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Running, panting, falling,
There it was again, the monster she dreaded,
Ripping off everything that got in its way,
Green algae laced his hideous form,
Horns punctuated his face; his claws were of a bear,
He kept howling like a wolf,
Fear surrounded her like a fence,
Heart pounding, throat thickening, fists clenched, she tried to get up again,
Groping in the dark, trying to find her way,
Should she scream for help?
Who would answer her?
She was alone, just as she wanted,
Heavy footsteps kept getting closer,
Sweat and blood dripping from her as she tried to find a way out
The web she was in was all so scary,
There was no way out of it,
If there was a God, he sure wouldn’t want to save her-she was too far gone to be saved,
The hurt filled her heart till it began to overflow
Another shrill disturbed the silence of the night,
The monster had wrenched the heart of another victim,
For how long would she keep running in circles?
But who was she to end the life she never owned?
Lost, afraid, cold, lonely, she stopped running,
She shivered as the cold wind brushed her fragile skin,
With the shackles on her wrists and ankles,
She sat waiting for her turn like a cow led to slaughter,
If only He could save her-
If only He still loved her like He always said,
Wiping the tears off her dirt covered face,
She looked up to see the monster in front of her,
A knot tightened in her throat, too hard to swallow
There he was with the stench of death oozing out of him,
He stretched out his claws towards her heart,
The end had come for her,
He was going to rip off every bit of her,
Even though his blood thirst remained insatiable,
She knew she deserved this,
Shutting her eyes, she cried from the depths of her heart
Thunder, lightning, earthquake-then came the silence
The silence that screamed louder than the storm,
She slowly opened her eyes,
The monster was gone,
Shackles fell off her wrists and ankles,
She was free, or was she dreaming?
Would the monster come again, stronger and more at rage than it was?
Lots of us struggle with one monster or the other(addictions, obsessions, things we would love to change, things we can’t tell anyone), we keep running around in the thick web of sins. But God is our ever present help in times of need, always ready to save you. Just call on Him. Its time to stop running.
Mfon Etuk, 2015.
Just as our forefathers did ages ago, ferried overseas, packed like sardines at the bottom of the ship, chained down like dogs, like cattle to the slaughter house, the abattoir, panicking like turkeys on thanksgiving, panicking from the uncertainty of what is to come, how the future makes all men uneasy! Heroes and cowards alike.
We take that bold step, move from our homeland to lands that we aren’t sure of, it almost seems like history is repeating itself-but not in the same order;
We aren’t chained down, we aren’t ferried via the sea, the great ocean, tossing and tumbling. No, we are flown over from what the Wright brothers had invented, a machine they were almost stoned for, accused of heresy for..
One thing is similar though, we are still packed like sardines, the gross majority of us, for even though we can afford the flight, we choose to take the cheapest seats , to be “cost effective ” and be cramped up in economy with other blacks who make up majority of its population. Does this mean that we still have inherent the tenets of slavery? Choosing to be cramped like grains of rice in a bag. Do we think about the reason “economy class ” was created? Do we wonder why any class was created at all, as we sit relatively comfortably in the belly of a metallic winged bird, or are we too concerned with our destination and our future, as we migrate over the vast oceans.
Just as it did our forefathers, life serves us a cup of anxiety- anxiety of what is to come. This is where the quest for knowledge has led us, quest for a good paying job, nice clothes, houses, exotic cars, quest for a better life, a life that we have to travel miles away from home to make and many believe that only through a Western education can we achieve our dreams.
How ironic is it that when our forefathers were taken from their villages and carried to this land that we journey to, this land we are so excited about, a land where some of us have bragged about visiting to our peers, and for some, even lied about visiting…did we ever stop and recall that they did it against their consent?
It wasn’t for a better life. Oh no! quite the opposite, subjected to harsh working conditions, like miners in a mine, the plantation fields were there offices. But we, being ‘modern and knowledgable’,do not see the similarity, we do not see that we are slaves to the system, our plantation fields being our 9 to 5 jobs, we are on the way to being entrapped in a rat race, an endless circle, never stopping till we die.
Nevertheless we journey, with grins on our faces, wishing the plane could go any faster, wishing we were there already!
But what about those who we have left behind? What about our peers who couldn’t afford the fare? Couldn’t afford economy class or any class for that matter? What would become of them? Do we even think about them? And if we do, are we even bothered? Are we concerned ? Do we care? Whatever happened to communal living? How our forefathers survived , thrived and lived ? Did we store our empathy away with it? In that dusty box under our beds.
Who should even feel empathic for who? Ofcourse we have left them, but are we really going to a better place? Whatever happened to those who were taken from the black continent all those years ago? Were they better than the ones who didn’t go? Of course the criteria for selection then was to be fit physically. Does this mean we aren’t fit? And if not, what is the criteria for selection now?
Perhaps we are getting it all wrong, perhaps we are the ones whom empathy should be shown. The potato admired and secretly envied his brothers, the ones who were selected from the baskets and taken to yonder, stories have sprung that they are taken to a better place , where they will be transformed, where they will be beautiful, where they will be golden fried, where they will be free…he envies them. Little does he know, a change of environment doesn’t always mean a better life, it doesn’t always mean success.
Success amazes me every time I think about her, like a woman of the night, she’s in bed with everyone who will have her, both those who leave and those who stay , she meets them anywhere and everywhere. She tells them all the same thing, she preaches to them, using her religion to captivate their minds, like a preacher during a Sunday sermon, she preaches her gospel of greatness, and makes them fall even deeper . Slowly, as they discover her wonders, their grip tightens, like a Python against the neck of a Chimpanzee. Drinking from her cup, they grow even more intoxicated with what she has to offer, many wander off, seeking other brides , impatient with her continuous teasing of the good life, but for few, who have sworn their hearts to her, they eventually pluck from her branches, and like bees , they continually hover around her flowers, hungering ever more for her nectar.
Thus, can’t we say, success is like a woman, who lives both here and abroad
Written by Obinna Obioma.
Without restrictions you allowed me cry wild and supported me with comfort and warmth I knew not,
God put me in your arms because He knew you will give me solace.
You raised me and taught me what was right and watched me rise,
As I grew and stuck like a glue and didn’t have a clue, you made me detach to see something new,
You tailored me to be who I am and desirable to many people
Now the time has come for me to reciprocate, death has asked you to follow and have left me with sorrow like sleepy hollow,
But thanks be to God that there’s no restriction in resurrection when death will be put to permanent sleep and confined in the deep while we leap.
This is the hope I have that even when I cry, I know it’s for a while ’cause though weeping may endure for a night, joy will surely come in the morning,
Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord mum, till we meet to part no more.
With love, Custom Chris.
Written by Custom Chris
I went shopping with my sisters and within a couple of minutes they had found the dresses they wanted to get. I was the only one left, as usual. Were my stakes too high? Was I being too selective? I pondered as we moved from store to store. I could see the exasperation on their faces and I felt bad. Truth is, I hadn’t found the right one and I wasn’t going to settle. There had been times where I settled for the ‘available’ in the absence of the ‘desirable’ and ended up not using it. Settling never gave me fulfilment; it only left me with wasted resources and another dress I wasn’t going to wear.
We kept moving around for long frustrating hours, with sweat trickling down our faces as though we were under the rain, completely drenched, hungry and jaded.
Just at the point of giving up, I saw a dress in a store across the street. It was so gorgeous and appealing! I ran with a beaming smile towards it. It took a lot of self-control to stop myself from hugging it. I brought out my card to quickly pay for it when a thought came that I should try it on. I went humming into the dressing room. I wore the dress and saw how beautiful it was in the mirror. Oh wait! I hadn’t zipped it. My sister tried to help me zip it but it was too tight, I could barely breath with each attempt at zipping it. OMG! I was desperate for it to size me, you could clearly see the struggle. Tried all I could including tummy tucking, but it just wouldn’t close! It wasn’t the one for me, though it was the one I desperately wanted.
At this point I was ready to settle for any dress whether it was my color or size or whatever! I had lost hope.
I’ll pause there for a minute while I try to use this analogy in our relationships. Is there really a right one for us? Well, personally I feel there are many people in the world who can be the type we want. It’s just harder to find the one who fits us perfectly like a glove. Most times it’s really frustrating finding that one. Most people lack the patience and settle for any Dick, Harry or Maryjane that comes their way. Sometimes it could be a dress that is your size but a color that is your least favorite, or a dress that doesn’t even fit, yet we still settle. Struggling to make it work even though it’s obviously not working!
My sisters, though exhausted and hungry still tried to cheer me up, encouraging me not to settle for the dress that clearly didn’t fit. Was I too early or too late to meet the right one? I pondered as I walked away with my shoulders slumped.
Went to a couple more stores which all had lots of gorgeous dresses; but I was too hung up on the one I thought was the right one but couldn’t fit, that I failed to notice the beautiful dresses that beckoned to me, each unique its own way.
Pause again… Are there some people we are still hung up on? Perhaps exes or crushes that left us heartbroken? Ofcourse, there are people we can’t forget! How can you completely forget your first love? Even when you tell yourself you’ve moved on, your mind still brings the images of what you once had…even if it was just for a second. Not completely letting go of these exes puts a blindfold on our eyes that hinders us from seeing the other many possibilities God has in store for us. Sometimes we even find ourselves judging the next one based on the standards of the one we thought was right and perfect for us, thereby neglecting the uniqueness in the new one.
We finally gave up looking for my dress and started towards the parking lot when I spotted a tiny shop. A little voice within me told me to check it out. Doubts clouded my mind…What would this tiny shop have that the big stores didn’t? I told my sisters to go on as I took a peek into the shop. I did a quick sweep of the entire shop in one glance. Yep! I was right; there was nothing in it for me.
As though the shop owner read my mind, he told me to wait as he went searching for a dress he was sure I would love. I folded my hands, wondering how he was going to impress me. After a couple of seconds that seemed like hours, he brought out the dress. My jaw dropped in amazement. The dress was in all its glory as I wore it. It softly teased my body, fitting me in all the right places, the color was my favorite, and everything else was perfect! I wasn’t hungry or tired anymore. Finding the one was so worth the wait and stress! I left the shop with my well packed shopping bag and a huge grin playing across my face, so happy I didn’t settle.
The right one for you might just be in that place you look down upon, that tribe you dislike for no reason, that race that you would never want to be associated with… Don’t allow your prejudice or previous disappointments and setbacks stop you from meeting the right one and fulfilling the purpose God has for you. As the New Year opens up, be expectant in the great surprises God has stored up for you and surely your expectations will not be cut off! Ciao! 🙂
Photo credit: http://s.ericdress.com
We keep making new resolutions to become better people, to be more successful, to break free from habits and addictions, to be better spouses, to keep our relationships from shipwreck, become healthier, slimmer or fatter…at the end of the year, its either we have succeeded or we continue in the vicious cycle of being the same old us with new calendars.
The year is almost over, we have probably ticked off some items on our resolution list. However, some items still remain far from fulfilment. But does this mean it was a bad year entirely? Perhaps you may have lost your loved ones, or job, or some money, or properties… does this really mean 2014 was the worst year ever? Definitely not!
In this think-thank challenge, I want you to think of the good that happened, the answers to prayers you never said, the good breaks you had, the helpers you didn’t even know, the money you found in your pocket when you were broke, the properties you didn’t lose, the new ones you acquired, the weight you gained or lost, the love you found, the partner who remained true even when you were at your lowest, the items you ticked off your resolution list and prayer cards, the accident you survived, the robbery you scaled through alive, the hospital bed you got out from, the new kids you got, the marriage you celebrated, the graduation that became a reality, the struggles you overcame…write them down and know with no doubt that God has been way too good!
Most people don’t thank because they don’t think! Rather they are so short sighted as to only see the things that didn’t work out, the plans that failed, the darkness that lingered, the tears that they shed, the bad things that happened etc.
I’m challenging you to get a notepad and write out all the good things that happened in the year, think about the supposed bad things that later turned out for good. Put on your thinking cap that you may be able to have a thankful heart 🙂
If you think and can’t find any reason to be thankful (even for the free oxygen you’re breathing), only then can you say the year was a terrible year!
I want to use this opportunity to thank all my readers for being there and encouraging me. I also encourage you to keep giving feedbacks via the comment box. I believe 2015 holds a lot more in store for us and I pray we all crossover, amen. Keep reading, keep being inspired! I love you, but God loves you more!
Happy New Year!!!
© Mfon Etuk, 2014
I crave for the past,
Like a lion in captivity,
Longing for the vast lands of the Serengeti
For the wind in his hair
While running for miles without restrictions Roaring , stamping his authority as king.
I long for the days of simplicity ,
When it was either black or white
When there were no complications ,
Like a beach, the ocean and land intersecting but not conquering each other – mutual respect,
I miss the mutual respects,
I miss when the world didn’t have grey,
When it was color blind,
When there were no colors…
How I envy dogs,
Color blind from the spectrum of the world,
From the discriminations and segregation.
I dream of a world where the continents haven’t been connected by trade and greed,
Transcending over the ages into commerce and integration but still having the tenets of its heritage of greed and trade.
I envy the ants , untainted from the world, their civilization still as it was eons ago
I’m lost in trying to understand their way of life, how could they survive without “modern economics and commerce ” the devils of this world
But yet they have existed , they have thrived, they have survived.
What does that say about their ” more evolved ” Homo sapiens brothers? ,
Related by the ecosystem who have “evolved”
But still find a way to disregard the most fundamental aim of evolution, “survival”
How are they different from the savage beasts of the wild? .
I am African but feel less and less African with every passing day,
Like a caterpillar slowly transforming into a completely different person ,
Transforming into a butterfly.
But does this mean that I’m changing for the better ?
For of course, I am more beautiful , more flamboyant , alluring , pleasing to the eye, easily acceptable to the world , a world whose benchmark for acceptance is vanity.
With my newly found “acceptance ” by the world I have completely been transformed ,
Leaving my “crude and ugly ” caterpillar form behind,
Abandoning my roots, my heritage , becoming less African with every passing day.
What is a tree without its roots I pray thee? What is a building without its foundation?
Change comes and sweeps me off my feet,
Like a mermaid , she sings enticing songs to my ear,
O sweet melody! making its way to my heart, swaying me away from who I truly am ,
Leading me to her, and like a mermaid , beautifully created, her smile eventually captures my heart for good but her claws drag me down to the depths of the sea, destroyed , forever lost … Not just to myself but to the world.
But is change bad? Can’t there be a good transition ?
Of course change is the most constant thing in the world.
With time as her sister, they are an unconquerable force ,
Resistance is futile either for bad or good, we must change,
I crave the days of the past, I envy when I was simple, raw, untainted ,I miss when I was me.
Written by Obinna Obioma
Surrounded by people yet I feel so lonely
Like a cold blanket over me
I feel no warmth
My eyes are dampened
By the salty tears that keep trying to break free
I’m calling out and no one is answering
Not even the answering machine
Where are my friends when I need them?
Oh wait! There they are…
So why am I so alone?
I long for the peace that only you can give
The storms in my heart keep raging like a mighty tempest
I’m lost, cold and alone
No one understands me
Not even the closest to me…
I feel so empty
Like a barrel with no rum
Or a room with no one
My mind is going overboard
Trying to figure the figures that keep troubling me
Trying to fix the puzzle called life
Its so scrabbled, I need solitaire
Does any of this make sense?
There’s always one thing after the other
School, work, money, marriage
Too much load, I need a carriage
Chasing after the wind
It’s like I’m chasing pavements
Help! I cry and no one is listening
Or have they got headphones on?
No, my cries are mere whispers
Too scared to turn to you
I feel you still hate me
What I did you can’t forgive
Oh, that’s the devil whispering
Depression cloaks me
Sadness encompasses me
The dark has come
I can’t even see the light
Not even a flash,
My life is a total wreckage
And they say this girl is damaged
People judging me from different degrees
When they don’t even own a law degree
I see them throwing the stones
When it was you who died and rose up before they rolled away the stone
My head is down, my knees are bent
I’m crying for help from the bottom of my heart
Cos I know I’m no Ben 10
It’s dark but I need the light
I’m listening to these sad songs
By other damaged people who feel my pain
It’s like the world is full of chains
People held captive by the need to love again
Eaten up by desires to succeed
Losing their joy in the pursuit of smoke
Yes Solomon said all is vanity
But I just felt it was because he was clothed in royalty
He didn’t feel the scourge of poverty
I can’t see you
But I know you’re there
Kinda like the air I breathe
Call it oxygen or carbon dioxide
Don’t leave me breathless
I’m no Shayne Ward
But I’ve got to hear your word
‘Say something, I’m giving up on you’
That’s the song I’m singing.
Mfon Etuk, 2014.