I am still asleep…

I woke up that morning to the sound of the phone beeping. As a matter of fact, it was the beeping that woke me up.

I took the call groggily and turned round to go back to sleep. Then I noticed the time was past 6am and I should have been up much earlier.

My first response to that information from the clock was, “I am still asleep.”

How could I still be asleep when I had taken a call and seen clearly that it was well past my wake up time?

But that is how we sometimes run our lives. We refuse to wake up and face reality, even when we know it time to do so.

We walk through life half asleep and end up waking up well after we have missed vital deadlines, and fallen into trouble.

I see it happen everyday:

The student who becomes serious after failing an exam they had the capacity to pass; the business man who sits up when he has “slept” through the fall of his corporation; the distressed man who begins to run helter skelter when his ignored wife moves out of the home…

The list is endless.

Some people say, experience is the best teacher but does the experience have to be yours?

The answer is “No!”

Learn from others’ mistakes and shape your life. Walk awake through your life. Make right choices, and follow through.

It is past your wake up time my friend,get up and brew your own coffee!



Keep Moving, keep moving!

June is generally accepted as Fathers month and I remember my Dad. My Dad was the very quiet sort, and he was not a particularly eloquent sort. He had more sons than daughters and he was fiercely protective of his daughters.

We lived in a sort of Close, but the path by our compound also connected to a larger street and the traffic through our close was quite significant.

My Dad would place his rocking chair on the veranda with a book in his hands and read, sometimes for hours.

Whenever we were playing outside or going about our chores, he would look up from time to time with an indulgent half smile and continue without saying a word.

All too often, a guy would pass by and slow down to maybe take a look at Papa’s girls, or not, but whenever that happened, Papa would lower the book, and stand up and say in a growly voice

“Keep moving, keep moving!”

It always worked. They kept moving. My Dad’s premises was not where you stood to stare if you had no business there.

This week don’t stand and stare at stuff that don’t add value to your goals. Keep moving in the direction of your dreams. Set a goal for this last week of June. Write your action plans, work it, and whatever you do, Keep moving!


Passion & Professionalism

I took this grainy picture on my way to work this morning. It is the picture of a traffic warden, popularly known as “Yellow Fever” because of the colour of the uniforms they wear.

These people are employed to control traffic within the city. And they are a fixture in any Nigerian city.

I don’t know whether or not we should continue to have them on our streets; that is not the focus of this discussion.

My discussion is on how they go about their jobs.

I personally think that this must be one of the most menial jobs on earth and when you see some of them at work, you just know it. The entire body language screams, “I hate my job!”

And who can blame them?

But there’s another set of “yellow fever Policemen.” These are the ones that intrigue, inspire and motivate. They don’t just control traffic; they entertain. They dance, spin, roll and slide. They are such a delight on the roads that many of them have received tips and applause from motorists and bystanders. A few of them have even received National awards in the past.

Yet it’s the same job, same pay.

The difference is attitude. One set approach the job with contempt for self and opportunity; the other set approaches with gratitude for the chance to work and earn a living. And when you can approach your work with a great attitude, you find creative ways to make it fun.


That’s the magic. It may not be the best job in the world but you can be the best at it. The battle over self is a bigger one than any other; win that and you can win any other.

So which kind of yellow fever are you?

Sunday book review: Promises on Sand

I’m no poet. I do not deceive myself that I am Rupi Kaur. I am not. But I love poetry. Sometimes, I dabble into poetry; a few lines here, a few lines there.

So when I see a poet who is focused and passionate about their poetry, I sit up and take notice.

I saw such a one recently.

Her name is Amina Aboje. She is a poet; and her collection of poetry is a poetry lovers’ delight any day.

I got a copy of her book, Promises on Sand, a few weeks back and my poetry life has never been the same.

The book contains a rich and varied collection of poems on every contemporary subject you can think of.

Promises on sand is not a book you read and discard, it is a book that takes pride of place on your bookshelf so that you can whip it out often and refresh yourself.

Amina takes us through love notes, political discussions, dealing with grief, social issues, etc.

This is Amina’s first book but I can already tell it will not be her last!

Happy Mothers Day! 

Today is Mother’s Day  in the US and since I’m in the US right now, I want to celebrate some amazing women that have mothered me here.

Top on the list is my beautiful sister, Francisca Ehikhuemen. From the moment I arrived in the US, I knew I was home. She has loved me and welcomed me with open arms. I have eaten what I want and done what I wish without feeling even a twinge of apprehension. Who does that?

Happy Mother’s Day Ma’am. I want you to know that your love and warmth has not gone unnoticed by Heaven. Your proper day of celebration is coming. The Lord will perfect all that concerns you. Nations will rise and call you blessed and you will reap the fruits of your labour.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Other women here have loved me too. Hannah Ezekiel went out of her to take me out and pamper me for a whole day! Warri sister like no other, African Mama with no apologies. I celebrate you and pray that God will wipe away every tear and restore everything the enemy has taken from you!

My high school sister, May Olusola has always been a blessing and we spent a beautiful evening together  catching up on old times. The Chinese dinner we shared will not be forgotten in a hurry. May all your motherhood dreams come true my dear sister.

Maureen Erere Ibe had never met me in real life and what she did shocked me to my roots. She drove forty five minutes with her kids to come see me and spent a lot of time with me which  I found most heartwarming. I would have been grateful if she had left it at that but she didn’t; she picked me up on a different occasion and took me to her home. I was not prepared for a sleep over but she would have none of it. She took me shopping, for lunch, breakfast the following day, and generally all over the place. Maureen, thank you for giving me that look into the typical life of a Texas mother. Your lovely kids and beautiful dog added so much colour to my stay and the sacrifice of your husband driving over an hour out of his way to take me home will not be forgotten in a hurry. Happy Mother’s Day beautiful sister.

My trip to Illinois was the icing on my cake. A woman who had never met me, married to a school mate, did so much to make me feel welcome that my heart is still pumping from the experience. I choose to write about her separately.

My sister of many years, Helen Black has been nothing but a blessing and I celebrate you. God bless you good.

Happy Mother’s Day to all these lovely women and many more who have brought me to where I am today. Our day of celebration is coming, but for today we are grateful for the joy of motherhood.

My Warri Chronicles 6. Warri Taxi

The Warri in which I grew up did not have this contraption they call keke napep or Marwa. It did not even have the one we call ‘okada’ (by the way, when will Igbinedion rescue that name from shame and disgrace?)

The thing that Warri had for transportation was the taxi cab. And if you are thinking of Uber, then sorry for you! In Warri we don’t do things like that.

The Warri taxi was old from the day of manufacture. It was usually ‘Datsun’ model if memory serves me right. New taxis in Warri were unheard of; why person go come take new ‘shasis’ moto take do taizi na? shuo! Na wa for you oh! (we will speak the Warri language soon, not today though).

The doors of the cab were attached by something that did not exist in real life. The drivers wore shirts that were either torn on one side or T-shirts that were permanently askew from too many washings, and the last wash was before the man became a taxi driver may years ago.

If you were not careful boarding or alighting from the Warri taxi, your dress, or at least some part of it, would remain in the taxi as souvenir to its cutting ability. And if any part of it touched your skin, you were guaranteed a cut that would earn you a tetanus infection in other cities. Not in Warri though. Our skins were made of tough material. In the Warri taxi, it is ‘2 for front, 4 for back.’
Although I seem to remember a time when it was different?

Then the taxis began to reduce in quantity and it was difficult to get around; especially if you had to go to the market. But in Warri, everything is an opportunity. Some smart guy came up with the idea of pick vans as passenger transport vehicles.
The route I recall was the one to Igbudu market. The pickups were as old and rickety as the taxi cabs, or older? The back was lined with a few benches and the people-usually women-would sit like they would in church waiting for a sermon, smelly body against smelly body.

Some passengers would face forward and others would face the place they were coming from; noisy, smelly, shaky, but it was a means of transportation.

It would shake its occupants all over the place at its own pace which was often at the whim of the driver.
At every bus stop, you would hear, “dropping dey, oh.” Until everyone got to wherever they wanted to go. Then they would rescue their limbs and waists from the cramped space and find their way home.

I don’t recall ever entering any of those things myself; but I trekked. In my Warri, trekking was often a means of transport and it was no big deal.

We shall talk about trekking another day…make una manage dis one first.

#warrichronicles #mywarri #BornToWriteWell #ElsieWrite#IAmAWriterByChoice