According to a recent report by WHO in partnership with the Guttmacher Institute, 1.25 million abortions occurred in Nigeria in 2012...
Sometimes I read to escape the world around me, and sometimes I read to learn about it. From Asian wealth porn to ISIS, the subject matters of the books I’ve added to my shelf so far this year reflect this constant sway. Here are a few:
“Why do you like the Spice Girls so much?” I turned and looked at my father, who was driving our family’s gray Peugeot station wagon. Ever since we had moved to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, evening drives with him were one of my favorite things to do. Abuja was still a relatively new city at the time, with vast expanses of undeveloped land and mostly traffic-free streets. Sometimes we drove to the rich Minister’s Hill neighborhood, populated by top government officials, to take turns picking out our favorite mansions. Other times, we drove to a busy street not too far from our home, to buy little treats from street hawkers like fresh sugar canes and roasted corn. The hills that surround the entire city—visible even through the thick dust and fog of the harmattan season—always gave me a sense of calm. I don’t remember where we were going that day, but I remember studying my father’s face to see if he was still upset with me. You see, it was 1997, I was ten years old, and the Spice Girls were always getting me in trouble.
Jesus walked the earth during an era when women had little to no rights, and were at the very bottom of society’s hierarchy. Yet, Jesus consistently defied the status quo when it came to women. In his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, theologian Walter Wink notes that Jesus violated the cultural norms of His time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels. Let’s unpack some of these encounters…
Downton Abbey was a mini women’s history course for me. Throughout the series, I was fascinated by how far women have come, but also reminded of how far we have to go. While I am sad to see the show end, I am grateful for every one-line zinger it gave me, and for every scene that took me to school. From birth control to fashion, here are 7 times Downton Abbey had me taking notes about women’s rights:
The term “dark night of the soul” comes from a poem written by 16th century Roman Catholic Saint, John of the Cross. In contemporary culture, the term has come to mean a spiritual crisis and/or a profound absence of light and hope. During the two years following my father’s death, I went through the motions of Christianity—attending church, mouthing amen to prayers and reading my Bible—but there was much confusion, cynicism and disillusionment within. My soul was living through its darkest night.
Thirteen years ago today, my mother knocked on my bedroom door around midnight, and I told her to come in. For some reason though, my door was stuck, and my uncle had to break down the door before my mother could come in. As soon as my mother sat on my bed, I knew what she was going to say. I knew that my father had passed away, after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Fairness had always mattered to me as a child. I was about 9 or 10 when I drafted a constitution and submitted it to my parents, because I felt we could use more justice in our household. Once, to convince my parents about something, I recruited my younger sister to help me make placards and stage a peaceful protest in our living room. I was the child that constantly asked “why” about everything. I needed rationale, long before I knew what the word meant. This is why so much of what I saw (and didn’t see) written about women in the Torah troubled me. Little of it seemed reasonable or fair.
As I made my way through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, the Mosaic laws that governed women troubled me greatly. I was probably about 7 or 8 years old when I wrote in the margins of my Bible during my devotions—God, why don’t you like women?
I’ve narrowed down 10 books (not an easy task!) that left me enraptured this year. Following my reading bliss, led me to a lot of books written by women/about women—particularly memoirs. As a result, this list is skewed in that direction. Also, I’m sharing some of my favorite 2015 bibliophile moments (because, why not…).
Empowering women, working towards protecting their rights, and discussing/shaping gender ideologies is what makes me come alive. This is where my experiences, my background, my passions and the voice within have led me. This is my calling, my life’s mission statement, my raison d’être...
While reading the Sports Illustrated’s feature article on Williams though, it was not her approach to sportsmanship that caught my eye, but her approach to friendship. In particular, her relationship with Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, struck a nerve. Without further ado, here are 5 lessons about friendship I gleaned from Serena Williams’s Sports Illustrated feature:
In the months leading up to my wedding, I got a lot of varied advice. One of things someone told me: “Once you get married, you need to put your dreams on hold and focus on your husband and your children. When your children are grown up, you can focus on your career aspirations again.” Another thing I have heard: “Being a wife and a mother are a woman’s highest calling.” There are so many problematic notions in these statements that unpacking them all would take a much higher word count than this blog permits. But let’s unpack a few.
YouTube videos are my background noise of choice when I am getting dressed, cooking, cleaning, and dare I admit —procrastinating. I’ve learned make-up techniques, how to cook new dishes, workout routines, and even how to fix electronics from YouTube University. But mostly, I simply get a good laugh. If you barely have the time or attention span to watch a full TV show or a movie, or simply just need a bite-sized dose of escapism, here are 5 of my favorite YouTubers (in no particular order):
When a Nigerian asks another Nigerian “Where are you from?”— A very specific answer is sought. In Nigeria, a person is from the state and tribe his/her father is from, which turns on the state and tribe his/her father’s father is from, and so on and so forth. This is in contrast to some Western cultures like America, where a person can be “from” a variety of places, including where the person was born, has lived the longest, has a valid driver’s license, owns property, etc.