Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Saving The Bees Or Saving My Rent?

In the last decade or so, there has been a massive increase in the number of campaigns and protests and such, by varied groups of people towards making our world a better place. I have great respect for people who live their lives completely or in bits for the restoration of human dignity, or compassion for animals. This brings to mind the people who work in the field in the communities and countries that require these interventions. It also brings to mind the people you find on streets in the city centres in different European countries; they wear brightly coloured raincoats and hold clipboards ready to stop you and talk to you about how you need to sign up to end game hunting in Zimbabwe, end the war in Iraq, to bring clean water to children in Lebanon, or to feed pregnant mothers and their children in Sudan.

All these causes are meaningful and contribute in no small measure to the many humanitarian interventions that are improving the lives of ordinary men and women. I know that these causes are important, because I have worked in international development; I saw how these contributions helped women make the choice between small creativity driven businesses, and commercial sex work. I also saw how the distribution of free condoms reduced the incidence of HIV infection. I saw how the funds collected by a small group of women in a small town church in North America contributed to the purchase of anti-shock garment that saved lives of pregnant women during prolonged and difficult labour.

However, that is not to say that there aren’t some disadvantages to this consistent request for funds from people. I have spoken to people who think it is all a huge racket to take advantage of people and pay big fat wages to development professionals, or to enrich individuals with no scruples who misappropriate these funds for personal gains; cars, houses, fancy holidays. I shall try to do a post on these types of issues soon enough. Someone also said to me that he was 33, and from when he was 10 years old, he saw the adverts on TV calling for aid to support African children. He was distraught that after 23 years, African children were still starving. I said to him that it continued to happen because those children who were barely able to feed have gone on to become struggling adults with their own children, and it is a vicious cycle; not entirely their fault, governments continue to be irresponsible and climate change is throwing us new challenges that make food production increasingly difficult on the planet. Very complicated.

Anyway, yesterday I was in the town centre and a really good looking man in a shiny yellow rain coat with the usual clipboard came over to me. I knew he was a campaigner looking for my money. I did not feel like stopping but what can I say? He was good looking and flashed me a smile that stopped me in my tracks. I asked him what he was campaigning for/about.

source: sciencebuzz.org
source: sciencebuzz.org

“Save the bees”, he said.

What? I thought it was a joke, I chuckled a little bit. But then I realised he was serious. He went on to tell me about how bees in the UK were going extinct. Bees are important and we need them for cross-pollination of crops. It was going to cost the UK over a billion pounds in the near future to conduct artificial pollination if nothing was done about saving the bees. Now at this point, I was struggling between keeping a straight face, and imagining homelessness and hunger in the UK and Ethiopia respectively. All these social issues are real and important, including bees. But the question is; what is more important, and to who, or at what point?

“We ask you to save the bees by giving five pounds by TEXt to …. right now and we shall give you a bee saver kit”.

He flashed that smile again, he was a really good looking kid. I think that these charities have found other styles too; hire only the hot ones with perfect straight teeth. I was distracted o. But man, I thought about it again, I have people in my distant extended family who are struggling to pay rent and school fees of their offspring, there are people who are so sick in Naija and are praying and drinking agbo because they cannot afford to go to hospital, hell I am struggling to pay my rent here as a student and buy books! I decided that I had no interest in saving the bees. The bees are not priority for me at this time, and I guess for many people. I shall eat bananas and the crops that bees do not need to pollinate, should I be unable to make saving bees a priority in the near future.

“No thanks, I shall not be saving the bees today”, I said and walked on, calculating how much more I needed to save to pay my fast approaching rent and buy that used book on Amazon.

Anniversary And So On

1. Do you ever think of moving elsewhere for a period of one year or two years? If yes, where would it be, if no why?
2. If you had a lot of money so much so that you could do anything at all that you wanted for a living, what would you do?
3. What’s your happy place/happy activity?
4. Do you think there is something bigger than yourself? Something or someone to which you would defer happily?
5. What would you do if there was no internet, even if it was just in a rural place for one week?

It is now one year since I began writing this blog. One hundred and five followers and forty posts later, I am thankful for the decision to begin writing it. I am also thankful to the blog companions whom I have run into along the way. It has been a really interesting journey so far, and I am looking forward to discovering some more blogs and readers along the way.

source:themecakes.com
source:themecakes.com

Today I was reading Moi’s blog and in the final paragraph of his post called drag, he asked for his readers to ask him a question or a number of questions. I did ask him a number of questions which I thought would be really interesting to answer here myself.

I am one of those people who have their lives dreamt out and know exactly where it is going. Don’t get me wrong, I have room for flexibility, as long as it does not change the grand scheme of things. So anyone who knows me will also understand why I resigned from my job on my birthday. I am taking a trip for a year+. I am moving to good old wet England for 14 months to study for a proper Msc to open up more opportunities for work in International Development. I chose a University in Luton, mostly because it was not priced at an arm and a leg and the faculty’s approach to Project Management is very innovative. However, lately as I have tried to research the city a bit more, all I read and hear is that it is the chav capital of the UK. A bit too late for that now, seeing as I have paid all the fees and bought the flights. If it is as rife with racial and ethnic conflicts as all the websites say it is, then it will certainly not be too different from some parts here ha! That’s for another post. So yes, moving around from place to place is something I see definitely in the course of my stay on planet earth. Right now, there are a few countries calling out to me; Ethiopia, the mountains and the culture are so rich, I want to live that a little. Tanzania is a beautiful place, I would like to live in Dar and perhaps climb the Kilimanjero at some point. South Asia fascinates me, I would like to experience Nepal and India, and not just to visit and go home like a tourist. I would like to walk some of Spain; the El Camino De Santiago is definitely on my bucket list. However, I am miserable in the cold and do not know how I could survive the cold for more than two weeks at a time.

source:elcaminodesantiago.co.uk
source:elcaminodesantiago.co.uk

If I had a lot of money so much so that I do not need to work anymore, I would set up an education trust which will give scholarships for a really good education to girls and boys from disadvantaged backgrounds to open up opportunities to them for growth and options. Then I would invest in performance arts and create a hub for artists in Abuja. I love cozy cafes that make you feel warm inside. So I would set up one to start with; Ethiopian coffee and moist cakes, wifi, wine, spoken word nights, chalkboards, clean lines, minimalist interiors, comfortable cushions, colourful rugs made from rags for sitting on the floors, wooden steps, a nice vibe. I could live there!!! I could spend all day there editing my photos, writing short stories and shocking theatre pieces.

That’s really my happy place up there. I love to sit in a cafe and just chill and write. I also like to sit at home on the weekends in something comfortable, reading a book and having a glass of wine. I love the smell of dust on a harmattan morning, I love that first smell of earth after the first rainfall post- dry season. I love to cuddle with that special someone while we just listen to music or to the sound of our heartbeats.

I believe there is something much bigger than myself. I believe that there is a creator of what we know as the universe. I do believe in God, I also believe in the energies he put in his universe and in our minds and bodies. We become what we strive to be, because we have conceived it and have put in the miles for it.

In the course of my work, I have had to travel to rural areas where internet was non-existent or extremely epileptic. In those places, I simply read books that I had taken along, written in my little notebook; diagrams, sketches, lines, poetry, plans, vision boards, then read some more. I also picked up yoga along the way. A portable radio is also very helpful and can keep me company for days. But it gets frustrating if I am unable to check my emails after two weeks. When I spent one full year in Gumel, there was no internet, indeed there was no mobile network connection for the first 6 months I spent there teaching English at a rural school. The spirit of community I felt there in those months was incredible and I have felt nothing remotely close ever since. I did escape to Kano every now and then for a proper salon, a nice restaurant and my emails. Whereas the internet has its merits; it turns the world into a global village and opens it up in such a manner that boggles the mind, it also changes families and sometimes the human interactions which should matter no longer exist.

Do you think you could live anywhere else but your home country? Could you live without internet? What is your happy place? Please share your thoughts with me.