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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why do so many people think Nigerians cannot speak English?

This post should be directed at Americans, but when I reflect on this topic, many non-Americans also have issues with understanding that Nigerians speak English as well (such as Germans, Koreans, Indians, and Brits).

Ok, so here's why I bring this up.  A friend of mine who's Indian (India Indian) American (born in the states and grew up in NY) and works with lots of Nigerians asked me about a friend who's Nigerian and asked if he can speak English.  I was like, "yes, of course.  English is the national language of Nigeria." She was like, 'yeah, but where he grew up, do they speak English?"  I was like, "yes, I have never even heard him speak in Yoruba come to think of it, I'm not even sure he can."

I was absolutely flabbergasted, like for real.  I mean, ok, I'm from a very small town in Minnesota, so I get that someone from my hometown or somewhere similar might think something so ridiculous, or even a White person from a city, okay, I'll let it slide, there are many ignorant people out there.  But she is Indian, who's boss is a Yoruba Nigerian man, whom she's friends with, so like, wtf, like, really?  I was appalled and embarrassed for her.

Nigeria is not francophone Africa.  I am pretty sure she knows this.  Nigeria had the brain drain in the 70's and 80's and therefore many of my professors at my university were Nigerians.  Nigerians are smart.  They are spread throughout the world in many different occupations and they all speak English, most not even with a strong accent, not nearly as strong as the average Indian, if I might add.  I am not Nigerian, not by birth anyway, and not technically anyway, but I do love Nigeria for all it's shortcomings, I do love this country and consider it my second home and I am offended when people do not think that Nigerians can speak English.

When I lived in Yola, yes, most people do not speak English, they speak Hausa, Fulfulde and other languages, but some did speak English.  I know that probably got even better as the University became larger, but that is the North and most Americans are unlikely to encounter a Northern Nigerian person in their lifetime, let alone one that doesn't speak English, unless they happen to find themselves in Nigeria, and at that point, they will know that Nigerians do speak English.

I mean, hello.  All those Princes that email you everyday claiming to have millions of dollars that they want to send to you write to you in English, abi???  lol.

Anyways, that's my rant for tonight.  I am always shocked by the ignorance of this world.  But then again, I had to google the meaning of chivalry a few days ago because I honestly did not know the actual definition.  But at least I admitted I didn't know it!

I digress. 

AfroDreamFest NYC 2015

AfroDreamFest 2015 will be hosted this year in New York City with an amazing lineup.  More info to be had here at:  http://tobbie7.wix.com/afrodreamfest and your tickets can be had here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/afrodreamfest-live-band-music-concert-nyc-may-22-and-23-2015-tickets-16069724980
or email me at afromysterics@gmail.com for tickets as well. 

AfroDreamFest is an annual touring concert that celebrates and promotes neo Afro-fusion genres of music from the African continent and in the diaspora to celebrate African Liberation Day (May 25) ! Previous ones were held in Atlanta and Houston and they were an awesome experience for both the artists and the afromusic loving audience!!! We are coming to NYC this year.
Afrodreamfest NYC 2015
TWO Venues/ TWO Dates - Make your choice or come to both for good measure :) 
*******************************
7.30 pm Friday, May 22 Meridian 23
161 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
www.meridian23.com 
**************************************
7.30pm Saturday, May 23 Silvana
300 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026
www.silvana-nyc.com
************************************

Featuring Afrobeat band Laolu and The Afromysterics, Afrosoul/folk artist Tosinger, AfroRnB artist Ogasilachi , Afro Jazz Artist Eli Fola and Ayanbinrin- Africa's foremost female Talking Drummer
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY BIRD PRICING NOW. TICKETS WILL BE $15 AT THE DOOR!!!

Getting back on track...


So life in New York is always crazy.  Like always.  This is good and bad.  You have to surrender to this city sometimes and just accept that you will always be busy and that you need to pick and choose what you want to do and how to live your life or you will go CRAZY!  I mean, there's crazy and then there's CRAZY!

With that said, although you have to surrender to New York, which I have surrendered to her majesty, you also need to learn how to not allow her to consume you, she can be like the ocean and swallow you up whole.  Currently, I am not a hundred percent happy with my situation in life.  This is for many many reasons.  One, I am not completely happy with my eating habits and my weight/body image.  Having a baby does things to your body, things that no woman talks about, things I cannot explain and I currently don't know how to deal with.  Two, I am not cooking enough and this makes me unhappy.  Cooking brings me joy.  So I am going to start cooking again soon and begin another round of the whole 30 or gluten free month or something like it.  Three, I have started to yoga again and need to keep this up. 

Routine used to be so important to me.  I have some routines currently but most of them are forced upon me, not by choice.  But I must begin to have some routine in my life again, but the routine will be of things I love and choose. 

I am also reading currently two different books for my book clubs. 

Book One:  The Folded Clock, A Diary by Heidi Julavits (for my Summer 2013 Cortelyou Moms book club).  This is a closed group.  The reading of this book is going very slow but I hope it picks up. 

Book Two:  The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (for my African Art and Culture in Brooklyn and beyond meetup group.  This is open to the public.  join us!)  http://www.meetup.com/African-Art-Music-and-Culture-in-Brooklyn-and-Beyond/  This is actually my meetup group that I started.  This is one of the many things that keeps me busy here in Brooklyn. 

What are you reading?  Please comment!

If you are in NY, how do you avoid being swallowed whole by her majesty?


Sunday, April 26, 2015

This Nigerian Life in Brooklyn

So I need to seriously update my blog.  This has needed to happen ages ago but lots of things have prevented this from happening, mostly, motherhood, our family business, and following our passions.  However, one of my main passions is writing and this blog is one of those things.

When I first moved back stateside I didn't know how long I'd be back in the US.  I am a bit surprised that it is as long as it's been (almost two years now) but nevertheless we're happy in Brooklyn.  I was asked what I am going to do with my blog?  Well, the truth is I started it for many reasons and I just borrowed the title and amended from my favorite radio show, This American Life.

So... With that said, I do plan on revamping this blog and writing much more often.  My goal is to be writing at least weekly because I do realize that people actually read this stuff.  I have SOOOO much knowledge, information and stories to share.

My blog will always have stories about my life, places I enjoy to eat, shop and go too both here in Brooklyn and in Nigeria.  It will always have a more Nigeriancentric focus because my own life has that too.

Look forward to many upcoming posts on the best places to buy ankara in Brooklyn, the best Nigerian restaurants in New York, the best places to meet other Nigerians in NY, the best place to do the shoki at and much more.

I don't claim to know it all but I do claim to be a lover of sharing information for all to enjoy!

Also, please do comment.  I have been busy posting them tonight.  Go back and read some old posts and check out the comments.  It's enjoyable.  Lol.

Cheers,

Kate aka Moremi

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The sad state of medical affairs

This morning I read on a friend's fb tl that her hubby was extremely ill and would be medi-evac'ed out of Nigeria to... wait for it,  Kenya.  Now I do know I've been out of Nigeria for a minute but how on Earth did Kenya become better for medical treatment than Nigeria? What is going on in Nigeria that Kenya is now a better place to receive health care? I hope some of you respond and comment on this because I'm so sad. Is this possibly true?

Has Nigeria's health care system really gotten this poor? Is Kenya that much better? Any experiences? I'm very curious to hear your thoughts.

Good night. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laolu @ Meridian 23

Tonight at Meridian 23,  161 W 23rd St, New York City,  Laolu and the Afromysterics will be performing two sets,  followed by DJ Eli Fola.  Tickets are just $10. Come show us some love ya'll.  Amazing original Afrobeat,  Reggae and AfroSoul by Laolu Senbanjo.  Check them out at www.laolusenbanjo.com

The Power of Yahoogroups

So in my lifetime,  I've been so blessed.  People have mostly blessed me with information, that information has led me to some great successes and continues to do so.  One thing at the heart of my success has always been,  yahoogroups,  oddly enough.  I don't like yahoo mail, never have, never really used it much but all the yahoogroups that I've been part of,  still am part of have been instrumental to me success in life.

Yahoogroups have given me friends,  housing,  jobs,  things,  beds,  cribs,  and much more when I needed them. My yahoogroups connection once gave me 3 job interviews the same day I learnt I was being laid off.  When I lost my housing yahoogroups helped take me in within hours.  When I was in transit and needed things that I couldn't easily access because they were in storage again, it was yahoogroups that helped me.

The other day, I needed a crockpot because I had a crockpot emergency (that's a story for another day) and it again it was my yahoogroups that saved the day.

Yahoogroups are kind of like phantoms.  You can't really see anyone (not like Facebook or instagram), it doesn't judge you,  but you just post to a group and people post back.  Simple.  Lovely.  Beautiful. I love my yahoogroups.

I'm going to take time right now to thank them. 
Thank you to the abuja_expats yahoogroup, without you there would never have been a Kate in Abuja.  There may not even be this blog for that matter!
Thanks so much to CortelyouMoms yahoogroup and flatbushfamilynetwork yahoogroup, right now I'd probably be in Jersey if not for you!

Yahoogroups has changed my life.  Taught me so much.  Taught me that there are so many good people in this world.  Taught me that I should appreciate all that I have and give back when I can. I'm truly blessed.  I love my community.  Flatbush is the best.  Brooklyn is so much better because of this real community.

Yahoo, you may not be Google,  but in some ways,  your way better!

Thanks for listening.

Much love,

Kate

What are you waiting for? Go search for the yahoogroup that will save your life!

Friday, January 16, 2015

We need to speak up about the situation in Nigeria.

The time is now,  to speak up about the atrocities that are occurring in Nigeria.  We cannot sit and wait and hear about more lives lost.  The West cares, sometimes,  but that doesn't matter.  We protested and matched when the girls went missing but now that they are mostly still missing and now that upwards to 3000 lives were taken last week in Baga,  now what? Do we match? Do we cry? What can we do? I cannot take up arms and fly to Borno, nor can hardly anyone for that matter.  So what can we do?

I know I have a voice.  I'm going to use it.  I'm going to talk. I'm going to discuss with everyone I know.  I'm going to share my experiences about living in the North of Nigeria and how much I loved it.  Now,  my version of Nigeria is dead.

Please share my video.  Get people talking.  Follow me on Twitter @katehallet on instagram @katehallet
let's get people talking!
Watch and share this video on vimeo.
https://vimeo.com/117002547
video

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chocolate Mousse by the Oyinbo Cook

So tonight, I made Chocolate Mousse from scratch.  I have not done this in years, literally since I think maybe 2001.  My Mom and I had made it during Christmas a few years before she had passed away.  However, it was not from scratch.  I bought some box mix from somewhere, I think World Market or something.  Yet, we did make homemade chocolate bowls to serve it in.  It was delicious.  This recipe has a very different story to it though.  My Mom would have liked this story.  She probably would have liked this recipe as well.  It is extremely easy, as long as you know how to cook.
I love NPR.  Anyone that knows me, knows this.  So last year (I think) I was listening to this NPR story and the woman was talking about how she lived in Paris and at dinner parties everyone would serve chocolate mousse for dessert.  It was often women who couldn't really cook.  The mousse always tasted the same and she loved it.  She tried a million recipes and it never tasted like the mousse she at the dinner parties.  Anyways, long story short, someone gave her a Chocolate Nestle Bar and low and behold the recipe was inside.  That was the secret.

Anyways, I decided to give it a try.  It is delicious.

Below are a few photos of my time making it.









The photos are out of order.  Anyways, stay tuned to see images of the final product.


In case you want to watch the youtube video it is here: http://youtu.be/VclWbogq3b4

and the npr story is here:  http://www.npr.org/2014/02/13/276044516/paris-confidential-the-mystery-mousse-behind-the-chocolate-bar

Good night!


Chocolate Rum Cake made by the Oyinbo Cook

So I've decided to diversify my baked products lately.  This one was inspired from two things!  One, the band (Laolu & the Afromysterics www.laolusenbanjo.com) that I manage just turned one this week, and it slightly reminds me of a rum cake that we used to have at my Aunt's house during Christmas while growing up.  Her neighbor (a Jehovah's Witness) used to make it and give them out as gifts.  Her's was strictly a rum cake but I decided to change it up a bit.  I tried out a few different recipes and this is a photo of the smaller cake I made with extra batter that I had.  Just in case you don't know, I sell my baked goods and deliver them for free in Flatbush or Prospect Park South and will deliver to all parts of NYC and depending on the location, some parts of Jersey.  

email me at theoyinbocook@gmail.com if you are interested.  

Just know that you are supporting a family that solely survives on its art forms.  So you are helping make the world a better and happy place.

This cake was divine.  We scarfed down the entire pan at the Shrine on Saturday night when we celebrated.  It was moist, has pecans, and  very boozy... Yum!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Baby Dreams

Baby Dreams

Ever since I was a little girl I had dreams of having a family.  Growing up I played with dolls and pretended to be a Mom,  in fact,  a working Mom who juggled ever facet of life.  When I was a little older I even watched my nephews on a regular basis.  Later,  I baby sat on the weekends and evenings and during summer holidays.
I continued to care for children throughout my college career,  then made a career of it in fact by getting a master's in Education and in the end being the Head Mistress of a Nursery and Elementary School in Nigeria.

For years,  I made friends with midwives and doulas, lived/worked/collaborated with organic farms,  food coops, and environmental organizations.  Working in Education I attended and even taught at conferences regarding the latest teaching method and parenting skills.  I had this idea of how easy it is to actually to be that dream parent. You know the one I'm talking about,  the kind that only feeds your kid organic food,  who never turns on the TV,  who makes all the food from scratch, etc.  I stupidly blindly believed the utter crap and nonsense I was preaching until I had a kid of my own.

So along comes baby Naniya.  She was born in Jersey and shortly after we moved to Brooklyn.  I started working full time when she was six weeks old.  But even before this,  all those ideals and beliefs I had long been thrown out the window and I opened a new window.  I call this window,  "whatever works for you as Parent's window. " Lol.

I breastfed her until about 8 weeks.  Around week 5 I had to start giving her formula as well because I couldn't supply enough milk.  She was literally sucking me to death.  It was painful and time consuming.  The pump I got didn't work and I didn't at the time have access to more resources that I got later on,  where I would have been able to pump probably had I had a better one.  I was blessed because my Mother-in-law lived with us and she took care of Nani while I was at work.  But my first two dreams of one breast feeding long term and staying home longer with my baby were dashed quickly when the start reality of NYC life set in.

It's funny because at the School I ran,  parents kept telling me, "Oh, you just wait until you have kids of your own. " Lol.  I've already used that line myself now.  And now I truly get it.  In fact,  when my sister or friends tell me stories about their babies,  I can totally call their bluff within seconds.  In my yahoogroups I often feel guilty when some parents make comments and talk about how they raise their child in what was my "dream" way of raising Nani.

But over time I've gotten over the guilt.  She's 16 months old now.  She's strong,  healthy,  extremely happy,  energetic, and I'm no longer embarrassed to admit,  that yes,  sometimes Elmo is her Babysitter, and sometimes Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. I'm no longer ashamed to admit Yes,  she would bounce in her jumper chair for at least an hour up to 3 times a day.  In fact,  she's got amazing legs because she spent hours doing squats, lol. Also,  I'm not ashamed to admit that at one point she stopped eating anything,  like anything and would only drink milk.  But you know what,  at some point that stopped.  She decided to start eating again and did so with vigor. I'm also not ashamed to admit that yes,  on the average she goes to bed after 11pm and sleeps till 9am or later. I'm sure most of you reading this are in utter shock by my last words and want to call the authorities on us.  Now before you all faint or start screaming, let me tell you why.   Her father is a musician and an artist.  Her mother is a writer and works as a consultant.  Naniya has adapted to our schedule which also helps us be the ones to take care of her.  She's not in day care.  She's in our care.  Naniya has never really been sick before.  I can say this is because she's not been in daycare.

We still strive to feed her well rounded organic meals,  make sure she has lots of activities which teach her things and burn her energy and give her a balanced life she needs. We are doing the best we can.  And it may not be the dream way I thought I'd parent her but it is the best way I can for now.

So the moral to my story is this,  please don't feel guilty for not being perfect but feel proud for trying as hard as you can to just be there and finding what works for you.