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oumissa

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Month

March 2012

Oumissa!
Her strange aura sets you at ease
Whether it is Maryam, Adeola or Maryama
You are left puzzled at what kinda being she is

No fragrance
Her essence defies presence
With a magnitude so hugely dense
You can hardly make an explainable sense

No touch
To her you connect
Beyond reach
Her effects glowingly reflect

You realise, what touches you more
Is her essence
What you value more
Is her presence

A woman of uncommon substance
You bet she’s also of principles
But at that, she’s got a smile for everyone at every instance
She got eyes that give you that sparkle

To describe her best
You’d find words endless
From Noble, Reliable and Honest
To Strong, Different and Relentless

The love she gives 
Would beat yours hands down
The life she lives
Is hardly for her alone

What’s more amazing
Is that of all that seem so obvious
She finds least pleasing
Preferring to stay humble and oblivious
 
Truth is, between me and her
There’s no other friendship more genuine
Infact, I become yOumissher
When she’s not in the scene

-Yousoof

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 20
I’m all for world peace.

In place of a birthday cake,I want all the current wars to end. They are so needless.
In place of expensive gifts I want an end to coups and ethnic violence.
Instead of throwing a party, I hope the United Nations peacekeeping force becomes ceremonial and that the International Red Cross remain as only a topic in Social Studies.
Instead of dancing and playing music, I want a world without guns, bombs and other weapons.

Today is special to me because I am not afraid a bomb can drop on my house this minute or that an armour tank can crush me as I cross the street. 

All I want is for peace to reign around the globe.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 19
I’m an advocate for the rights of women and children.

It unnerves me whenever I see children and women being deprived of their rights. Everywhere I turn, I find them being stripped of their innocence. Hitherto, I have kicked against this in my mind, only voicing out my opinion during discussions. This represents a bigger opportunity to urge you all to do your best to uphold the rights of women and children.

Why does man find it neccessary to oppress the weak among his kind? The two classes of society are meant to be defended and not attacked, protected but not neglected.

Husbands batter their wives mercilessly while parents deny their childres the legacy if education. I want to share two real stories.

The first is about a woman who is murdered by her husband. From the start of the marriage , there had always been a rift. He treated her like an animal and she lived in fear of him. She ran away from her matrimonial home a number of times only for her husband to come begging. Each time she returned. Things go to a head one fateful day. After the usual argument, he beat her as usual before murdering her in the most brutal way. 
This woman died in the hands of the man who swore to protect her. She trusted him with her life and paid dearly for it. Thus a promising career was brought to an end and a child left motherless.

Th second story is about a young girl and her stepmother. The girl’s neighbours accused her of stealing. Her stepmother was too angry to confirm whether the allegation was true. In a burst of fury, she plugged in a pressing iron and branded her step-daughter on the breast burning of the nipple in the process. If the girl’s teachers hadn’t found out, we might never have found out. 

If you think these stories are too gory to read, try and imagine yourself in the shoes of either victim. What they both suffered was uncalled for. 

Many more of these stories are unfolding as you read this. I’m appealing to the inner sense of goodwill in evreryone reading this, let’s stand up and say, ‘We have had enough of this’.

Women and children might be considered as weak and vulnerable but the truth remains, they are an integral part of society.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT  18
I love my family.

There is so much and nothing to say about them. I can not write enough about my family in this post. On the other hand, why I love them is simple enough, I don’t have to explain.

My family has always been a sturdy pillar of support. My siblings and parents have always believed in me. Much of what I am today is through their encouragement and gentle nudges. 

Not one of  them gets tired of nursing me when I’m sick. Sharing joys and sorrows, we have been through ups and downs together. Being candid is a second skin. What matters is the correction and not whether you like it.

Everyone  is treated on a basis of equality, fairness andjustice. I joke sometimes that my family has a lot to teach the world about democracy.

When I come home I am welcomed with smiles. It might take a while to realize  something untoward in the offing. We pull through thick and thin by sticking together. My family is the greatest gift in the world to me.

What we hold dear is our faith in God.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 17
I hardly sleep.

I can’t fathom the root cause of this. If what scientists say about adequate sleep being tangential to high level of intelligence, I would be a retard.

I humour myself with the thought that I can manage to sleep half as much as most people do and still cope. 

Watching movies late into the night and struggling to finish a particular book robbed me of my sleep. Sometimes 24 hours doesn’t seem to be enough. There is so much to do in so little time. 

Frankly speaking, insomnia is a serious medical condition. There is difficulty staying or falling asleep. Please if you notice disorders in your sleep pattern, it is time to see a therapist. Getting hooked on sedatives is not going to solve the problem.

Inadequate sleep time is related to poor performance in school or at work. It also wreaks havoc on attention span and retentive memory.

As much as I would like to reiterate the recommended 8hour sleep, I also know  the reality for students who think they have to study all night, workers who face heavy traffic while working late shifts, nursing mothers with babies that cry at night, doctors and other health workers who ditch sleep in emergencies and many others in the society.

All I would say is ‘Sleep as much as you can, when you can’.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 16
I prefer people who are smart, reasonable,confident etc

What would the world be like without them? When I meet people, there are certain traits I look out for. I like it if they are organized, confident and calm.

Shifty and timid people put me off. Confidence opens otherwise closed doors. Being able to carry out tasks efficiently is endearing to bosses. Intuition and common sense are also required to get by in life. 

I am of the opinion that self-respect and the right amount of pride go a long way in defining someone’s  personality. People have a high level of dignity rarely engage in activities that demean them. Most criminals were bullied as children and thus grew up with low self-esteem. Crimes attract attention to them and give them a false sense of control.

It pays off to be rational and make sense of current happenings with an unbiased mind. It is also neccessary to be practical and realistic in all situations. I like to tell others, ‘Be optimistic but not so much as to be unrealistic’. It helps to separate the idyllic nature of dreams from the reality of life.

I’m not even sure these are the only qualities I like to see in people. I however believe that some of us just have them all. This does not mean the rest of us should give up. 

There is always room for character improvement.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 15
I drink milk. 

Breast- milk was the only form of nourishment in my infancy. I also enjoyed it as a toddler. It took some time for me to outgrow it. But I was all the better for it in my formative years.

In many cultures, milk is a major part of the diet. In English and American families for example, breakfast is not complete without milk and cereal. Milk is added to coffee, tea, cocoa and porridge.

In Nepal, milk is taken with rice. In Arab countries , milk is a common drink and it is called “laban”. In the Prophet’s time, the sick were given milk to drink. 

Here in Nigeria, nomad Fulani milk their cattle. This provides a big portion of the local milk output. Local foods produced from milk include ‘fura de nunu’ and ‘wara’.

Milk is essential for growing children as it is a major source of calcium and Vitamin D which are needed for strong bones and teeth. It also contains protein, vitamins,minerals and some amount of fat.

In my meals, I combine milk with oats, corn pap, bread, tapioca, corn flakes, Golden morn, garri. It is also used in baking.

What saddens me is that, for all the cattle in the Northern Nigerian grasslands, we still import most of our milk. Nigerian children consider dairy foods a luxury as their parents cannot afford it. This is a grim situation one in which the nutrition of the Nigerian child is being jeopardized.

My advice to parents and older siblings: give young children milk instead of fizzy drinks. This they need for physical growth and mental development.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 14
I stand against injustice.

Everywhere around us, people are being cheated, stolen from or being deprived. I feel  very sad when these kind of people can neither fight back nor defend themselves. 

Why must the strong oppress the weak? Why do the rich rip off the poor? Why are our leaders treating us this way? The degree of injustice is just too appalling.
I’d illustrate with a few examples.

~ starving a child because she was naughty is not fair. This form of discipline makes no sense

~ sending your wife packing at the slightest provocation or going as far as battering her for silly reasons(only weak men beat their wives) 

~ refusing to pay workers’s wages for their labour.
Maltreating casual workers also falls in this category.

~ when the police becomes your enemy and murder unharmed civilians for refusing to pay bribe

~ the rich using the police and thugs to deal with opponents

~ rape is a form of injustice

~ selling the same piece of land to more than one buyer

~ landlords ejecting tenants on whim

~ bus conductors holding on to passengers’ change
 while drivers wantonly hike fares

~ all forms of cheating in business transactions

~ armed robbers smashing the heads of babies just because the parents have nothing they can steal

~ aborting a foetus because you do not want to face responsibility

~ political office holders helping themselves to the public treasury while they abandon the masses and their needs

~ bullying

~ doctors denying a patient adequate treatment because he is poor

~ discrimination on basis of gender, race, tribe or religion

~ a suicide bomber setting off his bomb in a crowded marketplace, church or mosque

~ sexual harassment

~ blackmail

~ election rigging

~ when siren-blaring governors  brutalize a young mother and her children because she did not  give way

~ when militarymen beat up a woman and her colleagues for daring to compete with them on the road 

~even traffic officials brutalise motorists

~ forcing women and children into hard unpaid labour or prostitution( home and abroad)

~ when drug manufacturers sell fake drugs that kill patients including babies

~ starting a war based on lies, occupying a country under false pretexts,causing the death of innocent  civilians, destroying their heritage and future

~ taking inadequate safety measures around nuclear establishments leading to horrible diseases and mutation in the local population

~ keeping people in prison without trial
 
I said a few right? If you can identify each of these scenarios, then you know many more.
In every case of injustice, the one with the upper hand subjugates the weaker. The latter can not resist. The oppressor knows this and exploits the victims. 
No matter how insignificant it may seem, injustice is injustice.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the world’s major religions condemn injustice yet ‘believers’ are the worst culprits when they commit atrocities in the name of religion.

Please let us stop this in whatever way we can, even if it means returning a stolen sweet to a crying child.

20 Facts to a Score

FACT 13
I used to interrupt conversations.

Oumissa had this irritating habit of cutting people off in the middle of their sentences. Apart from beimg rude, this attitude made whoever was talking lose interest in what they were saying. 
If the conversation involved more than two , the atmosphere then became uncomfortable. She knew this was a bad habit and did not like being at its receiving end . But she didn’t seem to know how to stop. 
Over the years, she had been admonished and sometimes reprimanded for this but it wasn’t any better.
Then one evening, she heard someone quote an Hadith, “The greatest respect you can give your brother or sister is to listen to them when they speak”. It seemed the message was specifically directed to her. She strengthened her resolve there and then to change for the better.
Even though it has been a little difficult (old habits,they say, die hard), I have noticed a marked improvement in her discussions.
I sincerely hope she doesn’t relapse to her old ways.

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