MEMOIRS OF A MUSHIN GIRL.

PS: This post was inspired by Nedoux’s I LIVE HERE.

Photo credit: WEB

Disclaimer: I no be Lagos pikin o (i.e. I was neither “born” nor “bred” there). Infact I’ve never really been a fan of Lagos, and I don’t think I’m ready to change my mind yet😁. So y’all should take my observations/conclusions with a pinch of salt (and pepper😜). Tenkiu!


Story-behind-the-Story:
Like some of you know, yours sincerely was a short-term guest (and tourist) in the famous city of Lagos for about 3 months, because of the MDCN remedial program for FTDs which took place at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). While my stay wasn’t an entirely rosy one, it sure had its perks.
Since LUTH provided limited accommodation for those who registered for the program, I had to make alternative arrangement. For the first few weeks, I stayed with my cousin’s family in Ebutte-Meta, but the commute (especially after closing hours) took its toll on me. So I was all determined to find a place to rent around LUTH (i.e. Surulere-Idiaraba-Mushin axis) which proved even more challenging than I expected.

House hunting
anywhere is not an easy task, but unlike my SVG experience, the Naija house agents I came across were quite “mouthed” (i.e. smooth talkers with little integrity, unfortunately).
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as viewing fee- where you paid the agent a certain amount just for showing you an apartment (whether you want to rent the place or not. Like seriously?!). One guy requested for a whole 5K as viewing fee and I was like, “Mba, I think I’ll pass.” 

I had to make calls upon calls, visited a couple of places (including stuffy wannabe guest houses, *rolls eyes*) before finding an apartment (thanks to a contact from an old friend), that was remotely affordable and suitable for the purpose of my stay. Thus began my sojourn in the neighborhood called M-U-S-H-I-N

And looking back, I have no regrets (except that I didn’t really get to explore other areas in Lagos, because “no time” and “no money”).

***

Living in Mushin.

Mushin
, a closely-knit community, largely known for its history of violence ranging from local gang clashes to political uproars, is one of the few neighborhoods in Lagos, that the average (educated, upper middle-class) Lagosian, wouldn’t consider living in (as a first choice, anyway).
When compared to its immediate neighbors like Surulere and Yaba, Mushin is but a REFINED (or should I say, GLORIFIED) slum. One of the things I admire about the community though, is that the streets if narrow, are relatively well-planned and the roads are fairly accessible.
A friend of mine who has lived in Lagos for a while, expressed his concerns about my safety in that neighborhood. Thankfully, throughout my stay I did not have an unfortunate experience.

Mushin is quite densely populated, with buildings literally filling up every inch of land in the community. My street, Kosobameji (which is a 3-minute walking distance by the way), apart from the residential buildings, had at least 5 Churches, 2 Mosques, 4 Schools and 10 Shops; and is just a mere fraction of the Mushin Community. Other streets were interconnected to ours in such a way, that there were multiple routes to get to the Main Street (LUTH road), which eventually joined the dual-carriage Mushin main road.
My roommate and I shared a storey building (that sits on about half a plot) with 5 other families. That’s the smallest compound I’ve ever lived in. Thankfully, we had a cordial relationship with our neighbors, most of the time. We simply had to contribute to paying for the prepaid card for electricity, as well as the waste disposal fee, and took turns washing the gutter. 
Mushin is everything from hilarious to sometimes utterly ridiculous. There were days I enjoyed the bustling LIFE, and other days I wondered how I found myself in such a place in the first place.

Highlights of my stay in MUSHIN:

LAGOS, Nigeria.

Call-To-Prayer:
The early morning call-to-prayer by Muslim clerics that unfailingly usher you into the day (doesn’t help that there are multiple mosques in the area), plus the subsequent calls till late evening. The good thing though, was that I learnt the specific times Muslims pray every day (5 a.m, 6 a.m, 1 p.m,  4 p.m, 7 p.m, and 8 p.m) and tried to adjust accordingly.

Street Football:

Photo credit: WEB

Sunday afternoon in Mushin, is a time for anyone and everyone to participate in a local game of football whether as players, fans or mere observers. The annoying thing though, is that the entire street is converted into a playing field; so pedestrians and motorists have to maneuver their way through, to avoid getting hit.

Owambe:


Owambe
(a slang for Partying) in Mushin, is on a different level. It basically consists of late evening drinking, dining and dancing, that extends from the host’s compound to the front of his neighbor’s compound (for lack of space), often rendering the street inaccessible to motorists and passers by. And I don’t think anyone needs to obtain their neighbors’ permission before doing such.
I recall how surprised I was the first time, when I met people partying right in front of our gate, only to discover that the celebrant wasn’t even from the compound.

Photo credit: WEB

Street Food:
On moving to Mushin, fried yam/sweet potatoes, fried plantain and akara, became my favorite things to snack on, because there were food stalls on every street corner. It’s perhaps the only thing I really miss about Mushin.

Photo credit: WEB

 

Street food in Naija is a MUST for any foreigner to experience. 

Water Vendors/Borehole Madam:

Photo credit: WEB
On days when there was no electricity to pump water into the house, we hired Water Vendors (locally called Abokis) to supply us with water and although the unit cost was cheap (N25 per fetch), it quickly added up to about N1000 at the end of a week, which was expensive.
A number of times, I had to go to the neighborhood borehole (less than 2-minute walking distance from my apartment) to buy water from this thick, black, never-smiling Madam (whose name I didn’t know). I was always intrigued by the number of people, both young and old, who were her daily customers and wondered how much sales she actually made every day.

“Akape” Story:
This is still the funniest experience as regards my stay in Mushin. One early morning (around past six), I had to go in search of painkillers, so an Okada guy took me to an open drugstore, where I found one sleepy Baba seated.
After telling him what I wanted, he offered me a clear plastic bag containing about 10 tablets, of different colors, shapes and sizes; popularly called “Akape” by the locals. This was from someone with little or no medical knowledge about the drug interactions of what he had prescribed.
When I asked what the pills were for, he said they could work for all kinds of pain (and in my mind I was like 😱😱😱). I quickly asked for known drugs like Diclofenac and Ibuprofen. Thankfully he had the former, so I double-checked its expiring date, paid for it and left. My mistake according to another Doctor-friend, was not buying the “Akape” for a proper analysis of the drug mix. I’ve heard that some local chemists would sometimes prescribe everything from anti-hypertensive meds to anti-thyroid meds for simple cases of Malaria.

Lights out:
Perhaps the most challenging issue with my stay in Mushin was the initial absence of electricity in the neighborhood, when my friend and I moved in. For a whole week, the light barely blinked and there were nights I cried myself to sleep.
Most nights we had to keep the window and door to our apartment wide-open to allow for proper ventilation, and there were nights we actually slept off…like that! Thankfully, we did not experience any incidence of theft.

Mosquitos, Rats and Cockroaches
were our regular companions in the apartment. The first two I could tolerate, the last I absolutely detested. Cockroaches are just plain irritating…ugh!

Kids at Play:
One of the families living in my compound had four kids, all boys! And these lads loved to play (sing and shout) all day, everyday, sometimes right up to our window/doorstep. A number of times, I actually had to step out of the apartment to reprimand them because I was either trying to sleep or to study. It took an extra caution on my part not to actually SPANK one of the kids, which would have been terrible because my hands ain’t exactly “Child-Friendly.” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

***

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy THIS IS LAGOS!

:::requ1ne:::
❀️❀️❀️

*FTDs- Foreign Trained Doctors.

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I RELEASE YOU!

Credit: BoldSky.com
From the prison of my heart
And clutches of my thoughts,

I release you..

From what should have been
And what cannot be,

I release you..

From my unmet needs
And endless expectations,

I release you..

From my deepest longings
And saddest sighs,

I release you..

From what you don’t see, what you don’t hear
And what you don’t know,

I release you..

I know you don’t want to be here,
you’re free to fly as a bird,

I release you.

(Requine2015, “Therapeutic Tears“)

50 Practical Ways To Stay Motivated In Medical School (Part 3)

You can read the previous parts here and here.

21. Don’t lose your Passion: Passion is more than a feeling, it is a series of decisions that drive you towards your goal. When you’re passionate about something, you just don’t do it because you have to, you do it because you WANT to.


Not everyone has the bravery or opportunity to embrace their passion; in order to survive, most people prefer to be practical rather than passionate. (Singyin Lee). The difference however is always clear between a passionate doctor and an ordinary one.

Read more on10 Things You Should Know About Passion (And How To Find Yours)

22. Set Priorities and Rewards: 
“This is a very practical one for me, I set priorities for school work during the semester, and plan ahead for the holidays. I try to focus and do well during school and tell myself I’ve got the whole vacation as a reward for my hard work.” says Tinu, a medical student.

23. Don’t sweat the small stuff:

Most medical students will tell you that medical school is tough, which is relatively true. However, you’ll be doing yourself a great injustice if you see everything as overwhelmingly difficult. Rather than focus on what you don’t know for instance, do what you know and keep working on getting better with others. As long as you remain consistent with studying and observing, you will overcome the hurdles. 

It took a while for me to summon enough courage to take blood samples from patients while some of my junior colleagues were already good at it. Thankfully, I could do other things like taking patient history, physical exam, writing out discharge notes etc Eventually what seemed such an arduous task became a relatively easy skill for me. 

24. Faith in God: 

The place of faith in the medical school journey cannot be overemphasized. Like all of life’s challenges it is accompanied by risks and fears, but when you see medicine as more than a career path but a call to God’s purpose, you have the confidence that no matter what, the outcome will be victorious.

With God, ALL things (including your dream of becoming a medical doctor) are possible!*

25. Set simple goals and achieve them:
Setting goals no matter how simple they are, sets you apart as an individual. It will show in your commitment, perseverance and diligence towards a given cause. For starters, it can be as simple as- getting a better grade in the next Anatomy exam.

26. Be your greatest cheerleader: 

Everyday, get up and look into the mirror. Tell yourself where you see yourself in a few years. Encourage yourself when there’s no one else to turn to. Celebrate small victories. A pat on your shoulders, a reassuring smile and a toast after a good exam, all add up eventually.



27. Learn to unwind:

Over the years, medical students across the globe have learnt healthy ways to cope with the challenges of medical school. Sports, Entertainment and Religious activities are a few. The key is to discover the things that give you joy and do them.

Read: 5 tips to reduce stress in medical school 

28. Volunteer to teach others: 

As medical students, it’s important not just to learn but also to teach others what has been learnt. That way, you are not only helping others to know what they don’t know, you are also helping yourself to remember what you already know.

A good way to do this, is to join a tutorial group where you can offer to teach your junior colleagues (or even classmates) a subject you’re pretty good at.

29. Seek help when you need it:

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at some point despite your best efforts at staying motivated. Times like that require that you seek help, whether from your academic adviser, professional counselor or a spiritual mentor, depending on your need(s). There are also countless self-help materials out there that you may find useful.

30. You’re not alone:

Think of all your senior colleagues and even lecturers who have been up that road and how they scaled through. The truth is, most of them probably had times of self doubts and frustrating grades too. So let their success stories inspire you.

Cheers,

:::requ1ne:::
❀️❀️❀️

*Matthew 19:26 (Paraphrased)

HELLO JULY!!!

Hola!


Welcome to JULY.

What’s the rush though?

2017 is going really FAST *sniffs*

And for some reasons I have started to feel like I’m actually older than I really am. πŸ˜’πŸ˜Ÿ

Maybe my staying mostly indoors has something to do with it, because thanks to MDCN, yours sincerely has been living a pretty domesticated life lately.
Like I’m almost always home all day, everyday, and I have actually started reading articles for stay-at-home mums (just because), only that I’m neither married nor with kids yet. Sigh.
So my domestic roles cut across being a personal trainer to my parents (in our amateur morning stretching exercises πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚), 

#FitFam Squad

to helping to plan and prepare Family Meals (because I love Food Time Tables),

and also playing the House Doctor, especially prescribing antimalarial drugs (because if it looks like and feels like Malaria, it’s likely Malaria, right? I know WHO now recommends testing before treating Malaria, but with the ceaseless rainfall and relentless mosquitoes at home, there’s no time to waste time).


Just so you know, in the last week of June, I was also a victim to what I suspected to be Malaria and it rendered me almost useless to myself and those around me. I stayed in bed for days and even suffered a bout of depression (not clinically ofcourse). It was while recuperating that I wrote this poem LIFE 101.

Sickness of any type is especially frustrating for me because not only is it distressing, I also find it depressing and distracting. Bottomline is I don’t like to be sick, because it puts me out of CONTROL. Medical doctor or not, Sickness is Terrible!
Anyway, I’m so thankful I’m back on my two feet without having to go into the Emergency room. Hallelujah!

Now let’s roll into the JULY VIBES!

1. Song on replay:

Love me too much (Travis Greene)

2. Scripture for the month:

Habakkuk 2:2-3

Picture Perfect Scripture!

This is a much needed WORD for my season of wait! 

3. Currently reading:

The four loves (C.S Lewis)

“Friendship can be a school of virtue but also a school of vice. It makes good men better and bad men worse.”

Lioness Arising (Lisa Bevere)

“If God has spoken, believe him. Go where he asks you to go; listen to what he says to you. Follow this lion as he leads, and trust the “knowing” even when others might not understand.”

Unstoppable (Christine Caine)

“Faith is always one generation from extinction and we are the ones entrusted with carrying the baton for this generation and handing it off to the next.”

Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Peter F Drucker)
“Innovators should not be rewarded for failure but certainly not to be penalized for trying. An innovation is expected to start small but end big.”

Passing It On (Myles Munroe)
“Mentoring has more to do with association than with instruction.”

The Bible: The book of 2 Kings

Elisha!!! Powerful in death as in life!
– 

– The 30-31-30 Devotional by Eziaha.
In one word, the devotional is DEEP! You need to read it to understand what I’m saying. God bless Coach E as always! Pls download the FAB E Reader App here and look up the devotional too, even if it’s the free version.
4. Still learning:
Spanish and Igbo languages.

5. Just completed:

An 8-week StoryCrafting Course Online, and I’m so glad I participated.

Among other things the course has helped me to pay a closer attention not only to what I write, but also how I write. Another class is coming up soon, so if you’re interested you can check out this link.

6. Recent Adventure:

So I bashed my Dad’s car while driving into our compound one sunny afternoon πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
insert *Tony Tetuila’s You don hit my car*

Thank God nothing was broken and no one was injured!
My parents were kind enough to laugh it off, and everyone began to recount their bashing experiences too…lol

7. New Muse

I started keeping a Goodness Journal from the first of July. 


This beautiful journal is a gift from my mum and I love how colorful it looks.
So basically it’s like A Book Of Remembrance for every good deed done (or kind word spoken) to me each day, whether by a loved one or a total stranger. The idea is to be able to reflect on these, when things get a little bit tough and also to keep my benefactors in prayers. So for every good thing you do to me this month, I get to treasure it foreverSo what are you waiting for?πŸ˜œπŸ˜…

8. Inspiration from around the web:

i. Me, Myself and Lies 

ii. Stop Confusing Physical Attraction with Chemistry

iii. The Ministry of home-making 

iv. Eggshells

PS: You can now follow me on Instagram @eunice_smiles.

Thank you for reading, 

And have a Fabulous July!
:::requ1ne:::
❀️❀️❀️

THE BUCKET-LIST OF AN AVERAGE NIGERIAN: Six Simple Wishes!

image

 

For the average Nigerian living in Nigeria, whether male or female, the good life is pretty much basic:

1. Settle down on time (aka get married between your mid 20s and early 30s, beyond that you’re a latecomer. In Nigeria, if you’ve not married, you’ve not arrived).

2. Find a good source of income (a white collar job or a thriving business venture or better still both, and earn above 100K in a month, at least).

3. Give your kids the best education you can afford (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary; all private schools if you can, because ASUU is a monster).

4. Build your own house(s) and buy your own car(s), whichever comes first. (It doesn’t matter if you fail to plaster the walls before you move into the house or your first car is a used 1980 Toyota model; As long as you’re a landlord and car owner, you’re successful).

5. Don’t die prematurely. There are a lot of unique but avoidable ways to die as an average Nigerian- RTAs, Armed Robbery Attacks, Fire Outbreaks and Medical Negligence, are just a few. (Nigerians love to live, no matter how bleak the future looks, afterΒ all a living dog is a better than a dead lion, na bible talk am. Ecclesiastes 9:4).

6. Retire to eat the fruits of your labor (i.e. your children get to graduate, start working, marry into wealth, make beautiful grandchildren, then relocate abroad where you can visit them as often as you want, after all they are your major investments!).

Maybe there are some individual twists to what I’ve mentioned based on personal interests, but no average Nigerian can deny relating to at least one of the above.

E go better” is the mantra of the Average Nigerian.
-It’s the reason we hustle (a refined name for struggling), from dawn to dusk just to make ends meet.
-It’s what we hope for every day of our lives, gathering in religious houses from week to week, holding special programs and giving special offerings, just to be blessed by the Almighty.
-It’s why we are restless and dissatisfied when others seem to be making better progress than we are.
In Nigeria, we thrive on sweat rather than sense, we own more buildings than we build people.

We are by nature myopic, more concerned about how we can get more rather than give more. Who wants to invest in a sick nation like Nigeria? The public civil servant just wants to collect his monthly salary and go home. There are bills to be paid, from DSTV monthly subscription to the Children’s school fees for the term.
The average Nigerian is less concerned about making any difference, whether local or global. Not the classroom teacher who just wants the day to end, not the nurse in the hospital ward already frustrated from the overwhelming workload and definitely not the police officer collecting bribes at the security checkpoint.

It is why many of our leaders lie and steal and get away with it. After all they are only sharing the national cake, which belongs to everybody but nobody in particular. And who wants to catch them? EFCC? Pls try again.

We the followers are not much different, as long as we can afford to fence our own compounds and provide for our basic amenities like electricity and water, the rest of the nation can go to rot.

So back to the bucket-list, what can we do to change our priorities from that of merely surviving to actually flourishing as Nigerians living in Nigeria? How can we make a paradigm shift from our attitude of consumption to that of contribution? Where do we even begin from?
My mum once mentioned this phrase while praying for my siblings and I recently, “They didn’t choose to be Nigerians…”
Neither did you. But now that you’re here, why not make your impact felt?
I’m Nigerian and Blessed.
:::requ1ne:::
❀️❀️❀️
*ASUU: Academic Staff Union of Universities

*EFCC: Economic and Financial Crime Commission