LOUD WHISPERS: Dear Diary

Monday November 6th

I have been in San Francisco for the past two days to attend the Global Fund for Women (GFW) board meeting. Today we met at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco. One of our board members is a senior executive at Twitter, and she offered to host our public event and reception planned for the day. Very nice building. Unending supplies of tea (any variety), coffee (from all over the world) and sweets/chocolates. Very appropriate for the mostly millennial entitled workforce. Board meeting was followed by a public event to talk about GFW’s new U$75m fundraising campaign. The Oscar and Emmy award winning filmmaker and activist, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy gave the keynote address. She is directing a documentary film for GFW on Women and Fundamentalisms. There was a reception afterwards with several GFW individual donors. People with serious money in the room. Noted the lack of fake accents, blingy jewelry and flashy designer bags.  There is a difference between ‘I have money’ and ‘I want people to think I have money’. Drank more coffee than I should have to stay awake. Clocked 9,200 steps.

November 7th

Board meeting ends at 12pm. Rushed back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and head for the airport. Dashing up the hilly San Francisco streets was hard and left me panting. Arrived Atlanta very late. The debates continue about the tragic death of 26 Nigerian girls trying to cross the seas from Libya to Europe. It is so, so sad. Many have perished and more will continue to attempt the trip to nowhere. October 30th, I was on a panel at the Africa Philanthropy Forum in Lagos talking about Migration and Natural Disasters. If we don’t invest in young people enough, especially girls, they will be coerced or manipulated into making poor choices with tragic consequences. Clocked 10,800 steps.

Wednesday 8th

Went to Best Buy and Target to buy DVDs. Complained about not finding some of the shows I wanted to buy. My friend/sister Yemi who was with me pointed out that people mostly stream the shows they want to watch, so there is a reduction in the number of DVDs being produced, and they are probably on their way out. I remember the dozens of VHS tapes I was stuck with when they went extinct and I shudder.  I saw that there were more Blu Ray DVDs available than regular DVDs. Dear Diary, maybe it is time to buy a Blu Ray player. Remember I am the one who always goes around looking for a battery for a four-year old phone.  FJ came over from campus and we went to Barnes & Noble to get some books. I bought Hillary Clinton’s latest book ‘What happened’ and FJ started his usual jibes about how the Democrats lost because they fielded Hillary instead of Bernie Sanders. I responded with sarcasm, ‘Shame Bernie is not President now. We would not have to worry about paying your tuition’. Also picked up a book ‘Win Bigly: Persuasion in a world where facts don’t matter’ by Scott Adams. Yes, it has come to that. This is an era of ‘post-truth’ and we need to understand it. Will share the book with JK. Clocked 11,200 steps.

Long flight back to Lagos on Delta.

Thursday 9th

Arrived Lagos okay. Switched on my phone and the texts flooded in, ‘This is to remind you that our father’s burial is next Saturday, ‘Our baby is going to be christened on Friday’, ‘Your Mama’s 80th birthday is next week’. All noted. Dear Diary, please remind the money tree at the back of the house to produce more money this week. The ruckus over the 20,000 ‘Olodo’ (dim) teachers in Kaduna State continues. This issue should not be politicised. Anyone who has a problem with the removal of the teachers should send their children or grandchildren to be taught by them. Shikena. No wonder 2+2 no longer equals 4 in our country.

There was also an update on the Agbaya (big for nothing) Vice-Principal who impregnated his JSS 3 student in Minna, Niger State. The VP has been suspended. Good, but not enough. There should be an active Sexual Offenders Register in all States of the Federation. Only Ekiti State (2013) and Lagos State (2014) have one. Any teacher found guilty of sexual infractions should be recorded in the register and dismissed, they should not be recycled to other schools only for them to prey on more students. Clocked 4,000 steps. Note to self to file a report against the small but noisy church on my street causing such a din late at night in a residential area on a week day.

Friday 10th

Went to the Lagos Book and Arts Festival (LABAF) where I had the first public reading of Loud Whispers. Decided to go early because I wanted to listen to the festival keynote lecture delivered by Professor Niyi Osundare. Prof spoke at length about the dangers the world faces right now, with the eruptions being caused by unqualified and insensitive persons in positions of leadership particularly in the US and North Korea. After the lecture I was drafted to be part of an impromptu panel of discussants alongside Professor Femi Osofisan and Mr Sam Omatseye of The Nation. I spoke about the implosion in the left in the US before and after their elections and how we should draw lessons from this. We all need to go back home to our units and wards and be vigilant against retrogressive forces who are taking over our political spaces. A distinguished gentleman in the audience wondered why I did not draw direct parallels between President Trump and the Governor of my home State in Nigeria. My mother taught me never to speak with my mouth wide open.

My reading went very well. Great attendance, good questions and comments. It was nice to see so many friends and colleagues. JK made it in from Kano where he had gone to support a senior friend whose son was getting married. Clocked 8,400 steps.

Saturday 11th

I participated in a program for WFM 91.7, the first women’s radio station in Nigeria. The Founder and CEO, Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, is a good friend, and she wanted to have a program with me talking about Loud Whispers and to also feature my big sister and friend Gloria Ogunbadejo, the London-based mental health expert who is visiting. Great program with interesting calls. After the radio program, the three of us went back to the LABAF venue at Freedom Park, Lagos to attend the reception hosted by the Committee of Relevant Arts (CORA) for their elderly members who are celebrating milestones such as 60, 70 or 80. It was a lovely evening celebrating true Heroes and Sheroes of the creative arts featuring Ihria Enakhimio, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Niyi Osundare, and several others. One of the hosts for the evening was the incomparable Diva of Nigerian Film, Stage and TV, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett. No red carpet, ‘slay mamas’, unfunny comedians and ranting comperes, just a focus on solid legacies built on real talent and creativity. Clocked 7,540 steps.

Sunday 12th

Morning prayers with family members. Prepared for activities in Abuja and the Ake Book Festival coming up. Caught flight to Abuja, with no delays! Big fan of Air Peace. On the whole it was an interesting week. Dear Diary, hope we have a great week ahead.

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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14 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Dear Diary

  1. Eric Onuoha November 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

    What a busy week you had. The book launch was wonderful.

    Reply
  2. DSEED November 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    No room for idleness. Always up to task and still looking vibrant.

    Reply
  3. Princess November 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Oh my, your week was more than busy but fun anyways. I guess next week will be a free one for you ma’am. Enjoy!

    Reply
  4. Ebonychyqui2 November 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    An idle hand is the devil’s work shop. No time for idleness, one has to do things the way they should be done. Hence being busy is not and option at all.

    Reply
  5. Akpes November 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    I must confess ma you nailed the week. #gbam#

    Reply
  6. Femi Diipo November 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah… Hope we all have a great week ahead. What a week. Keep working hard on making the world a better place ma’am. Time never forgets

    Reply
  7. Dom Dom November 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Sadly, I miss the chance to see and hear directly from you. How much I’ve been looking forward to that. What a diary, what a life. You’re such a motivation ma

    Reply
  8. Olakunle Olajide November 14, 2017 at 7:48 am

    A quick question ma’am, how many hours of sleep do you get in a day? I just needed to ask because that week’s diary looked very very busy. All i can say is well done ma’am.
    And yes, it was a pleasure finally meeting and hearing you. I really enjoyed myself at LABAF and i sincerely appreciate the gift. Thank you ma’am.

    Reply
  9. mary November 15, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Had a great time at the book festival ma , you really are a true definition of Strength…Great finally meeting a role model, you inspire Young Minds like myself…Hope you have a great week ma

    Reply
  10. Bisi Alawode November 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Wow.Work loaded week but very productive. How do you sleep and unwind ma? and how do you combine family with your busy schedules?God will always give you the strength you need. I love you.

    Reply
  11. Bolanle Olatan November 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    That line hooked me ”There is a difference between ‘I have money’ and ‘I want people to think I have money’. That line hooked my bones and tore my flesh. Really, the rich ones don’t loud it because they know what they have. I hope we millenials can learn from this.

    Reply
  12. Laura Dameson November 16, 2017 at 10:39 am

    You are really a hardworking woman. Whoever wants you to come to their event should better send an invite 2years before… God bless you and keep you ma’am. I look forward to seeing you at Ake.

    Reply
  13. Ololade Mathews November 16, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Wow. What a handful week, I wished I attended the event though but work didn’t let me so I followed live on instagram. It’s nice hearing you speak. Please where can the book be ordered?

    Reply
  14. Perpetua Dandeson November 18, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    You, truly, are inspirational Ma! I’m just thinking to myself “see all mama had to do, yet she made out time to write. So what’s my excuse?” More grace and strength to you, Ma. I hope you are fettle. I wish I made it to the festival *sad*

    Reply

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