Saturday, February 28, 2015

In two weeks

I looked at the calender this morning and my heart skipped a beat.
It wasnt the usual birthday excitement.
I realised we had two more weeks and thats it.
In two weeks someone new would wipe her tears
In two weeks she would play hide and i wouldn't seek
In two weeks she'll fight her first battles
In two weeks she'll grow a little more confidence
In two weeks her hair will be pulled,
She'll throw her food everywhere
She'll laugh in someones arms
She'll discover new adventures
She'll find a new besty
In two weeks neither mum or dad will always be there..
In two weeks her world will get a little wider
In two weeks our cocoon of safety will be cracked
Im two weeks the reality of the world slithers in
In two weeks my baby starts preschool.

As if she knew what mama knows.she looked at us today. Bundled her confidence ..and started walking. 

All by herself

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I love her afro too

Ive neglected my blog..my apologies..ive had the itch to write. .so so many times but the time to write escapes me..

Like most brown people i know. .im a little hair obssesed although i would rather call myself a hair conscious person instead lol..
well i do my little ones hair weekly in plaits or puffs of some sort... i realised that on a regular basis people tell me how cute the style is but "wouldnt it be cute/fun to have it in an afro"

Hmmmmm....(hold the thought)

I also notice a significant number of brown skinned little ones often of mixed cultural heritage with their hair out in an afro thats all tangled and matted that their hair is a breath away from natural locks!
This makes me worry..
So i decided to blog about it..
I braid my Ellas hair not because i dont like the afro but because her hair needs protecting.  Its sweden. .hello..its freezing and there is zero moisture in the hair.
Unlike European hair , my/our hair gets dry and brittle with time.  Hence protective styling such as braids and extentions.
Where little ones are concerned its always best to
-wash at least once a week
-use the right conditioner
-detangle with a wide tooth comb or fingers whilst still damp and wet dripping with conditioner
-rinse..then oil and towel dry a little.

This is when i braid the hair using loombands as mini elastics:)

So lets spread the love..if you know a parent who needs a little inside info on how to care for their little ones curls..send them my blog link!:)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Well i planned on blogging on New Years Day but you know everything on the mummy clock runs a late so here we are ..it's the 5th of Jan 2015 ..HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!

I have to say thank you to all my readers, i checked this morning , and the stats say I have had over 8,000 reads which is mind blowing. I started blogging as my own therapy , as a way to make sense of my mummyhood and for other new mummys out there. Thank you for sharing this virtual conversation with me.

As I think back on 2015 ,its been lovely. I dont know how you celebrated but we ushered in the New year in bed, with popcorn and a disney movie of some sort.. Ella between my hubby and I, we were happy as can be. To add to the silliness, the champagne we planned on drinking on new years eve is still in the fridge unopened. I think there is no better way to explain just how much my life has changed and how wonderful it has become.

I was thinking of the way everything comes back around so , im thinking my party days will surely return heheh.. come to think of it.. tops that stop at your midrif are back, pointy nails, rings on thumbs and little fingers ..all totally the fashion of my teenage years thats come back around :D there is hope yet for mummy me!!

I have lots more to discuss but we will save that for our next post..

Kisses and Hugs
xoxoxo

Friday, December 12, 2014

Its time to act..maternal health/ maternal care

Maternal care is something i cared about before being a mother. Now that ive gone through the process i realise how vulnerable one is during that precious time when life is created. In The Gambia which is one of my homes, too ofthen the maternal care is horrific and the babies are lost to complications that would not be life threatening in other countries.

Throughout the years I have heard from people very close to me of thepoor conditions in maternal care in the Gambia and today was one such day... Today my girlfriend posted the message below and it hit a raw nerve.

It is time we do something to help this situation, i'm looking for ideas, donations and clever positive suggestions.. any organisations already working in the field? thank you.

If you are in Gambia, let me know and those of us abroad. im sure we can set up partnerships that can help.

Here is the msg : " My colleague gave birth on Tuesday. The baby arrived prematurely, about 10 weeks early. Yesterday the baby died at the EFSTH. I went to visit my colleague and the story she told of her time at EFSTH was horrendous.

*During the two days she was there, six (6) babies dies.

*She had to share a bed with another mother.

*Power outages causing the incubators to lose power for as much as 5 minutes. It was during one of these outages that her baby's condition turned for the worse.

*And the mother load: Three (3) babies in one incubator.

People it's real. I will really appreciate you all coming on board to help organize this run."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

why teach..

I just realized something pretty major . This rather important thing that may explain why I’ve been struggling so much at work. ..so here it is : The children we teach don’t know why they are in school. simple That may sound strange but hear me out . I am one of those weird people you meet who always preaches about education and humanitarian causes left, right and center. I come from a long line of educators and I have seen the transformative powers access to an education can bring an individual and a community alike. I have met the poorest people in mud huts who battled for education for their children so that they may have the luxury of brick houses and electricity. I know that education has saved the lives of so many children who may otherwise have become child laborers or child brides. I know that through scholarships, perseverance and hard work my parents and grand parents generations produced us, PhD candidates, doctors, writers, engineers, teachers out of the desolation of post colonialism in Africa. I wont go further but lets just say I teach because I believe it’s the gift that will transform . It will make better social beings who can nurture integration and peace in their societies. It provides knowledge about the ever changing world around us and the skills to live it in it. Education is a Right that most of the world are still fighting for, for their children. Right here , in my lovely Sweden, Education is accessible to all ( or the majority at least). When I walk into my classroom , I realized that the children expect a fun experience and that’s it. I’ve asked a few of my kids these past few months why they think they have to be in school and most of them replied “ to learn stuff” or “to have fun”. This realization explains to a great extent, why learning takes a backseat in my everyday routine at work. The value of education is somehow lost over here which makes it very hard for someone like me to teach. Just think about it yourself when you were in primary school, you may have hated school, but you knew what school meant for you and for your parents. Well at least where I came from at least..

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Americanah

Before baby, I could read a book in a week and be done with that.. Now given the hectic schedules of mummyhood I had to take my time with Americanah. Page by page, week by week, the chapters unfolded layers of emotional reactions which surprised me .

When I finally finished the book, I felt a strong urge to find someone to talk about it with.

So I did just that, through friends and online forums, I realized something , if felt like we all read different versions of the book based on our individual ethnic perspectives. I know that sounds odd, but there you go.. Chimamanda gave me a precious gift with this novel. I finally found a book in which I could relate 100 % with the main character.

I love books, I remember as a child my mum built us a bookcase as long as our room and filled with a variety of books. I grew up with Enid Blyton, sweet valley high , the famous five and progressed to Agatha Christie, Poirot, Steig Larsson, Dan brown.. and so on and so forth. I read anything I can find, biographies, fantasy, thrillers, history books, anything.

As I read, I often picture the world the author created which is probably why I love harry potter so much..the fantasy was brilliant.

I have read authors of afro carribean origin , books around slavery, racism, empowerment, gender,urban life. Books about African savannahs, or village life, african folk tales and royalties They all informed and motivated me, the made me develop my thoughts and my perspectives. But I never identified with any of it on a deep personal level as it was not really a lived experience.

What Americanah offers me , is a reflection of myself and my past experience. Every chapter was a world I once belong to. All the references in the book were realities in my mind. I understood Ife’s actions and reasonings as if they were my own. It was wonderful. I thought back to being a child in Lagos, with NEPA going off..I remembered not being consciously aware of bring black or thinking about ethnicities until I was almost a teenager abroad, my hair journey..something I am still struggling with today. Everything was so relevant, I just didn’t want to the book to end. I didn’t want my story to end.

I finally get it. When I was living in France a while back there as a big movement about how ethnic minorities are not reflected or represented in everyday life. For example you could sit on an entire metro journey and not see a person of African or Arabic decent represented on publicity posters . The same could generally be said for magazines, products in the hair counter etc etc.. the people of Paris as represented by popular culture were generally stripped of ethnic mélange. I felt strongly about this as an issue of equality and national identity but its only today that I realize how much it affects our self worth and emotional wellbeing.

I learnt so many valuable things in that book . Being multicultural I often feel like I’m neither in one nor the other entirely but this book showed me that there are millions of people out there who are culturally in between with similar life experiences as me, which makes me part of a rather large community. I was reminded of this when I chatted with someone and they said “it would be nice to meet over coffee or fish pepper soup, “ that made me smile long after the conversation was over.

That’s me right there, in my world crepes and fufu go perfectly together in the same afternoon ! lol,

Friday, November 7, 2014

My West Africa

You know when people ask that dreaded question.. Where are you from.."

well its becoming increasingly worrying to me.

My answer is normally, "before sweden i lived in London" ..confusing them even more but lately i get the question more and more so i say "my heritage is french and west african".. this is true i was born in nigeria, mums malian/french..dads gambian so there you go.

Now here lies the problem. .due to miscommunication,misinformation, media exaggeration and ignorance in general,  as soon as i say west africa. .somewhere in the response i hear that word.."ebola"

Concern is one thing..empathy excellent. .general stigma not acceptable.

Generalised statements that ive heard..when i say im from west africa are not ok..i realise the panic and fear people feel around this very serious disease but let me put it this way. .once we begin to look at all West Africans as potentially sick ..How exactly do you want me to feel.

I wanted to take my little girl to meet her great grand ma (over 90yrs old) in Mali over Christmas . There has been ONE Ebola case found in mali.  The professionals i spoke to about this trip basically told me that even though the risk of getting infected is very very slim once we come back we maybe subjected to several tests before we are allowed back into sweden.
As a teacher i may have to stay home an extra 14days to ensure that i do not contaminate others..
And my favorite. . 'People would be uncomfortable around you once you come back'

We considered going to Gambia. a place where there are NO REPORTED CASES of EBOLA . and guess what most of the flights have been cancelled. and the reponse i got was the same as going to Mali. 

Did i mention Australia and  Canada has closed its borders to West african citizens.!! ..and i quote "

In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending the issuance of visas for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease. As well, work on permanent residence applications for people from the affected countries is also being suspend"

 Ive had enough to the Q&A. Coming from West Africa doesnt make me an expert or a potentially contagious person! Ive been following the news and social media feeds keenly and almost screamed when i read a conversation that went like this: "Ebola has come to America from Africa to kill us all" "Really,? is Ebola some president or what!?" Oh Dear, I feel that people need to rethink thier reponses and information before acting or speaking..as this is extremely dangerous . Educating yourself and tempering your response is crucial part of social responsibility. (Im happy to point out approriate and factual information should anyone require it.) It is begining to feel like propaganda and i know how dangerous that can be.. This feels like nothing new to me, the earliest i can remember was when i was in my teens on a school trip to the US with all my classmates i remember being pullout of the queue at immigration. When i asked why, they said i was carrying a french passport and my place of birth was Nigeria and Nigerians are notorious for fake passports so my passport may be forged!.. i have several examples accumuilated through the years.. There was a time not too long ago when a the general public in Germany where told that a certain group where inferior, thieves, prone to illness, contagious  etc etc.. and that amazing propaganda let to an extreme isolation and eventually to a War. Information and misinformation are of great importance and what we then do with the knowledge we get , even more important. I feel like the reaction to ebola professionally has been both inadequate and irrational. Take a look at the map in the link below the next time you ebola comes up http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/11/03/map-the-africa-without-ebola/