Nostalgia

You know, there is always the question of asking yourself if you are ever going to be a best seller in your lifetime. These days, those are the questions that I find myself asking each time I start writing a story. The question started simply enough. A very young child came to my house and we started chatting. He wanted to know why I was hunched over my computer almost all the time he was in the living room. I blinked and tried to focus on the young man. He noted that most times he called to say hello to my children, he invariably found me typing. I took a deep breath and wondered if I should do one of two things.

You know look down my nose at him and reply in a pitying voice on how he has missed the true calling of the writer and tell him he was not likely to understand what writing meant to me, yeah, I am still broke and I am not sure if I can claim that I have sold my book in thousands never mind millions. What? No, I am not about to discuss my despair either. Hey!, I mean my despair that I am never going to finish writing all I have to write. I never have enough time and the stranger thing is, I have had days that I sit by the computer and the stories just goes on in my head and the computer remains blank. That is really frightening when I wonder if all this is going to be worthwhile. I am not trying to change the world neither am I likely going to change my immediate community, unless I wish to be a liar.

That is another thing, my niece doesn’t think I work anyway. She came over to spend the holidays when I was part of a television series on teenage reproductive issues. She had liked me and was enthusiastic about the series, I NEED TO KNOW. She read the stories every night, staying up all night sometimes. I was preening and waiting for the commendations to flow in. She looked up and I saw real bewilderment on her face.
“seriously auntie, I have never met all these people you talk about in your story, you are just forming them up right?”
“You mean like I am making them up”? I asked her slowly puzzled at what she was implying. Here, let me insert a warning: We are writing Nigerian English and my friends across the pond may have to hold on for a translation later.
My niece nodded and I smiled, “Yes of course , that is what is called fiction, the situations are real though”.
“You mean Ikechukwu is not real?”
“No my dear, the young boy that acts the part is real but that is just his television name”.
“Hmmm, very easy job Auntie, just sit down, dream up stories about people and you get paid for having fun”.
I stared at her, opened my mouth to explain what enter- educate drama is all about and clammed shut as she stared askance at me. She commented that she envied my job and wondered why I had not become a millionaire at the very least. She said she might one day take up my job.

That was years ago, the juice train left and I stared into the hard glare of straining to make two tired ropes stay glued. Digital television, internet radio and programmes took me to hunger street and I needed to look at dim areas of my creative mind to quell the noise of my growling belly.
I have been writing since I can remember the meaning of pain, hunger, dreams and a compulsive need to talk to persons I have never met. My imagination wakes me up every dawn as the sun dips her fingers on my hopes and gives me a taste of its promise. I have like a thousand stories, impatiently jostling for attention. Men I know so well in my head, conversations that seem unending, situations crop up and I ponder on their solutions. An urgent need to tap a shoulder and start a conversation.

I am doing one right now right? Were you interested? Oh well, you got this far. That must count for something. But you see, a new fear is peeping at me. How much time do I have?
Will I ever write a best seller? Sometimes I picture a vast field, the sun is setting, the players are all gone, I am staring at the lonely abandoned ball in the field, the stands are silent and a lone figure walks onto the field, he touches the ball and hears in his soul the roar of his dreams and he makes a lob into the far end of the field. The sun yawns and calls me over.
I will see you soon my friend.

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This time of year…

I wish to share my thoughts with everyone who has touched my thoughts, my life in any way.I am sharing as my own special Xmas present.

CHANTS IN MY DREAMS…….. EXCERPTS
Just Perfect!

We pled love,
he called me a witch,
I tickled his fancy,
I danced to his dandy,
we stayed in a clinch.

In gurgling streams,
a perfect garden,
a troth was made
never to fade
he called me a witch
that stole his thunder!

In flowered dreams,
the years rolled by,
the endearments took a hue,
from the many frets,
when nature served us hets
as lessons of love
his eyes took a shine,
to varied shapes askew,
that taunted our troth.
if only I was truly a witch!
I would weld his wanderings!

Just one Look

Across the room
there was no name;
to the emotion;
the air was thin;
my breadth was strained,
my knees became jellies,
took an eternity,
to complete my breadth,
that was lodged between my breast.

He walked away,
as I turned away,
from the darkened door
to my bright happiness

Never saw him again;
each morning though;
I remember with pain;
the sun that went away at dawn.

I promise to be your friend,

on days you are blue
when you wish I was a thousand miles away
when you wish to touch my hand in the dark
when you whisper
that only I can feel the beats
of your loneliness
always even when
blood drops on the rose

HELPMEET BY LOLA BABALOLA

Helpmeet by Lola Babalola

The question is, are marriages made in heaven?
Helpmeet fincvr
When you pick up the papers to read, you are fed with stories and pictures of marriages that have broken down. Some have been marries for a while, some for far much longer. It is those long marriages of twenty plus years that sadden me. A friend of mine who had been married for twenty four years walked away and I felt really bad. If you had stuck with for that long, why walk now? Then you read about the wife killing the husband, do you stick an association where mutual respect has been downgraded to zero? I know a young woman who says she really does not think marriage is meant for her, because she could not be sure the gentleman of today might not turn out a monster later. Why do people get married and picking from my guest today, what role is the woman to play? I do remember that the Lord is reputed to have said he He was creating a helpmeet for the man. HELPMEET. That was the word that struck me when I saw the book. It resonated with me. It is not a book for Christians alone but for women of all ages, creed and race. That was what I found comforting. I did not have to be of a particular faith. I could read it as a manual, a guide, letit be my friend on a lonely confused night.
One hundred and forty five pages of inspirational and intuitive sensing of the role of the woman in this wonderful creation.
The cover art was also interesting as it spokes volumes, the deep roots of life together on a journey holding hands and connecting.
It is a fairly long read, but I am sure you will not notice as I had to restrain myself from asking endless questions.

Let us meet the author Lola Babalola Screenshot_2015-10-13-08-38-49-1

1. Let’s get to know you
My name is Oluwafunmilola Babalola. I am an intercessor and the wife of Olajide Babalola, an Architect and generational reformer. We are both ordained Pastors and family counselors. We are blessed with six beautiful children. My professional background is strategic communications and I have quite a few years of experience from both the private and development sectors, so I consult across both sectors but my job title these days is Mum.

2. Is this your first book?
I have been writing for many years and have published my poetry on the world wide web. I am also the Founder of a pure play company called Feelnubia.com, where I have been writing for about 6 years. HELPMEET is however, my first published work.

3. Why did you write this book?
I must make a quick clarification. I will say I was the Editor but I cannot claim to be the Author of this book.

Back to the why:
Although I shared some of my personal testimonies in it, HELPMEET was written on the instruction and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to encourage women to contend for marriage of their dreams by equipping themselves with the knowledge of God’s original plan for a wife in the life of her husband. That knowledge liberated me as I wrote and read over the manuscript. It continues to take me closer to God’s heart for my marriage as I read it and I am blessed by the numerous testimonies of both single and married women who have read both the manuscript and the published work.

4. Do you think marriages are made in heaven?
I believe that each one of us is created as a unique expression of a multifaceted and gloriously complex God who is as real to us as we allow Him to be. If you invite Him, He will guide you through pretty much every aspect of your life the least of which is not marriage. In fact, I venture to say that marriage is the most important individual decision you will ever make in your life, second only to the decision to stop blindly driving one’s own life and hand it over to the direction of the only Person competent to navigate one through life’s journey. So, my answer to your question is not a simple refutation or affirmation. If you invite God into the preparation, selection and martial process, your marriage could very well be made in heaven!

5. In your view, what would be grounds to seek divorce?
This answer would depend on the worldview to which you subscribe. These days, I live my life for Jesus Christ and the Bible, which is my Standard Operating Manual (if you will) prescribes adultery as grounds for divorce. In practise however, there are many reasons why a person might seek or welcome divorce. The Bible also shows us that Jesus is big on love and forgiveness, while clearly stating that God hates divorce and for good reason too. Some of the reasons a couple might find themselves at the brink of divorce are logical outcomes of the foundation of that marriage in the first place. When we rush through our preparations and decision to marry, it is inevitable that some signs we ignored or trivialized would come back to haunt us. Furthermore, many of us do not appreciate the gravity of the covenant of marriage so these days, you hear married persons say casually: ‘I will walk’ over seemingly trivial issues.

Divorce can solve some problems but it is not always the magic pill that our fast-food convenience culture presents it to be. Many marital or relationship problems persist beyond the divorce, as couples that have children continue to deal with one another nonetheless. Divorce does not take away my poor decisions, immature management or reaction to a problem. It does not wipe out my own mistakes. It passes the buck somewhat but it oftentimes compounds the problem. My encouragement to anyone considering divorce is that each person should honestly examine their reasons. Is this situation remediable, forgivable? If not, why?

In HELPMEET, I was able to address some uncommon perspectives about divorce and I quote:Helpmeet fincvr

“There are women who have turned marital challenges and betrayals such as domestic abuse, adultery, even homosexual confessions around and built strong happy marriages out of the ruins of such calamity, while others have understandably found it impossible to navigate past those deeply difficult and painful experiences”.
Also, from another section I quote:
” It Takes A Life-Time To Correct A Marital Misstep
Even after divorce, couples find that the scars of their previous marriage lingers, colouring every subsequent relationship and interaction for as long as they live. It becomes a condition many live with, learn to manage but never quite overcome. Perhaps that is why God hates divorce because it creates a wound in our spirits from which we hardly ever completely recover. Even after they are healed, these wounds tend to cause a mutation from the scarring such that we are no longer quite who we were before we got married to that person and can never return to being the person we would have been had we not been through the experience of a failed marriage. This sobering thought shshould make us unwaveringly determined to get marriage right the first and only time.”

6. How would you advise a battered wife or an abandoned one?
In life, we have little control over the things that happen to us. The only part of life’s experiences we control is how we react to the curve balls that might be thrown to us. Both men and women have experienced physical or emotional abuse as well as abandonment. Some abusers are psychologically handicapped and require intervention to amend their responses to stress. Some find that in different relationships or circumstances, they are not aggressive or predatory. Often times, abuse is accompanied by other behavioral problems but all marital problems have a cause and effect. The effect might be disproportional to the cause but it has a cause nonetheless.

Some abuse might be accompanied with signs apparently escalating towards resulting in or serious physical or emotional damage. If the victim seeks divorce or finds him/herself served divorce papers, the truth is that divorce (while greatly damaging) is not the unpardonable sin. With wisdom and divine guidance, people can move on from divorce beyond the conventional levels.

If you have problems in your marriage, you could choose to go it alone or turn to popular wisdom. An uncommon option is in the book HELPMEET and I quote: If you find yourself confronted with marital problems,
“…you need to return to the manufacturer and turn in your warranty. Go to the Lord, the author of marriage and… give Him a blank cheque and wait on Him for instructions, which you must follow to the letter however foolish they may sound. He is able to turn around for good what is meant for the trash cans but that wisdom and technology is not in any man’s possession. You must wait on Him though, for your own specific instructions, rather than following the instructions given to someone else who was in similar circumstances.”
I must add however, that if you consider your life to be in danger, you would be best advised to first put some physical distance between you and your assailant, while you await further instructions or seek godly counsel.

Should parents help in determining the helpmeet of their children

As a parent, your influence on your children’s decision about their marriage is not so much in talking them into or out of a choice but something that begins long before you the parent even get married. As soon as you become aware that you are to be married one day, you should begin to pray about your yet-to-be-unveiled spouse, your life together and your children (biological and spiritual). This perspective adds a weightiness to your own decision which will certainly not be lost on your children as you recount it over the years to come. Marriage makes or mars destinies: yours and that of your seed after you!

One piece of wisdom that I acquired through penning this book is the realization that each one of us is part of an intricate whole. Your story began long before you were born and continues long after you would have died. You are a unique, wonderfully unduplicable expression of God and the culmination of the dreams and hopes of many, many of your progenitors who came before you, as well as an ancestor to generations to come. Your decisions and choices will impact your children and their children either as examples and a blessing or lessons and a burden to them. That singular perspective will guide your children as well as it will do for you.

8. I am intrigued by your choice of the word helpmeet? Please explain.Helpmeet fincvr
It was not my choice, actually. Please remember that earlier on, I admitted that I wrote this book by instruction and inspiration. In that sense, I was simply the Messenger.

Having said that, I do know though that the book’s title is taken from the scripture in the exact form that it is recorded in the King James’ version at the point in scriptural reckoning when man’s need for a wife was articulated by God. The Lord said: ‘I will make [man] a help meet for him’ This means a help that is apt, just right, precise and commensurate with his need. Help meet in the original text of the Bible means ‘strength’, which is a paradigm shift from the way women are perceived; as the weaker vessel.

I believe the title was chosen for that reason, to unveil the deeper and true meaning of a wife’s identity and purpose in her husband’s life. To quote from the book:

“While at first glance, the difference [between WIFE and HELPMEET] might appear to be nothing but a matter of semantics; it is actually a matter of perspective. This perspective is often what determines the failure or success of a union.”

9. What is your perspective of the true role of the wife to have a blissful marriage?
It came as a surprise to me as I read the manuscript that the true role of a wife is to live for another, to be a “life laid down”, laying down her strength and pouring out her life in obedience to God as a demonstration of God’s unconditional, unrelenting and unselfish love for her family. To quote from the book:

“It Is Not About You
Women have been sold a lie. That lie is the idea that happiness in life is about what we can get from other people, how much they love us, value us and give us. Nothing is further from the truth. A self-centred life is a very hollow life and the stuff that misery is made of. TrTrue happiness comes from service to others. Loving THEM, giving to THEM, valuing THEM and serving THEM. ‘Except a grain falls to the ground, it yet abides alone’
No fruit ever becomes a tree by sitting pretty in the fridge. It must be eaten and its seed thrown in the dirt, covered by earth, to all intents and purposes it must die: rot and decay first, before its essence is regenerated, then it germinates and begins to grow. If it wants to remain un-un-eaten, clean, pretty and comfortable, that fruit will not amount to much by itself. It will ultimately rot and be thrown away, not even fit to be eaten anymore. Yet, within that one fruit is a seed that has the potential to become a forest, if only it would let itself be thrown in the dirt and be covered by earth. When we learn to live for others, we discover that the beauty of love is buried deep within our sacrifice.”

10. Share your thoughts on the following as they affect a marriage

a) drunken husband

b) flirtatious wife

c) disrespectful children

The foundation of a marriage is a strong determinant of its outcome. The Bible tells us that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all”. The effect of problems on a marriage are determined long before those problems arise. What is your philosophy of life? Where do you get your compass, your navigational tool for marriage? Will you permit problems to derail your marriage or strengthen it? That perspective is one which we tend to choose before we embark on the voyage of marriage. Did my marriage vows include the words: “…For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health…”? Did I even hear them or did I just mumble them without any consideration for what I was saying or what the words mean? Some couples now leave those words out. That already says a lot about where that marriage is going. The Scriptures tell us about two houses: one build upon sand and another built upon a rock. We learn that WHEN the storms come, the one built on the rock would stand through the storm. Please note that the scriptures did not say IF the storms come, it said WHEN. Problems are inevitable. They just present in different forms.

Marriage is a covenant, a vow, an oath between you as an individual and God. Your spouse just happens to be a beneficiary of that covenant. What excuse will you give God for not delivering on your vows, which you made with your free will?
Screenshot_2015-10-13-08-38-49-1
11. Who do you intend this book for?

This book is written for women who are married or for single ladies whom marriage is a desirous estate. As it says in the preface:
” This book is written for both Christians and non-Christians alike, in response to the call of the Lord to inspire hope and faith in the hearts of women all around the world. This is a call to women to understand that God wants a wonderful life for them and marriage does not need to be excluded from that life. Marriage is not a journey for the feeble-hearted nor the double-minded, but you do not need to give up on your ideal of marriage. This book is written to give you a clear vision of God’s purpose in designing marriage and will help you to understand that purpose in order to give focus to your desires and aspirations. It will help you to contend for the marriage that God intends for you to have, one in which you are fulfilling purpose and within that purpose, you will be able to enter into peace, all round prosperity and walk in your destiny.”

“More women than ever are opting to pursue [other] goals to the total exclusion of marriage. If that is you, this book might not be of any interest to you”.

12. Please give us links to how we can get a copy of the book

Please search for the book on Kaymu, Amazon (Book) worldwide or Waterstones Bookshops UK, using the search parameters: HELPMEET, LOLA BABALOLA

13. Will you be interested in answering questions on a counseling basis from readers of your book?
It will be my great privilege.

14. Give us a an address where we can send such questions
Kindly email me: lola@babalola.com.

Thank you very much for honoring me and reviewing my work.

The Old King

Then…..

 

He told the story of the lost prince and now there was indication that the lost prince was with them that very night and in the presence of the first king, the rights of the lost prince are to be restored to him. He poured some powder into the burning fire and from that fire, the old man appeared.

The blood in Babatunde’s veins was now running high and he had difficulty controlling his awe and excitement. So the old man is the first king. I should have thought of it. He is still wearing those darn beaded slippers. The old man, or rather first king, stepped out and there was such a thunderous salute from all that one could be forgiven for thinking that all the dead had risen to bid him homage. He raised his hands. “I have a story to tell you, but I will first give grace to the first Creator that created man and the also to the first created One. When we overcame the wolf-men, close to the smoking islet, it was to find our own kingdom and be masters of our own destiny. The first Created gave us the divining beads and said we would never get lost nor be vanquished by the wolf-men if we listened to the divining beads of Ifa. You all carry within you the story so I will not bore you.

Through perfidy, jealousy, lust and silliness, we lost a prince. I made a vow not to create a seat for me with the ancestors because I am the first ancestor and a prince was lost. I pleaded that I may be permitted to search for the lost prince until he returns to his rightful inheritance since I am responsible for bringing about what happened. “Ifa told me of his journeys. That night the lion kept him warm with his body until Numen came and took care of him. She handed him over to a farmer and his wife with instructions never to ask how the boy came about. However the boy had a habit of following the lion everywhere and the lion allowed it. It learned to imitate the sounds of the lion and knew no fear. Numen explained to the farmer’s wife that he would always be identified by his ability to roar like a lion or growl like one. He was almost twelve, time to enter the grove and pick his spear in the initiation rites, Numen brought him to me and allowed me to know him. He was told nothing of his real nature. He learnt herbs and became a very good farmer. Suddenly the farmer went to the next village and was captured by some strange men. I could not trace him again. I was inconsolable but had to take heart knowing that line was still there. “Then came the drama of the wives and since I was not sure of how many wives were lying in wait I asked Numen to help me. She explained that the prince would not be king in my lifetime. When I asked why she said he was to come when the village needed him to stand in protection. She assured me she would be around then too, so I might be given permission to close the cycle in whatever form Olodumare might decide.”

Babamogba poured more of the powdery substance into the flames and very briefly the flames illumined the old man’s face. He looked very tired except for his eyes, which glowed.

“I am not physically here, but in my wanderings, I have permission to this recognition, and I do not have much time. I gave the lost prince the symbol of kingship. Let the one who has it now stand up and present it so all may know and greet him.”

There was dead silence as everyone looked round wondering who that could be. The old man growled deeply and Babatunde stood up slowly to his full height as he roared in response.

Survived the Journey… Memuna Barnes

You all know me by now. I will do a review only after I have read the book. When the author of this book invited me to review her book, I blithely wrote back my usual style. I need to know what I am reviewing. Right? I got the book , then saw the number of pages and I desperately wondered I didn’t just allow myself to be guided by the first offer and stay close to what amazon.com had to say. But I knew one review can be different from the other and I had no choice. When I started reading however, I became very alarmed and uncomfortable. I was worried, angry at different times and unfortunately I took the story into my dreams as I became a captive of Memuna Barnes.
I was saddened at the waste of adolescent dreams, the eagerness of young souls trampled underneath by our base emotions. The innocence of Memuna and her fellow victims, hope killed by the bullet into the brains of Fuck-care. Those names , how-are-you, Pustine, C.O Base and a host of others. It was painful to read how Memuna overcame her first horror at brutality to her resigned acceptance of it. She never came to terms with it and she mirrored to us how the older generation had failed them.IMG_1708
Survived the Journey is the journey of an innocent, fresh- faced, pert and saucy teenage girl, forced to grow up fast and eventually traumatized by the sheer cussedness of humanity where dreams die first.. She could easily have used that as the title of her book except for this detail, Memuna Barnes is a first rate survivor, who had the grace to be stubborn, a determination to hang on to her virginity, that determined her dreams.
Memuna survived the darkened dawn so she could take her place in the sun. Read her story and be inspired. I read and then I had these questions.
Congratulations on your book but we will love you to answer a few questions IMG_2461
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
A) I am Memuna Barnes in my 30s, one of nine children. I was born in Liberia to a Sierra Leonean father and a Liberian mother. I came to New Zealand in 2000 as part of the United Nations Refugee Resettlement Program with my father and younger sister Mamawa.
2. You started your story straight away about the capture and your family remained most times in the shadows. Tell us a bit more about your parents.
A) Growing up both of my parents were in the workforce. My mother was a secretary at a printing company and my father a manager at Telema Fishing Company – Liberia’s second largest fishing company. At the time my sister We’re the two kids who lived with them in Liberia. We were well provided for and if
there ever were hard times before the war…..my mother made sure my sister and I didn’t know about it. Mama was a mother who lived for her children. Very hands – On. She never missed our school programs although Mamawa and I didn’t attend the same school. Mama would pick up the child who did not have a program
first and rush off to the school of the other child and make sure that child knew she was in the crowd watching. I was always involved in plays or speeches at mine and She would run to get Mamawa after work and rush to my school. She was always there in time to give me that last minute cheer, kiss and hug to assure me she was watching and enjoying every second. Which for me, was all that mattered. I was a well catered for child as far as I know. Our father worked most of the time and we only really got to see him at weekends. My parents paid for everything we wanted.
3. What led to the RUF over running your part of the country?
A) The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) walked into Sierra Leone from Liberia via the border and started what they dubbed “First Battalion” in Pujehun District by capturing and recruiting young boys and girls into their rebel force. Soon after they took Kailahun District which was dubbed “Second Battalion” giving them access to diamond mines which were used as currency for ammunition. So those two southern districts became rebels stronghold.
4.At the end of your journey, did you meet up with Hassan ?
A) I could have met up with Hassan as I mentioned towards the end of the book when I bumped into How-are-you in the market. However, I was afraid he would find me and take me again. So no I didn’t.
5.Did you discover any further news about Base and Pustine?
A) I know nothing more about Base. I could find out about Pustine if I asked a few people but I have not tried to.

6.You had quite a violent eighteen months as a captive, has it anyway affected your perception of war, politics and your old country.
A) My experience has indeed affected me a great deal. First, before this I had no reason to think about war and I would forget really quickly soon after watching a war movie as a child. I remember owning a toy pistol myself once. However, after
experiencing two civil wars in a space of a decade, I think it is a pointless waste of lives, resources, infrastructure and a heinous offence to humanity. Why not just sit and talk about issue? Why not negotiate and bargain ( this is what would have to happen in the end anyway) and think about the citizens and the generations to
come? I think our leaders should picture themselves as parents when they are voted into power. They are voted out of trust and respect should always consider the people who give them power and use that power for the people rather than against them. Create opportunities in form of jobs, utilize national resources and subsidize the healthcare and education system of their respective countries.
Liberia and Sierra Leone need to stand up and value their people especially when there are so many emotionally destroyed individuals running around aimlessly. You cannot love your country if you have no respect for human rights. The aftermath of war, I think is almost as bad as the war itself. The country is left with traumatized individuals who are so confused and still scared: for those who participated in the massacre – they live with the guilt (if capable of remorse) over the lives they took, unable to fit in a functional society ( for people like Hassan, Base, CO. Gbembo) where instead of people answering to them they now have to learn
how to have bosses and a job, some live in fear of retribution.
For those of us who witnessed the horror we live with recurring nightmares and sorrow over our loss and we want answers but no one can offer them. For me carrying on is something that just happens because I am alive but still sometimes feel stuck. These memories can be triggered by the simplest event. I think about the day we left Monrovia almost everyday as I go past the dock and see cruise ships. Watching contemporary war movies or the sound of a car backfire gives me nightmares of the war.
Then all the dead bodies that are left in the forests where bombs have been thrown at people… get washed off into waterways and pollute the environment and lead to the spread of diseases.
7.In the book, there seemed to have been a breakdown of all forms of morality and ethics, what would be your understanding of this on the younger generation particularly the child soldiers
A) Living in war where there is no one to judge or guide one apart from God in Heaven (and that is if you grew up being taught of a higher power) shows you what humans are capable of given the opportunity.
Younger children, first of all in a normal situation must always be watched and led on the right path in life as we all come into this world knowing nothing more than our basic motor skills. Then a young child who is already confused by adolescence is taken from his or her family and forced to shed blood and is conditioned to think that these atrocities are the way of life can only lead to a generation of damaged men and women who will then go on to raise another angry and confused generation if care is not taken and something is done to rehabilitate and integrate those were involved into a functional society.
8.Hassan seemed to have been portrayed as a villain but as I read further I find you trusted him more and I wonder if you hoped he would get some type of counseling too.
A) I hope Hassan would receive counselling and rehabilitation. So many innocent youths were forced into those wars. Of course there were some who were just downright terrible human beings like those hard core criminals who were released from prisons in every town the rebels took over. Now that these men and women have been disarmed….what now?
IMG_0907
9.With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?

A) After asking myself this question so many times over the years I cannot think of much I could have done. Apart from pleading with my mother not to travel that day, that was the last time my sister Mamawa and I saw her alive.
10.Is your book going to be available in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and would it be effective in helping to heal and reconcile the victims of this war?
A) This is my prayer that this book does great things for my countries, continent and
the world. I hope I can get SURVIVED:The Journey into both Liberia and Sierra Leone and that it is perceived and accepted it as a healing tool, that my story encourages talk about theirs and that the government in these countries do something to properly integrate these former rebels into society and heal the countries, I hope it is perceived as a history lesson, as well as a possible guide to how matters could be handled for the sake of the innocent civilians.
11. Please let us know, in what ways this recollections has affected you and what advice you might give young persons who may have been affected by the book
A) Reliving my experience in order for me to write my book has helped me accept that sometimes in life things beyond our control happen to us and we can never get answers to the question we need answered in order for us to move on. And that
sometimes being alive and healthy is all you need to ask God to give you courage to summon the strength to see his grace in your life. My questions were: Why? Who gave these people the right to invade my life, disrupt my home, and tear me away from my mother? Who said it was ok to snatch my innocence away? What makes them so worthy? God where were you, Why were you so angry to let it happen?
To every young boy or girl who reads my book, be courageous, stand for your truth and be yourself. No bad situation lasts forever. Have a lot of compassion for yourself and your peers.
Every new day is a promise.

12.What group of people will you recommend to read your book?
I believe that this is a good read for people of ages 15 and up. There is a lesson in it for everyone. Our politicians too could learn a thing or two.
13.Please give us links to anyone interested in buying the book.
SURVIVED: The Journey can be purchased at http://www.survivedthejourney.com or amazon.com or http://amzn.com/0473246244
For comments and discussions after you have read please find me at amazon.com/author/survivedthejourney.com Also at https://www.goodreads.com/httpwwwsurvivedthejourneycom

Pedal…Louis Lowy

I call him my pirate, for he has the look , the charm and oh yes the ability to keep me riveted on a story. When I read Die Laughing, it seemed incongruous that such a warm person could write a humorous sci-fi that had me angry, horrified and impatient with the characters in the that particular book. Then I had a surprise when his second book came out. It was completely different from the first but just as compelling. Remember it is said that you are only as good as your last Louis however raised the bar with his second novel even though it was in another genre altogether.

That is what I love about writing and good authors, the ability to write in almost any genre and not be stuck in stereotyping that will ultimately stifle you.
Let’s share some comments about Louis’s book PEDAL
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Pedal tells the story of Joanne Brick, a single, 49-year-old elementary school music teacher who loses her job and struggles to reclaim her life back through bicycle racing. Pedal explores how Joanne — who lives with her bossy, older sister, and their ailing mother – deals with unemployment, loneliness and loss of self-worth.
Pedal
Pedal is part sports book, part family drama and part romance, but mostly it’s a journey of self-discovery and reawakening. It is based around the theme of daring to change and how ordinary people handle life’s turning points.

Pedal runs 88,000 words (301 pages) and was released in December by Assent Publishing.

I had a chance to have what you might call a small chat with Louis, please let’s read together his answers to my questions.
These are the questions I asked him.

Congratulations on your second outing albeit with another publishing house.

1. Why did you write Pedal? It is not the same as your first Die Laughing.
Because Pedal isn’t the same as Die Laughing is precisely the reason that I wrote it. I wanted to tell a polar opposite story. Die Laughing, which I love, was a big novel. What I mean, is that it had lots of dire exterior forces going on: shape-shifting aliens plundering the earth’s oil, refinery explosions, falling airplanes and live television broadcasts, all leading to the possible extinction of mankind.
With Pedal I wanted to write a quiet story, yet one where the protagonist had as much at stake in her world as there was in Die Laughing. The disrupting forces in Pedal are more personal, though as I said, just as dire for her. My protagonist has to overcome her own self to save her world, which she lost when the one thing that defined her—her career as an elementary school music teacher—was taken away. I also chose a female protagonist because Die Laughing had had a male protagonist. Whew! That turned out to be quite a challenge.

2. Share with us your experience at the last book reading of Pedal.
In one word: incredible. I was fortunate enough to have the wonderful author, John Dufresne introduce me. The audience was larger than I expected, attentive. They reacted to the passages I read in the way that I hoped they would, and then later asked thoughtful questions. For this author, it doesn’t get any better than that. And oh, yeah, they purchased lots of books.
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3. Will you say you are a romantic person?
I would like to think I am, but my wife may dispute that point. I’m not one who wears their heart on their sleeve, that’s for sure, but I do tend to be a bit nostalgic and reflective. As that pertains to my protagonists, though each are different, I do like to embed in them the potential to be romantic. They may or may not reach that state, but the opportunity is there.

4. You seem to have moved away almost completely from sci-fi or am I mistaken?
Though I can see why you think that, the answer is no. My next novel To Dream, is the first of a two book series titled the Anatomy of a Humachine (IFWG Publishing). It’s an epic science fiction drama scheduled for release in mid-2016. I’m very excited about it.

5. From the pictures, Pedal seems to have been a roaring success yes?
The reading was held at the wonderful Books & Books in my home town of South Florida, so I was anticipating a good crowd, but when that greatly exceeded my expectations, I was humbled.

6. I love your theme of loneliness, unemployment and the terrible effects of that on one’s self confidence, Johanne seems to be an archetypal old Miss. Why did you pick such a person?
I
picked someone like that because I wanted Joanne to be the type of person who had the most to lose when her life-defining career was taken from her. This may sound cruel, but I wanted her to suffer. To have to struggle like she’s never struggled before. To fight for her life, so to speak. That’s what defines a person. She may or may not succeed, but whatever happens I want her to have given it her best shot. I see her as a wilted flower who—if she can overcome her obstacles—will blossom into the woman she wants to be, but never was.

7. What wins over on a cold winter night, a thrilling sci-fi or a teary sob romantic novel?
A thrilling sci-fi with a touch of teary romance.

8. What has been the response to your second book?
I’m very grateful that people enjoy Pedal and that the Kindle edition is an Amazon Bestseller in Religious & Inspirational Fiction: Women’s Fiction and Inspirational. I worked hard on the story and for it to finally get in the reader’s hands and have them tell you how much they like it is a wonderful feeling.

9. Any work in progress now?
Oh, yes. I’m always working ahead. I’m polishing up a fantasy story about a dying gambler who is given an opportunity to redeem himself, and a turn of the 19th century horror novel. Though I have an outline, I also have to write Book II of Anatomy of a Humachine. Next, I’ll try my hand at a detective novel – of course that’s a ways down the road.

10. Please share with us the links to your books.
Louis K Lowy books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=louis+k.+lowy
Pedal/Assent Publishing: http://assentpublishing.com/Books.aspx#1052
Die Laughing/IFWG Publishing: http://ifwgpublishing.com/store-item-die-laughing/
In general, check out my website: http://www.louisklowy.com/
Twitter: @louisklowy
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/Louis-on-Facebook
Feel free to contact me. I love to speak with fans.

Thank you for sharing time with us.

Thank you, Biola, for the opportunity to speak with you about my work. It’s been a pleasure.

Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

Resolutions and the New year

Hey there, happy new year from my blog to you . There is something scary about new year resolutions. You make them in the heat of the moment and you make every attempt to keep them. But the problem is , you rarely keep them because the resolution was never really intended to be kept. I am wary of new year resolutions and avoid them as much as I can. This year though, I have plans to post daily as much as I can and share with you as much as I can my thoughts, my books, my authors and my friends. I hope to review books for friends and authors I admire. Some of these authors have impinged on my mind and I find I can’t get them off, I keep thinking of what they have written.The most telling for last year has been Bobby Uttaro. He wrote the book, “To The Survivors”Book Cover a book on rape survivors.pic
It is like an obsession these days. I guess it is because he touches me in a part of my soul that I have kept locked up for years. It seems every time I turn on the television or radio, there is something about rape or sexual assault. I find myself talking about it, asking friends and wondering what I could do about it. In the beginning of the year the police were giving an update of crimes they had covered in two states and the Federal capital territory, I was chilled when they mentioned a hundred and thirteen (113) rape cases in just two states! Crikey!
I never could understand violence in any form and I stand uncomprehending before violence against women particularly sexual assault for the scars of a simple slap tend to go deeper with a real woman. Why did I use the word real woman? Simple, I have read, seen and heard of women who enjoy being slapped around. I do not understand nor do I want to say negative things about them, I just do not have an understanding of it. That was why Fifty Shades left me wondering.
I will be doing more exploration of my inner understanding of the world around me. I will have chats, light hearted ones, deep ones, dark ones, the odd spiritual ones, no, there will be no religiosity. Can’t stand that myself. The Truth when you find it, is not wrapped in religious clothes. I admire Pope Francis a lot, but I will not do confessions and I listen to the Dalai Lama and my village diviner when they make sense. Spirituality is the evolution of the inner man to see beyond the stars and universe and attempt to fix himself somewhere in the cosmos. A thousand years is nothing in eternity right? So I am wary of getting into that as well or at best would like to tread carefully.
I will post stories, poems, and just about anything that flits across my mind. When I reach out to you, I hope you will respond too. So for today as a starter let’s roll with some of the poems I wrote last year. Not all of them but just a few.
Chants from the Rose

The day drapes herself with purple hues
as she wakes.
makes ready for creation
all that is needed to weave
from the golden sun,
experiences of Light.
As you open your eyes
to the greeting of a shimmering morning,
may the Light rays
find you happy and well.

Persuasion

The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.

The scalpel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is up again.

PEACE

He who cannot walk away
from his anger,
cannot in trust,
approach the peace of Love.

Those who betray us,
those who revile us,
who hate us,
show through their ugliness,
the awesome beauty,
of God’s compassion,
as they mirror to us,
what we must never be.

To the Survivors…Revisit

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As the year closes, I thought, I should share some of those things that have left an impact on me. One of the things I have learnt over time is books I review tend to stay with me and some of the authors tend to become my friends. One of such authors is Bobby Uttaro.
It could be in the style of writing or the contents, Bobby’s book, “To the Survivors” has stayed with me and in a way has become a kind of comfort book for me. I live in a country where rape and rape victims are on the peripheral vision of the country. I am sure there had been reports of rape before I read the book, but my senses became real sharpened enough to take particular notice and that became depressing.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity. To the Survivors
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity.
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
Please enjoy
To the Survivors…..Book Cover
I opened page one and was sucked in.I raged, cried, was angry and kicked but Bobby had me by the short hairs and dragged me through me, through the minds of every breathing human being making me look at a crime, issue that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name.
The innocent girl on her first wedding night to a man old enough to be her father as she is dragged to matrimonial bed and raped by her elderly husband . Her terrified screams and flailing arms applauded by all. She is welcomed into matrimony through the red mist of her violent entry. That was the story. In my corner of the universe, that is how you marry. In my time and age.,I learnt about this during my first visit to my hometown in the south west when I came to my family for the first time. I stood in shock as I heard the wild screams. Rape.. a word that young bride never heard of but has been made to experience as a received standard response to sexual activity. The women watched the men, resentment in their heart, hate to the mate who is brought in and polygamy grows hand in hand with hate and resentment. People of my mother’s age and some of mine. This is a hard book for me and anyone who has ever empathized with rape, assault, and even molestation and I passionately ask you to pick up a copy for yourself. It is a must in libraries and schools. In fact any public place.
I am not telling you my story, but the subject of Bobby’s book and the very painful reactions he has made me go through. I want you to meet Bobby and I hope his answers will help us.
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.

Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.

2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.

3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?

Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.

4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?

The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.

Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.

It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy – rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.

Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?

So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.

I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.

In order for people to change, they must first make a change in their own heart.

6. Is the rapist mentally deficient and may be classified as disabled?

No. I do not believe we should call rapists disabled. People in wheelchairs are disabled. People with autism who can’t adequately communicate to others are disabled. Rapists choose to commit a crime. Some doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, politicians and religious leaders, to name a few, commit rape. Do we look at those professions as disabled?

7. In your book you are neither a rapist nor a victim so why did you write about it?

God. I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until the experience of an intensely vivid dream one morning changed my life. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book.” I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I prayed to God, moved from the bed to the computer, opened up Microsoft Word, and continued to pray. That is how To the Survivors began. To the Survivors would not be helping the amount of people it has helped if it weren’t for God. I would not be speaking with you now if it weren’t for God. There are too many people suffering, and I know this book can help with that suffering.

8. Some cultures really do not believe in marital rape as rape as they argue it is a male right to enforce their conjugal rights, what do you think?

I think this is horrible. Words cannot fully describe how awful this belief is. This absurd belief and reasoning allows for women to get raped. This kind of thinking accepts rape and too many people suffer as a result. Where does this ludicrous belief come from? Rape is rape. It is an evil crime. I believe it is a demonic and satanic crime. It does not matter if you are married or not; no spouse should rape or endure being raped. No one should be raped. What makes men inherently superior to women? Nothing. Why should a man have the right to rape his wife? He shouldn’t. There is no logical or rational explanation for this and it should not be condoned. Unfortunately, it is.

You say that some cultures do not believe in marital rape as they argue it is a male’s right to enforce his conjugal rights. I know it is hard to believe, but some women do rape men. Should women rape their husbands? Of course not. So why should a man be allowed to commit an evil crime against his wife? Why would he even want to? The belief that men can rape their wives due to their “conjugal rights” is wrong and it sanctions rape. Marriage is supposed to be about love, not rape, and complete dominance of one over another.

9. The first thing that happens to a person that has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed is to hide, keep quiet or feel shame and they go into hiding the event, how do you identify that to help?
It is not for me to tell people how to act. It is solely up to the survivor to do what he or she wants to do. Personally, I would like more and more people to open up to a trusted individual in their lives, but I cannot make a survivor do that. Rape and sexual assault are so incredibly hard to talk about. But I believe we have to be there for each other and let others know that we will sit and listen to them if they ever need anything. I pray that more people create loving and safe environments in which people can disclose their stories and pain if they choose to. More people will come forward as more people come forward.
10. Your THP sounds wonderful, have they thought of extending their great work to other countries? Through affiliations, overseas training to create awareness to communities?

No, but I will. I try my best to get this book and these messages to countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. You are a big part of that Abiola. God bless you. Thank you for this connection and opportunity.

11. Do you have any plans to make your book available to Africa and Nigeria?

Absolutely. One way to make the book available in Nigeria and Africa is by talking to other people, posting on social media sites and through this great interview. This interview will raise awareness of the book’s existence to people in Nigeria, and I thank you for that. To the Survivors can be found online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, smashwords.com, goodreads.com, and other online retailers. The e-book can also be found on my website for free at http://www.robertuttaro.com if people cannot afford the book. I want anyone to be able to get a copy of To the Survivors should they have an interest. People can contact me directly through my website if for some reason they cannot obtain a copy. Lastly, I would love to travel to Nigeria or anywhere else if anyone ever wants me to speak about these issues.

12. Share your thoughts on what you hope your book might achieve?

I have many hopes for what the book might achieve in the lives of others, probably too many to list here. I will try to answer as best as I can:

I hope people keep breathing and do not choose to kill him or herself.
I hope people will not feel shame for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people will not blame themselves for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people understand that they are not alone.
I hope people connect on some level with at least one person in To the Survivors.
I hope people understand that they can grow and heal from any pain they experience.
I hope people who have not been raped or sexually assaulted become more educated on how to respond to incidences of sexual violence and the suffering of survivors.
I hope people stop raping and assaulting.
I hope people understand that God loves them more than they can even fathom, even if they do not believe in God.
I hope people talk to God and listen to God.

These are some of my many hopes.

Will you be willing to answer questions on your book after this time, if you will please tell us how we may do that.
Yes. People can email me at info@robertuttaro.com if they want to ask me anything.
Thank you being on Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a true blessing. God bless you, Abiola.
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A MARRIAGE OF THE GODS AWAITS – Rose of Numen

“A beautiful narrative of our world and the connections with the finer world. In my opinion, this work is a depiction of the imagery of events that shall(will) NOW usher in the New Age of all our cultures. Consciously we will welcome New leaders and kings amongst us. I raise my ancient spear in salute to the author – Biola Olatunde. We all need to read it, fiction or nonfiction – the imagery that makes the new must flow!!” – Odjegberen Oghenechovwen ‘Keyan Ugen. Prince-Priest of the Ancient Ughievwen Kingdom.
These words gave me a sense of doing something worthwhile. Rose of Numen which is book two of the Numen series started something in me. It was meant as fiction but I had based quite a lot of what I wrote on the people around me. My village and her customs played a significant role in making me conscious of my roots. I had listened to my grandmother talk to me about gods and goddesses and they were not evil blood sucking leeches as my civilization had portrayed to me. Do I believe in this traditional form of worship? I am not sure but I find I was not willing to push things under the carpet as my friends and colleagues tend to do. I am Nigerian, specifically a Yoruba woman and was not prepared to call everything black magic. I am not into dark arts. Most of the practices puzzle me but I gradually learnt that by whatever name we call religion or even the lack of it, humanity needs to understand it. When we have an urgent need to feel that there is a purpose to our existence.
When I was writing the television series for the United Nations Population fund, I remember wanting to talk to traditional chiefs what they thought of female genital mutilation. I did not want to just dismiss it as evil but I wanted to learn why we started the practice in the first place and I asked myself where we missed the point even as I tried to rationalize the reasons for it. When I finally wrote against it, it was because I finally had a conviction of why it was wrong.
Couple of my friends are wondering if I had become a traditionalist after they had read Rose Of Numen. I sensed their restraint and was at first puzzled then as recognition dawned that they wondered about me, I felt pity for them. Our civilization has not done much for us. A large portion of our convictions is dependent on miracles, prosperity and the ability to weed out witches and wizards. We sometimes pay lip service to a religion because it is expected of us. I hate talking or writing about religion because it is divisive so don’t run away to another blog just yet will you?
My question has always been, if we recognize that Man lives at three levels of consciousness, what makes us accept that there were only particular races that had evolved on all three levels? Man acts, speaks and thinks on a very gross material level. In finer consciousness he is evolved enough to wonder about the cosmos, things beyond his ethereal consciousness and he wonders about a Creator.
My conversation is kind of heavy right? I guess it is, because the world right now is a puzzling place to be in. We are faced with the imminent realization to accept that humanity is at war with itself. An ideological war that brooks no compromises from the protagonists and antagonists whichever side you seem to find yourself. It is a question about a right to existence based on an idea, that goes to the very root of man’s concept of existence and the rationale for it.
Is there a meeting point? I remember Nostradamus warned that if humanity fails to resolve this, the next war will be fought with sticks and stones. A lot of things don’t make sense to me anymore so you could say I am a very confused old woman these days. I have tried to put all the killings into a perspective and I have failed to understand. There is a heavy sadness in me . I know I am not Atlas and it is a road that leads nowhere wondering how we have suddenly become a murderous bunch that kill without reason.
Where did we miss the point I ask myself. In my tradition, we would have gone to the gods and asked to know who had committed an abomination on the land and then we would look for ways to expiate it. Sadly we stopped listening to the cries of the gods that there is silence now in the market place just the rattle of the old bones is echoed by the eerie silence.
There is a dance in the forest of masquerades, who are afraid to come to the market because the drums they hear are the drums of war. We could fly a flag but only one flag will do, the flag of humanity and we do not even know what colour that should be.