Been ages in here! I had to spend a few minutes mowing the grasses that covered up the entire page.
*smiles* forgive my dry joke.
Been engaged in a lot lately. Couldn’t also find the right motivation to start from where I stopped, until earlier today at 2 am, something just clicked and I decided to pen this while doing some laundry.
I hope you enjoy it!
So it doesn’t matter how often I’m not around, I simply get to my chores and get the undone things done, believe me; there’s a lot of them, when I’m around.
Note: If it comes easy, I just might do a little bit of catching up on the lost episodes, again.
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It feels like it’s been ages since I last updated this journal. Actually, it’s been quite a while. A lot has been going on for me, as usual. The push and pull; of Life, passion, vision, dreams, love, family, academics, career, spirituality etc.
Well, here I am again, to keep up with the lost episodes, I hope I can do justice to that in this episode, besides, my fingers have been itching me; they miss pouring out these wandering thoughts of my mind. I’ll love to start from sometime around March, when I applied for a poetry competition, I’d already forgotten I applied when I received a mail that my poem was shortlisted among the top 10 poems in over 400 entries. Well, I was glad, and I was more happy when I got to know I was actually among the top 3 poets to be awarded. This took me to Abuja, my very first travel outside south-west actually, where I was awarded the 1st Runner-up for the Korean Cultural Center Poetry Fiesta, on 21st of March, celebrating world poetry day on the same date. In March was also when I represented the National Association of Muslim Law Students(Unilag chapter) for a debate in Lead City University, my first ever debate really, it was a success for we won the debate but lost the competition (our marks got reduced after someone raised an objection that my co-debater had multicolored socks on), although we didn’t come home with the trophy; we did with victory.
Well, that’s about March and the awards. In April, we had our first semester exams and around the beginning of the exams, I was not sure of myself and the demands of my choice of study, the demands were becoming overwhelming. But I forged ahead nevertheless. I’d had to drop a few of the things I used to engage in upon resumption this session, so I can have ample time for studying and my family. Still, it felt like I still had a lot on my plate. An instance was an advert I saw for a poetry competition, it was before the exams though, but I applied during the exam period. I couldn’t let it go, this is one of my most ignited passion after all; I applied and took my mind off it, while I continued with preparation for my next papers. After the first paper, I felt a little relaxed and certain that I could do this after all. I made sure however to go home during the breaks between one paper to the next; There were times when we even had upto 5 days break between 2 papers. I would go home, and draw inspiration from the sight of and being around my kids. My little man is now very familiar with me, never wanting to leave my side as soon as I’m home. And I ensure never to forget to take home goodies, because my handbag is his first point of exploration as soon as I drop him back on his feet. And my girl, she’s also grown into a young thoughtful girl, that she sometimes asks, “mommy when next are you going to school? Mo ma miss yin ti e ba ti lo – I’ll miss you after you leave.”
Now, May came, and along with it a short break of about 10 days, which of course a lot of us expanded into 2 weeks and more. Then came resumption. I spent as much time as I could with my kids, took them home to their dad. He was so happy to have them around. They were also on holiday and theirs was also a short one. It was a nice time with the whole family together, their dad took his Leave from work also, and it was fun running to mom this moment and to dad the next moment. That was all I could ever have asked for, but I’ve come to realize that life does not really give you all you ask for, you have to make do with what you have and be content with whatever you can find however or wherever you find yourself. I then told my daughter they have to go back to their grandma soon, and I have to resume school in a few days time and dad would also resume work. And with the promise that they would come back home soon enough, for another break or holiday, she was satisfied, I’m sure by now she also knows that life can not always be fair to give you everything you want, the way you want it.
To be continued in the next episode here…
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Remember the interview I? Well, this episode is dedicated to another such interview, it was conducted by a group I belong to on campus known as the “Parliament of Poets” after I received the last poetry award I did. You might want to read through it. It gives an insight into my sojourn as a poet.
(1) Who is Mar’yam, the poet, and how has the journey being so far?
Mar’yam is a lady who finds solace in poetry, as an art and as a passion. I find solace in poetry because I believe it is the only way I can give fluidity and flexibility to the emotions that surge within me. And the journey hasn’t really been far for me because I started taking poetry serious just a bout 2 years ago and the first lengthy poem I wrote then was titled “thoughts on the white throne” and it was really so, because I was in the rest room when the words kept coming like a revelation, and I remember repeating the words to myself then calling on one of my siblings to start putting it down before I forget. Before then, I only usually write my musings of Max 10 lines on an application known as “wattpad”. And because I believe rhymes and rhythms makes a whole part of this world, I enjoy having most of my works actually rhyme, all my early works can be seen as that.
(2) You have been on a winning streak for sometime now, Tell us about it?
Well, I believe it’s been God’s grace all along, and of course tremendous effort to better my poetry skills personally by reading and appreciating other people’s works and also commitment to always pass a message across to the world through poetry. So far, so good, I’ve participated in four poetry competitions and of the four, 3 were organized at grassroots level and one, national/International; I had the 1st position in the very first one by “Angearl initiatives last August, thereafter was the arms of clemency’s own where I also came 1st, then came the M.A.D initiative where I was among the top 3, then the most recent which is also the fourth one is that of the Korean Cultural Center Nigeria, where I came up as the 1st runner up – second position – in the adult category with over 400 entries.
(3)What makes the poems that have won Poetry Prizes unique and how do you think they stand out?
Well, I’m also still trying to find out that one or two things that makes them unique, but I’m sure of one thing, I ensure I write in simple language, clear enough diction, apply adequate literary devices in my poems, observe other spices that give a poem it’s uniqueness when dished on a piece of paper, and God’s grace does the rest. Also, I believe it’s obvious to whoever reads my poems that I write them with passion, I don’t force the feelings or the words down, I write them when they flow, that’s why I sometimes spend days, weeks or even months on some of my poems before completion.
4) You are also a staunch member of the Parliament of Poets, how has the PoP being and what is she to you?
Well, the Parliament of poets has been a kind of bedrock for people like me, a place where I can feel comfortable in my own skin, where I can bring home my emotions by expressing them unhindered. PoP has been like a mother, in whose arms we have been carried to attain feats with poetry, it has created an avenue for people like me to be part of a great family that pushes one to achieve greatness with poetry. Now, being a member of this great movement has been a privilege to me, and I’m glad to be part of the founding members. It is however a very dear movement to me, one which I’m sure is designed for greater feats within and beyond its Alma Mata.
5)What can you say about the most recent poetry prize you won? What defines the prize?
The most recent poetry prize I won is the 1st runner up i.e second position in the Korean cultural center Nigeria Poetry competition, the competition was organized by the KCCN in collaboration with Arojah concepts in Abuja, and the winners were announced and given awards at an event commemorating the “world poetry day” on 21st of March 2017. The event was really eye-opening to me and indeed very exposing, as I had the opportunity of meeting with some dignitaries, young poets, performers and of course it was my first visit to Abuja. The 1st prize winner in the adult category is to be given a cash prize of one hundred thousand naira, the second; seventy thousand naira and the third; fifty thousand naira. Although I do tell people, it’s not just about the money, the most important thing is that achieved feat, winning or topping the list because your message was heard or read. Funny thing is I had even forgotten I entered into the competition, until I received a mail a week to the event, informing me that I was shortlisted among the top ten in an entry of four hundred and seventy two participants from Nigeria, Ghana, Thailand and one or 2 other countries. I was happy then, but I still wasn’t sure of my exact position, so I was anxious, hopeful and prayerful until I got to know I was among the top three, that enabled me go to Abuja for the event.
(6) What are your plans for/about Poetry and what do you think poetry is capable of giving the world
My plans for/about poetry include writing more poems, participating in more poetry competitions, letting people know that poetry is serious business and publishing my first collection of poems before the year runs out (God’s willing).
I believe poetry is capable of shaping the world positively through the poets’ words, like when a poet uses his words to preach cleanliness, propagate peace, promote unity, ensure equality an so on and on, all these for instance we’ve done and will still do in the Parliament of poets where we’re known as “Acknowledged Legislators For the World”.
I have a message and I shall spread it through my pen.
Your words to other young poets?
Let your passion be driven by a desire to always pass a beneficial message across to the world with your pen. Write more, Read more, Muse more and of course Dare more. And, never enter into competitions for the sake of the money or prizes, else it would stain your passion and turn it into an unholy mission.
So, we resumed school for a new semester (May still), I had a huge project right in front of me, a charity outreach of the children foundation I run, where we planned to celebrate children’s day with the needy kids by donating uniforms, schools socks, sandals, underpants and vests, in an event themed “Dress-A-Child”. I couldn’t resume classes immediately because of the running around; for the preparation of the event. Then results came trickling in and I couldn’t be less grateful; although, I knew I could do better, but thank God there was none less than average. The result for the poetry competition was also released and I didn’t make the long or shortlist, I then told a poet friend of mine, who also didn’t make it that “guess it’s the time for those who did, afterall, we both made it to the KCCNP and life is sometimes about give and take.” The charity event was later held on the 31st of the month (May) and it was a huge success too. Again, I couldn’t be less grateful to God Almighty, because it initially appeared like just a dream; trying to dress over 200 pupils of a public primary school. But it was achieved, and 50 pupils got new uniforms, 50 pairs of sandals were distributed and socks, underpants and vests, and other school items were distributed indiscriminately among over 200 of the kids.
May also marked the beginning of the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan, a month we anticipate so much that we pray fervently to witness it, so we can earn lots of benefits from it. We’re therefore presently in the month and it’s been showers of blessing by the Almighty, as long as one keeps up the good works and acts of worship are done appropriately.
June is here now, and with it comes new opportunities, renewal of dreams, rekindling of visions, pursuance of passions, realignment of priorities; Faith, Family, Academics, Dream, Career, Passion and whatever comes and is admittable. Just recently, someone asked me how my husband feels about me taking up new roles. I said “My husband knows the kind of lady he’s married to, and rather than complain about my activities he accepts wholly that this is a woman who can go from being a wife at one point, to being a mother at a point, to being a journalist the next moment, to being an entrepreneur this moment, then a charity worker at that moment, and to being a student at another point to being whatever she wants to be at any point…” I remember him teasing me that “…you want to do everything, every single thing…” and I’ll tell him to just keep praying for me and supporting me, with that and God’s guidance, there’s no limit to where or what I can do.
I’ll keep you posted on the events in June by God’s will… But believe me, my timeline is filled up already. My newest quote “I’m set upon a path… So help me God.”
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So, I found this interview in my archive. I remember quite all right when it was conducted, sometimes last year, by an online based medium. After they got to know about the “journal of a student-mother”.
Reading through it again made me realize that the information in it is still as relevant as ever, I then decided to share it in this episode of the journal.
I: Maa Shaa Allah, it has been Allah’s mercies so far. And with a supportive husband and parents who have always been there, Allah has been making it easy. My mother has been helping with taking care of the children, so my mind is always at ease to study well while at school. And my husband has been very understanding and selfless in allowing me pursue my dreams at the expense of his marital pleasures. And my father has been a wonderful backbone all the way, never ceasing his financial and moral support, and always there to admonish me and put me back on track.
Q: IS MARRIAGE AN OBSTACLE THAT AFFECTS ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE? PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE.
Several years ago, Mom was our cook, our nurse, our teacher, our stylist, our seamstress, our friend, and above all, she was our mother, the African style; with winks, glares, spanks and even canes for going wrong.
Although, we spent most of our childhood days with her mom, whom we call “mama”, and who was also our cook, nurse, friend and a true mother to us, that we almost never felt the absence of our mom. Mom was not always around as she was in the university then, but she comes to see us each time they’re on break in school. And if her semester break falls within the same period as our mid-term or end of the term break, she takes us home to dad, and that usually is our bonding moment, a great one at that.
She was our cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner, preparing for us various delicacies; the “ikokore”, “ila asepo” with fresh fish, the “moi moi”, “godo”,”Amala” “Luru” among others, and by midday, she doubled as our teacher, teaching us both English and Arabic alphabets and words, in the African way though i.e with canes for every mispronounced and misspelt word or letter, those were the moments I used to dread most during those days. And she would take up the work of a stylist to make my hair into thick braids (the only style she knows how to do till date), and shave my brothers’ own with a traditional shaving tool (comb and razor; still can’t find that in recent years), she multiplied as our seamstress, sewing different types of dresses that were in vogue for us, she was also a great friend; playing with us and telling us stories, folktales and proverbs/adage late into the night at times, especially when we had to spread the mat outside in the compound for lack of power supply. She was a lot of things, yes, but above all, a mother that has the best interest of her children at heart.
Here I am, several years later, threading that same path. Although, I’m still striving to be all that and more to my children, but not like the age-long “African-Style” mother, more like a “modern-African style” with lots of glares and scolds, few spanking and “almost never” caning. But I’m proud to be their seamstress, stylist (even though I only know how to braid like my mom, it’s not as thick as hers), friend, cook, teacher and nurse whenever I’m home.
“Ummu” (mother in arabic) as we now call my mom, doubles as mother to not just me and my siblings, but also to my children, and my little boy goes about the house calling her “mommy”, and when he sees me, he becomes the boy with two moms, both of us answering simultaneously some times, my girl knows better though, she knows one is her mom’s mom and the other is her mommy.
So to all those mothers who multiply as different personalities to their kids; taking up various roles, despite all odds, and to those who strive to be, this is for you!
May our kids celebrate us always.
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It’s a new week already! I missed the previous week’s episode of my journal; a lot has been going on as usual and the days of my weeks always scream “busy!”. To say I had a busy last two weeks would be an understatement, last week alone, we had a presentation that was postponed from the previous week, it is to form part of our continuous assessment for contract class. It went well after all and we were all happy because we had put in our very best and the lecturer, a professor of law, had nice words for us.
Interestingly, I was the presenter, though we were informed from the onset that the lecturer could call on anyone else for conclusion; that she did. But the beauty of it all was the spirit of unreserved team work. After witnessing other groups’ presentations and the poor comments from the lecturer, I couldn’t help but appreciate my group members over again. We worked tirelessly and met several times, with very insignificant dispute as we all had a common goal; to succeed in the presentation, so everything that would help in achieving that was embraced, and yes! It paid off.
And there was the poetry performance we did at the Gani Fawehinmi Students’ Chamber’s annual symposium the previous Friday, it was fun yet challenging and also insightful because the chief speaker, Dr. Obi Ezekwesili, had very encouraging words for the youths to take back Nigeria with their voices. Coincidentally our performance was themed “Voices” too, we had positive feedbacks from our audience and we became more determined as members of the “parliament of poets” to do more with our ‘voices’ through poetry.
So, I saw my babies last weekend and this of course, and it gets harder to leave them behind now, because my lil’ man recognizes me a lot now that he begins to watch my move to the moment he sees me dressed up, I’ll then resort to all sort of tricks to leave unsuspecting. But his sister, mini-me, has no issue with my leaving, as long as I provide her with something to munch on before I leave, she would wave her small hands and bid me farewell, she even looks happy sometimes, reassured in her little mind that she’ll see me soon again.
Also, I’m doing all I can to ensure that my marriage doesn’t bear the grunt of my educational pursuit entirely. My husband has been very understanding thereby supportive, but I know not to take things for granted, so each time I’m home, I make sure I do all the necessary duties expected of me, and I ensure we save time for a little chat as well; it’s important to remain friends after all, not just bed partners.
Now, I have to drop my pen, I have another test to prepare for, then a debate, and our examination of course which is barely 30days away. I never stop to pray for God’s continuous mercy and guidance because forging ahead despite all has only being by his grace and mercy.
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Been a while since I published my last post. I’ve been super busy – true, but I feel I’m also experiencing a writer’s block. But that’s about to change now, at least I started writing this already.
No one promised me it would be easy, pursuing one’s dream or vision is not meant to be easy, anyone who finds it easy is not doing it right, yes. I’ve been so wrapped up in school works lately I hardly find time to do other stuffs, but I made sure to check on my babies during the weekends, though I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have loved to the weekend before the last, I managed to be with them nevertheless. Every time I could spare to be with them was what I promised myself I would use, and I intend to do so regardless of how little the time is, a few hours would work as well as an entire weekend, just to get myself ready to forge through a new week.
Lectures have been interesting but very demanding. Each lecturer comes to class to dump whatever lesson they feel we should know at this stage and gives an assignment like he/she is the only one teaching us. Learning condition is zero, but we can not preach “zero tolerance” in our conditions as we’ll be the ones to bear the grunt still as Zero is the least difficult grade to award students.
Did I mention our cases, case laws, Constitution sections etc.? We have to remember them a lot more than we remember our names or the names of our fathers. And what about the monochrome affairs? From the White and black dresses to black and white attitudes of students and some lecturers even.
So, we did a CAT (continuous assessment test) just the other day, and yes we were tested like our lives depended on it. Well, our grades actually do and if grades are used to measure one’s success in life, then our lives depend on it, but I know better, a few of us do. It is no news that what applies out there on the field, in the “outside world” i.e beyond your lecture rooms, textbooks, outdated libraries, over stroked lecture notes etc., is a different (with a capital D) world entirely. Survival of the fittest is what’s at play, so as much as you spend time to build an academically strong standing for yourself, take time out to build your fitness; socially, psychologically, economically and religiously, as those would ensure your survival in this world.
The test went well, in the least, it would help us get prepared for the examination coming up in less than two months. Another test is slated to hold by next week and a lot of us are quite prepared already, I’m not by the way.
We now have a lot of elderly ones in class (they got admission through direct-entries) and even I, as oldly-young as I am, wonder what exactly brought each of those people back to study law. These are men and women who have done their 1st degrees and quite a few of them have also done their second degree and are now working. Ironically, a few of them show more seriousness than the younger folks. I remember asking the 57-year-old man in my class once what brought him to study Law, and he told me it was his dream to become a lawyer and he doesn’t believe that he’s too old to pursue his dream. I want to assume that the other elderly ones share in that sentiment too, at least I’ll permit myself to assume that until I’m able to ask a few more amongst them. I actually relate with him, for a dream ceases to be a dream until you live it, thereby making it come to life. As Walt Disney famously quoted: All our dreams can come true; if we have the courage to pusue them.
It’s another weekend already, and as usual, home calls!
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Another week has passed in between our white and black story. I’ve been caught up real hard in a lot of thoughts and activities, trying to get it right still; “the sorting” I called it. I’m progressing though but I’m yet to fully sort myself and activities, don’t know why it’s taking this long.
I saw my kids last weekend, I was overjoyed. It’s always like that you see, the over-flowing happiness at setting my eyes upon them and the pride at hearing them call “mommy”, especially my lil’ man. He clung to me immediately he saw me and refused to let anyone else carry him, my mom was the only one he would stretch towards for her to carry him again. It was fun listening to him call mommy and say his other baby words I’m yet to fully understand. And his sister, words alone can not explain how I feel each time I look at her. Though I spent just a day with them, because I had to go home to spend the remainder of the weekend with their dad, it was a memorable moment, as always. One that always last me through another week of tumultuous activities in school.
It’s convocation week in my school and its a near lecture-free week, I call it that because only 2 out of the five days of the week is when lectures hold, the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are for the event. It was fun. It was inspiring too. Seeing a journey of 4 or 5 years reach a destination, their happiness brought to life with parents and family members basking in pride at yet another success in form of a graduating offspring. I had to be on campus, for tutorials and it was overwhelming watching graduation gowns flowing behind the wearers and caps askew on heads, above all, unrepressed joy masked on faces. While passing by a group of the celebrants, I had a momentary spill-off from the euphoria that rented the air, I then continued my journey in my mind because the struggle continues for us, at least for the next few years.
Yes, I had to be on campus for tutorials, group discussions, reading and other academic engagments. Periods like this – convocation – is usually used by a lot of students to have a break; spend time with family, travel home (for those who come from quite far places), pursue a personal project, study etc. It would have been an ample opportunity to spend sometime with my family too, but this session is different. I could not afford to. There’s still a lot to be learned, a lot to get used to, a lot of cases to be known and topics to understand perfectly well. I mean, here is a field where one has to familiarize oneself with cases that happened even before one’s mom and dad were born, or before one’s grandparents met. It has been tasking truly, but we’re taking it a step at a time. I’m especially trying to “sort” a near-perfect schedule for myself, a suitable one. I’ve been finding that a herculean task probably because I’m not staying on campus and the time I get home varies.
So I saw that cousin of mine, the one I mentioned in the previous series that she cares for her baby herself and goes through a lot of stress in the process of studying to acquire an LLB after a B.A. Degree in another discipline. Well, she’s now in her final year and her little baby is now a little girl. That is “how time flies” indeed. Now she’ll be counting months to the end of her struggles as a student-mother, one that had to care for her child alongside her studies. She’s really been strong and above all determined. And very soon, she’ll look back at those moments and thank God she made that leap. In her also, I draw determination.
Another weekend is here and I just want to spend it as I love to; with my babies. All that is left after the class on Friday is to count the hours until I have them in my arms again.
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