Sunday, 26 January 2014

Let There Be Readers

The act of reading has totally and completed disappeared and this is rather funny because its in a era when we have the highest number of writers. One would think even the writers themselves are not reading.

I am of the old world. Of books and distant lands travelled at the turn of a page. Of distant cultures, strange but alluring, different but acceptable because someone there reached across time and space and explained it to you on the pages of a book.When history was written through people's eyes words and perception not through calculated efforts to distort and profit.

Oh don't get me wrong as the world has always had good and bad so even then there were those who would put in a fictional piece into history but because people read and wrote not all such fiction would escape detection. Alas now for even a 10page pamphlet we wait for others to read and give us the one line summary. And whatever they say and whatever their understanding of the writing is, it becomes ours.

And thus we have become a people easy to manage, easy to manipulate, easy to control. Just one little act of laziness.....the disdain for reading books....and here we are. Notice I said 'reading books' not just books. We are in an era of owning stuff. Far more than what we need far beyond what we have use for and books are not left out. People own shelves and shelves of books in their great number in their original jackets with pages never flipped as part of the theme of their abodes.

Writing used to be so much more than what it is today. It took a lot of reading to write. Random ideas are good and are the basic ingredients for a story but writing involves loads of reading. What else is there to write about? New ideas? I like to think every topic has been covered all you can write now is your view of it or your own twist.

I feel books are a gateway to freedom....of the mind first which is the most important. A book may stir your mind to the one side but plenty random books will help you see the east, west, north and south and allow you to form your own opinion of the whole.

Have you read the Chaucer's  Canterbury Tales? May I entice you? It's a book full of tales from a group of Pilgrims. It is actually a story telling contest as they journey to and from Canterbury. A most unlikely group group if ever.....a Knight, a Cook, a Miller, a Nun's Priest, a Yeoman, a Bath's wife, a Sergeant of arms and sundry. It is a story written in old English......very old English.

Its over a 100 hundred years so you can get the e-versions for free. To get a feel of the book if you don't feel like reading the whole book just yet try The Miller's Tale. Always loved that one.

No matter how advanced and sophisticated the world gets I dare say books, real books will always be part of us. Let's get back to reading books.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Alone And It's Demons

When you live alone for a long time even your thoughts adjust to 'alone' and your dreams follow suit. Alone becomes who you are in the way you think, talk and react to things. I live alone. Let me tell you about the day I didn't sleep alone.

Let me tell you a bit about me. I am part insomniac part sleep paralytic (if there is such a word for people who suffer from sleep paralysis). I live alone so I am used to sleeping alone but you see, I am a great believer in those that walk in the shadows, that ply the paths that lead sideways, that pinch you halfway here and halfway in the dream. That quickly fan away those dreams they refuse to let you remember.

And so peacefully I went to bed that night.

And opened my eyes in fear, I had this overwhelming feeling that someone was in bed with me. I tried to calm down afraid to turn and check. Stop being a fool I scolded myself you live alone you locked the door after your bath there was no one in the house so you are alone. Ghosts and demons might exist but the Powers that be wouldn't allow them to go sleeping in people's beds to frighten them to death when they are awake. You are alone. You are not dreaming so you are alone. But something told me I wasn't alone I could sense a being with me in bed but I was too afraid to turn around and check. What if there was actually someone there? That was something I didn't think my mind would live through.

But I had to check I had to know I couldn't just lie here trying to 'unbelieve' that fact that I totally believed someone was lying in my bed behind me. Slowly almost running out of my skin in panic I turned. And it was. Someone was lying there in my bed under the blankets. I started screaming. My mind refused to comprehend what I had just seen, it wanted out and so I screamed madly loudly, loud enough to stop my thoughts, to drone any that tried to form. Because I knew to think this was to lose sanity. To accept that someone, something was in my bed was to cross over to the other side so I continued to scream.

As if that was not enough 'it' touched me it tried to hold me down and I think I actually heard it speaking. I continued screaming blocking my mind from thinking, from hearing, from accepting.

It was a loud banging on my door and someone screaming my name that drew me back from the darkness and emptiness my mind was slipping into. I recognised my neighbour's voice shouting Hetty! Hetty!! What's wrong?! And I heard the words 'it' spoke then 'She is having a bad dream' and realised my eyes were tightly closed I screwed them open to see my cousin kneeling over me pinning me down and I could hear my neighbour insisting the door be opened and asking who was speaking.

In the moment I opened my eyes and saw my cousin I remembered I had been asleep when she came over and how I opened the door told her to check the fridge if she was hungry and returned to bed. I also realised I actually heard what she was saying when she first touched me....open your eyes you are dreaming. My neighbour said she heard the scream and almost died in fear that the person was actually dying before she realised where the sound was coming from and recognised my voice.

After everyone had gone back to bed I Iayed on the sofa crying. I had never been so frightened in my life and I knew if I had gone on screaming like that I would have died. My heart would have stopped if my mind had not stopped first to save me the trauma of the thought that those that move in the shadows that walk sideways could move into the light if they so willed so brazenly.

I have had people stay over in my place after then but sharing the bed with them has never been an option I have looked into at all. I might meet new demons on new paths but the path where old demons I met shall find me absent.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Discarding Traditional Methods That Work

I like to think the traditional orthopaedic method of using a chicken by proxy to heal broken bones of humans is (was) practiced everywhere in Nigeria. And that of drawing illness out of an ill person into a chicken then putting drops of the ill person's blood, nail cuttings and hair on the chicken before killing the chicken to save person's life.

Yesterday someone said something  that reminded me I had actually witnessed someone's broken leg healed by the chicken proxy method. I had also had a relative that was referred from an orthopaedic hospital to a traditional bone healing 'doctor' where he wore that squarish stick frame on his leg and drank herbs till he got healed. I also remembered a young goat that was treated very nicely back in the village when I was there on holiday because as I was told the oldest man in the house had been dying and he had gotten the goat's years (life) transferred to him. Whatever happened to the goat would happen to him when the goat died he toowould die.

Don't scream witchcraft at me just yet. Africa is a land full of people ready to discard all that which is theirs, passed along generation to generation even when the new ways are not as effective as the old. We know plenty of science and mind over matter but will rather continue to practice it at night and on our enemies even to our detriment instead of looking to how it will work in sunlight, benefit all and bring progress.

I make bold to say the traditional methods of curing broken bones were very effective and are still more effective than modern orthopaedic methods. How the essence of the human got transferred to the chicken or vice versa is something I might never know but it was/is done by those who know. The other method of using sticks to hold broken bones in place as they heal can be likened to the new methods but are still much more effective in time it takes to heal. One would think that since the sticks used are particular they may have curative pharmaceutical value in its natural form before the processing preservatives and colouring stages reduce its value to mere tablets.

But alas we live in modern times with modern gods and Africa did not help her cause with the shrouding of every act in mystery and restricting its knowledge to few. The chicken proxy method is now considered witchcraft because we are now Christians, Muslims even Atheists but remember to save some possessed persons from demonic possession didn't Jesus remove the demons and transfer them into pigs? The pigs took their problems and they became whole isn't that the essence? The human is saved?

There are so many traditions that this generation ought to have kept and gone about studying its science instead of allowing it to die and embracing new methods which are less effective. So many...too many really. To even believe witchcraft exists is now old fashioned..Is it the name that no longer appeals or do we truly believe there is no mind over matter?

Which other traditional healing methods do you remember?  Are they still in use back home where you are from? We are a generation torn between two worlds and the new world is winning but not for superiority most times.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

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The CASHless Society Before The Cashless Society

If you don't have an underground storage of cash where you fetch from, you would have noticed that Nigeria is slowly but surely becoming a cash-less society. This brand of cash-less is not necessarily that being touted by the CBN, no, this is the absence of 'loose' money in circulation because all we have we need and are using up immediately we get, and slowly moving towards 'he who does not work does not eat'. Even our politicians though still highly overpaid are not having it as easy as they used to.

There used to be a lot of 'loose' money running around. It came and it moved around. It could not be traced to any earnings and it was spent as loosely as it came. It was actually a good time when someone would give you #5k for airtime and #20k for taxi fare. It was a time when people without swag allowed their cash to do the talking. When money talked and bullshit worked.

Something has happened to change things. Money is no longer loose but becoming hard earned. Very well earned. I am no economist I don't know which policies are causing 'loose' money to become scarce but I can see it, I feel it. It pinches true but it is also a very good thing, it brings sanity. And hopefully we will return to the kind of society we had when I was a kid. Where kids didn't use their parents wealth to determine their friends and the wealthy were not more respected than the good or those older. When people did not have cause to blame others for their situations...well except those lazy cousins that know all the witches back home by name.

A time looks to be coming truely when he who does not work will not eat and I see artisans taking the day that time. Has there ever been a time when people did not sew because of austerity?  What about hair grooming? Car repairs? Buying food items? Clothes? Working in Manufacturing is fine but you can still be affected by lay-offs due perhaps to machines replacing you. These group has no fixed income like salaried workers, the harder the work, the longer hours they put in, the more income they will generate.

Do not run off to learn a trade just yet we are more concerned about the sanity a 'cashless' society will bring and if basic social amenities add to this every one who works will be content. The anger of having non and wondering what the hell Mr B has done to have all that cash at his disposal will be gone.

Have you noticed though? Loose cash isn't flying around like it used to and those who are not too busy complaining are learning to cut their cloth according to their available material :-D 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

To Save My Life........I Cried

I like to think I am carefree bothering on unconcerned about most things. If it is, then it is but if it isn't then what can I do about it...not very much I tell myself. I like to think I am strong. I am the type to roll my eyes as I listen to the many tales of 'my boyfriend' from friends while I hug them in sympathy. But I learnt the hard way, I found out strength is good but sometimes there isn't much it will do for you. Time has passed now so I am actually beginning to believe in strength again.

But there was a time I found out that hurt does not ask your strength, your affiliations or even if you are ready for it.  Sometimes oddly enough the route through which hurt travels to reach you might not even know it was such an effective courier. I am not a crier, unless you count those mushy movies that get you feeling so sorry for someone you start crying. Outside that I don't cry much or even at all. But I learnt there are tears that make your heart feel better and there are those tears that fall that your heart may not burst with the pain of grief it cannot bear. Those are the tears I want to talk about.....the type that saved my life.

One day I cried to save my life. 

I don't think there is anything I have ever being fully focused on or fully committed to. I am one of those big starters that get half way up the mountain and start wondering what am I doing there. Is this really what I want? And after then I just trudge along to the end to fulfill righteousness. He didn't wait for me to get to the stage of questioning why. He would have, but fate had it with me acting strong and wanted to teach me a good lesson. There are certain things you stumble upon that you know it wasn't just plain old coincidence but a script you had been drafted into unknowingly and unwillingly and terribly unprepared for. 

 I sat down trying to think, my heart was beating hard then it seemed to swell and then the pain took over. I was trying to think but my head had blanked out and I couldn't, all I felt was this horrible physical pain in my chest that seemed to increase with every attempt at thought and spread way down into my back. From a long way off I heard screaming, in a voice so full of pain and distress, forlon, lost. It was the sound of anguish. I didn't realise that sound was by me, around me. I didn't realise that sound was coming from me. I just had this feeling that if I couldn't cry.....actually tear.....I would die from the pain in my chest. I kept on screaming and screaming in pain, refusing to think, refusing any playbacks till the tears started to fall. It was as if the gods of tears had decided my pain had earned me the right to cry properly. As if they had decided that i now understood how loud grief could be, loud enough to shatter the very fabric of life. And so they allowed my tears to fall. After an hour of curling up in sobs that drew strength from my very soul, I reached the point of realisation of what pain really feels like. I understood what people mean when they say tears wash out pain from the soul. 

I dragged myself to bed and woke up in the middle of the night confused, wondering who I was and where I was and then it occured to me.

I am human and had just learnt another human emotion.