PORT HARCOURT COMES OUT TO PLAY PAINTBALL alias WAR START

For the first time ever in my city — Port Harcourt, there is a PAINTBALL MEET (or WAR START meet).

It happens amongst friends, amongst colleagues at work, amongst members of a particular church or circle. But it has never happened amongst people who had no common grounds, asides being from the same city.

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Port Harcourt, the crude-oil famed city, alias Garden City, is ranked the third city in Africa’s most populous nation — Nigeria.

The city, quite a busy hub and known for its pride and ‘fajji‘ outlook towards life, is usually trolled for having less engaging recreational centres, and less engaging events. So,this was an outer, and I wanted to see…. 😁😁

The Event

The event which was announced on Twitter, was created by Princess Resplandor directing interested folks to a WhatsApp group for close interaction.

Slated for Saturday, 8th day of May, 2021; to start by 2pm, you’d expect throngs of people to be there if you got there by past 3pm as I did. But Alas! I was early 😂. (Well, I wasn’t so early, but people were still coming till past 4pm)

You could blame it on the rainfall earlier on, or on the poor traffic situation due to ongoing construction around the metropolis. But these guys came really late.

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What you’d need to paintball:

Currently, there is only one paint balling centre in Port Harcourt, which is inside the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.

To get into the pleasure park, a gate fee of N500 is required. Once you get in, all you need do is request for directions and you’d be directed, it’s quite easy to locate from the entrance.

Then, to participate in the game, you’d need to pay N3,000 ($7.88), either by cash or by bank transfer.

Once you do pay, you not only get access to the place but you get protective gears too. Though the equipments here, need maintenance or revamp. Seems quite old.

The Rules of the game:

There is a referee, who also enters the arena (I heard one of the participants say he wanted to shoot at the referee but he was out of range).

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Each team starts at one end, which is your base, when you are shot, you are to return to your base. If you safely navigate your way to your opponent’s base, and your teammates successfully do same, you’ve won. But then it could be modified to your taste.

We were also told that headshots cost 2 points while normal shots cost a point.

You are to ensure your protective gears are fully on. You do have 50 bullets per round, to get a reload of another 50 bullets is N1,500.

You are not to pick bullets from the ground, and any issues with your gun, report to the referee. You are also advised to avoid head shots, but yunno.

The game: ‘Let the chaos begin’

I participated in this one. There were 2 sets and cheerleaders too, so I joined the first set. In the first set, each teams were made of five persons — 4 males and a female.

If team A can get to the other end and take Team B’s treasure (the female) back to their base, then they’ve won.

It was fun as it brought back this feeling of nostalgia. It just felt like we were back in primary (elementary) school, playing ‘war start’. At some point, I stopped shooting and was laughing hard as one guy who was shot, held his head in pain yet was denying he was shot, despite having paint on his head.

The paintballs can be painful. I received a headshot. It was painful!

But, it was real fun. I laughed so hard. I felt like a child. Though, in less than twenty minutes, it was all done. You somehow wished you could continue, but the money. Because as kids we played war start for more.

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After the action:

After the game, we sat outside while the second set prepped to go in. Some were interested in photos, others were wanted to be by themselves (the Port Harcourt way).

Some still talked about the game. It was hilarious to find adults anticipating a ‘next time’. It was really really funny. Many persons complained of how they missed. The strategy their team used.

But not everyone joined in the game. Some were cheerleaders and so. So before leaving, I decided to get the views of some of the participants.

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Comments on the event:

Ossy, a bald-headed young man whose head was the target of most folks, said it was okay, when interviewed, said he has seen some paintball groups come and share pictures, but this is the first one he’s coming out for, cos he saw it as an avenue where he can interact, after the game.

Cos he saw that there were all neutrals, he said he had fun, he shot amazing shots in the game, and plans to ‘shoot his shot’ at a particular lady before leaving. In his words, “E get one weh I deh eye now, but I go shoot before I comot.”

Irene, a beautiful chocolate complexioned lady, who was the treasure of Team B, when interviewed, said it was really nice and interactive. She said so far, she has not received any ‘shots’.

Princess, a voluptuous lady who didn’t participate in the shooting game, said those who played the game were clueless inside the arena. She attested that it was a good avenue to meet, but so far, people have not been socializing, everyone has been doing their thing.

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“You guys were just doing your thing. It as if you guys know your self from somewhere, I mean, I came in here, I greeted some people and I dunno, the reception was not so cool,” Princess continued. When quizzed on feedback for the organizers, she said, “I dunno, I just feel we just be more social, be more open.”

Diddy, a handsome male, who is a co-organizer of the event, was interviewed on the muse for the event. He said, “We’ve done this before or twice. Someone sent me the link after Princess Resplandor tweeted about it, and so we chatted about it and she made me an admin since I had an idea about it. The whole idea was to come out to the park and then build on from there.”

He went on to say it was nice meeting new persons, though, he said the turnout was not as much as expected, which could be due to the rain. On the socializing part, he said some persons already knew some persons, which is expected, but give it time and people would socialize.

When quizzed if there will be a next time, he said yes but may probably not be paintball, but it is in the pipeline, and assured this was just a trial.

For me, it was really nice having this whole ‘war start’ feeling. For someone who has played a lot of action games that involved shooting, I needed a physical experience 😁😁. The socializing part is not just a Port Harcourt problem if you ask me. Its the digital age.

Most persons actually disguise shyness under this act of pressing phones and being busy. Well then, if there’s any event you’d want in Port Harcourt, comment, the organizers of this one are keenly reading. You can also drop your takes on this one, in the comments too. Like and share too 😘😘.

WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN CAKE MAKING FROM DURU’s CAKES?

Good morning, my awesome readers of Paul Kay’s Blog. It has been lovely having you all on here. Its 12 days into the new year and many are taking up new skills and crafts despite the pandemic.

One art that never grows old is Baking. Yeah, I call it art, cos some cakes make you wonder if they were designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, it’s the kind of prowess exhibited by DURU’s CAKES in the past 2 to 3 years.

Many persons have been wishing to produce astonishing cakes like DURU’s CAKES, and finally an opportunity is here, as they’d be dishing out awesome knowledge at an awesome price.

Now, asides the fact that DURU’s CAKES produce amazing cakes, I wanted to know why you must learn from him, so I hit him personally for a word or two.

Here goes:


Good morning, CEO of DURU’s CAKES, My name is Paul Kay, and I will be taking you on this ride to know why I should learn catering from you.

Okay. First I’ll say thank you for the opportunity and it’s nice meeting you sir. “Why you should learn baking from me?”

Okay, first question I usually ask is this. “Why do you wanna learn baking on a personal note?” cos people come up with different reasons.

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Now, I offer classes to people who want to be professional cake artists not just bakers. People who want to grow into the masterclass of the cake art.

Clips of works of DURU’s CAKES

Now why should you learn from me? First the learning experience is different with me. Asides the conducive cake studio, work space and environment, you get to be able to attend classes with the best of materials yet also knowing how to improvise in times of lack of equipment or in impoverished conditions.

Secondly, you get the best teacher and student experience. Where different learning methods are applied to different people depending on which best suits their learning process.

I’m talking detailed answers to questions, detailed course outlines and course learning materials. I’m talking good one on one relationship and coexistence between teacher and student

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Thirdly, even after you’ve graduated from class, you don’t stop being my student.

You can ask questions anytime and anywhere and you’ll get detailed answers to them, easy access to my YouTube channel for new tricks and videos to aid learning, considering the fact that the sector keeps advancing.

Choosing to teach, Are you not scared of competition? Or would you reserve some knowledge from your students?

No I’m not. I teach them all I know. I’m not scared of competition. The sector keeps evolving and people or brands who can’t keep up, fade off with time.

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Secondly, the brand isn’t just about baking cakes but we’re also here for impact. So you don’t come to my class and can’t stand the test of time.

We should be able to put so much into you that should be enough to pour out into others. So, no. I’m not scared of competition.

Your lecture venue is in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. Any plans for a virtual class? Or subsequent class for those not currently available for this upcoming class on 25th January?

Yes, sure. There are online classes for people who are not in Port Harcourt. Though the best part is the fact that accommodation is made available for 2 persons coming from outside Port Harcourt.

Thank you for your time, so you have it people. You can contact DURU’s CAKES on:

You can reach DURU’s CAKES on Instagram, Facebook or on their phone lines +234(0)8174955230, +234(0)8080918055

IS 2020 THE YEAR THE WORLD WAS TO END?

Photo credit: Kesco Zagha

2020 seems to be finally over, and so so many people would be breathing a huge sigh of relief at the end of it all.

READER’S REVIEW: Click on this link to drop your response on the blog survey

For some, it’s the end of another year, a year their business went down, or a loved one died, an uneventful year, but no one can say 2020 didn’t have its toll on us.

For me, it’s the year I finally got to serve as a member of National Youth Service Corps in my country after graduating in September 2018.

Myself as a corps member

It really was something I did look forward to, especially the camp experience. You could say I had pre-knowledge of it. My cousin would not stop yapping about it.

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Though the camp experience was cut down by the deadly Corona virus, but the service still continued as with the repressing lockdown, I had to resume my service in Ondo State.

I lost an aunt in what seemed to be poisoning, and she was buried uneventfully that same day due to the whole COVID-19.

We also lost stars too, from Chadwick Boseman, to Kobe Bryant, to Diego Maradona. What about the thousands who died.

Oh! Should we talk about the #ENDSARS protest that rocked my nation, Nigeria. It was more than a protest against Police brutality. Twas more like a revolution, well until it was hijacked.

Do we talk about the people that died especially on that sad night at Lekki Toll gate where Nigerian youths died while singing the national anthem and wielding the Nigerian flag?

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What about Fahim Saleh, the founder of GOKADA who was gruesomely murdered. The young entrepreneur who was an inspiration to many of us, young ones out there.

Fahim Saleh

But for once I never felt the world was coming to an end. I felt this world had allowed a lot of things to go on that I deserved a chance too to grow old.

I remember once that I made a news on alleged child stealing in Kasomene Faith Hospital In Port Harcourt. I did receive calls for the sake of that article. Journalists do go through a lot.

Love also happened. Funny enough it happened four times this year to me. Maybe I’m not as hard ad I think I am.

READER’S REVIEW: Click on this link to drop your response on the blog survey

Many resolutions got reset. Many goals also weren’t achieved. But some few things were met. I did score some of my goals. I believe most persons did.

Liverpool finally won the English Premier League, football came back and it seemed like the virus was going down, but then, we never know.

READER’S REVIEW: Click on this link to drop your response on the blog survey

Oh! Donald Trump lost his re-election bid! Quite a year, isn’t it? Many persons have been counting what they lost, but why not just be thankful that you are alive.

Photo credit: Kesco Zagha

As we glide into this new year, we should know that life doesn’t refresh cos its a new year, and the world isn’t ending. Its about time we take the world by storm.

Meanwhile, as we are about to go into 2021, it will be my third year as an active blogger. Click on the link and take this survey to help make the blog a wonderful experience in 2021.

LOVE WHO YOU MARRY vs MARRY WHO YOU LOVE.

EJIMOFOR HANNAH CHIAMAKA

1984.
The air outside was colder than usual, Beatrice shivered as she stepped outside, with her wrapper around her shoulder. The cold air hit hard against the wrapper, penetrating her skin without even an ounce of pity or respect, as the latest bride to be. She smiled as she thought of herself as a bride, she had always pictured herself looking so beautiful as she dances in a sashaying manner, whining her waist to go present the drink to Emenike, her husband to be.

The thought of Emenike made her smiles fade gradually. She is getting married, but she barely know this man. Her dad had told her that he is from a respectable family and that he would be her husband. Arrangements were made and today he would be coming to take her home. She shivered and shook away her thoughts, scanned the environment- her father’s compound- as everyone seemed to be busy, preparing for her marriage.

Slowly, Beatrice walked back inside and from a window in the sitting room, she stared and stared at the people making preparations. “Yes, I will have to love this man forever for he is the one I am to marry” she thought within herself, as the cold air hit her once more through the window.

2014
Chioma dashed out of the house angrily.
“No, you can’t tell me that dad”
“But he is from a respectable home” her dad replied from within “what is even wrong with you, you have been turning down every suitor that I have introduced to you, you are not getting any younger” he added
“Dad, I need to be with someone I love, someone I can share interest with, not some random stranger who hails from a respectable background” she shouted from outside and quickly left the compound before he would say another word.
She was already engaged to Ken and she would wait for him, she thought.
“I can’t just marry any stranger, I need to marry the one I love”, she said to herself.

From the above scenarios, the first case is a case of loving the person you marry while the second is marrying the one you love. The first case doesn’t consider your feeling nor your interest. All you have to do is submit and love the one that paid your dowry; while the second is a case of choice, marry your choice and be happy.

But do you think that people who loved who they married weren’t happy? (Think about it).
Do you think marriages are better now that we have to make our choice, get a lover, grow interest and get acquainted before getting married; or do you think marriages were better in those times, when you are obligated to love and hold onto your partner, despite who he is and who you are?

Do you think that women are more submissive, now that they have to pick a partner; or was it better then, that they had to love their partner.
Do you think marriages last longer now, that you have to pick your partner; or then that you had to love your partner.
Do you think marrying the one you love, is better than loving the one you marry?

I wouldn’t want to confuse you, but I don’t think marrying the one we love works, most times; because certain people tend to fall in love because of a certain attribute or a feature. So what happens when that thing that caused you to fall can no longer hold you to the ground? Do you just get up and walk out of the relationship cleaning off the dust from the fall (laughs). What about loving the person you marry? Sometimes, it’s just difficult to do some certain things no matter what. So let’s leave this untouched.

Truth is marriage is commitment, To love is to commit. For any relationship to work, you have to decide, loving the person is not enough, You decide to stick to the end. But note that growing your relationship and getting to know each other very well before the marriage isn’t a bad idea either.

Still, which do you prefer?
Marrying the person you love
or
Loving the person you marry.

My advice though is that you do both.

THE JOURNEY BEYOND: DYING WITHOUT REGRETS.

YUBEDEE PYAMENE ANOKARI

“Teach us this day that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
If only we truly lived while we had the time, then we wouldn’t be so scared and utterly bothered about dying. Truth is, everyone(we all) will die someday, some how, it’s just a matter of time.

Living our lives may seem easy and seamless, but this is the path that has led many to tears and pain on their deathbed.

Living our lives with relevance in mind and our end in perspective, somehow will serve as a guide for us to really major on things with generational value and eternal reward. Because in the end, what will really matter to us isn’t going to be what we have, but what we’ve done with all we have – the lives we’ve been able to touch, the smiles we’ve put on people’s faces, the wrongs we’ve corrected and the problems solved, that’s what will really matter to us on that deathbed.

Being able to die without regrets, without tears, wishing you could have done more, made more impact, used your gifts more – wishing you had helped that family, ran that foundation, used your resources more to better the lives of others, setting a legacy; that’s where regrets sets in, when we’re not at peace in our final moments.

We fail to realise we’re running out of time with every tick of the clock. Cos just as a flicker of light in the rainy night is blown off abruptly, so is life, we’re never promised tomorrow. Yet we live as though we had nine lives, like we’ll have another opportunity to right our wrongs. But when that solemn moment comes, lying totally helpless on our deathbed, we finally realise, perhaps a little too late, that there’s really nothing we can do about it. Our whole life flashes in front of our eyes at that instant – our life’s goal should be that at the moment when it flashes, it should worth watching!

Are we going to leave this world without a trace? Without a mark of something we did? Is anyone going to remember we ever walked this path? And even if they do, what’s it going to be for – the pain and hurt we caused or the problems we solved and the smiles we put on people’s faces, what’s it going to be? It’s your call!

DORA AKUNYILI

Dora Akunyili, popoluarly known for her feat with the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency. Being the Director General for 7 successive years, she successfully clamped down circulation of fake drugs within the country. She made Nigeria safe again.

KENULE SARO WIWA

Kenule Saro Wiwa, widely known for being an outspoken critic of the Nigerian Government of his days, fought non-violently against the marginalisation of the Ogoni people and the indiscriminate drilling of oil in her land without environmental best practices. Famous for his quote “You can kill the messenger, but you can’t kill the message”.

SAM LOCO EFE

Sam Loco Efe, wrote his name in gold in hearts of Nigerians, as he found his niche and followed it to the letter. Being a comical figure at the time, he brought humour and relaxation to Nigerians, who, watching him star in movies, was a delight. He will never be forgotten in the Nigerian movie industry.

CHINUA ACHEBE

Chinua Achebe, carving a niche for himself in the hearts of many across the world, successfully engraved his name in the sands of time. That even after death, he’s still very much remembered and referenced for his brilliant, artistic and literary skills, with so many works to his name – notably, THINGS FALL APART. Also, being a political critic, one of his famous quotes was “one of the truest tests of integrity, is its blunt refusal to be compromised”.

The world still begs the question, what are you going to be remembered for? What will be written on your tombstone?

Teach us this day that we may apply our hearts to wisdom!

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari, is a contributor on the blog, an amazing content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

THE FEMALE POPULATION AND DRAMA: TRUST

IBINABO SEKIBO

The issue of trust cannot be overemphasized, everyone is a suspect to someone, and no one trusts anyone, so you see it is just a vicious cycle that we keep going through, it happens to keep things happening. Seeing how trust is something you earn, why should it always be a thing of drama amongst the females? Being a female is stressful enough, but the drama that comes with it? Oh! Don’t let me get into it.

Well, just recently there was a ruckus on every social media platform about a lady that was poisoned by her supposed friends, because she got an iPhone on her birthday, while some
persons countered the information going round that she was poisoned by the same friends that celebrated with her, some others used it as an opportunity to rant (smiles). Well,we may never know what really transpired, except from all we saw on social media, but we would definitely be diving into the topic from here.

Why is there so much drama?

Like why do the female population make it so hard to just be females, one moment they are all speaking about feminism and how everyone should stand up for each other, standing together against the world and the next moment they are dragging a supposed female like them, it is so confusing and sometimes I wish I was not a female (just kidding).

All I’m trying to say but probably not saying, is that the drama in being female is just too much at times. How about the ‘haters club’? From what I’ve observed these ones always feel like they have haters everywhere; hey sis, take a chill pill, sit down and think of something beneficial to yourself and those around you. It’s scary what can come out of those little episodes of calling
out your haters on social media. I think one thing we should all do is, GROW UP! Please, please and please ‘GROW UP!’ It would prevent the whole hate speech thing and then help you do better things with your time.

Moving onto another dramatic phase; I would be talking about jealousy. Jealousy is like dark magic, that seeps into your soul in bits and pieces until it consumes you, and in its wake, leaves nothing. Hey love, be happy for that your friend, when she achieves something, celebrate her, don’t act like it isn’t a big deal, knowing the kind of effort she put in. After all the sweet
name calling on social media; the least you could do, is stand by her and continue cheering when she gets ‘a win’. One day, you would be in her shoes and she would be cheering for you.

The last thing I would be talking about here is the main issue of the day, TRUST. Like we most times say, “we don’t trust anyone”, but when you give your friend your phone to use for a minute or two, that is trust,you are indirectly telling the person, I trust you to handle my phone with care. When we hug our friends, we are saying, “I trust you not to stab me in the back while hugging; if not, we would definitely be turning to see what’s happening behind us while hugging.

The thing here is, trust is a big deal and should be treated as such, most times people abuse trust and friendship and this is common amongst the female population, it is so bad some ladies are scared of accepting drinks or food from some of their friends, they do not want to be drugged or worse still, poisoned. Well, if you think about, we can’t blame anyone, if the female population can cut down on the drama, I am sure the world would be a better place, and we would all definitely enjoy it.

FOUR YEARS – A BITTERSWEET TALE

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari

Getting into the university, I fell in love with Dami at my first year. For the first time in as long as I can remember, a girl actually loved me and cared – true love was here, or so I thought. I didn’t want to rush things, so I took it slow. We would just sit together, talking for hours unending, looking into each others eyes – no kissing, no touching, just love. Always enjoying each others company, I felt I was on to something with Dami, we had everything going right for us. We did almost everything together and even on weekends, we just loved seeing each other; I’ll leave my campus to hers and we would just love on each other – walking, talking, smiling, giggling and laughing. The most body contact we made was holding hands.

By the end of second semester towards exams, disaster struck, she stopped taking my calls regularly and she always had an excuse for us not to hang out as usual. It continued for few weeks and it took a toll on me cos I was too fond of her. Finally I had to confront her about it; she told me to my face I was a dullard, a naïve small boy, that I couldn’t even kiss her, touch her or make other advances at her when we were together. I was dazed! Really shocked at her response, here I was thinking I was being a gentleman by taking things slow – guess I was wrong and without a shadow of doubt, I was heartbroken; it showed on my results as my grades dropped noticeably.

About a month into my second year, I met Lisa at a campus fellowship my friend Dayo had invited me to. She gave the announcements that day, so I figured she was an EXCO there. We continued been friends for a while, I didn’t want to hurriedly get myself hurt again, but then, my heart seemed to love again. I took the bold step and we soon started dating. Having fresh in mind, my experience with Dami, I didn’t want to be a “dullard” no more but then, Lisa was an EXCO in a Christian campus fellowship! So I presumed she ordinarily wouldn’t be interested in all that in the first place, but boy! I was totally wrong! We both had our experience of pleasure at different times, I was glad I met her.

Our love continued and nothing went wrong for a very long time, I was beginning to think long term. But then getting into my third year, I started hearing rumors from friends that my Lisa has had a more serious date since year one, which she normally visits on weekends off campus. Could it be that’s the reason she wasn’t always available on weekends? I was beginning to put bits and pieces together, but still I didn’t want to readily believe all that, cos boy, I really loved her!

However, somehow, I finally confronted her about it as usual, and then she broke down in tears, saying she loved me and didn’t know how to tell me. I was scarred for life! My heart was shattered. Will I ever love again? These and more raced through my mind for weeks then I finally gave an answer to myself and for sure it wasn’t positive.

So from then on, I decided I was going to payback all the hurt I went through; every pain, every heartbreak and every tear. So by the end of second semester of my third year, I had been in numerous relationships with different girls, can scarcely recall their names – with those I knew had a boyfriend, I somehow got them to love me, leave their boyfriends, we had fun, then I broke their hearts. I double-dated countless times than I can remember, when I get caught, I just left the whole thing. Twice I had dated two best friends at the same time, it was so much fun! Or so I thought.

It continued till I meet Ese, that was at the second semester of my fourth and final year. I couldn’t believe I could genuinely fall in love again with a girl, but here I was, totally head over heels in love with her. But sadly, we were running out of time, it was our final year in the university; we had barely three months left to graduate, I didn’t know what to do. Confused at the very thought of – should I push for this or should I just let it slide. I guess I chose the former; she had won my heart.

I finally asked her out, but before I could get a a reply from her, we had finished our final exams, project defense done and dusted. Everything was over, everyone had left school; school was over. I never got a reply from Ese, but somehow I knew she loved me too, or so I thought. Maybe I’d still get a response or may be not, guess I’ll never know – we never know what life has in store for us.

That was it, the bitter-sweet taste experience of my love life at the university. For the most part it was fun, but then, I had had my fair share of heartbreaks too. I’m done with the university now, I am out in the real world, I hope I find real love too, lasting love – true love, is that an ask too hard?

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari, is a contributor on the blog, an amazing content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

IF KEYBOARDS COULD SPEAK

Ejimofor Hannah Chiamaka

If keyboards could speak, I believe that it’s first sentence would be directed to the typists who stares at the monitor as they blindly punch in every key without minding if it’s the heart of the keys or even the eyes.

If keyboards could speak, I’d advice them to speak to their inventor, Christopher Latham Sholes; and ask him why he started the alphabets with QWERTY instead of MYNAMEIS..

If keyboards could speak of all the numerous things we type at first before deleting. I guess our relationships might be different from what they all seem now.

If keyboards could speak of all the many times I tried to make a sentence look exquisite before posting a status, maybe you would learn to appreciate my little words.

If keyboards could speak, I will wear mine the nicest look and set his tone to sound melodious or even bossy, so that when it stands to speak of the many times I’ve stayed up late trying to update my vocabulary or even read up an article, I’d be understood.

If keyboards could speak, I guess my name would be more in the book of life for all those times, I had typed “I’m fine” with tears in my eyes, it would scream, “Hell no, you aren’t fine”.

If keyboards could speak, of the days I’ve stared at it lustfully wishing I was smart enough to make good use of it’s keys or even the days I’ve started at it angrily as I typed, punching each key with anger and hoping my rage gets to the other side, maybe I’d be convicted for attempted murder.

If keyboards could speak of the many hidden words in it, I would have been a better writer with words flowing sweetly.

If keyboards could speak of the silent curses, the smiles, the true laughter, the smirk on our faces, the tears and the blushes on our faces, then the world have been a better place.

If keyboards could speak to the parents staring at it every hour, it would remind them that they have kids waiting for their attention.

If keyboards could speak to the young scholars, I guess it would laugh at most them scornfully for staying up all night playing games.

If keyboards could speak, I might have to bribe it so as not to get me exposed of my browser history, that I have deleted countless times.

If keyboards could speak to me right now, it would say, “go, visit your lover, I need to take a break from your unending touches”.

If keyboards could speak, if keyboards could speak, then I won’t be here thinking if keyboards could speak. For all the times I had wanted to type yes but typed no, it would have screamed way beyond my pride. And for all the times I would have taken a break but didn’t, it would have shut itself down.

RAPE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Many times, in the event of rape, people are too consumed with who’s responsible or why it happened. Many people never want to speak up. In the wake of rape, last week; some persons who have been rape victims or attempted rape victims decided to share their story. They decided to share for others to learn a thing or two from their story.

FIRST CASE

I was about 3 or 4; funny enough, that’s the only thing I remember as a kid. He used to be my neighbor back then in the barracks, I used to call him ‘uncle’. He always does it, finger me and even put his dick inside of me and he will tell me never to tell my parents if not they are going to be beat me. It stopped when we left that barracks to another one, same thing happened again, different person. I was in primary school then, primary 5 or so; this time I cried but I didn’t know how to tell my mum, but I tried to signal her but she didn’t get. Another time, a man, my neighbors family friend, somehow close to my family; tried molesting me in my J.S.1 (first year of junior high school) but I ran away and I hated him so much. He started calling me his wife.

Few years ago, my year 2 or so in the university, I over heard my mum and her friend saying he has been HIV positive for so long; from my calculations, even before he tried to molest me.

So imagine he had his way, what would have become of me? I once told my best friend but she made fun of it; and when I learnt of it, it broke my heart even more. I tried not to tell anyone about it till my third year in the university.


~ Young female at 3, 7, and 11 years of age

SECOND CASE

I usually don’t want to talk about it because I blame myself for it too. It was a near rape experience! I think I was in junior secondary school and it was Christmas break. We were at the village. Now, the toilet system in my village is quite primitive. Its a general toilet that is built over the river. There were stalls for the adults and the kids just use the open space that lead up to the stalls. I still used the open space. You know things used to be innocent. Kids could just bend down and do their business and nobody cared. I guess I was beginning to bloom or maybe he was just a pervert.

The road to the toilet led past his house, so he knew when I was going there. He’d stay in the stalls and call me. I’d hurry up and run from there. Of course my mum had warned us about these things, what mother hasn’t? If he saw me on the road in the village, he’ll gesture for me to come and I’ll run away. But I guess I was enjoying that I could have the attention of this older man. So one night while playing with my friends, he called me and strolled to the region behind our family house. I didn’t run this time, I followed. He began to talk about how he liked me, how he’d marry me; he began to touch me. I became uncomfortable and I told him I want to go, my friends will be looking for me.

I was about to walk away when he held me and slipped his hand into my vagina and began to lament “****** so you’re not a virgin. Tell me who deflowered you”. I told him, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I had never had sex up until then. He then pushed me onto the heap of sand and was trying to have his way with me. I was already crying, I told him about my hair I’d get sand all over it and they’ll ask me what happened at home. He didn’t stop. It was when someone shouted, “Who is there?”

It was a neighbour’s daughter, a family friend. He stopped, she asked again and I answered that it was me. She asked, “what are you doing there?” I answered, “nothing.” She then said, “if somebody is there there with you talk now oh, so we will know when it happened.” By then, he had let me go and I ran out of there, back to my grand ma’s house. I couldn’t tell anybody, cos I didn’t understand why I went there in the first place. I hated him! I later discovered that he knew my parents.

You know he came to my grandma’s that night to greet them, and ask them if I was home cos he saw me playing outside at night. I was scared that someone would put 2 and 2 together from his mysterious visit.

I saw him recently. My dad called him to help my younger sister get something done in court, the moment I saw him my blood boiled. I told my dad I’d do it for my sister in Port Harcourt. I didn’t want my sister following him. I’ve never told anyone this story it was something best forgotten.

How did this affect your outlook on men? It made me very cautious. I began to think every man that called me had a nasty intention. I became snobbish and rude, but I guess I got over it.

What would you advice any mother? Tell your child what she needs to know. Tell her there are some bad people with bad intentions. Tell her the signs of bad intentions, and tell her not to go into dark places with just anybody she may not be as lucky. Then pray for them cause we can only do so much. There are people who bad things have happened to by no fault of theirs. God is the ultimate protection!


~ Young female at 12 or 13 years of age

THIRD CASE

I was 7, my parents used to travel a lot. That time I was left alone with my dad’s friend, cos my mom’s sister wasn’t available. He took me from my house to his, called 3 other guys over, I was tied to the bed. They took turns playing with me and they would stick their fingers and other objects inside me. After a few days they untied me and made be do dirty things to them.

The following week, they went all in, I would bleed a lot. Whenever I tried to fight, they’d tie me to a chair and flog me with belts; all of them, at the same time. After the second week, I was allowed to leave the room; I couldn’t walk or talk.
One day they all left the house, I crawled my way down to the kitchen and took a knife. I wanted to end it all, But I wasn’t going to go without teaching them a lesson. I crawled back to my room cleaning the trail of blood that poured out from me, I hid it under my pillow and I waited for them. They continued the routine. For days, fear stopped me from doing anything.

Finally, the other 3 guys left, I was left with just him.
He came into the room grinning from ear to ear. I got angry so I reached for the knife we struggled I got cut but I stabbed him, i didn’t wait to see what happened, I ran. Someone found me I couldn’t talk, I was scared. She took me to the hospital, I had to be drugged because I wouldn’t let the doctor touch me. I was finally able to write my mum’s number down. She called, they came back. No one could find them so there wasn’t any need pressing charges.

I was sent to a psychiatric hospital; after a week, I ran away because it wasn’t helping. I resumed school, by God’s grace I was still as bright as ever, so I didn’t have to repeat a class. I couldn’t avoid seeing guys or touching them, it was a mixed school. When ever I had physical contact with a guy I’d mark that spot and when I got to the hostel, I’d scrub that spot till it bled. I used a sponge to do it, So it took a lot of work.

As a parent, what would you do differently? I can’t leave my kids with anyone for that long, except with my sister.

There is a fourth case that also needs to be here, but it would be in the sequel, as it has to be transcribed. I do promise to share.

When most people hear rape, they feel it is something that comes with being threatened with a gun. They feel its something that they would never go through or something that won’t ever come close to them, until it happens to them, their daughter, sister, friend, etc. It is something so heinous that it leaves its victims mentally harmed. Rape is something that needs to be eroded and erased from the society just like racism. But what needs to be done?

Reorientation of the males to always know the meaning of consent. The government should not just create laws, but enforcement of it, and even orientation programs should be set up, to let even a 3 year old child understand the meaning of rape. Parents too should also ensure that they are proactive when it comes to rape. Children should be educated on these things and the need to speak out. Rape requires a huge lot of work! Sadly, it is one that not everybody is interested in.

In Nigeria, there has been stiff laws; but what about enforcement. This year, the son of a governor threatened someone’s mom with rape and it was laid to slide. How much strength is used in the clamping down of rape. What is the church, mosque, schools, government, civil society organisation, etc. doing about it?

WHY WE SHOULD ABOLISH LANGUAGE TERMS WITH RACIST CONNOTATIONS

Before I delve into the meat of the topic, I believe it is important that we first understand what racism is.

Racism is seen as the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another race, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his/her inborn biological characteristics.
Racism in a more lay man language is hatred of one person by another because of his/her social or moral traits. Racism is seen to take its form in Physical appearance (skin color difference), social actions, languages, practices, beliefs or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared and inheritable traits, abilities or qualities. Racism has existed in human history and overtime has influenced wars, slavery, formation of nations and legal codes.

While we acknowledge the various forms which racism takes, this article however focuses on color connotations in world languages (with focus on English Language) and how it encourages racism.

Have you ever noticed that compound words or terms that have the word ‘white’ is significantly good in terms of meaning? Even the word ‘white-lie’ is defined as an untrue statement that does ‘no harm’. ‘White-lie’ is seen as good even if it has the term “lie” attached to it. We have other terms like ‘whiteheads’ defined as a songbird with white head and underpants; ‘whitewashed’ referred to as a smart one in a game which the loser scores no point, it is also means concealment of flaws.

Now let’s have a quick look at some terms with the word ‘Black’, which are widely associated with negativity, pain, difficulties, etc. There is ‘Black magic’, a term which refers to magic derived from an evil source or by evil means. ‘Black Friday’, a Friday that falls on the 13th day of any month and is regarded as ill-omened. ‘Blackheads’ which is an infectious diseases of turkey, ‘blackwash’ which purports defamation. ‘Dark culture’ is a term that covers several subculture such as gothic, BDSM and Fetish. This and many other words and cases are examples of how ‘black’ as a color has been largely attributed to all things evil, negative or bad.

No doubt there are other terms with the word ‘black’ that connote positivity/good, for example-black gold, dark chocolate, blackberry.etc. But these are few when compared to the negatives. In like manner, we have very few words associated with ‘White’ that has negative impression like white-comb.

Interestingly, its shocking how one could go through the Oxford dictionary, Merriam-Webster dictionary, Urban dictionaries and Google and won’t find words associated with ‘WHITE’ exceeding 50-70 of which, not more than 1-5 will have a negative remark, impression or meanings; as opposed to the word ‘BLACK’.

When a person is constantly reminded on a daily basis that anything associated with his color is bad, evil, negative and just plain wrong, this will in long run subconsciously take shape in his mental and psychological environment and he would invariably come to accept same to be true of him and/or his color/race.

These terms are largely seen as normal and have been generally accepted in the world. They might not seem so much of a big deal or in any way associated to racism until you consider the psychological factor, its usage and how it affect the society.. A white or Hispanic person will say or hear these words and not feel any negative impact, but the same cannot be said for a black person.

The use of these colors remains a never ending force to reckon with, such that ‘the hate that comes with it’ are passed down from one generation to another, through various means like religion for instance, crossed the line of just words; but went as far as tagging this colors to personalities, which till date has encouraged racism by the creation of images where Jesus and Angels are painted as ‘white’, and satan/devil as ‘black’; and so we have kids in school with various picture books with Satan painted black and Jesus and Angels colored white.

Racism still exist strongly in our society today because of these colors, its use and application. If the world is truly serious about fighting against racism then we should fight it in all of its forms. Terms and words that tend to portray black or dark as bad and negative need to be abolished from our everyday educational, formal and informal interactions. It may seem like a hard or even impossible task to consider but we can start by:

  1. Flagging these terms as inappropriate in formal exchanges;
  2. Scrapping these word out of our dictionaries (NB: that words formed in dictionary came to be as a result of our formation and general acceptance, hence we can as a well take them out.)
  3. Discourage any activities of any sort that promotes the racism through these colors.
  4. Educate and create awareness to the society that portrays the fact that white and black are mere colors like orange, purple, green red etc. identified/named by us(HUMANS). Such that one can chose to identify black as white, vice versa. Therefore we need not let our creation be the end of our Humanity.

The impact may not be immediate but if we gradually bring an end to common usage of these terms, we will be protecting the next generation against mental and psychological harm caused by racism in the form of color portrayal in our everyday language vocabulary.

This article was written by UZERE O. ANTHONY (ESQ.). A Legal Practitioner and Human Right Activist based in Lagos, Nigeria.
Email: Anthonyouzere@gmail.com