Mother’s Tears.

Happy New Year, everyone. Rancho here. Thanks for being with us through all of 2014. May this year usher in new vistas of joy, happiness and fulfilled dreams and expectations for you and yours.


Apologies are in order. No, we did not run off from The Graduate Monologues. What happened is the kind of thing that is wont to happen when you have a doctor and an engineer running a blog. Somehow, we got swamped by work so that we have unfinished business here, and for that, we are sorry.

I’ve been writing, however. In particular, I’ve been writing a series for The Naked Convos, and it has been keeping me very busy. Eight episodes have gone up, and you can view them by clicking on the links below.









I trust you will enjoy the series.

Now, today’s post.

It’s my mum’s birthday today, the one special woman in my life. I have an interesting relationship with my mum: I am her first child, the closest to a daughter she has, and frequently, her 2nd husband. 

I have tried to weave a story about mothers into the Graduate Monologue theme. (As an aside, I find that stories about mothers and motherhood are a recurring theme on this blog. Fascinating.) This story deals with feelings and emotions a lot of people can relate with and recognize, and with an often-overlooked aspect of growing up. 



Your mother cried when her mother died.

You were a curious preteen of 11 or 12, and you could not understand why mummy was crying. Crying was not what adults did. Crying was what the 4-year old in church to get the attention of his parents. Adults did not cry. Even if adults cried, mummy did not cry. Mummy was strength and solidity. You couldn’t understand. Grandma had lived to be 85, and she had lived well. You barely knew her: you could tell she was fond of her first grandchild when you met her the few times you went for holidays, but you didn’t understand old people, and sometimes it was hard to make out the words that came out from between her dentures. You were confused. Mummy hadn’t even grown up with her, and you couldn’t figure out why she was crying over a stranger. But you wrapped your hand around her waist as she stood by the brown gate of your house on her way home for the funeral. Even then, you wanted to comfort her. You did not like how she cried like your neighbour’s baby, and you wanted to follow her on the trip and make her smile. But she had decided that the journey was too far and stressful, and she shook her head and smiled at you through the veil of tears and slowly disentangled your hands from around her waist. She waved at you through the rear windshield of the car as it pulled away, and you stood outside and watched her as the road swallowed her from view.

You are grown now, an adult man with a deep, gravelly voice better suited to breaking up fights and loading Lagos danfos than any choral activity. You have arms that have won more arm-wrestling challenges than lost, and the way the shock absorbers of your car sink when you sit in it not only reminds you that you should start saving money to replace them but proclaim to the world that you are on the wrong side of 80kg. You are increasingly at an age where talk of ‘digging roots’ and ‘settling down’ begin to look less like a faraway dream and more like a looming target. You are acutely aware that your own father got married at 25, and that age is not really an excuse. You have a job and live in another city. By all appearances, you are the typical 20-ish year old developing a career and a life.

You cried the first time you left home. 

It is your dirty secret. Of course you had not planned to. You had noticed your mother making sniffling noises around you as you made your final preparations for the trip, and, like the real G you are, you ignored her. One emotional person was well and truly over and beyond the recommended allowance per family, and two was grounds for exile and loss of citizenship. By the time you stood shivering in front of the house to take a family portrait and hug your mother, she had given up trying to hide it and was doing her best Nkiru Sylvanus impression. You were remarkably clear-eyed as you hugged her and listened to her advice about life, prayer, Jesus and destiny-snatching women, and you are almost relieved to jump into the car taking you to the motor park. It was only when you got into the bus that the gravity of your condition hit home fully. You were heading into a new vista of life in a new city you had never been to, and the one person who always had your back was in a city falling rapidly behind you at about 120km/h. You still didn’t cry, though. Real Gs may worry about the future, but they never flinched from meeting it head-on. The treacherous wuss somewhere in your head looked and you and chuckled before beginning to play the words you had read on Osemhen’s blog over and over like an endless reel. By the time you got back into the bus after calling your mother the first time the bus stopped to allow passengers stretch their legs, the tears had built up behind your eyes, and a few drops had evaded your self-control and found their way out. You faced the window, bowed your head and rehearsed the lies you would tell if anyone asked why you were crying.

“Do not be so busy growing up that you forget your parents are growing old.”

You were excited to leave home. All the years of training, education and discipline you had had were aimed at making you someone who could stand and compete in the world outside your house, and you were proud and felt ready to have an opportunity to chart your own course and build your own future. It felt like the attainment of some lofty goal, like some grand accomplishment. Your parents smiled and congratulated you when the news came, and your friends hugged you and pumped your hands and planned going-away parties and offered up words of advice and told you the best places to live and buy food and register in hospital and take buses and shop in your new city. But no one ever warned you of the pain of loneliness, of the dull throb in your chest as you lay in your room at night. No one told you of homesickness or how difficult it could be to make friends and memories in a new place. No one ever mentioned how the sight of a boy playing in the estate you lived could conjure up memories of your younger brother, or how you longed to have dad wave and gesticulate as he held discussions with you. No one told you how you could feel like a third wheel, and how difficult it could be to have a life after work. You had no clue of how overwhelming the urge to sneak out of a boring meeting and call your mum could be, and so you are entirely unprepared when it washed over you.

You become a regular visitor to the woman in the buka near your office: her nsala and stockfish-loaded bitterleaf soups brought back memories of mummy weaving magic in the kitchen and hot, stuffy nights spent shirtless in front of a fan demolishing basins of eba while mummy clucked at the bottomless pit that was your stomach. You miss home. You miss family. You miss the warmth and comfort of friends. You particularly miss your mother. You need to be an adult. It’s hard.

The first time you go back home, you are struck by how everything seems to be the same and yet seems so different. The gate still squeaks noisily on its hinges and the generator sounds like the hounds of hell baying at you, but there is an intangible, almost imperceptible change in the atmosphere. You almost do not notice it. You sink into the warm cocoon that is your bed, snuggling and swaddling in familiar, well-worn sheets, but even that act feels different. There is a tint of maturity in your worldview and actions now, and you can’t tell if you like it or not. You want to be free, to enjoy home and friends, but you realize that things are not the same. Again, you don’t know if this is good or bad, but you have never been one to let your uncertainties stop you from enjoying your present. You notice other things.

Mother asks you to help her get some groceries, and you jump into the car and drive off. She tries to press some money into your hand and pockets when you return, but you tell her she would have more success bathing a cat. You have not watched your parents sacrifice and toil over you only for you to accept refunds from them. She reaches to hug you, and your heart thuds faster. The woman with her arms around your waist has greying hair rapidly spreading from the middle of her head. Laugh lines and frowns have carved elaborate wrinkles into the skin of her face and they have been cicatrized by Father Time. The woman holding you is not the stately, infinitely strong woman you held at the gate so many years ago. This one is more delicate, more wizened, many times more valuable for being so. You have dared to think your mother will always be there, an immortal wellspring of love and support, and the impudence of those thoughts mocks you now.

You find a short-term goal in a burst of mental illumination. You will make your mother proud of you, make her as comfortable as is within your power.

You don’t look forward to leaving home. This woman needs you now more than ever, but she shoos you off. She reminds you you are a grown man with a job and responsibilities and promises to be there when you return, and your heart sinks. She has never had to say that. You look at her and realize she knows your fears and worries. She has always been psychic, able to read you the way no one else can. She smiles and pushed you into the taxi, pressing parcels of meat and small chops into your hand and pocket like you were a small child. You shake your head feebly and accept them. She is mother, and you don’t know when you will see her again. You might as well take some of her cooking along.

You have barely left the house when the pain of longing and nostalgia washes over you again, but you resist the tears and channel your emotions into poetry, composing and sending a text to the woman who bore you and will kill for you. You can tell she is expecting it; your phone vibrates in response almost immediately. You smile at your phone and lift your heart in prayer to the One who can answer, praying Him journey mercies, protection, grace to help you make mummy proud, and health and strength for her to see it. It is your most heartfelt prayer in months, and when you finish, you sigh and return your focus to the journey ahead of you.

Mummy will be alright. Someone was watching over her.

It has taken you more than a decade, but finally, you understand why mummy cried in front of the gate.


How You Became Gainfully Unemployed

Hello people!! Welcome to today’s post on The Graduate Monologues.

I missed putting up posts here! But…. *drum roll* we’re back!

Today, @ifemmanuel will be doing the talking. He takes us through his post-school life, wielding the sword of prose, deftly striking us where it hurts most. I hope you guys recover- I’m still reeling…



>             Where do you want to work after school?

At fifteen, your dad arranges for you to work as an apprentice to a mechanic. A workshop is chosen on the roadside in Apake, Ogbomoso and a start date is set. You dad gives you a stained overall that smells of camphor to use as work cloth. The night before the start of your apprenticeship, your mother walks into the house with a scowl on her face.

“My first son will not work as a roadside mechanic.”

You bend to her will, despite the fact that you want it and think you’ll learn a lot from the experience. You do not question motherhood logic.
You start work at a pharmacy instead, dusting shelves, cramming drug brand names and working as a cashier. You leave the pharmacy after three months and start to sell phones. You go on to work in a factory and intern in one of the country’s top engineering firms. In school, you design magazines and posters as a hobby. Working is not a problem for you. It’s always been a matter of choice between options.

Then you graduate.

>              What will you do after service?

You think of NYSC as a waste of time, although, to be fair, it serves as a gap year that gives folks who are clueless about the direction they’re heading an opportunity to align their rudderless lives. For you, it is going to be a time to recharge and prepare for life as an adult. A month before leaving for Anambra, you travel to Lagos to meet your former employers to enquire about work.

“Hey man, don’t worry. Just drop your CV with the HR manager and come back once you’re done with service. We’ll have a place for you”.

Three months before the end of the service year, you return to the office. The air is still as cold as it used to be. There are well-dressed bodies in white cubicles, bent over black HP screens. One of them looks up, smiles and offers a handshake.
“Welcome. Are you done with service? It would be good to have you back.”
You used to be a whiz kid as an intern.

You see new faces—lots of new faces—in the cubicles as you walk to the office of the managing partner in charge of recruitment.
“Are you done with service now?”
“No, I’m not. But I’ll be done in three months.”
“I’m sure you saw a number of new faces in the office”
“Yes I did.”
“See, we’re careful about taking in more people now, because of the elections coming up next year. But do come back once you’re done. We’ll see what we can do.”

March, April, May… five months after service and you’re still waiting to see what they can do.

This is one of the first lessons life as a graduate teaches you: learn to search, ask and wait; and never put your career eggs in one corporate basket.

>             What are you doing now?

At the start of your service year, you begin to write as a way of making sense of the changes around you. Some of the writing finds their way online and friends like it.

“You’re good at this”, they say.
You decide to make learning the craft of writing one of your goals for the year. In the process, you rediscover your love for literary fiction. You also take Stephen King’s write-a-thousand-words-daily advice. In a land so different from home and among strangers who speak a strange language, your love for the written word blossoms. You learn that, in writing, you are a late bloomer, so you read a little more and write a little more every day.
“I’ll like to write something and probably get it published”, you tell an elderly person who wants to know your future writing goals.
“But isn’t that just a hobby?” he says.
This makes you stop talking to people about your writing.

Writing is still your way of making sense of the world around you, but sometimes, the desire to put words on paper starts to feel like the death of you. Well, it’s now the death of your bank account; after five months of focusing on writing more than your search for a well-paying job.

>             Where are you now?

You never share details of your life on Twitter. It is where you spend the bulk of your unproductive days, but they are a strange lot. They all graduate and fly out of their parent’s nest into an exciting independent life. Living alone is expensive, as you soon learn. You eat two meals a day and almost never leave your table, but even that life costs a lot of money. Your family lives in three cities, so you’ve chosen a place where you’re always alone on weekends. It’s perfect for brooding over your under-achieving self. Your parents don’t mind. If they had their way, you’d spend the weekends—and every other day—with them.

You now believe anyone who graduates and returns to his father’s house will always be a failure. This is what ideas and opinions like the ones bandied on Twitter do to you. They are like venom. You can try to resist their influence, but they work their way through your psyche, poisoning your mind, killing your innocence and tainting your decisions.

>             What is happening to you?

Your friends have made it their duty to keep tabs on you. At moments when you question your intellect, they’ve remind you of how smart you used to be, how smart you still are. With them you can be open, sincere, yourself.

“So, what’s up with you?”
“Honestly, I don’t know.”

Sometime in May, you read Coetzee’s Disgrace and Plath’s Bell Jar, in that order, in three days, part of a week when you do not even open the blinds. You start to stare at a dark place when, out of nowhere, one of your friends calls you. You hesitate and let the phone ring twice before picking up. She is worried. It is like telepathy.

“Perhaps writing is bad for you” she says.

You agree with her and decide to take a break. You go out, meet old friends, watch movies and smile a little. You feel better at the end of the week. You realise, once again, that friendships are the greatest form of love.

>             Are you back for your masters?

When people see you in Ibadan, they ask if you’re back for your masters.

“The contract I signed with UI is non-renewable” you reply.

Graduate studies have become a way to lessen the effect of unemployment and you think it’s a silly development. During your service year, you lost the desire to school abroad because GRE was cancelled in the country.

You have now changed your mind about graduate studies.

Within an hour of paying for TOEFL, you meet a dude who wants to apply for an MFA in creative writing and another girl who has UK visa issues. “UK people dey fuck up” she texts to her friend on BBM. Everyone wants to escape from the filth that is Nigeria.
You talk about your new found verve for academics with a friend and she says, “This is the you I used to know”. Yeah, this is the you you used to know too.

>             Who are you?

Employment is not your greatest problem after graduation. You even turn down a few offers. Your problem is finding a definition for yourself.
Sometimes you think about people who don’t believe in God. They must have it tough in life. At moments when things stop making sense, closing the eyes and saying a word of prayer is your saving grace. Of all the things you are, being a follower of Christ seems to be the only constant—the centre that holds the falling parts together. You still can’t answer the question of identity without tripping over words, but you’ve become deft at answering the other questions people ask you.

“What is happening to you?”
You start to talk about your migraines, ulcer and other aspects of your fragile, ajebota health.
“What are you doing now?”
“Eating, sleeping and waking up”
“Where are you?”
“In my father’s house”
“What about work?”

The answer to that used to be a rambling story; now it’s simple: you’re a gainfully unemployed graduate.


You see! Did I not tell you? You haven’t recovered yet, right? Please I want to know, leave your replies and feelings in the Comments section below. I’m sure you had such fun reading this piece, you just want to follow our blog, to do so, click on the Follow/Subscribe buttons (so you won’t miss any post) 

The writer, Nihinlola IfeOluwa has a degree in civil engineering, spends his time reading and trying to write. Read more of his work on

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Faith’s Tale.

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to today’s post on The Graduate Monologues.

We are sorry that we had to take a break. You see, there’s this thing called adulthood and it’s one heck of a scam, but it places unique demands on its members. One of such demands is this thing known as a job, and another is called responsibilities. Together, they have a way of taking one’s time so much that one cannot run the blog one loves the way one wants to.

Forgive us. We are back with what is quite the sizzler.

In today’s post, we will be exploring the theme REGRETS AND LESSONS.

Have you ever looked back with regret at something you did? Do you ever feel embarrassed at your naivete and immaturity? Do you later connect the dots and realize how much said experience has affected you and made you grow?

Today’s post was written by the amazing Faith*. I have known her for 4 years, and she is one of my best friends. I’m honoured she chose to participate, although she constantly refutes all claims that she is a writer.

It is a true life story, and is presented as is. Other than formatting and other minor corrections, this post has been unedited. You will understand why as you go along.

Due to the sensitivity and extremely personal nature of the issue being discussed, I beg you to be moderate in your comments. Feel free to address the issues raised, but please, do not attack the author. Whether you agree with or you condemn her, please be moderate. The last thing she wants is a bitter attack on her person.

Thank you


*Faith: may or may not be her real name.

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When Tolu suggested the graduates monologues idea to me I was excited, even more so when he said I could participate and write something.

5years is a long time to be in a place, you learn so much and the experiences are vast. I have a million and one things I could write about but couldn’t pick one. But when I went back to school for the last time I decided it was time I made peace with some of my demons, and this platform afforded me the opportunity to do so.

I did so many things in my life at university, some good and others bad but the worst was…can’t even bring myself to say it, lol…well it was having an abortion. I’m not gonna justify my actions- all I know is that one single decision changed my life forever. I thank God I’m done with school and whereas my family and friends are mighty proud of me I ask myself “would they feel the same way if they knew the price I paid to be here?” I doubt that very much.

I had the choice, I could either keep the pregnancy and get kicked out of school (it was that kind of a school, religious and strict) or I could “get rid of it”. I chose what I thought was the “easy option”. I murdered my unborn baby, at just 6 weeks. I don’t even know if it was a girl or a boy, I’ll forever wonder.

I remember the day I had the operation done, far away from school and anyone who might recognize us (the baby daddy and I). He was supportive of my decision to terminate the pregnancy probably because it was convenient for him too. When I said I’d not keep the baby I literally saw a little skip of joy in his eyes, without any protests he arranged the whole operation with the “doctor”. On our meager student funds, we took the best deal we got.

The day before was the worst day of my life. I tossed and turned all night, couldn’t not able to get any sleep. I woke up early the following day and my accomplice and I took the 3 hour journey to the “doctor”.

In a tiny, poorly lit room, I lay down butt naked on a rickety old bench. I could hear the footsteps of my accomplice in the next room as he paced up and down, probably willing the whole nightmare to end. The “doctor” prepared his menacing looking instruments with alcohol and the stench of it filled the room. My heart was pounding fast and sweat literally poured out of me. The reality of what I was about to do hit me hard and I started sobbing, I didn’t know if I had the strength to go through with it.

The “doctor” called in my boyfriend, and admonished him to persuade me, and stop wasting his time. My boyfriend restocked my resolve and reiterated what at the time was the best reason why I had to for getting rid of “it”: I’d get kicked out of school, I’d bring shame upon my family, we were both not ready to be parents because we were “too young”, etc. He went on and on until finally, my resolve restored, we called in the “doctor”.

He came in and gave me an anaesthetic and told me I wouldn’t feel any pain. I had hoped he’d give me something that would knock me out but he said that would be dangerous.

And so the operation began. I watched as he spread my legs and inserted a cold metal object inside me, with another sharp object he started poking at my insides. I have never known any physical pain greater than that, it was painful and cold. He kept at it for what felt to me like hours, but apparently it was just under ten minutes. The pain was too much to bear and I simply passed out. A couple of hours later I came to, covered in a thin clean but old and stained little bed sheet.

It was hot outside but I felt cold, I was shivering and sweating all at once. The “doctor” came in and reassured me that it was a “success” and I had nothing to worry about. He showed me a thin long glass tube that contained the remains of what would have been my baby.

That was the worst thing I’d ever seen, and a part of me died that day. I could not even cry. I just got up got dressed and uncomfortably limped out of the room.

What had I done? I realized that while my action was most convenient, it was probably the worst decision I could have made. It was selfish and cowardly but mostly more shameful than if I’d chosen to keep the baby.

Things like that change you. I went back to campus with the problem solved but with me sad and ashamed. I went through the motions for the next few years of my life. I was the same happy go lucky, life-of of-the the-party kind of girl but it was all a lie. I had to fit in and act like all was well, but it wasn’t. I walked around with a huge load of guilt and shame that I could not explain to anyone, not even my accomplice. In fact he and I broke up shortly after because we could no longer be together, he was the only one who knew what I’d done and I could not deal with that. Every time I was around him I felt judged and the shame and guilt just made it hard. We broke up and when he completed school (he was a senior), boy was I glad! I thought that would make it better but it didn’t; I still had to live with myself knowing what I’d done.

I’ve had a million and one conversations with myself about my actions that day. Were they really worth it? I still can’t bring myself to believe that was the best decision ever, but it was the decision I’d made and it brought me this far. Should I be proud, happy, sad? I don’t know what to feel. All I know is that no day ever goes by without me thinking of that little person I terribly wronged. Would it have been a little girl with my eyes or a little boy with his charm? I’ll never know, that kills me every day and I embrace the pain it brings. I remember and still feel the pain I experienced in that tiny alcohol scented room. Sometimes I feel as though I’m holding on to that pain because it’s the only connection I have left to what could have been my baby. He/she would have been 4years now. I wonder about him/her daily and that part me will forever be in tears.

May be I’ll get the chance to see that little being one day in heaven, maybe I’ll get the chance to apologize for my actions. It would be nice, but if I never get that chance I probably deserve every inch of pain I feel for that cowardly decision I made. I could say I was young and foolish and deserve to be forgiven but I doubt that. I was selfish in the worst way possible and no reason could ever justify my actions.

If I knew then what I know now I’d probably never have made that decision but then again I probably would never have learnt to take responsibility for my actions. I probably would never have learnt to be strong and smile even when I’m crying inside. I’m not proud of what I did, but I’m grateful for the lessons.

And to my baby I’m sorry. I could have given you a chance. Losing you the way I did proved to me just how little faith I had in God who could have definitely taken care of us and it proved to me how much I cared for what people said and not what was right. I’m sorry my baby., iIf you can hear me somewhere in baby heaven please forgive me, and I hope to God to be able to apply the lessons I learned, I hope my giving up on you was not in vain.

I’d like to believe I’m older and wiser, and I’m thankful for my life in university. I did not learn these lessons in class but the varsity experience has taught me well. I know better now, and I hope to God to be a better citizen out in the world, out of varsity.

Of all the lessons I’ve learnt, the biggest I prolly learnt is that choice is a privilege that is usually free but often has costly consequences that we have to live with,I made my decision possibly the worst by far but I’ve learnt to live with it. Every time I’m faced with a choice to make I know that no matter the outcome, I’ll only have myself to thank. Or blame.

Please leave your comments below

The Tenterhooked Dreams



Today’s ‘Graduate Monologues’ entry is a poem from a friend of mine, the man himself, Jones Ntaukira. A little introduction, first of all.

Jones is a Malawian blogger and social and environmental pragmatist. After busy schedules at Empower Malawi- where he is Executive Director- he still finds time to write.

 I met Jones in January 2010 in Kampala during one of the most enjoyable periods of my life. We hit it off immediately, and today, I am guaranteed a place to lay my head if ever I am stranded in Malawi.

This is a short account of some of his (school) life experiences, presented unedited.



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Once a jailbird I was

With scores of rights, with countless freedoms

Golden jubilees of full moons – give or don’t seize,

Imprisonment to degree with hard labour

Carrels were my pen

Sowkowski was my warden

The Labs my chapel

If acetic acid was our holy communion,

Then Friday Lab reports were my silver and golden offering

I learnt that reduction is actually gaining


Glee took over,

Seminary saintliness versus realism,

Like a keyed up electron

Like the other end of a magnetic pin

Room by room in search of love

Spoke in strange inflection, imitating those that speaketh on big screen

Learnt to intoxicate my medulla oblongata,

My lectures about life in the red light district

Saying…‘come kiss me if you can’

Of the campus beauty and the brains, no mention

Still 4-nil the match was lost


Clock by clock days hide by the gate

The pardon came as a matter of fate

Full of oomph to face the wild

Before realising my graduation shoe no longer needs polish,

Little ones already decorated me Uncle

Frustrations fissioning like uranium particles

Next thing she is whispering the ‘good’ news- she is heavy with child

Phone ever silent as a chicken incubating its eggs

And yet the postmaster knows me by nomenclatus


I’m my own lead

On my own drive, on this pool road

With only one post, a danger warning sign

“Welcome to the world

Where pure agony is…,

Realising dog eats dog



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If you liked the poem or you have anything to add, please leave  your comments below. 

You can get in touch with Jones on Twitter (@realjonz), on Instagram (@j1s_cn) or on Facebook (Jones Ntaukira). He talks about the environment, life in Malawi and his other passions on his personal blog

See you next week!


Kaud Mund (@kaudresi). 

Kaud is a Ugandan doctor and an awesome friend, one person with whom I have honest, open conversations. I met her for the first time in January 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. She doesn’t know this yet, but I’m planning another meeting, and soon.

In this post, in the typically concise fashion of a busy doctor, she talks about the hustle and pressures of professional life, love and heartbreak, and the importance of vacations.

N.B. this post was initially written in late 2012.


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Lying about one meter behind me on a brown, ragged mattress was a young man of teenage age. Charred flesh hung in tatters off his chest, and from his arm, blood dripped out, mixed with a thin yellowish fluid. His incoherent mumbling and incessant tugging on my coat distracted me as I tried to stitch up the scalp of my patient, a female accident victim brought in by good Samaritans. The shouting and commotion in the hallway didn’t help, and I couldn’t wait for the day to be over.

Our days as interns included 48 hour work shifts, being pushed around by nurses, and frequent running around in search of test results, blood, drugs, etc. Combined with us averaging one meal a day and very little free time, we didn’t need to visit a gym to keep in shape. Sometimes I wondered if I went through the rigours of medical school to get abused by cleaners, treated with undisguised contempt by lab attendants, and be bullied and intimidated by Senior House Officers. Sometimes it simply got too much.

In spite of these, there were some good times. Nothing beats the satisfaction of having patients coming up to you to say “thank you”, or having a  baby who was convulsing the night before greet you with a toothy smile in the morning. I lived for the moments when a boy who had been in a coma for three weeks woke up, and for the smile on a mother’s face on seeing her new baby. I could go on and on: the joy and relief of a man paralysed on his left side being able to walk again, the light in a woman’s eyes, who, after recovering from a bout of amnesia caused by cryptococal meningitis recognizes her husband. Those moments made the stress worth it, and convinced me I was on the right track.

When internship ended, my colleagues delved headfirst into their professional lives. They began the pursuit for licenses and registrations, and went searching for jobs. Not me. While they experienced the bureaucratic process and suffered through countless interviews, I took a trip to Kenya. I reckoned one long year of internship merited lying on a white sandy beach with a glass of coconut juice in my hand and the sun on my face. It was to be a thrilling, daring, reconnoitring experience. I spent a few weeks travelling around with rude people on long bus rides, eating food that appealed to all five senses, and taking matatus& that were mini discos. I shared one bed with three people, had insomniac spells, visited strip clubs, and had shopping sprees. Most importantly, I learnt about life, and had fun.

In medical school, I learnt about the heart, its structure, how it functions, and the diseases which affect it, but nowhere was I taught about Cupid and his arrows. Nobody told me about butterflies in the stomach and loss of appetite. I wish I was taught about heartbreak and irrationality. It’s something I had to learn the hard way from my experiences and that of my friends. I can only hope I have learnt enough.

I think of life as a series of transitions. It is constant and yet it is fluid. This paradox has made me realize that it is futile to try and understand life. It’s been just 5 months since the end of my internship, and already, so much has happened. Sometimes I dread to think what the next five years would bring, but I relax myself, because I know that everything happens in due course and I don’t have to figure out everything right now. It took me a while to accept that, but now I do, and I can rest easy.

Matatus: minibus or van to carry passengers. Think Danfos


If I were to write what I truly feel about this post, I would end up writing another blog post entirely. This resonates with me in so many different ways that it is scary. 

If you, like Kaud, worry what the future would hold or are scared of (or recovering from) heartbreak, raise your hands like this \o/ 

If you did raise up your hand, please go HERE

If you would love a vacation, go here

Thank you Kaud for this.

If you want to get to know more of Kaud, you can follow her on Facebook (Kaud Mund), or on Twitter (chuckles) at @kaudresi.

Next week will be for lovers of poetry. We will be featuring Jones. Don’t miss it. Subscribe/Follow the blog and get notifications of all new posts and upcoming events. Something big just might be happening soon.

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Adios. Hasta pronto

I Remember

Ronke Adeleke (@0_tega)

Welcome to the fourth post in The Graduate Monologues.

When we graduate from school, we are filled with euphoria, and all we have playing in a loop in our heads is ‘It is over’. But what happens when that euphoria fades away? What happens when we look back and recall our days of youth?

Ronke Adeleke is a writer but is better known for her spoken word pieces. She leads us into her thoughts, so let’s take a walk with her, shall we?


This series is supported by ShopyGFX.    Email:   | Phone: 07060512285  | BBM: 238E63A8  Follow on Facebook:

This series is supported by ShopyGFX.
Email: | Phone: 07060512285 | BBM: 238E63A8
Follow on Facebook:



Sometimes when my busy schedule allows me to sit down and breathe, I remember a time when I had all the time to breathe, and wonder why I didn’t take all the breaths I would need.

My earliest memory of being an undergraduate is walking into the University of Ibadan campus and staring at the statue of a fresh graduate armed with degree in hand and set to race for the hills of a new life. Oddly enough, that statue is also one of the last things I remember about that school.

But I remember other things too. Vaguely, but I remember.

I remember matriculating with a navy-blue cap and gown. There weren’t many to go round in my set but I remember I got one that was rumpled. I don’t remember who I took pictures with or if I took pictures at all. Maybe I did, but I don’t remember.

I remember how Hall Week celebrations always kicked off with a carnival. Everyone got dressed in ridiculous pieces of clothing and walked around the campus till their feet hurt or bled. People danced, sang, screamed and painted their faces, having fun because it was the one time they could be silly and childish and no one would make fun of them because everyone else was doing it. I remember, don’t I?

But I don’t remember being a part of the craze; painting my face, wearing God-awful clothes and all the time having fun looking like a mascot or masquerade. I don’t remember screaming till my voice was hoarse,  or walking and dancing till I couldn’t feel my feet and all the time laughing and being laughed at.

I remember how the school environment would come alive with every big event that happened. Shows would be sold out, venues spilling over with large crowds because the program was probably free and no one wanted to miss out on free stuff.

I remember how clubs and organizations and fellowships would organize welcome parties for the ‘fresh meat’ on campus, calling it “Freshers’ Welcome” and each one of them would try to outdo the other in a desperate bid to snag the majority of the freshman population to join their fold and increase membership. I remember how these freshmen gatherings were most times adulterated with not-so-fresh sophomores and juniors only there for the refreshments.

I remember the drama presentations and film shows at the Arts Theatre and how there were people who lived for those moments to feel something thrill them besides the loud crashing of thunder outside their windows, or gist about people they didn’t even know passed along the rumour mill.

I remember, yet I don’t remember. I don’t remember getting a chill down my spine watching some enthralling Theatre Arts presentation at the Arts Theatre; I don’t even remember what the Arts Theatre looked like from the inside and the outside.

I remember how departments and faculties would come together in somber reflection and commemoration, everyone wearing black or something close to black to pay respects to a classmate, course mate or friend that had just passed away. I remember how they would all hold lit candles, the fires glittering softly in the gloom of dusk and the procession would move from the department/faculty of the deceased to the hall of residence where prayers would be said and a moment of silence would be observed in honour of the fallen comrade.

I remember how people who had no idea who the deceased was would join the procession along the way, also trying to pay their respects because to them it did not matter that they did not know who the dead was. The dead had been a student of their school and that was reason enough.

I remember the silence that pervaded the campus as exams approached and students realized that they were not prepared for whatever questions their lecturers would ask. I remember how during these times it always seemed like the whole school had moved their lives to the corners, crevices and corridors of Kenneth Dike Library, gathering at all times of the day to read, gist, cram, chew and snore.

I remember how that silence before exam was different from the silence when school was on vacation. How you could hear everything and see everything on campus because there were no longer so many people to drown out the sounds and obscure your vision.

I don’t remember what most of the entire campus looked like; the trees that had been standing for years, maybe centuries; the architecture that always left people spellbound and awed at the sight and the knowledge that they had been there for a very long time.

I don’t remember the people, or my classmates. The food vendors in various corners of the school that people always patronized, the cab drivers, lecturers and non-teaching staff in Department and Faculty offices or even the halls of residence. I don’t remember most details of the “hey days.”

Even in this hectic post-university life, sometimes I remember. I remember all that I should have felt that I never felt. I remember that the students that paid adequate attention during classes and ended up having the best grades, also ended up being snatched by multinationals and big companies with fantastic job offers. I remember that while I staggered back to my room after classes, some colleagues strode off with boyfriends and girlfriends (some are now happily married to each other while some others broke-up as a graduation gift). I remember that my classmates who joined international associations such as ANUNSA, AISEC, JCI, L & D and SIFE were always much happier and till now, have not regretted those decisions. I remember the commitment and joy with which some people spent long hours in the campus fellowships, and I remember considering them very foolish but now I know better. I remember that my friend who used to write poems and articles in freshman year ended up representing the university at several literary competitions, and was eventually offered jobs by The Guardian newspapers and Forbes Africa magazine. I also remember that her brother who spent all his Saturday mornings on the Tennis court is now gearing up to join the Nigerian Lawn Tennis team for the next Davis Cup. I remember so many things I should have done, people I should have met, books I should have read and places I should have gone. I also remember reaching a conclusion that I made many mistakes so that every young person I talk to will graduate with (many) more honours and laurels than I imagined.

As the memories gush over me in wobbled sequence and I feel the burning sensation of desire for that-which-was rush into my cheek, I acknowledge that the feelings of reminiscence would never be comparable to the bliss of fantasies that I once cherished.

But still, I remember.



So what do you think? What (good or bad) do you remember of school? What do you wish you had done differently? Do you have experiences you want to share? We are eager to know, so please tell us what you think in the Comments box below.

Ronke writes on You can read more of her works there or follow her on Twitter @O_tega.

The next post  comes up on Friday, 12th, September, 2014. To avoid missing any posts, kindly subscribe to the blog by clicking the ‘Follow/Subscribe’ buttons on your screens. Thank you 🙂

Graduate Monologues

Design Credit: Ethan Obasi| @TortiObasi | Email:


Things I Learnt in UNILAG and Things I Didn’t

Hi guys.


Today, we have writing for us the (insert multiple superlatives here) Osemhen Elohor Akhibi. She’s one of my favorite writers and her writing has always touched heart and mind (she’s also one person I secretly admire, but shhhhh. Don’t tell her).

In typical Osemhen fashion, she doesn’t beat around the bush, and here, she talks of her life in the University.

Graduate Monologues

Design Credit: Ethan Obasi| @TortiObasi | Email:


Five Things University Taught Me

1. How to learn. I have a whole blog post on how I managed to convince people I was (am?) smart, even though I don’t think I’m smarter than the average Joe. I learnt how my mind worked in university. I apply this skill at work, taking the time to sit down and plough through a stack of technical material. I work for a company with a policy of “on-the-job-learning” and being able to digest technical documents on the go is a priceless skill. In addition, all those hours spent writing lab reports in university prepared me for writing technical reports, and also taught me that researching a topic to write about it is a quick way to become an expert at it.

2. How to stay open. It’s funny, people think university life is academic, and has little to do with the practicalities of life. I think this is true to an extent, but not necessarily. As a student, I followed IEEE trends, read every novel that crossed my path, could recite the capital and currency of almost every country in the world. I was the queen of trivia. I was a sponge for every bit of information that crossed my path. These days, I have to struggle to pay attention to anything not work-related. It’s so bad that I have to schedule time in the day to read a novel, just to de-clutter my head. I fear I’m getting boring. My New Year resolution is to return to that place where I am voracious for information, no matter how irrelevant. It helped me stay balanced.

3. How to be prudent with money. I didn’t have a lot of money in school. And now that I earn, it’s hard to kick old habits. For instance, I never buy more food than I can finish. I don’t buy stuff I don’t need. Once in a while, I’ll indulge but most of the time, I save my money.

4. How to walk everywhere. I walk a lot. Even though I own a car now, I walk and use public transport about 60% of the time. I do it for exercise and I do it to stay grounded in reality. I do it to think. My thoughts are a lot clearer when I walk.

5. How to be self-confident. I went to the University of Lagos. Despite its flaws and the stereotypes, UNILAG is a good school because of the people who go there. My classmates and friends shaped me a great deal, and I like to think I was an influence on them as well. I entered university at 15; I was very impressionable and I’m glad I got good “impressions”. I learnt to be comfortable in my own skin, to be street-savvy, to bluff, to have good grades and still be able to enjoy a good party. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.



Four Things University Didn’t Teach Me

1. How To Use A Computer Effectively: I was in 4th year when I learned to use Microsoft Excel by myself. This is utterly unforgiveable. I wish I had been given assignments from 1st year that required me to use tools like Excel, Access and Powerpoint. I didn’t enter the job market at a disadvantage because I learned by myself quickly, but I could have easily been left behind.

2. How To Be Socially Conscious/Responsible: Volunteer work in university wasn’t emphasized, and I think for many people, it was a missed opportunity. I learned a lot from being a volunteer but I almost didn’t become one. Volunteering helps you expand your worldview beyond your tiny self-centred world, it makes you feel good giving back (or paying forward, as the case may be) and it looks damn good on your CV.

3. How To Have Rights (or opposing opinions): Let’s face it, many Nigerian universities are run like prisons. You do what you’re told; deviations attract dire consequences. There were lecturers who dictated to us how to wear our hair (my sister was banned from attending certain classes with her Afro out) on one hand, and then there were lecturers who demanded we approach questions from one angle only. A new school of thought, a new approach? God forbid. It’s something I struggle with till today, toeing the fine line between compliance to rules and thinking outside the box.

4. How to ensure a relationship doesn’t derail you. Nutshell: I wish I had stayed single all through university. My grades didn’t need the suffering. And the truth is: it was only after leaving school that I could fully appreciate what it meant to be in a relationship. Relationships requires attention and work that honestly, very few people can balance successfully with the attention and work proper to studying.


Whew! This was long overdue. Hope it’s worth it to someone out there.



Do you have anything to add? What did university teach (or fail to teach) you? You can write your experiences as comments below.

You can learn more about Osemhen by following her Twitter handle @OsemhenA or enjoy her writings on her blog at You can also check out the stories she wrote for Klorofyl digital magazine (for example, “A Memory of Warri” ) by downloading the free magazine or reading on the blog at 

Next post comes up on Friday, 4th September, 2014 and we’ll be having @O_tega’s post then. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the awesome posts coming up, so just click the ‘Follow/Subscribe’ buttons on your screen.

Don’t forget to tell us how much you loved this post (and us) in the comment box below.

Keep being awesome!