Monday, 30 April 2012


The SUV that plunged more than 50 feet from the Bronx River Parkway on Sunday 29th of April 2012, killing seven people from three generations of a Bronx family, was headed to a family reunion, stunned relatives said.

"I lost my family," said Juan Gonzalez, whose wife and 10-year-old daughter were killed in the crash, according to the New York Post. "What can I say? I don't want to be here. I want to die."

Gonzalez's wife Maria, a Fordham Univ. staffer, was driving her 10-year-old daughter, 85-year-old father, 81-year-old mother, 35-year-old sister and two nieces (ages 3 and 7) to a party at her sister's Bronx home when she lost control of the vehicle, police said.
The vehicle flew off an elevated portion of the parkway near the Bronx Zoo at about 12:30 p.m. local time, authorities said. It's not clear what caused the crash.

Excerpts from Bronx zoo plunge: Father who lost family says, "I want to die" (yahoo article)

Isn’t it ironic how many of us think that life couldn’t dish us anything worse than what we are currently going through, and then events worse than  we could ever imagine occur to other people. We become instantly grateful to God for our problems that now appear insignificant, but quickly forget this grace of HIS upon us and delve back into ‘WHY ME?’ syndrome in  the twinkle of an eye. I was boiling over the fact that my accomodation issues  was taking longer than I'd expected, hence my secret anger at God for not granting my wishes as fast as I would have wanted. I found it difficult to pray and show appreciation for his everyday blessings, but instead decided to dwell on the things he had not done. Then I came across this story, and the good health, divine protection, and provisions that HE has blessed my family with came to mind. I pray never to take him for granted again but instead believe that HIS grace is sufficient for  me.

Friday, 27 April 2012


For I cannot think that GOD Almighty ever made them [women] so delicate, so glorious creatures; and furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and so delightful to mankind; with souls capable of the same accomplishments with men: and all, to be only Stewards of our Houses, Cooks, and Slaves.
- Daniel Defoe

Being a woman in a male dominated workplace is no joke. You are seen as being weak and in need of a man in authority to tell you what to do. What  makes it even worse is when there is a language barrier and you need to try to associate with subordinates in order to learn faster on the job.
Currently, I feel so lost at my job as I still do not fully understand my role and how my efforts will add to the bottom-line. I am not the kind of person to shy away from hardwork. It makes me sick that I have to chase my boss just for him to explain the situation at hand to me. It is ironic that many big companies project the image of efficiency and productivity,  with many graduates clamouring to work there only to find that it is being run no differently (exaggerated a bit for effect - lol) from a mom-n-pop store.

I have made up my mind to hunt this man down till he gives me what is due to me - not some mediocre job that puts to waste my two years of hard labour, and my dad's hard earned money. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


As soon as I mention that I have a daughter during a conversation, people immediately look at my left hand and search for a ring. The absence of it makes them feel a bit uncomfortable, and then curiosity seeps in. They want to know her age, where she is, who is taking care of her when I’m not with her and so on. They never ask about the father. It makes me laugh that most assume my story is the same as that of countless un-wed single mothers who have had to go through the shame of being rejected by the father of the baby and his relatives. Mine is completely the opposite.
My parents completely rebuffed the idea of us getting married because they believed he wasn’t the right man for me. That has not stopped him from showering our daughter with much love and attention, right from when we knew that I was pregnant with her. Even though members of my family know the story, I see that look of “she has brought shame upon us, having a child out of wedlock” in their eyes.
It makes me sad that our society has double standards. I know of many ladies, very much pregnant when they celebrated their wedding. People rejoiced with them and certified it okay so long as the wedding band got to that finger on the left hand. I'm not condoning sex/pregnancy before marriage but it just happens that society frowns upon me and my child because the ring didn't make it to the finger. I count it as a blessing though; better to be in a marriage for the right reasons than for what society would think.
I saw this story about Jamelia and thought to share it. Even though she is a celebrity, she feels a part of what many single mothers go through.

She has emerged as a poster girl for successful single mothers, but becoming a lone parent was never part of Jamelia's game-plan. When she found out she was pregnant at 19 with her elder daughter, Teja, 11 years ago, she was scared. She thought it might be career suicide. As she recalls: "I remember thinking, you've messed up. I thought I would be dropped by my record label."
Her fears were unfounded. After her maternity break, Jamelia's comeback single, Superstar, reached number three in the charts in 2003 and earned her two Brit nominations. Over the last 12 years, the 30-year old R&B/pop singer-songwriter, television presenter and occasional model has scored eight British Top 10 singles, won four Mobo awards and a Q award and received nine Brit nominations. Through it all, she has also been the prime carer for her two daughters by two different fathers: Teja, now 10, and five-year-old Tiani. Not the most traditional circumstances, as she's the first to admit, but she has made her family unit work.

"No woman has an ambition to become a single mother. For me, it was never a choice. Teja's father was violent, physically abusive, and Tiani's father was constantly cheating, and just didn't show me the respect I deserved. I found out what he was really about after we divorced, when he took me to court to try and take away my hard-earned money, Thankfully he didn't win.

"But ending up in this position was not the end of me," she says. "Motherhood gives you strength in other areas of your life. I gave birth to Teja when I was 20 and I think that was the making of me. Had I not had that experience, I probably wouldn't be as successful. I was a very indecisive and disorganised teenager, but since having my children, I have had such a clear focus because I know what my purpose is in life."

Even Jamelia's celebrity and wealth don't completely insulate her from sensitivity about being a single parent. In the BBC documentary, the ironically titled Shame About Single Mothers, she admits that she is "not proud of having two children by two different dads. I always dreamed of having the perfect nuclear family and I feel judged by others. But most of us [single parents] don't want to be without a partner, so don't tell us we are doomed – it's extremely offensive and upsetting. The hardest thing about being a single parent is being alone, having everything on your back. I've got to schedule my tears because I've got to see to my daughters' needs first."

Excerpts from the article Jamelia: Respect for single mothers!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Every parent faces challenges in keeping a balanced life especially for the children, much more so a single parent. Here are a few tips on how to make life easier for you and your child. 


There is nothing to be gained from harbouring anger, bitterness or resentment at the other parent who shelves off his/her responsibility towards your child at your expense . I have learnt that the hard way as it changes nothing about the current situation. Instead, channel such energy towards creating a loving environment for your child and yourself.


Nothing beats having dependable friends and family to rely on; be it for baby-sitting purpose, counsel, finances, or just for the sake of creating a warm environment for your child to grow and develop. Every child deserves to feel loved and wanted, and you alone cannot create that.


This is the most crucial element in raising a child alone. If you've read some of my older posts, I mentioned the amount of time I spend in making sure that my financial situation is in order. It doesn't mean that I have all the money available in the world to take care of our needs, but at least, compared to what I earn I put a huge chunk away for savings.


This might seem stressful for some people, even for parents that live together, but every child needs that me-time from mommy or daddy. It helps to instill a sense of commitment and stability. It could be reading a book together before bedtime, playing games, or eating dinner at a certain time.


The easiest thing to do anytime we face challenges is to lay the blame on someone else, even on our children sometimes. A child in a single parent home is not at fault for whatever situation you are in today. Learn to smile through your tears, and share what you are going through with your child in the most loving manner. You will be surprised at how children, even little ones can provide the shoulder you need to cry on.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.

I'm bobbing my head up and down as I hum to this famous chorus by Bob Marley. I feel so much better this evening considering that my day had started off somewhat on the sour side.

Had my daughter at the other end of the phone this morning and she did not utter a sound. I guess hearing my voice reminded her of my absence which made her upset. Well, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as some progress is being made towards settling down here in Accra . I'm so ecstatic that she would be here with me soon, and I pray that as this cup passes over, nothing ugly rears its head to cause me any worry or anxiety.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


My eyes are tired from the constant glare of the computer screen; been staring at it for ages searching for information related to my job, creating an information bank for research purposes, reading ridiculous yahoo news, and checking out my everyday-must-read blog ( I guess it isn’t so much about the time I spend on the computer that bothers me, but the number of hours I spend every day trying to manipulate numbers to re-align with my financial budget on the excel sheet. It tires me out, the incessant need to check if my bank balance would still cover our major needs (my daughter’s and I) anytime I decide to spoil myself a little which is not very often.
I remember how I was before having my daughter; I was the free-spender. I was willing to spend on friends especially when we were out and things got a bit awkward as to who was going to foot the bill. I was always the first to try to make the situation comfortable for everyone. Also, I hardly used to eat in my first three years of college as I always used my allowance to shop for new clothes and anything that was trendy at that moment.  Now, I don’t even care about the trends anymore; I’m all about the fashion basics and how low-priced I can get an item that I really want. I can go to ten stores just to check for the one that has the lowest price for the item I like. Instead I would splurge on my daughter’s clothes, shoes, toys and school. It makes me weary but when I think back and see that my daughter is attending a good school, has nice clothes, and other goodies of life, I smile and say to myself, " it is worth it".

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child" – Sophia Loren

So, I finally get the job profile that I’ve always wanted and now I’m scared that I will be a failure at it. Is it not funny how we sabotage our success by ourselves? I have conjured all sorts of scenarios as to why I would not be able to deliver what is expected of me, and it dawns on me that I am unconsciously giving myself room to fail. I have not even started and yet, I have envisioned myself in tears before my boss, stuttering because I could not give the right answers. It is not so much about being able to give an impressive answer to every question asked, but the thought of being overlooked and seen as  average. The fact is that I work in a male dominated organization which has only one female on a management team of about fifty people. The other ladies in the organization are either clerks or executive assistants.

The onus lies on me to prove myself that I do not possess an MBA for nothing, as my other colleagues have been placed in positions of authority because they are male and can travel extensively. Having a child hampers my ability to do the same, hence the lower position that I’ve settled for. Sometimes I get envious when I think about it but I realize that I am not ready to sacrifice my daughter’s emotional stability for the sake of my career. My strategy is to do my job extremely well and let it speak for me.

For every single working mother out there trying to make ends meet, you are a superhero; a superhero because you carry your children’s world on your shoulders; a superhero because you have the strength to be a mom and a dad, a provider, a teacher, and a guide.

"Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life." - Anonymous


“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.”
Richard Evans
I often wonder why there is so much pain in this world, so much anguish and sorrow. We all have stories to tell, yet in the midst of it all we need to find the courage to laugh and smile.  We need to find the courage to face each new day hoping that things will change for the better, praying for a miracle to happen.

The fact is that life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. The constant reminder for why each and every person should have a reason to laugh and smile is that only the living can continue the struggle; only those with life have a reason.

Someday, everything will all make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
Barbara Kingsolver

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

200 DAYS heart is pounding, and tears flow down the corner of my eyes staining the pillow that I lay my head upon. I cry for my daughter, thinking of the pain and confusion that her little world has been subjected to. How can she understand that I and her father love her dearly, but that circumstances that could lead to peace and financial stability are the key reasons for our separation from her?

I landed a job opportunity that would take me to another West African country that I had dreamt of residing in for a while. I was happy but nervous at the prospect of leaving my daughter behind even for a day. Nevertheless, I had to consider our financial freedom and the things that I would be able to provide for her on my own. I’d naively thought that the job training would take a maximum of two months or so, but I’m now staring at my fingers as I mention the number seven. Seven months of heart break, pain, anger, confusion, guilt, and more guilt.

I was angry at God for giving me a more lucrative job offer two months after I had accepted the one that separated me from my child; I was angry and bitter at my father for forcing a separation between my daughter and her dad; I was confused and angry at the management of the company for stretching the training period for no reason into six months; I was bitter towards my daughter’s father for not doing the right thing by us when he had the opportunity to; and I felt guilty that I was the architect of my daughter’s unhappiness.

Today would mark the 200th day of our separation. I have been with her for only seven days in this period of time, and the change that I’ve witnessed is nothing but heart wrenching. She is no longer the chubby bubbly girl that I left behind...she is now skinny with scars of mosquito bites all over her legs, and shows signs of fear at the sight of certain people. It breaks my heart that I pray to God every day to unite us quickly but he doesn’t seem to hear my plea.

I recently found us an apartment that we could call home, and all I needed was to furnish it and bring her over this weekend. My boss has sort of altered this plan by insisting that I get my money back from the house owner, and look for another house closer to the office all at the company’s expense. It seems too good to be true, and whilst any sane person would be over the moon at the thought of having that kind of cash to play with, I am once again enveloped in sadness at how slow the entire process is. Now, I have to go through the bureaucracy of authorizations here and there which would only lengthen the time away from my daughter.

This write-up is a plea to God for help, to re-unite us and take away all the pain and bitterness that has shrouded my life and made my daughter unhappy.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


To anyone about to sign an employment contract...make sure that the terms of agreement are well understood, and communicate your expectations to the hiring team/personnel. The company that I've been with for six months  on a training course have suddenly decided to interpret certain aspects of the contract to suit their own pockets at my expense.
I assume that I was very naive and over-excited about getting my first 'real' job. What I mean by this is that I've always done business my way, under no supervision nor reporting to anyone, other than my bank account (chuckle). It was exhilarating then and I'd always vowed that I would never work for anyone other than myself.

Apparently, having a child changed that. Thinking of bills, school fees and other luxuries that I want to provide for her changed all that. My fearlessness diminished drastically, and now I over-analyze any move that I intend to make (analysis-paralysis). I hope to learn in this company and overcome my fears of starting my own business someday.