Presidents into kings: We’ve lost the fight against 3rd terms in Africa, so here are some parting sour shots

Insightful read.

NAKED CHIEFS

AS presidential term limits collapse in the face of attacks by big men in Africa, a seemingly difficult question has taken root: Britain, Germany, Israel and other successful nations in Europe and Asia don’t have term limits. So why is it being touted as the magic elixir for Africa’s politics?

It’s a valid question, and the fact that it has been asked so often, and those of us who support term limits feel we have to answer it should tell us that that we have lost this argument.

It is like explaining to someone why they should not steal, or why in this age it is bad science to marry their sister (let’s not even talk about the morality of it).

LandscapeLiberia’s president William Tolbert (L) with his wife and US president Richard Nixon in 1973. Tolbert fell to the term limit devices of the coup and assassination.

Many of…

View original post 1,098 more words

Free at last! Okay, just the hands.

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. You get all the way up there, spin around and then come back down. Before you know it, all the excited squeals you let out are but a distant memory. That pretty much sums up life though, no? That oscillation between “Wow, I do not think I have ever been this happy.” and “I can’t believe a human being can actually go through all this.!” Or something like that…
Today though. We are simply giving thanks! 🙂
For the past 6 days, I have had a cannula inside my vein as I received injections through it daily. I have a pretty high threshold for pain so this was not my biggest problem. It was having to be semi-helpless because I could only use one hand.
The first three days were trickier. It was my right hand (which pretty much does all the work) so I  struggled to complete seemingly routine activities like getting dressed. No, this had nothing to do with trying to fix size 8 clothes through a size 10 body. I eventually learnt to adjust and some days I found myself  shaking laughter when things failed. Luckily, on Saturday, I got the cannula switched to the left hand so I could do much more on my own. Freedom! Ish.
I pondered a lot about life, death and everything in between. It is disturbing the things that your mind can conjure up when you are idle. I was more thankful for my situation, knowing there are people who live without limbs ‘permanently.’ What about their patient caretakers who may have to bathe and clothe them every day? How do they deal with it?
This season did not mean that life stopped to wait for me. On the contrary, it probably moved faster. I cannot count the number of times I had to say “ I am not available, but please speak to…” At some point, even the people I was delegating to were getting overwhelmed with my workload. Although I knew this, there was little I could do. Others ensured that I felt their stress despite my situation. Yup, no cushions because life must go on!

Nevertheless, I tried to do as much as possible with my ‘one hand’ as I looked forward to Tuesday(today).
I made plans in my mind for all the things I needed to do when this phase came to an end. Unsurprisingly, the first seven or so are work related. It’s not all work though.
During my ‘break,’ I also got to read quite a bit and stare pictures on fashion blogs that got me shaking my piggy bank as if to estimate what my current savings could do.
There are these cute pumps that might be purchased or simply stared at one last time as motivation for the ‘good life.’ I fancied me a nice long warm bath to ‘wash away all this pain’ (check), I promised myself I would wave my two working hands around just for fun check, check) Oooh and God knows this body needs a massage for all the sores and awkward sleeping positions.
Last but not least, a week (more like a life) of thanksgiving for the gift of life, all my limbs, persistent friends who stick with you even when you ignore their calls and pleas to visit, the one who stuck with me through my hospital visits and my very awesome family that includes a member who just yesterday asked what in the world a cannula was plus another one who seemed pained every time he walked into my room that I wanted to comfort him instead.
Star ta fa! Season 5,678,943, Episode 1 now loading….
To God be the glory!

girl jumping

Putting pain to good use

On any other Monday, I would be as fit as a fiddle, running around trying to do anything and everything that time can allow. Instead, I am lying in bed trying to type this post at an awkward angle.
For the past five years, I have been hospitalised at least once annually for a condition that is yet to be ‘correctly’ diagnosed. It comes in small doses during the year but there is always that one episode that comes prepared to crash and burn. When this happens, I run several tests with the hope of a new, more satisfying response but these efforts are mostly futile. Still, one must keep trying!
Last week when I saw a ‘new’ doctor, I recounted this to him and he asked “Have you been admitted this year?” I happily responded in the negative and he added, “So, is today the day?” I told him I hoped we would find an actual problem this time and treat it so I could go home. Several tests were done and they each came out negative. I left with drugs to take care of the symptoms, feeling worse than I did when I made my way to seek medical attention.
The fact that I know my body sometimes turns against me means that when I am 100% healthy, I have to be 150% active. When I work, it’s like my life depends on it with 2,345 items on my to-do list. When I dance, it is to ‘finish my money,’ never mind that half the time, no money has been paid in the first place 😛

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

There’s a positive side to all this and I guess that is what I would like to highlight today. Experience makes you wiser and wisdom gives you insight that can help you ‘save’ others. Let’s see if I can illustrate this.
My grandfather was a humorous man who always had a joke up his sleeve. When he got Alzheimer’s, it was difficult for us to tell because most of his actions resonated with the personality we had grown to love. When he was diagnosed, it all started to make sense, albeit too late. Thankfully, he came to live with us to ensure he was surrounded by love and maximum care in his last years.
One of our family friends whom I shall call George noticed some changes with his own father a few months later. When he shared this, mom quickly recommended grandpa’s doctor. As suspected, he too, had dementia. He began treatment immediately and the gentleman who had looked after grandpa during his illness is now a caregiver to George’s dad. Whereas we lost a loved one, another family benefited from the lessons we  learnt.

The irony is that as I treat my yet to be identified condition, I am constantly dispensing mostly unsolicited advice on the meaning of certain symptoms, which specialist to see and when to seek a second opinion.
My ‘experience’ as a full-time participant in health issues concerning myself, my loved ones and those around me  has ensured that I often make the right call ‘accidentally.’
Recently, I visited a friend’s mother after her surgery and very soon the room filled up with her friends and relatives. We exchanged several ‘horror tales’ of our country’s health system. After a while, her cousin tapped me and asked “How long have you been a medical professional?”
It was sadly funny.

I guess my message today is to encourage you not to let any kind of pain go unused.
This might sound pretty strange but you need to make the most out of it, in any shape or form that you can possibly muster.

Julie lost her job and it turned out to be a great time of self reflection for her. Before long, she knew exactly who her real friends were because the fake ones walked out the door the moment they realised she was broke.
It didn’t matter that she had picked them up during their lowest moments. They quickly forgot that and became instantly unavailable whenever she needed them.
As she starts her new journey, she knows exactly whom she’s carrying along for the ride and those she will happily leave behind.

We all have these moments. They come in form of different experiences.

You break up with Bosco, the love of your life and suddenly everyone has evidence to prove that he is such a low life. *Never mind that none of these friends told you when you were together. * <smh>

Before long, your heartbreak turns into a ‘good riddance!’ and guess what, you still continue to breathe after this failed relationship.

As cliche as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. The best gift you can give to your current  and future self is to deliberately seek out the lesson in each situation that threatens or even manages to break you. After all, you can’t mend that which is not broken in the first place 🙂
It’s only a matter of time before it is a distant memory and the best ‘revenge’ you can ever get is to take a seat, grab some crayons and draw your little rainbow when it’s all over.

jumping

Not tomorrow. Today

“Live each day like it’s your last.” Are there human beings that are capable of this? Let’s think about it for a minute. If today was your last day, what would you do? Gather all your loved ones in one room, travel the world in 24 hours, tell that special someone you love them, face your worst fear?
Of course if we look beyond the literal bit, it is basically a reminder that we should live the life we desire because we only get one chance. Unfortunately, being a mortal comes with its shortcomings.
For starters, how quickly we forget!
About a month ago, I made a decision to seek out friends I had not met in a long time. For some of them, it was a case of bad timing, others had been distant and for some, I could not even explain what caused the ‘disappearing acts.’
Each time I noticed I had a free day or clear week, I tried to reach out to at least one. Some sessions had us pick up where we left off and for others, we were reminded why there had been any distance in the first place- we had simply grown into different people. I also accepted that it’s healthy to admit that time changes and people move on. When the time comes, by all means, let go.
Yesterday I met Penny. We had planned this rendezvous for months and something always came up on either end. Last week, I gave her a date and time and mentioned I would be there whether or not showed up. She made it, albeit late and paid for the meal to make up for it. Yaay! *If I had a meal for each time someone kept me waiting, I’d have saved enough for my future daughter’s Ivy league education by now*
As we spoke about life and relationships, we both agreed that platforms like ‘whatsapp’ confuse you into thinking that you have met your friends and spoken to them yet in fact, all you do is chat.
I have chatted with several people almost daily, and we say we are ‘fine,’ only to meet and realise there is so much going on that neither of us actually disclosed. It is much easier to click the ‘dancing lady in red’ emoticon than give a written account of the depression you are going through, don’t you think?
We both admitted that sometimes ‘busy’ did not really mean busy but rather “ I shall not make the time.”
Penny’s solution was that she would cut off everyone she had not seen in 6 months who was ‘comfortable’ chatting online but never available for a face to face.

regret
When I got home, I received a phone call, a free spirit I knew had passed on. I was broken. Earlier I had heard of a teenage girl who had lost her life in an accident the same day. I was left thinking about the fleeting nature of life.
As it was approaching 10pm, I received a call from *Lucy.* I am generally ‘afraid’ of night calls so I picked up hesitantly. She asked me for the deceased’s phone number. I went silent for a while. What was happening? Did she know? Was she in denial? I asked Lucy if she had heard the News. She said she had but she did not believe it. She had left her phone at home and needed me to send the number so she could call and speak to her friend. The conversation just became more depressing from hereon.
I did as she asked and she later told me the phone was off. Lucy was mad at herself. They had made plans to meet and it hadn’t happened. In her words “ I meant to check in but you know how you keep postponing because you are tired all the time and think that whatsapp suffices…”
I could feel the agony in her every message and we ended up talking till after midnight. I understood what she meant because she is many of us and if we do not do something about it, this will be the story of our children’s lives too.
This young lady left behind a beautiful son. One of the most recent memories I have of her is that each time I asked about him, the next messages would be several pictures of him. She loved him to bits.
For her family and friends and those that have lost their loved ones, I can only offer prayers and heartfelt condolences and hope that, one day “It will be well…”
We certainly can’t all be in several places at the same time but we can do our best to be there for our loved ones before we have to settle for the paltry, mostly insufficient “RIP.”
This quote stung a bit when I read it last week but that can only be because admittedly, it had some truth to it.
   “Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than  gratitude.”

 

Find time. Make time. Make love. Apologise. Create memories. Travel. Show gratitude. Celebrate life. NOW.
Regrets are inevitable but who says we can’t make love inevitable too?
X