Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Man O War

Memories are a strange thing. More often than not they lie dormant...Not forgotten, they are simply biding their time until some unwitting catalyst comes along and open those floodgates. After that there is no denying the onslaught, the rush of sensations so acute you can almost taste feel and smell them. This was exactly what I experienced when I read Jasmine's post on her recent trip to Shere Hills, Jos.

It brought back memories of 1995, the year of my trip to Shere Hills. I went to Secondary school at Adesoye College in Offa, Nigeria. It was definitely a pioneering institution, the founder Chief Adesoye called it "an experiment in excellence" and the dramatic results of his experiment can be seen all over Nigeria today. Chief Adesoye along with the first school Principal, Miss Ruth E Howard crafted a model for secondary education that is now ardently followed and improved upon continually all over Nigeria. They put a private boarding school in an extremely remote location, far away from all things cosmopolitan on extremely enormous grounds and gave us a natural setting in which to develop and grow as organically as possible. Pampered children had to learn how to be self- sufficient, but we never actually suffered. Among other things we were not allowed to go home during the school term and we only had a few Sundays on which our family was allowed to visit. We were not allowed to watch television, although there were chosen movie nights, and sometimes access to international news. But I digress, the point is that as part of their radical plan to shape us into leaders of tomorrow, they instituted a mandatory trip to the Man O War Bay at Shere Hills for orientation training.

The Man O War bay is a citizenship and leadership training centre often used by the military and NYSC . It became a ritual of passage in Adesoye College, students at the end of their fifth year went there for two weeks. The theory was that by the time you came back you would be more than ready to lead the school in your sixth year. The changes that the programme wrought on students were nothing short of incredible, and lifetime bonds were born in that place. That was where I became the person that I am today. Prior to going there, my self-consciousness knew no bounds, but there is nothing like sleeping in an abandoned school building on the floor with every other member of your set to relieve you of all inhibitions.

From mountain climbing to abseiling to rafting we were challenged physically and mentally in ways that I never realised was possible. We were split into teams for the duration of our stay with mixing along ethnic and religious lines and given numerous activities, including staging news programmes and embarking on "the plateau scheme". The "plateau scheme" was supposed to embody everything we learned while we were there and it was basically a scavenger hunt. We went of in our groups with maps, a compass and a cutlass and had to find certain markers and make it to the designated point by the end of the day. The first group to get there won the challenge and if any member of your team was left behind then you were disqualified.

As a Lagosian, this experience changed me for life, and the bonds of friendship with my classmates became bonds of kinship. They became my family, and still are today...all in two weeks. Jos is a magical place, and I am fortunate to have had that experience, so I am extremely grateful to Jasmine for rekindling those fondest of memories.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Who the hell kidnapped the damn Easter Bunny?

A little more American bashing (I love you guys, honest!)

What do you call people who ruin Easter fun? Are they also humbugs? If I say they are humbugs, then so shall it be. It is bad enough that Americans are forced to go to work on Good Friday and Easter Monday, as I get Good Friday off I really couldn't care less what happens to the rest of them! HA HA!

However, what good is all that when there are no glorious Easter eggs to share my joy? The selection available is pitiful. I have to spend $30 for some random Godiva confection that tastes like crap....where's the fun? And where's the present? I miss seeing the outlandish displays at Sainbury's, rows of Easter eggs in every form of chocolate known to Cadbury's with every gimmick under the sun. I don't really like chocolate, but there is something special about cradling that humongous egg in my arms as I get ready to devour it.....this year there will be no such fun. So all you ungrateful so and so's in sure to make the most of it.

PS In case you couldn't tell......I am still sleep deprived in the dying moments of my tradeshow with about half an hour left to go. This sleep deprivation + boredom + easter egg rage has led to the above whinge. Indulge me.

Somebody save me.....

I have the Monday blues with a vengeance .......Help!!!

I am currently sitting behind the UKTI booth at the New York Biotech Association Annual Conference. This is no way to spend Monday when you haven't had any sleep for the last 36 hours! Granted it was entirely my fault, but I'm not sure the punishment is fitting. This weekend was a blast. The majority of Americans do not get any time off over Easter, so I was very grateful for that extra day and a half even though I'm grumbling today. On Friday, I went over to visit the Iyayi girls and ended up heading to home that evening with Isi, Jumoke and Chantal were we proceeded to dance up a storm till 5am. This made rousing myself on Saturday rather tough, but there was no alternative as I was due to meet up with K and Ugoma in town. Eventually, I was able to make it happen and we did a spot of shopping before returning my place to get ready to go out yet again.

The evenings activities included an hour-long stint at a poetry night that never quite came together and a gallery opening that seemed unusually overflowing with sleazy old men culminating in Yomi J and I spending some QT at APT. Suffice to say another night with limited sleep passed by and before I knew it, it was Sunday and I had to spend a few hours in the office before heading off to Long Island for Easter dinner with K's fam. We returned to NYC late that evening and headed straight back out to Guesthouse, and then finished up in Bungalow 8 where we danced the night away with Sienna Miller, Lindsey Lohan and friends. Of course by this time it was 5.30 am and I was due at the office at 6.45 to prepare for the tradeshow, so sleep never quite happened!

I know this is the craziest post ever and there is probably no one outthere who has a clue what I just wrote, but this is what happens when you are sleep deprived and then decide to chase that with 10 hours of listening to scientists tell you how they are planning on changing the world.

PS. I wish I could allude the name dropping to sleep deprivation, but that was mostly because I am a show-off who loves to point out how fabulous I am!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Begin rant: I cannot overstate how much technical support inthe USA annoys me. Having used tech support in the UK as well, I can officially say there is a massive difference. I have been trying sort out issues with my wireless network for weeks now, and finally after holding on for 2 hours on several occasions I managed to get through to a human being. Now having worked in many a call centre myself, I know exactly how these things work. I refuse to believe that there isn't a massive board with red blaring numbers urging these minions to get a move on! When I finally got through to someone, of course she couldn't answer any of my questions. It took me 5 minutes to get her to understand the concept of USB. For the first time in my life I understood what people meant when they said "it was like pulling teeth". And so after an hour and a half of explaining all the trouble I was having and realising I was getting nowhere, I decided to throw caution to the wind and reset the router. Voila! Wireless connection....D-link, thanks for nothing. Get thy dumbass call centre over to India with the rest of you compadres. Call me crazy, but I'll take a tech-savvy person in another time-zone over a MacDonalds reject who didn't graduate from high school anyday! Here the rant endeth!