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2017, 24,

Adventures In Lagos: Badagry, Sunday 28th May 2017

Over the long democracy weekend my friends and I decided to go on a road trip to Badagry, which is a border town in Lagos state. This trip didn’t require a lot of planning, my friend Tolu suggested we visit Badagry on a group chat that is dedicated to planning trips. A good number of people in the group chat were available and thus it happened.

We all chipped in for fuel and food, shout out to Modupe because she was a great hostess, she treated us to a breakfast of sandwiches and apples and we ordered a lunch of Jollof Rice, Chicken and Dodo. 

Lagos can be brutal to you when you are driving in unfamiliar parts of the city. We packed at a place we were sure was a bus-stop along the Apapa Expressway and the police van was right in front of the car within seconds. It felt like they were waiting on us to make a mistake and pounce like hungry lions. We left this tricky situation after a bribe of N1, 000. 

Oh, I haven’t mentioned that it was raining and it didn’t feel like there was an end, we started to doubt our decision of taking the trip and prayed for the rain to stop.  We didn’t dwell on the weather too long we were more grateful to enjoy each other’s company and sang along to the songs that were blearing out of the speakers.

We arrived in Badagry’s French Village where we picked some of our friends who are on a study program and they were going to serve as our tour guides. By the time we arrived at our first stop, the rain had stopped. It was the historic slave trade museum which ironically has a prison located a few meters away. We learnt that 40 able-bodied men were exchanged for one large umbrella. Among all the other forms of exchange this is one that I find the most disturbing and can’t rationalize. We saw the grave site of the slave baron and the reigning chief when slave trade was finally abolished. It was an eye opening experience. Unfortunately, the first story building isn’t open on Sundays so we couldn’t visit it.
We took a boat across the river located opposite the museum to make the trip to ‘’The Point of No Return’’. This is the route that slaves went on towards the Atlantic to make their journey to the ‘’New World’’. The Attenuation wellis located on the walk path that leads to The Point of No Return. Legend has it that when the slaves drank from the well they forgot their past and where they were coming from, we were going to test this out, but there wasn’t any means to draw water from the well. 

We walked and sang man-o-war songs to keep our spirits up. ‘’The Point of No Return’’ is a peaceful beach and I wonder how many people went passed this beach to embark on a journey filled with uncertainties.

Our last stop was Alpha Beach, where I became the photographer and everyone enjoyed the waves. I will definitely visit Badagry again, to soak my feet in the beach and learn about the history of the place. I forgot to mention the beautiful statue of a fisherman located at a roundabout in Badagry.
Enjoy the photos

24, Her Version of Events,

Thoughts From The Black Notebook

I have this black notebook I got at the beginning of the year from Mr. Abidoye {Father}. I carry this notebook with me all the time, in it I write my ideas, opinions and many of the post on this blog start from this notebook.

The pages of this notebook are almost completely filled with my notes, my poor attempt at drawing and with 2016 coming to an end; I have decided to share a few of the unfinished paragraphs.

On My First Accounting Class – 23rd January 2016

I remember my first Principles of Accounting class, I felt lost and I was looking around to find another lost soul. The faces around me looked so confident as they finished the lecturer’s sentences on the Characteristics of Accounting. I shouldn’t have spent the last three years in Science class studying subjects that didn’t give me the super power of knowing the lecturer’s notes. I am going to fail this course I thought.

On Baking Journal – 4th February 2016

  • Daily Inspiration
  • Bake with me Wednesday
  • Sharing your Baking Stories

On To-Do-Lists – 19th February 2016

*Last week of February
  1. Write the letter for Grandpa
  2. Write three posts for the month of March
  3. Pray & Read my bible
  4. Work on Vision Board/ Prayer Board
  5. Dance Randomly

On Lessons My Father Didn’t Teach Me – 1st March 2016

My father neglected to tell me a long list of things before giving me my first car and those things have proven to be important life lessons.

On Feeling Out of Control – 8th March 2016

On days of deep worry I look to the skies and envy the birds; they get to fly against the wind while I keep moving in whatever direction the wind choose to take me.

On Relationships – 22nd May 2016

  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Remember to do your part  
  • Accept your fault, work on them and keep growing
  • Apportion blame but never think you are a saint
  • Forgive, let go.
  • Remember to love and the little things

On My Relationship with Mama – 23rd May 2016

We fight and sometimes don’t speak, but we never hide our feelings even in silence. There is a certainty to our love from which we draw strength.

On the reply ”OKAY” – 24th May 2016

What does Okay! really mean. I say it one too many times to get out of questions, sometimes I say it and I mean it and sometimes I say it and I want you to ask ”are you sure?” and push until I give an honest answer.

On being Different – 4th June 2016

Who exactly set the standard for ‘’normal’’? If I do not to fit into your definition of normal, expand your thinking or move from my space.

On Singleness – 11th June 2016

What is the purpose of Singleness? I think it is to discover who you are, love and understand yourself. Learn to celebrate your individuality

On God’s Grace – 12th June 2016

I never thought I was worthy of your Grace but you shower me with it always.

On Getting Robbed – 24th September 2016

I hate raining days in Lagos, they come with dark clouds, thunder, power outage and flooded streets. The dark clouds hide the sun and give comfort to the children of the night.

On Rest – 16th October 2016

Come into my place of rest,
Let go of the burdens you hold so tightly
And come into my rest

On Love – 11th November 2016
There is a certain concept I don’t understand; as I age it becomes even more unclear and I have started to doubt its existence.

On Pop Corn Goddess – 28th November 2016

With you I can simply say all that is on my mind
Without fear of judgement or receiving a lecture
You are my soul sister.

On Unrequited Love – 10th December 2016

Be careful with your heart, don’t give it away carelessly. Guard it, above all don’t let it flutter before it’s time.

On Friendship  – 10th December 2016

Remember always to be grateful for the people in your life, because they are always around to cheer you on.

On Fellowship – 12th December 2016

We were not built to live alone, so find your niche, find your family, your place of worship. In fellowship we learn lessons and we draw strength.

On Love – 16th December 2016

I believe my fear of getting hurt is clouding the joy that awaits in love. It is time to deal with my fears and walk in love.

On The Dark Place – 20th December 2016

In the end it is your choice to keep the darkness at bay.

It is your choice to not walk into the darkness when it is the most comfortable option
It is your choice to wake up in the morning and choose joy regardless
It is your choice to live in light

24, Her Version of Events, letters,

8th July 2015

Dear Oreoluwa
You are about to get a text from ICAN that would make you feel like your world is crumbling and someone is twisting your insides. I need you to know that this isn’t the end of the world and your insides are fine.
I know your birthday is tomorrow and you want to stay in bed and wallow in self-pity. Please don’t plan a trip to the dam, Mo will take the best photos of you and Tofu would surprise you with a cake for the first time since your fifth birthday.
Cut your hair, it is long overdue don’t worry it would grow, take longer walks, have longer conversations with Aunty Kemi and Mr Mayor they have an arsenal of knowledge you would need in the coming months. Stop running to Lagos every weekend, you would miss Ilorin so much when you leave and not have the opportunity to visit.
Your holiday to Ibadan would be life changing, your inspiration for life would be renewed and you will meet and accidentally fall for someone, don’t think too much of it, just go with it. This experience would make you very happy, sad and angry, all at the same time. You can choose to avoid this all together by not having a conversation about the Civil War. This is totally up to you.
You will have another episode of depression and thoughts about dying, talk to someone about it; it isn’t bad to ask for help. Mama is trying, cut her some slack open your mouth let her know what is going on, let her know how you are feeling. Communication will make a lot of things easier to deal with in the coming months.
Don’t be Afraid; fear would keep you from a lot of adventures, go to places on the spur of the moment; the things you worry about currently wouldn’t matter in a few months.
Lastly google ‘’Bethel Music’’ and ‘’Shima Yam’’ you would thank me later
24, life lessons,

Pretty Cute or Beautiful

The gold framed mirror in my bathroom reminds me of the mirror in Snow White. Here am I standing right in front of it and doing what the Evil Queen did in the enchanting story, “mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest in the land?” My question is different though, it is;
“Am I beautiful enough, mirror?”

On good days I find an answer, I say to myself; ‘yes I am beautiful’, on bad days I just keep looking at my reflection in the mirror searching for a beautiful feature on my face.
I remember when my face started breaking out, I was in Primary 4 when the first pimple appeared then the next one and soon I had a face full of these pesky tiny boil like things on my face. I made the mistake of pinching them off and that has left me with tiny dark scars. 

Maami noticed I was disturbed by the pimples, she said to me ‘’you look pretty this phase would pass’’

Fast-forward to my first year in secondary school. My English teacher gave an assignment to differentiate between pretty, cute and beautiful, the boys decided to make the assignment practical by classifying the girls into the various categories. The girls got wind of it and put a stop to it.
One Tuesday evening the girls sat in a circle and decided to pick up where the boys left off; ‘power to the women’ you would think. We went round the circle labelling ourselves and when it got to my turn one of the girls said that she couldn’t call me pretty, cute or beautiful that the pimples on my face made it hard for her to determine where I fit.

I was deflated.
That holiday I asked Maami what she thought of me. If I was pretty, cute or beautiful. She said I was her prefect daughter made for greatness that I didn’t have to worry about that.
In my second year, the head of the English department called me and asked how many times I wash my face that I should do it more often that it would help with the pimples.

By my third year, I hated going out with my mum. All the women had some cure to suggest. I was taking blood purifiers, vitamin supplements and using very expensive special soaps and oils on my face. The drugs I hated, the oils and soaps smelt really nice. 
One Friday evening, I had just taken out my hair used one band on it so it could have the appearance of an afro, this look was easy for me, my hair is natural. I looked at myself again in the hostel mirror I decided I looked pretty. I walked into my room to drop my combs and my roommate said to me if she had such pimples on her face she wouldn’t go out. ”I will sit at home till it all cleared.” she finished.
In my fourth year, I made the executive decision to stop taking all the drugs and using the soaps and oils; I really didn’t care anymore.
A boy had a crush on me and wrote me a note. I didn’t believe in the words he wrote because when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see those things.
At some point in all these I lost my smile.

One Friday evening in my fifth year,  I just worked on my afro look and I was walking towards my classmates who were seated in a group talking loudly; one of them shouted ”Ore you look pretty” my smile broadened when I got close up she added ”I think you look pretty only from afar” 
By my sixth and final year in secondary school, the pimples where gradually fading and in its place where tiny black scares.

I didn’t have the first idea about makeup let alone brown power. So I went through university with many people trying to convince me of its importance and why I needed to wear it.
I cared less about it. I was on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance and I had come to love and accept myself. I was no longer crying about horrible comments and suggestions that didn’t come off the right way.
After university I bought my first compact brown powder and I told myself it was never going to become an everyday affair and I was going to use it moderately.
The band wagon of why foundation cream is important and lining my eyes would make my eyes pop and my teeth shine soon followed.
I wasn’t buying it. I am happy with whom I am and my life choices, I have scaled many hurdles to get to this point of self-acceptance and self-love and I wasn’t going to be talked into doing anything I am not comfortable with.

We are planning my friend’s wedding, at one of our meetings I told them I would only wear makeup I feel comfortable with and I wanted to look and feel like myself at the wedding. The bride keeps telling me she is worried about my face. 

Constantly talking about this gave room to my old demons and I began to question myself and ask if I am pretty, beautiful or cute.
I went home after our meeting agitated and went straight to the gold frame mirror in my bathroom, I forgot to lock the bathroom door, Maami noticed I was talking to the mirror and leaned on the door frame, I turned and asked her if I am pretty, beautiful or cute and she smiled and hugged me.

Since that night I stopped asking the gold frame mirror any questions, I just wake up in the morning and tell myself that I would be the most beautiful version of myself for that day. On a few occasions it includes road rage and having a one woman music party.


    Photo Credit: Tidola Photography