Politics

Kids, Friends, Love, err thing!

by ThinkFeminist on February 25, 2014

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I am in picture overload mode and I wish I could upload the gazillion pictures of the kids I’ve taken in the last two weeks. It’s been a crazy month with the passing of Camille’s grandpa and the outpour of love from everyone. Camille’s birthday is coming up and she wants the day to be special, and apparently so does her friend. They traveled from New York and West Virginia back-to-back, so she had guest two weekends in a row. We all had a blast. My friends are the most amazing women, and I love them so much. It’s great to have kids Camille age who really love her and she loves them to the moon and back as well. Camille and her friends visited the Philly Art Center, Please Touch Museum, Smith PlayHouse, King of Prussia Mall, Shops at Liberty and ChuckECheese.

I have learned that kids have the power to strengthen relationships and I am so grateful for mine and these three above, they are truly remarkable and I can only pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and good health as the grow an mature into great men and women.

What a fun time!

Xoxo,
Blessing.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art | Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday

by ThinkFeminist on February 6, 2014

Since moving to Philly in the last month, the cold weather keeps cramping all the ideas I have about exploring the city. However, I have decided that I will not allow this gloomy outdoors deter me from exploring our new city. I decided to take Camille to the Art Museum this past Wednesday and it was a blast. The Museum’s main building is open from 5:00p.m to 8:45 p.m. every Wednesday. The event is  casual, exciting, and illuminating. There is a chance to explore the Museum and its remarkable collections in “inventive, interactive, and dynamic new ways”.

We registered at the front desk and I paid $5 each for the three of my family attending (myself, Camille and Dad).

For kids under 7 years-old, there was a Night-Owl Read and Look, a pre-bedtime story, art project, and imaginative play in the galleries. Camille met up with a  handful of toddlers who were also accompanied by their parents and guardians. So, we had to stay with kids for the entire 45mins. It was fun, and by the end of it, I wished we still had more time. It started with a short story at the entrance of the museum, and then the kids took the stairs to the galleries where they stopped and explored art, while identifying shapes and expressions. Camille was very energetic the whole time, I was very proud of her. The group then sat down for yet another story, while making shapes out of strings. This was soon accompanied with an art project of cardboard papers, glue, various shapes for creating a piece of artwork that aligned with their current mood. Camille had lots of “heart-shaped” colors :)

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My Dad and I got a chance to explore the Masterpieces of the Museum on a tour with Joshua Helmer, featuring works by such artists as Van Eyck, Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, and others, “The Masterpieces” tour delivers a look at some of the collection’s greatest treasures. We encountered a yoga session on our tour and I immediately remembered that I had previously wanted to take yoga but I left my mat since I didn’t want to leave my dad alone with Camille for the tour. I intend on attending solo next time to take full advantage of this class.

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Overall, our first time at the museum was a success. I am thinking of buying a one-year membership pass so I can take full advantage of this amazing resource. We had a beautiful time, and will definitely go back.

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The Absence of Feminism in Africa and Why It Matters

by ThinkFeminist on December 15, 2013


If you are following me on twitter, you already know that I’ve been raving about the new Beyonce’s album. I live for that entire album right now…from “Pretty Hurts” to “Partition” and “Drunk In Love.” I am reeling with excitement, however the one song that stands out the most is “Flawless” which samples the Tedx talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled “We Should All be Feminist”. I identify strongly with this talk because I myself like Chimamanda grew up in Nigeria and have been exposed to every scenario in her talk. A good example was my trip earlier this year to Nigeria which was very interesting. I met up with an old friend of mine to discuss business at an hotel, and as soon as I sat down in the lobby, I had various men looking my way. One, an older white guy (obviously an expat) walked over and immediately handed me his phone saying “enter your phone number”, and I think I must have given him the look of death. And as soon as I opened my mouth to utter a word, he said, “what school are you attending? You want a blackberry? Who are you waiting for?” So obviously, I understood exactly what he thought I was – a sex worker. So, I immediately gave him a piece of my mind, and as I was wrapping up my speech, my friend, another white guy came in and immediately dismissed him saying “Oh, she is American and definitely not interested, but feel free to award  her one of your oil contracts, she is very capable.” I was completely irritated by that experience and to be honest, the rest of my stay in Nigeria was very similar. It was common to go to a restaurant in Victoria Island and find girls in groups ordering water at a table hoping that a rich guy (preferably an expat) will notice them.

The absence of mainstream feminism in Africa is killing the creativity and ingenuity of younger girls and women. It’s stifling innovation as young women hesitate to participate in startups, entrepreneurship and other “men’s job”.  It encourages African men and even expats to take advantage of this gap. I wrote earlier last year about my experience coming to America alone at the young age of 17, with only $800 and I ended up attending a top public university in the nation, footing my own bill. I would love to talk about that experience some day because I will never forget the words of my father. Although he was happy to see one of his offsprings go to America, he wished 100% that I were a boy. The full story is for another day because it  also involves the role of mothers in shaping the future of their sons and daughters.

Our attitude and mindset in Nigeria and Africa as a whole around gender has not changed since I left in 2005. Our culture encourages women to aspire to be homemakers, cooks, and housewives. It applauds the physical and sexual prowess of men, and insinuates that the woman’s role is to tend to the man….and as a result younger girls sell their body for favors because they believe that there is no problem with giving yourself to a man for money because at the end of the day, you give yourself to a man (your husband) for almost nothing. He marries you, and possesses you completely, you become his cook, cleaner, sexual object and on top of that he may chase after other women and (by the way) there isn’t much you can do about it. I have lived in these conditions growing up and it’s one of the disgusting reason I decided to study hard to free myself from a society that does not align with my core beliefs.

A feminist movement in Nigeria and Africa as a whole will be revolutionary, and we should all be part of it.

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Travel Chronicles | Eiffel Tower Part 1

by ThinkFeminist on September 6, 2013

26 days in three continents, four countries, numerous cities, countless airports and gazillion number of people and friends. They say travel change you, and I  100% agree with that statement. We travel “not merely to lie on a beach somewhere, but to discover something new about ourselves, and about the world. This quote by Dani Shapiro sums it all up.

It wasn’t about getting away or merely taking a vacation, it was more than that for me. It was to discover, explore and learn more about myself, my new venture and what is left in the world for me to change. A whole new thirst for change brewed in me as I walked on the shores of Essouria, to the red city of Marrakesh, Morocco and the piles of dirt along the coastlines of Lagos, Nigeria. I was blown away by problems that deep down I knew existed but somehow thought had vanished or had been solved by someone else. I also witnessed amazing beauty for the very first time. It is true what they say of the Eiffel Tower, it’s an astounding beauty, and my goodness, Lagos boast of amazing skyscrapers, beautiful restaurant, beaches and hotel. I was completely swoon.

I will break this whole trip down by days/events/or special locations, and hopefully I remember as much of this as possible. Here is a little snapshot of our first few hours in Paris.

You can’t possibly visit Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower right? So, as soon as we got off the airplane, had a good shower and changed some clothes, we went straight to the city with a view. It was beautiful.

IMG_4681Camille on our first flight – Pittsburgh to Paris. Watching ‘Sofia The 1st” on the TV screen

DSC_0247_2Greeting Aunt Rachel with a kiss after a month-long separation

DSC_0280_2Beautiful Walk at La Defense, and far away, there is the Grand Arch, a beautiful sight.

DSC_0392_2Camille, Enjoying a beautiful afternoon on the stairs overlooking the Eiffel Tower. 

IMG_4860Rachel and I take a picture at the Starbucks in La Defense

IMG_4758Camille takes a walk in the garden overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

IMG_4851Me and the jet-lagged Camille at the Eiffel Tower

IMG_4857The sleepy + jet-lagged Camille in a bicycle ride across the Eiffel Tower to the train station

IMG_4859At La Defense Starbucks, we share a beautiful drink and took this gorgeous picture.

IMG_4847Slept through the train ride and all the way home.

****To Be Continued.

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Pros and Cons of Obama’s Trip to Africa

by ThinkFeminist on July 1, 2013

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Are you following Obama’s visit to Africa? Well, specifically Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania? Some argue it’s a total waste of taxpayers money, while others think that it is long overdue. In the end, I say that it makes economic and political sense. His visit to the continent of Africa may come with a hefty price tag but here is why Obama’s visit to Africa is worth every penny, Africa ranks second—behind emerging Asia—as the fastest growing region of the world. Africa today is a $2 trillion economy. Despite the global slowdown, Africa recorded an average growth rate of 5 percent in 2012. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), today six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. Therefore, it is no surprise that the President is visiting Tanzania just under three months behind the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip down there. China, Brazil, India, and even the United States need Africa to get ahead in this newly globalized world. The new Africa is shedding it’s yesteryears of hopelessness while embracing technology, manufacturing, and trade. In so many ways, the President’s visit to Africa is a show of partnership and solidarity in the case of South Africa, especially as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia and traditional powers are rethinking their strategies to deepen their cooperation with Africa.

On the other hand, some are very skeptical. Looking back at the history of Africa, there is pretty much nothing to write home about the corny ways the Europeans took advantage of the entire continent in the early 90s. Not much of that has been forgotten and so many Africans believe that Americans, Chinese, Europeans, etc.., are not truly concerned about the plight of the African people. They feel strongly that this trip is a calculated and glorified tour that will not accomplish much for the continent. Their main concern is the lack of concrete plans with lengths and lengths of speeches that will not deepen engagement with the Americas. Obama is not visiting countries in the spotlight right now such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali. His criticsfeel very strongly that he is avoiding these regions because he is not up to the task.

From my perspective, Africans and Africans in the diaspora are growing in leaps and bounds. The vast amount of natural resources, education, large consumer index (150 million Nigerians alone in the continent) is a huge economic fountain that is drawing the attention of the world. What political leaders from emerging and developed economies need to focus on is a deep understanding of the African people, a strong partnership and engagement NOT a dependency model or an aid vs. trade mentality.

Finally, the Africa of today should be seen as an opportunity for innovation, growth and development for companies here in the United States and across the world. There is so much potential, so much market share. However, it must be done with the best of intentions and Africa must be allowed to define it’s own future.

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Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World

April 26, 2013

I started reading a powerful book this week and I am blown away and completely. Rippling is the first book by Beverly Schwartz, an insider of Ashoka, the foremost global organization on social change through social entrepreneurship. The book presents innovative techniques used by social entrepreneurs to solve the most challenging problems of our time, […]

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