Book Review 16 : Half Of A Yellow Sun

Book : Half of A Yellow Sun

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 433

Half of A Yellow Sun explores what transpired during the civil war between Nigeria-Biafra in the early 1960’s.

Photo courtesy: Acom Victoria

Odeningbo is the ‘revolutionary lover’ ,optimistic and opinionated about Nigeria and the world at large. He is highly educated and has a lover-Olanna,whose beauty is as rare as a gem and equally captivating. Both are educated from “abroad/overseas,” they are nearly not “African enough” until the civil war.

Their house boy Ugwu is the epitome of loyalty,he is ready to please his ‘sah’ and ‘mah’. He is woven intricately into their lives that not even the war can break that bond.

The barriers between servant and sah are not evident,sah puts Ugwu in school and opens him up to possibilities because he believes education is for all and gives one a future.

Olanna like many African women who are unable to conceive quickly as per the mother-in-law`s timeline ,faces the cold truth about ‘another woman.’ She discovers that her lover,impregnated a mere ‘village girl”.She can’t seem to get past her betrayal until her Aunt Ifeka tells her,”you must never behave as if your life belongs to a man.Your life belongs to you and you alone…”

The war changes every one even loyal Ugwu,he takes part in a gang rape of a bar girl and deep within he loathes himself . Olanna`s rich parents leave the country because they are afraid of the war but their children choose to stay.

Kainene and Richard. Kainene is Olanna’s twin sister who seemed unruffled by life’s happenings.She happened to life,life never happened to her.In her steel demeanor,she loves Richard-oyinbo-‘white man’ though she will not say it. She is like the master and he the mistress. She manages her rich father’s businesses and knows who to trade with.

Olanna betrays her in cold blood when she has sex with Richard. Both parties are guilty.Richard was blown away by Olanna`s beauty. Everyone referred to her as the beautiful one and Kainene as the plain one with a steel demeanor

. Kainene tells them both,”it’s unforgivable” and a cloth of unforgiveness envelopes her never to go off but the civil war causes the sisters to forgive each other.They had more conversation during the war than happier times. Olanna suddenly enjoyed her sister’s sarcasm and even laughed along.

Olanna finally had a confidant when it came to ‘should I keep the village girl’s baby”, Kainene seemed to think it’s Noble and Olanna kept the baby. She became a mother to baby and loved her so much that she would do anything for her even during the war.

Kainene unbothered,unruffled woman of steel cannot be found,even after the war is over. I personally screamed and almost threw my book away, how could Adichie end the book just like that.How?? Kainene, strong and unruffled by anything was never found and both Olanna and Richard were never the same.

This book is real, compassionate and insightful.

War in any form is bad,tears families apart,causes wounds and leaves them exposed.War makes for strange alliances .War tears nation’s apart,there is nothing good about war.

Adichie weaves a superb book leaving one stunned and with a gruesome picture of what civil war can do to it’s Nationals.

I recommend the novel to anyone who needs to be reminded that starting a war is not a walk in the park .Whoever needs to be reminded to have a little compassion for their neighbors.whoever needs a stern reminder to be loyal to her people and all friendships.

Got my copy from Turn the Page Africa-https://www.facebook.com/TTPAfrica/

PS; Follow them across all social media platforms -Turn the page Africa

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Hosting tips 101

Ever had people crushing over at your place for a few days,weeks,a month or two,years?
I have been hosted before by friends and I have learnt a couple of things about hosting people. There are hosting Dynamics and today Rachel and I share tips on how to be a good host.These tips are in no particular order.

+Always know your people.What do they like to eat,what are they allergic to.This helps to plan better for their stay.

+Plan!plan ahead for their coming.Stock whatever you need to stock for their stay.

+Don’t change your menu for your guests.Make adjustments depending on who likes what but don’t do a 360 on your menu.This might be costly and draining as well on your pocket,house help if you have one or yourself too.

+Take/accept the help.The more people in the house, there is multiplication of house chores.Incase a guest asks to help out ,let them help.

+Ask for help.Remember some of these guests,like to work and if African ,they have been trained to work and might be uncomfortable sitting all day.Ask them for help.This helps you bond and you could learn something new about each other.

+You are bound to meet people of various cultures.don’t be alarmed.

+For guests who stay for long;months or years, purposefully involve them in the house chores and activities.If you go by a rota include them that way they appreciate and are part of the family and it also lifts the burden off of you to do everything. Everyone has to have some form of responsibility.

+It is important to know how long a guest is staying, especially if you are in a family setting, that way there is no uncertainty and family members are well prepared. Guests who stay for Ununspecified days can easily feel like a burden and there could be the anxiety of how long is the person staying.To avoid such discomfort and uncertainity,it is good to know the length of the stay.

+Be ready to be vulnerable.This comes with letting someone in your space.Be yourself and don’t adjust your lives completely. Let the guest adjust to your system (this can be added to the menu as well)

+It is great to learn from your guests as well, as much as it is your house, your rules, try to involve some of their ways especially if they are from a different culture. You could ask them to cook a common dish of theirs or show you how they do their things. This way the guest feels appreciated and is able to involve a part of them in the family

+When a guest does something wrong or off, it is OK and right to tell them directly and in a kind and polite way. It is so easy to find yourselves discussing the guest behind their back with other family members yet the issue would have easily been resolved by speaking to them. This can also breed contempt and ruin the whole experience.

+Always consult with your family members before agreeing to host someone, that way they are prepared cause even if you are the one taking care of most of the things, they have a right to know and agree as their space will be invaded/interrupted

+Considering all the above, it is actually OK to say no to hosting someone, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it does take grace and quite some work, so be willing to give 100% rather than say yes and your heart is not in it. Whatsoever you do,do it with all diligence as unto the Lord and not man.

This post was co-authored by Racheal Atieno-my Kenyan sister,who has hosted me and so many other people at her home in Nairobi over the years. It is right to say her home is international 😂😂.

Kindly leave your views in the comment section.

Photo credit: Gakosun Photography

©Racheal Kizza 2018

Extraordinaire 3 : Noeline Kirabo

Women empowerment can best be done by women who know and understand fellow women. Meet Noeline Kirabo who is building an active legacy when it comes to empowering young ladies to live out their God -given potential. Many know her for Kyusa but today, she tells us all about the New Generation Mentoring Program and how to be apart of the upcoming cohort in September.

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1st NGMP cohort, Further left, Sumaya, Cathy, Grace, Noeline Kirabo , Fifi and Justine on the extreme right. Certificate ceremony.
1.Who is Noeline Kirabo?
NK: Noeline Kirabo is a family therapist by profession and a social entrepreneur by passion. She has over twelve years’ experience in the nonprofit sector mainly working with children, youth, women and community self-help groups.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of Kyusa, a registered organization that empowers out of school youth in urban slums to become employable by developing passion driven sustainable careers.
She is the Co- Founder and director of Newen Consults a personal and business development consulting firm.
Noeline is also the founding president of Christian Women Entrepreneurs Network (CWEN); a platform that brings together Ugandan Christian women in business to connect, create and collaborate.
As part of her passion for women, Noeline has also pioneered a four months coaching program called New Generation Mentoring program for young adult women 20 – 35 years preparing them to identify their potential and use it to strategically influence in the market place.
Noeline is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer and business development consultant. Her life mission is to empower people to identify their life purposes and turn their passions into skills for fruitful living.
2.The name Noeline is synonymous with kyusa,but what is New Generation Mentoring Program (NGMP)?
The mentoring program was birthed out of my passion and commitment to nurturing young women to actualize their potential so as to influence in the market place. I had been mentoring and coaching ladies one on one for years so I just decided to turn it into a group mentoring because of the number of ladies that were approaching me for mentoring.
New generation Mentoring Program is a four months mentoring program that aims at developing outstanding female leaders. It is an experiential program that nurtures holistic development and equipping of women for kingdom service in the market place.
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Noeline Kirabo
3. How many Cohorts has NGMP had so far ?
NK: Currently, we are running the third cohort and applications for the fourth cohort that will be starting is September are open.
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Bonding moments with cohort 3

4.How does one apply to be part of the program? Any qualifications needed?

NK: We are looking to work with:
 Women who actively seek ways to maximize their own potential
 Individuals who enjoy problem solving and creative thinking
 Women who thrive when working with other people
Ultimately, we are looking for 20 women per cycle who want to use their talents to make positive change in their lives and the world.
If you are thinking “wow, this sounds like me!” we would like to offer you an opportunity to apply for the next class of women influencers.
Weekly sessions will be held every Tuesday evening at Kyusa community library in Kalerwe.
Program requirements:
 20 – 35 year females
 Commitment for the entire four months
 Commitment to team work
 Positive attitude towards learning
 150,000/= program fee
You can apply through this link: https://goo.gl/forms/p9X65h1AgsD9H41x2
5.Benefits? what is it set to achieve?
NK: Selected Mentees will be receiving:
 Individual mentoring and coaching
 Field study exposures
 Leadership opportunities in different projects
 Opportunity to take part in community service projects
By the end of the program participants have developed life plans, mapped out career and personal development goals, acquired leadership skills, public speaking skills, ability to effectively work in teams, financial management skills and have a supportive network to enable them continue growing into their full potential.
6.Achievements so far?
NK : NGMP alumni are influencing in different industries which include the legal fraternity, business, fashion, education, social entrepreneurship, telecommunication, IT, agriculture, writing and Beauty industry among others. This provides a wealth of networks and resources that alumni can continuously draw from as they advance in their career and personal development goals.
At the moment 30 ladies have gone through the program and are accomplishing great things both in their personal and career lives.
7.Future of NGMP
NK :At the moment we are focusing on smaller groups for the cohorts with the intention of consolidating the learning experience.
Alumni are expected to also run their own mentoring clusters thus producing a ripple effect of the program impact.
Recently we inaugurated the first Executive Committee that is spearheaded by program alumni with the intention of having alumni take a lead on the growing alumni network so as to strengthen networking, collaboration as well as community impact.
Future plans (starting 2018) include:
  • Hosting an annual women in the market place conference
  • Monthly seminars for women in the market place
  • Quarterly community outreach activities
  • Annual Rising Woman award
The rest will be unveiled with time.
8.As our chat ends, how do people connect with NGMP on Social media ?
We share learning experiences from the program participants as well as inspirational articles written by the mentees.
We shall soon be sharing different offers and opportunities.

Heart of Gold

I once read a book in my primary five about a girl who had a “golden heart’’, I literally thought the girl`s heart was made of gold. YES!!! , I laugh about it now because I sat in a literature class and  I know better. The book was metaphorically speaking about a girl who was special, kind, loved everyone selflessly,  was quick to help  and was loved by the entire community. When she passed away, her heart was desired by all in the community.

In life, we meet people with “hearts of gold’’; they are the epitome of kindness and selflessness. Gold is rare, special, precious and important. The bible says, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

My aunt-Hellen Luyima has a heart of gold; she has loved me as though i am her biological daughter.She is quick to help others ,selfless and desires to see the best in everyone.

I pen her celebration because words speaker better things(so they say); she has given time, money and love to me from a tender age.She is a mother to me even if i call her `aunt’. I have utmost respect for her dedication to me.

I thought she was too strict growing up and at times i hated the fact that she seemingly didn`t understand me and my needs.

However, she has passed on invaluable laws and lessons to me that i will never forget -love others, love goes hand in hand with generosity and kindness.Problem solving where by you render help to those who need it .

Empathy which simply means putting yourself in people`s shoes and feeling with them .Handwork which is her greatest trait.

I celebrate  her today for contributing to who and where i am today.I will forever honor her.

Let us honor the people in our lives while they are alive.