Not all men are bad

Not all men are bad
Not all men are abusers
Not all men are rapist
Not all men would abandon
Not all men are child molesters
Not all men are irresponsible
Not all men walk away
Some men  would protect
Some men would sacrifice all
Some men stay
Such good men are sometimes not rare to find

DSC05189 BILKISU Olalekan Rasheed is one man that stayed. His pregnant wife was involved in an auto mobile accident and she had being in the hospital for several months. Olalekan Rasheed had no stable job. He is in between being a bus conductor and other odd jobs. Bilikisu his wife was simply a petty trader before the accident. In my line of work as a journalist I follow some stories and I have come across a number of disturbing trends. A visit to the hospital reveals that a number of men abandon their women on the hospital bed because of their inability to pay the hospital bills or perhaps it was finally an excuse to leave. There were so many cases of Runaway Husbands. On one of such visit i met this man whom over and over again the hospital staff  attested to the fact that day and night Olalekan stood by his wife…when she was unconscious, when she came round but couldn’t speak or recognize anyone; when the hospital bills kept increasing. Meanwhile the baby was growing and decisions had to be made about whether to amputate her legs…Olalekan never left…never abandoned Bilikisu. He was hopeful and he kept on praying for a miracle. Help did come when Some Philanthropists showed up. The baby made it alive and kicking, she is such  a beautiful baby. Still Olalekan waited patiently, helping to nurse his wife. It turned out that her legs didn’t need to be amputated again.

The impact of abandonment can be quite great on any individual talk less of a family. Breaking free from the impact of abandonment is a long road to healing for people who might have gone through abandonment by a father, husband, or even  a wife. I am aware that sometimes women walk  away too,abandoning their families.

The next time you want to walk away, list out reasons you should not. You might be amazed at what you come up with. Don’t let fear, responsibilities, or the complexity of marriage/relationship (yes it is complex) put you on the run. You might be running for the rest of your life because the next relationship/marriage comes with its own complexities or even bigger problems. Be a hero to your family. Like i said in an earlier blog, none of us is perfect, and none of us will ever be. So stop running, stay and fight for your family, you’ve got what it takes to make it work. If you need help ask for it…seek help in the right places.

This is just my way of celebrating and appreciating every man who would not walk away; who would and continue to cherish that girl, that woman in their lives.

By Adebisi Adetunji

Feature: Celebrating a Girl, a Woman every month

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A mum and her little girl

I will be celebrating the achievements of a girl, a woman once every month. It’s all about the story of one woman or girl who has made a difference in “little ways”, “medium ways” or “big ways”, from the market woman to the CEO. It can be an act of kindness . You are welcome to send in a girl or woman’s story whom you want to celebrate. E-mail me with that special someone’s story on bisimodupe1975@gmail.com. I’ll write a summary blog mentioning each woman/girl whose story has being sent in and then post the full story of the most unique story of the month acknowledging the author. If you are a blogger like me, a link to your site would be included. This unique story will be posted on the 20th of every month. So watch out for this feature on femininematerz.wordpress.com every month!

Being My Neighbour’s Keeper

FLOWERS
http://www.hdwallpap.com

Have you ever had neighbours whom you thought or could see that something was seriously wrong… something that keeps you worried but you just couldn’t do anything about it? Sometimes you are afraid to offer your help because it amounts to meddling in another person’s business. Some of us just adopt the attitude of , “they don’t bother me, i don’t bother them”. I think the issue sometimes is about not wanting to infringe on the right to privacy of a neighbour. But there might be a need to remove the boundary of privacy when a neighbour is in danger. Let me begin to unravel my thought line with a few stories that mirrors what i mean by being my neighbour’s keeper.

I and a friend were having a chat about problems in marriages and how it can be minimized. Out popped this story about her neighbours. Once upon a time…time…time…i wish it was once upon a time fairy tale but it is a reality in the life of a woman who was hemmed in. So Mr and Mrs Tanimowo (not real names) have the usual misunderstanding as any marriage would have but how it is sorted out is another kettle of fish. Whenever Mr Tanimowo was really upset with his wife, he punishes her by asking her to stand outside their entrance gate into their home. Sometimes this woman sleeps in the gutter outside until the next morning.  It beats my imagination how this is even possible … I just couldn’t believe that someone would have to sleep in the gutter not because he/she was homeless or a destitute. But my friend insisted that it was true after-all they were her neighbours.  All other neighbours were aware of this continued abuse but nobody spoke out against it… nobody offered Mrs Tanimowo a bed in the safety of their home whenever her husband meted out this punishment. Everyone simply minded their own business. I ask myself how far should we really go with minding our business when a neighbour is seriously in danger or being abused? Shouldn’t we be our neighbours keeper?

Another story of a man who  regularly punches his wife comes to mind. This man whom i would call Patrick simply “flexes  his muscles”, every time he was crossed with his wife Mary. Her cries became  an unpleasant music in the ears of their neighbours. A young couple who lived in the next building close by endured the situation for a while until they got restless and just couldn’t take it any longer. On one of the days that Patrick physically assaulted his wife as was his custom they finally reported the matter to the police. That was how Patrick was arrested. Mary’s family thanked these neighbours profusely for saving their daughter. But for their neighbour who blew the whistle on Patrick, Mary his wife could have been maimed or murdered in the face of constant physical assault.

It is easy to turn the other eye but we can do a lot to stop the number of abuse that goes on around us. I know it is difficult when the person being abused is unwillingly to speak out or get help. Many cases of abuse go UN-reported until it is too late.

I have to share yet another abuse story where a family member refused to speak up against the abuse of a child. Imagine a  14year old girl is impregnated by her father and infected with HIV. Her mother knows about this and even takes the teenage girl for treatment but has refused to blow the whistle on her husband. They continued to live in the same house and he will probably abuse his other daughters or other young girls, thus the circle of HIV and abuse expands. This mother does not understand that it was no longer a matter of turning the other eye but that of fighting for her daughter’s right against abuse and that of many other girls whose rights would also be violated. And since she was not willing to have her husband prosecuted for his crime there was nothing anyone could do to stop the man.

My Neghbour 2
http://www.hagleyparksda.com

So who is my neighbour? The parable of The Good Samaritan paints a vivid picture. According to this parable, a neighbour is someone who is hurting beside you, you don’t have to know the person from “Adam” as we sometimes say. The familiar definition of who a neighbour is, is someone who lives next door or near you. The person next to you cuts across a colleague at work, child in your class as a school teacher, friends from a club or activity group. Do you also know that people you live with in the same house (family, friends, children, spouse) are your neighbours as well? And yes you all live together in trust and should watch out for each other. Nobody wants to live with or next to someone whom you don’t feel safe with. We once had a crazy neighbour who “terrorized” and bullied us in so many ways. The last stroke that broke the camel’s back was when he physically attacked a neighbour’s son with a cutlass! That was when we knew that it was time to not just speak up with one voice but to scream for help to the appropriate authorities! But we had allowed the bullying to go on for too long, thankfully the case was not fatal.  It takes courage and love to speak up to help another, especially our neighbour.  Neighbourliness goes beyond a hello; neighbours should look out for each other.  It all starts with knowing  the answer to the question who is my neighbour?.

Now i know that these cases of abuse are sensitive and sometimes you just don’t want to get involved. However, it is possible to think of a creative way of helping an abused neighbour. First try to get the person being abused to talk about it, if he/she is a close acquaintance. Then give them information about how and where to get help for abused persons depending on the type of abuse. It means in other to help my neighbour it would be important to read about where help can be gotten. Educators have a duty to report any suspected case of abuse.  As a class teacher who might be privileged to sense or see traces of abuse in a child under your care,be swift share your concerns and get counsellors or your school social worker involved who will handle the matter professionally. If the abuse is happening within a nuclear family, somebody must speak up. Many mothers sweep cases of child abuse going in their home under the carpet all in a bid to  save their marriage or retain their economic status. This is a silence with great cost. It is a silence at the expense of another fellow human’s safety. Speaking up many times saves lives whether as the one being abused or as an observer. Before we decide to mind our business let us all put ourselves in the shoes of our abused neighbour. A simple phone call to the right person who can help  will make all the difference. goodneighbors I really don’t know how to end this piece but all i am just saying is that it is okay to be my neighbour’s keeper and we should all look out for each other.

Letters…Letters…Letters

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http://www.mostinspired.com

This post was inspired by The Daily Post writing prompt titled, “Dear Mom”. It suddenly struck  me that i had taken the art of  writing letters to my loved ones for granted. I was further inspired by a post in response to this same matter written by a course mate on bloging101. I therefore decided to share my own thoughts on the matter hoping you’ll be inspired too.

The Old fashion art of writing letters  seems to have been thrown out of the window with the age of our ever evolving technological era. Many people find it easy to write letters that have a promised “benefit” or “reward”. An application letter though requires a lot of articulation and thoughtfulness is a must write for a job seeker. A proposal letter is also attractive because of the hope of getting a juicy contract or deal. “Yours sincerely”, is easy when a letter is written for one of these two reasons. When was the last time you wrote a letter that says something special about the people in your life? It could be your parents, friends, sisters/brothers, spouse,partner and so on and so forth. I and a couple of my female friends where complaining or should i say lamenting over how men just forget to write those love poems again to their wives as soon as they put a ring on her fingers (not engagement ring) …i mean a real wedding contract ceremony. We all gave different reasons laughing and giggling about it. It was funny but not also funny when reflecting upon some of these reasons: Too busy making money and trying to take care of the family; she would always be there; i tell her i love her verbally every now and then; the kids are getting in the way…and on goes the long list. This is not just about men,because i ask myself : when was the last time i actually wrote a love letter to my husband? A very…long…long time ago. The sad part is that we only send text messages to each other about who to pick the kids from school, what time we are getting off work, what stuff we need to purchase for the house…it is simply all about other things and people except ourselves. When was the last time you wrote a letter to your dad or mum telling them about how much you love and care about them? Guilty like me i guess! The quick excuse will be to say..oh but i speak to them on phone a lot so they should be ok.

Why do we need to go back to the old traditional art of writing letters to our loved ones? A saying comes to mind: ” the faintest pen is better than the sharpest memory”. Letters remind us when we forget about our deep love for each other. And believe me we all do forget. In times past when men and women still took the matter of writing letters seriously, i used to bring out all letters i had received and read them all over again. It was heart warming and up lifting to know what my family and friends thought of me.

So you don’t want to visit the post office to send a letter to a friend or loved one…who does that in this dispensation?! I get what you mean,our friends, family, colleagues are all a click away on the internet and phone. Yes you are correct…it is faster and easier but we make our relationships all the more special by sitting down to put pen to paper. A good old letter will be there to remind the people who matter in your life about your love for them when you are not there. Sometimes life can be cold, a memorable letter can warm up it in more ways than you and i know.

So  as i write this piece, i am giving myself an assignment to write a few letters to tell someone they matter in my life or at least remind them about past shared good old memories. Ok, so i should start with writing a letter to my husband because i haven’t done that in a long while… Who are you thinking about writing a letter to?

A Tribute: Too Tired but i can not rest yet

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Tired and worn out, yet i have to be back again tomorrow, to my routine.
I keep the homes of others shinning
I make life easier
I help dry the tears of the little ones in my care
I help clean up after the elderly whose kids are too grown and too busy to do this unattractive chore
I barely get days off

I have to tend to the garden of others so my children would not grow hungry
And though i am expecting another life growing in me, but i can not dare expect to get the much needed break.
To expect a break would mean losing my role, my job
Too tired but i can not rest yet, i must go on.

A tribute to all domestic workers who work so hard to support themselves and families. It is my hope that if you have someone doing your domestic chores,that you make life easier for them. Be kind to them, treat them as fellow humans with dignity. Be fair in wage and please let them have days off and maternity time off if and when they do get pregnant. I once had a domestic help who had to stop working for me when she got pregnant. She was a friendly hardworking woman and i was sorry to let her go. She connected me to another house keeper but after she delivered her baby we remained in contact and i engage her services from time to time giving her a chance to still make some money. Now she is just a phone call away.