24 Apr

My Month of Enlightenment

It has been a crazy-busy month. I have always loved the month of April, I love the way it sounds. I can’t claim to like it simply because it signifies spring- although I do like spring. Actually I like any season that isn’t winter. The reason I can’t allow my love for April to rest on the laurels of springtime is because where I grew up, we had just one season- or so it seemed. There was no clear demarcation between hot and cold seasons. Some people insisted on referring to the period from May to August as summer, this was very common in boarding house and we allowed them to as it clearly made them feel good. Why stand in the way of others’ happiness? Especially amongst those who wanted to show that they had some kind of connection to countries outside of the continent of Africa. “We’re going on summer hols” was the ultimate declaration of enlightenment. Many times fought the urge to ask a sarcastic why? seeing that we had summer in Nigeria. I thought it’d make more sense to go for winter so you had the opportunity to experience a climate we would never have, no matter the extent of global warming.

I watched a very interesting documentary on the BBC called Welcome to Lagos. It was pretty enlightening for me and many others I’m sure. The first part of the mini-series follows the lives of two men- Slender and Joseph each pursuing their dreams. Slender’s is to become a recording artist, while Joseph strives to provide a good life for his family. For starters I had no idea people actually lived like that in Nigeria. I knew there was poverty, don’t get me wrong. I also knew that there where people who picked stuff from the dump. What I didn’t know was that they lived as a community, that for them was normal life. Not a bad or hard life but life for them is as normal as you see your’s or as I see mine. They do not go about moaning about how unfair life is for them. The same way some multimillionaires had their fortunes reduced from hundreds to tens of millions during the recession, and labeled the event a catastrophe, is the same way Kazim and Slender and the others viewed the misfortune of losing the dump to a fire that burned up all the rubbish. Most people I’ve spoken to agree that the documentary revealed a group of resilient, hardworking and innovative people. I learned lessons in business from the food seller who after dealing with customers that refused to pay, sat back and observed her customers, learned their ways and now no longer has that problem. A one day course in ‘Dealing with Challenging Customers, light lunch provided” will set you back anywhere from £400 to £1,000, perhaps more. Then there was Mohamed who did not go on the “Effective Customer Communication, light lunch provided” one day course, yet had the wisdom to learn 5 languages in order to be accessible to customers from all over the continent. I was well and truly enlightened, hubby will not be hearing me complain anymore, at least no more complaints about my right arm being bigger than my left from so much typing.

I had a conversation with a dear friend this week about the choice we are all given which is happiness. The people featured in the documentary chose to be happy, it was evident. Happiness is not dependent on your situation, you can choose to accept where you are and make lemonade from the lemons that life hands you, or choose to be miserable and wait for ‘the lemon thrower’ to pass by swiftly on. I choose the former, bearing in mind that it might be a very long time before ‘it’ passes!

I have found myself talking about the ups and downs of life lately. Life is full of ups and downs, there’s no avoiding either. The funny thing is that while happiness is a choice, sadness or discontentment isn’t. You have to fight to be happy, but when presented with a challenging situation, do nothing and you are guaranteed a rough life!

Thank you for stopping by 😀

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8llgvgHxHE&feature=player_embedded#!]