Archive - August 2014

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A parent’s worst nightmare
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Booking a place in the world
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My name is…

A parent’s worst nightmare

120 days. Not 120 seconds or minutes or hours. But 120 days. That’s how long some parents haven’t seen or spoken to their children. Children who did not go on summer holidays or are on sabbaticals nor are they schooling in a different hard – to – reach continent, thereby explaining their absence. No. They have been abducted. To be used as bargaining chips, and to prove a political point by their captors. Who uses children to make a statement? Boko Haram. And that ex – CIA agent in the just concluded TV series ‘Crisis’. 120 days. Almost four months and counting. And not knowing how your child is faring. The feeling is, most likely, worse than death. Death would even be better. There’s a finality to it and it brings some sort of closure. This…this, however, is torture, torment, unimaginable horror. One that has, sadly, seen the death of eleven of the affected parents. Once, my elder brother ‘lost’ T in Shoprite for about five minutes. What followed was the most hellish five minutes of frantic searching. The thoughts that occurred during the period. Anything could have happened to her within that time. Someone could have picked her up as theirs and disappeared. She could have walked out of the store and into the mall in search of him. Anything. But no, he found her at an empty check out point, happily tapping away. Those were five minutes. These 120 days seem like a continuing episode in an endless horror, heartbreaking series. Little or no hope of finding (and rescuing) them. Less encouraging words and actions from those supposedly searching for them. Just more gory –upon- gory tales from those lucky to escape the ordeal. How does a parent contemplate that his/her child might be forcibly and violently used as a sex slave amongst other unimaginable vices? How does s/he come to terms with the fact that when the child returns alive, eventually, whenever, there is the possibility of said child been messed up psychologically, physically and emotionally forever? In addition to lost childhood time. These things only happen”more

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My name is…

Do you have an English name? No. Why? Nothing. How do you spell it? Your name, that is. Of course, I have an English name. But what’s wrong with what I’m presently called? I cannot recount how many times strangers have stumbled while attempting to properly pronounce my name; most asking for the spelling in order to assist them. Invariably, not many readily recall it when we meet again. And it often happens to those who know me by name only. So of course, statements like: ‘I’m sorry I don’t remember your name’. ‘Forgive me but what is your name again?’ are all part of trying to make a name for myself. Literally. It was quite frustrating growing up with this tag hanging around me. Teachers, grown – ups and peers alike would stutter and stammer with audible ‘Eh?! What did you say your name is?!’ interjections after initial introductions. It was in fact a primary school teacher who asked if I had an English name. Most times, I felt really embarrassed; other times, very less often, I took it in my stride when I reminded myself that I didn’t have the most difficult name in the world. There was a time I actually contemplated going by my English name but killed the idea before it took root. I liked my name. The way it rolled off the tongue. The emphasis on the second syllable. It was rare. Traditional. Unique. And somewhat unpronounceable for some. Forgettable for others. Mangled by many. Can I call you ‘Id?’ No, you may not. This was the beginning of the era of shorter versions of names by using the first two letters. Itohan became It. Ijeoma became Ij. Izegbuwa became Iz. Some genius thought I’d like to be called ‘Id’. How wrong he was! I couldn’t stand the contraction and didn’t like the fact that ‘Id’ could mean ‘Identification.’ Call me finicky but I was named this way for a reason; please indulge me and call the unabridged version of it. They say it is not what you are called but what you answer”more

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