Hello, dear readers! Welcome to today’s session of the #FreshGradTales. Today, we have a young beautiful lady who I have spoken with and really do admire. I’d refer to her as a woman of strength and ambition. Her name is Kemi Farinde and she is a graduate of the Building department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. She currently works with a company where she is practising as a builder. And lest I forget, she actually served as the president of her department in her final year on Campus. I do know you would enjoy this.
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How would you describe your journey through the university?
First, I would like to say thank you, Orifunke Lawal, for the beautiful job you are doing on this platform.
My journey on campus was tiring and stressful but sweeeettttt, fun and challenging. Every experience was worth it, truthfully speaking.
If you had an opportunity to start all over again, would you still pick your university? Why or why not?
Lol, no oooo…ah, I would love to experience other institutions, their calendar, standards and all.
Tell us about your relationships, maybe?
I have had two relationships. The first one was for over five years while the second was for eight months. I am turned off from relationships presently. I just want to invest all my energy in myself and anything that concerns me asides relationship. When the right person comes, then I can be in one. But right now?, my dear, NO.
My experience has been bad. In my first relationship, we shared different values and he was violent. The second one broke up with me because I bought ordinary 4,500naira weavon with my freaking money and he assumed I spent lavishly. And then his senses got awakened that I do social media too much.
What challenges did you have as a student?
Challenges? I had a whole lot of them. Was it the part where I had to sleep in classrooms because I had no accommodation in part two? Abi the part that my G.P dropped drastically in part 3 because I was carried away by different part-time jobs that I had to do to survive, and lots more. But see ehn, all those things never weakened me, instead, I saw them as opportunities to perform excellently; which I did.
Would you say you had any achievements? If yes, what are they?
Oh yes, I did. I led my department as the President for a session and it was awesomeeee. I understood what it felt like to starve, I understood what it felt like to be faced with challenges above, so I ensured the students didn’t have to go through those things. Life was easy for them, but it wasn’t for me. We were able to provide welfare packages for students, visitation, packages worth more than their dues, a talk show with free food (smiles). We were able to raise enough funds (a’int telling you guys how much), we bought a printer, concrete mixer and poker vibrator for the department, we renovated the studios, we gave all our lecturers packages and the week was awesome.
Oh, and despite all my travelling and “Joyful Noise” (my fellowship’s anniversary), I still finished with a 2.1.
What advice do you have for those who are still students in higher institutions and those who are looking at going to school soon?
See, you need to have a passion before you can even cope. Your passion drives you, it motivates you personally. Don’t ever be distracted nor disappointed in yourself. If you know you have failed then strive not to fail again. Talk to people. Your ego and silence won’t help anyone in the end, my dear. Walkaway from people with bad testimonies . You can do alllllll things, that’s what the scriptures say.
Any final words?
Keep believing in yourself. You are not limited by anything. Know your weaknesses, your strength and never settle for less. You don’t even know all you can do except you try. Don’t walk alone. And never stop loving God. In the beginning and the end, it’s still God. But don’t leave God with all and be sleeping… Lol, you are on a jonzing things o. I wish you nothing but God’s best. Soar!!!
Thanks, Miss Orifunke Lawal. God bless you and keep being an impact. Let’s stay blessed.
I remain Farinde Kemi And I am a Builder.
As much as proposals are the order of the day all around the world, it is also not unusual to hear or see instances where the lady rejects a marriage proposal from her man; or in recent cases in Nigeria where it was the other way around. And beyond what we see in the media daily, I am sure there are other countless men whose proposals are rejected by their women.
This is an interesting phenomenon, I must say. I have been particularly thrilled about failed proposals. I always want to know why she said no if they had been dating for a while. What went wrong? Was it her? Was it him? Was it them? WHY? The bigger and more significant question I always seem to have on my mind is, “So, what next? Where do they go from there? Do they retrace their steps? Or should they say goodbye?” Because I am naturally inquisitive, I have raised this question with small groups of people (guys, especially).
“If you ask a girl to marry you and she says No, would you continue with the relationship?”
Last week, I also took a poll on my social media platforms where I asked people this same question. And as with every poll, I got varying responses. Most of the people who responded made it known very clearly that there was absolutely no need for the relationship to continue while others did make provisions for the fact that there could have been a reason.
Well, I am one of the few people who think that saying No to a proposal should not necessarily mean the end of a relationship.
I mean, I know it’s a serious thing if she says No to your proposal but I think calling the relationship quits as a result of that might be too extra. And I do have my reasons.
WHAT IF SHE IS NOT READY?
I am in a relationship with someone I do love and see myself marrying sometime in the nearest future but sometimes, I have had to ask myself what I would do when this guy is ready to get married and I am not ready yet. Would he ask me why and find out? Or would he call it quits?
Some people think he should at least be knowledgeable enough to know when I’m ready or not. But the problem with this premise is that this can be quite confusing, especially if he wants the proposal to be a surprise. What if he is convinced that she is ready because she looks or talks ready but is not ready mentally?
I think we really should consider the possibility that a woman can really love a man, see a future with him but indeed, not be ready when he pops the question; and sometimes, it is not about whether she is ready to submit or not or whether she is financially stable as she wants. Sometimes, it is just psychological and in a lot of cases, you can’t just explain the exact unready-for-marriage feeling that you have.
It is important to remember that a man will NEVER ask for a woman’s hand in marriage until he thinks he is ready, even if she has been ready for it for long. He might not be financially ready and all and sometimes, he is just not mentally ready. It doesn’t reduce the love he has for her, neither does it mean he’ll push himself to get married because she wants to get married.
If the man most likely would not ask the question unless HE is ready, then why should there not be a consideration of the possibility that she might not be ready too? Should she automatically be ready because he is ready? Or, is it only the man who needs to get mentally or psychologically ready for marriage?
Being ready is not only talking like you’re ready. It might not even be talking about marriage. It is not looking like you’re all ready and ripe.
Asking the WHY question
So, here’s my submission. If she says No to a proposal, there should be questions asked; Why?
-Is it that she doesn’t see a future with him at all?
-Or is it that she is not ready (Maybe he asked too early)?
If it’s the latter, then do well to ask WHY she is not ready.
The responses should inform your next step; whether to stay and chill or find someone else. As for me, however, God knows I am not going to say Yes to a marriage I am not prepared for (and I know he definitely would not ask me without knowing if I’m prepared).
Or, what do you think?
I Tried Being In A Relationship in 300L, 400L and 500L With The Same Girl But She Refused ~ Dipo #FreshGradTales
#FreshGradTales is here again and well, I am as excited as you are (or should be). Today, I have Olaitan Dipo being featured on #FreshGradTales. Dipo is a fresh graduate from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State (FUTMINNA) and he studied Chemical Engineering. The young graduate who hails from Kwara State is the only child of his parents and loves to watch movies, read and gist with friends.
Do enjoy his interview and do not forget to share after you’re done with reading. Thank you.
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How would you describe your journey through the university?
I would describe my journey through the University as a great one with loads of experience from friends and from the environment.
What were the best thing and worst thing about attending your university?
The best thing for me about attending the University was the freedom you get when you leave home; you don’t have anyone to control you. The worst for me was having to deal with different kinds of people especially roommates, lecturers and sometimes the courses themselves
If you had an opportunity to start all over again, would you still pick your university? Why or why not?
I would not, because of the stress I have to pass through to get to the University and the distance from my home (Lagos) to Minna due to bad roads as well as considering conditions such as light issues we experienced outside the campus because of the number of limited hostels we had in the University.
Imagine you had a second chance as a student, what would you do better?
If I had a second chance as a student, I would plan my life better than before. I would make more inquiries about the course I want to study. In details, what I mean is that I won’t go for Chemical Engineering. Although I planned to study Computer Engineering, along the line, I applied for Chemical Engineering.
What did you learn most from being a student in your university?
What I learnt most was how to accommodate different kinds people (their behaviours) and also learning to relate well when meeting people for the first time. I didn’t relate with people well in secondary school when meeting them for the first time until I had known them very well and this affected my relationship with my level mates in 100L.
Tell us about your relationships, maybe?
Actually, for relationships, they did not work out for me. I tried being in a relationship in 300, 400 and 500L with the same girl but she refused.
What challenges did you have as a student? (This could be personal, academic, whatever)
The challenge I had as a student was mainly the problem of mentoring. I had nobody to guide me and that was actually my fault because I kept a lot of things to myself.
Now that you’re a graduate, what’s next for you?
The next is to launch into the labour market (Lol). But before then, I would love to acquire some skills such as programming and leadership skills.
Any final words?
Yes, I want to say a big thank you to Orifunke for this great opportunity. God bless you ma.
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#FreshGradTales is a series of interviews for fresh graduates from ALL universities in Nigeria. This initiative aims at hearing and sharing the stories, struggles, achievements and experiences of fresh Nigerian graduates. We do believe everyone has a unique story that someone somewhere would love to read and benefit from reading as well.
If you are a fresh university graduate and would love to share your #FreshGradTales, Orifunke would be glad to hear from you on [email protected]
Hiya! So you’re welcome. It’s been quite a while I wrote a post that wasn’t a response to one of my polls and I think I’ve missed that. To be honest, taking polls can be quite stressful and if you’re a wahala-lover like me, you know taking time to design responses to polls are double stressful too. So I decided to take a break this week, not from blogging, but from the usual polls. Thank you for stopping by. I’m looking forward to seeing a response from you after you’re done reading too.
So, eh ehn, my birthday is coming!!! And I’m quite excited about that. Okay, maybe not “excited” in that sense of it but it’s something I am really looking forward to. And sorry, I’m not celebrating it o, I don’t have money (in case you were thinking of asking ?) but it’s on the 30th of January and I can receive gifts. ?
Since my birthday is just around the corner, I thought of doing a birthday post for myself. The habits are not exactly “silly” but they’re things I hope to stop doing and I hope to work on. Enjoy. You might be able to relate to one or two.
Habits I Want To Stop After My Next Birthday
1. Not calling people or trying to keep in touch.
Oh well, if there’s anything I suck at, it has to be calling people. My basic solution to this, of recent, has been to start up conversations with people I have not talked with in a while when they reply to one of my posts on social media. Sometimes I have to even write a to-do list for calling people because I will just forget. Hopefully, by the end of this year, I’d have greatly improved on that.
2. Being too lazy to respond to messages
Oh myyy. I usually have a whole lot of Whatsapp and Facebook messages that sometimes I even forget to check them and other times, I just feel pretty overwhelmed. It’s even more of the latter than the former. Lol. I get overwhelmed when I have to reply a lot of messages and end up replying late. Interestingly, I reply messages faster when I am working on a laptop. So I guess I just get stressed out when I have to type a lot on my phone. I think I prefer calls (or voice notes). I am not always in the mood to reply messages.
3. Spending money impulsively.
Lol. See this one eh, iss only God that can epp me. I am quite an impulsive spender. I can spend when I am excited and spend when I am moody. My way of curbing this has been to move a considerable amount of my money to one of my bank accounts for which I have no ATM card. So if there’s any temptation to even go to the bank to withdraw, it quickly dies down because it is so much stress and I do not like stress. I also do not withdraw large amounts of money to keep at hand because something will just come up that I will buy. These have worked for me ? To think of it, I spend a large amount of my money on food and drinks and data and I rarely buy clothes unless I am sure I really need them.
4. Waking up late
I have never been an early riser and I have never been a nocturnal person either. So I tend to sleep early (say around 10 or 11, if that’s early) and well…wake up late. I’ve tried and tried to get myself to at least wake up by 4 or 5am beht iss just not werking mehn. I think one thing that would just fit me is to have a job where I am not limited by work hours. So I can sleep well and at least be awake to do whatever I need to do.
5. Not planning my day ahead.
I’ve not been one to always plan a day ahead. I get bored after a while. But now that I work, I’ve discovered that planning my day ahead helps me to deliver better and to have a more productive day. Just because I get bored of things easily, I could plan this week ahead and next week, I take each day as it comes. And this affects me because I usually have to do a lot of things everyday.
6. I have been racking my head to find the sixth thing I need to stop doing and work on but I can’t seem to remember anything right now. Maybe when I remember, I’ll update this post ???
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Thank you for reading. Feel free to drop your comments. My birthday is on the 30th of January. If you want to connect with me so you can wish me a happy birthday before then, you can reach out to me on the following:
Facebook Orifunke Lawal
Have a great weekend ahead! ???
Hiiiii. So, I’m telling you this gist on a full tummy of small chops and sorry I do not mean to make you salivate. But I figured I didn’t want to keep this gist to myself and that’s why I’m telling you.
About two weeks ago, someone on twitter started a giveaway thread where people could give whatever they wanted to give to anybody who wanted them. I went through the thread o as per there is nothing God cannuh do and I saw a twitter handle (@smallChopsng) saying they had a box of beautiful small chops that could feed six people and they were going to give for free. Aye mi! Izz like you peepu deenuh know that Jollof rice is King while small chops are the second in command.
For my non-Nigerian readers, “small chops” refers to a collection of different snacks that are small in size but are perfectly complementary and are usually put in a pack or served on small plates in parties.
As I saw the tweet, I ran into their DM to collect it. *side eye* Yes, I wanted to collect it. So I was told they were going to do a poll because they had already had a number of requests. I wasn’t the only one who wanted small chops after all. I almost gave up because I just thought that if they were going to do a poll then I wasn’t sure I was going to win. This was because I had never done won a giveaway before and didn’t know how to start scouting for votes.
On Thursday, @burmese_tyga did the poll and after asking some people to vote for me, I won the poll. I had a friend (@itannaoluwa) who even asked his followers to vote for me. To God be the glory, the promise of the small chops was mine and I had to await the delivery today, Monday.
I had already decided I wouldn’t buy lunch today so I was eagerly waiting for the delivery guy to come deliver. Around past 11, I received a call from someone from smallChopsng. My God, my joy knew no bounds. I sprang up from my office chair and ran downstairs to meet the guy.
I arrived at the guy’s bike just as he brought out the box from his bike container. I wanted to faint with excitement. Like Chisos! Why’s it so big! The box of small chops actually looked like a box of pizza. No, I think it looked like a box of cake. I fell in love with the colour of the package (My God, the package was too fine. Very simple but very fine) and I majestically carried the box into my office.
“Fisayo! Rufus! Shey you remember that small chops giveaway I said you people should vote for me for? I won!”, I exclaimed, placing the box on the table. I felt so fulfilled.
The small chops were plentyyy o. There were:
-Six Pieces of chicken, not kinkini chicken o. And the chicken was grilled, way better than fried ones.
-Six pieces of meat, I think they were slightly peppered, can’t remember. But they were sizeable and tasty, not like those 50naira meats food sellers usually sell.
-Six pieces of spring rolls. I first tasted spring rolls at a function seven years ago and I have been in love with it ever since. I usually reserve my spring rolls for the last simply because I love them. They had a smooth taste and were succulent.
-Six pieces of Samosa. You know that triangular snack you always find in a small chops pack? Yes. After spring rolls, I love these ones next. I loved how they put some corn and delicious pieces of meat. I didn’t want to finish it.
-Multiple Pieces of Mosa. You know that snack that looks like puff-puff but tastes like honey and milk and is chocolate brown in colour? It tasted like it was from the land flowing with milk and honey (Bible people should understand that)
-Multiple pieces of puff-puff. I liked the puff-puff because they weren’t burnt but I don’t really like puff-puffs so…
So how did small chops make me a boss at work today? I shared it amongst all my colleagues. Loool. It was for 6 people na. How could I have finished it alone? I have also taken some for my younger sister, Olawunmi, at home. Sadly, my grandma, who I stay with, no longer has teeth for small chops. She’ll have to stick to Ogi.
Big thanks to SmallChopsng for making me have a merry Christmas. Forget, even if I don’t eat Christmas chicken or party jollof rice this Christmas, I am already okay.
Birthday depression is a big issue and it’s more severe because many people do not even know it exists. Or scratch that, it actually does exist but many people simply would not call it a form of depression. I didn’t think it was a form of depression till, of late, when an acquaintance narrated her experience and it occurred to me that it felt familiar.
Birthday Depression is that feeling of sadness that overwhelms you when it’s about time for your birthday or just after your birthday. I cannot say it happens to everyone because I haven’t conducted a poll on this before but I do can say it happens to quite a number of people.
Birthday depression usually comes as a result of having a terribly sad feeling of unachieved goals and dreams that have not come through. Many people have milestones they want to achieve at a certain age and strive to work towards it. So when the achievement doesn’t come through as planned for, it becomes hard to bear. There is, a lot of times, the feeling of failure that comes with remembering that you’re a year older but not a year bigger.
Asides the feeling of not being able to have achieved your set goals for a particular age, there is also the fear of not getting to where you aspire to get to. Some people want to have gotten to certain places in their lives or their careers at a particular age and as the birthdays pass, the fear and uncertainty of having those things come to pass begin to stare them in the face.
In a couple of months, I am going to be a year older. And while I would have been all excited a few years ago about a coming birthday, I am pretty much far from excited this time around. Oh, of course, I am going to be grateful about another year added in life and good health. But there are goals that I have, dreams that I have dreamed and staying on my present age affords me the superficial excitement that I still have on my side. With another birthday, I am reminded that I am older and time, even if it’s on my side, is running fast against me.
Well, how do I expect to overcome birthday depression?
By first realizing that birthdays are a gift to celebrate because life is worth celebrating. Only a living person can really bother about goals and responsibilities and achievements. I may not be where I would like to be or where I have planned to be but I am sure grateful for how far I have come and nonetheless optimistic about where I am going. You know, hope really never fails.
Secondly, you must also endeavour to focus on the other good things that you possess. As one grows older, it is easier to forget the things that God has done and focus on the things that we do not have yet. When we focus on things that have not happened yet, we let our sight off the big blessings that have already happened. “Count your blessings and you will see what the Lord has done” remains an ever-relatable hymn. You may want to take a notepad and jot down things that you are grateful for having. Or you may want to take some personal life to help you think deeply; whatever will make you think of the positive things.
Third, you must understand that your achievements don’t define you. You define your achievements. You give life to your goals. You decide whether or not the failure to achieve something gets to you and affects you. I am learning that whether or not I do well in a particular area of my life, I will do well as a whole, regardless. I define my goals. They don’t define me. And so when they don’t come to pass [yet], I can still deal with them.
I believe birthday depression can be overcome. I am trying to overcome it too and I know I’d have overcome it by my next birthday.
Please share this with your network. Someone might need it. Thanks!
I read Toke Makinwa’s book “On Becoming” recently and well, what a read it was! I have not gotten over the wave of emotions that hit me from time to time while I read the book. I have had one or two people tell me that it is dangerous to believe a one-sided story like Toke Makinwa’s and I agree to an extent. But something deep within me believes her story hook, line and sinker and it’ll remain that way until I’m proven otherwise.
The book is opened by Toke Makinwa narrating the story of her family background. She tells a gruesome story of how she loses her parents to a fire incident that happened in their home while she was a kid. In the book, she also describes her growing up, education and the main gist of the book- her relationship with Maje.
Toke Makinwa’s story is relevant, to me, because she openly tells about the experiences of many ladies who will never have the strength to tell them. Her story also reveals the failure of the African society that would rather blame the woman for the dissolution of a marriage than blame a man. The faulted system that suggests that a broken marriage would have been prevented if the woman “cooked better for him, gave him enough sex and blah blah blah.”
I was angry while reading the book because I couldn’t fathom why she kept going back to a guy who kept cheating on her. I really wouldn’t blame her though. When a woman loves a man, she easily forgives him when he apologizes with the hope that he will change. Of course, he might not and the cycle continues.
I was disgusted because I really couldn’t place why he always kept cheating and coming back to say “I’m sorry” knowing well that he was no where near the changed man he acclaimed himself to be.
I was sad because of the trauma she had to go through and how she could have avoided that a long time ago.
The end of the book however brought me a feeling of unsaid joy and relief. I am glad that she was able to find solace and strength in God’s Word during the trying times.
Here’s a lesson for ladies: If a man keeps disrespecting you over and over again, don’t go into marriage with him. Yes, you really love him and trust that he’ll change. But if he keeps hurting you again and again, please leave. If your relationship with a man doesn’t change him, don’t expect your marriage with him to do that either.
Disclaimer: My views are solely based on reading Toke Makinwa’s account of her relationship with Maje. The story may change if I ever get to read or hear Maje’s side of the story.
By the way, today is Toke’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Toke Makinwa!
I grew up in a society where being a housewife was totally frowned at by the literates of the society. And that society is the same society where I still live. I have begun to really wonder why being a housewife seems like such a taboo for both men and women alike. Everybody seems to agree on the fact that no woman should consider being a housewife, especially if she’s educated. Why spend so many years going to school when you’re going to sit down for the rest of your marriage in your house doing “nothing”?
While I am not of the opinion that a woman should be stuck in the home after marriage, I still believe doing so is not a bad idea. I have always been an ambitious person and I have never much fancied not having a regular job. But then, I am beginning to have a re-think. While I don’t want to sit down at home absolutely doing nothing, I do not think I am mentally ready for the stress of going to work all day and then coming back to face the stress of the house. Lol, yes I am that lazy. I would prefer a job where I can sit down at home and keep getting the money and still be able to keep an eye on my children.
Okay, this post isn’t about me. What I’m saying is, there is really nothing wrong with being a full housewife. What if a lady thinks she wants to approach being a full-time housewife as a full-time job? Why disagree with her? “Funke, times have changed. We’re no longer in ‘those days'”, you want to protest. And I totally understand. But who says being a housewife isn’t a job anyway? No, it isn’t just a job, it is a life.
Imagine having to pay someone who will wholeheartedly take care of and look after your kids. Or someone who will cook your meals. Or watch after the house. And at the end of the day, function well in “za oda room”. Imagine having to pay for each of them. Well, unless you’re wealthy, paying for these may not be so easy.
What am I saying? There is nothing wrong with being a housewife. A woman should be able to make her own decisions and we should be able to respect that. If a woman decides that with all her degrees, she wants to stay at home and be a housewife, leave her be. It doesn’t make her irrelevant or less important than other “career women”.
So here’s for all the full housewives out there who are receiving little or no recognition for their jobs well done. You all are doing an amazing job and I celebrate you for it. For all I know, housewives are pretty much as relevant to our society as much as every other career woman. They shouldn’t be looked down on or seen as “unambitious” or weak.
Or, what do you think?
I stumbled on a video on YouTube where Jumoke Adenowo was interviewed. It was in the #KingWomen series of Kemi Adetiba. Prior to this time, I had never seen Jumoke Adenowo in any video before, never heard her talk before and I knew almost nothing about her. I only knew she was an architect who is pretty much good at what she does and that was about all I knew about her. (She runs AD studio; AD consulting firm, a firm she founded in 1994).
I half-mindedly used to wonder why she was usually invited to speak at events pertaining to women and all. However, watching and listening to her speak for more than thirty minutes, I instantly fell in love with her. Watching her interview, I gained insight into her growing up, her educational background, some of her views about life and her principles. Needless to say, listening to her made me have a great deal of respect for her. So here are just six of the reasons why I am getting to love and respect her all the more:
1. Jumoke Adenowo is a woman who loves to dream big. She comes off as a lady who doesn’t settle down with mediocrity. She doesn’t allow society’s opinions affect her way of thinking and her goals. And she doesn’t support you being side-lined or not doing anything great because you’re a female.
2. Another reason why I am crushing on her is because she is one person who respects herself. Listening to her would just make you have an increase in your self-esteem. She is this person who doesn’t settle down for less than who she is. And she really doesn’t take nonsense from people.
3. Jumoke Adenowo is an intelligent woman! And intelligence is a turn on for me anyday anytime. When you hear her speak, you know this isn’t someone who doesn’t know what she’s saying. She does. And I should attribute this partially to the fact that she grew up reading books and travelling round the world with her dad. You listen to her and you just know she has so much upstairs to give and to impart.
4. She is also a big risk-taker! Thinking about how she started her business, I’m not sure I would be able to take such a risk. But yeah, life is all about risks.
5. I love how she has been able to love and build her family and imbibe in her children a sense of her origin culture.
6. And this is the biggest of everything. I love how much she is a lover of God and of the things of God. And my dear woman is giving to the service of others. Don’t even ask me how I know all this. But it’s true. Jumoke Adenowo lets you know that it is much possible to love God, do His work and still excel in other parts of your life.
In the future, I look forward to getting to speak with this amazing woman. And I am sure the “future” isn’t very far from now.
Reading through this young woman’s story for the first time, I was both thrilled and intrigued. Her story sent a number of emotions through me. I was awed by how much and how well she was able to handle her son’s physical disability and turn it into an advantage and a strength. As someone who has a brother who is struggling with another type of physical disability, I can quite relate. Her story encapsulates the genesis of the problem, the journey through the years, the struggles she has had to face and the eventual victories. Her name is Anne Bessong and you will enjoy this story and be inspired by it down to the very end.
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I got married in December 1994 and on January 3, 1996, our first baby was born. At birth, David was just like any other baby until he cried or smiled. Then his whole face shifted to one side and the contorted sight wasn’t nice, to say the least. That was how our journey into the world of physical human disorders started. The doctors called it partial facial palsy, asked us to observe him till he was over 9 months old and we started getting referrals to go to different places.
After he turned two, I got fed up & stopped taking him to the Children’s Hospital. I just ensured he exercised his facial muscles by chewing on all the recommended stuff we had been told to use.
Just before he turned three, we travelled to America where a doctor commended David for being well-behaved and handed him a lollipop. David accepted it, smiled and said “thank you” & the problem started! The doctor began to ask several questions as she wrote down everything. Next thing, she brought out her pager, sent a message and some other doctors rushed in. We kept a few appointments before we returned home to Nigeria and he continued with his schooling. Needless to say that every time he cried or smiled, he was made the butt of jokes and jeered at because his face got contorted as it shifted to one side.
At age 5, David began to ask questions about people’s reactions to his laughter or cry. I got tired of telling him not to mind them, got tired of making excuses for their insensitive behaviour, got tired of buying him toys to take his attention away from it all. I quit my Media/PR job and had to become a full-time teacher so as to be closer to him. (I grappled with the financial step-down for a while).
Fortunately, he is very brilliant and so each time he got laughed at and came to me, I’d bring out a mirror and ask him to smile at it. I’d then ask him what happened. He would reply that his face moved. I’ll ask him to look at the mirror without smiling. He would say his face was okay. Then I would smile at him and tell him in a firm voice that his problem was outward and so temporary. I would also encourage him that it would have been a big problem if an internal organ that we couldn’t see was affected. I encouraged him to be the best at everything and after some years, he believed that the problem with his face wasn’t as bad as his peers with woeful results since that meant they had a problem with their brains!
And that was how my son went through primary and secondary school. People still made fun of him, laughed at him when he laughed instead of laughing at the joke he was laughing at. But I had groomed him to develop a thick skin and instead pity their lack of knowledge. He even went a step ahead each time he introduced himself and always added that he was born with partial facial palsy which made his face shift to one side when he smiled or laughed (remembering to add that it wasn’t contagious). Against all odds, I groomed David and his brother (who I had after him) to be complete gentlemen, God-fearing, well-behaved, focused, respectful and helpful.
In December 2015, at the age of 19, my son graduated with a First Class in Network & Telecommunications Engineering from Universitie Africaine Du Management Et Du Technologie in the Republic of Benin! He was posted Bayelsa State for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)! I talked about it with him and my young hot-cake First-Class engineer was excited and expectant about going to serve in Bayelsa. Even at the Orientation Camp, he was nominated the Social Leader of his platoon!
Today, I can claim without sounding boastful that I’m one of the best teachers there is! My pain led me to a profession I’ll never give up for anything. Today, I encourage other mothers and help them see that indeed there is light at the end of the tunnel. Today, I can say with even more pride that I have a son who conquered stigmatization to become the best in his chosen field of study. He has since completed his NYSC and is leading a normal life like any young man his age.
To mums out there with children facing challenges, let David’s story encourage you. Focus on the good in that seemingly bad situation and work on it like raw gold in the refiner’s furnace. The journey may not be easy, but the outcome is sure worth the effort! His face still shifts to one side but years of exercise has reduced it a tiny winy bit and we’re grateful for that little improvement!
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