Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doing business with fellow Nigerians

So yesterday I was talking to one of my lifelong buddies about business and such and we got on the topic of doing business with Nigerians. She's an Igbo girl like me, but she does hair and sells Avon (her blog is here, )while I've been selling jewelry my mom makes, along with trying to sell meatpies. Eventually, I plan to have my own web and graphic design business. And before any of you start talking about Igbo people and business, just chill out. That is just a stereotype, though we seem to be fulfilling it. Lol...

Anyways, we were talking about how our people always insist on ridiculously low prices or discounts when buying something from each other. Lines like,"Come on, I'm your brother now?" or "I will give you $25" for a service that's actually worth $50 can be a real pain. And if you're dealing with your elders- forget about it. They want to treat like a child and you're supposed to 'respect' them by allowing them to run you over.  In my teen years, another of my friends (also an Igbo girl) swore off of doing Nigerian ladies hair because they never wanted to pay a fair price.

One thing I know though, is that if an American was to charge the same price for a good or service, Nigerian people will pay, though with a little haggling. But when it comes to their own people, they want an unreasonably low, unfair price. They want to talk about, oh I'm your brother, I'm your sister; but why won't that brother or sister do right and support their brother or sister's business?

My friend did mention one thing that's true, though: 

Africans won't sue you; they'll just cuss you out.

Homegirl had me straight rollin' when she said this. It's true though. And that might be the one advantage of doing business with our people. Hahahahaha........

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healing Music

On Friday morning when I woke up confused from a dream that I had interviewed Gadhafi, I knew I'd been watching too much CNN. Lol. Seriously; I literally dreamed that I was in my office at work interviewing Gadhafi and he was wearing some jean shorts and a T-shirt, complaining that Libyans were just copying what they saw in Egypt....  Yeah, definitely to much CNN.

To keep up with going-ons in Naija, I read Vanguard newspaper online. But watching and reading news can often be draining. I like knowing what's going on, but its often depressing. Bombings in Abuja, floods along the U.S. east coast, shootings in Detroit... Add all of that on top of my personal problems and it can really bring a girl down! Thankfully, the Lord is always there to pick me up again and help me face the world.

Music always helps too. It has unexplainable power when it comes to healing souls and touching hearts. Here are a few artists who have music that is really great at lifting spirits.

From You Hold My World, to Friend, and I Am Not Forgotten, If Not For Your Grace Israel Houghton is skilled at making music that praised God and uplifts people. The dude is really talented. I don't think there's a song of his that I don't like. If you're not familiar with him, do yourself a favor and Youtube him.

Then we have Mr. Sonnie Badu. Hailing from Ghana, my brother is now based in the UK an makes amazing African praise and worship music. When I first came across him on Youtube, I was floored by his talent and anointing. Baba is one song that I love to play when I need to cry out to God. In fact, let put that on right now.... :) All of Sonnie Badu's songs are awesome, and he does a really great job at bringing Africans together in worship by singing songs from several African countries.  His Africa Worships series is an example of this. Also, there's his song African Medley, a beautiful upbeat worship song that mixes together songs in different African languages.

Though I don't understand Yoruba, when Lara George sings, my heart listens. The first song I heard by her was Ijoba Orun, and it brought tears to my eyes. My mom, who understands Yoruba, was able to translate for me, so I now know that the song is about how a car, money, and so many other things can't take her to her home, heaven. Another song I really love by Lara George is Ko Ma Si and of course, I can't do without her song Hallelujah, a very danceable praise song that I truly love.

I first found out about Coffey Anderson when he came to my church last year. He opened up with his fun remix to Umbrella. Love that song. From seeing him in person, I saw his energy and charisma firsthand. Truly a great artist. I bought the two CD's he was selling on the spot after hearing him. The acoustic one, Worship Unplugged is awesome.  His song You Are My Strength is another one of my favorite.

Needless to say, there are countless musicians who make music that I love, but if I sit here and keep listing them, I probably wouldn't be able to finish and you'd probably get bored, so, I'm done (for now) :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rain + Wind + Lightning = Rainbow

Pic courtesy of Google
I saw the most amazing thing on Saturday. I was driving with my sister and some of her friends, taking them to dance at a wedding reception.

Heavy thunderstorms clouded the evening sky and pounded the roadways with sheets of water. Lightning flashed frequently. After the rain died down, the clouds moved back and we caught a glimpse of the sunset.

In one part of the sky, the clouds were orange and purplish. Lightning lit them up periodically and in the midst of all that, part of a rainbow was visible. It was the most amazing thing. I really wish I could have taken a picture of it. My passengers scrambled for their cameras, but they missed it too because we were driving on a freeway ramp and I had no opportunity to stop.

I'm always amazed at wonders of nature like these. Even the routine sunrise or sunset still strikes me as breathtaking. But a combination of so many beautiful elements - clouds lit by sunset, flashing with lightning with a side of rainbow - that's downright spectacular!

I don't see how anyone can really believe that this world and all its beauty just came together just by coincidence.  The earth is too majestic to have been created on its own. Things like this are proof that there is a God and He's much too awesome for any of us to understand.

 God spoke to me through what I saw though what I saw: after the heaviest storm comes the most beautiful scene; the heavier the storm, the more beautiful the outcome. I took that to heart because I'm facing some tough storms in my life right now.  I know for sure that God will bring me though and on the other side, I'll be much better than I ever was. Faith is a fight, but I keep coming back round after round. Can't keep this girl down!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Work Week

I work at a very small newspaper where I did an internship during my undergrad. Working there has it's pros and cons. The biggest con is the pay. It's, ummmm...... Well, let's just say that it's less than desirable. Lol. Someone with a bachelor's degree should definitely be making more, but I know it's just a stepping stone to greater things :) 

On the other hand, the pros are that I don't have to work nights or weekends (love that!); I'm getting a thorough understanding of how city governments work (useful stuff); I get to meet all kinds people; I write things that make a difference in the community; the work staff here is like family, so my boss is very flexible and I have no problem getting days off if I need them.

This week I decided to have a little fun and take a picture each day of the week at my desk...

Monday I was feeling refreshed from church. I even wore (almost) the same outfit as I did to church the day before (sshhhhh, don't tel anyone. Lol). I go to Detroit World Outreach. My Bishop, Ben Gibert, preached an awesome word called "Have Faith in Your Faith." It was truly awesome, as is every message he gives. Here's a link to all the videos of services a

On Tuesday I got fancy with my eye makeup and used two tones (green and a purplish-brown) to match my outfit. Of course you can't see it that well. It was a pretty good day from what I can remember. Oh yeah, that's right. I got to talk to one of my good friends who moved out of the state. He always makes me laugh... :)

On Wednesday I was ridiculously exhausted because I stayed up all night making jewelry. On top of that I had to go to school in the evening. Ugh. But that leads me to another pro of working at the paper. It's really encouraged the entrepreneur in me. Since I make so little; it's forcing me to get my hustle on! Lol. I'm finally having a jewelry party to sell stuff my mom, my sisters and I have made over the years. On another note, I can't even explain to you how glad I was to see my bed when I finally got home from class.

 On Thursday I threw on some pearls and black slacks for my meeting with the mayor of River Rouge, Michael Bowdler. Can you see the difference between Wednesday and Thursday? Chei, sleep is important o! Lol. I also got to interview Kiante the Sneaker Man over the phone on Thursday. Before his publicist called our office, I had no idea who he was. After finding more out out him from his website and interviewing him, I can see the guy is young and doin' it! Happens to be the name of a show he hosted in New York and a magazine he runs. To find out more about him check out his website. Click on his bio to read his amazing story.

Today is Friday and I'm soooo glad about it! It's pay day (yay!) and I can take care of some things. Not the least of which is my hair. Ugh. I just did it last week but I didn't take as good care of it as I should have. And you can't mess around with long curls. They'll tangle up on you in a second. So I'm going back to straight hair for now.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No chop my dollar o!

Nkem Owoh is famous for his song, "I go Chop your Dollar"
The other night while doing my hair, I decided to watch some Naija movies to get me through the long process. Lol. I went on Youtube and searched for Nkem Owoh and found a host of films. I started watching FIFA Agent 1, then 2; Osuofia in World Cup 1. When I got to Osuofia in World Cup 2 (it was a long night, lol. I paid for it dearly the next day) I was surprised by the intro to the movie, an anti-piracy public service announcement.

Nollywood stars Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki), Osita Iheme (Paw Paw), Nkem Owoh (Osuofia), and John Okafor (Mr. Ibu) had a short message for viewers. The stars thanked their fans and supporters the world over for their patronage. Then they got down to what they had to say: people selling counterfeit copies of their movies was causing them to lose money. I found their ad quite  humorous.

Click here to go to the video on Youtube if it doesn't work here.

Na wa o. See as they just dey beg people to stop buying pirated movies. Dem say, no chop my dollar o! "We no dey eat again, all because of piracy!" Chei. I think that's a huge overstatement. Sure, they're losing money. But to say that they are starving is not believable. I'm sure most Nigerians would not take these guys seriously. The average Nigerian who is suffering probably won't have much sympathy for these rich actors claiming that they are going broke.

The irony is that these very same actors are always making movies about some scheme to cheat people out of their money some way or another. Nkem Owoh is famous for his song, "I go Chop your Dollar." I can't count the number of movies where Osita and Chinedu have played little thieves, pocketing money that doesn't belong to them. In fact, the very film series where the ad was placed featured Nkem Owoh running a huge scam, claiming to be a FIFA world cup official.

I understand that these are movies and the roles the actors portray may not match their true character. But the abundance of these types of dealings in movies shows that it has become so much a part of Nigerian mentality: "Take what you can from who you can, right or wrong, to sustain yourself and even get rich, because after all, I'm suffering."

Government officials, 419ers, and yes, those selling pirated DVDs are all thinking like this. It's wrong, but it's accepted as a way of life. Making an ad against piracy is not enough to change a deep set mentality. I think these actor's efforts would be better used to create some kind of initiative to give people jobs. At the end of the day, that's the reason why most people turn to crooked ways: poverty and lack of income or greed for more.