WHITE PLACES!!

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Rivers born Merit Gogo-fyneface has released a second book, WHITE PLACES. The author, who hails from Emohua Local Government Area, was born in the early nineties and holds a first degree in Law from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt and currently practices law in Port Harcourt where she resides. The author had previously published a first work, Shores of Despair in 2012.

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She describes her new book WHITE PLACES, which was released on 3rd November 2015, as a composite novel on the lives of characters in major cities in the Nigeria. She disclosed her inspiration for writing as one which is drawn from the need to create awareness and reveal certain ills our society would rather relegate yet which destroys the lives of many. On a general note, she believes when an individual picks up a literary work, he seeks entertainment but a good writer must maximize such opportunity while satisfying a quest for entertainment he must skillfully create awareness and impact morals which is the essence of literature.
“… when an individual picks up a literary work, he seeks entertainment but a good writer must maximize such opportunity while satisfying a quest for entertainment he must skillfully create awareness and impact morals.”
Merit Gogo-fyneface who is the third amongst her five siblings began writing at twelve and was further inspired by the works of Buchi Emecheta, Elechi Amadi and Chinua Achebe. She asserts that white places was written in a novel style which sets it apart from other literary works and sheds more light on albinism, lesbianism and the other side of ‘city life’.
She also enjoys singing and has tried her hands on fashion designing. Her book can be found on the amazon kindle store (Link( http://bit.ly/WHITEPLACES ). She runs a personal blog (Link( http://merryth.blogspot.com ) and can be reached via:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/Merryth
Instagram- @meritgogo
Twitter- @meritgogo

Short link to Order White Places on Amazon ( http://bit.ly/WHITEPLACES

Food we should’ve ate!

It was a public holiday and a time out with the guys was sorta appropriate. We were gonna play soccer on PS3 and separated ourselves into an away and a home side. The game was to begin at exactly thirty minutes from then and we had enough time to brag about how one side would beat the other mercilessly even with one hand on the pad. The chef amongst us was doing his thing and we couldn’t wait to have a taste of what was cooking. The bragging continued helped by the beer until the meal came.
It was in a single, huge casserole bowl with several spoons, one for each guy. The general idea was to create a stronger bond amongst us but the truth was we all silently agreed that we wanted the number of dirty dishes to lowest possible number. The steam rising from the food was heavy enough to succumb to gravity.
Each guy grabbed a spoon and the digging began. As we dug and shoved we talked and talked and talked. Then the inevitable happened; some rice was catapulted from the mouth of one of the guys and into the food, our food. I was sure that two people saw it; myself and the guy to my left. But after the guy on my right dropped his spoon and found a silly excuse to stop eating i knew he had seen it too. Then the guy on the left did the same thing. Now me, trying to be nice, attempted one more spoon before I quit but i took my time with this, laughing abit longer than i should have and trying to replay the scenario so I could get a picture of where the half chewed food fell. I realized i had no way of knowing and so i didn’t need to trouble myself much,  i just dropped my spoon and leaned back.
I remembered the case of the spittle that stuck to my nose and got half pissed cos the food was delicious.

We did go ahead with the game and we did win. Though all i did was support the winning side. It was a fun day but I kept thinking about the food that we should’ve ate.

Message from a DJ

At a Spelling Bee contest organized by an NGO with which i work as a volunteer i observed the continuous decline in spelling prowress of the children of today. Once upon a time a dad, mum,  school teacher or extra coaching instructor (Yea, those come right after school hours) would force your books into your head. Literally. They actually would pick up the book, slam it on your head, press it hard against your scalp while growling the words “you will know this book today”. But of course there were still some of us that turned out half illiterate. It’s evident in our society today where supposed adults act like children having no functioning critical thinking faculty. There are also numerous kids today we have  little hope of redeeming as their brain doesn’t seem to sit right in their skulls. Probably results of intellectually poor parents… and probably not. What really should be our cause for worry is the increasing preference for the goodies of life before the struggle.
Well, it’s probably natural to not want to suffer but then again where’s the constant reminder from parents and teachers alike that hard work pays? That the pursuit of knowledge solves a whole lot of problems in the future.
At the Spelling Bee contest yesterday kids from all over our host community came to participate. But there were the occasional parents who came to see what we were doing but left their kids at home, probably watching TV or playing. I personally spoke with two of such mothers. One actually demanded that i gave her some juice and biscuits for her daughter who she said was asleep at home. What wouldn’t my mother do to my behind if she found me asleep while a Spelling Bee was ongoing outside. Even if she was the one who put me to sleep. But these mothers here, shame. The world has indeed gone sour. It’s parents like that who let their kids play throughout the day and even night, who insist their kids are too young to be stressed with books, and then go a step backwards to pay bribes to the teachers of their children for ‘success’ which is in turn celebrated flamboyantly. Been to a graduation party lately?
But who am i to judge? I don’t have any idea what these parents go through, so i guess i must hush on that there.

Back to the Bee, at the end of it all, after prizes were given and praises were sung, the DJ took over and as usual, I thought the song’s were inappropriate for the kids and for the event. The hall gradually emptied and then played Eve‘s let me blow your mind.
I moved softly to the beat still thinking it was inappropriate until i grabbed these words:
Jealousy, let it go, results could be tragic
Some of y’all aint writin well, too concerned with fashion
I didn’t think i ever heard those lines in the song before. “Wise saying”, i said to myself. If only the DJ would rewind it, but i couldn’t even ask. He was looking like black Hulk Hogan having a bad day. But even if i could somehow convince him to play the  track – – or just that part again – – i was sure none of the kids would grab the message. Not necessarily because i also didn’t initially but because there are much more kids, and of course teenagers, today who simply want to dance to the beat of the song not giving a thought to what the musician is saying, whether lewd or violent.

Kids aren’t writing well. Kids focus too much on celebrities and fashion. Kids are jealous of other kids who have a replica of a particular celebrity’s outfit and ‘swag’… who can’t write well.
So though this was a message for them that passed them by yet again, they have to grab it soon. It turned out that the DJ had a message after all.

Unbelievable facts about Nigeria

I’m a proud Nigerian, though some folks give us a bad image which  makes the rest of us feel totally irked sometimes but hey, when i see how much that beautiful place has achieved even in ancient times, I can’t help but feel proud again. Do checkout these amazing facts about my country!
And nope, they’re not fabricated, you look it up yourself. I type that with a big grin across my face.

 

 

1. Ile-Ife, in present day Osun State, west of the country, was paved as early as 1000AD, with decorations that originated from Ancient America suggesting there might have been contact between the Yorubas and the Ancient Americans half a millenium before Columbus ‘discovered’ America. The origin of the pavement is explained in a popular story: according to Yoruba mythology, Queen Oluwo ordered the construction of the pavement when her robes were muddied in the dirt.

I guess they couldn’t wait for the washing machine.

 

2. The Niger Delta in the southernmost part of Nigeria is home to sixty percent (60%) of Nigeria’s mangrove forests. Nigeria’s mangrove forests are the largest in Africa and third largest in the world.

 

3. Nigeria is home to seven percent (7%) of the total languages spoken on earth. One particular state alone, Taraba state, in the north, has more languages than 30 African countries! We talk alot. And we talk alot in alot of languages

 

4. The Anambra waxbill, a small bird of many beautiful colours, is found only in Southern Nigeria and nowhere else on earth. It is known with certainty from only five reported sightings!

 now whadayaknow!

 

5. Sarki Abdullah Burja of Kano (ruled 1438-1452 AD), the 18th ruler of Ancient Kano, created the first Golden Age in Northern Nigeria and ushered in a period of great prosperity. During his reign, Hausa became the biggest indigenous language spoken in Africa after Swahili. He is on the list of 50 Greatest Africans in Robin Walker’s book, “When We Ruled”.

 

6. Sungbo’s Eredo, a 160 km rampart equipped with guard houses and moats, is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument in Africa. It is located in present-day Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. 

when it was built a millennium ago, it required more earth to be moved during construction than that used for building the Pyramid of Giza. Dayuum!

 

 

7. Africa’s oldest known boat is The Dufuna canoe which was discovered in Dufuna village, Yobe state, by a Fulani Herdsman in May 1987, as he dug a well. Carbon dating tests from European and American laboratories indicate that the canoe is over 8,000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the world.

The discovery of the canoe has completely changed accepted theories of the history and sophistication of marine technology in Africa.

 

8. The Jos Plateau Indigobird, a small reddish-brown bird, is found nowhere else on the planet but Plateau state, Nigeria.

it mimicks the trilling song and calls of the Rock Firefinch.

 

9. Sarki Muhammad Kanta The Great of Kebbi, was the only ruler who resisted control by Songhai, West Africa’s greatest empire at that time. He founded and ruled the Hausa city-state of Kebbi around 1600 A.D and built Surame its capital, a planned city which was almost impossible to penetrate during war. UNESCO actualy describes Surame as “one of the wonders of human history, creativity and ingenuity”, and probably the most massive stone-walled constructions in West Africa. He is listed in Robin Walker’s 50 Greatest Africans.

That looks formidable enough!

 

10. The Walls of Benin, in present day Edo State, are one of the longest ancient earthworks in the world. They enclose 6500 square kilometers of community lands that connected about 500 communities. At over 16000km long. The Great Wall of China is about 21,000km long. It was estimated that earliest construction began in 800 AD and continued into the mid-1400s

 

 

11. The Yoruba tribe has the highest rate of twin births in the world. Igbo-Ora, a little town in Oyo state, has been nicknamed Twin capital of the World because of its unusually high rate of twins that is put as high as 158 twins per 1000 births.

Whoa!

 

Don’t forget what country we’re talking about here. Nigeria!

Alright, let’s move on… 

 

12. The Niger Delta (the second largest delta on earth, remember?), has the highest concentration of monotypic fish families in the world.

13. According to the World Resources Institute, Nigeria is home to 4,715 different types of plant species, and over 550 species of breeding birds and mammals, making it one of the most ecologically vibrant places of the planet.

 

 

Now is that amazing or what?? Makes me wanna visit. Oh, wait, I live there.

 

 

 

 

Sources: Nairaland, Birdlife.org, metmuseum.org, ilike2learn.com, Wikipedia, whenweruled.com

Photos: Google

Eight “buffalo” makes a correct sentence

Now, this sentence “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” totally looks and sounds like its from a guy who’s been drinking. But in fact it is a grammatically correct sentence.
Yes, you read that right.
The sentence uses three meanings of the word buffalo: the city of New York; the uncommon verb to buffalo, meaning “to bully or intimidate”; and the species of bison. Paraphrased, it means:
Bison from Buffalo that bully bison from Buffalo are themselves bullied by bison from Buffalo.”

Wow. Rather ingenious huh?

There’s also Diiwanna diiwanna Diiwanna diiwanna diiwanna Diiwanna diiwanna diiwanna.
It simply means that I… I uhmm.. Oh, forget it!

It is, No it isn’t! What gives?

I grew up learning that there are five Vowels in the English language: A E I O U, and i’m sure you were taught same. But three days ago, while listening to this radio program that tried to teach kids English (using a teacher with big pronunciation issues) i heard the teacher say “A E I O U and sometimes Y“. I was like wait one minute! Really? ‘Y’ Since when did the letter ‘Y’ join in? I never heard a “sometimes Y” before o. I know that many languages of North America happen to have a four-vowel system. But Y in English? Well…
So I racked on that till I decided to visit my trusted buddy, Google, who knows alot of stuff about stuff. Dang, she was right! There is a “sometimes Y“.

Then I got pissed. When will this people make up their minds on what is and isn’t?
First there were nine planets in the solar system, then one was kicked out. I had a hard time explaining that to some students i was interacting with sometime last year. Then there were six classes of food, now they’re seven. There used to be four oceans, now they’re five. Like the earth is gaining weight or something. Even the whole three states of matter thing is an error apparently. There are like half a dozen states of matter. I just realized i don’t know what state Dark Matter is.

This whole thing has got me confused.
Y’all have a Merry Christmas though. Lets hope they don’t change the date. Wait, maybe they should, I’m not ready!

I’m possible? Really??

The most ridiculous motivational writing I’ve seen goes thus: Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.

But really, who came up with this and thought it would make everybody all pysched-up? This post is for that fellow.

How does impossible mean I’m possible??? I seriously beg to differ. That word does say “impossible” which clearly differentiates itself from “I’m possible” Do I need to talk about how there’s this –– sign between I and m, or how there’s a space (made by tapping the spacebar, intentionally) between i’m and impossible?

since when did im = i’m ?

Yes, at the stage the world is today, people are in dire need of motivation. So it helps to be one of those who try to soothe people’s aching hearts. But, you want to motivate people? Then do so within the boundaries of common sense. Do not cook up fancy but ridiculous statements that will only help to derail already gullible people.

Dear fellow-who-first-thought-it-up, it wasn’t a good idea. Not from where i’m standing though.

I apologize to everyone who must feel downcast by this revelation. I hate to be the one to burst the bubble. But you see, it was a big, shiny bubble. It was impossible not to want to burst it.

Lawless Language

We’ll begin with a fox, and the plural is foxes,
But the plural of ox should never be oxes.

One fowl is a goose, and the plural is geese,
But the plural of moose won’t therefore be meese.

So also for mouse the plural is mice,
But for house its houses -we never say hice.

And since the plural of man is always called men,
For the plural of pan, why can’t we say pen?

Then one may be that, and three may be those,
Yet rat in the plural is never called rose.

And the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine, she, shis, and shim!

So English, i fancy, you all will agree,
Is the most lawless language you ever did see.

Kids and Seatbelts

I’m on the road a lot and… Ok, i lied. i’m not on the road a lot. But whenever i’m on the road, i see, and its getting all too often, kids on the laps of their mums(or whoever) in the front seat of a moving car. I don’t understand why people don’t realize that this seemingly ordinary act is highly dangerous for the child. Is it that they want the child to have a clear view of the passing scenery or they just feel carrying the child is the safe way to go for that child? Its pure recklessness, i say! I have tried to caution some people but they had no idea what i was saying ..or what i was doing with my hands. They must’ve thought “what is wrong with this one?

I recall that that was what Britney Spears got in trouble for sometime ago.
Your child, in front of a dashboard, a sitting duck for when the driver slams on the brakes to avoid traffic or a pothole and gbam! headfirst into the car. You reject it IJN abi? Ok o.
Even worse are kids left to sit or stand in the front seat. Madness!

Many parents would say their kids are too small for seat belts and that’s why they have to carry them. Well that’s what they’ve got the child car seats(Booster seats and/or Child restraints) for. And funny enough, those things are now common in the market. Not tomato market o, i mean shops, supermarket and malls.
They should go buy them and save their kids, and themselves, a head trauma.
And when these kids are old enough, they can wear seat belts.

When are kids old enough for car seats?
Kids can start wearing a regular seat belt when they can easily rest their back against the seat of the car and bend their knees over the edge of the seat. Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4 feet 9 inches tall. They shouldn’t be let to sit at the back, playing around unstrapped.
Because kids do exactly what their parents(adults) do, when adults use seat belts, kids will use seat belts. So as adults, we should show good example and belt up whenever we’re in the car(not only when close to a LASTMA checkpoint) even if its a short ride. We should teach them the importance of using seat belts. Its for everyone’s safety, and most importantly, our kid’s.

And yea, the shoulder strap should go across the chest and shoulder, and not go beneath the child’s arm or behind the back. And never never across the neck o, otherwise you’ve turned it into a hangers noose.

Learn!
If i catch another family with a kid in the front, i’ll stop them and yell at them complete with hand gestures. They just might ask “what is wrong with this one? again but atleast they’ll learn.
Pass this around so i don’t have to overreact in public.

Packaged water is good for you? think again!

I’m no Microbiologist or Chemist. i just happen to know certain things from stuff i’ve read. They could be errors in this post. i doubt that though.

During my time in early secondary school, the sale of water in transparent cellophane bags began. It was widely accepted. The usually chilled, sometimes icy water helped a great deal to quench the thirst of school children and workers alike. i learnt then that a lightbulb came on upon somebody’s head when after selling food to construction workers, water was necessary. The fellow with the lightbulb went home, poured a cup of water in transparent cellophane bags, put them in a freezer. Voila! Chilled, packaged water for the price of One Naira.
In a short time, ‘ice water’, as it was called, went viral. And then people started to put all sorts of water in bags and took out to sell, so long as it was chilled, people bought them. Until it was unbearable. Ice water then came in different tastes and colours.

Enter ‘PURE WATER’:
The cellophane was machine-packed, had a name and other details such as expiry date and contact address printed on its sides. It was called ‘Pure Water’. Though it was relatively expensive, the advent of this new type of packaged water was greeted with standing ovation. Literarily. You had to stand and struggle to get yours otherwise it would have run out before you could get any as it was still very scarce, one company could provide only so much. It was Big Man water, but it slowly phased out the ‘ice water’ as more Pure Water companies opened and many didn’t mind parting with their Five Naira for one sachet because of the name and attractive packaging. And yes, ‘Pure Water’ had a different, ‘refreshing’ taste. It tasted pure. You could even taste the Chlorine and other chemicals as they worked to kill off the germs.

Enter BOTTLED WATER:
This came into public view some years down the line. This was elite water. It separated the boys from the men, so to speak. One had to cough out eighty bucks to buy a single bottle which held only one and half of the volume of sachet ‘pure’ water! An outrageous sum for very little water, many thought. But given our lifestyle of public display of material things, it thrived. It thrived so well that Bottled Water companies sprang up from every nook and cranny of the country. Business was booming. While other manufacturing companies were relocating to nearby countries because of the lack of infrastructure, the water people stayed back and made big money. Since arriving the scene, bottles of different shapes, sizes and colours have filled our markets – and littered out streets and gutters – and more companies yet spring up.

But what do these three types of packaged water have in common? They are all of no good.

Relax, don’t make that face, keep reading.

You should be made aware that the average bottled water isn’t any purer or healthier than our ‘pure water’ or even tap water or even water sourced from a deep well. Note that most bottled water companies drill boreholes thesame way pure water people do. Its also mostly thesame treatment processes that they pass through. Don’t be deceived by the many water companies that print ‘Fresh Mountain water’ or ‘Natural Spring water’ on the bottles. Rarely do they use these sources. i read about a company that gets its water from the icebergs in the Arctic. Could be true, could be false.

In reality, packaged water isn’t as fresh as water from a deep well or some tap water.
In some cases, bottled water is even worse. Storing water in plastic containers over a long period of time on shelves and especially in the sun, has its health implications. Micro-organisms grow faster in the high temperatures. Also, under high temperatures, little amounts of the plastic is dissolved into the water.

i recall my dad coming home one time all those years ago to tell us his boss had been diagnosed with Typhoid. This was surprising because his boss was(and i believe still is) a wealthy man who used to import his water from France. How he got the illness still baffles me. Maybe. He probably had too much plastic.

Moving on…

Ever notice that when you drink many of your bottled or pure water, its often like something is missing or that too much of something has been added? Well, this is cos of the treatment processes carried out to purify the water. Some of them are known in some circles to be harmful. Some such as:

• Reverse Osmosis
This process forces water through an extremely fine membrane to remove dissolved minerals. This process removes all microbes, turbidity, organic and inorganic chemicals, minerals, colour. The purified water passes through the membrane and collects in a storage container. Most of the dissolved minerals in the water cannot pass through the membrane and are flushed away as waste.

The disadvantage
Necessary minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, etc. are also filtered out. What you end up with is just water to quench your thirst with no added value. Your body does need little amounts of these minerals.

• Deionization
This is the process of removing ionic impurities in water. The resulting water is said to have no pH value since there are no ions to measure the pH by.

The disadvantage
There is a fear that because it is too pure it may actually be harmful to humans. Extremely pure water will rob the body off its useful electrolytes or ions.

• Ozonation
Water is disinfected using ozone, which kills most microbes, depending on dosage applied.

The disadvantages
» Ozone isn’t as soluble in water as Chlorine is. A water treatment plant must use complex mixing techniques to successfully disinfect water with ozone, this makes ozone treatment much more complicated than chlorine treatments.

» While ozonation does remove a variety of bacteria and viruses, it can also produce a by-product known as Bromate. i’m sure NAFDAC made everyone aware of Bromate.

» Ozone may not be strong enough to kill all cysts and spores within water when applied in low doses. Also, it doesn’t prevent the re-growth of germs within water like Chlorine would, so there may be a lurking contamination problem.

Its probably best to revert to the first form of water purification we ever knew of. When you boil your water for 15 – 20 minutes, your alright.