You see it’s easy to be a man.
All you have to do; first and most importantly is be born!
Suckle on your mother’s breasts like a king.
Then you start out on your journey to effortless growth – avoiding those silly chores because men don’t have to participate. Nobody should make you take out the trash!
Most evenings, you play football with your kind and then get called in when the food is ready. You just hope they didn’t forget to run your bath this time.
Your biggest struggle is growth. “Ladies love tall men”, Uncle Sam says.
“Son, you are now a man”, he pats you on the back. Mum dotingly dishes out extra morsels on your plate. He must have said something to her about losing your virginity. You assume the reaction is the same for the neighbor’s daughter.
Speaking of the ladies; you get into a few relationships – no heartbreaks really. As a man, you set the pace.
Offices be begging for a chance to have you in their firm. You make your choice.
Handsome fellow. Nice degree. Good job. Yes in that order…
Oh, wait! There’s something missing-kids! Perfect clones of your awesomeness.
You choose a bride from the bevy of ladies hovering around you. Beauty queen actually with a good pedigree.
Your kids are demigods- heads full of hair and filled with brains.
Years go by; you set your retirement plan into action. Hello to happily ever after…
Men live incredible lives!
Exaggerated much?? Yeah, I thought so too…
I don’t know whose life that is, probably a prince in an African magic epic movie.
If only life was that easy for my brothers, my male friends, and every male figure.
The world magnifies the masculinity of men, creating the faux narrative and stereotypes.
The masculine struggle is underrated.
Nobody gives a fuck about you!
Circumcision is the first of life’s many agonies. Even as a baby, you are expected to survive.
‘Boys don’t cry’. Yet you wonder why the creator chose to include tear ducts in your embodiment.
Your first job is to become a protector. You are employed without any form of military combat training. Your prime duty post is protecting your siblings.
And it sucks!
You wouldn’t mind being in the kitchen with mum, but heaven forbids a boy to be caught dead in the kitchen.
Puberty hits hard. It draws blood too.
Nobody tells you how to cope with your raging hormones. You look awkward, sound awkward and you struggle with body insecurities.
Uncle Sam says ladies love tall men; there’s an early indication that you will be quite the opposite.
It sheds a flicker of light on what your future love life will look like…
‘Men don’t get heartbroken’, you comfort yourself with the lie they make you believe. Deep down, your heart bleeds. You want to scream, but men don’t scream either.
Your inability to make ‘them’ stay is what hurts you most. What you have to trade is of no value; nobody is willing to accept a flesh lump of heart over stacks of money. That would be too ridiculous.
The night you finally lose your virginity, it’s sad. Well, pleasurable but you weren’t aware you had to hold it in for more than two minutes. Nobody taught you about sex, you don’t just teach men about those types of things.
Men are expected to know…nobody teaches you about consent, about basic hygiene, about emotions, about affection… You pick that up from the streets.
You want to cry; you want to cook; you want to be vulnerable; you want to learn to make love;
You want to own your struggles. Own your pain.
You want to be a man.
Act like a man!
*I dedicate this piece to my brothers (Ben and Dan); through whose eyes, I see the struggle of men.*
By Nene Oro.
The land snail: lessons to learn from the world slowest animal
I remember being a snail farmer as an eight-year-old. To think my parents allowed me run my little farm in the confines of our one bedroom apartment is something that still baffles me to this day.
Eventually, I got to eat them (sorry if this acts offends you), but that was after tasting a fried snail a neighbour had prepared. I needed more and had no option than to slaughter mine. A decision I don’t regret till this day to be honest.
Let’s look at some interesting facts of the land snail and see how akin they are to humans.
-They stay in a shell and go everywhere with it. The snail actually takes the phrase “leave nothing behind” very seriously.
-It breathes air as we do. The bottom tentacles are for smelling, while the upper tentacles are for seeing. They also eat through their mouth hole and are mostly covered in mucus.
-A land snail is born without ears which makes hearing impossible.
-A snail has its genitals close to their face! The thought of having my private on my face is something I find unimaginable, and please don’t try imagining it while reading this, it’s really not a thought that would clear easily.
-They are hermaphrodites (having both the male and female organs) but this doesn’t mean that they reproduce individually or masturbate no, no no and a thousand times no.
-When two snails mate, they circle each other and sort of French kiss, but in actual terms what they are doing is looking for ways to penetrate each other sexual organs.
They use their love darts which are stored in the dart sac (probably our version of the scrotum bag), close to the male organ on the face to impact each other. The impartation is necessary and makes the next phase rather interesting.
-During the love making process, the two snails involved in the act of love making attach their sexual organs into each other, just like the way we plug our phone chargers to a wall socket. A male organ to the partners female organ and vice-versa. I can’t tell if there is actual movement involved in the process as we know it, so kindly refrain from asking… Thanks for your cooperation.
-A land snail would hold the sperm of multiple partners before laying its eggs. This means that a snail will never know its real daddy even if multiple DNA tests were carried out.
-They can also go for up to 6 months without food. For those of us with a belief of going without food to tap into a higher power, this is a sure way to go!
-A speed of 0.047 km/hour makes it extremely slow and will take about 22 hours to complete a 1 kilometre journey. I seriously wonder what their own version of ‘need for speed” of “formula one” will look and feel like.
LESSONS TO LEARN
A striking sight, is seeing the snail moving about in its shell and the way it retracts itself into its shell on being touched.
Loads of bitterness, anger, envy, lack of contentment and every other negative vibe can slow us down in more ways than we can imagine. While a snail was created to move about with its load, we humans were not designed that way.
Negative thoughts, feelings, and attitude will retard your growth and movement if you don’t let go. We were not designed to move fast or free whilst carrying shells of negativity about and around us. Yes things are easier said than done, but for the sake of your own progress it will be the right thing to do.
A SHELL OF COMFORT
Your shell could also serve as your comfort zone as well as a place you retract to when faced with challenges and adverse circumstances.
A popular proverb that says “He who leaves a fight leaves to fight another day” does not apply to all battles. Don’t chicken out and retract into your shell on the slightest opposition, because in all honesty not all fights are to be left for another day.
Some battles are to be faced head on until victory is assured. No retreat, No surrender!
In conclusion, break every shell you have on your back or any shell you comfortably occupy. All it takes is a will and sincere decision. It’s something you are very capable of doing and handling.
Take that leap of faith and watch yourself transform beyond your wildest imagination. YOU CAN BE MORE!
Written by ENUNWA MICHAEL NDUKA
The Only Choices We Have Got – We Either Help The Poor Or Fight With The Poor By Francis O. Nmeribe
Recently, I had the singular good fortune of being connected with Professor James B. Mayfield and he sent me a copy of his epic work and efforts by the title “Extreme Poverty Eliminated! A Successful Program in Nepal”. I have been studying this work in the last two weeks.
I came upon two outstanding truisms which have been worrisome, tortuous and unsettling for me.
First, from a study carried out in 2013, I learned that Nigeria has 86 million of Africa’s 383 million and the world’s 746 million extremely poor people. Nigeria is second worldwide with India topping the list. The extremely poor people are made up of people living on less than $1.90 a day. One disturbing addition to these horrible statistics is that this figure is for the extreme poor. The implication of the above numbers is that if we add the other poor people who are just living with or above $2 a day, we might be having more 90% of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million people living under poverty.
Second, I learned that “we can end up fighting the poor or help them to find a better life – it is our choice”.
As an adult who have witnessed with clear and analytical consciousness more than 40 years of Nigeria’s bungling rulers pillage the country, I can see the choice we and our rulers have made these 60 years of independence and the dire consequences of unprecedented rate of criminality, hate, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy and separatist agitations that are currently ravaging the country. I can see the reason why there are no roads across the length and breadth of the country. I can see why there is no electricity, no functional water supply system and common stable internet data in the 21st century in the country. I can see why there is unbridled suspicion among the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. I can see why the educational system has collapsed and our universities only turn out paper certificate degree holders with no single idea or functionality in their heads. I can see why politics is do or die – after all there is no other way to lay hands on money except to get into government and steal from the treasury. I can see why bank interest rates are 27% per annum – a rate no legitimate business can function with. I can see why we cannot conduct a credible census in 60 years of independence. I can see why corruption has been elevated to the level of a choice profession. I can see why nepotism, ineptitude and sectionalism is running riot in the country.
I can now see clearly why Fulani herdsmen would sack community after community with blood and carnage all over the country and all we get from the president is “don’t retaliate”. I can see why banditry is now the norm while law and order has become strange in the country. I can see why Boko Haram cannot be defeated in spite of huge government defense budget year after year.
I can see why there is no development in the Niger Delta in spite of the fact that oil, Nigeria’s only source of foreign earning is in a condition of degradation in spite of spurning out trillions and trillions of Naira each year. I can see why an oil producing country estimated to have over 200 million people cannot boast of a single functional refinery to date while Singapore with a population of 5.8 million people (UN 2020 Estimates) without oil reserves has 3 functional refineries. I can see why there would never be an end to militancy in the Niger Delta. I can see why Nigerians die of ordinary ailments because there are no functional primary health centres and hospitals.
I can see why industries are folding up. I can see why unemployment and under-employment has hit the roof. I can see why a government would come with a programme called N-Power where university graduates are assembled without proper organizing of them to worthwhile developmental efforts and they are paid paltry N30,000 per month and they are scrambling for it. I can see why thousands of Ph.D, Masters and first Degree holders would scramble for the job of trailer driver in Dangote group.
All of the above and more of the nonsense going on in Nigeria is the choice we made and are still making today. I cannot understand why we should not have chosen to help the poor come out of poverty; instead we cause many people to get into extreme poverty.
In other words, if we choose to help our people come out of poverty, we would not have to fight with Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, bandits, militants and separatist agitators.
According to Professor Mayfield “we can ignore the problem and face the consequences in the future. It is our choice.” The implication of the above statement is that the consequences we face now would be baby consequences if we continue to ignore the problem. And having been around, I can relate to how Nigeria has continued to degenerate every day getting more and more and deeper and deeper into a quagmire that is becoming more and more insurmountable. I cannot imagine the situation getting worse than it is today. This is why I am worried, tortured in my soul and completely unsettled.
According to Radhika Pariyar, one of the success stories in Professor Mayfields work in Nepal, “It’s not the handouts but the hands-on that changed my life.” So, the handout system we are operating at present through N-Power, Trader Moni, etc that we are currently deceptively glorifying cannot save the day.
While writing this article, I just opened up my data to do some research and the following words shared in a WhatsApp group I belong to credited Bishop Hassan Kukah was the first post I read:
“Nigeria educational system has surprising outcomes. The smartest students pass with First Class and get admitted to Medical and Engineering Schools. The Second Class students get MBAs and LLBs to manage the First Class students. The Third Class students enter politics and rule both the First and Second Class students. The failures enter the Underworld of crime and control the politicians and businesses. And best of all, those who did not attend school become Prophets and Imams and everyone follows them. What a paradox of life. This can only happen in Nigeria where corruption is the order of the day.”
How profoundly our situation the above statement painted. Is it not a sad commentary? Can we not see that we have huge problems here?
In his works, Professor Mayfield further said: “Education is the key to poverty alleviation, helping people to gain the knowledge, the skills and competencies to meet their basic needs. They do not want a handout, they want a hands-on.” This is called functional education.
As if the gods are interested in this write-up. The above picture came in on WhatsApp shared by a friend right now. The above portion of this picture is a typical University lecture hall in Nigeria while the picture below is the Nigerian Senate which is getting a whopping N27 billion Naira for its renovation from the recent foreign loan that the government of Nigeria is procuring. I see this N27 Billion as a mere bribe for the Senate to keep quiet about the nonsense going on in this country. But making this allocation when our universities are not better than the newly completed primary schools in Borno State is a choice we are making. By arm-twisting the executive to make this kind of allocation to the Senate is a choice we are making. Let’s be prepared to live with the consequences also. It would be foolhardy to think that the gun would always save us. After all, I am aware that the soldiers carrying the guns are among the poor people in Nigeria and one day, they would not have anybody to force at the checkpoints to collect money from and they would turn the guns on those who sent them who have made these terrible choices.
I invite anyone with any form of authority to change their ways and know or remember that public office is organized from the former state of nature to build up societies of order and to provide the good life. Let’s help the poor now come out of poverty not give them handouts.
Let me conclude with Professor Mayfied thoughts: “The extreme poor are not the cause of their poverty; all they need is a ‘choice’, some options and an opportunity.” And I add – “‘that does not seem to be too much to ask’ and it is in our best interest”.
Francis O. Nmeribe, FNIIS, CSSI, FIMC, CMC, is a personal transformation teacher, a civil and industrial security professional, early retirement planning coach and author. He is the author of several books including: “Security & Security Guard Handbook”, “Principles and Techniques for Crime Prevention”, “Retire Early To Wealth And Fame” and “Foundation for Joyful Relationships”. Francis Nmeribe can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and 08183398461, 09019898657
DUNG BEETLE: lessons to learn from the world strongest animal
When I first sighted a Beetle rolling over a dry piece of faeces in the first scene of the popular movie titled ‘Mr bones’ which was first released in the year 2001, I was fascinated, but not as fascinating as I got to be when I discovered years later that the dung beetle I saw in that movie is actually ranked the strongest animal in the entire world!
Sorry, I spoilt the first scene of the movie for you if you are yet to see it. But here are some interesting facts about the dung Beetle that is really absorbing, to say the least.
– They are ranked as the world strongest animals due to the fact that they can carry over 1000 times the weight of their body mass. That’s like a human trying to push 6 double-decker buses full of people. sounds insane right? Lol. Yeah, I thought as much.
– They survive mainly by eating the faeces (waste) of other animals. Ewwww
– The female dung Beetle judges the potential of her mating partner by the amount of dung it can roll. More like the more faeces (waste) you can handle, the better. So I guess it’s similar in the insect kingdom as well, where the female folks are always attracted or enticed to the muscular and stronger guys. Not cool though.
-After she identifies this in her dream man, she then attaches herself to the rolled-up dung hereby increasing the weight of the dung. But that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Common, the dude is strong!
– They roll the faeces with their hind legs which causes it to lose direction from time to time. When this happens, it uses whatever heavenly body on display at the moment, be it the sun or the moon to navigate itself in the right direction. Just like we have the sailors do with the ship. That’s fascinating if you ask me.
– They also encounter challenges on the way from other male Dung beetles who would like to reap where they did not sow. Talk about our own human version of robbery. However, this ensues in a brawl that usually lasts for hours with the female dung beetle watching all along. The victor takes it all… And yes, that includes the bride!
-When they get to their destination, the male digs a hole in the soft sand while the female lays her eggs in the hole and then uses the faeces to incubate them.
-When babies are born, they eat their way out from the dung it was incubated in. That’s what you call eating sh*t at birth. Yuk! Hopefully, that would not be our portion.
LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM
Happiness might come from doing what you enjoy, but contentment and satisfaction stem from enjoying what you do irrespective of what it is.
What could be as low as living off the waste of your fellow animals, a case that some people have to live with today? Yet the dung Beetle has learnt over the years since their time of creation to make the most out of it. And yes it’s not in our nature to eat the waste of our fellow humans, it’s in our nature to push through barriers and difficulties, as well as rise up to the occasion when we least expect it.
Nobody loves to be dominated to the point of eating the leftovers of fellow humans for a living, even if that’s the case we have in some aspects of the world today and am definitely not telling anyone to be contented in that state. All I’m saying is that I want the experience of whatever challenge you are currently facing to strengthen and toughen you up.
Let that pain and hardship get you ready to carry whatever weight or load life might throw at you in times to come. Let it increase your tenacity and cause you to persevere in cases that would ordinarily have caused you to give up.
Let that waste you have to go through strengthen you beyond all reasonable doubt to face the challenges of over a thousand men and yet still be able to come out victorious, because yes, it’s in your nature to fight and win. It’s a mentality that we are birthed with.
And at times when it looks as though you are losing sight of your purpose and direction in life, as the dung Beetle does, it goes to the top of the faeces and looks up at the sun or moon. Look above to find the answers you seek below. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, but there is always a sense of peace and tranquillity when you place the map of your journey in the hands of a higher power. A satisfaction that words in itself cannot explain.
The Dung Beetle looks up in times of crises and confusion. I feel we can learn this important trait from them.
And lastly, while I know that it is commonplace to face competition from those who find our partners attractive, be it male or female, please let’s not be like the dung Beetle and go into a physical confrontation. The dung beetle does not have the alternative of peaceful resolution like we do.
There have been a thousand and one stories of people who have found themselves in unwanted situations that resulted from such physical altercations. A word is enough for anyone if you ask me. You don’t have to be wise to learn from a fool’s mistake. Learning from a fool’s mistake makes you wise.
Let the world know how strong you are, not by how much your hands can carry but by how much your heart can withstand.
A baby dung Beetle eats its way out from faeces, faeces it was incubated with. Let that not be the case for your unborn. Live a legacy behind that you can be proud of and one that your offspring can be grateful for. They don’t have to eat the same faeces you did.
You will do well. Shalom!
By Enunwa Michael Nduka
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