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Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat. There are a number of ways a person’s weight can be assessed. The most widely used method is body mass index. Body mass index BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meter square. You can use the HNS choices BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your owe BMI.

If your BMI is between 25 and 29, you would be considered overweight. If your BMI is between 30 and 40, you would be considered obese, if your BMI is over 40, you would be considered very obese (known as morbidly obese). Another useful method is to measure around your waist. People with very fat waist (94cm or more in men and 80cm or more in women) are more likely to develop obesity related health problems.

CAUSES OF OBESITY

Most cases of obesity are caused by a person eating more calorie than they burn off, and the unused calories being turned into fat. Modern lifestyles also do not help: there is easy access to cheap, high energy/calorie food that is often marketed aggressively. People’s lifestyles and jobs are much less active than in the past. Many leisure activities, such as watching TV, playing games and browsing the internet, are usually done sitting down. People drive or use public transport and tend to walk a lot less than they used to.

THE RISK OF OBESITY

Being obese increase your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially life-threatening disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some type of cancer (breast cancer and colon cancer), stroke. In addition, obesity can often trigger depression.

There are four 4 main goals in the treatment of obesity, they includes:

1.     Preventing further weight gain

2.     Gradually losing weight through a combination of calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise

3.     Avoid regaining back any lost weight

4.     Improve general health and reducing the risk of obesity-related complications.


Some people prefer a one-to-one consultation with a trainer or dietitian, while some prefer being part of a weight loss group, which can either be organized by local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) or through commercial organizations.


TO WORK OUT YOUR BMI


Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) then divide the answer by your height again to get your BMI


For example; if you weigh 80kg and you’re 1.75m tall, divide 80 by 1.75 the answer is = 45.7


Then divide 45.7 by 1.75 again, the answer is 26. This is your BMI. 


ABOUT THE WRITER


Onyebueke Chinedu Franklin is a fitness instructor at Lilburn Health and Fitness Center. He has over Eight (8) years experience working as a gym and aerobics instructor in three (3) different gyms in Enugu metropolis.


Reach out to him on instagram @xkampido 

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I met a barefaced bitch the other day.

I don't know why I assumed they were no such women in the world again. I was skeptical about sharing my experience as it happened because there's a chance she'll read this and have the satisfaction that I wrote about her but then (I cant use the f word, i would have said but then i don't give a f***). 

I was having this terrible day, I  woke up late and got to work late. I was supposed to drop off a waybill at the park before coming to work but since i was already horribly late, I figured I could round up from the office on time and run the errand. I don't know if the fates were against me on this particular day, but I finished later than usual. Trying to not drown in this cursed day, I rushed towards the park.  As you can already predict, I got there late too. I met a very pretty lady at the waybill office. I greeted her and went ahead to explain my life story to her, how I really needed to send the waybill today and I'm sorry I'm few minutes late.  This very fine girl (probably my age) looked up from her computer and gave me this incredulous gaze accompanied with a stone cold eye roll.  She pointed to the clock on the wall that read 5:10pm and said with such disdain, 'we close by 5'.

My first thought was ..okay.. no need to be harsh bae

I quickly rushed ahead to explain myself further; 'Yes I'm aware you guys have closed but please help me run this abeg, i really need to do it today'

' See my friend we have closed, me am about leaving, don't disturb me abeg come back tomorrow'.

What a wawu.

The thing is if she had been polite I would have actually left, after all I was late but her tone was just too infuriating. I quickly made a decision.

'I'd like to see your manager please, I wish to explain myself to him.'

This fine girl pointed to a seat behind me and asked me to sit let her go and fetch her manager. Good enough. I was preparing the perfect speech to throw at her manager once I see him and tell him about their amazing customer service, when a really cool young man walked in. We greeted and I informed him  that the lady behind the desk would be back shortly. Before I was done with the sentence,  she walked back in. No manager in sight. The guy smiled at her and explained he was stuck in traffic and that was why he was late but it would really make him happy if she attends to him. Dude really? Make you happy ke? I was waiting for the whole 'we have closed trashing' I got when the girl replied him; 

'But you're late nau and we have closed'

Fresh boy: Yes I know, you won't believe the traffic jam I just experienced please just help me.

'We don't usually do this sha o, in case of next time. Just try and come on time or you send somebody okay?

Fresh boy: Yes, yes, of course thank you very much.

And just like that, she took his package and attended to him! in my very before! I mean WTFFFF I just kept staring at her pointedly, she tried so hard to avert my eyes. She finished attending to him and the guy left. 

'Errmm our manager has gone o, just bring the stuff let me do it for you so I can start going'

It just hit me that she didn't even give me feedback about the manager when she walked back in initially, I just stood up and left. God knows nothing will take me back to that park again. Even if the world is ending and they were the only hope. 

Like WOW.

I talked to my sis the moment I got home, she wasn't even surprised. She told me she has had her fair share of bad customer services especially from women. She gave me a simple advice, 'Take a guy along with you next time, and let him do the talking, you'll see the difference'

Bet why? Why can't women be nice to their fellow women, why the need to be so  disrespectful for no reason?  I hate to generalize but I also spoke to a couple of my friends about the incident and they confirmed the same bad treatment from women and I'm like Why are Enugu girls so bitchy?? Angel face, devil thoughts...


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GrrrGrrr, her alarm rang. Oh! Please not today, she cursed under her breath. She thought of the excuses she would give in other not to make it to work that Monday morning. The news was everywhere. How was she going to face those busy body nurses?, she thought. Argh!!! she screamed while covering her mouth with her floral pillow. She had cheated on her fiancee with his best friend. Actually her fiancee had caught her red handed wearing his friend’s boxers and just a bra in his house.

Her fiancée took the engagement ring and the car he had bought her which She had showered off to virtually everybody who wanted to or didn’t want to hear or see it.

Now how the hell would she walk into the hospital??

Ogonna was a hot, proud sassy nurse, who was vigorously cheeky and sarcastically meekly. She was bold and beautiful, with a skin as light and stunning as the sun. She went to one of the best universities but graduated with the worst results. Thanks to her fermine skills, she got everything she wanted. She was an only child of a divorced parent.

Ogonna was dutifully lazy and also avoided work. She have been queried numerous times and she was given a last warning, hence the inability to avoid work that Monday morning.

Besides the last time she said she was sick, her matron asked her to come to work, that the hospital is where the sick receives healing and not at home. She would have loved to say somebody died, but she had exhausted that lie too.

What a day, she sighed as she sluggishly got down from the bed, got refreshed and headed to work.

On getting to work, her white  satin had been stained with mud from the flags of the bike’s tyre…. She breathed heavily and walked in, with her shoulders high. She was readyfor anything.

“it’s not that bad” she said to herself.

Walking in, she saw some nurses giggling and chuckling at a corner, 'nonsense low life', she whispered and walked to her desk.

“Miss Ogonna” her matron called, there’s a patient who just had an accident, he is admitted in room 101, private ward 2, attend to him and write a report on why you came 20mins late to work.

“if this woman knows how I’m feeling toady eh, she will just respect herself and not assign any duty to me now”.

Grudgingly, she stood up and headed to room 101. A guy had a motor accident with a sprained knee and a deep cut on his elbow.

Opening the door it was Chizzy, Ogonna’s admirer back then in college.

“Can today become any worse” she muttered.

Chizzy was the 'biggest boy' in university that year. A big Casanova, spoil, disrespectful and a bully. Ogonna hated him. In fact Ogonna hated everyone, she was a coded sadist.

Chizzy was a final year engineering student, when Ogonna got into the university. Ogonna was one of his “August rush” . He wanted to play his usual games, but Ogonna was no match for him.

Countless times he would see Ogonna trekking to school and would try picking her up, but she would arrogantly walk away shaking her tiny butt.

He kept betting with his friends that he must get her before leaving the university but to his disappointment he didn’t. He tried using money, gifts and everything je could think of to woo  her, but each time he tried, she hated  him the more.

“Do you think I am like other girls? Do I look like am lacking anything ? See, the next time you block my way again with this your 2001 kcee Limpopo inspired borrowed outfit I will so smash your wind screen”

Ogonna threatened one day as she left the school canteen.

After that fateful day, they never saw each other again and behold today he was admitted in the hospital and she was the nurse who was assigned to him.

She shoved off the thoughts and treated his wounds, put him on drip and left quietly before he woke up.

Her matron wasn’t making the day any easy for her.

“What a horrible day” she said as she undressed and fell on her bed thinking  of her fiancée. She dialed his number, he still didn’t pick up.

The next day she got to work, acting  so hardworking, she greeted her matron politely, headed to the pharmacy unit and tired dispensing off some drugs when her matron asked her to go check room 101.

Jeez, what i was avoiding! This women must be a wizard.

She was sure chizzy would be awake by now. Heading in, Chizzy of course, recognized her.

Hey, what are you doing here, he said trying to sit up. "I came to buy tomatoes" she replied sarcastically.

"You’ve not changed o, after all these years."

"yanyayachange o" she mimicked him

"Better bring out your hand and keep shut before the needle pierces another part of your body" she threatened as usual. Chizzy smiled and shook his head.

"You look grown and lady like though", he said as she walked out of his room, shaking her butt, this time it wasn’t small no more. That was the only thing that changed about her.

Gradually Chizzy got better, but still feigned slight illness, in order to see Ogonna, but he couldn’t cheat science. He was discharged few days later.

There is this proverb that says; you can’t remove the spot on a leopard’s skin......

Few days later, Ogonna took an excuse from the hospital. Her excuse was that her only surviving aunt was sick and they called her in the village to come back home. The leave was granted. Ogonna was given three days leave, but she didn’t return for a week. She had already cooked up a story to tell, unfortunately for her, the hospital had investigated i.e one of her colleagues, who disliked her, had actually snitched and found out that nurse Ogonna had actually traveled to Abuja and was busy posting pictures of her having fun on her snapchat. She screen shotted the pictures as evidence and reported to their matron.

On her return, Ogonna was dismissed from the hospital. She tried explaining, but her usually truancy was despicable.

Few months after the dismissal, she decided to manage her aunt’s boutique. It was a big couture on the island. "At least I will get to meet new people" she thought.

One day a well dressed lady, stopped by to shop. As she was leaving she found out that the tyre of her car was deflated.

She thus made a call to the house for them to come pick her up. Getting to the store it was Ogonna, Chizzy saw.

Biannam, kenekwanwa, oyeliu m aka we bupute if a m gotecha, the old woman said, addressing Ogonna. Its nothing ma, ogonna said, politely

Seriously ???Chizzy’s expression showed utmost surprise. Ogonna he knows nice???.

Thanks a lot, he said, shaking ogonna’s hand and dragged her by the side.

"Why are you following me this boy?" She said

"Can I get your number now, maybe we could talk later, my mum is waiting"

No!,Ogonna still refused.

"Oh heavens! This girl is the most annoying person on earth", chizzy mumbled.

The next day, Chizzy stopped by in the guise that his mum sent him. He wanted to see Ogonna.

On sighting him Ogonna wondered the kind of stubborn spirit that was pushing him.

"Can I help you?" She asked . 

"Uhm I’m looking for someone" he replied

As they were talking, a richly dressed gentle man stepped in, Ogonna adjusted her hair, ignoring chizzyand  faced the man.

"Are you busy?" the gentle man asked?

"Yes, we are" Chizzy hastily replied, before ogonna could speak. 

 "She’s my fiancee"

“Jesus is Lord” Ogonna murmured

"I am sorry sir, don’t mind him" Ogonna said to the guy as he proceeded to leave.

"Do you see what you’ve caused this boy?"

"The earlier you listen to me and give me your number the better for both of us, because I will not stop disturbing you, especially now I know where you work, he said grinning".

Ogonna knew she couldn’t do anything again, she had to give him, the number.

“I will  call you at night, pick up unless you know na” he said smiling wickedly walking out".

Ogonna smiled. Something inside her was enjoying the whole drama.

Chizzy called as he promised. Ogonna ignored the first call, immediately he sent a text.

“You don’t want to start now”

He called a second time, she picked.

"What?" she said.

"Is that how they greet in your village", he replied

"Biko, talk fast I was doing something before you called" Ogonna lied.

"Why do you dislike me so much? I’ve changed. I am not the university guy you use to know" Chizzy said

"At least you should know even people don’t chase money the way I’ve chased you. Nature keeps bringing us together, but you keep fighting it"

"Bia, Are you done? because you’re making me sleepy oh"

"Hmmm, I just want to let you know that all my life,  no girl has put me through the stress you have put me.  I know I wasn't a nice guy back then but I can bet you I'm a changed guy.  Take good care of yourself,  Goodnight."

As he dropped the call,  Ogonna laughed hysterically, She had conquered the Almighty Babylon. 

ABOUT THE WRITER 

My name is Eberechukwu Ngwu and I exhume happiness. My dreams are a lot bigger than I am. I love to write and express myself through written words. 

Don't be afraid to stalk me on social media.

Facebook ID : Bebe Ngwu

Instagram ID: Bebehills
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Seen as a bad habit by parents and older folks around the world, marijuana has medical and recreational uses but can also be damaging to our bodies and minds.

The high you get from marijuana comes from a chemical called Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which is found in varying potency.

Most of THC’s effects happen in the brain, where the chemical interacts with receptors on brain cells called cannibinoid receptors. Our bodies actually make chemicals very similar to THC, which are used in normal brain function and development. THC co-opts these natural pathways to produce most of its effects.

Here are some of the positives and negatives of marijuana and how it affects your body and brain :

 

It blocks memory formation.

The active ingredient in marijuana acts in the part of the brain called the hippocampus to alter the way information is processed and how memories are formed. Animal studies have shown that this is particularly true while the brain is still developing — specifically why the legal smoking age is 21 in the states that have legalised it.

This blockage of memory formation can cause cognitive impairment in adulthood if use happens during adolescence, at least in rats. It can also quicken age-related brain cell loss, though marijuana has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

THC messes with your balance.

THC messes with brain areas called the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. When these brain areas are disturbed, the user has a harder time walking and talking correctly, becoming quite clumsy. It also impacts their ability to drive.

Cannabis use may increase the risk of depression.

Although there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana makes users depressed (it’s just as likely that people who are depressed use pot), one recent study from the Netherlands found that smoking cannabis increases the risk of depression for young people who have a genetic vulnerability to the mental illness.

In the long-term, smoking marijuana increased depressive symptoms in subjects with a special serotonin gene responsible for increased risk of depression.

It blocks memory formation.

The active ingredient in marijuana acts in the part of the brain called the hippocampus to alter the way information is processed and how memories are formed. Animal studies have shown that this is particularly true while the brain is still developing — specifically why the legal smoking age is 21 in the states that have legalised it.

This blockage of memory formation can cause cognitive impairment in adulthood if use happens during adolescence, at least in rats. It can also quicken age-related brain cell loss, though marijuana has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

THC messes with your balance.

THC messes with brain areas called the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. When these brain areas are disturbed, the user has a harder time walking and talking correctly, becoming quite clumsy. It also impacts their ability to drive.

Cannabis use may increase the risk of depression.

Although there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana makes users depressed (it’s just as likely that people who are depressed use pot), one recent study from the Netherlands found that smoking cannabis increases the risk of depression for young people who have a genetic vulnerability to the mental illness.

In the long-term, smoking marijuana increased depressive symptoms in subjects with a special serotonin gene responsible for increased risk of depression.

Intense anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic are common side effects.

Somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of recreational marijuana users react with intense anxiety after taking the drug, making it one of the most commonly reported side effects.

Marijuana users may experience psychosis.

Marijuana users who have taken large doses of the drug may experience acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity. These episodes may be related to the link between marijuana use and psychosis, but are distinct.

But it’s not all bad — Marijuana also makes us feel good.

When THC hits brain cells, it causes them to release dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical. This is a part of the brain’s reward system, which makes you feel good when you do things that ensure the survival of yourself and your offspring. These things include eating and having sex.

When over-excited by drugs, the reward system creates feelings of euphoria.

It controls epileptic seizures.

Marijuana use can prevent epileptic seizures, a recent study showed.

Robert J. DeLorenzo of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs rid the rats of the seizures for about 10 hours. Cannabinoids like the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.

The findings were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Marijuana treats inflammatory bowel diseases.

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis could benefit from marijuana use, studies suggest.

University of Nottingham researchers found in 2010 that chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, interact with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function and immune responses. The study was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

THC-like compounds made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. The plant-derived cannabinoids in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, preventing this permeability and making the intestinal cells bond together tighter.

THC slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute suggests.

The recent study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what kill brain cells and cause Alzheimers.

A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading.

One chemical found in marijuana, called cannabidiol, prevents cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.

Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.

The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.

 

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Class affects everything.

How we are treated and how everything treats us.  This quote is familiar to almost every Nigerian ‘All na packaging’. How you present yourself is how you’ll be received and consequently treated. Back in secondary school, it was rampant for some students to lie about their parent’s background and claim to come from rich homes. I remember all those ‘classy’ girls that walked with their shoulders high like they were better than everyone else with their hot miniskirts and usually had interactions with only ‘cool’ guys.  I found it quite baffling and amusing especially the day when the truth finally comes out and there’s a lot of booing and shaming. But on a closer look, being ‘classy’ (which translates to being rich and having ‘connections’) actually makes life a little bit easier. In this part of the world, ‘who your father is’ is such a huge influence in your life. You mention names and doors are automatically opened, whether you are qualified or not. The people, who are robbed of this silver spoon, have found a way to make up for it, by ‘packaging’.

Slay queens and kings are rampant on social media, models with Instagram and twitter as their agency. Everybody is trying, to paint the picture of a perfect life and trying to ‘belong’.  This then begs the question; ‘How does class shape an individual’s identity?’

People of richer social class tend to socialise together and are identified by their wealth and assets. Lower or middle classes are identified by their skills or white collar jobs. This identification creates a divide and these identities are linked to class and therefore one’s perceived place in the society. How you would regard a celebrity is quite different to the way you’ll regard a waiter at a social function.  Social class is involved in a lot of life’s processes; from whom you date, to the jobs you’re most likely to get and to a certain extent, the way you perceive yourself. Social class differences makes you have different experiences and influences, which reflects in the way you are. Social class affects you to the extent that it shapes who you are and who you think you are.

Margaret J. King Director of The Centre for Cultural Studies and Analysis in Philadelphia opined;

 “Contrary to popular opinion, class has little to do with wealth; class is a mindset that rests on the platform of education, decision-making, upward mobility, faith in the future and in the power of self-determination. The main difference between poverty and middle class and between middle class and the wealthy is the belief in oneself. It’s not about the money, money is the outcome. It’s the mindset that sees people as centres of the wealth and stability in themselves, with careers or professions rather than jobs, opportunities for advancement at work and in the social market place”.  

 You no longer necessarily need to have a billionaire father to have class. It’s about what you can achieve as an individual. Women like Linda Ikeji and Toke Makinwa didn’t have billionaire fathers to pave ways and make their success stories easier, instead they worked hard and now they have ‘correct packaging’.  Honest question to yourself, what social class do you think you belong to in life??

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I really mean that.

Coming from an angle of admiration and a source of inspiration, Linda Ifeoma Ikeji is on the spot light today as she marks her 37th birthday. All I wanted to do was write an encomium to celebrate an exceptional woman. But opening my Ms Word to type, my mind was as blank as the white page staring back at me. I always try to be non-subjective as a writer. Due to the fact that I tend to enjoy and appreciate articles undistorted by emotions or personal biasI believe in stating things the way they are and letting the reader (or audience) decide for themselves. I am a huge and unashamed fan of Linda Ikeji, and in my personal opinion I believe she is a gift to Nigerian and African women.  I’d like to apologize ahead of time; this article is all about praising Linda and acknowledging her back breaking efforts to be where she is today.  

What words can you use to describe a tough female hustler of eleven (11) straight years? Undaunted by gender, social class or financial stiffness,  she has risen above all these and successfully shattered the glass ceiling. You can’t honestly not admire the tenacity, brave spirit and patience of a woman who started eight businesses and they all crumbled. She blogged for four (4) years without profit. Fast forward to 2019, she is an accomplished blogger, highest paid blogger in Nigeria, media entrepreneur and CEO of Linda Ikeji Media. In her ‘No thanks I’d rather be self made’ campaign, she gave away N10million to young girls because she understands the struggle and frustration of having dreams with little or no finance to pursue them.  All I want to do is celebrate an exceptional woman who did the unthinkable, call it “famzing or Aproco”, I think Linda Ikeji and I should be friends. 

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This sentence can termed ambiguous according to the tone of pronunciation. It could be a question asked with the intent to arouse sober reflection or it can be expressed in an insulting manner meant to belittle someone. For now, we’ll talk about the former.

Gone are the days when the average dream of young adults was to go to school, graduate and get a good job. That dream now, sounds like the wish of mediocre people. Entrepreneurship is the new cool. Everyone wants to be a boss. The new dream is to finish school, turn an amazing idea into a money generating business within the space of a few years, kick back, find a ‘bae’ as cool as you, get married before 28, (30 tops) have cute little kids, with tons of online followers and friends and not work hard ever again and live happily ever after. But entrepreneurship is over glamorised. There is this very dangerous myth in circulation; ‘Good ideas are the key to business success’ good ideas are good and will always be good but it is definitely not the key to business success. What about the resources and skills required to execute the ‘good’ idea? The strategies, productivity rate, are people willing to pay for your idea? Is there enough passion to pursue it and follow it through?

Social media hasn’t helped at all. Feeds and timelines are constantly filled with success stories of entrepreneurs and people who are their own bosses but we tend to forget that social media doesn’t show the private struggles, pain and sacrifices one had to go through to achieve their goals. Being young and successful is about finding your niche in the world and dominating. I once had the opportunity to listen to the CEO of peace group of companies, Maduka Onyishi and he said something that refused to leave my subconscious. “If you have a business idea and it would take a hundred thousand to execute it and you only have just one hundred, find a business that fits your pocket and start from there. The business world is like a staircase, one step at a time. If you try to skip a lot of stairs, you tend to stretch too much and either you fall miserably or you sustain an injury. There is a lesson for each level of success and each level propels you to the next.”  His multi-million transport company that we all see and admire today started with just one bus. Most young people are impatient and refuse to follow the part of growth. No one wants a business idea that will take 15years to flourish. The learning process is essential. Even if you suddenly have that wonderful idea right now, it requires strength, wisdom and strategy to execute it. Most times all these things can only be found via years of experience from someone who is either higher or has done something similar. The learning process is ESSENTIAL.

 Everyone wants to be rich in a snap. But the goal should be to fill a niche in the world. Who are you in the world? Are you filling a niche, are you solving problems with your idea, no matter how small? 

          

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This sentence can termed ambiguous according to the tone of pronunciation. It could be a question asked with the intent to arouse sober reflection or it can be expressed in an insulting manner meant to belittle someone. For now, we’ll talk about the former.

Gone are the days when the average dream of young adults was to go to school, graduate and get a good job. That dream now, sounds like the wish of mediocre people. Entrepreneurship is the new cool. Everyone wants to a boss. The new dream is to be finish school, turn an amazing idea into a money generating business within the space of a few years, kick back, find a ‘bae’ as cool as you, get married before 28, (30 tops) have cute little kids, with tons of online followers and friends and not work hard ever again and live happily ever after. But entrepreneurship is over glamorised. There is this very dangerous myth in circulation; ‘Good ideas are the key to business success’ good ideas are good and will always be good but it is definitely not the key to business success. What about the resources and skills required to execute the ‘good’ idea? The strategies, productivity rate, are people willing to pay for your idea? Is there enough passion to pursue it and follow it through?

Social media hasn’t helped at all. Feeds and timelines are constantly filled with success stories of entrepreneurs and people who are their own bosses but we tend to forget that social media doesn’t show the private struggles, pain and sacrifices one had to go through to achieve their goals. Being young and successful is about finding your niche in the world and dominating. I once had the opportunity to listen to the CEO of peace group of companies, Maduka Onyishi and he said something that refused to leave my subconscious. “If you have a business idea and it would take a hundred thousand to execute it and you only have just one hundred, find a business that fits your pocket and start from there. The business world is like a staircase, one step at a time. If you try to skip a lot of stairs, you tend to stretch too much and either you fall miserably or you sustain an injury. There is a lesson for each level of success and each level propels you to the next.”  His multi-million transport company that we all see and admire today started with just one bus. Most young people are impatient and refuse to follow the part of growth. No one wants a business idea that will take 15years to flourish. The learning process is essential. Even if you suddenly have that wonderful idea right now, it requires strength, wisdom and strategy to execute it. Most times all these things can only be found via years of experience from someone who is either higher or has done something similar. The learning process is ESSENTIAL.

 Everyone wants to be rich in a snap. But the goal should be to fill a niche in the world. Who are you in the world? Are you filling a niche, are you solving problems with your idea, or just like the title 'Entrepreneur'.   

 

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She wrote him first, on a Thursday evening in December 2013. “You were listed as a 100% Match! I am not sure what a 100% match means … First, would you be interested in me? Check my profile.”

Later, when Amy* puzzled over their relationship, she’d remember this. She had contacted him, not the other way around. That had been a fateful move; it had made everything easier for him. But she didn’t know that yet.

It had been over two years since Amy had experienced the death of her husband of 20 years, four since she had lost her mother—two sharp blows in her 50s. Her marriage had been troubled—her husband was abusive—but cancer took him before she could process what was happening. Now she was alone in a house in Virginia. Amy had grown up in the community, and her brothers and their families lived nearby. When it came to meeting men, however, her choices were limited.


In the fall of 2013, she signed up for a six-month subscription a popular online dating site. She considered herself pretty tech savvy. She had a website for her business, was on Facebook, and carried a smartphone. In her profile, she was honest about her age (57) and finances (“self- sufficient”), and her pitch was straightforward: “looking for a life partner … successful, spiritually minded, intelligent, good sense of humor, enjoys dancing and traveling. No games!”

She exchanged messages and had a few phone calls with men; she even met some for coffee or lunch. But either they weren’t her type or they weren’t who they’d said they were in their profiles. She resolved to contact only men who were close matches according to the site’s algorithm.


Then she saw this guy with a mysterious profile name: darkandsugarclue. The photo showed a trim, silver-haired man with a salt-and-pepper beard. He was 61, liked bluegrass music, and lived an hour away. And he was a “100% match,” so she wrote to him.


More than a week later, she got this message: “Thank you so much for the e-mail and I am really sorry for the delay in reply, I don’t come on here often … I really like your profile and I like what I have gotten to know about you so far. I would love to get to know you as you sound like a very interesting person plus you are beautiful. Tell me more about you. In fact it would be my pleasure if you wrote me at my e-mail as I hardly come on here often.”


He gave her a Yahoo e-mail address and a name, Duane. When she went back to the dating site to look at his profile, it had disappeared.


She wrote: “Your profile is no longer there—did you pull it? As I am recalling the information you shared intrigued me. I would like to know more about you. Please e-mail me with information about yourself and pictures so I can get to know you better.”


Duane sent a long message that sketched a peripatetic life. He was a “computer systems analyst” from California who had grown up in Manchester, England, and had lived in Virginia for five months. Much of his note consisted of flirty jokes (“If I could be bottled I would be called ‘eau de enigma’”) and an imaginary description of their first meeting: “It’s 11 a.m. when we arrive at the restaurant for brunch. The restaurant is a white painted weatherboard, simple but well-kept, set on the edge of a lake …”


Duane was nothing like the men Amy had met so far. “You certainly have a great sense of humor and a way with words,” she wrote. She mentioned the deception she’d encountered on dates: “It is amazing what people will do without conscience. I think it is always best to be whom we are and not mislead others.”


Within two weeks, they’d exchanged eight more e-mails. Duane suggested they fill out questionnaires listing their favorite foods, hobbies, quirks, and financial status. He also sent a link to a song, Marc Anthony’s “I Need You.”

“It holds a message in it,” he told her, “a message that delivers the exact way I feel for you.”

Amy clicked on the link to the ballad, which ends with the singer begging his lover to marry him. Then she listened to it again.

 When Amy talks about how she fell in love, she always mentions Duane’s voice. It was musical, clipped, flecked with endearing Britishisms. Soon after they connected online, they began talking for hours every day in addition to e-mailing and texting. His years in England explained the accent, but there was also a wisp of something else in his voice. Still, this did nothing to deter her interest. In their conversations, Amy opened up to Duane about her marriage, her job, and her conviction that things happened for a reason. She had never met a man who was so curious about her.

She was just as fascinated by Duane. Or was it Dwayne? The spelling switched from his earlier e-mails. There were other curiosities. She’d be fixing breakfast, and he’d be talking about going out for the evening. He traveled for work, he explained. He was calling from Malaysia, where he was finishing a computer job.

Since Amy loved to travel, the fact that Dwayne was living overseas added to his “eau de enigma.” He sent her a link to an old John Denver song, “Shanghai Breezes,” about two lovers separated by distance.

She wrote: “Wow … It feels like the universe is manifesting my perfect partner right before my very eyes. Prayers answered and yes it does seem like we have known each other a long time.”

Amy sent that note a week after her first message from Dwayne. In e-mails and calls, they shared the day-to-day minutiae about their lives—her upcoming trip to Sarasota, Florida, with a friend; his visit to a textiles museum in Kuala Lumpur. Mixed in were his ardent declarations of affection: “Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight.”

Those florid words cast a powerful spell on Amy. “You are filling my days and nights with wonder,” she confessed to Dwayne on Christmas. “Are you real? Will you appear someday … Hold me in your arms, kiss my lips and caress me gently. Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream … if you are … I don’t want to wake up!”

When she returned from her trip to Florida, Amy found a bouquet of flowers, with a note: “My life will never be the same since I met you. Happy New Year. Love, Dwayne.”

Slightly less than a month since his first contact with Amy, Dwayne brought up his money troubles. He’d planned to fly back to Virginia in January after he finished a big project, but some components were stuck in customs. Dwayne had a U.K. trust fund and would retire after this job, he said. But he couldn’t use the fund to cover the customs fees. And he couldn’t come back to the States until he completed the job. If Amy could help him, he’d pay her back when he returned.

Amy had money, and Dwayne knew it. She owned her home and two other properties, and she had inheritances from her mother and husband. He also knew she was in love with him. Amy wired $8,000 to the fiancé of a friend of Dwayne’s in Alabama, who’d get the funds to Dwayne.

Then he asked her for $10,000 to bribe officials because of an expired visa. Finally, he set a day for his flight home—January 25—and e-mailed her his itinerary. Amy bought tickets for their first date, a Latin dance concert that night, and she told her brothers and friends they’d finally meet her mysterious boyfriend.

Then a problem came up: Dwayne had to pay his workers. While he’d received $2.5 million for the project—he even e-mailed her an image of the check—he couldn’t open a bank account in Malaysia to access it. She sent more money. January 25 came and went without Dwayne. He apologized profusely and sent more flowers.

Soon he needed more help. She wired another $15,000. This is a familiar pattern in love cons: The scammer promises a payoff—a face-to-face meeting—that forever recedes as crises and barriers intervene. As February wore on, Amy told friends that Dwayne was coming soon. But she never mentioned the loans. She knew the situation would be hard to understand, especially now that she had given more than $100,000.

Dwayne would pay her back, of course. When doubt crept in, Amy would look at his pictures or read his messages. Still, little things were odd. At times, he’d send a series of rapid messages that felt almost as if she were getting them from someone else. Another time, she asked what he’d had for dinner. He said stir-fried chicken.

But I thought you hated chicken, she replied.

He laughed. “Oh, Amy. You know me better than that.”

One night she commanded Dwayne, “Send me a selfie, right now.” She got a photo moments later. There he was, sitting on a bench in the sun.

“How do I know you’re not a Nigerian scammer?” she asked one day, playfully.

He laughed. “Oh, Amy. You know me better than that.

Psychologists call this confirmation bias—if you love someone, you look for reasons he or she is telling the truth, and Amy was looking, desperately, for reasons to trust Dwayne. Besides, he’d be there on February 28. He sent a text from the Kuala Lumpur airport: “I’ll be home soon my love.”

Then he went silent, and Amy tried to tamp down the panic. He texted her three days later—something about being held up by immigration in Malaysia and needing money to bribe the officials. This was the third time he’d failed to show. Still, she wired him the funds, putting the total amount she’d sent him over $300,000.

Amy’s sister-in-law figured it out. “You need to see this,” she told Amy, sending her a link to an episode of Dr. Phil that featured two women who had been unknowingly engaged to imaginary men they’d met online. Amy watched in horror.

A few days later, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared. This was the same route that Dwayne had planned to be on. Amy couldn’t help worrying that he’d been on board. Finally, he phoned. They spoke for only a few moments before the call broke up. She was relieved but also disturbed. Something was different.

That week, the daily siege of calls, e-mails, and texts from Dwayne ended, and Amy wondered: How much did she know him? She fed the photos he’d sent into Google’s image search. Eventually, up popped the LinkedIn page of a man with an unfamiliar name. She Googled the phrase romance scam and started reading. Yet even as she learned the truth, part of her hoped that her case was somehow different, that she was the lucky one. 

When Amy went to her regional FBI office, she says, an agent took her report—and told her that a woman in the next town had lost $800,000. The psychological trauma suffered by victims is twofold. First, they must cope with the end of a serious relationship. “It’s like finding out someone you loved has died, and you’ll never see them again,” Sluppick says. To compound the damage, victims blame themselves—and their loved ones often do too. “People think, Why did I let this happen to me?” she says. “But you’re a victim of a crime.

Some victims try the risky practice of scam baiting, attempting to turn the tables on fraudsters. Months after she discovered the con, Amy continued talking to Dwayne, promising him $50,000 if he sent various documents. She wanted to lure him into giving up something incriminating.

Eventually, Amy had to accept that Dwayne would never show his true face or give her the confession she yearned to hear. On New Year’s Eve 2014, a year after he’d sent that first bouquet of flowers, she e-mailed him telling him not to contact her again.

A few minutes later, he texted. He promised not to call. “I know you’re innocent,” he wrote. “And so am I.”


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HOW WE MET thursday:

HIS LOVE COST ME NOTHING BUT COST HIM ALL

Chimo! Chimo!! I heard my mum scream from my father’s room. I was terrified, my younger sister rushed and hugged me, she too was terrified, it was a usual thing. My father was a brut as well as a loot. He would brutalize my mother, loot all her savings from the salon, where she worked as a cleaner. Thereafter he would go out squandering and lavishing it on women and drinks. At night he would come home drunk and start hitting mother. Today was not an exception.My father was nothing to write, not to talk of writing home about.

I was the first child, I had a younger sister, Tochi. We lived in a rickety old-water dripping, celling-leaking two storey-building which my father had forcefully inherited from  his father who had also inherited it from his great grand father. Our house was a disaster as well as our home.

On this day, papa was having his usual routine of hitting mother, when my younger sister and I heard a loud sound, I think somebody had fallen. Tochi ran to Papa’s room and peeped, I followed behind, we saw mother on the floor,she was bleeding profusely. Papa was looking confused and jumbled .With the help of our neighbours, he rushed mother to the hospital, on getting to the hospital mother was dead. The doctors said she was 3months pregnant, she had a miscarriage and died.

My dad told his in-laws that mother fell while going to urinate. It was a horrible experience, I felt like putting papa in a chafery.

After mother’s death, father got back to his drinking and late home coming. My sister and I knew we had to fend for ourselves. “papa didn’t show us love when mama was alive, what makes you think he would now she is dead?

I said to my sister, as we left the house for “Ithaca”.I was 15years and she was 11.

Few years of suffering, begging from one street to the other, sleeping in squalid places, sometimes pick-pocketing. I met a girl, her name was Jennifer.

Jennifer was a year or two older than I am, she was beautiful from a far but far from beautiful nevertheless she was well to do. I was surprised on how a girl of my age would live so comfortable. I thus begged her for assistance, I was ready to do anything to save my sister and I. Jennifer said she had a job where ‘you use what you have to get what you want’. She once quoted while tutoring me. she said;

Your body is an ATM where they slot in and money comes out”.

The job sounded very easy until I tried it the first time. I cried my eyes out and cursed the day my mother died. Nevertheless it didn’t stop me from quitting my new job. It paid faster. I learnt quickly. I had to fend for my sister and I. I still didn’t hear from my dad.

The last I heard from him, I heard he was sick. I wished him a gruesome death. This life is heartless and I hence learnt very well from it. I never believed in love. My business boomed. My younger sister was finally able to start school. I felt satisfied but never happy. My life was empty regardless of the fact that I was making it. I felt incomplete.

On the 13th of October, my friend from work called,

“Hey B, whats-up, aren’t you coming for the show, I heard it’s gonna be the bomb, she said,”

I will, am getting dressed, my cab guy is already on his way, I replied while applying my mascara. I heard Cindy screaming from the other end of the phone,

Please get that your white Zara high heels!”. I smiled, acted like I did not hear her and dropped the call. I had a job in a nearby town; and a lot of foreign delegates were attending. It was an Arab money something. Quickly, I dressed, got into the cab, bid my little sis bye and left. On our way, our cab collided with a truck, I completely blacked out. I woke up and saw myself on a hospital bed, with my face covered. It’s nothing serious, just a scratch on her face.I heard the doctor tell my sister, she would be out of here in two/three days time”

The following morning, I woke up with my face still covered, I felt someone beside me, and it was a masculine presence. He’s aura made my skin tingle. The next day I was discharged. I asked my sister if anybody had come visiting asides the doctor, and she said “No”. I knew somebody came though. I wasn’t hallucinating. I resumed my business as I had some unfinished ones to attend to. But deep down in my heart I wished I saw him again or would bump into him or something. Everyday I thought about him. It seemed weird. My sister thought the accident had affected me mentally.

One evening as I was strolling, after my sister had told me her teacher was making advances at her, I thought of what I was going to do to him. I was furious. I hated men. I knew, if care wasn’t taken I was going to do something drastic the next day. My head was full. I remembered my father. I needed to cool-off, hence the stroll.

Walking down the road, I saw a beautiful gigantic house, built with ancient artifacts. I entered. It was very beautiful. I found a very quiet corner and sat down. I loved the peace and serenity of the place. My head was indeed full. I wanted to cry but I feigned strong not until tears rolled out of my eyes. I cried. I wept. I didn’t have a particular reason for crying I just wanted to pour out all the pains I have been carrying since mother died. Someone tapped my shoulder. I lifted my head and it was him! I felt the same aura I felt while at the hospital. I probably looked foolish, hiding and crying in someone’s garden.

I know you from the hospital I said, trying to wipe the tears off my eyes”. He smiled – Aww he was so cute, now I know why I didn’t see him that first day, I would have rushed and clung myself to him.

“Yes, I don’t believe we met officially, but I was the doctor on duty when you were rushed in on the day of your accident. I handed over your case to Dr sam (the doctor you met). I came to check your recovery progress that day”

“Oh okay, that makes sense’ I said. “Thank you for helping to save my life anyways”.

He nodded and kept staring at me. To ease the growing awkwardness I asked;

Uhm, whachu doing here, I asked? Were you stalking me??”

This is my father’s house”, he replied.

“Ooh, how nice”, I said, looking surprised. Looked so nothing like my own father’s house.

 “And what are you doing here, looking forlorn and doleful”? he asked.

 “Oh nothing really, I just wanted to get things off my head

You could share it with me, if you don’t mind.

Hmm, I breathed heavily, I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want him to see me cry.

He asked if he could be my friend. *Are you kidding me, if only you know how I longed to see you* I said in my head. Yea, of course.

I went home feeling refreshed, and better than I felt when I left the house. I was smiling sheepishly as I strolled home. My sister saw me smiling and wondered what was wrong with me. I chuckled and told her how I finally met the guy in the hospital. Now she was certain I was insane.

She thus asked what we were going to do about the lecturer, I told her to avoid him. Lol. She was surprised-

Your head is like electric bulb, shey you know, some body is controlling it from somewhere this moment you are shouting the next you were happy”. If only she knew.

Subsequently, my new doctor friend and I got talking. Sometimes in the morning, most times in the evening before I go to bed. I grew fond of him. We got attached, always together it was thus affecting my business. He asked me to quit that he would take good care of Tochi and I if I just stay faithfully to only him. Well, it wasn’t much of an easy task but I tried my best. Gradually I stopped. I introduced him to Tochi, only then did she believe I wasn’t insane.

Most times even when I didn’t love myself he loved me. Times when I felt like giving up he held me up.

Sometimes I pushed him away, thinking he would leave just like my father. But he was different, he will stayed lurking around. I guess he knew at this point I couldn’t do without him. To love me was hell of a big deal, it cost him a lot because I had suffered from childhood, I knew what it felt to be broken. I didn’t want to experience it ever again in my life, thus the stress I gave him. But in all this he proved adamant. He didn’t go away, he wasn’t papa. Our relationship was not all the “breakfast in bed kind of relationship, but we still had breakfast in bed tho. After a few months I started to feel guilty. I hated men, but he was softening my heart. No one is perfect, that’s what they said abi? Besides what’s the future of this relationship sef. Being the son of a wealthy man, his father would never let him marry me, considering my kind of work and reputation.

As I lay one night talking to him, I asked him,

 “If I say I’ve finally quit my job, can you borrow me 5million naira to start a new business?

Damn! I’ll never forget the smile on his face! He was so happy. He didn’t respond. He gently moved away from the bed and started pressing his phone. Mehn, maybe I asked for too much, I thought to myself. Immediately I got an SMS alert on my phone. He had transferred the money! I wanted to laugh but I burst into tears instead. He held me close and comforted me, all the while telling me he loved me.

One week after that, I returned to the spot in his family garden where we had first met, and dropped my neatly folded letter. I kept telling myself I was doing the right thing. I don’t deserve his love. We can’t get married, hell I don’t even know if I can have children with all the pills and abortions I’ve done. This was the best way. I met my sister outside, I held her hand tight and together we walked away from the only genuine love we’ve ever felt. (Together with his 5million naira)

 

ABOUT THE WRITER 

My name is Eberechukwu Ngwu and I exhume happiness. My dreams are a lot bigger than I am. I love to write and express myself through written words. 

Don't be afraid to stalk me on social media.

Facebook ID : Bebe Ngwu

Instagram ID: Bebehills
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