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28, Her Version of Events,

One Year Later: Thoughts on Life and The Pandemic

Living currently feels like a dream; the kind where when you wake, you realise you are waking from a dream within a dream with endless opportunities of landing back in reality. 

Back in March of 2020, when countries in the world began shutting down, from retail stores to restaurants to all modes of transportation, we believed it would be a quick fix, a month at best, and life was going to return to normal.  One month has turned quickly into 12 and as we approach the first ‘lockdown’ anniversary, a word that has found a home in our vocabulary, we are burdened with the question of whether we will ever return to ‘normal’, whether we will ever have the freedom of living as we once did. 

Before we address the possibilities of returning to normal, I learned a number of things in the past year that I will like to share. 

On People and Relationships

For starters, a wedding ceremony requires only the presence of the bride and groom. All other parties are important but mostly sentimental and don’t have the power to hinder the ceremony. I feel very much in love with the intimacy of ’quarantine weddings’, another staple in our vocabulary. The joy that you can see on the couples’ faces, they just seem happy to be together in the moment and celebrate their love. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have minded a ‘quarantine wedding’.  

I learnt that everyone gets lonely. We all require a degree of human interaction to keep our wheels turning. Without experiencing a complete lack of human contact, I don’t think I would have realised its importance and it has made me value the people I have in my life. 

I don’t think I would have survived the past year without friendship; from long video calls to online surprise parties, and the comfort I found in having different ‘virtual’ homes to land, places where I could truthfully answer the question, “are you fine?” I learnt the importance of coming open into my friendships, of allowing myself to let loose, allowing myself be loved and loving in return. I’ll summarise my lesson on friendships with this statement, “You owe the gift of vulnerability in friendship. It is important you come open with your scars, your joys, your wins and failures. Only in vulnerability are you truly seen, heard and loved.”

I learnt to say “I love you” and “I miss you.” I’ve always believed these are doing words; you show a person you love them, you show up when they need you, when you miss a person you visit them or give them a call. But in a world where seeing wasn’t possible and without ‘seeing’, ‘showing’ is almost impossible, I was left with nothing else but to resort to using my words; to typing, “Hey. You know I love you, right?” Or closing out a call with, “I miss you.” These are things I will be keeping in my vocabulary because it is important you let people know how much you value them. 

On Rest and Honouring my body 

The world going on a pause didn’t mean I learnt how to rest. In fact, I did the opposite. I pushed myself and explored the limits of body by taking on more projects because there was the illusion of ‘more time.’ Going remote meant I could easily work across time zones and roll out of bed for that 8 a.m call. In return my body revolted and it has ordered me to rest. 

This is hard for me because all my life I have kept going. There is always the next thing; the next exam to write, the next person that needs help making sense of a financial spreadsheet. By pushing the limits of myself and grappling with the consequences, I learnt to say “No” and live at a pace that my body will be grateful for, to evaluate all opportunities carefully before saying “Yes”. 

In learning to rest, I remembered things that I love, things that bring my heart joy. It became necessary to do an audit of my life and say goodbye to things that no longer served me. This wasn’t an easy process but as I laid in bed for the second night in a row in mid-December with my legs shaking and head pounding, I knew something had to change. It has been a learning curve, but it is important I am gentle with myself and conscious of how I choose to spend my time. 

On Death 

I re-learnt about death from losing my grandma and one a close friend. My lesson is summed up in this statement; “Death scars us; it drags us through the mud. To come out on the other side of death standing, we need all the people we have left. In its own twisted way, it binds us together.”

On taking a stand 

In life, it is important to take a stand, to state your beliefs, so people know who you are. In the spirit of this, I went to my first protest. If someone had told me that I would be chanting in front of the Nigerian embassy on a cold Sunday morning, I wouldn’t have believed them but it is one of the things I am very proud I did. It is an experience I will always carry with me. 

In peaceful protest I learnt to be proud of Nigeria, not in her leaders but in the people; in our capacity to band together and fight a self-serving government, to stand for our right to live our right to a better life. More importantly, I was proud to be a woman, proud of the Feminist Coalition and the work they did in organising and supporting the EndSars peaceful protests. In those few days, I saw a vision of what Nigeria could become and it restored my hope in the country. 

In the same capacity, I was broken by the Lekki Massacre on the 20th of October 2020. It still feels like a dream that a country would turn on its own citizens and kill them without repercussion. Nigeria is led by obsessive people; leaders that pass policies and regulations that ensure their pockets are lined and as a result, have created a country where dreams are stifled and whose people only have the capacity to focus on the next meal/paycheque because to protest against police brutality is to be met with a gun. 

I am keeping with me the hope that swelled in my heart and the pain of those that lost their lives, and I’m letting these drive me to keep fighting for a better Nigeria. 


The year felt long and short at the same time; long in the amount of time I spent by myself, navigating my emotions, alone with my thoughts, and short in the amount of living that seems to have happened, all these experiences crammed into one year, so ‘short and long.’

I don’t think we are going back to ‘normal’. For starters, we are different people and the world we live in is different. I believe we should look forward to what comes after, challenge ourselves to rebuild, to do away with things that no longer serve us, to do away with things that harm us, and build a path to better. 

I would be naive to think this will happen, but a girl is allowed to dream. 


I am over the pandemic at this point, and it hard to see a silver lining on many days; I just want to visit my family, have brunch plans and maybe plan a dinner party.

2017, 25, Her Version of Events, life lessons,


This is a list of things to do and work on, before my next birthday.

I made a list around this time last year 24 and I did a few things on that list, it felt so good to check the items off one after the other. I thought Ore why not make another list so here goes;
1.    Dye my hair – I have wanted to do this for the longest time and I need to put myself on a timeline to ‘’maybe’’ get it done.
2.    Travel with Miss Olaolawa (my younger sister) – We have talked about taking a sister trip for a while and also sharing an apartment. The latter will have to wait but we will definitely be taking out sister trip very soon.
3.    Learn to Bake –  From cookies to brownie, nice sugary treats
4.   Go Vegan for a month – I tried it this year and it was an epic fail, we all know I love chicken too much, but I refuse to stop trying.  
5.    Climb to the top of Olumo Rock – I went once with my family ‘’Mr Abidoye’’ didn’t let us climb the rock. The plan is to visit without him.
6.    Write more letters
7.    Read a book written by Teju Cole
8.    Wear my hair out more often –  I hate making my hair so why not let the afro breath and see the sun.
9.  Read more memoirs – Because you find light for your present and future in the stories of others past.
10. Read more books about Nigeria
11. Start a bookclub dedicated to studying Nigerian history.
12. Write every day even if is just a paragraph
13. Take more photographs.
14. Do a better job at keeping in touch with my family and friends.
15. Text more – I hate texting and I have realised that to keep in touch with people I have to learn to enjoy it.  
16. Attend an art festival.
17. Pray more – because with prayer comes peace.
18. Study my bible –  because there are a lot of things to learn about God.
19. Sing and not care about my horrible voice – I don’t have the best singing voice so I shy away from singing in public
20. Go out more and not just to the movies  
21. Watch less serial programs – my roaster is so full at the moment it isn’t healthy for productivity.
22. Learn to play the guitar – I used to have basic skills of playing the piano but I didn’t pay attention and nature the skill. I am older and wiser so I am picking an instrument I think I love and I might enjoy learning to play.
23. Learn to swim – the skill may come in handy one day so why not.
24. Finish writing my collection of short stories – I have spent the last two years working on it and it is time I finish

25. Post weekly on ‘’THE OVER THINKER’’
2017, 25, Her Version of Events, letters, life lessons,

12th December 2015

A Letter I Wished I Received December 2015

Dear Ore,

You feel relieved after just writing your ICAN exams but a storm is coming and the only thing that will keep you from drowning is focusing on God, so get it right in your place of worship, prayer and word study.

Live a little this year, when people invite you to events attend, because those events will be your happiest memories of the year. Work on ‘’The Over Thinker’’ because people are interested in reading what you have to write.

Don’t give your heart away carelessly, be very careful; guard it jealously. Above all, don’t let it flutter before it’s time. 

You will cross paths with a lot of amazing people, let your guard down, let them in. They have wells of knowledge to share with you and you will be better off after meeting them.

Remember the things you are passionate about, these are the things that will keep you going on your darkest days.

Lastly don’t forget to read more, laugh more, take risks, explain yourself only when needed, love more and be kind.

Ultimately trust God, don’t let fear hold you back and know you will have a great 2016!

life lessons,

Tales of a North Central Corper Part 2

Dear Readers, This is the concluding part of Tales of a North Central Corper Part 1 enjoy!!!! 
It was a windy Monday morning, the 1st of June 2015. I hadn’t gone to work for almost three weeks I was feeling guilty for neglecting my students, for not rendering my service to the nation but I wasn’t looking forward to going back to work. It felt monotonous, I didn’t feel like I was making any difference, my students seemed to remain at the same spot they were when I met them. When I looked at them, their head looked like hard coconuts with no water, those types that make the loudest noise.
But they are not all bad, they have this bright light in their eyes when you introduce something new, educate them about something they have never heard of, that light is gone once you are done speaking  and they go back to rapping Yoruba. I was no longer motivated to teach.
My fellow corps members were tired and had cut the number of days they came to work and the hours they spent on the days they showed up. So at 8:45am on the this ‘’wonderful’’ Monday morning I sat alone in front of the Vice Principal Special Duties – Mama Special’s office , to report for duty.
Because of the lack of teachers, Mama Special doubled as a Christian Religious Studies (CRS) teacher and she was in class when I arrived so I sat and waited for her on the rickety bench in front of her office. I watched students stroll in well into the first period and the only resident Math teacher laid down the law; he caned the late students. He was famous for making passes at every woman in sight. It made me wonder about how the human mind works and how complex it must be.      
I saw an old woman walking across the school field towards the Mama Special’s office, most of the field is sandy with patches of yellowing grass scattered around. The Math teacher stopped beating the late students and came to welcome the old woman.
She said her granddaughter went missing on Saturday and she came to ask for the school’s help in locating her. The math’s teacher immediately went into action, locating the girl’s class and her friends to question them on the whereabouts of the girl.
Mama Special joined the search party once her class was over. About an hour later, one of girls came forward with a story I had heard a number of times in the last few months and it still felt too good to be true.
‘’She dey her boyfriend house.’’ She whispered to the math’s teacher  
‘’Speak out.’’ The maths teacher shouted at her.
She went on to describe the house of the boyfriend, the regular advice followed;
‘’Mama it would pay you to involve the policemen’’ Mama Special said, she handed her a piece of paper with a phone number written on it.
The maths teacher followed the old woman, in the school bus which had busted windows with doors that didn’t close properly. In my short six months working at the school this was the 4th time something of this nature was happening and it broke my heart every time it happened.
It is compulsory for Corpers that belong to the HIV/AIDS Community development group to start a health club at their respective places of primary assignment so I got involved with the health club after the first incident. I was surprised that these students knew that the local pharmacy sold birth control pills and were well informed on other preventive measures.
The health club convener decided teaching abstinence was a waste of time, so we taught preventive measures, the advantages and disadvantages of the various measures.
After the first test I gave my students, I found out that many of my students couldn’t spell their names and couldn’t construct two sentences in English. I made a rule in all of my classes that English was the official language of communication.
I decided to pick students at random to read, a hand full of them could read smoothly, others fumbled on the big words and an alarming number couldn’t make meaning of the words written in their texts
The other corpers and I started a class to teach our students to read and write, we encouraged the students to attend, they were eager for the first two lessons and gradually none of them showed up for the meetings.
I found the zeal and energy I had on the first day gradually ebb away, I didn’t enjoy teaching anymore. I found myself counting down to the end of my NYSC year and dreaming of the things to come to get myself though the remaining days.

Looking back, I feel I let myself down, that I could have done much more if I encouraged myself, adjusted my expectations to fit my reality, kept going instead of mentally checking out but I find solace in the little that I did and keep looking for opportunities to change the world.