Reality of Youth in Nigeria

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“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Life is becoming increasingly difficult for youths in this country. For them to be able to distinguish themselves, they have to be athletes, entertainers and wedding vendors. These are the platforms in which they are currently being heard. A reason  most of our  young graduates are lost is because academic excellence isn’t recognized anymore.

From childhood they are made to work so hard to make good grades, they have such high hopes for the future. Eventually they head to the Universities, a lot of students work hard, study till day break, go to night class and in the end graduate with good grades. Everyone is so happy, family and friends celebrate the graduation. They still maintain the high hopes that the future is indeed bright.

After the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), the real challenge begins.They start applying for jobs(mind you a fresh ex-corper still believes that he/she can pull down heaven, the world is at their feet and people are ready to be their bootlickers because guess what!!! they are graduates).

I sat down one day and really thought about it, in a year there are three batches of corp members. in a batch the amount of people being churned out by our Universities are just too much. When I served we were more than 3000 people in the camp, multiply that with the number of states we have and don’t forget there are three batches in a year. I asked myself which positions are these youths going to occupy when they pass out from NYSC. Majority  of them join the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

When these people recently pass out, they think that there are jobs waiting for them somewhere, by the time they start applying, writing series of aptitude tests and going for interviews at their own expense and nothing happens, the company or firm doesn’t get back to them as promised or if they are lucky enough, they get a very brief email telling them sorry they weren’t accepted because some people did better than them, they become hit with reality. Their confidence begins to plummet, but then at that point they still have some hope, so they make their laptops, smart phones and tabs their best friends and keep applying to every job imaginable, whether it suits their profiles or not. After some time the little self confidence they had left slowly ebbs away, then depression, frustration,fear,stress, discouragement and despair sets in.

Standards are so lowered, they accept and settle for anything that comes their way. Important things like how much they are really worth, room  for improvement and growth are set aside. The thing that will matter the most is the little stipend they are paid to keep body and soul together.

That is one of the reasons you see some people in a particular place for 20 years, some of them just work at a particular plant or a factory doing the same thing for more than 20 years. yes!!! that is the reality. The reason is that they get so little , that they can’t even start a side business or become independent with that amount of money. When they settle down and start expanding their families,it becomes really difficult for them to leave their comfort zone by looking for another opportunity, so they remain at that place because they don’t want to take any risk. They are plagued with questions of fear of the unknown. the real question is,are they really taking good care of themselves or their families by remaining in that one place?

This is what our country has become, a place that do not encourage or empower the youths. A place where a youth who is perceived to become great one day is pulled back.

I know of a company that recruited mostly Ordinary National Diploma (OND) holders, the excuse was that they needed people they can pay, i call it looking for cheap labour. They lure these able bodied men and women, because of the money they will earn(which they will later find out in the long run is a mere stipend), pushes their education aside, they don’t go further to obtain their Higher National Diploma (HND) or even Bachelor’s degree. They become tied down in that job, at the end of the day, time is passing by. They wake up one day and realize that age is no longer an advantage  and they need to settle down, so they say to themselves jeez!!, there is no need furthering  my education, I promise to give my children the best education to make up for what I have lost. The truth is that humans only have one life to live, live it the best way you can, your kids will eventually grow up and  make their own decisions (with the foundations you laid of course). But the thing is have you lived a fulfilled life?

The government needs to urgently look into this worrisome unemployment dilemma and find a way to encourage academic excellence. Companies should find a way to scout for students who did excellently and offer them jobs, this would make such students role models for their peers and that will also make them know that hard work can be recognized and it pays off.

Go to social media platforms, a lot of noise is made about actors, actresses, athletes, wedding vendors and musicians . For the record, I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but imagine what will happen if such noise is made about those who have achieved academic successes, say the best young mathematician, novelist, a young doctor who broke a record in the medical community, a young outstanding lawyer who won a high profile case, a young engineer who came up with an amazing invention, a young person who is serving and contributing to the welfare of his or her community in one way or the other. There are outstanding young people who are doing well and should be awarded, which can motivate the up and coming. Something that is going to make them believe that going to school isn’t a waste of time,that it is highly rewarding.

The youths need a form of motivation , jobs should be created, companies should give the youths opportunities to prove themselves. The government has an enormous task ahead, we can’t keep importing technical hands to handle most of our high tech jobs or rather giving expatriates jobs that should be handled by local experts. Countries like China, India, Japan and Korea are not joking with their science and technology. They are training their youths massively and giving them the opportunity to discover themselves. In years to come I won’t be surprised if one of them becomes number one in the world. We have to look inwards and that entails bridging the gap by not abandoning the youths because they are the future.

Leaf of life (bryophyllum pinnatum)

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Hey guys, hope you are doing great. I learnt  last week about a leaf called “leaf of life” and I thought I should share. I feel like it would be a crime if I don’t talk about this amazing leaf.

A family friend visited us and told us about the wonders of this leaf, and I actually witnessed what it can do. If you are from South East Nigeria, it is called “Odaa Opuo”. Literally meaning it grows any where it falls. It’s English name is “leaf of life” and the botanical name is “bryophyllum pinnatum”.

It has a lot of health benefits, it is used to treat hypertension, asthma, fever, common cold. It cleanses the bladder and intestine. It is also used to kill cancer cells.

My family friend who has high blood pressure swears by it, he carries the leaf around and chews like 3 or 4 leaves daily and hasn’t experienced any crises in a long time. It can also be brewed as tea.

I recommend you to share this because you might save someone’s life.

Cheers!!!

Short story|Dangerous lies

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“By looking at us, can’t this man see that we are tired?” I asked myself.

I tuned out halfway through the lecture, thinking of what to wear to Cynthia’s wedding on Saturday, I overheard some of my course mates discussing earlier today about their outfits being ready.  Gosh!!! Can’t this lecture end, so I can ask my friends what they are planning to wear, I have a new gown in my wardrobe and it’s so lovely? Which shoe am I going to wear? ……..

“We shall continue from where we stopped next week, course-rep I am expecting your assignments on my desk first thing tomorrow morning”, said my lecturer, bringing me out of my reverie.

I immediately packed my books into my bag and sighted Rachel dozing with her mouth agape, I don’t blame her, and it’s been a long day.

“Let’s go, it’s over” I roused her. As we made to leave the classroom, my other two friends Sandra and Tina caught up with us. “I am so hungry, please let’s stop over at that canteen and eat something” said Tina, looking like she would faint the next minute.

We all trudged to the canteen and ordered rice and beef stew with salad. Over our meal, I asked them what they are planning to wear to our course mates wedding.  “I have this dress Kellyoutfits made for me and Tina has seen it”, said Sandra. “Yea, I have seen it and its beautiful, as for me, I shall be going into town after lectures tomorrow and I want you girls to accompany me”, said Tina.

You girls know that my mum is ill, so I would be going home tomorrow after lectures, I would attend the wedding from my house”, Sandra told us. Sandra’s mum has been ill since the beginning of this semester and she has been going home every weekend to stay with her, “I have to go with the other girls to see her one of these days”, I thought.

The wedding was so dreamy, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, the décor was superb, the cake was five tiered, it looked and tasted excellent. The guests were left with variety of food and drinks to choose from. I gobbled bread fruit porridge with dry fish. That is what I usually eat at events especially ones taking place in South-East Nigeria, I am very much aware of its nutritional benefits but it’s so expensive so I don’t miss the opportunity of eating it whenever it’s served free.

Cynthia looked like a princess and her groom looked like a prince, my course mates were gorgeously dressed, thank God I didn’t look bad myself. I was sitting with my friends and Rachel asked Sandra about her mum. “My mum isn’t doing well, she will be undergoing chemotherapy in two weeks”, she replied. “Am so sorry to hear that, I shall continue to pray for your mother, nothing will happen to her”, said Rachel with a tense expression on her face.

On Monday morning we were all seated except Sandra, waiting for our lecturer to come in. After sometime Sandra walked into the class straight to where we were seated, she took a seat and I noticed she looked rather radiant and I said to her that she doesn’t look a bit like someone whose mum is terribly ill, well she told us at the wedding that she hardly sleeps whenever she’s at home because her mum is uncomfortable most part of the night and cries sometimes due to severe pain.

“God keeps me beautiful, in spite of what am going through”, she said. “Girls I need a favor, I need some money, my mum’s health is deteriorating and I have some bills at home I have to take care of”, she continued.

“How much do you need”, I asked. “20,000 Naira”, she replied. Okay I shall give you 10,000 Naira, I said. “5,000 Naira from me”, chipped in Tina. “5000 Naira from me too”, said Rachel. Thank you girls, I don’t know what I would have done without you, God bless you, she said.

“It’s the least we can do”, Rachel replied. We all nodded.

After the lecture I texted Rachel and Tina telling them that we need to pay Sandra’s mum a visit next Saturday and please no one should tell Sandra about it, I want it to be a surprise. They texted me back agreeing with me.

On Saturday, we set out for Sandra’s house, we knocked at the gate and her younger brother Kene opened the gate. “Where is your mum and Sandra”, I asked him, “Mum is inside, but Sandra isn’t at home”, he said. We followed him into the house and he ushered us into the sitting room and went to call his mother. Meanwhile I was thinking that Sandra went out on an errand and hoped she came back soon because I wanted us to surprise her.

Her mum came into the sitting room looking pale, thinner but stronger than we expected; I was half expecting her son to wheel her out of the bedroom, I looked at my friends and saw the confusion on their faces. We all stood to greet her; after she sat down we also sat down. I told her that we came to see her and to know how she was doing because Sandra told us she was terribly ill.

“My children, I am fine, I had malaria last week but am okay now”, she told us. “But mum you have lost weight”, Rachel said.

“Yes I know, it was quite serious and it came with high fever, and I was advised by the doctor to have some rest, eat well and drink enough water. Where is my daughter?” she asked.

I looked at Rachel and Tina and they looked back at me bewildered.“She told us she was coming back home for the weekend”, Tina said to her.

I haven’t seen my daughter in three months. Let me ask you girls, since you resumed this semester haven’t you gone back home to see your parents?” she asked. “We have gone home to see them”, we answered her. “Well, I haven’t seen my daughter and she hardly calls me”, she said with tears in her eyes.

Okay, that was so awkward and too much to take in. I immediately gave her the fruits we brought, she thanked us and we promised to visit her from time to time. We got up and left the house.

“If I see Sandra on Monday I am going to break her jaw”, Tina thundered.

“Her mum doesn’t have cancer, she lied to us”, I fumed.

“She only had malaria last week, but then Sandra didn’t bother to visit her”, Rachel said, her face contorted.

“Didn’t you hear the woman, Sandra hasn’t visited her for 3 good months, and they live in this town”, I said visibly angry.

“She will vomit our 20,000 Naira on Monday, I swear”, said Tina.

“So where has she been going every weekend since the beginning of this semester?” I asked them.

“A man’s house perhaps”, answered Rachel.

AUTHORS NOTE

Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the story. Your comments, shares and likes would be most appreciated.   Thank you               Image source: urbangyal.com                                                                                     

Do not take without asking

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“To respect someone means to treat their ideas, personal space, belongings, and needs as equal importance to your own, while to honor someone means to treat all those things as more important than your own.” ~ Sarah Arthur

My friend got a call, her voice kept rising in a bid to explain and make the person at the other end of line see reason. I heard snatches of the conversation. She was speaking with her course mate/friend, they are university students.

After the call ended, she told me that this lady she just spoke with called Jane (not real name) is annoyed because a mutual friend of theirs is complaining that Jane poured out some of her brown powder, foundation and primer without telling her.

She went ahead to explain to me that this mutual friend of theirs Jessica (not real name) saved money for a long time and deprived herself of things just to be able to buy these expensive cosmetics, the most annoying part is that Jane can easily afford those things,  after all she has been ordering for clothes and human hair and also Jane is very protective of her belongings and complains a lot when people take something that belongs to her without telling her.

I won’t be surprised if Jessica starts hiding her things from Jane. Everybody isn’t the same, you can take something that belongs to  ‘A’ and he/she might overlook it, on the other hand you can take something that belongs to ‘B’ and he/she would get very angry. To be on the safe side it is best to ask the owner before taking. Taking without asking breeds animosity and mistrust.

To the person who takes without asking, it portrays you as selfish, insensitive and unkind. The person got that stuff with his/her money, probably a lot of money so why don’t you show respect and ask for permission before taking or using. More so, it is very unfair if you are very protective of your belongings but have a habit of helping yourself to people’s things.

If your things are being taken without permission, these steps are necessary:

Confront the person: you have to tell the person that you don’t like your things being taken without your permission. He/she might even apologise and promise not to do it again.

Hide your important things: this may sound funny, but what are you going to do when the person doesn’t listen and continues using your stuff without telling you or taking them when you are not around. Unless you are going to find a dog to guard your stuff, install a camera or even find a way to gauge or weigh if your favourite conditioner was used without your permission. Anyway find a place you can remember and hide those things. This way you can avoid some really ugly fights.

Being a confident speaker

 

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“Believe in yourself; have faith in your abilities, without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy” ~ Norman Vincent Peale.

I have heard people say things like I cant speak in public, I cant hold an intelligent discussion, I am usually mute when I find myself in a group, I don’t know what to say because I feel I shall be laughed at. So you simply prefer silence because its safer for you.

do you find yourself in this category. when you have a presentation to make, you become too jittery and can’t seem to relax. Does it mean that you have already seen yourself as not smart enough.

Being confident is something that comes from inside you. You have to change your mindset, see yourself as someone who can make things happen. You tell yourself that the next person isn’t better than you, if this person can make a beautiful presentation or hold a discussion in a group then I can.

This starts with accepting yourself the way you are, be confident in however way you are, accept your flaws, your mistakes. It doesn’t even matter if you are dark, fair, short, tall, bow legs, rat chopped hair, fat, slim. When you accept yourself that way, people are going to look beyond that and see the inner you, the stuff you are made of and how smart you are, they would want to listen to you when you talk and believe me when people begin to show interest, you confidence builds up and you talk more.

Before you join that discussion or say something, evaluate what you want to say, go through it in your mind and when you believe its okay and sensible, say it, don’t just keep quiet when you have something good to say. Everyone mustn’t agree with what you have said, but the point is that you have contributed.

With time people around you will begin to appreciate you which in turn will build your confidence and you will find yourself engaging in brilliant and high powered conversations.

 

 

Don’t let the moment pass

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it, ~ Ferris

Do you know that you can be with someone today, and tomorrow he/she is gone forever? . So why can’t we make the best of that time. There are instances where a sick person or an elderly person requests to see someone close and the person couldn’t come because he/she was busy with one thing or the other.  When the sick or elderly person dies, this  person starts wishing he/she can turn back the hand of clock. 

We can also stop being close to someone or cut off from the person’s life because we let the moment pass without doing or saying what should have been done or said. You can be at logger head with someone and the right thing to do at that moment is to let it go or acknowledge your fault and say I am sorry,  even if you are not at fault but an opportunity presented itself for you to make things right with that person but you let the moment pass.

A moment can extend to days, weeks and even years and then we find out that it is too late to make up. With time the words you should have said looses it’s value.

You haven’t let your family and friends know how much you love them, now is the right time to say I love you and let them know how wonderful they are.

Someone does a huge favor for you and you just couldn’t say thank you. Most people want to hear thank you when they do someone a favor and if you want that person to still do things for you,  then you have to say thank you. Once that person decides to stop doing you a favor, trying to change the person’ s mind might be too late .

I am going to borrow some lines from the character Louis Litt in the tv series Suits. He said “Don’t let the people you love walk by you without letting them know how you feel about them. Because life slips by and it’s over” .

Don’t let the moment pass without letting them know how much they mean to you.



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Be thankful for the little gifts of life

IMG_20150817_084542“The most significant gifts are the ones most easily overlooked. Small, everyday blessings; Health, music, laughter, memories, books, family, friends, second chances and all the foot prints scattered throughout our days”~Sue Monk Kidd

Everyday we breathe is a blessing, the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, maybe we cheated death, or we had an opportunity to make it right with a loved one we fell out with, these are all blessings.

Let me illustrate with a personal experience. On the 12th of last December,  I had a terrible accident. The bike I was on got hit by an on coming vehicle due to the fact that the refuse dump on the side of the road was being burnt for whatever reason and the road was covered with smoke, it was also raining a little bit, so we couldn’t see anything on the road. The man riding the bike died on the spot and I survived with wounds which has left little scars on my body, none of my bones were broken, which is a complete miracle. Till this day am still shocked by that accident, I still ask my self why God saved my life because people who were at the scene of that accident marvelled at the fact that I survived.

After that accident, I started appreciating life and the little things of life which I overlooked before. I became appreciative of God’s grace upon my life, the love of my family and friends. God gave me a second chance.

You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, your past and just live life, enjoy the laughter of people around you, cherish the good memories, listen to music, enjoy watching the birds sing, do the good things that makes you happy.

I have learnt a lesson and that is not to take each day for granted.

Dealing with disappointments

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“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles, by the ears,  by the heels or any other way you can manage it”. ~Mark Twain

Disappointments can lend a blow to our self esteem and make us ask a lot of questions. Why me?, why now?, what did I do wrong?, may be if I had done things differently then everything would have turned out fine.

Disappointments can take different forms,  our spouses did something unimaginable to us, our friends weren’t there for us when we needed them most, our job application got rejected. To mention but a few.

I actually cried for two days after I learnt that I didn’t get a particular job I really wanted. You know why I was so hurt?, it’s because I placed all my hope on that job, my expectations were very high. Am going to tell you how I have learnt to deal with disappointments.

  • To deal with disappointments we have to really accept that it happened, yes we are hurting so bad but we need to know that what happened has happened.
  • We tend to think too much when we are alone and are likely to keep brooding about it, what to do is try and spend some time with friends or family, talk about it with someone and let out your feelings. You are going to feel a lot better after that.
  • During the time I was crying about that job and refusing to accept the fact that I didn’t get it, do you know what someone said to me; he said, what if you got this job and died within months of doing this job, God has a way of doing things. Maybe he doesn’t want you to have this job because it is not for you. Stop crying and keep applying, one day he will give you your job. This advice actually applies to whatever disappointment we encounter,  try to look at it from a different perspective.
  • Think of the good things that have happened in your life and appreciate God for them, you know the saying that “if you appreciate God for what he’s been doing for you, he will do more”.

Don’t use people’s weaknesses against them

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“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead, don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend”.~Albert Camus

Have you ever been in a situation where you let your guard down and allow someone to know your weakness and the person turns around and uses that against you or have you used someone’s weakness against him/her?.

When people let you know their weaknesses , that means they trust you. They want you to understand them better, they are actually being confident that they can count on you to be there for them. You are not allowed to let other people know unless they have authorized you to.

Now,  going behind their backs  to fight them with their weaknesses is something I can’t even think of a suitable word for,  despicable might be close. It hasn’t made you a better person and with that kind of attitude you can’t grow.

This kind of situation can make people not to have trust in you. You can easily loose your friends that way and it deters you from growing in important aspects of life. 

Has life lost its purpose

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“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact”.-William James

There are days i wake up from sleep and I just wonder what am going to do with myself, i get so depressed because at that point in my life am not where I want to be. surely, am not the only one who feels this way sometimes.

As humans we always want things to go smoothly for us, no one wants to encounter a rough path. But do you know what makes us survivors?, it is the way we handle our situations by being positive. You can hardly see a successful person who didn’t go through some difficulties, they persevered and rode out the hard times believing that at the end they will get there and they eventually did by working towards it.

If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don’t have enough goals. Keep calm, keep your head up and keep the faith because you are born to shine.