Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rare, medium or well done

I was in the supermarket this evening after work to get some supplies and I decided to get some meat. Normally I just get lamb, and its usually available packaged and/or deep frozen. In the particular supermarket that I went to, they had no frozen meat section, and the fresh lamb looked a bit suspect to me, so I decided to get some beef for a change. The butcher asked what I wanted to use the meat for in order to advice me on what to get. Just as I was about to say beef stew, I caught myself. No need to get myself entangled in explaining what that is. I said "steak". I got my meat and headed home.

Chuckling to myself, I thought about steaks. My husband likes his steak rare, I like mine of course, like a typical Nigerian, well done. We have worked out a compromise, I take out his steak first and cook mine until I'm sure its well done. My husband likes to make a joke about this. Often when we are in a restaurant, and I order a well done steak, he says jokingly to the waiter "first make sure its dead, then fry/grill it till its dead again and then hit it just to make sure". Na im sabi. Don't mind him, when I cook stew, if I'm lucky, the pot lasts the day with him picking out the pieces of meat to snack on everytime he walks around the kitchen. Meanwhile when he buys me lamb, he always complains good naturedly that making stew with it is waste of perfectly good meat.

Talking of steaks, for some reason, I have never managed to get well done steaks in the Netherlands. On the occasions when I was lucky, I got a medium steak. Mostly, it was just rare. In fact the last time, when I finally decided to swear off eating meat in Holland, the meat was so rare I kept expecting a "Moo" anytime. And even my oyinbo colleague admited that it was way too raw, even for her who liked rare meat. My aversion to raw meat is I guess funny, because I love Sushi so so much.

By the way(and completely off topic, but anyway, thats me), if anyone reading this knows where one can get nice suya in London please tell me. I had suya from somewhere in Peckham about 4 years ago and I must confess that I was quite disappointed.

Be safe.

Monday, January 14, 2008


In many news reports, the Republican Party is referred to as the "GOP". At some point, I guess it was during the last elections, I decided that they were probably referring to themselves as God's own people, seeing that many evangelicals are affiliated to the party, and Dubya claims to do nothing without being led of God. I don't know what made me google GOP tonight, but now I know that it stands for Grand Old(or 'Ole) Party. Makes much more sense of course. Thank God for Google - the bane of ignorance!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Everyday Nigerian Heroes 1: Ilasamaja Youth Forum

The Ilasamaja Youth Forum was started a few months ago, here in the words of the president of the organization, Abu Olawale Raymond:

“What happened was that we went to the internet,” Raymond said, in a chat with Saturday Sun, “and we saw stories about young people in different parts of the world, coming together to do things for their communities, and working with other organizations like the UN. We decided to come together and think of programmes that we could do that would benefit our community, as others have done. Since then, we have held seminars on HIV/AIDS, liberating the youths from poverty and we celebrated International World Youth Day on August 12, this year. On environmental sanitation days, we visit areas in our community that we feel need cleaning and do what we can to clean up these areas.”

For once a good story about Nigerian youth and the internet. The collapse of the pedestrian bridge and their voluntary work in helping pedestrians cross the road to avoid casualties is what makes them heroes:

The incident that forced them to become heroes was the collapse, a couple of months ago, of part of the pedestrian bridge that goes across the Apapa-Oshodi
Expressway at Ilasamaja bus-stop.

....... casualties followed as people were forced to dash across the highway, trying to dodge cars coming at breakneck speed, driven by motorists who didn’t know the situation of the collapsed bridge and just thought the pedestrians were breaking the law. Many died, especially among the elderly and young children, who didn’t stand a chance against on-coming vehicles

It was this state of affairs that led the Ilasamaja Youth Forum, led by its president, Abu Olawale Raymond, to decide that too many members of their community had been lost and something had to be done before more would perish. So they printed the name of their organization on lemon reflective jackets, picked up a few sticks and headed for the highway directly under the collapsed bridge, where they have remained everyday for weeks, trying to slow down traffic so pedestrians can cross safely.

Again a sad reflection on our society that the police and LASTMA only started to "assist" only after IYF got involved.

Their work eventually brought the situation to the attention of the police, who sent a number of their officers to assist. Sometimes, LASTMA officials also pitch in. Some other youth organizations, including the Action Congress, youth wing of Ward F2, also joined forces with them, for what is essentially a full day’s work, everyday.

Its not easy, but its heartening that in a country where millions have to struggle to make ends meet, young people are going out of their way to do things like this.

Raymond says they have to juggle the time they have to be able to work there, since most of their members are students and workers. He himself is a student at Lagos State University who also works.
“We resume everyday at 7 am, which is a very busy period because people are going to work and students are going to school, and then we work till 9 am. Then another group, that is the AC Youth Forum, continue from then on. We ask some of our members who have to go to work in the morning to write letters to their companies to let them come to work a bit late so they can take part in the work. The students who don’t have lectures in the early morning also take part at that time. Those who can’t take part during the week help out at weekends. The others, who can stay the whole day, do so. We have about 19 members who do this work everyday.”

Praise is also due to the Action Congress youth forum and all other youth groups carrying out such voluntary acts of community service under dangerous conditions all around Nigeria. I implore anyone who can do anything to assist or encourage such groups acts to please do what they can. The financial assistance offered by Oceanic bank for the purchase of caution signs is a fine example of the type of support which can be offered.

We decided that we needed to erect some caution signs to slow motorists down to make our work easier. So we approached Oceanic Bank, that has a branch nearby and asked them to help us pay for these signs to be erected. They gladly agreed to do that and complied as promised.”

One can lament till tomorrow about the government not doing its job, and they would be perfectly justified. However, doing one's on bit, while clamouring for greater accountability and effectiveness of the government through peaceful but persistent means is, in my opinion, the only way forward for Nigeria. These youth deserve praise for doing their bit.

Read the full story here:

*This is the first of what I hope will become a regular series of posts, about ordinary Nigerians, both young and old, giving back to their community and to the country that has given them so little. *

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lago Maggiore

Here is a picture of the back view of Lago Maggiore taken from the balcony of our hotel room. This picture was taken during our summer trip. I love this picture so much, because it gives me such a sense of peace. A really beautiful landscape contains the most unimaginable colours - such colours as would make you think a painter over imaginative if you had seen it in a painting. Hundreds of shades of green and blue and grey, its amazing. I guess that is why I love impressionism, especially anything by Claude Monet.
Info: I am generally a sucker for landscape photos.
I liked the photo so much I even made it into a card. Here is a picture of the card:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ms Platnum - Give me the food

Wow, three posts within 24- thats a new record for me. I just had to post this video though 'cause it is so hilarious. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rural Nigeria lights up with solar power + PH Burning???

Article by Micheal Simire on

Nigeria has launched a solar power scheme that will eventually light up as many as ten rural communities with no access to the national electrical grid. A Lagos state government official, who wished to remain anonymous, said construction work had commenced on the respective projects and contractors were expected to start delivering them around mid to late January 2008.
Some 5,000 people — living in villages in the Badagry, Epe, Eredo and Ojo local government regions — are expected to benefit. The project's estimated cost of 150 million Naira (about $1.25 million) is being funded by the state Ministry of Science and Technology.
Laudable start although 10 communities of 5000 people is hardly enough in a country of 140 million.

A pilot project began in May at the fishing village on Bishop Kodji Island, a low island of about 5,000 people between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lagos lagoon. For the first time, villagers have television in the community hall as well as power to the churches, mosques and schools.The lifespan of the panel is 30 years according to the manufacturer. Also thereis little or no maintenance: all the villagers need is to clean dust from the panels. The deep gel battery will last for 10 years," said Adenike Boyo, director of science and technology at the Directorate of Policy, Programmes and Promotion — the ministerial department that will oversee the project.
If the panels are so low maintenance and durable, that is definitely great what with our society not being a paragon on issues of maintenance. Its also good that it is a renewable energy source, so no artificial scarcity and unnecessary price raises are to be expected. No generator fumes, no noise, much much less emissions are some of the other great things about this.
Solar energy can be used for the most mundane things like street lights and parking meters and it is great that we are finally catching on.

The government of another state, Imo, in eastern Nigeria is utilising solar energy to power streetlights and other ancillary services. Government spokesman Steve Osuji said that the innovation is coming under the current administration’s 'Clean and Green Initiative', whereby Owerri city and other major towns in the state are being given a facelift. A similar government project, launched in 2002 with assistance from the Japanese government, has lit 200 rural communities in Imo, Ondo and Jigawa states as well as the capital Abuja.

Combining renewable energy with more traditional energy sources is definitely the future even for developed nations, so this is the way to go -although a thorough revamp of PHCN should definitely remain high on the list.


Fighting in PH

Its difficult to know if its Militants or just plain outright criminals who are killing, looting and causing general mayhem in Port harcourt. What a terrible way to start the year - my heart goes out to the people of that formerly sunny city who have been caught in the battle between unscrupulous politician and criminals as well as sometimes militants.

I know this is probably easy for me to say since I am not directly affected and safely far away, but I believe that only the people have the power to put an end to these senseless activities. The people of Port Harcourt need to stop cowering and take decisive action in protest. I know that protest will probably turn bloody, but silence is bloody as well - many people have died and lost their means of livelyhood in the past few months, so silence is not the answer. These men who are carrying out these unspeakable acts also have family - parents, wives, children - these people need to speak out. That is if they still have any semblance of conscience left in them.

Odun a yabo o...Frohes Neues Jahr...S noviim Godom...Happy New Year

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