WORLD OF A RECLUSE 3

My entire week goes slow, each day seemed to crawl by in snail motion, I wish I had a time machine at some point, funny thing is I never in any of these days get a call from Desmond, not even a text to check on me; he is probably busy.
The thing is I’m fresh out of school with no job and only a few friends; Tamuno is out of town for God knows what, so I’m all alone with no excitement to accelerate the speed of my week. I thought of calling Desmond a few times, but thought against it; I have a huge ego.
Sunday morning finally comes, bright and beautiful. I wake up with high spirit, singing and dancing while I made breakfast and lunch. My mum comes in the kitchen and eyes me; she is surprised at how excited I am. You see, I hated Sunday mornings, because I had to wake up as early as 5am to start breakfast and lunch which we make before going to church. My mum and I always made sure we didn’t leave the house without quarrelling, my whole family always anticipated our Sunday morning fights, it was either I spent too much time in the bathroom, on my make up or my outfits were not good enough, too good or my make up was way too much; bottom line she always had a reason to pick a fight with me. Today is different; I have my date with Desmond after service, yaay me!
Getting home after church service, I sit in front of the mirror for over 20minutes, changing lipsticks. I finally settle for the pepper red shade but still sit, admiring myself. Yes, I’m  a very pretty young lady; not just saying though, I really am pretty. My oval shaped face held nice features; perfect cheek bones, perfect deep set eyes, irresistible full lips and a pointed nose, that’s how Segun described me the first day we met. I’m not so tall though, some people called me small but really I am five feet and four inches tall, not so bad huh?
It’s 2:45pm now, and I’m all dressed up in ripped jeans and a lace top, ready, waiting for “Almighty Desmond’s” call, I’m starting to get upset. “You are not calling him today Mirabel”, I caution myself. The sound of my phone ringing wakes me up, its Desmond. I sit up and look at the time its 4:30pm, I pick his call prepared to lash at him. But hearing his voice I calmed down immediately, this guy must be , he apologizes and says he’ll pick me up in twenty minutes, I end the call smiling. I get up and touch my make up a little before heading for the sitting room to sit, fortunately everyone is asleep. It was our Sunday routine to come home, eat lunch, go to sleep and wake up late in the evening scavenging for food like hyenas.
Typical Desmond gets to my place 45minutes later; his car pulls up in front of me as I get out of the gate. Damn! He’s so pretty; dressed in a black t-shirt and blue jeans with black shoes to match, I start smiling sheepishly.
“Was sup?” I ask as I get into the car.
He smiles at me, making my heart skip two beats, he has dimples!! How can one person be so cute? He was definitely made on a Sunday.
He mumbles something uninteresting, I turn and look at him sharply, “it took you 45minutes to get ready and come pick me up?”
He smiles without looking at me; I roll my eyes starting to foresee boredom,” this might end up becoming the worst date of my life!!!” I scream in my head.
He takes me to this very pretty suite, we get down from the car together and I follow suit to a lounge. Desmond opens the door and walks in leaving me behind, I’m like wtf! I let it slide but then my footwear gets stuck to the foot mat, I try to no avail to get it loose. I look up to see Desmond walking unaware of my struggle, carrying himself like a peacock, I catch sight of this couple giving me the “eeyah” look. I want to scream at him instead I bend down, using my right hand I set my sandal loose. I catch up with him and sit on the leather sofa he was sitting in. Without looking at me, he gets up, take my hands beckoning me to stand up for a hug.
“Hell no, I’m not hugging you. Better sit down and respect yourself”, I’m actually upset at his actions, this guy has no manners. He sits down back and says how embarrassing that was. I look away from him; I should really learn to not be so expectant.
We start talking, well he asks the basic questions: my state of origin, age, siblings, occupation, and so on…..I didn’t feel like asking any questions, I had lost interest already. Then I remember and ask what he does for a living that makes him so busy, “I’m hustling”. He responds, I want to laugh but look at him and realize he is serious.
“What do you mean hustling?”
“I have a lot of things going for me, a little bit of this and that, here and there. I’m staring at him and I can tell from his expression that my facial expression is not helping, I don’t have a problem with my mouth, but my face definitely needs deliverance. “I’m not a yahoo boy though” he added.
“Yeah right, like a yahoo boy would admit he is one” he looks at me but says nothing.
He orders a bottle of beer and I a bottle of water, I let the TV set in front of me take all my attention, I’m not alone. The both of us sat beside each other, eyes glued to theTV screen. He clears his throat after 10minutes, “we didn’t come here to watch TV now, we should move to the other part of the lounge” he picks up his glass and bottle and heads for the back; I follow at his heel and see my couple kissing, I should stone them with my sandal. I look forward and find him staring at me, a wide grin on his face. “What?” I ask.
“Its romantic, isn’t it?”
“Hell no, it’s disgusting, they should get a room”, I say out loud, hoping  they’d hear but they didn’t.
He looks at me closely and says, “You don’t look like you want a relationship, you just want to be rich”
I ignore his comment, what did he know?
I sit down with him and he looks at me and says, “You’ve got pretty eyes”.
I roll them and say, “Yeah, I get that a lot”. This makes him chuckle and I can’t help but smile.
“I really can’t believe you are sitting in front of me though, I thought this day would never come”
“Really? You are the one who always claims to be busy, hustling is a time consuming business I see”
I’m not sure he gets my sarcasm, because he merely smiles and takes a sip of his drink, “my imperfect gentleman”. I start to drum on the table then I spot the pepper and salt cans or whatever they call them, you know, those containers containing pepper and salt that restaurants put on tables. I go for them both and Desmond drags them from me almost immediately.
“No, I didn’t plan on losing my sight today” he says pulling on a serious face. I start laughing and he joins in. I’m a little relieved; it may not be so bad after all.
He looks deep into my eyes, leans forward and takes my right hand, “do you like me?” he asked.
“Yes I do, I think you are cool”, I reply with a hint of a smile.
He chuckles and I raise one eyebrow, “you answered like a hotel receptionist would when asked if there are available rooms.” He said.
“Oh, really? I’m supposed to go on on one knee and say yes with tears and mucus running down my face?”
He laughs hard, “its ok Hun”
Awwww, he called me Hun. He is still holding my hand; there is a ring on it. He takes it off and asks me to marry him! Don’t get your hopes up people, jokingly of course. I look him straight in the eye and say, “if you ever propose to me sitting down, I’ll give you back your ring and walk out the door.”
“Yeah, you are definitely that kind of girl”, he says seriously.
We start to talk about diverse topics, and guess what I find out? Desmond isn’t a dummy; in fact he turned out to be quite smart. In the next hour I learn a lot from and about him, he is not so bad after all. I would make a list but nah….It’s just a first date, I can’t be so sure. Three things he said that got my attention though were, “I always stand out, I like to keep it real and yeah, the punch line, “I’m hustling”.
Its 7:10pm now, my curfew is 6:30 and my phone starts to beep. His phone starts ringing too, he takes his call and I listen to his conversation. Apparently, he has a meeting at 7:30; meeting of the hustlers I think and hold down laughter. I don’t want him to go though, I don’t want to go home either, but I should go now if I still want a roof over my head and a surname.
He holds me back as I’m about to head for the door, he is so tall; he looks down at me and says, “You haven’t given me my hug yet”. I smile and he pulls me into a hug, gosh!I could die in his arms. He tries to kiss me too, but I duck it.
We get to the door, and like before he walks out leaving me behind, “get used to it Mirabel” I say to myself.
In the car now, he is taking me home and takes a wrong turn. I start to tell him but he puts a hand to my lips, “I know what I’m doing”, he says with a smile and then he stops the car.
A million thoughts race through my mind, “what is he doing?”
He stops finally, looks at me and says, “You are not going home without kissing me, a peck at least.”
I start laughing, this guy is crazy. I turn my face, thereby giving him my left cheek to peck. He chuckles again and declines it, saying he wants a peck on the lips.
Anyway, we did kiss. And guess what? It is the most awkward kiss I’ve ever had!! It is near terrible, I expected the world to stand still, see stars, you know the Hollywood kind of kiss, kisses you read about in novels but nope, it was a very awkward kiss. I break it off first and watch him clean my lipstick off his lips with his middle finger, he tries to hold my hand but I push it away, still disappointed in our kiss. We get to my house and we hug and say our goodnights, the hug is awkward too. The date went from bad to good, then good to awkward. I walk into the ompound, let myself in and sigh as I take the staircase to my room. I didn’t know what to make of my date with Desmond, I mean it was good but why didn’t I feel a connection when we kissed? I was supposed to yeah? I’m pretty sure I did with Segun. I try to put it out of my mind. I get to my room and sit on my bed, just then Desmond calls me, to check if I was safe at home, such a considerate fellow. We chat for a minute and few seconds before we say goodnigt.
I smile at my phone and lay on my bed, could this be the fire or just another flame?

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 2

Eight months after my failed relationship with Segun, I start to put the pieces of my life’s puzzle and I’m still on the single train; I’m starting to get bothered now because I’m a little lonely, I miss Segun so much but he is married now with a child. It’s amazing how I can still bear to talk to him after his betrayal but I loved him though.
At this moment I get a call from Tamuno, my bestie; there was a party. I wasn’t thrilled at the news, this girl knew I had an early curfew but always wanted me conscious of everything I was missing out on, meanie! I try to hush her but she is so excited and keeps feeding me with unwanted details, I love her so much and official is going to be there”, I hear her scream from the phone, this brought me out of my thoughts, “yaay!” I shout back while rolling my eyes.
“You know I can’t come, so what’s the relevance of this information biko?
“L-O-L, I know. You want me to talk to daddy on your behalf sweetie?” She asked her voice laced with sarcasm.
For a second I wished she was standing right in front of me so I could spank her tiny bottom. She was such an idiot, never seen an individual who used L-O-L while talking. She was silly but I loved her anyway.
“Have a great time love, kisses to Tekno official, tell him Mimi says hi”, I say this hoping she’d get the message, I wasn’t in the best mood tonight, I had a lot on my mind and Tamuno wasn’t serious enough to have a serious conversation. With this I hang up and put my phone down on the dresser. I hear my phone ring twice, it was definitely Tamuno again. I ignore it and went on to write my to-do list for Saturday.
What was the time? I look at my bedroom clock, the stupid thing had packed up again, I hiss and pick up my phone. Unconsciously, I open to see my missed calls. It wasn’t Tamuno, it was Desmond!!! Desmond my crush for a year, six months and fifteen days, yeah I’m good with figures. I jumped up and started shoki-ing, the only dance I wasn’t so terrible at. I met him last year, on my sisters’ birthday at a store, I was very upset that day but meeting him changed that. He was tall, dark, fresh and very handsome.

I dialed his number, smiling and dancing to the ringer. From the way I was dancing, one would think “shoki” were his caller tune. He picks up at the fifth ring and said, “Hi, let me call you back” then hung up before I could stop him.
“Such a considerate fellow”, I say wistfully.
His call comes in and I dance to my ringtone for ten seconds before clearing my throat and answering it.
“Hi”, I say with a frown, hoping it would reflect in my voice.

“Hey, good afternoon”
“Afternoon, what’s up with you?”
“I’m alright, you?”
“I’m good”
Truth be told, Des as I called him didn’t sound as good as he looked. Sometimes he talked like he was a straight dummy. But his looks made up for his empty head, or so I thought. I liked my men smart though, but with his looks, I was ready to make an exception.
We talked for approximately four minutes, there wasn’t much to say though, and it wasn’t so easy talking to him without rolling my eyes and stifling laughter. He sounded confused a lot. Anyway, I had a date the next day with Des. I started to picture a kiss already, “oh Mirabel, get your mind out of the gutter!” I caution myself. My to-do list! I pick up my diary; there were a lot of corrections I had to make. I blow a kiss to my broken clock and looked at the time on my phone before sitting back to work on my list. Tomorrow is going to be great indeed…
Saturday morning, I rush to the salon to get my hair done; Desmond had never seen me on weaves, just braids. Braids didn’t fit me well enough, so I decided to fix a weave on.
I was done before noon after which I went home to prepare my outfit for my “date”.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, it was now 4:30pm and I gave up and called him. He didn’t take the call, I sigh; So much for all my joy huh? Yeah whatever. My phone battery was so low; I turned it off and placed it on charge.I had developed a cold already, it was the stress. 30 minutes later, it had worsened; I changed my outfit, wiped my make up off and head out for the pharmacy. On my way, I keep hoping I’d see Desmond’s car or something but I didn’t.
When I got home, I switch on my phone and first thing I got was a message from Des. He was apologizing and asking if we could see at that moment, shit! That was 30 minutes ago. I hit myself, why did I turn the stupid phone off? Just then his call came in, I pick it up and he starts apologizing, saying he was busy and asking if we could still see each other. I explain I have an early curfew and he asks for a reschedule, we plan on meeting the next week after which he gives another apology. Mad as I was, I gave him the benefit of doubt, maybe he was indeed busy. I sigh and lay in bed, feeling less enthusiasm. I take the pills and in no time I was off….

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE

Raised in a violent environment, they pressed on for survival. The insecurity within the family was taking a negative toll on them all but they suffered and smiled, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst daily, referees in their home they separated fights and suffered injuries. They didn’t mind, maami mustn’t get hurt, she was all they had. Her brother was the oldest, chief referee. He loved maami most, he was her shield, he played this role without relent like a soldier at war. Papa would curse, “Worthless son! I’d rather not have a son” he pushed him away, as a tyrant in his house he scared them all away. Made him watch the football match from the window and her watch the kiddies show from the passage, they tried to adapt to the prison they called home, constantly guiding their cell mate who was being picked on by the warden.

Her little brother grew up in fear, timid as a mouse he couldn’t socialise, having a voice he couldn’t use, he tiptoed around the house afraid to be seen, for the fear of being beaten at the smallest mistake or provocation to papa. Her sister regarded as a failure studied and worked hard, trying to please papa in his chosen field for her. It wasn’t her choice, it was her weak point, but she tried to the life of her to make it her strength till she lost physical strength, all she got from papa were discouraging words that pierced like a dagger. She was the strongest at heart, open about what went through her mind and not afraid to speak up. She tried to be the glue, the bonding glue. Trying to bring everyone together to avoid a next fight, but all efforts proved abortive, the glue didn’t seem to hold rather it tore them apart.Her big brother was killed in school, it could have been prevented. The war at home led to his negligence and they lost him. Papa assured them it was God’s will, he wanted it to happen or he wouldn’t have allowed it, unsure if it was said out of guilt or nonchalance they let it go, for a life lost could never be gotten back.

She grew up beautiful but barely noticed, almost never. She went from social to loner, from glue to water. She was more or less a shadow, barely noticed by people. She got out of school with only a handful of friends, the lowest self-esteem one could think of, she wore like a batch. Years after big brothers death the fighting started again, mammi’s shield was gone, and her replacement was also being beaten. Papa hit little brother so hard his skin turned purple,the courage came from within, though her voice came in gasps she said, “Leave him alone! Do you want to kill him?” Papa turned to her, grateful for the distraction she received the merciless beating with a welcome heart, she could take it, and maami was too old to be treated that way. She never knew love, papa made money available but never his presence. He had a burning flame on the crown of his head, a roaring hot flame. Maami and her siblings were the center of her world, the few friends she had were all so far away. She didn’t mind, it was her given part and she was going to tread on it with courage.

She met him in her street on a Friday evening, she had been running away from a giant turkey when he ran into her, he was handsome and confident. She let him in without thinking twice, he made her feel like a queen; breakfast in bed, kisses on her forehead and he listened. She threw caution to the wind and fell in love, he was her best friend. It wasn’t just about how she felt about him, but how he made her feel about herself. She got it back; her self-esteem built up like a tower, her water thickened and became adhesive, she became a pleasant soul and one could see it from a distance. Then he broke her heart, she realized he never loved her, she was just company for he had a wife and a kid; a beautiful kid.

Dumping her puzzle in a jar, she picked up grass and puffed, made the bottle her best friend and started a journal. She had been misused and abused and she wanted the world to know that love was a myth; at least she had proven it. “Fuck love”and  “fuck life” were her opening words, she had seen the worst of life. Consumed with anger and pain, she pushed everyone away, maami and her siblings; she locked everyone out and raised her voice at the slightest provocation. She was alone, in love with the solitude. She overhead maami apprehend her little brother, “don’t do that, you’ll make her shout and beat you”. She was hurt; she was becoming papa, the tyrant, the prison warden troubling the cell mates. She got up, took the jar for it was time to put the pieces of her lives jigsaw, she was going to start from the corners, till she got it done and lover herself till true love comes chasing.

Written by: Ehi-Sulaiman Miriam

Walking in another man’s shoes

I must admit the old saying “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes” is right.

Man to other: 'You don't really know what it's like until you've walked a mile in another man's scandal.'

You know, I’m what you can refer to as an extrovert or an open book as most my friends call me. But then I decided to be someone else, well I thought since I was going somewhere new, where no one knew me, why not try and be an introvert.Yeah! easier said than done right?. I tried sha, but God it was so depressing (shout out to all the introverts reading this, I hail thee). My first 7 days in camp was about me and me alone, like I was practically on my own, no friends and wasn’t mingling either, just a regular routine of sleeping, meditating, going through physical drills morning and evening with a 30 mints nap in between, and going to church. At first the feeling of observing and absorbing my environment was so great but then it gradually changed into something not so great, as I was getting lonely. I became frustrated as I have never been this disconnected from people, me! a talker transmitting to a listener, God that wäs like trying to pass elementary algebra….but then after eight days of living as an introvert I gave up this little challenge of mine. The next day, I got up, changed my routine from super boring to super cool, and it was like magic. “I was back”; I told myself, and for the remaining 13 days of camp I could find my steps without aching, it was so good to be back in my shoes again.

Visibility and Reality

Sometimes, people often say that everything of man isn’t all spiritual. They argue that
there lies a link between the “spiritual-ness” and “physical-ness” only in a few numbers of things.  Everything of man has a source-GOD and this implies that, there is always a link or relationship between the “seen” and the “unseen”  According to scripture, every
seen that was created, was by the “unseen”.

However “visibility” and “reality” are not the same.  Every visible thing is real and not all real things are visible.  “Unseen” birth forth every “seen” and the real though not visible begets the visible. Ideas are the mother of invention Ideas are “captured” but inventions are “seen”  Finally, God-The Almighty is the creator of the universe and that implies “all things” Genesis 1 & 2  2nd Corinthians 4

God Bless Us.

Author: TAIWO FARAMADE

 

Things you need to know about nuts- Almond

Almond (Terminalia catappa Linn)

Annongu reported the world production of almond fruits to be 0.7 million tonnes with Nigeria producing 0.1 million tonnes annually in 2005. There are two types of almondthe sweet variety which do not contain amygdalin and are widely used as edible nuts and food ingredients and bitter almonds commonly grown for its oil used as flavouring after eliminating amygdalin. Amygdalin is an enzyme, which causes the hydrolysis of the fruit to glucose, benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid.

almond-tree
Almond Tree

The tree bears a fruit which turns from green to purplish yellow when ripe and contains a hard shell or nut. The ripe mesocarp commonly referred to as fruit by many Nigerians, is mostly consumed by children as forage snack with the shell and kernels often discarded. The kernel is also used by many rural dwellers in southern Nigeria to fortify the local complementary foods, which are usually low in protein.

fruit
Almond Fruit

Almonds contains 10.0 mg/100mg of Phosphorus, 5.0 mg/100mg Sodium, 350 mg/100mg Potassium, 375 mg/100mg Iron, 26.4 mg/100mg calcium, and 36.1 mg/100mg magnesium (Akpabio, 2012). They also contain 187mg/100mg of phytosterols (Ruggio et al., 2005), which are associated with cholesterol-lowering properties. In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in one of its reports said, almond is a good source of nutrients such as vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), arginine, and potassium. Almonds also contain: a variety of phenolic compounds which are located in their skin and have shown to be protective agents against cancer and cardiovascular diseases, globulins and amino acids.

kernel
Almond Kernel

According to Grieve, almonds can be used medicinally for allaying acrid juice softening and relaxing solids and in bronchial diseases, in tickling coughs, hoarseness, and nephritic pains and because they contain practically no starch and being rich in protein, they are often made into flour for cakes and biscuits for diabetic patients. The skins can be used in cattle feed and in gasification plants to produce and as a useful ingredient for the control of oxidative processes in food products due to its high fibre content. The kernel can be blended into a creamy liquid with the addition of water (Almond Milk).

 

The nutrient profile of almonds (high monounsaturated fat, low saturated fat, cholesterol free and source of nutrients like fibre, vitamin E and Magnesium) makes them an ideal fit in a heart healthy lifestyle. Incorporate almonds in your diet today.

References

Azor A. Annongu, Niyi J. Ogundun, Kolade J. Joseph and Veronica Awopetu (2005).      Changes in chemical composition and bioassay assessment of nutritional potentials of      almond fruit waste as an alternative feedstuff for livestock. BIOKEMISTRI, 18(1):pp25-30

Google search

Grieve, 1981. A Modern Herbal: Almonds. Stedman Shorter’s Medical Dictionary

Phillips, K.M., Ruggio, D.M., Ashraf-Khorassani, M. (2005a) Analysis of steryl glucosides in       foods and dietary supplements by solid-phase extraction and gas chromatography. J.  Food Lipids 12:124–140.

U.D Akpabio (2012). Evaluation of proximate composition, mineral element and anti-nutrient       in almond (Terminalia catappa) seeds. Advances in Applied Science Research 3(4):   2247-2252

USDA, 2014. California Almond Forecast. United States Department of Agriculture.       National Agricultural Statistics Service, California Field Office (PDF) Retrieved      2015-12-08

 

DIY Pepper Spice

Microbes like humans always look for an environment to thrive irrespective of what it is, and foods have not been an exemption. Going through the refrigerator sometimes last week I was so shocked to see moulds already winning and dining on these beautiful peppers;”ball pepper and red pepper” (there has not been constant light supply, and we actually forgot we still had them). My first instinct was to thrash it cos it was so not going in my tummy, but then as a food scientist, I had to think of something to salvage the situation.  Here’s what I did;

First, I boiled half a kettle of water, then poured it on the pepper. After a while, I drained off the water, rinsed the pepper well and then poured another round of hot water. The first treatment should have been enough to kill and blanch the pepper but just to be certain I killed those microbes, I had to treat a second time.

After treatment, I spread the pepper on a tray and set out to dry under the sun. That took like three days though, but it was worth it

Lastly, I blended the dried pepper with bullion cube (I used half of Knorr for mine). Once done I packaged it in a dry nylon. The blending varies on how you want the spice, either powdered or not.

sombo

My result was a ready to use tasty pepper spice. I used some of it this morning in frying egg and it was deli.

Note: This does not apply in all situations oo. In cases where the entire seed is covered with mould, don’t salvage oo, cos there is nothing to rescue again, the whole nutrient is gone.

Sorry I could not show you pictures, no means to get that for now. I hope I have shared a little if not much. Thank you.

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