Mental health: How are you doing?

You are going to make it. It may be hard, but you are going to make it.

Maybe you feel you are one step away from drowning in an endless body of water and nothing you do would be able to stop what might inevitably happen?

Or possibly what you feel isn’t that drastic. It could be you simply see yourself as a hamster, on an endless rollercoaster of worries, anxieties, fears, responsibilities, with a break of 5mintues, just enough time to catch your breath before the next rollercoaster starts again.

However, no matter the scene you picture yourself in, one thing is certain, you are left feeling tired and drained every day.

I know this because I have been there, still there. The sad part is 8 in every 10 individual you meet is currently going through something similar.

The world is getting tougher every single minute, jobs are been lost as companies are going through economic downturns, most countries are facing economic recessions, people are losing their families and homes, a lot more people are getting sick. With the addition of the covid-19 pandemic, an already bleak world is looking bleaker and bleaker. We now live in a world more isolating than how it began.

All the more reason why protecting your mental health is important.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had to review just how important protecting my mental health is. How easy it is to feel the iron-clad strength slip away and try as you might, it can’t be stopped.

While you try not to ride the tide of endless negative emotions, one thing that can drag anyone down is the feeling that no one would understand, that you don’t have the “right” to complain, to feel how you do.

Why? Because you believe that with each complaint, there are people who are in life situations worse than yours.

Then you begin to wonder, ” why am I complaining about?”. ” why am I placing my burden of how I feel on others?”

Then you resolve to keep it to your self, till it eats you up slowly.

Perhaps that’s not your dilemma, maybe it’s simply not having someone you trust enough to be vulnerable with.

I’m here to share with you what I try to remind my self every morning, “your feelings are valid, every single one of them. Most importantly you are stronger than what ever you are going through right now.”

Unfortunately, I don’t have any quick-fix solution, if I did I would be very rich right now.

What I do know is, one day when you look back it will be with a simile on your face, for the battles you faced and won.

I hope it helps. Your partner in the fight for mental strength.

Love and hugs.

Remember to reach out to someone and check on someone today.

I also write here: http://www.anwuli.com

Òlòturé: a glimpse into the sex trafficking world.

Sex trafficking and mass rape should no more be seen as women’s issues than slavery was a black issue, or the Holocaust was a Jewish issue. These are all humanitarian concerns, transcending any one race, gender, or creed.

Nicholas D. kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

I joined this party very late I know. However, since it’s still fresh in my mind, this is the best time to write my thoughts concerning the movie Òlòturé.

This is a Netflix movie that is based on the account of an undercover journalist, who investigated a sex trafficking ring in Nigeria.

The movie with its bits of exaggerated acting, is meant to give viewers a glimpse of the horrors that exist in the sex trafficking world from the comfort of their homes.

This isn’t a review about the actors and what should or shouldn’t have been included in the movie, as I’m sure a lot of people have done this.

This is to focus on the message that the movie is trying to pass across, the dangers of sex trafficking.

It is a hushed topic as no one wants to admit this happens, but it does. According to the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, an estimate of 3.8million adults and 1million children are victims of sex trafficking. This was in just 2016 alone.

Due to the unavailability of accurate data in Nigeria, it is difficult to know the exact number of Nigerians that are trafficked every year.

If I’m to make a guess tho, 2 in every 5 women trafficked overseas is a Nigerian. The US Department of Justice agrees with this, as Nigeria is routinely listed as a country with a high number of trafficked victims to Europe and the USA. Basically, there is a Nigerian victim in more than 34countries.

Sadly, we live in a country where basic amenities are unavailable, yet the cost of living continues to rise. This forces us to believe we should do everything to earn a living.

In a quest for a better life, these traffickers, prey on their nativity with false promises of a better life. 90% of victims are unaware of the true intent of their “sponsors” till they arrive in Europe, with no means to escape.

They are trapped in an unexpected world in which they have to survive. Survive they do, as there are no viable means to escape.

Limited financial resources and the psychological trauma they experience, both play a role in ensuring this.

When you listen to the narrations of rescued sex trafficking victims, there is one common element. Most share how their “sponsors” take them to a fetish man to perform ritualistic acts on them. This they say would have a negative effect on them should they attempt to escape.

In addition to the Lack of financial assistance, the fear of been killed by the “dark forces“, solidifies their entrance into the never-ending world of prostitution.

Never-ending as the men and women who have been entrusted by law to protect them, are the perpetrators of such activities.

There is no supply if there is no demand, (the simple rule of economics), and these “customers” demand and pay outrageously for such activities. It is estimated that profits from forced labour was $9billion in 2017.

These people in positions of authority provide traffickers with the money and legal protection in ensuring these women are sent out.

This was adequately depicted in the movie when a politician hosted a sex party, where he drugged and raped Òlòturé.

However, you don’t need a movie to tell you what goes on behind close doors. The gut-wrenching narrations from the rescued victims tell a far better story than any movie shown on Netflix can.

I was torn all through while watching òlòturé. I was trying to merge the existing laws I study, (an annoying habit I must say), to what I watched and the articles I have read so far.

It is scary to think that the law has been incapable of doing its job, ensuring justice and protecting the victims. Prosecutions by the US Department of Justice dropped to 230 in 2018, down from 282 in 2017.

In Nigeria, it is difficult to know the rate of prosecutions, if any, due to the absence of accurate data.

Now while you watch or re-watch òlòturé, do not simply see it as an entertaining movie on Netflix in need of ratings, but a glimpse into the life of the countless and faceless victims of sex trafficking.

See it as someone’s story, because it is.

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Saving tips for students

Is it normal to have enough money one minute and be completely broke the next?” I voiced out in frustration to a friend.

As a student, juggling your academic commitments with a social life is a constant effort. Having an enjoyable social life without money? Not possible.

One of the areas a lot of college students like me, struggle with is finances. This has been made worse with the economic effects of covid-19.

To navigate the occasional “broke” times, here are some hacks that you might find helpful. You may have seen some tips in other articles if so, you can consider this as a refresher.

Read more here

If you liked what you read, kindly like, share and comment ❤️

Living a positive filled life

Bloom where you are placed

Welcome to the month of December. I know this is coming really late, forgive me.

It’s been three weeks since my last post. I was finding it very difficult to scribbling my thoughts down. Writer’s block maybe?

To distract my self, I began a self-taught journey on how to set up a website. I believe I had overused my free WordPress.com domain.

*Now has been moved to: www.anwuliii.com*

This past few weeks I have spent a lot more time with my friends, mainly to get their input on my new website and it is the Christmas season after all.

On this particular day, our conversation drifted to comparing certain aspects of Nigeria to Mauritius.

Reminiscing about some aspects of Nigeria we miss is a favourite past time for us, this day was no exception. We continued this till someone, a non-Nigerian, asked: “if Nigeria was so good, why did we leave?”

This was meant to be a sub, but I honestly couldn’t give an adequate answer.

Living here has not been an easy adjustment, from not having access to your favourite provisions, the language barrier, their overly casual way of living. You are never without things to complain about.

Till we look at the whole picture.

I might be breaking a cliques code saying this, Mauritius has been good. I have felt very safe walking around even in the night, met lovely people, experienced growth in most of the areas of my life. It has not been all gloom and doom.

I have come to realise that, as long as you focus on the negatives in a situation, all the things that could go wrong, everything would be negative.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Focusing on the negative aspects of a situation is easy almost like a first instinct, I do it a lot as well. It seems that our minds actively stays on the things that aren’t working, what could go wrong, rather than the positives.

Is this healthy? Not in the slightest.

After this incident, I began reflecting on how much my complaints has not allowed me to adequately enjoy the aspects that are working in this country.

Applying this “new-found” knowledge into other areas of my life, I began to realise just how much I have focused on what I do not have, than the testimonies so far and what is still possible.

This is not to downplay whatever you might be going through, as it might just be the craziest and downright unfair situations known to man.

Instead to offer support and a little “hand-holding” while we find the tiniest positives in the situations together.

I hope it helps.

It might be worse before it gets better, but it will get better.

Mike Rawlings

If you enjoyed this, kindly like, follow and share. See you next week.

Discrimination in Africa?

A silent problem of prejudice among Africans

Whew! this week was tough. It’s coming to the end of this year yet there are still a lot of aspects to catch up on, from course works to notes and some necessary social activities.

It was just like yesterday when this semester began.  Now we are counting down to Christmas and praying against another covid-19 lockdown.

Earlier this week, an incident happened that was infuriating and would be the subject of what I’m writing about.

Discrimination.

Like most universities, the employability department regularly conducts events aimed at preparing students for life after university. This could be CV clinics, job fairs, or in this case, having an alumni speak at a workshop.
This workshop was of particular importance to my friend and I, as it was aimed at sharing what we can expect after our LLB. So we went for it.

The issue occurred two days after.

The media team took some pictures of the participants who attended. We were the only international students in attendance, so it was very surprising to see that the only picture used, (out of 9 pictures of local students that were posted on the university’s official pages) was very unflattering.

The issue wasn’t that it was a single picture of us that was used (as we honestly would have preferred not to be posted), but that among the numerous pictures that were taken of us, it was the most unflattering image that was selected.

This particular picture painted a view of two very uninterested and dishevelled students, which was in contrast to the other local students who looked cheerful and interested in what was said. Was this the true situation? No, it was not.

To say I was upset would be putting it mildly.

What was clear to us was whoever selected those pictures had an apparent bias that led to such a choice.

Stop, just stop.

Discrimination is a topic that is generally talked about by people. It comes in various forms, the most popular being racial discrimination. However, not much is said about prejudice even within Africa, especially towards immigrants.

It is commonly assumed that the oppressed cannot be racist and discrimination is the preserve of white people and the powerful. But genocide and ethnic cleansing in Africa have put the lie to these assumptions. Virulent attacks on immigrants and refugees testify to the fact that those of us who have been discriminated against know how to give those whom we consider the “other” — and an economic threat — the same if not worse treatment.”

Rhoda Kadalie writing in Business Day

It never occurred to me that I would experience this within Africa. There is a general dislike for Nigerians (which in some cases is understandable) which I prepared myself for, but to experience discrimination based on the colour of my skin within a predominantly black skin continent was something I had not expected.

This experience as unpleasant as it was, reminded me of other situations where segregating words and actions had happened to me.

A consistent example occurs while boarding the public transport. There have been situations where people of a ‘lighter skin tone‘ would not want to share a sit with you. You can see the reluctance on their faces when faced with the option of sharing a space with me (or another foreigner), with others opting to stand instead.

Sadly this behaviour is done by both the uneducated and the educated. One would expect that with an education and exposure to a different way of life (as some studied abroad), a certain level of empathy would be shown. This is not so. Rather it would seem that it’s the skill of subtly concealing this bias that was learnt.

Concerning the incident, my friend who was the calmer one offered to speak to one of the media team and a promise was made to take it down. 

This has not happened up till now.

Having lived here for over a year,  I have become impassive to experiences such as this. One of the perks of human nature is our ability to adjust to things, even unpleasant situations.

One day, hopefully I would be able to share tips on how to deal with such situations. Or maybe the prejudice would end among humans and there won’t be a need for such.

I know, don’t roll your eyes, it’s a false wish.

One thing is certain, a lot more has to be said about discrimination within Africa.

Have you experienced prejudice within and outside of Africa? You can share in the comments section.

If you enjoyed this post, kindly like, follow and share with others.

 “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Herman Melville

Living Abroad: Realities of a foreigner.

What is it like moving to a new country?

It’s exciting.

A new country, new weather (which in most cases would be different from what you are used to), the mix of different cultures and new foods ready for you to try, these are some of the positives associated with moving to a new country.

However, not much is said about adjusting to a new country. The desire to move is so overwhelming (rightly so), that the post-relocation phase is most often not considered.

I have been a foreigner for a couple of years, mainly as an international student and despite the enthusiasm I felt, looking back now, adjusting won’t have been difficult had there been some guidelines of what to expect when I arrived.

Some of the things I wish I knew then are;

Post-Relocation costs
One major aspect of travelling is costs. This is not the initial pre-moving costs, such as flight tickets, health insurance, visa fees(if applicable), but the costs after you arrive.

Yes! those equally draining expenses.

I expected things would be different from what was applicable in my home country, I however, was unprepared for just how much.

If you are relocating to a country with a higher currency exchange rate than your home country, this could be very challenging. You are faced daily with disparities between what it takes to get a product in your country against what it takes to get the same product in a new country.

Every new immigrant goes through currency conversion phobia. (it’s not a medically recognised phobia, unfortunately). It’s a situation where you are converting between two currencies before making a purchase.

It can be draining as you are constantly second-guessing every little item you want to buy.

To counter it, you begin a search for jobs (provided you legally can work), as earning in your new country reduces the dependency on the currency of your country. You do this while trying to juggle other commitments, I.e family or as in my case my degree.

Is it easy? No. Is it possible? Yes.

Bear in mind that finding a job depends on the country you relocate to and the existing racial and gender discrimination.

This is a post for another day, sigh!.

How can I budget in a new country?

An interesting mix of cultures and beliefs.

Coming from a country with fixed belief systems like mine, I subconsciously expected something similar. However, I was “shooked“.

The array of different beliefs available was a tough transition for me. I moved from an environment where my belief was what you consider a “majority”, to a country where it was not. Very few people were practising my religion.

Searching for people of like minds was daunting and for a while, I didn’t even see the need to.

Luckily I was privileged to find a close community. A community that I could grow in. Finding this is important as associating with people facing similar issues lessens the feeling of isolation you would feel being away from your family and friends.

Different religions.

The language barrier.

English is not the main language of the world. Obviously right? I know.

English happens to be the one language I can speak fluently.

So how do I communicate effectively?

I haven’t been able to find a permanent solution.  If you are relocating to a country that speaks the language you are familiar with, perfect.

If this is not the case, it would be challenging. I regularly ask for “English subtitles‘ while conversing, or I find someone who can interpret what the other person is saying.

If all that fails, I simply don’t involve myself in the conversation.

The health care system.
Yes, you would fall sick sometimes. How would you deal with this?

Most countries require having health insurance as a visa requirement to help curtail any health changes you may have.

Post-arrival two things you realise quickly are, your health insurance may not cover all your health care needs and most over the counter drugs won’t be available.

You would have to visit a doctor every time you need to get it.

Consultations are not cheap.

Hence regularly eating healthy and maybe having a friend who is a doctor helps, at least in my case it did.

Despite these setbacks, traveling to a new country is not all doom and gloom. I have been fortunate to meet amazing people who have given me a glimpse into their country and culture.

The growth process is also another obvious advantage of travelling. Not just economically, for this is one of the main reasons, but you learn how to accept or tolerate people a lot more than you would in your home country.

A mind that is stretched by new adventures can never go back to old dimensions

Oliver Wendell Homes

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How to deal with insecurities

Your Flaws make you unqiue

I hate to cook.

To the amazement of my mother who loves to cook and bake. That’s a flaw I have unashamedly accepted and with time, she got to accept it too.

Here’s the catch, I love to eat.
How do I combine my hatred for cooking with my love for eating?. I have amazing friends who love to cook. Win-Win.

What do flaws in a person mean? they are considered to be blemishes, weak spots, limitations etc.

Every human has flaws. Aspects of yourself you don’t like, things you wish you can do perfectly.

What are yours? What are the things you wish you could improve?

This post aims to create an acceptance of those aspects you are insecure about, and hopefully nudge you to improve those that can.

Insecurity kills all that is beautiful

Your flaws might be in different areas, it really doesn’t matter what they are. You don’t like them and wish you can change them.

What if I told you, yes you, that those “quirks” are what make you unique. Imagine a world where everyone behaves the same way and has similar perspectives, how boring this would be.

God (or whoever you believe in), created everyone with individual facets, making us distinct from the next person.
I see a lot of people striving so hard to exclude their shortcomings, by copying someone whom they believe is perfect or moulding themselves into the “perfect” image they have envisioned. So sad.

Know that everyone has flaws, so do you. They are what makes you unique.

You are an original copy

It would be simple to admit that we have flaws, but what happens next?. What do we do if they hinder us from attaining a happy life? We move to improve on them

Deciding to improve them, doesn’t change the first point on how unique you are.

To explain this I would share a personal example. I consider my height and my difficulties in easily comprehending topics as my two weaknesses. I compare how relatively easy it is for others in my circle. I, on the other hand, have to read a couple of times before it sticks.

I’m aware these aspects of me do not change how amazing I am, but I wish these can be changed.

I thereby proceeded to explore what I can improve on. I can’t make changes to my height for example, but I can strengthen how I understand things. I refused to accept the general rhetoric of “this is who I am”. Neither should you.

There are some things that I unabashedly refuse to change though, my hatred for cooking is one.

You are amazing regardless and I hope today, you begin to see this too.

What are the amazing aspects you have, please share them in the comment section.

“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”

Maya Angelou

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Idealism of a law student

A collective voice stops injustice.

Injustice alone can shake down the pillars of the skies, and restore the reign of Chaos and Night.

Horace Mann

20.10.2020.

It has been a week and four days since Nigerian youths from different socio-ethnic backgrounds, came together to protest years of police brutality from a section of the Nigerian police called, SARS.

Due to corruption and a lack of accountability, these men and women (sadly), have disregarded the law and acted with impunity. This has led to large reports of extortion, kidnapping and in most cases Murder.

I haven’t been able to process my feelings over the events of the past week. I at one point, questioned if my feelings were valid as I was what one would call a ‘bystander‘. I wasn’t present at any of the protest venues nor did I feel I contributed anything other than my voice via social media. So I believed that this in some way diminished my right to feel how I did.

I later concluded that I did have the right to feel every negative emotion, especially seeing how this event changed my mindset concerning my chosen career.

There is a sense of idealism I realised I had when it came to my career. This is the same idealism I believe most law students have. A belief that everyone should be held liable for their actions and the guilty, regardless of their status, should be brought to justice. This has been my guide, providing an extra push to continue studying when it was the last thing I wanted to do.

All I wanted was to see a perfect world, one case law at a time.

Now I admit it was an idealistic view, one most people would call foolish even. The world isn’t perfect, never has been. As the years go by, the world gets darker and more chaotic. People get more confused and self-absorbed. It makes you begin to question the importance of everything.

Till date, no one has been held accountable for the deaths that occurred on the 20th of October. No one has been investigated in response to the demands of the protesters. Instead, there has been more deaths, occurrences of police brutality and theatrical display by the “leaders”.

Should we begin to accept that maybe justice might come so late, it can be said to have been denied?. I and many others, are yet to accept this.

Delay of justice is injustice.

Walter Savage Landor

Notwithstanding the negativity surrounding what happened, there is one silver lining I would hold on to.

My generation might be the generation of change, very different from the previous generation. It has been tagged as the “soro soke” generation. A generation where people speak up against all forms of injustice.

Yes, my idealism was painfully shattered, but through its cracks, a zeal not be tired nor weak when faced with injustice seeped in. A zeal to fight injustice (as difficult as it definitely would be) not just on a large scale like national protests, but also in my private life.

My goal no longer is the expectation of a perfect world, but to ensure that I play my part in this chessboard called life, impacting the people and situations I find myself.

I hope this becomes your goal as well.

It’s every man’s business to see justice done. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Counting your little Joys

The importance of gratitude

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.

Willie Nelson

I could sense the excitement in her voice despite her attempt at hiding it. However, I decided to play along, letting her ask all the necessary motherly questions as was her routine before I finally asked;

mum, why are you excited?”.
She replied, “Nothing o, it’s just that I have gotten a new phone”

Anyone listening to this conversation would wonder why she was excited, it’s just a phone. Right?. For my mom, it was the big deal for that month. She had seen a few of her colleagues using this particular brand of phone and she had desired to get it. However, financial commitments aka “taking care of me“, impeded her for getting it.

On this faithful day, she decided to purchase it. I was proud of her.

My mom is the definition of a self-sacrificing person. Impulse buying is something she never does, due to different reasons. I, on the other hand, battle with the habit of making impulsive purchases.

Anyways I digress.

Hearing the excitement from my mum led me to reminisce on the little joys I had experienced as well. The happiness that overwhelmed me when the areas of my life I had prayed so desperately for, finally occurred. She reminded me of how easy it is to forget in search of the next, bigger experience.

On getting my university offer letter, I was the happiest person on earth. I was finally able to leave home to start the pathway to my dream career. I was joyfully, yet with an anxious heart, counting down the days when I would travel.

14 months later, I can barely wait to leave college to the next phase.

My mom’s joy, as small as it might seem, reminded me of how important cultivating the habit of gratitude is. Today, I’m reminding you of this.

Recollecting experiences that had previously made you happy, is a very therapeutic act. It is the balm that heals the sad heart and energises tired limbs. When you are at your weakest point, remembering those moments of joy would bring a simile to your face but most importantly, reignite the hope that had been lost.

A daily reflection of the happy moments acts as a reminder that everything is going to be okay at the end. Where you are now, won’t be where you would be in the next couple of weeks, months or even years. It shows you that there had been positive periods in your life “ups” and what you are currently going through is momentary, despite how never-ending it feels.

This quote by James E. faust sums this up so well;

As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.

James E Faust

Today I implore you to pick up a pen and paper and write down 5 things you are happy and grateful for. You just might be surprised with what comes to mind.

Love and light.