Dusk: ToluBablo

Tolu has this nice quiet Wole Soyinka afro look about him. Met him this year and was struck by his aforementioned selling points. Enjoy his testimony

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I’m going to start my 2013 story from 2012. On December 31, 2012, my family moved into our own house. This means I spent the first hours of the year exploring the new house (I was too busy during its construction and I only saw it fully the week before we packed in).  The following day (January 1, 2013), we barely escaped a fire outbreak. The stabilizer the fridge was connected to caught fire and it spread to the fridge. Thankfully, I was passing by then, and I had the presence of mind to smother the fire and the engineering skills to isolate the socket. The house was filled with the acrid smell of burnt plastic for some time afterwards, but that was all the damage that was done. In fact, the fridge didn’t stop working in spite of the fire.

That’s what this year was about for me: lots of changes, and equally generous doses (I’m not one for Christianese, but this is the best way to put it) of God’s faithfulness.

I began my youth service this year, and I was ultimately posted to a very remote village in Rivers State (it is, in fact, on the boundary with Imo State. Just stroll across a farm, and you’re in Ngor-Okpala in Imo state). We don’t have electricity, we have very terrible mobile network coverage, and markets open every 8 days. For a city-bred kid like me, it was simultaneously frightening and sobering when I first got here, and I almost thought of abandoning the scheme.

I won’t say it has gotten better, but I’ve learnt to adjust, and I’ve learnt trust and faith. Trust in God, for when network vanishes, and you’re cut off from the world for days on end. Trust in family and in loco parentes, to pray for you and provide love and a warm place. Trust in your colleagues, to look out for you and to make the experience bearable. Trust in the villagers, that they don’t try to swindle, terrorize or kidnap you, as often happens to youth corp members in Rivers State. Trust and faith, but not in NYSC or the Federal Government. I won’t trust NYSC as far as I can throw the Commandant with one hand tied behind my back. It is all man for himself, God for us all.

I’ve learnt about myself. I’ve learnt that I’m capable of insane improvisations and inventions. I’ve learnt that I can adjust to a wide range of conditions and people, important for me as I do not suffer fools lightly and I’m not renowned for my patience. I learnt that I’ve won the battle against my temper problems: now when you piss me off, I keep quiet and walk away, and vent on Twitter whenever possible. I’ve learnt just how large a rebound ability I have: few things, or people can hold/keep me down. Rick Ross aint got nothing on me.

I’ve learnt again that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Believe me, it’s true. For everything I gave, I always got back at least 10 times in return. The more I gave the more I got. Let me tell you a secret: since I left home, I’ve not gotten even a 100 Naira recharge card from home, but I’ve never slept hungry. It’s not like they can’t/don’t want to give, it’s that I don’t need it. My mum asks how I cope and don’t ask for money, I never have an answer. I know it is God; N19,695 (after bank charges) is not enough for a proper night out in Rivers state, much less as monthly allowance. But I give, and it is given to me, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

One thing I’m proud of is my blog (or my writing, to be more specific. I abandoned my blog for a long stretch of time this year). I’m a very shy writer. Sharing/publishing my work isn’t always easy for me. I’m not beyond writing, showing it to a few friends and then locking it up in my laptop for ever. I am normally very skeptical and unsatisfied about what I write, but even I can see the improvements this year. I’ve done more: written for people, written across genres and in different styles. I’ve gotten compliments and recognition from people whose writing I admire and look up to, and that has made me very proud and happy. Here’s to further improvements.

It has not all been positive. I fear I have let God down far too many times this year. I am certain, for example, that I have not reciprocated His faithfulness and love towards me as much as I should or I’m capable of. But I’m grateful and exultant that He hasn’t stopped being faithful or loving.

I have fears. No, not fears. Doubts. Uncertainties. With NYSC drawing to an end, I don’t ‘have’ my life ‘mapped out’. Work? Masters? If work, what sector? For how long? I have attention issues, and any work that is boring/repetitive/monotonous is not for me. It will drive me crazy. Ergo, my choices are limited. If masters, where? In what? Even my lecturers can’t seem to agree on what I’m best suited for (embedded systems? Power? Control? Telecoms? Signal processing? I suppose I didn’t make it easy for them by offering all the available options and modules in my undergraduate days). But I’m not panicking. I’ve always been a day-by-day person (for instance, up until I filled my JAMB form, I had no idea what I wanted to do in university), and so far, it has worked out well. Plus more importantly, Oluwa is involved!

For 2014, I have 3 overwhelming desires: that I should always be available and conformable for God’s will, that I make God and family happy and proud, and that I be happy. These 3 are not always compatible/mutually inclusive but somehow, it will all work out. I love this verse, and I’m going to claim it for my 2014: Ephesians 3:20.

Here’s to happiness, fun and satisfaction. 2014 cannot come quickly enough.

 

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Your house fire story had my mouth agape in shock. Thank God the story was not with a bad ending. Thanks for sharing bro. 

Day 17: Motayo

“There, but for the grace of God, goes I” – John Bradford (1510- 1555)

January

Quiet start to the year, albeit spent at work in an offshore location without my family; prayers and hopes for a better year, without “occupying” anything. God obliged and it was drama free.

Started a journey I had no idea would take as long as it did. Sent my resume to a family friend who had been pestering me to “look outside” and awaited feedback. Had an interview third week of January. Nice start to the year.

Started an MBA program and I sure wasn’t prepared for the stress this would put on me.

 

February – March – April

Journey mercies, and finally getting into the groove of reading and learning some new things in the business world. As an engineer, I never thought all this other side of knowledge existed and all those actions and reactions in the business world are starting to make sense. A friend said something and I started rambling about how macro and micro-economic factors would affect something, and he smiled and said “I can see you are really learning something on this your program.” I felt good at that.

 

May

Great month. My month of acknowledging the power of God all over my life once again.

I was on my way back from Ibadan, when due to tiredness I dozed off for a few seconds, and the series of events that happened after that can only be a “scene from an action movie” (direct quote from my good “Lagosian” who drove me all the way back to Ibadan to report the incident at the police station and took me back to Lagos – God bless his heart).

I swerved to avoid hitting the car ahead of me, and swerved right back on seeing bushes ahead of me. The remaining was told to me on the way to Lagos. “The car disappeared into the middle section of the expressway for a few seconds, then shot up vertically into the air, all the time spinning about 4 times, then landed on the sided and rolled about thrice before coming to land on its tires.” The amazing thing is that through all this, I was firmly conscious and even tried to cover my face at a time, but just thought to myself: “If nothing has happened to me yet, then I should fear nothing.”

God is indeed good and I got out of the car myself unaided. Several cars had already parked and that day I saw the good side of Nigerians once again. People (bus drivers’ et al) were helping me scout for my possessions that had been flung far and wide and brought every single item and bank-note back to me. To all those that came to my aid, I say a big hearty thank you and to God, I continue to thank and worship.

Car 1

 

Car 2

 

June – July

Shaken and thoroughly confused for the next few days, I found it very difficult to concentrate on exams preparation for my program but I was able to take the exams nonetheless. Spent a better part of the month doing check-ups and resting.

Second semester started at MBA school, already tired of the program and I had two and a half years to go. It’s a marathon, my man, but we are definitely going to finish what we started. Ain’t no quitters here.

 

August – September

Journey mercies and contact from prospective company. God doesn’t forget. I was losing faith there for a minute but I have now gone from apathy concerning the new job to actually looking forward to it.

 

October

My birth month, thank God for seeing another year. He is always good to fulfil his promises. Spent the day at work as usual, as has been for the past four years. Need to fix that going into the new year. My wife always says it’s because I’m not around that she doesn’t turn up for me, so I’m looking forward to next year already.

 

November

Exam preparation is not easy. Too many things going on. I will survive; almost deferred the program, then I sent out a mail to someone and saw my mail signature:

To my GOD, a heart of Flame;
To my fellowmen, a heart of Love ;
To myself, a heart of Steel.

A heart of steel is what I need. I’ll get through this.

 

December

Paul Walker died and I revisited my May 22nd experience. God has been good for the year but, I can’t but think:

“There, but for the grace of God, goes Tayo O.”

 

Thank you father and I look forward to starting that new job next year. It’s not easy leaving my comfort zone, with the known brand and friends but of what use is my “heart of steel” if not to discover new processes and meet new people.

Bring on 2014.

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Solid man, solid post. The fact that this could be written is a testimony in itself. We are so glad that your life was spared. More power to your elbows brother. Thank you