I’ve Been There…!

June 25, 2014 Leave a comment

I see you with hands in chin/

In thoughts deeper than wells of Beijing/

I see you constantly run your fingers through your hair,

like you now live in a world whose problems you no longer can bear/

I hear you deep sighing/

Shaking your head and clapping your hands. . .well I know what you’re implying/

That you’ve been to hell and back/

Or that you feel betrayed and no one’s got your back/

Listen, I’ve been there. . .

 

You broke?

No cash to get the good things of life like your folks?

And your life pattern is depicted by worrying strokes?

You struggle so hard and life still seems to you like a joke. . .

I know that feeling of lost hope bro…

You not alone in this cos I’ve been there

/

Degrees, certificates and recommendation letters in piles/

Yet you’ve combed the city like a bushy hair and still no job in sight/

This is life doing you bad in different styles/

It’s frustrating right?

I know that feeling and…

I’ve been there
/

Have you been cheated, lied to or heart broken?

Or your heart grilled well done in a Black and Decker oven?

And you curse destiny for not changing its course/

When it was just a few seconds away/

Or a few seconds left for your heart to pause/

You wished you never met right?

I know that feeling too…cos..

I just left there. . .

 

Have you sometimes questioned why it had to be you/

That these horrible things are happening to/

Or that the forces of nature have ganged up against you/

Which sometimes leads you to think God isn’t true/
But I’m here to give you tidings of hope/

That you should keep calm and let God probe/

And that reminds me of a passage and I quote/

“That no man have we placed a burden on, other than he can carry”

End quote/

 

So know/

That just as no leaf falls from a tree without knowledge from above/

So is God aware every time you are in a hole/

Hold on tight to his rope

And he will play his role/

No matter how long it takes

Or how much has passed you by/

Something or someone better is being prepared somewhere/

Patience costs nothing my friend

Let God be your strength

Cos, only in him do hearts find rest.

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Categories: Poetry

Reality of Illusion

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

A samurai with two swords
A poet with mean words
A prisoner with freedom thoughts
A King and his subjects
A queen and her maidens
A student of knowledge
A pregnant nun
All searching for the reality beyond time and space

Have you ever wondered why Oliver asked for more?
Or why you are never satisfied with the iPhone you just bought?
Have we ever questioned the illusion we discard and the reality we believe?
Like separating wanted and unwanted elements with a sieve…

For all that we desire to have
Or aspire to be
Illusion they are
And Illusion they shall be

Picture this.
A child is born amidst blood and tears
Not knowing how to express his fears
Of leaving a world where he never heard swears
Or lacked care
To a world where not caring is the norm
And swearing means “keeping it real”

But as he grows,
We teach him to always want more and be on his toes
So right from birth . . .
He’s on a mission to find a reality not his own
He’s thought to search for a life that is perfect
Forgetting that nothing on earth exists without its defects/
So when it looks gloomy, he thinks of himself as a reject

In the quest to find lasting happiness
We should be our own empire and create our own realities
Based on the guidance of God and his messengers
Cos everything we think we own
We don’t.
And if you do not believe me
Witness a burial and tell me how many of a corpse children or wealth
Were buried with him

Life is not real

Its all illusion

Categories: Uncategorized

Love Trapped in Hate

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Remember when our Relationship was like the game of Tennis/

When love meant nothing
When every hello or hi said was enough
When I never cared if you had a cold or cough
And when you were so comfortable calling the bluff

Remember the days you will pass me by like you never cared/
And I would bow down my head in fear rubbing my beard/
Praying upon the moon/
Wishing upon the stars/
That the lord will reveal to me the contents of your heart/

Remember the first time we stared at each other for two seconds/
And for a second/
My soul absconded from my flesh/
For the other second that felt like a year/
It was surreal and yet so real
Speechless we were but we communicated
The pupils in our eyes clicked, like a square peg in a square hole
The break beats of our hearts in sync…
At that point. . .
We were like a thief caught in the act with gun pointed to his forehead
We knew we had to give it up
I lacked words
You lacked expressions. . .
But I struggled with every muscle in hands, in my heart…
Every breadth in my being
To murmur the simplest and the most powerful words I could find
“Odeshalau Yene Konjo”
We knew We were in love.

Do I need to explain the pains I went through
Or the ones that you went through. . .
Seeing our worlds in ourselves like a see-through
But chose to wear dark ray-bans to shade it away. . .which wasnt cool

Do I need to tell the world how free we now feel
Knowing I’m the melody, and you are the beat that moves me
And every day I night I pray
That the fruit of your womb will be sweeter than oranges
I have packed all my belongings and deserted the state of shock/
The state of fear
To the state where you reside
And forever,
I’ll be by your side.

Again, before I close
I’ll love to propose/
A toast/
To my black goddess
My GI-Joe in times of emotional tsunamis
My blanket in times of cold
My friend
My sister
My everything. . .
From this day to the time when there will be no more days
From this night to the nights you will be guarded by black knights
The flame of our love will burn. . .
I’ll fuel the fire.

Odeshalau Yene Konjo – Means I love You in Ahmaric Language

Categories: Poetry

Pay Attention…!

February 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Like an alcoholic confessing his sins to a toilet bowl
I’m ready to let it all out And
Run my mouth like Mohammed Ali would run commentary for the Super bowl
And
Be rest assured that
Truth will be told
Be it in the scorching afternoon on the streets of UTANGA
Or on Obudu mountain’s evening cold

I/
Stand before you here as a thief
Ready to rob you off the prejudices and misconceptions
You hold dear to your heart/
Yes
I’m a thief
Not in need your money but all you have to pay me is ATTENTION

Pay attention. . .

I hear the voice of a man in tattered clothes
Wearing a life jacket to prevent him from drowning in his own tears
Begging and pleading, promising heaven and earth
I see a man knocking on doors in my neighborhood
Begging my parents, my siblings, aunts and uncles
I hear a man telling me his tales of how he had no shoe
How he had no good clothes and all he has been through
Bretheren
Before us stands a man promising to split the red sea like Moses did (PBUH)
Heal the sick and restore sight to the blind like Jesus (PBUH) did
Bring us from darkness to light like Muhammed (PBUH) did
Ready to sacrifice all he had like Moremi did
And protect us, like the sacred tree, guarded by Pandoria warriors

Little did we know
About the powers possesed by our fingers
That we could install and uninstall leaders like computer programs
Or with our voices, shutdown a country like an overheating PC
Or reboot if we’ve had a bad start like Usain Bolt defaulting
Little did we know that our thumb is viewed as a mineral resource
By incumbent and would be leaders
Ruling party and the opposition
Of course
Without follower-ship, the leader’s ship will be drowning
Which puts us in a perfect position to be the captains of our own destinies

Pay Attention…

So we believed the crying man and gave him our thumb
And like the Grameen model, his collateral was his trust
The man who once promised to be a leader now acts like a boss

All in a bid to remain on a sit made by our thumbs…
The question is…what brand of weed have you been smoking?
White widow or silver haze?
That has prevented you from paying the minimum wage
Which has left everyone in anger and rage. .
Look son…!
The old are dying and the the new ones are refusing to be born
If you continue like this, be rest assured that in hell you may burn

May I remind you of the time you came begging for a finger, O special one
I still wonder why we didn’t give you the middle one

Our queries are answered only by a resounding silence
Rather than help us, we are used against ourselves
The xtian against the muslim
The rich against the poor
The educated against the uneducated
The unbeliever against the disbeliever
Households against households
Regions against region

So to every breathing thing listening to me. . .
Refuse to be used as a pawn in the political chess game. . .
You sell your future and that of your kids
For every vote you sell
In your fingers lies powers
Powers to make and un make
Powers to change the world
Pay attention to the powers in your hands
No matter where and how you were born
Either in the most beautiful of cities
Or the remotest of villages
Be rest assured that one day, without compromising your integrity, you will get there
Cos, I started from the bottom, now I’m here

Categories: Poetry

2013 in review

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized

Death of Blackberry – A Case for Cross Platform Mobile App Development Paradigm

October 5, 2013 1 comment

Just like the desktop and web development ecosystem, the mobile application development world is typified with different frameworks for writing native and non-native apps. For the iOS operating systems, there is very limited choice as Apple restricts developers to writing iPhone applications in Objective-C, C, C++ or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine. Apps must be originally written in one of these languages and may only use Documented APIs in a manner prescribed by Apple. Only code written in Objective C, C, or C++ may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs. These requirements automatically exclude the Java programmer from the iOS market. Do I plan on learning C or Objective-C for the sole purpose of writing iOS apps? Sure, I will when the Satan repents and apologizes to Allah for all his misdeeds. J

According to an article written by Zonski for ZenJava, it is now possible to run JavaFX on iOS using RoboVM. That’s an excellent news innit? (in Wayne Rooney’s accent). Now check this out:

  • You need to be running on a Mac – this won’t work on anything else.
  • You need to have XCode installed: https://developer.apple.com/xcode/
  • You need to have a recent version of the Java7 JDK (7u9 or later)
  • You need to have Maven 3.0 installed: http://maven.apache.org/download.cgi
  • You need to have JavaFX on your classpath, so use the JavaFX Maven plugin
  • Currently there’s no automated way to generate an app bundle for the app store.

I’m bothered only about the first point. So, to develop apps for iOS, I first need to purchase the unnecessarily expensive MacBook? This is what the Hausa speaking people will refer to as “Magana banza kawai. . .!!!”

Android apps can be developed using Java. Good news eh? The Java programmers need not learn new coding syntax or conventions. It’s a seamless transition between the coding styles of desktop and web app that he/she is familiar with to the mobile space. There is an SDK plus an Eclipse IDE plugin that should help you get started. As you may be aware, your apps will only run on Android enabled devices.

The RIM OS development environment also makes the Java programmer feel at home. To write apps for Blackberry phones and tablets, you really don’t have to learn anything new. There is a Java Development Environment (JDE) that makes development and deployment seamless. Again, as you may already know, your apps will only run on RIM OS enabled devices.

Windows Phones? In my opinion, app development for Windows OS enabled devices is the most unpopular sphere of mobile app development ecosystem. Microsoft must have hoped the Windows mobile OS would be embraced by hardware manufacturers like HTC and Samsung as they did for Android which I guess broke a few hearts in Redmond. Nokia dominates Windows phone with over 80% of the market share, a statistic that worries Microsoft executives.

To make matters worse, the New York times reported that Nokia is working on building its own Android devices which paints a very bleak future for the Windows Mobile OS. Little wonder why the Windows mobile store is not as popular as Google Play and Blackberry World as Nokia Lumia is the only phone running the Windows OS that I have set my eyes on.

This in my opinion is one of the reasons why there are few Windows phone developers. Anyway, to develop apps for the Windows mobile OS, C# and Visual Studio is all that is needed, meaning the Java programmer is excluded.

A Case for Cross Platform Mobile Development Paradigm

I remember the late 90s and early 2000s where Java ruled the desktop world. Though Java applications were, in my opinion, not as good looking as the ones developed in Visual Basic and the likes, they still ruled. Why? Java thrived mostly, amongst other reasons, because of its platform independent nature where code is written on Windows, Mac or a Linux Box and the resulting application can be executed on any operating system where the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) is installed. Now, to develop apps for the four operating systems discussed above, it means the programmer needs to learn Objective-C, Java and C#.  Is that really necessary?

Imagine you are watching a stage play titled “Blackberry” and it’s the play is in its last scene.  After that scene, the play ends and there was an announcement that that play will be the last organized. Indirectly, it means the careers of all actors, cameramen, lights men, props men and other hands that worked on the play also ends like the closing curtain signifying the end of the play. To make matters worse, these “hands” do not know how to service any other kinds of stage performances except the ones put together by the company producing the Blackberry plays.

Now imagine Blackberry is dead. Their phones and tablets are not as popular as they used to be. For developers writing commercial apps only for the RIM OS, what will be the fate of their products and clients? Will the developers now expend more human and financial resources to write ports to other platforms?

Shouldn’t the Blackberry experience shape our approach to learning how we develop apps for the mobile space? Should schools of programming continue to teach app development for targeted mobile operating systems or adopt the cross platform paradigm in their curricula? Should we, as programmers continue to rely on official SDKs and libraries released by companies or community supported SDKs?

With the cross platform paradigm, applications can be deployed to any of the operating systems discussed above from a single Java codebase. There will be no need to learn C or Objective-C to deploy your apps to iOS enabled devices. No need to learn C# to deploy to Windows 8 enabled devices. Even if Blackberry folds up and their devices become unpopular, no extra effort is required as the same code written for one operating system can be compiled for others. More time, energy and resources is also saved.

For companies, this paradigm will help achieve a lean staff structure as there will be no need to hire developers for different mobile operating systems thereby saving extra resources. This is a good thing for small startups.

Personally, I use the Codenameone to develop my apps for all mobile operating systems. The coding structure is almost similar to Swing which made learning easy for me. Note that Codenameone apps are not HTML5 apps running in a WebKit, they are completely native in nature. They have the same behavior as other apps written with the official SDKs of the operating systems they run on. Codenameone also comes with a DnD visual designer leaving you with just the business logic to bother about. It also comes with a theme designer giving you the full power to control the look and feel of your apps. Native themes of target platforms can also be inherited. Here is a video of one of my apps with Codenameone. It’s the first and only mobile app for the African Youth Charter. It’s also available in Google Play and Blackberry World.

It’s not all Java. There is a C# option as well even though deployment targets only Android and iOS but it’s definitely worth playing with.

Finally, just as I do not believe AJAX and HTML5 apps can replace desktop apps (discussion for another day), same way I do not believe Sencha apps and other frameworks that runs from a phone’s Webkit can replace native apps. It’s native all the way . . .!

I rest my case.

Categories: Java

Vacation 2013: The Gambian Experience

September 27, 2013 Leave a comment

So here I am. . .after over a year of not blogging. Not that I haven’t been writing or lacked what to talk about, as it is the case with most wanna-be bloggers like myself, you should expect flaws like this one, as many times in one year. Though I have written articles (technical and non technical) I thought are not worthy of publishing, written poems I am too scared to post (Cold, I’ve been there, Broken Pot, As I write, etc) simply because I know it is through poetry the entire blogosphere will get to know what’s happening in my life – which I don’t want of course. I have a mantra which says “Believe my poems, not what I say”. I let it all out through poetry. If I ever end up appearing before a judge as a witness, rather than pleading the fifth, I’ll beg to express myself through poetry J

This post is about my vacation so sit back and relax. Get ready to smile, laugh, curse me and of course, cry if you have watery eyes like mine.

So many rains has fallen that the soil has consumed . . . but the soil still looks thirsty every time you see it like it was never moist. So many things have happened to me, yet I still look normal. In other for me not to lose it and end up in “Yaba Left”, I decided to use my annual leave to travel around in the hope that I leave behind each scrabble piece that spelt “Pain” in me, in each city that I visit. I visited Banjul (Gambia), Kaolack (Senegal), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Kampala (Uganda) and Kachumbala (Uganda). Did it work? Hell YES…!!!

My leave started on August 1st 2013. Ramadan was still on so I didn’t think it wise to begin travelling. Already, the Ibrahim Cisse led African Youth Panel had invited me to their African Youth Charter Ambassadors Training in Banjul Gambia to make a presentation and official launch the mobile app for the Youth charter I developed. I was billed to travel on August 9th (Friday), a day after our Eid-ul-Fitr celebration. While I was invited in my own capacity as Lukman Jaji the Software Developer, my colleague, Keni was also invited, as the representative of the African Union Commission.

Fast forward to Friday the 9th, bags and baggage were ready and off to the airport I set out. Got to the airport and I was lucky, no queue at the check in counter. “Do you have any bags to check in sir?” asked the “konjo” looking attendant. “Hao” I replied grinning from ear to ear like smileys. I placed my bag on the …em…em…whats that thing called again? That thing that tells the weight of our baggage used by the check-in counter attendants. Someone help me here. “You speak Amharic?” She asked, this time smiling at me. Once again, I replied “Hao’ smiling back at her.”Tsra izi sost amet ka min-a-min ahun” I said to her and her soul nearly jumped out her body. “Ennndeeeeeeee!!!!” she screamed attracting the attention of her colleagues. Now I was feeling like a boss. We chatted for a while in Amharic before she handed me my passport, boarding pass and luggage tag. “Melkam berara…” she said. “Melkam tsra…ciao” were my final words to her.

I completed my immigration formalities in no time at all and took the escalator upstairs where I would chill for my flight. While walking around aimlessly, I sighted a tall, dark looking fellow from afar, walking aimlessly around too. That was Keni. “Hey dude…you got here before me…” I said, like the airport belonged to my father for me to determine who gets to the airport first and last. “Yea…so what’s up..u ready for your presentation?” he asked “Yea..yea.. I am…the app is ready, so is the English I’ll speak to the audience”. Keni’s presentation focused on creating a better understanding of what the Youth charter is by explaining each article from a legal perspective. Ohh..I forgot to tell you, Keni is a lawyer. We chatted about many things to while away time. Where two or more employees of an organization are gathered, you can guess the things being discussed. We gossiped about the office and our bosses keeping serious faces or laughing hysterically in the process.

“This is the boarding announcement of ET flight 901 to Accra…” Yes, our flight was enroute Accra-Freetown, then Banjul. We joined the long queue which moved like a tortoise not under any pressure of time. We were there for almost 25 minutes when I began feeling the pangs of hunger. “Dude..I’m going to get a sandwich, u care?”. . .”Sure get me one as well..” Keni replied. I dashed hurriedly to one of the cafes, got two sandwiches and drinks. Luckily for me, I had some “Birr” left so didn’t have to change my dollars. “Here you go bro…” I handed him his own while I devoured mine like a starved lioness handling a baby deer. Some minutes later, we were climbing the stairs . . . to the plane. I really can’t remember the person I sat beside but I know we chatted for sometime before I brought out my laptop to do some coding in the air. The flight was smooth and Alhamdulilah for journey mercies.

Transit in Ghana

We walked around the airport looking for internet access. By the way, I believe I’m suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder because I know so for sure. We went around to cafes, shops etc asking where we could use internet, at least to while away time. We got out of a shop when suddenly Keni screamed….”Yea..!! We are Kenyans…we will always bounce back”. Looking dumbfounded, I asked, “What’s the matter?”. . .”Look Jaji, that’s a flight going to Nairobi. . .” as he pointed to the flight schedule board “Yes our airport just got burnt but flights to and from Nairobi were not crippled for long….Yea!!!”. . .”That’s really cool” I said. “How dare he brag in front of a Nigerian. . .this bobo dey find trouble ooo” I thought. J

After wandering around for minutes, we ended up in the priority lounge at the airport. There, we had internet, food and beautiful women to look at. I was online chatting with Helena (you will read about her in subsequent paragraphs) and a few of my friends. Time flew faster than an F16 jet fighter and in no time, there was no time. We boarded the plane to Banjul enroute Freetown. That flight still holds the record as my most unpleasant, scariest flight ever. It was raining like hell. The clouds look thick; they look hard and impenetrable like floating metamorphic rocks in the sky. The plane shook throughout and I remember one time, I screamed “Mo gbe ooo” when it seemed we were experiencing a free fall for like 5 seconds. I felt so relieved when the pilot announced that seat belts be fastened for landing in Banjul. No Mr. Pilot, if I had a long rope throughout the flight, or a chain, I would have tied myself to the seat. But then, Alhamdulilah for journey mercies, we landed safely in Banjul.

Banjul, Gambia

As we walked down the stairs of the plane, I sighted a man holding a placard with “African Youth Charter blab la” written. I walked up to him. Keni joined, two other guys joined us, including a guy in dreads and a little girl. That guy was later to be known as Teddy Mak and the little girl, Hanna Girma. Teddy is an Ethiopian musician and the owner of Studio 10 in Addis. The little girl is a very talented musician, vocalist, opera singer and one time winner of the Ethiopian Idol. Ibrahim had invited them to come perform on the evening of August 12th to mark the International Youth day. Watch her song here with Teddy Mak.

Soon, we were in the shuttle, heading towards the VIP lounge of the airport. Ibrahim has proven to me once again, that he’s not just a big boy by mouth alone by arranging a VIP airport proceeding. The transfer arrangement from the airport to the hotel was seamless. “Me too, I be big boy oooo” I thought in pidgin English.

After like 30 minutes, we arrived at “SunSwing” Beach Hotel in Sene-Gambia. Now if you are a Java programmer, you would think this hotel was built for me. J I got into my room, took a warm shower and rested for a bit. Dinner time and I joined Teddy Mak, Hana Grima, Ibrahim, Christian and another person at the restaurant. We ate, drank, chatted and soon, my eyes began closing slowly like a curtain marking the end of a stage play. “Guys. . .I feel sleepy. .. I got to go to my room now.”

The next day, a Saturday, it was difficult to get out of bed but made it for my early morning solat (prayers). After prayers, I jumped back to bed for a second round of sleep that never came. My eyes were wide open like a bullfrog. Breakfast time and I freshened up a bit to join the rest of the guys at the restaurant. After a meal of omlettes, toasts, beef sausages, baked beans and water, we decided to take a walk on the beach. We talked about different issues while the ocean waves sometimes flowed to our feet as if to say “Welcome to Gambia, let me take the dirt off your feet and the pains off your heart”. It felt cool.

First day on the beach

First day on the beach…Lawrence got me the “I love Japan” tshirt I have on 🙂

Later in the day, I joined some new found friends to play soccer on the beach. It was fun and I remember I scored a goal Stephen Keshi would be proud of. I was getting into vacation mood already, though I had a presentation on Tuesday the 13th.

In the evening, with Ibrahim and a few friends, we made it to the Nigerian restaurant where I had my favorite Amala and Okra soup. The Okra didn’t come bare. It came with pieces of dry fish (eja gbigbe) and some cow leg (bokoto) and Malta Guinness to wash it down. In Nigeria, living large tells also from what you eat and how you eat it not just what you drive or where you live. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m living large oooooo

I hadmissed Amala sooo much...

I had missed Amala sooo much…

Later in the evening, there were plans to go clubbing which I wasn’t down for. I went to my room and literarily “died” after that bowl of Amala. At around 12am, someone came to inform me it was time to go clubbing. I was like yea. . . I’ll join you guys soon. I went back to sleep. The Amala was still at work. As I was about to cross over to the realm of sleep again, my phone rang. “O boy we dey wait for you for lobby ooo. All man don ready to club” That was Ibrahim. “Okay. . .Ibro, abeg make una dey go. . .this sleep dey wire me no be small” I said in a sleepy voice. The next morning at breakfast, I was given the gist of how the night went.

 On Sunday, Keni and I want for a hair cut in town. That afforded me the opportunity to see what Gambia looked like in broad day light. For a moment, I thought I was in Lagos. The Banks we drove past were all Nigerian banks: GTB, Zenith, Skye Bank, First Bank and UBA. Minutes later, I saw ArikAir office. I felt like I was in Lagos extension. Finally I had something to brag to Keni about. There is a touch of Nigerian in every country.

A GTB sign post. . .

A GTB sign post in Sene-Gambia. . .

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, we were on the beach once again playing soccer but this time with Keni and the rest of the team. It was fun, running up and down like jobless men chasing a round leather. . .(yea that’s how girls describe soccer). Soon after, we decided to abandon the soccer to swim in the ocean. Did I say we? No, I meant “they” because I can’t swim and had never been in the ocean before. No thanks to growing up in Lagos Island where my brain had been bastardized. I have lost not one, not two friends to water and since then, I’ve always been scared. “Dude, don’t worry, we can walk a certain distance into the ocean, its not that deep” Keni said and Ibrahim echoed the same. “Moreover, if anything happens, we all can swim, we will save you” Ibrahim said. Immediately, my confidence level rose like it was propelled with a rocket. Before I could say Jack Robinson, I saw Malaika, the South African participant, entering the ocean, smiling at us. I wasn’t surprised at what she wore which were quiet revealing by the way. I wasn’t surprised again, that everyone immediately followed her into the ocean like vampires following the traces of blood. I was surprised at myself for being a sissy. Now, you can call me a chauvinist at this point but how on earth would the chic be more courageous that I am? Without thinking twice, I jumped into the ocean as well screaming “Guys…wait for meeeeeeeee. . .” I caught up with them and soon, I was enjoying the experience. I enjoyed going under the ocean waves when it came hard or jumping to avoid it. I enjoyed looking back at the ocean bank to see how far we had walked. Oh dear. . .it felt so good cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. Life can be good my people.

DSC04474

Now, I was beginning to get worried. We had walked too far, almost 400 meters into the ocean. I began screaming like a child. “Guys..please lets go back…we are going too far”. Obviously they weren’t ready but I persisted in my cry. After a few minutes, they agreed and we began our walk back. The fun continued as I played so much with the water. Then something happened. . .

All of a sudden, the water became taller than me and it seemed I had fallen into a hole. I thought I could maneuver my way at first but it soon became evident I couldn’t. To cut the long story short, I was drowning. I tried severally to scream for help but ended up drinking salty water in the process. I was drowning and even though my friends noticed, they thought I was still joking for almost forty seconds. Christian was the first person to notice I needed help and he came to my rescue. I held on to him like a baby whose only hopes are the arms of his mother. I was scared to death. Because of the fear in me, I didn’t make the rescue exercise easy for him. Ibrahim then came and joined in the life saving process. Earlier, Chris had come with a big water skateboard he was playing with. I think that board is used for saving “drowners” and it is at this point Chris and I agreed there was some form of divine intervention involved. How did he know he would need the saving board even though the beach managers never wanted him to take it but he insisted? Anyway, I was placed on the board and pushed ashore. It wasn’t funny at all.

Now, they say a picture can tell a thousand words but its not impossible that 999 of those words could be lies. If you look at the picture below, you would think I just finished water skating and getting ready to go home. Nope. . . .!! That’s a lie. I just got saved from drowning. . .lol

Please don't laugh. . .:)

Please don’t laugh. . .:)

Later that afternoon, I got a call from my friend, Fatou Jeng. Fatou in Gambia and Senegal is equivalent to Fatima (for those who don’t know). Fatou is the youngest magistrate in the whole of the Gambia and she’s also the president of the Gambian Children’s Court. I had not seen her in like two years. She changed a bit, and by that I mean she’s now a mother of a very cute and peaceful child. We chatted a bit about life, Islam and what it feels like to sentence people to jail.

Playing with Fatou's baby. . .she so cute :)

Playing with Fatou’s baby. . .she so cute 🙂

Same afternoon, I got a call from another friend. She used to “never exist” anywhere except the internet. We’ve been buddies for more than five years, but all online. We became so close to the point of wanting to “get married” (don’t ask why it’s in quotes). This friend is known by millions of Nigerians, home and abroad. She’s responsible for banning and unbanning people on Nairaland forum. Yes she lives in the Gambia (though she’s Sierra Leonean). We were meeting for the first time and I finally put a face to the name. Now I know who you are thinking about – and yes you are right. Many of you call her mukina2.

Mukina2 and I

Mukina2 and I

On Monday the 12th, the program officially opened. I’m not going to dwell too much on the proceedings as nothing was extraordinary. Same old opening ceremony, people giving presentations, people asking questions, arguments etc. One point worthy of note is the cosmopolitan nature of the participants. We had actors and actresses, lawyers, parliamentarians, a pastor and of course youth activists. It was my first time attending a meeting of that nature. I liked it

Group Photograph. . .:)

Group Photograph. . .:)

I also got a chance to speak with the Gambian honorable minister of Youth. He’s a smart dude and I enjoyed conversing with him.

The Youth Minister I

The Youth Minister I

In the evening, we were to have a cocktail and cultural performance by some local artistes like Egalitarian. “Ega” is really good. He also teamed up well with Teddy Mak and Hana showing how dynamic he could be. We had dancers, drummers and the youngest musician in the Gambia.

Before the cocktail, I went swimming again!!! Don’t be scared, it was in the pool. I won’t go near the ocean again. I wasn’t alone. We were like ten. We played pool basketball while some of the girls cheered by the pool side. It was at this juncture I wished I had a pumped chest like professional weightlifters. I have deceived myself enough in the gym. Nothing is coming out and I think the only solution for me is to be carrying bags of cement at home. I guess that will work faster. J

Next day was Tuesday the 13th. That was the D-day, not just for me, but for every participant of the workshop. I was to make the presentation of the mobile app. No tension, no pressure. I delivered as I should and everyone felt pleased with my work. I didn’t just receive applause and kind words from the audience. I got a standing ovation. Because of my presentation, some participants compared that moment with their happiest moments ever. What can I say, other than to ask myself the same question that was posed to man 1,400 years ago . . . .? Which of the favors of your lord will you deny?

As the popular Yoruba saying goes, the biggest masquerade will always be the last to leave the shrine. My presentation marked the end of the workshop. It was nice meeting the people I met as everyone had something new to share.

Same evening, some participants had to travel back to their home. We exchanged hugs and contact details before they left for the airport.

Next day, (Wednesday the 13th), more people departed. The hotel looked empty and I remember it was just I, Ibrahim, Christian and TRP left. TRP is an acronym for Thomas Rogers Pedersen. He is the head of the MDG campaign at World Best News based in Denmark. He is also an advisor to the African Youth Panel since they are funded by the Danish government anyway.

In the afternoon, we made it to the museum to catch a glimpse of Gambian history and culture. Gambia is also very rich in Jazz (juju) like Nigeria. We saw charms, masquerade costumes, ancient drums and many other things that typified the cultures of the tourism rich country. We saw colonial pictures as well, though I believe that is one thing that could never be missing from any West African museum. We also played with the crocodiles. . .:)

That’s the Gambian Experience. Next post will be about my road trip to Senegal. . .:)

Enjoy pictures from the museum. . .:)

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