Monday, October 19, 2015

Tale 14: Of Teachers, Lecturers and Professors

I am assailed by memories,
Memories of those who taught me.
Etched in my mind's eye,
the cadence of their voices,
their stance as they taught,
the terror some wielded,
with their canes and predatory nature.
And then, those who nurtured,
who truly, really loved their roles.
Custodians of knowledge,
enabling the future by facilitating learning.
Dedicated practitioners often vilified,
truly under appreciated

The good, the bad, the Ugly.
The 'inspirers', those who excelled
All I say thank you too.

Tales of more I will tell on other platforms, but these I bring to light

Of Mr. Ogunde (St. Agnes Primary School) who had six pence and a notorious ‘pankere’
This his wielded from over the top of his six foot 3 frame
Choi! Mr. Ogunde - thank you.

Of Miss Olatunji famed for her pleated skirts and puffy sleeves
for her knowledge of Maths - and attempts to instill same in me

Of afro Mrs. Onuzo, graceful
for never ever giving up on French and I

Of.Mr. Gboyega, tall and atimes lost in his own world
for enabling the Ajala in me, My love of travel thrives on

Of Mrs. Aganga a test on the Heart and my subsequent success
an affirmation that indeed I can if I put my heart and mind to it

Of Mrs. Shoda and Dr. Mrs. Onyewadume for building on the literary foundation
and for the many ear pulls, twists and eyes when I skirted the lines

Of Mr. Uwasomba, Mr. Akande and Mr. Adeoti in OAU
For living your lives the way you have and fueling the characters in my imagination
so many tales it seems yet to be told

Of the late Prof. Ekundayo who taught my mum in the 70’s and then taught me in the 90’s
Yes, same notes - it was Linguistics stylistics - so what, pray tell think you might have changed?

Of Prof. Mrs.Kolawaole from whom I first heard the term ‘Womanism’
One that captured who and what I stand for than Feminism has ever been able to

Of Dr. Chima Anyadike who till tomorrow comes, holds a special teacher place in my heart
He stands tall in my history, a positive contributor more than most - for the many referral letters

And most highly placed
My Mum, Dr. Mrs. B.A. Akinsanmi
Of many nicknames none of which I dare ‘think’ of for fear of her wise long reaching eyes
Dedicated service for a score and half years
sowing in the lives of many and unwittingly laying pathways of favour for me.

Thank you for staying through to a profession that is under appreciated.
May God replenish you. Amen.

Ps: Believe it or not I wrote the draft of this tale a week ago
It refused to leave the comfort of my turquoise notebook till today - and O, how apt it is!
Happy Teachers Day all!
Tale 13: Of Latin, Libraries and Elections

Some tales hold on tight to one, Not coming through,
Teasing, holding off all else.
Permitting expression only to that which concerns it.
So is this tale of Latin, Libraries and Elections.

Dubito ergo Cogito, Cogito ergo sum!

Let’s start at the very beginning:

I grew up with a love of books.
Serious Bibliophilia.
A Love nurtured and grown by my parents.

A modest library we had at home
But what treasures lay within
Myriad places to explore and escape to.
Well read copies, others mint
Hard Back, Soft Copy
First Editions, New Prints
Papyrus paper, News print
Pages missing yet memory served up

Memories where i retold tales of masters
Bront√ęs Jane Eyre recalling her childhood fantasy through Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
Hardy’s Tess of the D'urbervilles possibly finding some solace in Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities
Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and His Man Friday joining in Swift's’ Gulliver's Travels
O what adventures I had!

Aside: No I am not an only child, 5 of 6 but weirdly introverted
Then I found and truly knew the world as my stage.
Shakespear’s King Leah, his Romeo & Juliet, Othello
The Bard of Avons’ sonnets and his Much Ado about nothing.

My Bibliophilism though went far beyond these imperial reads.
It swept across our nation across Africa
Shall I tell of tales by candle light
My father playing out ‘Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole’ by D.O. Fagunwa?

Of Amos Tutuola’s ‘Palmwine Drinkard’ enriching my love of ‘broken english’ and pidgin
of Ayi Kwei Armah’s ‘The Beautiful ones are not yet Born’
Of Ola Rotimi’s ‘Our Husband has gone mad again’

Which shall I recall of the Laureate’s many works read:
The Lion and the Jewel?
Death and the King’s Horseman,?
Madmen and Specialists?
and of Course Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (and they still are unfortunately!)

Ahh the smell of an ancient book, dust covered and dog eared
Musty and fragile (atishoo! always happens what with my super sensitive nose!)
And the sweet smell of a brand new book
Crispy, Virgin, Untouched.

So you see my love of books is deep.
I am an addicted Bibliophile.

Old almanacs, classics,
Poetry & Comics (think TinTin, Richie Rich, Papa Ajasco, Omooba, Dilbert)
African tales, academic papers
History books to romance novels
DIY’s to Reader’s Digest

So long a letter :-) Now you get the picture
I am addictively ‘in love’ with the written word.
[Yes, Yes most especially the unshakeable Word who was in the beginning and is!]

So it should hold no surprise that this tale of Thanks (yes that is what it still is despite my tangential writing!)
Is centered around my bibliophilism - such was its lure that into Politics i fell.
A love so strong it held me in for 2 years and 1 more.
For you see, I could hardly bear to see the English Arts Library
Remain unkempt and uncared for.
Books yes ancient, atimes archaic
Not breathe in the light of day.
My competition was tough o - she had the strength of a lecturer as her boyfriend behind her (a love of which I hold nothing against).

And so I campaigned, latin phrase borrowed from Philosophy 102
Dubito ergo Cogito, Cogito ergo sum!

Shivering in my Yaba railway shoes
Skinny frame rattling
all behind a look above their heads facade
As I confidently spoke through the debate - on why I deserve their votes
On the why and how I would revamp the library and make it more accessible

I won! AVLESS librarian - Yes o!

So I say a hearty thank you.
To all who voted for the skinny latin speaking semi confident bookworm
You all unknowingly helped me.
Helped me to face up and stand up to an innate shyness and reclusiveness!

Gratias tibi! Thank you!

Forever a Bibliophile and more tales to be told.

Tale 12: Of Adoption, Room’s and Burglary

Of Adoption
A hearty thank you, to the Oyedeji Family.

Thank you: for giving me a family away from home.
Mummy Oyedeji your amala with ila oni’ru remains locked in my taste memory
Daddy Prof. Oyedeji, your industriousness, titles and accolades aside, your humility
Your field of corn and dexterity killing a snake with a hoe.

Bro. Sola, Sis Foluke, Bro. Bayo, Adeola.

Thank you for opening up your heart and home to me.
For using your influence to ensure, for the first time in four years,
I had accommodation in the most beautiful campus.
E seun Seun!

Of Room’s

So I finally had my own room - Ope o! Not a corner, or bunk space.
Not sharing with at least 7other people.
An exclusive end of corridor room just for two - and in my case a roomie (adeola) who spent more time in Quarters than in the room.
A room all to myself - and I went to ‘town’ doing its interior.

Cream and Brown
Frames and throw Pillows
Satin and Pure Cotton
Pictures on the roof - my goal an oasis from the chaos that Ife had become

A place to host - thank you to all that came
A private place to cry over unrequited love (again?)
A space to let my creative mind free,
To be, to sleep, to rest
To succeed.

And then…

Of Burglary

‘Se’ise wa! Se’ise wa!’

That never ending call walking corridors,
across fences when barred from entry
of young boys and girls, some orphans and victims of Modakeke and Ife war
Looking to make some small change
Washing dishes & clothes,
fetching and mending

‘Se’ise wa! Se’ise wa!’

And within those that masqueraded to case out and profile
To return as marauders

One or two of such made it into my room
an my funds they took
(Don’t ask me about bank accounts svp!)
I gave them work, and before them paid
they were like ones I had ‘adopted’ going beyond the work they did for me to know of them
They came, they took money and never returned
A word of thanks to the perpetrators then - I pray your life has more light on it.
Again thank you.

Tomorrow I tell of Latin, Libraries and Elections

Tale 11: Of Floating, Squatting and Sharing

Of my sojourn in Ife - which tales do I not tell?
Tales of horrifying living conditions in Mozambique hall?
Of walking dead of night for ‘kaskoliness’ sake?
Of skirting cultists, dabbling in Student politics?
Of SUG power by extension,
Of ‘love’ unrequited?

I continue in close vein to where the last tale left me,
A tale of homelessness, through almost all of my years in Ife.
Aides by corrupt officials, Abetted by greedy students.
The former it seemed (?) assigning rooms for favours,
The latter, reselling like local Lords at hiked prices
All contributing to a hard life for innocents.

As told, my first semester, I floated.
Meaning? I did not even have a floor space to call mine for sure from day to day,
None to lay my Vitafoam single mattress.
But at least due to Toyin’s generosity (she had a top bunk so no corner to share with me)
I had at mid-bad times, a table-top in between two bunks (otherwise used for reading and cooking
At worst, I waited till all had dropped off to sleep or gone off to ‘read’ and to ‘gbeshe’
Then dropped my mattress on the ground, in the what should be the walkway
Mini-tales of being trod on, as night revelers returned,
Of being stumbled on as midnight nature calls were answered
Of horror of all horrors, my sole nibbled on by rats for snack!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I will never return to that place - Amin!

Of a second semester in same year 1
Post Olumide Akinsola introducing me to Tomi Olapoju nee Okediji
Finally having a place to squat - o what luxury!
Aside: You wonder at squatting? It’s the floor space ‘attached’ to a lower bunk occupying pride of place next to a door.

A place on the floor at night, to lay my head;
A more peaceful sleep than atop lockers or tables
A place to put my licker filled with my worldly University possessions
A place to feel somewhat at home - though bitten by terrific mosquitos!

Thank you Tomi!

And then my second year - away from Mozambique straight to Moremi
But no still had no room assigned (wetin I do OAU room assignors sef?)
Having met one I call my friend for life,
Mother to my only God son (so far o!)
Adeola Adenugba nee Oyedeji.

A place to share as she did more than offer me a squat.
For you see, she was a Quarters babe.
So I luxuriated in having a spring frame to support my mattress
And My locker in pride of place in the room!

Thank you ‘Deola!

And year three - a thank you to Seyi O… who through 4:5 took me in.

To Toyin, Tomi, Adeola and Seyi

I pray that you will never know homelessness
A place of Joy you will always have
to lay your head and that of your lineage

Thank you.
Tomorrow I tell a tale of adoption, burglary and roofs.

Nightie Night!

21st September 2015

A reminder...

To those might have forgotten

Or those only reading midway

A reminder on why...

These Tales are a thoughftul reflection on a few, of many points in my life


help and support

Friendships and love


Acts of sabotage

attitudes of non-inclusion

Knowingly and unknowingly committed, has contributed to the place and life of Grace and favor I now live.

Again to all mentioned so far

Thank you!

Tale 10: Of Auditions and Adopted Family

Act 2, Scene 2
Set in the late evening at Ajose Lecture theatre. Lights deemed. Outline of ±5 people scattered in the seats about 5 rows from the stage. Walking up on stage is skinny Titi - my audition to join a drama group.

Titi (In my head): I can do this, I can and have overcome my innate shyness driven by my gangly arms and bony knees. I can do this! {I finally look directly into the seated auditors and shock! In the shrouded theatre I see the outline of a recognizable head - one that looked like a friend, music group mate (R.S.P - a story that will be told) and older brother}. Could it be? Is that Olumide Akinsola? O my God, IT IS Olumide Akinsola!

And gbam, my nervousness came crashing through again. For you see Olumide I have known since before my teen years. He knew me, knew my etymology as an All Saints Anglican Church Yaba + R.S.P member. At least some history i eventually thought. My older brothers mate and friend...sigh…

In the chairs - two other gentlemen I came to know as Abiodun Oduyemi and my very own Chief O - Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe!

Then the audition began. And truth be told Olumide Akinsola was not gentle at all :-) He drew on all my vulnerabilities he knew off :-) and he prodded me

Olumide A: You are a hawker - Action!
Titi {I respond with appropriate body language, swaying non existent hips, singing in lilting voice}: ‘L’angbe ji na o! L’angbe j’ina!’ then E w’oju obe e mu yan!’
Olumide A: Now a mad person Action!
Titi went ballistic! Hysterical laughter, jerky start and stop runnings; well put together coiffure promptly undone. The transition from normal to crazed executed.

And it worked! DaddyMi, courage came. That bag sure comes in useful. And so I successfully became a part of a family of love: 4:5!

This day is therefor to say thank you to the 4:5 family, too numerous to name indvidually. Thank you for being a partof my time in ‘africa’s most beautiful campus’ {ahem} such great fun! Many are the stage productions heralded by midnight rehearsals, movies in botanical garden - including a song recording that took me close to my now husband but I knew not; to crushes and loves unrequited {ahem!}; to picnics and most important life long friendships forged. Some stories are best told over the glowing embers of a well tendered fire while watching a fiery sunset with loved ones. Some I might tell others I leave to snicker over even as I grow in Grace and wisdom!

HELLO 4:5!!!!

‘We are a Convenant House, A family of Love,
WAlking in the light of His word;
Our foundation is Love,
And our Walls made of Unity,
We go on in the Strength of His Love!

Lord Lift our hearts, make Us One,
Build Us up and make Us strong,
Till we come to the Fullness of Joy!x2 (Written by Olumide Akinsola for the ECU 4:5 family).

Ps: Olumide Akinsola, Caroline Biuware SAdio, Faith Biuware, Patrick Osagie, Cyril Osagie, Eyitayo Akinsanmi, George - It's’ been over 20 years already!

A step away today from the Thankful tales,to ask You, my friends, for an even more intense moment of your time.

There is so much evil in this world Lord! Perpetuated under the guise of custom and culture; as a result of political grandstanding; and due to the warped evil that some human beings (male and female) are.

My one request today - please say a prayer for the innocent babies, children out there. A word of prayer for protection, for redemption, for deliverance. A thought their way that the pain suffering and evil will end.

An extra ask to those with kids (biological, adopted or anticipated) give your children an extra hug, hold them close and tell them you love them. As you do send a word out in prayer that any child out there who is in a loveless situation or environment will find love.
And lastly that strength of heart and mind to those who work to help these kids in need.

Thank you.

ps: tales continue