Have you ever heard of an NDE-Near Death Experience.
About 2 weeks ago I had my first NJE – Near-Jand Experience.
Before I continue, I must warn that a lot of people have lost the capacity for NJEs mostly due to the fact that they have been to jand (or watched too much DSTV). Alternatively, depending on the kind of schools you attended, you may also risk losing the NJE capability.
Me, I have never stepped outside naija- not even Niger or Togo and my schools have never really had that many white people. In fact, I remember when some Asians – must’ve been Bangladeshi or something- joined my primary school, we were taking turns to feel their hair. I follow touch O! If I remember correctly, the hair felt like plastic straws… or ragged pure water sachets.
So how do I define an NJE?
The most important factor is the people around. They must be predominantly foreign – not just foreign O! Togolese and Ghanaians no follow. They must be Caucasian; a sprinkling of chinks is permissible. This factor definitely rules out certain locations for NJEs – No hope for an NJE in Oshodi bus stop, the creeks of the Niger Delta and, of recent, the US oval office. (By the way sef, one of my very good friends thinks Obama might be the antichrist but that’s gist for another day).
The next most important factor is the environment – the architecture of the buildings, the uncommonness of the furnishings and even the landscaping.
Other minor factors also help identify an NJE. Smell for example. I imagined previously that an NJE would smell like garlic. Thankfully my first NJE didn’t cos the experience lasted 20 mins and I’ve returned there 9 more times. Speak of a nasal health hazard.
Dressing too matters – Men in skirts and women in outerwear that you previously thought was inner wear would be inarguable indicators but then more subtle pointers like the clothes looking more like they originated from Wranglers and Woolsworth rather than Tejuosho and Akpombo are indicative of the fact that you are on to something. Other stuff like language, accent and games played by the children should also be looked out for.
Now where did I experience my first NJE? No, not at MMIA or The palms but at a school – Lycee Francais Louis Pasteur du Lagos. Oya start pulling out your Harper’s French dictionaries. Its somewhere in V.I., for the rich, not-so-famous and predominantly light-skinned. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been tagging along with a cousin to drop off her daughter every morning and to be honest, I have never been around that many white people before. I try hard not to stare. I now know how the early white missionaries must’ve felt. I wont take credit away from the school though, I have only been in the kindergarten class and its kinda cool – my nursery school was not almost like that. They keep the kids very occupied with fun stuff, sometimes I feel like joining them to play with plasticine. And the older students seem to get plenty of homework considering the travelling bags they bring to school in the name of school bags. So if yu have money, send your child there so they can get used to oyibo and not stare like us.
NJEs provoke brilliant introspecting and the very first question that hit me was:
If this school were in Port Harcourt City where the light-skinned (including albinos) are an endangered specie, what will be used to guard the school???
I don't wear shorts on weekdays before I earn an asinine comment from one of my lecturers so I just stick to wearing them on weekends.
Today is saturday. Weekend. I was wearing my shorts, T-shirt and ACG sandals. I taught some folks Java programming, hosted my radio show, taught some more Java and went to eat in the company of one of my students. On our way back, this guy attacked my dressing. Said I looked boyish. I didn't take offense but then he started adding other annoying things. See me see wahala o! I started defending myself o! (My mistake;I should have just shut up). He obviously had a problem with short-wearing but why will someone try to enforce his standards and principles on me considering we have different backgrounds. Meanwhile I don't try to make his leather pam slippers sound like a capital crime considering I'm sworn off them. And for goodness sake, what is wrong with wearing shorts on a saturday. Not like I was going anywhere special with them. Infact, before I went for fellowship later that afternoon, I characteristically changed into a button-down, long sleeved shirt and plain trousers. People ehn.
Tomorrow, I'll be teaching him and others Java again. I'm really considering wearing the same shorts and t-shirt with up-turned collar...I wish I could also grow an afro overnight. What do yu think?
The first time I visited the school, I hadn't really gotten in. My sister was there already and informed my overjoyed parents that I gained admission but I had to bring some documents to solidify things. Anyways when I arrived with the kain documents, I had to perch with a cousin, Cigar who was living in a boys' quarter in the staff residential areas.
That night me and Cigar took a stroll but before we started out, he branched a neighbour's house and picked up some company; someone I'll continually refer to as mo. Mo eventually became my current roommate, closest friend and cousin to almost-girlfriend.
But I didn't move into mo's family BQ with him in my first year; Since my 3rd year, I would spend half the semester in my hostel room and half in mo's BQ. In most cases, I would start with sleepovers, then sleep- and bath-overs, then I'll bring in a shirt, then another and before long, I would basically be living there. Now, I'm no parasitic squatter; mo asked for all this so we could work together, I just never moved in permanently cos my parents didn't agree.
I forgot to mention that sometime in my 3rd year, mo's father became a deputy vice-chancellor of the university. The relevance of this? You'll see. In my final year, I informed (as opposed to asked) my parents that I was moving in permanently with mo and I didn't bother paying for hostel accommodation...at first; because before long mo's mum called me and told me to get my hostel room so one of their young in-laws that wanted to focus for his JAMB preparations could stay there. I obeyed. If na yu, yu go disobey your landlady? I paid for the accommodation with money she provided, did all the appropriate signing in procedures and the young lad started staying there.
Shortly after the boy came to complain to me that someone else had been assigned to the exact same space. Me, I carried my two legs and went to ask the hall supervisor why. The kain hall supervisor said I had been bounced. Of course, I didn't find that very funny and insisted on knowing why. The next thing I knew was a hot slap. Yes yu heard me - SLAP. Not slap (abi pat) on the back, not friendly slap on the knee, not tap, pap or crap but SLAP. I was shocked, shaken and saw stars.
Now yu my readers are probably thinking:
"Bighead deserved this, why did he tear the man's shirt". I did not touch him, much less his shirt
"Bighead deserved this, why did he curse the man mother with the worst kind of Igbo yabs". I spoke plain english addressing my current problem and none other
"Bighead deserved this, why did he raise his voice". Before the slap, my voice was loud enough for just the two of us to hear.
My crime according to him, "...disturbing...". I got slapped for disturbing. As far as I was concerned, I was slapped cos he was taller and some folks think I have a baby-face (a cute baby-face actually *wink*).
After the slap, I raked...oh my...I didn't even know I had that much rake in me cos I had to be physically restrained to stop me from shouting the roof of the hall down. Afterwards, I reported the incident straight to my landlord and landlady (DVC and DVC's wife, remember).
Have yu ever heard the term drinking someone else's panadol. My landlady drank my panadol in this case. We started at the dean of student's affairs who gave me a new room and gave my landlady permission to do whatever she wanted to the hall supervisor that "...he has been giving too much trouble...". From there we went to the university's chief security officer and were about moving on to the Police to get some policemen to arrest and lock up the hall supervisor for unprovoked assault when the CSO asked that we let him handle the case. All the while, I was feeling like a don getting my wounded ego healed. The rest of the story, you can predict.
In my school, the non-academic staff like this fellow are a huge part of the school's problem. I hope they keep slapping people so they keep getting put in their place. My cheek still hurts though. Do yu know any cheek massage therapist?
I'll leave old gist behind and start with wats new (except if one of the "topics" above is too juicy for you to resist asking).
Thats for my next post. For now, I'm having a raging headache, neckache, elbowache and heartache (I know, I don come again). Don't mind me on the last ache.
For this post, I was just ensuring I could still type in English (C, Java and MATLAB have been linqua franca of recent).I think I did pretty well; even Engr Anyaka cannot give me a 'B' on this post. Did I ever mention how Engr Anyaka denied me and the rest of the class A's on a THREE UNIT LOAD? and gave me worries for most of my final yr? Gist for another day.
For now, have a lovely day; breathe sparingly (there is an ongoing oxygen scarcity), don't stare at the hot girl...or guy that passes by (or stares at you), live...ok, I accept I'm blabbing.
Naija schools don dey beta small-small o! Thanks to the little improvements here and there, two of my lecturers were fortunate to be sent to
Since Mr N came back a lot of things changed about him. He now wears sneakers and jeans to lectures, with his well-starched, short-sleeved shirt firmly tucked in and a definite new bounce that gives me the impression that his sneaker soles are filled with helium. He also brings only type-written notes to class now as opposed to the hand-written notes (that look like they were written at least 2 decades ago) that is typical of most other lecturers. He is constantly on his computer every time you visit his office which he refuses to stay in whenever there is no light cos according to him, he can’t do without his air-conditioner. Before you start imagining one janded lecturer like this, Mr N is none of that o! He’s a typical Igbo man with “razor blade” = lazor brade syndrome and all.
Anyways, in the course of his lectures last semester, he gave us gist about
Everlasting life may be found there
According to him, everything needed for life is there, good food, good healthcare, even the weather supposedly contributes. He finds absolutely no reason why anyone should die there. It makes me then wonder why they have a population less than all the area boys from Igbosere to Okokomaiko despite ALL the things that contribute to death here.
Their prime minister moves around in a two-car convoy
This is definitely the main evidence that they don't have an ounce of naija blood in them (forget de white skin) because even wheel barrow pushers here hope to move around in convoys. Infact its my major regret for choosing not to go into politics.
If you don't close your legs while walking, you will be blown away
He was almost blown away himself O! In fact, we thank God for his life… He claims wind speeds are very high there; that he constantly had difficulty getting into his office and the dutch generaate all their electricity via wind power. Maybe Naija should adapt that so we can see wat new excuses the PHCN boss will invent (Militants?)
They worship the sun
No, I'm not referring to ancient
Every prostitute is good enough to take home for a wife...or contest for Miss Universe
Hear him, “My brother, if you go to
Mr N. must've had loads of fun in
Recently, I helped one gurl write a poem she read out at our fellowship’s fresher’s day. The audience liked it so I decided to post it here.
A quiet wind blows
Rustling bushes covered in brown dust
Sweeping over abandoned vehicles eaten by rust
Announcing our arrival
We have arrived
From another planet
Near yet so distant
Similar yet so different
Likened to a mustard seed yet large enough to contain all earthlings
Pristine and untainted by the blood and acrimony that flows through earth’s street
We have arrived
We are welcomed by raging wars
Greeted by the rumbling of earthquakes
Viewed with suspicion and disdain through half-closed shutters as we march through trash-lined avenues
Disease and death is commonplace
Sadness and frustration is the order of the day
We have arrived
We have come to put an end to all this nonsense
To beat swords into plowshares
And AK-47s into garden rakes
To heal the sick and raise the dead
To make everyone be like us
We have arrived
We are up to the task
We are bold
We are brave
We are driven by the Spirit
We are Alien Youth and We have arrived.
(The freshers called themselves “Alien Youth”)
I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have engaged in 5 businesses in my lifetime and all failed cos I ate my capital. I lied…
…Yes, there were 5, perhaps more. Yes they all ended (as opposed to failed), but no not because I ate my capital (at least not in all cases ;-) ).
The first thing I put my hand in was in secondary school. I started renting telephone cards. Does any of you remember how, before the advent of GSM (and even in GSM’s early days where it was a no-no what with 30K SIM cards and 40K Nokia 3310s) , when phone booths contained more than just a well-worn out rug and plenty of sand; when they contained actual phones that may or may not have been working. We used to make calls at such and such and you didn’t have to own a card of your own; there was always a tout ready to rent you one for amounts ranging from N5 – N15 per unit, God help yu if yu dared called US; na shirt yu go deposit. Well, I kinda figured I could be that ‘tout’ in my boarding house. I hustled N315 and went to NET building on
“No credit today come tomorrow” or
“Business succeeds when friends and family pay for services rendered” or, my personal favourite,
“To obtain services on credit, you must be above 80 years old and come with your father and mother”
know they are not joking. “Abeg” killed my phone card business. I went past that second phone card sha (with plenty of my money in IOUs) but not much further; there was a third and last card which also represented my first business partnership. I and Uche (Chevron and Texaco?) pooled money and bought a 200 unit card. I ran the business while he just brought cash and we shared the profit 50-50!!! How much dafter could I get? The more annoying part was that I felt I had a moral obligation to ensure he got all his money back so I bore the debts alone… I left secondary school with some folks owing me as much as N300, let me catch them so I can inform them of the interest rate and how N300 of 2002 has become N300,000 today *wicked smile on my face here*.
In my first year in university I was doing efico; to the extent I said won’t join any organisations till second year; not even a fellowship. Thanks to my eficocity, business wasn’t close to the front of my mind till second year when the bill…em…gates in me was let loose.
I started with tutorials. I and a brilliant friend figured we could do tutorials for jambitos. We also brought in a third not-so-brilliant person as our bouncer. I was to teach Calculus and Chemistry while Kennedy (the brilliant friend) was to teach General Maths and Physics. Uche was the bouncer. We printed flyers, resumed early, selected one of the biggest venues for our tutorials, chopped our fair share of embarrassment distributing the flyers and fantasized about the thousands we would make in this. You might not get it, but in my school, tutorials is big business; in fact one guy is rumoured to have net about half a million last semester in tutorials. We kicked off just fine with 30 – 50 students. Then one day Kennedy who was billed to be teaching came late with our bouncer in tow. I wasn’t around (thankfully).
Some other popular tutorial fellow had occupied our venue and was teaching who we assumed were our students. While Kennedy went up to the tutorial guy (Faraday) to dialogue quietly with him, Uche boldly stepped up to the rest of the class and shouted “Who do you want? Kennedy or Faraday”. I could have swore that I heard the screams of “FARADAY”, “WHO ARE YOU?”, “WE DON’T KNOW YOU”, “GO AWAY” from the other end of school where I was having a fellowship meeting. My guys hung their heads in shame, tails between and legs and abandoned the venue to Faraday, embarrassed but undeterred.
In a quick comeback, we chose a smaller venue and once again we were unpunctual and our venue was taken, once again. This time by an “Uncle Ben” (Cutthroat business huh?). I was present (unthankfully), Uche was smart enough not to assume anything and Kennedy went, once again to dialogue quietly. The dialogue yielded results; Uncle Ben left the venue for us but (of course, there had to be a catch), he left with ALL his students. So we had a venue that could seat over a hundred but just 3 people in it (Kennedy, Uche and crestfallen me).
We changed our business model and did private tutorials; that we completed successfully, earning us 10k each- that is apart from Uche; his services as bouncer were no longer needed and he was flushed from the arrangement.
The next thing I heard was that I could get a ‘brick’ (roll of ten) MTN 1500 recharge cards for as low as 12k. I did some mental Maths, made wonderful projections and assumed I could be making at least 3k a week selling recharge cards. Once again, I called on Kennedy my trusted friend (No Uche this time) and we decided to go into this together.
And Murphy’s law kicked in.
A ‘brick’ of recharge cards wasn’t that cheap. You would be lucky to find one for 13.5k; most times it cost above 14k and 1500 cards were usually sold for less than 1500, sometimes, as low as 1450 and there went our ‘wonderful’ profit margin. Nevertheless, we decided that since we had started, we might as well continue. From there on, I suffered a series of misfortunes
Firstly, some of my money was stolen. I was to travel back home one day and while doing my packing the night before, after looking over my shoulder several times to ensure everyone was sleeping, I put the money in one of my trouser pockets and sandwiched the trouser between others. Some folks were obviously good at pretending cos when I got to Warri, I discovered the theft. I cried that night (yeah, I know, Big Boys Don’t Cry but at least popsi replaced the money).
Secondly, shortly after we started, there was a scarcity of cards. Don’t forget that our capital consisted of our chow money as well and boys gat to eat so there went a good portion of the capital. To add insult to injury, some “friend” in the business “managed” to hustle us a brick of cards at a high rate typical of the scarcity period…the only thing, the scarcity had ended (unknown to us).
Of course yu know wat came next: Camel’s back + last straw = broken.
Then I got my first computer.
Being the spiro I am, I promised God that I wouldn’t put any secular music on it…don’t ask what became of the promise but then in order to fulfil my large appetite for music, I had to hustle hundreds of gospel songs and shortly after, my next business idea hit me; why not start selling music…people would come listen to them on my computer, then I’ll burn the customised CD. Perfect right? Wrong. To start with, I didn’t have a CD writer so I had to make some kind of arrangement with my not-so-reliable friend who coincidentally is one of my closest friends and now roommate (those last 2 additions are just consolation prizes in case he ever reads this; the actual adjective of interest is unreliability). As you can guess, that contributed a lot to the business failing added to the fact that some folk would come and waste my time, tying up my system for hours and want just one CD or none sef. Then my stock of music consisted of a lot of rock which y’all know sucks here in naija.
Are we counting here? How many businesses now? I’ve done a lot of other stuff but I’m kinda tired of rehashing my not-so-rosy history so I think I’ll round up with one-liners of the other stuff I tried like doing online research for cash (bumight take note). That one hit well but I got tired of sitting in cyber cafes for 6+ hours).
I also did a class on computer hardware with my not-so-reliable friend-turned-roommate (we didn’t get the tens of students we hoped for but we made some money there too).
What about the computer program I wrote for some final year students’ project (made the most money ever there; considering a career in programming? Onydchic? Hopeful B?).
Then, I helped (and still help) a cousin sell flash drives and mp3 players that his sister brings into the country; I don’t do it for money but it might have contributed some to getting an mp3 player for free.
I tried to start a computer lesson at home once too. Pasted a couple of posters around the estate we live in; unfortunately no one turned up.
Lets see…is that it? Well that’s the much I can remember; I don’t need you to tell me I’ll soon be giving Dangote a run for his money. Don’t worry I won’t forget any of my blogsville peeps then. You’ll all sit on an imaginary blogsville board. Hope that’ll be good enough.
Initially something might fascinate them about me from afar but when they get past the eye and ear candy, they all lose interest. I don tire. I’m having no more. No more talking about women, thinking about them, planning for them. No more.
Problem is *sigh* I’ve heard me say that before…and I’ve also heard me rush with excitement to tell my cousin about the new gurl I just met days after. So who’s going to be the new gurl now? ******? *******? *******? (Edited out cos of you, Chisom)
Do you feel like you had skipped some previous posts? I don’t blame you. The last time I blogged about big crush I was talking double-layered chocolate cakes now I’m ranting rubbish like a heart-broken sod. The actual change in the status quo wasn’t so sudden; I just wasn’t feeling her on the phone anymore and I decided to let her matter go. Just before I closed the chapter sha, I wanted more evidence so I sent the following message to my friend, Paul who is a lot closer to her
Wats up? How u dey?U still dey lag? U’ve hung out wit big crush a bit. Right?In ur opinion wat are my chances wit her? Personally I think I’m signing out of her case
Hours later, I get the following response.
Yeah, didn’t really knw how 2 say it but I think that’d b d right decision to make. She aight tho but I dunno if she’s ready 4 anythin more n friendship.
To mourn (celebrate) the end of the big crush project, I fashed studying for the night, OD’d on bread, extended my bedtime by 1 hour and waking time by 3 hours, 30 minutes.
And for those of you still scratching your heads and tapping your weavons trying to figure out what on earth the title of this post had to do with the actual content, here’s a tip: “Revelation” is the last book of the bible and in this big head maps to the end of anything.
For months I had been plotting how I would get her a 2-layer chocolate cake with a layer of cream in between, home-delivered, elicit an excited scream from her (which I wont have the pleasure of witnessing) and an even more excited phone call afterwards. I live for moments like that.
I had been plotting, planning, saving and the week finally came.
My first line of action was to get a good baker. I already had one in mind – Cactus cakes, I think. Unfortunately, I got to find out that they didn’t do home delivery to places as far as Festac (she lives there). It then occurred to me that it would probably make more sense to get a baker in Festac. I did some asking around but came up with no suitable suggestions. Infact, at a point, I would’ve have asked Princesa but by the time I remembered, it would have been too late considering that like many of us that added blogging to our job profiles, she won’t have seen my question till Monday when it would have been too late.
December 4th was a Tuesday.
On the Saturday before, I decided to go to Festac and search on my own (humongous mistake). I asked two friends that lived around there for ideas but got no really good suggestions. After over one hour on the road and 3 buses in between, I arrived Festac dusty, tired, with a frown hidden behind my cheap aviators.
I started my search at a Mr Biggs outlet. They don’t home deliver.
Another Mr Biggs, same story.
Goodies, same story…
At this point, I should mention one kain prayer I prayed in the bus on my way there. (Ejura please no comments about me being prophet Ejijah). I wasn’t sure if getting a cake was the right way to go, remember that I’m a bit new to this whole thing, and I had been getting a lot contrasting advice. So I prayed that if God didn’t think a cake was the right way to go, He shouldn’t let me get one. Personally, I’ve not received any evidence of recent that God and me were still on that kain levels (I haven’t fasted in eons, preached to anyone in longer, I still got a ‘B’ in my EE 453 as opposed to the ‘A’ I was praying for etc). I sha prayed the prayer so that if I got the cake, I could safely console myself that He sanctioned it.
Now, back to Goodies, No home delivery. At this point, I remembered the prayer.
I tried some other baker I passed along the way, Angel cakes (I think) she wasn’t around.
Yes, they did home delivery.
No they didn’t make the kind of chocolate cake I wanted (they make what I call chocolate coloured/flavoured cake).
No, there could be no cream in it.
I was discouraged but happy that they did home delivery (at least) but I decided to give one more eatery a try before I settled for them. Choices (abi na Choicest?) was around the corner so I gave it a shot. Same old story: no home delivery. I ran back to Tantalisers before they could change their mind. Alas, I was too late; they had changed their mind. There was home delivery for everything except cakes. God is great.
I wasn’t quite done yet (my determination, especially in women affairs, knows little limits). I was directed to another Tantalisers outlet. Getting there, I was told I could get home delivery on a cake with all the options I was offered at the other outlet. I settled for a regular sponge cake with raisins and some customised icing. Not too bad.
Take note that all this while, I had been biking around most of Festac. My wallet was almost empty, I barely had transport money for the return trip and I was relying on the fact that I could top up at any ATM machine. So I went to the closest bank to top up my wallet and withdraw enough to pay for the cake. God is greater than great.
Oceanic bank, “ATM not working”.
GTB, “Financial institution not available”.
Zenith, “Transaction timed out”.
Skye, “Financial institution not available”.
UBA, “Financial institution…”
Now I got really worried. I was far from home in an area I didn’t know well, my wallet was now dangerously low cos I had to do some biking to get to these banks, my credit was too low to call for help and the only friend I could call on in Festac was at work. Even big crush was out of town. I had to find my way to and trek (under the hot sun) to the kain Tantalisers to cancel the order. I was afraid to even buy a drink.
Somehow, I got to Ojuelegba which was close to home so I decided to try out a few more ATMs. I really needed money cos I was planning to travel the next day and I didn’t even have money to buy my bus ticket. The first ATM I tried managed to show my account balance. On trying to withdraw, my account was debited but no cash came out (something I discovered after trying 2 more ATMs). At this point, I felt I wasn’t just prevented from buying a cake; I was being punished for attempting it.
I somehow withdrew some cash from another machine anyway but I couldn’t travel the next day anymore so I could visit the bank and sort out the ATM-stole-my-money issue (something I later discovered could be (not) done from any branch).
Sorting out the issue took very little time and I had more than enough time to return to Festac and complete the cake matter…but of course, fear catch me. Maybe this time na kidnap dem for kidnap me.
December 4th came.
I called her and sent her an SMS in the morning. At night, just before I went to bed, I called again to ask how the day went. Out of curiousity, I asked if she got any cake. Her response:
I didn’t o! Nobody loves me that much.
If only she knew. God is the greatest.