HAPPY LIST

 

I was going through Pinterest this morning and I remembered reading in passing a line somewhere where which talks about “things that make you happy”…well, considering I was not in a state I will define as happy this morning, I skipped past that line without giving it a second glance.

Shortly after, my phone buzzed and the display showed it was a Facebook call from my brother-in-law. I walked out of my shared office space to receive the call.

While we were still exchanging pleasantries, my phone buzzed and the Facebook call was abruptly ended by the call coming through…caller ID showed “dad” calling. I received the call and we chatted some. He had dreamt about me last night and thought he should call to “check on me”…well I am fine and so the call came to an end…

I called back my brother-in-law and we continued…

When I got back to the office, I suddenly realized I felt happier and while thinking what could have caused the change in my mood, that line from the Pinterest flashed back to my mind and then it clicked…I became happy because I just spoke to family!!  Then I thought to myself why not make a note of what makes me happy so I can refer to it next time I feel the need for a boost and lift in spirit…

As I made the note, another thought came to mind…why not just make a post about it and who knows, it might put a smile on someone’s face or someone might read it and be happy/happier or better still someone will get challenged to make their own “Happy list”.

So here is my random happy list…It is by no means exhaustive. It is also not listed in any order…just a list of the first 10 things that came to my mind which makes me happy.

 

  1. Family – Of course you know I had to start here right?

 

  1. Companions – They are friends…but more than just friends. This is a small, crazy and tightly knitted bunch at church who meet every Wednesday for a very informal meeting. It creates a platform to open up and be vulnerable without feeling judged. I am a happy dude every Wednesday cos I am sure to get a full refill of my happy-tank.

 

  1. Kitchen – (Disclaimer: I am not an excellent cook!!) I don’t cook often…I sometimes could go on for weeks without cooking a meal. But I have found out that whenever I step into the kitchen to make something – could be simple stuff like a cup of tea or a complex like a new recipe – I get a shot of ‘happy steroids’! so every now and then when I find myself in the kitchen, I am a happy Z. 🙂

 

  1. WritingI mean informal writing, I not only love writing but I get a ‘happy pill’ in my system whenever I do. I sometimes wonder why I don’t get the same thrill when I have to write my thesis and other scientific/academic stuff that I do often…topic for another day? maybe? maybe not? 🙂

 

  1. MusicMusic is life!! Let me just leave it at that… I love music and music loves me. Music kinda gives the bro an overdose of “Happy hormones” which hits me straight at that spot and takes me to cloud number Z! Oh and let me through you back a few years. by inviting Pharrell Williams to say it musically..HAPPY!!

 

  1. TravellingI am on an ‘adrenaline rush’ each time I start planning for a trip, it does not matter if it is to a new place or somewhere I have been to before, just the act of planning for a trip and mentally knowing I will be packing and going away for some time is all it takes to hit my “happy buttons”. I count down to the day and I am like on a sugar rush when the day finally comes. I love travelling and so glad my wife also share this love with me. We’ve got lots of happy memories we share on our trips. The happiest me is the travelling me!

 

  1. Looking good – “Looking good is serious business” who said that? I don’t know but I do agree. I don’t always look good because sometimes I think it is too much work and effort, but when I take the time to try look good, it gives me a shot of happiness. One of my favorite radio personalities Pearl Modiadie is fond of saying “If you look good, you feel good” I couldn’t have said it better!

 

  1. KidsI usually walk around with a serious, sometimes scary face I have been told. If you observe me out there and all of a sudden see my face break into a wide grin…look in the direction of my eyes and you most likely to see a kid. That says it all! 

 

  1. DogsI have written about my love for dogs before, if you missed it, you can read it here… I can live in a world of dogs and I won’t miss a lot. Not sure there is any creature that comes as close in cuteness and ‘pure-heartedness’ as a dog. Dogs, especially puppies give me what I call the ultimate super turbo-charge of happiness.

 

  1. Social MediaThis post started from my visit to Pinterest this morning right? need I say more? This appeals to my inquisitive side a lot more…I regularly pop into Twitter and smile away. I have gained a lot from my time on social media. I am still learning a lot though and with each day, I find out new things…one thing that has remained constant in my learning curve on social media though is it makes me happy.

 

So here are Ten random things that make me happy…I have made a note and next time I feel like in need of a happy pill, I know where to go…I will keep building the list in my journal too…it is my responsibility to keep me happy! You should do same… drop a comment of what makes you happy…I am always open to learning new stuff and I just might pick a new happy pill from you.

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My name is…

What exactly is there in a name? We all have names…wonderful names. Lately, I have found myself thinking a lot on significance of names and what actually goes into a name…what factors guide decisions in picking a name or nick name? I grew up in an era where there was a tide of English names been preferable to native African names. I know a few of my friends who dropped the native names given them by their parents and picked up an English name because it was considered almost a shame to bear a native name.

What-is-Your-Name-o

It was the norm then when you meet a new person and introduce yourself by name(a native name) the first question that comes your way is don’t you have an English name? This led to many picking up English names while others who didn’t have the guts to completely drop off the native names resulted to adding an English name to their native names.  They then only use the native names on official documents like certificates while they introduce themselves to everyone with an English name which in some cases is the English translation of their native name. I remember a friend whose name is “Sarki”…a name which in Hausa language means “king”….on paper Sarki remained Sarki but to his friends and everyone else, he was King.

Back then I found it really hard to make sense of such decisions to desperately need an English name. Recently, however, with me thinking a lot about names…I am beginning to having a rethink. This morning my usual quite/meditative hour was interrupted by my friend laughing hysterically…I wondered by the laughter in such an early hour and I asked why. She passed me her phone and I saw she was on Facebook…looking closer I see she was looking at a picture posted of someone’s ID card…I looked back with this “and then” look on my face and she asked that I look at the name…the name was “Stages of War” and that is someone’s name !!!. I shared in the laugh and that ended my quite time…

That thought has been on my mind all day and I was wondering if my parents had named me “Stages of War” what will I do? Now I also was wondering why the parent gave him such a name? could there be a history behind it? yes most likely but could it be worth giving a child such a “herculean” name? It led me to thinking of some names…names I consider either strange or outright funny which I have heard or seen lately and it was even more weird that all these names come from the same country…which led to me wondering even further..what goes into name giving in that country? What was going on in the minds of the parents when they give names like “Perpendicular”, “Acknowledge” and “One day” among others?

I somehow believe we all in one way or the other live out our names…hence when I hear a person’s name, I am keen to ask more or ponder about it….the name “Art of War” has defied all logic and I only wish I get a chance to ask the parent why the choice of this particular name…

So again…what is your name?

BACK…again!!!

Yes..It has been 98 days away…that is long I know and if you read my “about” page you will see I confessed I am not a regular writer (though I am working on becoming one)…I am more of a “therapeutic writer”…I wonder if there is any such term…anyways I think that is the term that bests describes me when it comes to blogging…I write to keep me sane and alive…now if my last post was 98days you can only imagine how close I am to a full blown insane man…actually I think if you will rate insanity on a scale of 0-10, I should now sit comfortably between 5 – 6…or maybe higher….hehehehe…now you know my current state…and after seeing my state on the insanity scale, I had to jettison my initial plan to make a return after 100 days!! A lot can happen in 2 days you know…so yeah it’s time to let out the steam and return to a more decent frame and state of sanity.

I spent the last weekend camping with friends and family….it was at the camp that I realized and decided it is time to return from my break… The camp was at the River Goose Camp site..the bit I will say about the camp is if you are planning a vacation in South Africa and you are an outdoor camp freak like me…you love to be in the farm, close to nature, treated to a serene star filled sky at night and an all-day orchestra of bird calls and songs around you, paddling, kayak-ing and just leaving the hustle and bustle of the busy and noisy city life then Goose camp is your destination…you won’t find a better camp!!! see more about the place here and let my pictures do the rest of the talking…
😀

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Making Love at the Edge

Two days ago I received an email from Marta…now I am not sure what prompted her to send me the email (I should make a note to send her an email asking why). She said she just returned to Portugal from Greece where she had gone to meet with her boyfriend’s folks. Perhaps that may be the reason why she sent the email…maybe not.

Ok, I met Marta in Madagascar in 2009…I still remember the day we met…it was October 30th …we met at the airport in Antananarivo. She had the most amazing smile I had seen and she was so chatty from the word go…you know one of those people who are sanguine to the core? Yes that is Marta…we both had arrived for a Tropical Biology Association (TBA) course along with 16 other participants from 13 countries spread over Africa and Europe. We had participants from Benin Republic, Germany, Cameron, Ireland, Rwanda, the UK, Nigeria, France, Netherlands, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Portugal and Madagascar.

It was love at first sight for me and Madagascar. It was my first time on an island, I had read a lot about the country and yes I had also watched the cartoon and have fantasized long enough for the day I will get the opportunity to also sing and dance  “I wanna move it, move it”.. :-). My dream was finally coming to reality. Geographically, Madagascar is located off the south easterly coast of Africa. I call it the other edge of Africa. We became a family and formed a strong bond. Its been over 3 years now since the course ended but our bond has only grown stronger, we exchange emails and have kept in touch since. There at the edge of Africa, I found love, and there love was made; A new family was born; a family that included Marta and all the other members of the TBA family.

Yes, so while love was made and a family was born, a bond which was more special to me was also developing in Madagascar…I was bonding with the entire participants and other staff of the course but I experienced something more than just an ordinary bond with one of the participants. I still am not sure when it started, but I all of a sudden discovered that there was an angel within our midst I felt my heart beat quicken each time our gaze lock. I was falling in love and for all the right reasons. The participant from Zimbabwe has captured my heart…I felt the chemistry and other participants also saw the magic.

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Marta’s Photo of Tendai and I
2009
Kirindy, Madagascar

Marta also saw the bond and never wasted an opportunity to tell us how good we look together. We seem to be everyone’s ideal couple. In Marta’s email, she attached a photo…I was completely unaware the picture was taken…Now Marta has a way with words….so since she took the photo and sent it to me…I will allow her do the talking  as well…this is what she had to say in her email. “…I was looking at the old book of memories and found something I wanted to share with you… 🙂 I took the picture attached when we were at kirindy. You were so deeply connected in one of your thousands conversations that you didn’t even noticed my presence inside the room. I still remember my thoughts while I was taking the picture. “I have to immortalize this moment. What a deep connection of souls. This is the beginning of something beautiful. I am happy I took it…I am happy I am sharing it with you… 🙂  A big kiss for you both!! And Love…Always love…”

I can’t say more…thank you Marta for immortalizing that moment…I will forever cherish the photo. Indeed that was a connection of souls and the beginning of something beautiful… today, three years down the line, Tendai and I are still exploring the world of love together…I love her more even as the years go by and each day we spend together, is a reminder of the great privilege God granted me to meet Marta and the other beautiful souls in Madagascar in 2009. That year, at the edge of Africa, love was made; a new family was born….but more importantly to me, a bond was formed, two beautiful souls were eternally connected and I found Tendai…the love of my life.

From that Madagascar to the other coast of Africa, the south-western coast of Africa, actually the most south-westerly point of Africa continent, The place called Cape Point, South Africa, another of my/our giant love stride was taken in April, 2013…Seems, my love story has always been made on the edge… 🙂 I will tell you about that in my next post…for now I got to go…need to call Tendai who is currently away in Kenya for a few days…another edge of Africa 😉

BEAUTIFUL PLASTICS KILLER PLASTICS

I love the environment and it bleeds my heart when I see how our life styles and activities destroy the environment. I am a conservation biologist both by training and at heart. The changes I have seen happening in the environment is scary and it is even more alarming to see that this change is not abating but has been on the increase especially over the last few decades.
I am not sure when it happened but it is no news that we have so fallen in love with plastics in our contemporary world today, a walk down the street now and I come across plastics in all forms, shapes, colours and forms…plenty plastics, beautiful plastics. From fancy plastic bags to plastic packaging and packs, from plastic water bottles to plastic chairs…it is plastic everywhere. From the urban areas to the rural, from developed nations to the less developed and underdeveloped nations the trend is the same…plastics in all forms and shapes are used every day.
Plastics are nice but plastics are also killers…plastics do not completely decompose this means they remain in the environment, filling up space and disrupting ecological balance in the environment. When plastics pile up, they need to be disposed off and since they do not readily decompose, it becomes a problem how to manage the ever increasing plastic pile. One way in which plastics are disposed off is by dumping them in the ocean.
After the plastics are dumped what happens next? Yeah usually the thought might be that, that will be the end of it – case closed. What many perhaps fail to realize is that another world exist in the ‘waters’…the aquatic world made up of lots of organisms, the aquatic biodiversity also need a healthy aquatic environment to survive and with the dumping of waste in the ocean, this dream is becoming bleak and ‘dooms day’ seem to draw closer with each passing day. No thanks to humans, our lifestyles and inconsideration to other biodiversity.
I just watched this short video clip on how terrible things can get with the dumping of plastic waste in the ocean. Now this is just what plastic waste can do, there are other wastes that are disposed off into the environment daily, having catastrophic effects on plants and animals. What we may not know is these effects don not end with the plants fishes and other animals only but subsequently reach up to humans who depend on these plants and animals directly or indirectly as food source. So at the end of the day we end up harming ourselves by our actions – Poetic justice!!! Nature has us all interconnected. It is always a case of “an Injury to one is an injury to all” Here, the law of Karma comes to play – “What goes around comes around”.
How can we change this trend? Well, maybe there is no quick and easy answer to this, but we can all play a part in slowing down the pace of this environmental degradation Let us change our mind set…embrace the 3 Rs – Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce.

Cut down on the plastic you use, REUSE the plastic you have, I am talking about plastic bags, bottles and other containers, you don’t need to ask for a plastic bag each time you go shopping. Learn to refuse plastic…carry your bag from home or if it is a few items you are buying, hold it in your hands.

Patronize RECYCLED products, they are more environmentally friendly.

REDUCE the amount of waste that goes into the environment…think of the biodiversity that gets affected by the waste we produce.

Be environmentally friendly, show some love to the environment 🙂 .