Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Sad Life of an Internet Addict

It's amazing how much things change, but still stay the same. Here it is at 11.19pm and I promised myself that I would sleep early tonight. But, here I am still surfing the Internet. I keep saying "One more page, one more page...." This is so sad! I can remember doing exactly the same thing during my early, and particularly, hermetic life in Boston.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Wire

Just got seasons 1 and 2 of The Wire and so far I am loving it, as I knew I would. Thank God it's Friday! I'm looking to curling up in bed and watching back-to-back episodes all weekend long.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Who Loves Crime Shows?

I do! I do! But here is someone who loves them, apparently, more than me - they do have an entire website devoted to the show, Homicide: Life on the Street. When I was in England, this was one of my favourite shows. I watched it unfailingly every Tuesday night (at 11PM or some ridiculous time like that). Since then, I've become hooked on Prime Suspect, Law and Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (never really got into Criminal Intent though) and CSI - the one set in Las Vegas - (CSI:Miami is okay; feel blah about the NY offshoot). I also liked Hill Street Blues (re-runs), Cold Case and Without a Trace and recently started getting into The Shield . I am sure that I will soon become a huge fan of The Wire, once I get my hands on seasons 1 and 2.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nigerian Blogs

Found two blogs that I especially like: Naijablog: Living and loving and laughing in Nigeria and Musings of a Naijaman: a Nigerian man living and blogging in the UK. The first is by a British man living and working in Nigeria, while the second is conversely by a Nigerian man living and working in the UK.

I discovered the first through a webring of Nigerian blogs and the author of the second left a comment in here. I'm debating joining a ring or not. I kind of like the relative peace around here, for now. We'll see.....

The Digital Divide

This morning I read a write-up about the persistent gender digital divide. The term 'digital divide' usually refers to the big gap in access to and the use of the Internet and some other Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) between the rich and poor countries, or the developed and developing countries. However, these differences can also exist between people of different socio-economic circumstances even within the developed world, and also between men and women the world over.

This article discusses how women still lag behind in the use of technology, development of policy and infrastructure. Even a lot of the content available on the 'Net (pornography is a big example) is targeted exclusively at men and degrades women.

This is, unfortunately, very much true. While I was in the States, I gave a lot of thought to how less women, compared to men, are engaged with technology. I also thought about how educational and socio-economic backgrounds also played a big part in the disenfranchisement of many groups. Now that I'm back home, I see that while all these are factors in the use of technology, it feels that money (or perhaps more widely, socio-economic status) is THE biggest determinant in how likely a person is to learn about and to use ICTs. This is because access to ICTs are determined by how much spending money you have (after taking care of the basic needs) to spend on getting connected. The predominant forms of access are cybercafes and work. For the first, when you have more pressing needs, getting onto the Internet will not even feature on your priority list; for the second, not everyone works in an office where Internet access is available.

Speed is another major obstacle in how effectively one can become engaged with ICTs (this is particularly applicable to the Internet). I am actutely aware of this after spending an extremely frustrating morning trying to check my email and update my blog. If logging onto simple, text-based websites is such a headache, how can I even think about accessing the wealth of multimedia content available on the Internet? (Sigh! I miss NPR and BBC online radio so much.) Obviously, if you have money you can afford to get broadband connections, so here we are back to the issue of money. It seems that what you need is plenty of money in order to get the fastest connections out there.

This makes me even more in awe of people who manage to make the most of meagre Internet infrastructure to create websites with great and highly-usable local content; share information via personal blogs; tap into the plethora of great online learning resources, etc. It's easy to be "hi-tech" when you have so many resources at your disposal. When you use the little you have in innovative ways, well that's truly cutting-edge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Finding Myself This Weekend

I'm currently reading this book called "I Know I'm in There Somewhere: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice and Living a Life of Authenticity" by Helene G. Brenner, Ph. D. which is about reconnecting with your authentic self, or as the author likes to refer to it, your inner self. The inner self is the real you, the person you were aware of as a child, before you became sensitive to outside opinions and developed the external self, or the facade we construct to show other people. I have always thought that the person you were as a child is the closest to the real you. All the things I enjoyed as a child are still often the things I enjoy now e.g. reading, writing, being creative and imaginative (as a child this was manifested through the imaginary friends I had and the stories I created for my many dolls, as an adult this comes out in the way I think and approach situations, and the way I dress or wear my hair).

My love of writing is something that I'm just re-discovering after many years of not writing for pleasure. For years, I was too self-conscious to show anyone what I wrote and slowly I stopped writing anything at all. I'm happy that writing in this blog has helped to gradually re-awaken that old desire. Now I can't wait to write entries and when things happen, I think about how I would write about them. Writing helps me think clearer - about my feelings on certain issues. As I write, I think and as I think, I like to write. Both actions feed-off each other in a symbiotic process. This is usually fueled by whatever I'm reading at that moment, which right now of-course, is "I Know I'm in There Somewhere".

Over the weekend, I was thinking about the feeling of not being good enough and the constant (in my case anyway) quest for self-improvement. One of the things that has bothered me the most is being introverted and for years I tried to work on it by putting myself in new and uncomfortable situations, so that I would be forced to be more at ease in these situations. And while I can now fake it pretty well (at least for short bursts of time), being extroverted is still not me and it never will. I think I've always known this (sort of-ish), but I REALLY realised it this weekend when I was out with my best friend Y and her husband and it wasn't really related to anything that was going on at the time. However, I remember very clearly the moment it dawned on me who I was. It was as they say, a moment of epiphany. And, surprisingly, I'm totally cool with that- strange as it might seem. I can make friends fairly easy for someone so reserved and I think that I'm quite fun to be around So, what's a little shyness between friends? I think I'm in pretty good company too. I was flipping through the latest issue of Ebony (as usual a very ho-hum issue, but I think they are trying to jazz-up the look and content) and came across the article "Hollywood's Sexiest New Leading Men." Articles like these usually send me flipping the pages as quickly as I can until I've moved onto something more substantial, but who should catch my eye but my latest (ahem) celebrity crush .... Idris Elba. (Honestly, there can hardly be anything as pointless on this earth as a crush.) The "heartwarming" fact about him is (and I quote him):
"I act for a living, so my personality is very different from the characters that I portray. I am introverted. It may come from being an only child, I will never be the life of the party.....I like to observe people."

Now, I ask you, can I be in better company than with this totally talented and interesting-sounding actor? Okay, I actually think it's dumb when people place other people on pedestals or identify with people they don't know- which, BTW, is not what I'm doing in this case. However, I have my group of inspiring female celebrities, none of who I know personally: Salma, Katherine Hepburn, Oprah, Chimamanda. When I hear what these women have to say in interviews, it resounds so loudly with me (well, maybe except for Oprah- sometimes she's so all-knowing that she annoys the hell out of me, but I think she has so many admirable qualities all the same) I that I almost cannot believe that I do not know these women personally and that these are not some of the isses that we have discussed over and over.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Feminism is All Around

It seems that when an idea is on your mind, you start to see similar ideas or the same idea recurring all around you. Like lately, I've been thinking about feminism (both in the Nigerian context and outside), and it seems that all of a sudden I'm reading articles about (Nigerian) women who identify themselves as such or maybe don't, but whose beliefs mirror what feminism is all about.

I read an interview of Salma Hayek in the September 2003 issue of O (Oprah's magazine). Salma comes across as a very self-possessed woman, who has VERY strong ideas about how much women are capable of and how we should learn to value ourselves. I wish I had the mag with me here, so that I could type out some quotes. But, I fell in love with her just reading that interview. She talks about how, all her life, there have been boundaries set on how she should be. In Mexico, she was a famous soap star and the public saw her as the character she played. When she moved to Hollywood and had her breakthrough with Desperados, she became "the bombshell." She talks about how she's really had to go out of her comfort zone in order to defy the expectations which had been put on her by a narrow-minded film system. She's now an accomplished actress-writer-director, when all that was expected of her initially was that she would look good and be the bomshell.

Another interesting person I read about recently is Marcia Ann Gillespie, a one-time editor-in-chief of Essence (from 1971 to 1980) and the editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine (as at the time the article was written, May 1999). She proudly identified herself as a feminist in the article, but talked about how she initially it seemed to her that feminists (who happened to be mostly white women) largely ignored the issue of race. It seemed that to the early feminists, men were the bad people, however to a black woman who has to deal with *both* sexism and racism, that argument is just a little too simplistic. I can see where Marcia was coming from. It is the same argument that bell hooks makes, and one that I had never had much cause to think about, being from a predominantly black country.

I was watching "Adam's Rib", a film starring Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn (another woman who would be on my list of inspiring women) earlier today (I'm still not done watching it). In the film, a woman who has suffered years of neglect and abuse by her husband finally snaps when she finds out that he's cheating on her. She follows him one day after work, tracks him to the arms of his mistress and shoots him. He doesn't die, but Spencer Tracey's character, an attorney, is appointed his legal counsel. His wife, played by KH, acts as the wife's lawyer.

The film observes the issue of gender equality (or lack of it) in the courtroom proceedings and also the dynamics between ST and KH's characters. The film, while it makes a lot of significant points, about society's double standards where the actions of men and women are concerned, also fails to show these problems of sexism as applying to black women. There's a scene (which I'm still watching) when KH presents a group of "American" women to show how, although they are "just" women in society's eyes, they are also highly accomplished in their own individual ways. There was no black woman in this group. Oh yes, there was an Asian lady, but I'm not sure if she was supposed to represent all the "other" races or ethnicities (BTW, we never heard her speak in that scene). But it made a poignant - if unintentional - point about how black women were largely ignored by white women (even by the feminists among them, who you would think would believe in solidarity among ALL women across ALL races).

Here in Nigeria, I think many people see feminism as alien to our culture where patriarchy is the order of the day. So again, black women are left out of the mix, only this time we are the ones failing to challenge the issues of gender inequalities which we face daily.

Marcia Gillespie defines feminism thus:
Feminism in its purest sense means you believe in a world where women truly matter. You believe in a world where we have equality that is social and economic and political. I'm talking about a world where there is real justice.

This is not limited, simplistically, to women being able to work, but one in which we can work AND have the full support and assistance of our partners (be this in looking after the children or the home). Women and men can define their roles in their own family unit and not simply take on roles assigned to them by cultural stereotypes. This is truly the kind of relationship and partnership that I'm looking for. I hope I get it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nigerian Feminism (or the Lack Thereof)

It feels like when I sit down to write at this blog, the ideas really come flooding out. Sometimes I worry about writing too much or just gushing, but hey, it's a blog, right? It's there to accept whatever I'm putting out there.

I'm reading an interview of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the now celebrated Nigerian writer, in an old issue of Genevieve. She's a young (27 year-old) woman whose first book, Purple Hibiscus, has been a runaway hit in Nigeria and abroad. I believe that she's almost single-handedly responsible for a gradual rekindling of public interest in literature. Nigerians being Nigerians, will gravitate towards fields that have suddenly become popular, or in which success would lead to a considerable measure of fame or financial reward. Anyway ...... moving on swiftly to what I really want to talk about.

Chimamanda talks about how she's proud to be a feminist. I am too, though it took me a long time to realise that I was one. The title "feminist" is one that many women (both here and even in the West) appear reluctant to wear and I wonder why? Feminism doesn't mean hating men or feeling that women are superior to men. It's about equal opportunities for both men AND women, while simultaneously acknowledging the ways in which we are different. That's the way I see it and it's not that radical a notion to accept if we think about it.

Chimamanda pretty much shares this sentiment:
"The men in my life - my father, brother, friends - are feminists because they believe men and women are equal. And for me that's simply what feminism is about. I have discovered that 'feminism' is a bad word to many people here [in Nigeria] - like something you are supposed to deny or justify. I think every thinking person should be a feminist, if we are fair and believe in justice."

It also doesn't mean that if you "wear" the label "feminist", then you are defined solely as that. Of course, you are a lot more than that.

Chimamanda also goes on to talk about the aspiration to marriage, which is the norm among women of "a certain age." She says:
".... it worries me: this idea of aspiring to marriage. I think marriage is wonderful and it should come when it would, but I don't think we should sit down and plot. That's what many people do and thereby make wrong decisions."

I know what she means, because even though I was always a woman who gave little more thought to marriage than "It will come when it's supposed to and with who it's supposed to.", I find myself, in this African culture where marriage is held-up as the ideal state for an adult to be in, chomping at the bit sometimes. I see what she says about rushing into the wrong marriages, because I frequently hear tales of the sad marriages that result from this. On the other hand, I do hear stories of people (usually women) who have decided to get married and set-about it with the planning and precision of an army general and had wonderful testimonies to share as a result. (Not too long ago, I heard about the Harvard-educated author of the book "How to Get Married After 35: A Game Plan for Love", which apparently was very successful in the States. The author also has a consulting company, which specialises in (you guessed it) getting women 35 and older married, as well as a website.) So, I think this is not a debate that will be resolved in a day.

Back to feminism in Nigeria though, I wish more women and men would see it for what it truly is. I hope to do some more reading about it myself, but I know that I feel so inspired by women who are achieving their dreams without letting someone else's idea of womanhood define them and what they are capable of doing. I was VERY inspired by Chimamanda's thoughts.

Anita Baker on Wikipedia

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my Anita Baker website. I love, love, love Anita Baker and years ago, out of frustration at not finding much information about her on the Internet, I promised to build a site devoted to her. Unfortunately, I couldn't build websites then. It wasn't until years later, when I took a web design class and had to build a website, that I finally got around to building this much dreamt about site, which I named the Anita Baker Pages.

It's a great site, one of the best ones out there about Miss Baker, if I do say so myself (and I do). Tommy Jensen, the webmaster of the other great site has since retired from the Anita Baker site biz and passed the baton on to ME!!!!! I redesigned my site well over a year ago and changed the URL and since then my site has fallen way down in search engine rankings, despite all my efforts to move it up. I'm not particularly worried, because cream always rises to the top and it took my old site about two years to rise to the #1 position in Google. However, I know I can do more in getting more links to my site. Seeing that my new favourite technology, Wikipedia, has a page about Anita Baker, I've decided to add a link to my site.

PS: Just found out that, although my site may not appear anywhere near the top in Google, it's #2 in Yahoo for a search on Anita Baker. YAY!!! The number 1 site is the badly-maintained official site, which I'm sure I could easily knock off.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wikipedia is Cool!!!

I first heard about Wikipedia last year at a web usability conference I attended in Cambridge, MA. It was apparently a web encyclopedia, which users can add to. I thought, "Sounds cool, but there must be more to it that that."

Idris Elba in The Gospel (2005)
Now, a whole year later I try it out. My latest celebrity interest is Idris Elba (before that it was Gary Dourdan of CSI fame) and I was reading up on him on the web. Let me tell you, there is not a whole lot written about this actor and what there is, I've seen by now. So, by the time I got to page 5 of my Google search (I know, I know..... who goes all the way to page 5 of their Google search?), I got linked to the Wikipedia site, where I found one pitiful paragraph on Mr. Elba. I saw an edit button and decided to try it out. Lo and behold, it works! My entry (the last line of para. 1, and the whole of para. 2 and 3) was up within seconds. This is so cool! I know I sound like someone's grandmother, who is discovering Discmans just as everyone else has moved on to iPods. Now, if only there was a way to leave my name on the entry, so that I can really go out and make my mark on the World Wide Web (insert maniacal laughter here). BTW, if you're interested:

HBO "The Wire" Website:
Idris Elba page on HBO “The Wire” site

Idris Elba Interviews:
ABC News, (March 2005)
Black Film.com, (March 2005)
Las Vegas Tribune, (March 2005)
New York Times, (December 2004)
AOL Black Voices (formerly Africana.com), (December 2004)
Sacramento Observer, (December 2004)

Funny story by blogger who met Idris Elba
Blog post about a Feb. 2005 seminar on The Wire

PS: This is also my first time uploading pictures in Blogger. It was easier than I expected - I assumed that I'd have to upload the pics to my personal server and then point to them.
(Photo from Yahoo)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


The conference started yesterday and there has been so much controversy surrounding the choice of Tunisia as a venue for this “information summit”. (Read the APC blogs for more detailed write-ups from the event.)

Some of the discussion preceding the event has included whether the United States could be persuaded to give up ‘control’ of the Internet. Some countries, particularly China and Iran, are pushing for an international body oversee the management of the Internet. Until a decision is made, the day-to-day technical management rests solely in the hands of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a US organization. Read more about the ongoing debate on the BBC site. The Beeb site also has a nice slideshow of some of the younger attendees sharing their perceptions of the summit.

We also finally get to see a prototype of the famous MIT-produced $100 laptop that has been the subject of discussion for much of this year. With its (relatively) low cost, durability and low power consumption, the laptop is aimed at helping to narrow the technology gap.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogging All-together: Berkman Center's Thursday Night Group

I was browsing the net, as I do in-between tasks as work, and came across a link to the Berkman Center's Thursday Bloggers Meeting. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society is a research program based in Harvard Law School, whose mission is to explore cyberspace and the need for laws and regulations governing its use. The Thursday night meetings are for bloggers and explore all things bloggy. I did hear of them while I was still in Boston, but assumed they were for Harvard students only. It seems from the site that membership is a bit more open than that. I wish I had been a part of that. (Oh, wait! I wasn't a blogger then.) I also found about the Boston 501 Tech Club for people in the Boston area working in nonprofit technology. It always seem that you discover some things just a little too late. Well, I'm sure if I look hard enough, I will find something for and about Nigerian bloggers.

Meanwhile, here's a spotlight on Annalee Newitz, who is a writer and contributing editor of Wired magazine. She talks about how women have traditionally been marginalized in the tech. industry.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


A year ago, I came across an essay competition in ELLE Magazine, giving one lucky reader the chance to become an ELLE emissary to UNICEF. The winner would travel with UNICEF to a part of the developing world and report back to the magazine on her experiences out in the field. Since I hardly ever read fashion magazines (except for Essence, which is not a purely fashion magazine either) and even more rarely ever read ELLE, I took this as a very fortuitous sign that I was destined to enter and win the competition. (Oh yes! I dream BIG!)

Alas, I did not win- my instincts failed me!!!! But, I just checked the ELLE site and found the report by the winner, Diane Chan. Although I was upset at not winning, I have to agree that her essay was very moving and provocative. Her report on her trip with UNICEF to Zambia was equally captivating. Reading it makes me really want to devote my life to helping others in a deep and meaningful way.

Hair Addendum

I know what you're thinking- "What another post about hair??????" Well, get used to it. Hair is a big thing for most women, I'd venture to say. This blog is turning out to be mostly about hair, work and technology (in no particular order).

I got my hair done on Saturday at a salon called Downtown, which is in Victoria Island. My sister had her hair done there and I thought they did a pretty good job. At 10:30AM, the salon was already filled with women getting their hair done. Nigerian women do not mess around with their hair (or seemingly, what little of it they have). I can only imagine the shock most men would go into were they to enter a salon and see women without their beloved hairpieces and extensions. It's truly a sight to behold- even for me, a woman!

There was a lady who came in, all polished as you please, with her shoulder-length silky weave. By the time, the stylists removed the weave and she was left with just her hair...... well, there really wasn't much to look at. Her hair was so short and scanty. I've always wondered why women don't put as much effort into nurturing their own hair as they do in religiously fixing things in their hair. I think even a little effort would go a long way. And after all the fake hair comes out, all we're left with is our hair and it would be nice to have some decent amount of hair to play with, right? Or maybe who cares when you have endless options of bonded and sew-in weaves, extension braids and wigs to choose from. Maybe it's me who is missing the big picture- isn't one of the fun things about hair, all the interesting things you can do with it? I guess so, though I'd rather have my own hair.

So what did I do to my hair? I had kinky twists done, which I've had before, in Boston. These are much shorter and curly at the ends and feel a hell of a lot heavier too. I almost feel like I'm walking around with someone's rug on my head, but they *do* look very nice.

Edited to add:
New York Times article on hair as a form of identity among African-Americans, (November 2005)

Monday, November 14, 2005

WSIS, Tunisia

After a rather blah weekend and an equally unimpressive morning, I'm feeling a bit more revitalised now. The girls' retreat, which I mentioned a few weeks ago is definitely still on. Now it will be 2 retreats aimed at girls between the ages of 12-14 and 15-17, with the objective being to get them interested in careers in the oil and gas industry (preferably as engineers). I went to visit 2 possible venues today and it was great for me to get out and about and talk to people, instead of being cooped-up indoors.

Browsing the BBC site this afternoon, I saw this overview on the importance of getting the developing world access to the Internet.

I recently re-subscribed to the Digital Divide Network (DDN) listserv. I used to be a member while I was in Boston, but this is one active list and if you don't have the time to monitor it regularly, you WILL get swamped. Lately, I've been feeling a bit out of touch with the digital divide world and ongoing discussions, and needed to get back in there. On the list, I got a link to a site with several WSIS-related blogs. The latest leg of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) journey is in Tunisia for the next few days. I was initially quite unsure of what the objectives of WSIS were and how any outcomes from the meetings would be distilled into practical action steps in hundreds of countries all over the world, but the blogs make for interesting readings and you can maybe get a sense of how global objectives are being implemented on a local level.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Striking for Pay

As time goes on, I (re)learn more about working successfully in Nigeria.

Yesterday, in continuance of what has become the norm around here, we had no electricity for most of the day. The power supply went off around 11.30 and returned after closing hours. Now why were we still in the office after closing time, even though the lack of electricity meant that we couldn’t do any work, I hear you ask? Why, because the security guards went on a strike! They haven’t been paid in months (since January I heard) and had enough. They locked the gates and refused all staff exit from the compound. I initially laughed about it until it dawned on me how long we could be there.

Another question you might have: why hadn’t they been paid in months? Oh, the property managers were having financial difficulties and the onus fell on the tenant companies to cough up the money for the salaries (even though that is not their responsibility). It was talk of this payment that resulted in the hours-long back and forth. Watching my boss talk things over with the rest of the tenants reminded me of a quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher. “If you want things said, ask a man. If you want things done, ask a woman.” My boss was the only who appeared to be trying to resolve the situation. The rest of the tenants (MEN!!!!) seemed to be having a ball talking about it, making jokes about it and generally not helping the situation at all. Eventually some money was brought forward (by my boss) and the electricity miraculously came back on. It turned out that the electricity had come back around 3:00 PM, but to increase the effect of their strike, the security (MEN!!!) had decided not to switch it on. So after being held hostage for several hours we were free to go, after a full day of accomplishing almost nothing.

Now I can almost laugh about it, but it can very well happen again so I won’t laugh too hard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Last Night

Last night I eagerly left work, because I had a building headache and was very tired. Despite that, I still planned on some exercise before crashing for the night or whatever else I was going to do.

On getting home I found at that we had no electricity (sigh). We have been spoilt by having a solar-powered generator, which we use during the day whenever the light goes. However, it’s not working at the moment, which I had totally forgotten. When there’s no electricity there’s really not much you can do. I sat in the front living room and tried to read in the fast-fading daylight. Eventually I gave that up and sat still for about 15 minutes just staring in front of me. The fact that I started to feel uncomfortable doing this showed me how unused to calm and stillness I am- and think this applies to many other people.
I have been writing a lot in my journal- at times sporadically, at others at least once a week, but always in some considerable volume whenever I do. So, I’ve almost run out of pages in my current journal and went to get a new one at the Nu Metro store at the Silverbird Galleria with my brother and sister. It felt strange being out on a work night. Even in Boston, I rarely went out after work, preferring to cuddle up on my loveseat at home to an evening on TV (am I really a 60 year old in an almost 30 year old body?). There were a surprisingly (at least to me) large amount of people out at the mall, walking through the media store and eating at the “see-and-be-seen” cafes. I was just happy to get my journal and can’t wait to start writing in it.

Doing Business in Nigeria

I almost added another addendum yesterday, but then I really couldn't be bothered. Besides, I am being paid to work, not update my blog. But, it was somewhat difficult to do much work yesterday and I'll tell you why.

Around 1:30PM the electricity supply went off. In Nigeria, this is a very common occurrence, an everyday occurrence in fact. So, it would have been a case of "same ole', same ole'", only that it wasn't. The office has two generators, one of which is switched on whenever the power goes. One is currently not working so we use the backup. However, having to use the generator on a daily basis means that we need a lot of diesel to fuel the generator. Apparently there was no diesel during yesterday's blackout and no money to buy diesel (this is another long story which I really can't be bothered to write about). The long and short of it is that for 3 hours, we had no electricity and so could not do any work. Ever wondered how much our lives and work are now centered around technology? Try doing without it! The electricity did eventually return about an hour before closing time, but somehow managed to have disappeared again by the time we came in this morning. So, again we sat around aimlessly until an hour and a half later when the power returned. Ho hum! This is the reality of being in business here I guess. While I was freaking out (albeit mildly) about wasted man-hours, the others just sighed and said “This is how it is here.”

Since then, work has been very busy for me and I am extremely tired and looking forward to going home. I’d like to do some pilates or yoga when I get home, but I can already picture myself falling asleep on my mat.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yet Another Addendum

Wow! I have quite a lot to say today. I came across this article on the BBC site about the blogging habits of American teens. Young people in the States are using technology to break down the lines between traditional forms of media to create and share their own. It's quite fascinating, but then young people have historically led the way in adoption of new technology, so maybe then again, it's nothing new.

Blogging by Nigerian youth is also on the rise, or so I deduce from the number of blogs I see (see Links section for link to a web ring). I wonder how many older Nigerians blog in comparison to younger folks; and how many bloggers are in Nigeria, compared to those blogging from other countries.

Hair Addendum

I washed my hair yesterday morning and put it in tiny braids, so that it would dry faster. By the evening when I wanted to go out, my hair was still not dry and so I had to leave the braids in and go out like that. This morning it took me forever to get the tiny braids out and I was running late. I wore my hair in an afro puff and I think it looks nice, but I was wondering what "management" would think and if they would think that it was time to have a little talk to me about my hairstyle choices.

But then, who should walk into the office this morning but the lady of the company with freshly done braids. I think they were very cool, but the twist is that the braids are done in a variety of colors from black, brown, blond, through to red. And to think that I was worried about how my natural hair would fit into my new workplace.

Back to Work!

Today is my first day back at work after almost a week off. The Eid-el-Fitir holiday, or Sallah as it is popularly known, was great. My friend Y and I pampered ourselves on Wednesday with facials and pedicures. I also got my eyebrows shaped for like the third time in my life. I initially thought that the beautician left them too thin, but now I LOVE them. When they say that well-defined eyebrows are the one thing that define your face, they weren't joking. My face looks so different, more polished somehow.

On Thursday, my sister and I went to a bookstore called Bookworm to check out their Sallah sale. I got a book called "Some People, Some Other Place" by a writer called J. California Copper who I had heard of previously. I think I heard good things about her, but the book is great so far. There is no real synopsis of the story on the book cover (I really hate it when instead of learning what the book is all about, you find excerpts of various glowing reviews), but from what I've gathered so far it traces the history of several families from sometime around the time of the Depression. The main character is an African-American woman who has not yet been born (at least not in the part that I'm currently reading).

I have been thinking about things that I might do after my NYSC year. My options include staying with my present firm, moving on to another firm or starting something of my own, which is what I would really like to do. If only I knew what to do though. I'm looking around to see what people need. I'm also thinking about that I am good at. In Boston, I built websites on the side. That is very time-consuming, especially when your clients want the whole world on their website like yesterday. It might also be an over-saturated market, though I'm not sure. I would also like to learn how to really build interactive websites, which are database-driven. I think that's what most companies need and not static sites. I will see what else would be a value-added service. This would be great for me, as I could work from home and structure my time to suit the way I work best.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Short Work Week

Today is Tuesday, and incidentally, the last day of my work week. Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday are public holidays, which mark Eid-el-Fitir or the end of Ramadan. Friday happens to be my community development (CD) day. So that's me off for the rest of the week. This is one of the reasons I love Nigeria. Since the country is about half muslim (or as I've seen it described in many books and articles, "a predominantly muslim country), we celebrate both the Christian and Islamic days of note.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my unexpected holiday, but I am certainly not planning to stay at home like I normally do. Y and I might go get facials tomorrow. I've never had one before and, since my skin is fairly sensitive, I really am not too sure how it will affect my skin.