To Growth in 2019- Things We Must Leave Behind

Take a look through your communications thus far.

Do a deep analysis . The ones we have conversations with shape us in unimaginable ways. We do have to make sure they are of positive impact.

Do the bulk of your communications contribute to growth? Do you find that you don’t have enough time to work on what is important to you?

You might want to take a deep breath, take a glass of red grape juice ( because alcohol is bad for your liver and health in general) and face the arduous task of pruning your conversations.

If all you do is

-Talk about other people’s private business,

– Fight over flimsy things,

– Discuss inappropriate topics you wouldn’t in real life,

– Engage in heated dead-end arguments on incendiary topics like politics or religion,

– Struggle to explain yourself, or feel belittled,

– Be wilfully ignorant, a mansplainer, disrespectful, insensitive or vulgar,

– Spend long hours on meandering conversations with no end or purpose in sight,

You should consider cutting back- a lot – on this conversation/person. There’s way too much toxicity in there. You do not have to be rude. Of course try and work with them to improve things but if they aren’t willing or ready to change, then it’s time to let them go. Appreciate whatever good they’ve brought and send them off on their way with a basket of smiles for flowers.

Cultivate friends and conversations that

– Are about giving back to society.

– Grow you and make you better,

– Inspire you to do things you never thought possible.

– Help you fine-tune your ideas and execute your plans

– Are about exchanging rich, illuminating articles about a wide range of relevant topics.

– Celebrate your accomplishments, are comfortable when your intellect shines forth with almost-blinding radiance,

– Make you laugh with rich humour,

– Expand your horizon, feel your brain literally open up and absorb knowledge,

– Make you feel happy, respected and confident.

Look for these people. Have conversations with them instead.

Be that person.

Because we have to keep being better versions of ourselves, we are done with things or people that prevent us from achieving this. You are too special to be bound to things that diminish you!

That’s the energy we are taking into 2019.

Danke meine damen und herren!

P.S. I think you should read this amazing Medium article by The Startup . It is an easy-to-follow bite-sized guide to growth in 2019 by saying the word ‘No’.

No, you did not read that wrong.

Fun fact: My friend sent it to me. It is the latest in a string of the gazillion cerebral boosts our conversations are made of.

Get a friend like mine.


Wih Love,



Book Reviews With Oumissa 8: The Trespasser by Tana French

“I owe this case. I’ve got beef with this case. I need to shoot it right between the eyes, skin it and stuff it and mount it on my wall, for when my grandkids ask me to tell them stories about way back a million years ago when I used to be a D.”

Tana French- The Trespasser

The story opens with a peep into the protagonist’s troubled childhood. From then on is a regular night in an Irish detective’s beat until she receives a call about a young woman’s murder. You follow Detective Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran, her loyal partner and favourite colleague. Between them, they examine clues, interview witnesses and associates, go through the mental and physical stress of forensics, fight a threat on her life, stay up staking out their suspects and work together against an often unhelpful bureaucracy.

Tana French- The Trespasser , Flatlay book photo

She battles racism and sexism in her daily life with a dedicated pursuit of excellence at work. This creates more enemies for her. She takes it all in stride and refuses to cower in weakness to her detractors. It is this doggedness that leads her and her partner to uncover the heinous truth of the perpetrator’s identity. In the end, one feels the same sense of triumph they did at ending the chase, the rigmarole of interviews, false leads and interrogation. The betrayal inherent in finding the true killer and how much effort was put into making sure an innocent man took the fall is palpable.

I really enjoyed this book in spite of the fact that it was long, winding and exasperating. Difficulties faced by people othered for gender and colour or even being single in a demanding job are brought up close. You would admire her strength in dealing with male colleagues who do all they can to undermine her work and set her up for dismissal from the force. In addition, there was something endearing about the bond she had with her mother, a highway of dark humour and sharp retorts. It was refreshing to see a professional relationship that was rich, full and enjoyable without becoming romantic. Tana gifts readers with an extra; everyday life in Dublin. The suspense was unbearable at some points but was worth it when the time for reveal came.

This book will have you hooked.  4 stars.

It currently is a prize in a giveaway. Hurry and enter the contest. You just might win.

One Woman’s Unbeaten Zeal for Learning – Tara Westover’s Educated

From a Mormon survivalist to a Cambridge Ph.D,the New York Times bestselling author, Tara Westover’s memoir recently won the Goodreads Choice Awards 2018. It is also one of 5 books loved by Bill Gates in 2018. See his full list

Tara’s compelling work pulls us along on a journey of determination, strong will and surmounting challenges in the most incredible transformation to a place so far and different from her background it is almost unrecognizable. It tells the pain of separating from family and ingrained values for what you believe in. An Idaho girl from a Mormon household who never visited a doctor or set foot in a classroom until she was 17 self-taught and continued trudging on the road to Cambridge through Harvard. Read full Goodreads review

It is also interesting to know that Trinity College, Cambridge only started accepting women students about 40 years ago with the first female graduate student in 1976, the first female fellow in 1977 and the first female undergraduate in 1978. The college recently celebrated 40 years of this.

“Ó n ka ìwé bí ení n lo Kémbíríjì” which is Yorùbá for “She reads like one who attends Cambridge.”

Growing up, I often had my head buried in a book and went to school with a heavy backpack filled with notebooks, textbooks and novels I would sneak and read whenever I could get away with it. Adults would say about me,
“Ó n ka ìwé bí ení n lo Kémbíríjì” which is Yorùbá for “She reads like one who attends Cambridge.”
This shows how the prestigious institution has been regarded as the utlimate icon of learning all over the world for generations.

If like mine, your TBR pile is so long, the list makes a book of its own, please share tips on how to add this new book to it and not be crushed under the weight of it all.To the goodwilled people out there, if you want to buy me anything, make it this book thank you.

With love,

Together, We can End HIV- World AIDS Day 2018

For thirty years , thousands of warriors, among them patients , carers and healthcare workers have fought this ravaging disease. The early days of the battle were bleak but as research brings new treatments and knowledge, hope and recovery is here with the promise of victory on the horizon.

Today, we remember the struggle of all the heroes of HIV/AIDS – those who died before we figured how to treat or before treatment could get to them, the many health workers and researchers who sacrifice so we can have solutions, the many aid organizations who have donated so much to the cause in vulnerable groups (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO etc) and the silent ones- the caregivers of people living with HIV. We commit to continuing the struggle to achieve an HIV-free world.

Growing up, I was sternly warned by the adults around me not to share cups , needles, haircare instruments and other sharp objects with strangers. This helped me stay safe outside the home. The stigma then was however rife and thus led to high rates of transmission. There were scary stories of people who knowingly infected others. Just imagine if they had received the care and support they so badly needed. Perhaps the most vivid memory of that time was a neighbour of ours named Dogo. (This is an Hausa word for one who is tall). He was a lanky giant of a man and was loved by us all. One day, he fell sick. After a while it was revealed he had HIV.

I didn’t have much details about his treatment. I watched him deteriorate and lose so much weight. Then the harrowing coughs began. By just listening to them, you could feel the depths of his pain. His eyes gradually lost their sparkle, his wide grin ebbed in radiance until all that remained was a hollow husk of the kind and lively man we once knew . Sadly, after months of fighting this disease, he was taken up North by a relative. A few weeks later, we got word that Dogo had died.

He couldn’t have been more than thirty-five.

That devastating experience made the disease very real for me. I knew first hand how it could cut promising lives short in their prime.

I remember having VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) as a medical student. That was the fourth time I was getting tested (two previous ones were for university entrance health registration and one at a blood donation exercise). The healthcare worker asked me what I would do if it came out positive. I replied, “I’d commence treatment immediately and continue living my life as normally as possible.”She smiled and continued teaching me and my colleagues how to carry out the test.

I sensed her mild surprise. She may have expected me to say the common Nigerian refrain of ‘God forbid!’ What she didn’t know was that I had seen the worst of it as a child and knew this happened only when treatment was not started on time and when the patient faced stigma. I knew that facing a positive diagnosis with courage could make a huge difference.

I was not afraid.

I remember having VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) as a medical student. That was the fourth time I was getting tested…….

Being a part of HIV/AIDS awareness walks, campaigns and community health outreaches as a volunteer for non-governmental organization has kept me aware of the need to continue education and not relent until we end this disease. I still have one of the campaign T-shirts. For years, it has kept this message alive for me and others.

As a physician, I have seen colleagues who got exposed but got prompt and timely access to PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) medication which contains the virus before it can spread in the blood . Sadly this is not always available in Nigeria and thus, many healthcare workers have become infected while trying to save lives. I myself have had quite a few scares in the line of work. This hazard is always present inspite of observing universal precautions. There is always that delirious or aggressive patient, the crying and kicking child, the honest mistakes that lead to these accidents.

Needle pricks are real and scary!

I have also worked on obstetric and gynaecology teams where our HIV positive pregnant mothers were able to deliver babies free of the virus. This was only possible with the full cooperation of these brave mothers who got tested or reported their status early and were fully involved in all stages of the PMTCT* programme. They made the work easier for us their doctors. The joy on everyone’s faces when the baby’s results come in negative is immeasurable.(*Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission)

Being HIV positive is not a death sentence. With prompt treatment and an absence of stigma, you can lead your best life; get a degree, have a great career, get married, have HIV-negative children and be happy!


-View my Twitter thread on World AIDS Day here

-These organizations do great work in HIV/AIDS

AidsHealth Nigeria and Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS

-Watch this UK MP Lord Russell-Moyle give this powerful speech about coming out as HIV-positive in the House of Commons in this video.


I know my status because I go for VCT regularly. You can too by visiting the nearest health centre or clinic near you.

Know your status.

Spread the knowledge not the virus.


Thanks to contributors – Adefola Toye, Adetola Toye. ( No, this is not a mistake. They are two different people)


With Love,