Recently went shopping for a new pair of prescription glasses and dragged my ever-patient sister with me. Being someone who wouldn’t buy new pair of glasses without a trusted eye, my sister was the perfect shop buddy. She wouldn’t hesitate to tell me if the glasses didn't fit, whereas the shop assistant’s advise could be a little tricky to believe in their well lit shop.
Having convinced myself I needed a new pair of glasses, I headed to my local Optician. I told myself, I new exactly what was wrong with my old pair, 'they weren’t the right fit'. So, I needed new ones to replace them. I told the opticians what I wanted and out came the frames. One-by -one I tried them on. With each one I tried, I started to doubt if glasses were made to suit frames like mine. All I had was a low bridge nose, surely there must be a pair of glasses out there that’s got my name written all over it. Plus, how hard could this be?
It took me trying my fair share of ill-fitted glasses, to discover that my current pair of glasses, were actually ideal for my flat bridge nose. Problem solved!
As I left the Optician's, I put on my old pair of glasses, with a new found appreciation for the glasses I’ve had for almost two years. I thought to myself, who knew I could learn a thing or two, just by shopping for a new pair of glasses. Which goes to show, there is truly no need fixing something if it isn’t broken!
Thought I was being brave when my friend refused to go see these reptiles with me, but I insisted on going alone. Looking back and seeing some of them with their mouths wide open, my thoughts are somewhat different. But I’m sure I’d do it again just to be at one with nature, albeit with a little bit of caution!
The word ‘staycation’ is fast becoming the new ‘vacation’. In light of the uncertainties surrounding travelling at present, the reasonable thing for ‘Moir’ to do is explore my surroundings. Which was how I ended up at this surprisingly interesting craft market last week! Had some lively chats with the stall holders and fellow customers alike as I admired the skillful craftsmanship behind the products on display.
Thought I’d share some of the pictures with you and have included some websites for those wanting to know more about the artisans in my post. Just goes to show, you never know what’s lurking round the corner unless you have a nose around!
Zita is a renowned Poet, Artist and Activist. She campaigns tirelessly for Equality, Freedom and Justice using art, poetry and activism. She is a rare gem for our generation and will continue to inspire generations to come.
You can find out more about Zita Holborne here: http://www.zitaholbourne.com or watch her video on You tube here: https://youtu.be/WHY5HyVMin4
Alternatively, you can copy and paste this link in your web browser to watch the video.
Isn’t it ironic that children are encouraged to play for the benefits it brings, whilst adults have to be reminded to play even though they benefit more from it? Finding time to play, whether you’re alone or with people, is as important as breath is to life. It costs nothing to play, but gives huge benefits that money can’t buy. It’s a great stress reliever, a mind stimulator and an energy booster. And most importantly, you don’t need an audience to play! Let’s remember to play every now and then, no matter how silly it looks, because it will be worth it in the end.
I find that street food has a unique delicious taste that’s different from home made food. There’s also an art form to making it. Which is what drew me to learn how to make the popular street snack ‘Puff-Puff’, from a local street food seller in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a staple snack often eaten at parties and it’s a great comfort food that can be eaten in all seasons.
Puff-Puff for me, is more than just a street food. It’s a food that’s embedded with nostalgic stories of many Lagosians, runnning through generations. Stories of people being offered Puff-Puff at social gatherings as they spend quality time with loved ones. My fond memories of eating this snack comes from the naming ceremonies and weddings I've attended over the years. They were memorable times that I still remember to this day. So, anytime I crave a comfort food to fill me with warmth, I undoubtedly choose Puff-Puff.
Since Puff-Puff comes from Lagos, I thought it could be interesting to give you a brief history of Lagos, the town of this beautiful snack! See below for more details.
A Brief History of Lagos:
Lagos has a rich cultural history. The city has links to Brazil and Cuba dating back to the 1830s when some emancipated Africans moved back to Lagos to settle there. These links are still prevalent there today. The name Lagos, is Portuguese for ‘Lakes’ and was given its name by the Portuguese explorer 'Ruy de Sequeira', who initially named the area around the city, ‘Lago de Curamo’.
One of the main languages spoken in Lagos is Yoruba, a language spoken by the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is also a language spoken in Brazil today and is taught as part of the academic curriculum.
When the civil war (also known as the Biafran war) broke out in Nigeria on July 6th 1967 due to the Ethnic tensions in the country, Abigail a mother of six, was running a thriving business in Enugu. It was the capital of Biafra. The state created by the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria, in resistance to the Northern-dominated federal government leadership at the time.
Abigail’s husband was a rail worker who repaired train engines for a living, but didn’t earn enough to financially sustain the family. Due to her thriving business, Abigail was able to support her family with the income coming in from her business. She had two elder daughters and four younger boys. Her eldest daughter lived in the United Kingdom and life for Abigail, was financially comfortable.
Prior to the Civil war, she would travel to Southern Nigeria to visit friends and family. Her visits were widely celebrated, as she came bearing gifts and the children adored her greatly. Then one day, as Abigail went through her usual activities, life as she knew it changed. Within the blink of an eye, Enugu her beloved home, was in uproar. A civil war had been declared. A war that would later inspire the novel and movie, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In a bid for safety, Abigail abandoned the East, leaving her thriving business, her comfortable home and all she held dear behind. She headed for Lagos, in the South, with her family. On getting to Lagos, she had lost everything and had no choice but to start afresh. She started a new business, but for some strange reason, it wasn’t as successful as the one she left behind.
Despite her predicament, the one thing Abigail never lost was her compassionate spirit. She loved caring and giving to others. On a regular basis, all the children in her neighbourhood would assemble in her home for meals. Knowing that she didn’t have much money, let alone enough food for herself, Abigail would dish out food to all the children first. Then, if there was any food left, she would have the rest. That was how Abigail lived throughout her lifetime. She used every earning she made from her business to help others. Never once did she think about her own needs. It was always others first and her own needs came later, after everyone was taken care of.
Whenever someone told her to put herself first, she would pretend she was listening. But the moment they left, she would continue to do what she does best, ‘caring for others’. As time passed, everyone realised it was futile to convince her to live contrary to who she was. Abigail continued caring for people and would later take on children from relatives, friends and family where they didn’t have the means to care for the children themselves. Some of these children, have gone on to build successful lives of their own.
The last time I saw Abigail, I was home on vacation and rushed to greet her, but she couldn’t recognise me. It broke my heart. Not seeing that smile, which lights up a room and trying to find ways to engage with her, in the hope, that she might remember me was painful. She had just lost her husband and came to stay with my mother, as her family didn’t want her to be alone. But Abigail, who was fiercely independent, would head towards the door and sit outside to watch passers-by. This was what she did everyday in her own home. She wasn’t happy being away from home and was yearning to go back home. So her children decided to send her home to make her happy.
As soon as her vehicle arrived, she had a youthful spring in her step, almost like she knew she was heading home and couldn’t wait to get there. My siblings and I escorted her to her vehicle and bade her farewell. As her vehicle departed, I stood there, watching Abigail’s every move. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, till her vehicle disappeared into the distance. I remember having this sinking feeling that it would be the last time I see her. My gut instinct was right, as Abigail passed away shortly after.
Her death didn’t make me sad, because I knew that when her time came, she was surrounded by family and the things she loved. For me, it was more important to celebrate the life that she lived and the humble, but valuable things she added to the lives of others. That gave me great comfort and would fill my heart with warmth, anytime I think of her.
Abigail was my grandmother, her husband was my step grandfather and my mother, was her eldest daughter. Although, she is no longer with us, she left a lasting legacy of ‘care and compassion’ that just keeps on giving. Though she never got to witness her son obtain his Doctorate degree or got to see her favourite grandson perform live on stage or witness her granddaughters become doctors and another a counsellor, I've come to realise there’s a little bit of Abigail that lives in us all.
Today, Abigail’s descendants span several generations and live in different countries across the world. This was something Abigail may not have envisioned, when she was doing her little bit to help others. However, the little bit she did, went a long way and will not be forgotten.
Today I remember Abigail, my grandmother and the compassionate legacy she left behind. To the world, she may seem like an ordinary person, but to those who knew and loved her, hers, was no ordinary life.
Book closures add a nice finishing touch to a book. Adding a magnetic book closure to this journal makes it easy to file away or portable to use as a travel journal. Having said that, it can be used in whichever way you choose. It’s just a matter of personal taste or preference. And this journal's already found a home with it's happy owner!
This is the final instalment in my Lockdown series, as I look forward to a better tomorrow than the one we've had in recent weeks. This was my way of dealing with the crisis that was the pandemic and hope it encourages you, to find your own way, of dealing with it. I wish you all peace, as the world has battled much unrest lately and hope you stay healthy! Stay blessed everyone!
Welcome to my blog, where I share things that inspire me. My faith, nature and the simple or imperfect things in life, are what brings me joy and inspire me to create. I look forward to sharing my inspirations with you. Thanks for stopping by!