Her Story, XX by @Toyosi_Oni

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here, so you know what to expect. If you are not sure what Beneath the Smile is about, please check the preview out.

The project aims at looking beyond the smiles of the next person, to see what’s really beneath, what’s really going on? How people really need help and won’t bother saying anything about it but would rather cover it up with a façade of strength, with a smile.
It’s time to look beneath the smile and lend a helping hand. People are going through real things, these are their stories.

We hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

Today’s story was sent in by one of our readers by @Toyosi_Oni

This is her story.

Please Read.

The ‘Beneath the Smile’ Project.

behind the smile

I believe every single person has their story; their own individual story that makes them exactly who they are. No matter how similar our experiences are, we still can not feel the exact same way as they do simply because we are not them.

This being said, I will not attempt to take you through a mile in my shoes, but I’ll tell you a story, hoping you’ll understand, hoping you’ll take a thing or three from it.

A lot of people tell me their problems, their truly heart-wrenching and thought-provoking stories and I listen. However, at times, I think, ‘honestly you do not know how good you have it’. For instance, a friend complained bitterly about how distant her father and her are, how she’s sure he hates her, how he doesn’t pay any attention to her or her siblings. I felt very bad for her, especially since the relationship my father and I had been stellar. I laughed, and reminded her that she was talking to someone who had done the final rites, the ‘dust to dust’ of her own father a little over four months ago. I told her that as long as her father was still alive there was still something to be done. Where there is life, there is hope.

Once upon a time, I used to wake up and blame the world. Say things like, ‘life is so unfair’, ‘its not supposed to be like this’ ‘why was I even born’, the list is endless. However I realised later that, I’m not the only person in the world. For one, I’m not the only young person that has lost a parent. I replied to my friend complaining about her father, that mine, whom I was extremely close to, was six feet under. But can I give that same reply to someone who lost both their parents suddenly in a road accident?

My only story is not about losing a parent young. I have many, many others. Like I’m sure many, many other people do too. If I was to write the very chilling circumstances of my father’s death, my stories, the troubles I’ve seen , the different mental, physical, psychological pains I’ve felt, what I’ve gone through in the hands of friends, family and enemies alike, why I should hate the world, I’m sure Obafuntay would have to start another series to address this.

However, I’ve learnt that our history influences greatly, who we are, who we become. Life is a race with hurdles. When we start running and we trip over a stone and sustain injuries, we think ‘oh what a stupid stone’. But that stone we tripped over prepared us to be alert for bigger stones and most importantly the hurdles on the race track of Life. Like I said, we all have stories, but these stories should not dictate to us what our life should be. They should not pull us down, depress us and make us feel like the scum of the earth when really, God has made us even brighter than the sun flower that shines brilliantly with the sun. Let us use our stories to teach lessons, create awareness, to be each others pillars. Let us treat these stories as the stone which teaches us to prepare and watch out for the hurdles life brings.

Beneath my smile, is really a smile. I smile both inwardly and outwardly for I believe in hope. I believe my stories are the ‘teacher stones’ for my life.

Beneath my smile, is really a smile, because I can easily choose to be the victim, but I choose instead…

… to be the victor.

• • •

Don’t just read, say a prayer.

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?

N.B. The project goes on with Tomorrow’s  ’Her Story, XXI ’ by An Anonymous writer

You can still send in your own true stories to obafuntay@gmail.com

You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column to follow the project, if you are viewing with your mobile, just scroll to the end of this page to subscribe)

NYSC: THE TRAVAILS OF A YOUNG LEARNER by @PoloGren

Hmm.. it was closing down to graduation time and its like my life was just gonna start! July 2nd, 2012 was a reality….. The whole event including the partying was epic, we were young, wild and free, spending money like we just hit a lottery.

Next up, NYSC, one could not wait for the feel of the orientation camp, the booze, the ladies and the dancing, another time to remember was coming up, but first i had to land myself in Lagos camp to ensure the maximum fun!! To aid my mission of Lagos camping, my Major General uncle was on hand to push the buttons, (he had previously done it for my Elder brother and sister who all served in Lagos) So this was obviously gonna be a walk over. Infact, if i was asked before call up numbers even came out, “were are you going to serve?” i will respond with energy “LASGIDI!!”

nysc_thumb

September Came, Call up Numbers came out, when a friend checked and sent ma number to me, 30 secs later ma uncle received the text with all ma details, a response text came back. “I have seen it Joshua I am on it”!!. I started laughing at people that were paying sef, that your own will flop, i got the best connection. lol. Subsequently, cause that my uncle can forget things, I sent it, my father sent it and my mum sent my details again, I sent it to his wife and children, U even sent my details to his Back man (His orderly, the soldier that follows him like fly in the ass). I was calm, relaxed and ready for the time of my life in LAGOS CAMP!!

October, Call up letters were ready to come out, I was so pumped up with optimism, lol. (poor me). A day before call up letters were to be issued, my Uncle sent the most devastating text I could ever have imagined.. the text was to my father, it read “what school is your son in?” LOBATAN. A day before call up, he is asking for this?? Has he even done anything? But I was still positive, cause he is a Rank Higher than the DG of NYSC so it should be a straight order to reverse things for me, the Golden Boy ready to Storm Lagos Camp.

Call up day!!! Still happy, people were checking theirs and Jollificating, a friend of mine, Dayo Said he was posted to Borno!! LWKMD! i was literally rolling on the floor, until it hit me like a thunderbolt.. ‘Check yours’ the small voice whispered in my ear!.. Sharply i PING-ed Edafe. ‘MY G, help me check my “Lagos” Posting’… Edafe PINGs back! it reads “You are in KEBBI sir“.. KE What?????? Connection Fail Toh badht.. my next pm read “bye bye to vehicles, cheers to riding Camels” People laughed at me, but I was still optimistic, cause in my sisters time, she was posted to Taraba, Pops took the letter to Abuja the next day, it was signed on for her to be brought back to Lagos, in my mind i thought, same can be done for you.. Not until my uncle called and said i should go for the orientation camp in Kebbi First. Held Work on my Redeployment… The Golden Guy of Lagos Camp was going to be the Bronze man of KEBBI!! Days passed by and somehow i was starting to think it was a great idea, new environment, new people, new everything. A breath of Fresh air!!! lol! NOV 7th I was on my way to the unknown, flung in an abyss.. i was on my way to the city of KEBBI. But first stop was Sokoto, I had to fly there then go by road to KEBBI.

I kacked to the Airport, Jeans Jacket, Muxins, Vickers all Ironed looking like a million bucks, I had prepared, welll packed, white shirts, shorts and everything needed, ready!!!. I was kinda hurried to the Airport as mum and dad accompanied to see their last child off to Youth camp. The two lovebirds were done paying fees, what a relief for the Young man!! lol. (Love that Man). Funny enough we had a stop at Abuja, to change planes and join another that will take us to sokoto.. my luggage was kinda too big for hand luggage so I checked in at the foot of the plane. Rough Flights both of them were. but over Sokoto, it was obvious we were in the far north, from the plane it was a large expanse of Arid desert! Loadsa other corpers were in the plane too, all to different states…

Touchdown Sokoto!

The supposed Airport was like a Kiosk. Cos only Arik went there and it was 1 flight per day. it came in by 11;30, thats when the workers close. lol ( Lazy mallams i thought!). Lucky me, ma sister got a friend in sokoto who was gonna come to the Airport and pick me and take me to the park to find a car to Kebbi. I had my Covenant Perfect Set Folder in Hand (Life saver, yould figure out in abit). I walk out to the baggage collection place and saw my sister friend waiting for me, gave her a big squeeze, exchanged pleasantries and said a few, while waiting for my luggage. First batch of luggages arrive!! mine not there.. Second batch arrive *obviously mine must be there* LOBATAN my luggage wasnt there too. Yeah right!! I was luggage-less!! it happens that when I was checking in at the foot of the plane, my luggage was tagged for Abuja, so when we touched down Abuja. My luggage was treated as an Abuja passenger and so ma luggage didnt follow me to sokoto.

*Sweats*

Normally, I’m one to find solutions rather than problems so i started brainstorming, to cut the long story short, I gave my sister friend my boarding pass to help collect the luggage the next day when it will be sent with the next flight of the next day (like I said, 1 flight per day). With a few calls and all they located my luggage and got it ready for sending. *now heres were the Covenant Perfect Set Folder helps a niccur* I kept my Call up letter and My notification of result inside instead of inside my bag, luckily all my cash was inside my pocket too. To cut more long story short, I was going to kebbi state With My jeans Jacket, inner shirt, Vickers, boxers, shoes and folder. Thats how I resumed CAMP!

Sokoto to Kebbi was 4hrs broken into 2 journeys. First, you’ll enter a car to Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi state Capital, then to Dakingari, the location of the NYSC camp.. I was Seeing live desert around.. I was in the FAR north. Hot, I mean very hot and underdeveloped. Lucky me sha, I could speak Hausa so it was a stroll in the park.

At the Gate of the camp, the security guards and all the uniformed people were so shocked that i was resuming without luggage and all, I even laughed at myself. But once again my hausa speaking tactics saved me. (prior to that though, a friend of mine has sent me the pin of one of her hot friends going to kebbi too). we were in constant contact and topmost on my mind was “is she as fine as pictures say??” (cause these days picasa and photoshop are deceiving niccurs). I was already super exhausted, registration went into the night, and yeah she was as fine as the pictures say. She was with me all through the registration time, putting me through each step. I entered the MAMI market that night to get what ild use to survive that night cause kebbi gets real cold in the night, and other stuf majorly toiletries too carry on the next day before I get my luggage! Kebbi was looking like a bad idea.

WAKE UP WAKE UP!!! next morning.

I am cold, but i gotta go for parade and all. it was getting worse, eitherways in the afternoon I got exeat went back to town, got ma luggage and came back. Things were looking better, cos i had everything to survive in that box.. i met with some CU graduates that I never knew in the school, *yeah we are that large* fuunny right? but true.. We got along instanta. before i knew it, we were a circle of close friends, keeping seats for ourselves always hanging together..slowly our circle got larger. being the Bronze guy of Kebbi wasn’t bad.

We were almost tagged the “buutty kids” cause we never ate the food that was cooked. we bought exotic things, Kebbi style. my friends, we made kebbi worth staying, but the heat too had other plans.. lol, i am normally dark, I was gradually seeing maself turn to BLACK!! Conditions too, were harsh, between throwing shotput, choked up rooms and poor infrastructure, i couldn’t choose which was worse.

As it went on and on i found out I really loved to match! *Flashback* (Wheel Retire about turn, Move to the right in threes Right turn, About turn by number squad 1, squad 2. Parade we Remove Hairdressing, Remove Hairdressing) lol. Im that good. I even got one personal washerman for me and the crew, lol, his name was Abdul Majid, Young Boy, I wondered why he was not in school but rather here working! another Amazing thing i saw in kebbi was life Camels, DANG!! they huge! Very big!! I was scared to climb o. people did sha. not me, couldn’t let my athletic body fall of that thing. yes it is a thing *straight face*

My friends were wonderful, the way we bonded was like Adhesive on wood, quick set. we stuck like family. see the sequence; From a Team, to a unit, from a unit to a clique, from a clique we became a family, sharing things freely, discussing about our past life and having the usual perverted talk. lol. For our camp fire night, we contributed money and bought two live Goats, 9k for both, it’s that cheap in kebbi. Got someone to pepper it and munched for the campfire night. EPIC! lol, we did loadsa other stuff ild have to cut cosa white paper space.

Yeah am sure you’re wondering, “were is dis guy heading?” well lucky you, I’ve arrived there. lol. Asides the fun i was having in Kebbi and the fun i didn’t have in Lagos camp, i Learnt more than i could imagine. I’ll tell you what made me learn first of all, then I would join all the lessons. First of all, I met kids that were ready to eat our leftover food at mami market, cos dey never get to eat rice in their lives, they rush for dis food like no mans business (sorry i forgot to add that i saw Donkey too). Also, I met people that were way older than the NYSC stipulated age, but just for the need of the monthy renumeration, they had to enroll, the man below the bunk next to me had a 13yr old son, (how can he possibly be below 30??) Another one i met, looking at his face it’s obvious this man wasn’t in our generation, matching looked strange too him, I figure the last time he would have done that was at Nigerias independence day in when ?? yes 1960!! lol. He was the breadwinner of his family, and the first born in the extended family. all those mouths were gonna feed on his #19,800. I saw a village that had only one source of water, a lake opposite their village on the other side of the road, they drink, cook and bath with the water from that lake, at the edge of that same Lake Labourers were using the Water to Mould brick!!! That same Water!!. My washerman AbdulMajid was in ss3 but not in school because he could not payed his fee. guess how much? 2k people. 2000 naira you use to buy pizza at debonairs. His father and Mother couldn’t afford it. Anyway, my friends and I, ensured he had more than that to return to school before he left us. I heard of a village in kebbi also that had no light, no road part for any vehicle or bikes, you gotta use the giant animal, the Camel to access such places. lol. The capital of Kebbi, Birnin-Kebbi had no eatery, was a sharia state, they sold no booze, we not talking dead state, we talking super Graveyard!!

Lastly, i saw a man that just said by the side that if he didn’t receive that salary, he cant go back to were he came from! OLORUN GBAMI!!
Now you see were i am going, I constantly thought of all these and they seemed to hunt me.

My natural complains were the fact that my pops was slow in getting me a license, why I didn’t go to dubai in the summer?, why don’t I have personal car, why are some Ps not clicking with all my Swag and class,*yimu abi??*.

All of a sudden in the midst of all these Issues i was seeing; my problems seems like nothing, mind you, all these people had big smiles on their faces, nothing to show stress cos they were comfortable the way they are and I thought what is to this life if you cant bless another life?
How can you leave this Earth without making someone’s life better?
Do you deserve what you have?? See for all God cares you could have been born in that village that doesn’t have water and are stuck in village life. Sometimes we act like we chose our parents from heaven. See, you’re simply lucky to be born in a family that can afford for your basics and a little luxury! We have plans to go to school and be better and earn big and do business and all. While someones prayer everyday is to have bread to sustain them to see the next day.

Are you thankful? I went to Kebbi so I will remember I should give thanks, to remember God has been faithful, to remember I deserve none of all i have or seem to have or my parents have that they give to me or any of the things I receive. It’s what they call grace. A wise man once said if You stop Thanking You will start stinking. You wanna stink? Antiperspirant no fit save dis one o!! lol.

Now hold up and Thank!!! Thank God. Your just lucky, you deserve none of it.
I figured Camping in Kebbi was a Wake up call.. A wake up call to appreciate, there were loadsa other things I saw in that place but i probably can’t remember or at this stage its hard to re-enter it into my story. I made long term friends, I saw Animals I had never seen, I matched and U Graduated a Total Kebbi Koppa, a certified young learner!!!

Before you think I’m still in one villa in kebbi, I have been redeployed to lagos, my once sly uncle kept to his word! But in Lagos again they now sent B.sc Economics to Daycare. smh. Thanks For reading ma Boring story jare.

Cheers!!

@PoloGren

Thankful

Good Wednesday Morning,

I know a good number of you have seen this beautiful video but anytime I watch it, I find yet another reason to be thankful.

Meet Nick Vujicic.

Enjoy.

You know, we keep focusing on the things we wish we had or the things we wish we didn’t have and we sort of forget of the things we do have.

Be Thankful.

Did this just make you even more thankful for life, the things you have now? Yes?

Please share and touch another.

#VideoWednesday