or being carted away from dormitories in the dead of the night.

I know this because the whole six years I was away at the boarding house -6 towns away from home – was without chaos, trauma or any sad life changing event.

Distance from home to the Government Unity School was only 1hour 30mins by road and about 76.8km according to Google. At that time, it felt like a whole day’s journey. Besides the first year, my sister and I…and numerous other young children made the journey alone with none of our parents going on the journey with us.

Of course, parents always favored the State owned transport company and we always got accompanied to the Bus park and they always took details of the vehicles and the buses always dropped us right in front of the school and we always went right in only to come out of the gates during the mid-term breaks for the next leg of the journey back home.

There were no mobile phones to track movement and monitor children everyday for the whole term but we survived because the world was a better place with ‘Strangers’ lovingly looking out for other people’s children / wards without sinister thoughts precipitating their acts.

There was simply enough love to go round.

Needless to say that growing up in a loving environment is one of the keys to survival, these keys have been long lost and millions of children are suffering the world over on account of this.

Love is long gone with the keys. It has since been swallowed in hate and senseless battle for control.

Suffice also to say that growing up with loving parents committed to the tendering of the fresh gardens that children are could not but result into a lovingly balanced tomorrow. Our tomorrow are really the children and we have little choice than to bestow all the love we are capable of giving on them, today.

It deeply saddens me that some children would never have enough love to fill their hearts and tummies to induce the ”mummy, you are the best cooker..” or similar love-induced lines.

More disheartening is the fact that some children all over the world no longer have someone to love them or look out for them and so they have nobody they can love back. Millions of children have nobody to provide them shelter, shield them from the harsh realities of the day, send them to schools or wipe their fevered brows on some clean hospital wards while awaiting needed and timely medical interventions.

They have been left love-less and unloved due to activities of war, terrorism, senseless xenophobic crisis. They have been forced to witness and experience traumatizing acts of terror that could permanently scar the hearts of even the strongest adults. Their lives have been disrupted, their hearts have been scarred.

According to UNICEF, about 800,000 children have been displaced as a result of islamic millitants’ activities in Nigeria alone. Those are the documented cases only, the actual figures may run much higher.

Add that figure to the millions in Syria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and other crisis-ridden regions and you would come close to the figure of children in distress -globally.

Their childhoods have evaporated with the fumes of gunpowder and some of them are currently on the run, for their lives!

Asides competing in inter-school sports activities, children really have no business running when they should be living, schooling, partaking in developmental activities, safe and secured in loving environments with access to everything that makes childhood fun.

Children who fled their homes following an attack by Islamist militants, in North East Nigeria, wait to be registered at the camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Nigeria
Photo credit

“Children worldwide are living in extreme poverty, witnessing horrific violence and suffering the long-term impact of deprivations. Without our support, these children are at heightened risk of exposure to trauma and exploitation,” 

 – Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages – USA 

They are living in palpable fear in volatile environments with no access to the basic amenities needed to survive. No food to fill their tummies, tons and tons of wide-eyed kids and adults huddled together in make-shift open shelters and are prone to all sorts of ailments and diseases with no access to medical care, education, etc are the order of the day. They currently have no hope of a ‘good’ future given their current circumstances. This tugs at my heart, constantly.

But there is something we can all do to assist these innocent and helpless ones. There is something we can all do to show them some love and that will only take 1 minute or less of our time.
unicef snapchat
Credit

I believe every child is important in the scheme of things. Every child deserves LOVE and we do not need several millions of cash in the bank to help them neither do we need gigantic buildings or single-handedly build schools before we can demonstrate some measure of love.

Although putting structures in place or donating to a worthy cause that supports helpless children all over is not a bad idea if we all have the means and resources but one inexpensive way I am pretty positive you can show some love right now is by pausing to support the Relay for Kids initative.

Relay for Kids is about two things: kids in crisis around the world and what you can do—right now—to help them. As you read this, millions of children from Syria to Liberia are seeing their childhoods stolen from them by prolonged violent conflict and a debilitating disease. Relay for Kids is a chance to directly impact the lives of these children—all with a few clicks of your mouse.

Every time you like and/or share any of the posts on Huffington Post’s website, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 per like / share to SOS Children’s Villages which is the world’s largest organization dedicated to orphaned or abandoned children. This could go up to $30,000 which is a lot for these children.

Relay for Kids is an initiative of Johnson & Johnson, SOS Children’ Village and The Huffington Post and the objective is to raise global awareness and support for children around the world who are affected by poverty, conflict, disease and natural disaster.

So do show and share some love by liking and sharing.

Love makes us think of strangers in distress, enough to want to help anyhow we can.

Love makes us want to protect our children and every other child with all we have.

Love makes us want to provide for our children’s needs while also sparing some thought for the ‘less privileged’.

Love prevents people from hurting other people’s children just because their parents decides to leave their own habitats for some other ‘greener’ places thereby competing with local indigenes for supposedly limited opportunities available.

Love makes us see ourselves as one, regardless of color / race.

Love prevents people from massacring young children just because their parents sends them to educational institutes to get some knowledge.

Love prevents people from invading learning institutions and kidnapping young scholars whose only crime was being in the right places at the right time.

Love makes people place others on pedestals much higher than color, religion or social standing.

Love will make you pause for a second, ruminate on this message, visit the #Relay for Kids website and like / share the day’s post so that at least one  helpless / hopeless / displaced / distressed child may have hope and the tiniest fraction of love for truly, love is all they need to survive.

© Biolaleye and Ramblings of A Nigerian Momaholic, 2015.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material on this site without express / written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Biolaleye and Ramblings of A Nigerian Momaholic with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

As Nigeria Decides…#StandForPeace

Image result for nigeria decides 2015 
Firstly, I sincerely and somberly apologize for bailing on you. *mentally stares down at feet, hands folded behind back*
Been more than a month and believe me, it has been crazy but thankfully, we are still standing and breathing. Thanks be to God, again.
I love you guys, especially those who have been concerned, those who reached out to find out what was happening and those who have been goading and prodding me, ever so gently. You know yourselves and I am ever so grateful for your friendship which transcends this virtual divide.
You make me feel loved and needed. Now who doesn’t love that?
It has really been an eventful one month. I pray nobody ever goes through some of these kind of events for the rest of this year.
Was supposed to publish at least four times during the past one month, well, all is well…even in the well. Lol.
I’m here now, would get round to it all but first things first, you know today’s date, right?
Yeeeees. *pumping the air with my fist*
It’s finally the day set aside for #Nigeria to decide who occupies Aso Villa / Rock for the next four years. 
We go to the polls today to bravely chart a ‘fresh’ course..
Or more aptly, ‘Patriotic’ Nigerians (who are not scared ‘shitless’ to venture out of their apartments) go to the polls today to try and change our collective destiny as a nation. 
Well, I am patriotic…and not scared (I hope)…but I sure am monitoring events from my bed or armchair, whichever ‘sweet me pass’. You get?
D1 is hyper enthusiastic and has been keenly following the build up to the election. He has been pestering me for days and is the first to announce the ‘big event’ this morning thinking mum and dad may have forgotten.
He thought we were going to write the names of our candidates on a piece of paper, wrap it and go drop it off somewhere to be counted. Maybe release the paper into the space, watch and allow it float to wherever.
Had to tell him it doesn’t work that way and also as a bonus reminded him (yet, again) that he is still faaaarrrrr from 18.
‘Sorry to dash your hope, sweetheart but you cannot vote for Muhammadu Buhari and Jimi Agbaje, yet’
Oh yes.
Though he likes Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan but he wants the ‘old’ general -Buhari (GMB) for president and Jimi Agbaje for Governor of Lagos State and his younger brother is also totally sold on big bro’ political idea / inclination. 
The way they pick stuffs is amazing. Their minds are like sponges, eagerly lapping and absorbing everything that comes their way. More reason to get closer and help in filtering all the mumbo jumbos.
On our way from school sometimes last week, he was asking me whether it is true that Buhari is too old (to become president) and would die soon. Lol.
Of course I told him, age has little to do with death, sincerity of purpose and governance.
I digress.
In their minds, APC with their mighty brooms would do well in sweeping Boko Haram from Nigeria while PDP is to cover Lagos State with their umbrellas. 
 Image result for apc symbol      OR   Image result for pdp symbol
Of course D1 understands both men are from  two different political parties but he just cannot be bothered as he likes both individuals and he is not affiliated to any party.
Blissful innocence.
Whatsmore? My boy neither collected any of the $$$ that has been flying around for days now nor did he share in the bags of rice and recharge cards, etc etc.
So he is really coming with clean hands and for him, whoever wins, life goes on. 
He still gets to eat his Rice Krispies…and Ribena…and Grapes.
And he still gets to enjoy his game of Scrabble…and Chess….
 
The life of an ‘innocent’ young boy is truly delightful.
His mum and dad have no private jets or swiss accounts or oil wells or properties abroad.
Why should he/we/they kill himself/ourselves/themselves for some bunch that would still hug and back-slap at their social gathering after today, regardless of whose ‘bread is buttered’?
After three weeks, they return to school…to their friends and teachers…they still get to see mum and dad, hug and tell them they love them…and life continues.
Life goes on as usual.
I really wish every Nigerian would think like these under-age-too-young-to-vote-blissfully-innocent boys. 
That whoever wins, life goes on.
…change or continuity, life goes on.
Seriously, all I feel for these young and old ones that scramble after these ephemeral and temporal reliefs is PITY. 
$1000 or $20000 or 100 bags of rice would finish someday, flushed down the sewage and then what happens?
Fresh doses of Insecurity. Unemployment. Darkness. Incessant outages. Corruption. Squandering of Resources. Incessant health workers’ strike. Decaying infrastructure. Inadequate infrastructure. Regrets.
How long would we continue to mortgage our souls and the future of our children for morsels of porridge?
Well, considering the level of poverty in the land and also the fact that the ‘morsels’ can assuage their thirsts and satisfy their hunger for a few hours or days…can they really be blamed? 
Maybe. Maybe not.
Still finding it had to decide which is better between those scrambling for their share of the ‘national cake’ and the die-hard supporters who are seriously ready to die and kill for their candidates…and they are dying and killing for them. Maybe they are really one and the same.
Such gluttony. Such loyalty. Totally misplaced.
I pray their eyes would be opened to see the big picture, eschew violence and embrace peace.
Can you join me in advocating for PEACE?
Spread the message of PEACE, especially to our youths.
Let them know that nothing and nobody is worth dying or killing for.
That they should put themselves and their loved ones first.
That they are responsible for their actions and decisions.
That no individual should be greater than the nation.
That the ‘morsels of porridge’ would finish one day.
That the ‘morsels of porridge’ are actually their birthrights being squandered with their help.
That the ones they are dying and killing for are better placed than them and can escape in their lush private jets when push turns to shove.
That they would be left to sink or clean up or be locked up if they are ‘lucky’.
That the children of these mighty ones they are dying for are safely ensconced in the US and UK in their fancy homes and schools.
That in the end, they remain standing with their loved ones.
That they would become the losers when the two elephants are done with fighting.
That he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day
That whoever wins or die senselessly, life continues.
That another election would come round in another four years.
That if they unwisely/senselessly fight and die now, it’s all lost and over for them and their loved ones.
That only nomenclature differentiates the parties, they are indeed one in modus operandi, principles and ideologies.
That violence resolves nothing.
That war is a wildfire which consumes everything in its way.
That if they have to fight at all, they should peacefully fight for PEACE.
As you join me in advocating for peace, I leave you with a part of this prayer I hear everyday from the boys.

….air plane will not crash in Jesus name 
….nobody will die in Jesus name
….nobody will fall sick in Jesus name
….Nigeria will not scatter in Jesus name
….there will be no war in Nigeria in Jesus name.
Still saying amen?
Good.
Whichever way the wind blows after today – whether towards CHANGE or CONTINUITY – life goes on.
#PeaceNotViolence
#NigeriaDecides2015
#StandForPeace
#SaiPeace
#PrayForPeace
#LetLovePrevail
 

Explaining Diversity to Kids

I hate to think my boys are the only kids that ask cringe-worthy questions, and in public places too.

You know questions that make you feel like O.M.G…not so loud…and not here!

You ever been there?

Kids tend to exhibit their curious state anywhere and everywhere and God help you if you are close by without a ready answer, carefully thought out or not.

As parents, we may sometimes need/want to ‘save face’ and end up sacrificing having to rightly address their curiosity on the altar of embarrassment, particularly in public places and when the tide isn’t exactly favorable.

The ‘different’ questions come often and if you are like me, you may have slammed the lid on their curiosity about differences and diversity by hushing them or at best telling them we are all the same, without elaborating further.

Kids are really just mini-adults with super sharp minds…more observant and detailed than adults, …and very quick to pick out (and voice out) differences all around them.

Differences in their school bags, differences in their lunch packs, differences in shoes, differences in facial expressions, differences in appearance, differences everywhere.

Differences in color. How red differs from blue…yellow from green…black from white.

I wonder about colors…so do they.

They ask questions about colors and things they see or imagine.

D1 asks about a million questions per day. Okay, I exaggerate a little…nope, much…but he has a very inquisitive mind.

Why is that man walking with a stick?
Why is that woman sitting on the wheel chair?
Is her leg paining her?

Why is D2’s tummy bigger than my own?
Are you thinking about your mother that died when her car somersaulted? (Out of the blues when I’m pensive)

Why do cats like fish? Why do the mouse like cheese?
Lion and tiger, are they the same?
Why is the lion called the king of the jungle?
The lion and tiger, which one is stronger?
Can a lion kill an elephant? 

Why can’t God make cats like cheese and mouse like fish?
Are the Chibok girls not children of God?
Why do God allow people to die?

Why is it dark?
Why….
Why is it white?
Why is he white?

Like he asked out loud at the Supermarket when we stopped by to pick up groceries on our way from school yesterday evening.

“Mummy, that man is really white…is he a foreigner?” (He’s currently having mid-term tests in school and the topic of ‘foreigners’ came up during Social Studies revision time)

And like the typical mum…hush…hush…shhhh

That’s rude.
Or just plain curiosity.

We I tend to cloud their unassuming and harmless observations and questions with our my ‘superior’ judgement..sometimes.

I looked at ‘me’ and I looked at him…and at the ‘foreigner’ who thankfully was not paying attention to the little 6year old and his silly mum.

Would I allow him bear the weight of ‘shhhhed’ unanswered questions just to avoid ’embarrassment’?
Would I allow him form his own opinions without guidance?
What’s a parent to do…every time?

Worse still…would I rather these boys move away from anyone perceived to be different from them?

Different in appearance, skin color…religion…opinions…etc?

I think of the men I want these boys to grow into…men that hold the hand of the lonely…men that speak out against ills…men that wouldn’t allow color color their perceptions (pun intended)…men that positively impact their generation…men that embraces all regardless of religious inclinations or social standing…regardless of color of skin or hair…regardless of physical differences …regardless of educational differences and I think of the mother I need to be…

…a mother that patiently encourages questions and stimulates their inquisitive hearts by answering all questions as truthfully as she could. (hand on chest…God help me)

If your child has questions about diversity / differences in physical characteristics or cultural practices, discuss them openly. This teaches your child that it’s okay to notice differences, and more importantly, it teaches him that it’s good to talk about them. Learning to appreciate all kinds of differences—not just racial and cultural but differences in socioeconomic levels, gender, and even disabilities is an important skill in today’s diverse society. – See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/parenting/school-age/10-ways-to-teach-kids-about-diversity#sthash.Yp9gcN4T.dpuf

…a mother who encourages questions about physical or cultural differences and openly discusses them.
…a mother who teaches her kids it’s okay to observe differences and loudly or quietly ask about them.
…a mother who teaches her children to appreciate all kinds of differences -be it cultural, racial, educational, gender, social, economic and even disabilities.

“mummy, I.B too is white in my class”
“I.B is not white, just lighter than you in complexion” 
“Ok”.
“Does he eat in class like you?”
“Yes, mum”
“He’s your friend, isn’t he?”
“Yes”.

“See, I.B is not really different…he does everything you do”.

“See…that man too is buying bread and we are also here to buy Semolina (and beverages)” (Of course, delivered ‘hush-hushly’)

“So he goes hungry and eats like us”

Although we look different, we are really all the same, my boy…created by the same God.
We are all the same…yet different, with or without the same skin color….with the same color of blood flowing in us.

He’s white, we are darker.
We are different yet the same…same on the inside, driven by the same hunger – goals and aspirations.
We can join hands and dance the ‘victors’ dance and sing…’cos we have the same features, same capabilities…

Different does not equate ugly…different does not equate bad.
Same is good…different is great.

So our dear ‘different’ friends, be kind enough not to cringe when a certain 6year old wonders aloud and also please permit his silly mum ramble through the truth of our diversity.

(Definitely going to use the eggs to drive it home further…in the morning)


Source

Would You Be Their Voice?

Friends,

Sometimes, life could be very busy that we have no space for anything else,

-like calling up a distant friend to find out how they are doing
-like remembering a dear friend’s birthday or wedding anniversary
-like remembering to make arrangements for the next morning’s breakfast
-like remembering to turn on the Washer
-like remembering to take the children out as earlier promised
-like remembering to get the slides ready for the next day’s Presentation
-like remembering to laugh heartily
-like remembering to study or pray
-like getting a manicure
-like getting the hair done / cut
-like going for a date night with hubby / wifey
-like being romantic
-like getting some more fruits or vegies
-like sparing 2 minutes of our time to help save the ‘world’..

But remembering that some are not having it half as good and tables could turn (like it did when Ebola sneaked into Nigeria) is bound to put everything into perspective. It’s November and countless have gone and are still succumbing to the evil wind blowing across the land.
What really can the (privileged) living do?

Would You Be Their Voice?

Could we pause for a few minutes to savor life?
Look around us and be (a)L.I.F.E.
Rouse ourselves to feel the warmth?
Tilt our head and hear the sounds?
Of thousand fearful whimpers helped along by the wind.

The wind of life bellows with gusto
Giving motion to the very lives around
But why is it deserting their sails?
Look and see their tiny ships cast ashore
Hopeless and forlorn on the sands of time.

Do you still feel the wind?
Ever so busy like a lady bee
Disrespectfully tossing hither and thither
Leaving the fluids of life on the sands
As they forever take their leave of the earthly realm.

Would you be the for them a fresh gust of wind?
A mighty captain from afar come to save?
Would you speak for them?
Would you halt the scourge?

Would you be their voice, today?

Would you please sign the petition today?

Touch Your Breasts…Now!

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Source

Yes, go on.

Touch your breasts right now. Stand in front of the mirror and do some visual examinations, check for any obvious / imagined changes in the layout of your breast…any unusual wrinkling or crinkling…any changes in the nipples…then raise your arm and feel your breast with the small of your palm in a circular motion…first one…then the other.

Sorry, this isn’t a command…but…now lie on a flat surface / bed with a small pillow underneath the shoulder of the breast you want to check out. Like that. Now Please start touching and feeling away.
First one, then the other.

Notice any change? Feel any unusual lump? See fluid oozing out of your nipple? Observed any discoloration? Anything unusual? Time to head to the hospital…flag it.

This doesn’t take more than 10 minutes, at most but we are usually lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily activities to bother with this simple test that could turn out to be a life saver. (I’m also a defaulter here)

Until we have a rude awakening, that is. Like I did last week.

And it dawned on me again that this doesn’t cost anything other than some few minutes of my time which could actually end up adding several years to my life. Get the logic?

So I was fiddling with my BBM last week -fiddling consists mainly of scrolling through my contacts doing some psychological checking on my friends when I suddenly had to literally screech to a stop on seeing a friend’s dp.

You know those kind of dark dps that send the jitters down your spine? Total blackout. Weeping emoticons. Lamentations.

Now I hate seeing stuffs like that but who doesn’t?

I mean, those dramatic displays indicate sorrow, pain, grief…and, noone deserves to go through that. Everyone is entitled to happiness, long life, prosperity, good health, basic amenities, etc etc. But life is hardly fair now, is it?

On making inquiries, I discovered my friend just lost a close family friend.
To cancer…of the breast.

The deceased left behind two young ones…5yrs and 3yrs!
A young devoted mother with young children who could not wipe their own butts yet…children who depended on her for everything. She was a giver and a child of God. It was further disclosed during our chat that the deceased’s constant prayer had been to live long to care for her children until they are fully grown. How sad.

Isn’t that every mother’s dream? That really got me teary eyed.

Like I’m a young mother with two young ones who have become the center of our lives. We work hard, praying daily to live long enough to see these kids children’s children if the Lord tarries.

The news hit me in a way I still can’t put into words.

She loved her children so much and they were said to be the fulcrum and pillar around which her life revolved. Now she’s gone, what happens to the children?
Who would love and take care of them like she did? Of course, only one Being is capable of loving and caring for them more than their mother and that is God. I trust He has already hearkened to our petitions and taken over.

More saddening to me was the fact that it didn’t have to end that way, could have been prevented.

Maybe if she was diligently committed to doing breast self examinations….
Maybe the cancer would have been detected early….

Maybe  a mammogram…
Maybe it’s her time…
Maybe not….
Maybe…

Even though I did not have the privilege of knowing / meeting her, I totally relate and I am feeling overwhelmed, right now.
I love God…I love life…I love my loved ones.
But do I love them enough to start taking real steps to stay alive?

It has become a real battle for survival out there and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to keep fighting…to keep striving…to keep living

Need I say more, lovely people?

Please I need you to start feeling your boobies right now. Just go on and do it. Before your monthly periods…after your periods….everyday. Let us will ourselves to do it.

Just.Do.It!
You still don’t have a clue how to go about it? You may want to check here for instructions.

For the sake of all that we hold dear, please let’s add this to our daily to-do list and help reduce the sad incidence of breast cancer.

Collectively, we can kick cancer out, one breast at a time.

Moreover, it’s breast cancer awareness month…so let’s love ourselves and our dependents enough to go touchy-feely.

Again…just do it…and get others doing it by sharing and spreading the awareness….

SAVE THE CHILD…SAVE THE MOTHER

Becoming a mother is every woman’s dream…well, not every woman’s dream which is okay by the way. But it was one of mine. I craved the joys of motherhood forgetting that oftentimes, pain accompanies the actualization of dreams.

You go through the dreamy 9-monthy motions and voila…the cute wrinkly squirming pinkish bun that took 40 weeks or less to bake pops out in all his slimy glory.

He’s finally here and your heart feels like bursting with pride at what you’ve just managed to achieve. Didn’t you just give life to another being? The whole world thereon takes on a new meaning.

Then something goes slightly un-okay…deep cervical lacerations that requires extensive stitching…and then you remember in the painfully hazy bliss that you ‘pushed’ in haste in order to obtain relief from the million tiny needles piercing your whole being.

Hemorrhage. Soreness. Searing pain beyond reason as the attending doctors battle for hours to tidy the mess left of the cervix. Pain so intense you cannot but pass out only to be awakened hours later by some cheek and feet slapping forcing you to slowly come back to your surroundings.

You barely have time to groggily fit the pieces together before discovering that the baby’s eyes seem to appear funny, un-babylike tinged with a yellowish-green hue…the skin unhealthy looking.

Heart pounding furiously in your mouth as the doctor examines him and a nurse clad in white hovers around. Then the flurry of activities, plunging needles in his tiny 1day old vein to take blood samples. Every tiny whimper and wailing breaking your heart into a million pieces. This tiny one is not supposed to know pain.

Verdict: Jaundice…and baby just had to be whisked away to the neo natal ward where he stays for the next one week – all these, before you have a chance to bond properly and nuzzle his soft squishy pink cheeks.

Welcome to the world of an informed and urbanized new mom who was lucky enough to have access to the best medical care…

I could have lost my life or I could have lost my baby or both had I been in some remote area with inadequate medical infrastructure or inadequate resources to seek medical help!

In another part of the city, one not-so-lucky mother just gave up the ghost in a little rustic ‘mission house’ with no skilled medical worker in sight. 
Reason? Hemorrhage…poverty…inability to afford good medical care…ignorance.


In yet another part of the town, things went awry and one new mom just lost her life in a ‘General hospital’ surrounded by skilled medical personnel. 
Reason? Hemorrhage…mismanagement.

Also in another part of the city, one woman just witnessed her long-awaited new born baby join the angels…stone-cold before she had a chance to introduce to him the warmth of a mother’s love.
Reason? Jaundice…traumatic / prolonged labor…brain starved of oxygen for too long…poor management.

Yet countless new born babies are being traumatized with some surviving their ordeal but end up having severe brain damage on account of poor handling / mismanagement.
(C’s friend’s baby far away in South Africa on my mind as I type this…the poor little darling) .


Sometimes last year, I was brought low by the stark reality when a friend lost his wife during childbirth which I wrote about here: Life givers still giving in to death.

Not much has changed as we move closer to the 2015 deadline for the MDG-4 & 5 goals.

”In 2000, world leaders adopted a series of ambitious goals–the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)–including commitments to cut poverty by half, get every child into school, and dramatically reduce child and maternal deaths by 2015”

This also includes commitment to reduce maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
 

In Nigeria, maternal and child mortality rate still remain high in spite of all the concerted efforts that have been put in place towards reducing the sad occurrences.

The outlook is still bleak as 1 in 13 women still die from pregnancy and childbirth, in Nigeria alone. 

My dear country reportedly has the highest mortality ratio in Africa! 

”Maternal deaths have not reduced and the country still loses about 52,000 women yearly from pregnancy – related complications”- WHO


Only 40% of deliveries are still attended by skilled medical workers and this has made the MDG goals on maternal health seemingly unachievable by the year 2015. –Source

Think of the rural areas. Think of the mothers who are miles away from health facilities yearly losing their lives or losing their babies or both while trying to give life.

Lack of skilled medical workers.

“It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has desperately recalled more than 2,000 retired and unemployed midwives to rural areas to tackle the problem.”

Sadly, despite the international and local efforts, the statistics continues to look grim for Nigeria, India, Congo, Pakistan and China. These countries collectively account for half of the deaths globally. 

”Particularly in Nigeria, mortality rate for children under the age of five reportedly rose from 100 per 1000 live births in 2003 to 87 per 1000 live births in 2011” -UNICEF


The reasons are not far fetched. 

– Out of religious beliefs borne basically out of ignorance, a fair percentage of our expectant women would still opt for home-birth or the infamous ‘mission houses’. Besides ignorance, poverty may well have a hand in such decisions.

– Lack of access to quality health care especially for the mothers resident in the rural areas. Some mothers would only appear at the health facilities for the first time during labor.

– Inadequate / poor medical infrastructure

– Lack of basic amenities such as portable water, good roads, etc. Wondering what water and roads have to do with this? Think of personal hygiene. Think of rural areas with the closest health clinic being miles away with the roads inaccessible.
– Shortage of trained medical personnel

– Reluctance of skilled workers to migrate to the rural areas.

‘Six in ten mothers in Nigeria receive antenatal care from trained medical personnel‘. -WHO

It is an established fact that early presentation and good antenatal care could greatly prevent the major causes of neonatal mortality in Nigeria.

Painfully, these needless deaths could indeed be prevented, the resources are available but the awareness has not gained sufficient momentum to make significant differences.

Statistically, one in five Nigerian child would never reach the age of 5! 

Heartbreakingly sad.

”Infant deaths, which account for half of child mortality have increased from what they were in 1990. With a 13% immunization rate for children between 12-23 months, Nigeria is the African country with the lowest vaccination rate”. WHO
Ouch.

What then can we do?
With less than 500 days to the deadline set, what have we been doing?
What can we achieve as a people between now and then?
What can I do?

I am joining the Marathon of Moms’ Voices movement of Mom Bloggers for Social Good to spread the word about child mortality and maternal mortality.

I am supporting the Save the Children initiative.

What about you?

You may not be able to go to the rural areas to enlighten our mothers, you may not be able to contribute financially towards putting the necessary infrastructures in place but I implore you to visit the Save The Children website and spread the word-  http://www.savethechildren.net/mdg500/

Be. Accountable.

You may want to join in the conversation…and do your bit in helping to snatch the next mother and child from the grim clutches of death.

Hopefully our collective voices would end up making a deafening sound which would spur our Leaders to take decisive actions in line with the Millennium Development Goals to Save Our Children and Our Mothers by putting key interventions in place.

This is pretty important to me because it is my belief that irrespective of status or geographical location, every woman deserves access to quality maternal care and every child deserves the best shot at life and living.

No mother deserves to die while trying to give life and no child deserves to have his / her life cut short before it’s even started.
Every child deserves to be in school. Every child deserves the best.
Every mother deserves the best she can get in this day and age with all the resources at our disposal.

Regardless of skin color, location or social status, we are one.
We are sisters driven by similar goals. 

The ‘less privileged’ uneducated rural sisters cannot help themselves…no education, no resources, no electricity, no broadband….let us be their voices and lend ourselves to this global campaign.
Our leaders must be awakened to the current realities and compelled to make the changes we desire.

I leave you with these pictures from around the world… maybe they would just strike the right chords in your heart, loud enough to propel you into acting anyhow you can.

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 But when you realize that in other places of the world, 18, 000 children die every day from preventable causes and a million of newborns die on their first day of life, it’s time for a reality check. (via Mery Knows Best: WE CAN HELP TO SAVE MOMS AND CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD #MGDMOMENTUM #COMMIT2DELIVER #SOCIALGOODMOMS500)
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Child Marriage
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Source
#MDGmomentum #commit2deliver #stopmaternaldeaths #socialgoodmoms500