Siri forgot my Birthday!

img_0204
Siri, my trusted assistant & sidekick forgot to wish me a Happy Birthday yesterday. 
So today, after letting the silence linger, linger enough to let my day pass without my having to divulge somehow, I said to her, 

“Siri!! When is my Birthday?” 

The picture attached herein is her response, which was also said in a somber voice.
I know if I had let her, she would have raised in her defense that I didn’t input prior my birth date in the profile she has of me on my iPhone; but, I ain’t having that. 

My birthday has been synced on all my phone calendars for as long as I can remember, and I even recall an alarm going off yesterday to that effect. She didn’t liaise with Google Calendars, you know, commingle in the clouds. I’m guessing she thought herself bigger than the lot.

Cheers & Happy Holidays  

 

Advertisements

Generous Living Vs. Arrogant Allusions

For some of us, our inability to live generously is not as a result of lack but ignorance

If you take a moment to ponder over this, you would come to see that there is indeed some truth to the statement above. Most times we are just not sensitive enough to the plight of others, and do not make a conscious effort to think about people other than ourselves.

If this picture painted here somewhat depicts your disposition to others, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a bad person or that you are selfish, even though amateur research has shown that there is a rather thin line between putting self first and being selfish.

As our faces are different, so also are our needs

People experience life and its tribulations in varied degrees, therefore, your lowest point might be another folk’s highest achievement. Don’t be quick to resolve that you can’t help a person considering you haven’t solved any/all of your problems.

It might not cost an arm and a leg to change the fate of a kith and kin, or to establish a beacon of hope in that family by merely training a child through school. I know many-a-times, I have considered helping someone and thought to myself that I might not be able to afford it, or be consistent at it. Why? Because I already have an idea of how my life should play out, what certain things should cost and I am usually inclined to extend that same quality of help to others, but in truth, they would be more than grateful for the opportunity, regardless of cadre.

Nothing beats giving another person a fighting chance at life; a focal point, from whence to take off – Meka

I shouldn’t fail to point out that this post was birthed in church yesterday and sermons like this are part of the reasons I love Family Worship Centre, Abuja (FWC). I was so moved by the sermon, and awed by how ignorant I had been in the past, so I thought to share it with you all.

Why are we called to generous living?

One major reason is because it is the nature of God to be generous, and our lives here on earth should reflect it; basically, that is what being a true Christian entails: Christ like.

Another good reason is because it brings about thanksgiving and blessings. We all know that the power of thanksgiving to God cannot be over emphasized. Why? Primarily because we have been instructed in the bible to do so and basically, for the logical ones amongst us, it brings about results.

It is in our best interest to be reminded that everything we have is a gift from God, and without being grateful (thankful), we tend to become self centered and arrogant; alluding achievements to personal effort, and leaning solely on our own understanding.

How can we start to live generously?

This can be achieved by simply taking the initiative. You don’t have to wait for people to ask for help, instead try to be sensitive enough and meet them at the “point of their needs”

Remember praying to God number of times in the past to meet you at your point of need? Be that for someone else.

You have to really care about people or someone to know exactly where it bites the most.

Another good way to go about it is to expect nothing in return.

This is fundamentally because when expectations are not met, it can hamper the zeal to go on; It’d feel exactly like putting in so much effort and getting no commensurate results.

How to live generously?

Be content.

If you never feel what you have is enough to begin with, it would be very hard to convince yourself that you can afford to think about anyone other than yourself.

You would keep thinking about your immediate expenses and making sure that your future is adequately taken care of.

Why are you allowing fear limit you from all you can do for God’s glory?

The Silver is mine, and the Gold is mine says the Lord of hosts

Do you see now that we are merely Caretakers/?

Let’s not forget that all we have is a gift from God and He blessed us for a reason; we were blessed and allowed to live a fruitful life, so that we can in turn be a blessing to a host of others.

We weren’t blessed just so we can hoard it and in turn, make sure that our families have more than they could possibly need.

*& if you feel you have nothing to give just yet and I mean things of monetary value, remember that God deposited a few intangible gifts that count just as much too: your time, your mind and God given talent.

This post has taken too long so I’m going to end it rather abruptly, with a quote from IDontKnowWho

If He is sure it would get through you, it would get to you.

_ WS _

The Chronicles of a Traveling Publicist; Tanzania

CTP

Visiting Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania was one of the highlights of March 2015 for me. It wasn’t expected, as is every great thing; I wasn’t part of the team initially meant to embark on that trip but as fate would have it, I was a last minute addition and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

20150312_14584920150312_110217Prior to this moment, I had been thinking and planning for so long to spend two weeks of my leave in Zanzibar and suddenly I had been afforded the opportunity by a mere streak of luck. I worked assiduously two day before the intended date to get my visa; I spent a couple of hours at the Tanzanian High Commission and an almost equal amount of time at the UBA Bank where I went to pay the ‘Express Visa Fees’. It was a few thousands of Naira above the usual price but I didn’t mind for a bit, especially as I would be refunded by the company.

Going through immigrations at the ‘International Departure Lounge’ in the Nnamdi Azikiwe Intl Airport Abuja didn’t do much to deter me in any way; I was still excited, regardless of the fact that I was made to go through the scanning machine twice for having forgotten my belt on and secondly, for still wearing my silver Seiko wristwatch. (I’ve never really understood why I have to take of my shoes at our airport here; couldn’t they just scan that on me too like in the US?)

It was a five hour trip that didn’t quite feel that long. Maybe it can be attributed to the comfort the private jet afforded me; the flight attendants were absolutely pleasant too, and almost nice to a fault.

On landing, we were ushered to the VIP section of the Julius Nyerere International Airport so I didn’t quite get the chance to compare the whole airport with its counterpart in Abuja. The airport staff were quite friendly and their immigration officials meticulous; once we were done with the needful, we were ushered to the already waiting vehicles, but not before the stint with pressmen from two local Tanzanian TV stations.

20150312_171342We already had reservations at the Hyatt Regency – the Kilimanjaro, so it didn’t take long from arrival at the hotel till we successfully checked in; it was visibly a 5 star hotel, as the facilities present and the grounds were a picturesque testament to that.

On the day we were to visit the Bagamoyo Region where we would be performing the symbolic donation of 40ft container of books to 5 Secondary School, 1 Primary School and 1 University, we were chauffeur driven in a number of Toyota Prado SUVs arranged by the Hyatt Regency. The one I was in had a very jovial man driving and he didn’t hesitate in showing us places of note in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam. As we drove past the ‘Masaaki’, he pointed out that it was the affluent part of Dar es Salaam where you could see the most beautifully built private residences, really tall condominiums and tourists moving about freely; the Protea Hotel Oyster Bay was one of such edifices that caught my attention.20150312_171346

In response to our curiosity about business opportunities in Tanzania, he mentioned that one of the most lucrative businesses to venture into was to set up a bottled water company; apparently, Tz had issues with their natural water and as such it had to be taken through a series of rigorous filtration and water treatment processes.  Also it turns out that agriculture also has a lot of potentials too; the richest man in the country was a big agriculturist, supplying food from the villages where they have ample land to cultivate, to the city.

The exchange rate stood at 1840 shillings to $1, so I wasn’t exactly scared to get anything I wanted. In comparison to the Naira, we just had to take off one zero from the price in shillings; paying 5000 shillings for a taxi ride from my hotel to somewhere downtown, translated to N500. Not bad at all.

Unlike in Nigeria, I noticed that some of their private security guards carried guns; apparently they are licensed to. I noticed this while I was passing through an area where they had a chain of Bureau de Changes.

Some international brands like the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) which is a stone throw from the United States Embassy, Dstv of South Africa, Hyatt Group, Best Western Hotels, Standard Chartered Bank, Goodyear tyre company, were not absent in this rather blossoming city of Dar Es Salaam.

I almost had the wrong impression of the city and people by just strolling from my hotel to the fish market nearby and back. Why? All I got to see were fishermen and labourers returning from work but when I got a chance to go into town proper, I got to see a whole different picture. My first point of call was ‘Akemi’ Tanzania’s Revolving Restaurant on the 21st floor of the Golden Jubilee Towers, where I got to see really pretty girls and well-groomed men working in corporate firms like Deloitte amongst others. I got to visit the Saamaki Saamaki, a restaurant and bar with a rather impressive African theme offering culinary tourist attraction seeing as they are a coastal city; the tables were modelled after canoes and the whole place exuded this retro African feel to it.  Their own version of an English pub and a lounge obtainable here in Nigeria is the ‘News Café’ and I was visibly impressed; having the maasai tribesmen, in their signature sticks and knives guarding and coordinating parking of cars was the icing on my cake.

Recounting details of my visit wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mr. Adebowale Atobatele, a very pleasant Nigerian whom we met at the roof top bar of the Hyatt Regency. Once we identified ourselves as fellow Nigerians, he was more than happy to show us around, and contributed a whole lot to the view of Tanzania I got to see. He is the General Manager at Dun and Bradstreet Credit Bureau Tanzania Limited, and he has been living in the capital for a little over two years. Obviously a man of eclectic tastes and interests, we got to talk about a number of issues ranging from viable investment opportunities in Tz, to politics and the way forward for Nigeria, and even to more trivial matters; it was my pleasure getting to meet him, to say the least and I’m sure my colleague would attest to same.

I also got to meet a very brilliant lawyer who changed my view about East Africa as a whole; it became clear that even though we counted ourselves as giants of Africa, these other countries had a lot to offer. She was well versed in matters pertaining to Nigeria and world economic issues and right there and then I made a mental note to step up my game.  Her best channel is CNN, and this she says stems from the need to always be kept abreast with happenings around the world; things like the English Premier League also interested her and she was an ardent supporter of the Manchester United Football Club.

20150315_104623I have a list of places for my next trip to Tz; The Serengeti is one. I would like the chance to visit the natural habitat for animals where I hear they sometimes cross through three countries to come to, starting from Namibia but eventually migrate back later. Zanzibar tops my ‘Must Visit’ list, for anyone who has ever googled the island and seen wonderful photos of cottages on clear blue water would readily appreciate my bias on this. Places like Arusha, located below the Mount Meru with their wonderful temperate climate are also on my ‘Must Visit’ list. I also hear they have the International Court where they try people for war crimes, just like the Hague, but the details is something I would like to find out personally and not with the aid of google; Arusha is also the de facto capital of the East African Community.

Photo Credit: My Samsung Note 3 Camera