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An Interview about Blood Contract

Hello everyone,
Today, I am talking to Biola Olatunde, author of the book Blood Contract. I was thrilled when I met Biola on a social networking site because she is a writer and a Yoruba writer at that. Because I researched Nigeria and especially the Yoruba culture for my Fahdamin-Ra series, I could tell immediately that she was Yoruba by her name. When we started corresponding back and forth, I found that she is an extremely talented woman with a long list of accomplishments, such as being the producer of a small independent production company, a writer many scripts and a producer for radio and television programs, as well as writing and producing plays, and a published author. She also runs a small concierge service that takes tourists around to interesting places in Nigeria. I don’t think that she ever sleeps!

I was fascinated by her book, Blood Contract, so I quickly acquired it and dove in right away. It is about a man named Kenawari, who lives in Port Harcourt, a city in Nigeria, but not at the Izon village where he came from. He has married a white American woman, started a family, and for fifteen years, he thought that he left his old life far behind. However, Ken ends up being sent home to the Niger Delta to investigate a kidnapping at his home village. The story is an unfolding mystery as the reader learns more about the present day case that Kenawari is involved with, as well as uncovering the secrets of Ken’s past and why he left the Izon, never intending to return. He meets new people in the tribe as well as people from his past, in a mysterious area that is shadowed with old secrets.

Before I read the book, I was unfamiliar with the Izon tribe and life in the Niger Delta swamps, but Biola tells the story so skillfully that I was soon there with Ken, thoroughly absorbed in the plot and characters. I love how she tells a thoughtful story of the turmoil in a man’s life while showing us a people who struggle to survive.
Now, let’s hear from Biola:

What inspired you to write Blood Contract?
That is an interesting question Chaz, I wanted to correct an impression amongst my people that everyone who lived in the Niger Delta was a militant. I had met quite a number of them and found them fiercely devoted to their watery seascape. They are generally hardworking, stoic and taciturn. I had a chance to live amongst a particular tribe of the Niger Delta and learned to respect them. I wanted to present them as the same as every other Nigerian with more reasons to question the rationale of being part of an entity that does not recognize them as equal partners
Your main character, Kenawari, is from one of the 250+ tribes in Nigeria, a different one from your own. How did you become familiar with the Izon tribe of the Niger Delta?
I worked with one of them as a broadcaster. Being of a curious nature I wanted to know his people and at first, he was suspicious but gradually saw I was sincere so he would tell me about his tribe. The Izon makes for the fourth largest tribe in my country and the richest in its resources of oil and gas. It is, however, the most neglected part of the country until recently.
What message in Blood Contract do you want your readers to grasp?

Essentially, the message of Blood Contract is a social commentary of humanity’s failure to recognize fundamental rights of everyone, to dream, and work towards having that dream actualized. The human society is the same everywhere. Being a member of a part of the world that has been stereotyped as backward, it was ironic that we also discriminate against ourselves. I thought it was dumb to do that, human beings have a right to be rational and the demands of the izon and tribes of the Niger Delta was genuine. I also did not want to write a romantic story of the bad guy and the good guy but wanted to show that the society we live in accommodates all. The good, the bad and the ugly.
The difficulties that Ken goes up against – the poverty, the robber barons, and kidnappings that happen in his village – are those problems present in the Izon tribe today?
Of course, those problems still exist not only in my country and in the Niger Delta but in every part of the world I imagine. We have not found Utopia yet anywhere I reckon. Kidnappings have gone on even in other tribes and armed robbers have become really daring, but not as a result of being Izon but as a consequence of the imbalance in the world generally.
You can purchase Blood Contract from my publishers IFWG PUBLISHING.COM

These books of Biola Olatunde are now available in Nigeria.
Blood Contract
Numen Yeye
Rose of Numen
Numen!
You can also buy them from the following places
KTC @Akure shopping mall Akure.
Sunshine booksellers.com University of Ibadan
Leading bookshops in Akure
biolaephesus.com

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Please what should I say to her? Rape 2

She looked at me puzzled. I stared back in shocked surprise. Elegantly dressed, a lawyer and very incisive in her comments.
‘When you look at me, you assume I have got the best of both worlds right?’
I nodded wondering what was coming and unprepared for her next sentence
‘I wish I have the nerve to kill myself, that is after I have killed him’
I asked her softly why she wanted to kill anybody in the first place including herself
Then she talked.
At nine years old, she was not sure she was going to get an education at all. Her mother was one of three wives and her father had declared that the wives were to look after the girls they had given birth to.
‘He called us apprentice witches who had taken after our mothers’
The women did the best they could either appealing to their own siblings, eking out something from their petty trade. According to Yemi, there wasn’t much to expect from her mum so her uncle was called to help.

‘ the First day on the farm, he asked me to come to the pepper patch I understood what he did then as some form of sexual assault. He had not progressed to actual rape. He said he liked me and if I kept my head, he would ensure I had a fair deal in his house. I was too awed by his big frame and his armpits smelled awful. I slept badly that night.
Next morning, he took me off to the local authority school and registered me in kindergarten one. I was almost 10 years old. The teachers taught I was a joke. Most of my classmates in a kindergarten class could speak better than me. I was the class giraffe, the fool, the errand idiot. They laughed but I was silent. I was finally in school. My mum was over the moon and she thanked her brother over and over again.
‘Two weeks of school, Uncle got drunk and I got my first rape’. Yemi went on talking in a matter of fact voice as if she was giving the facts and potentials of the case she was about to defend in court.
My heart sank as I listened, what was I going to do? Nothing much I realized as I listened to a woman who had learned to keep her own counsel and had in some fashion maybe come to some peace.
As she got older, she was able to run away and come to the city. Yemi read privately as an external student to do her WAEC. She got a job as a cleaner in one of the banks and gradually went for more courses and was able to pay her way to read the law.

She never told her mum about the pepper patch rapes. She said she did not see what good that would serve. It was payment for the opportunity to be able to read and write.
Her mother passed away when she was in 300 level in the university. When she met Bayo, she went through the motions of an excited bride and was relieved when she got pregnant. But still had nightmares of the rapes
She had a perfect excuse to keep the physical side of their relationship to the barest minimum. She had also learned to control her rages
‘I did not like all that romance stuff he was into, did not like undressing, did not want any male looking at my body so I was happy being a born-again wife. However I had developed a crazy mannerism, I would bathe at every opportunity and would perfume my body all over. If Bayo touched me I would go stiff as a board and freak out. At first, Bayo found it amusing and thought I was just shy’
‘You never told him about your uncle’?
‘Are you mad? First, he will not believe me, then that look will come into his eyes and he will watch you every minute, or he will start asking you every tiny detail wondering or teasing that you probably enjoyed even a tiny bit of the rape’.

So what do you want to do? I asked when the silence was beginning to stretch
‘Bayo wants to visit my uncle to thank him for the education, If I lay eyes on that uncle, I will have to kill him and then kill myself to stop the torture of years and misery. Will you get someone to stand for my child?’
Please, what should I say to her?

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Prodigal son? Blood Contract

Ken stood silhouetted against the setting sun. He was alone in the boat as the lagoon took on the color of the red sun, making the waters look almost metallic. He was contemplating paying his father a visit and suddenly he had become unsure. Questions needed to be answered. He could not hold back anymore and the one person who could give him some of the answers was a few meters away. His hands shook as he tried to calm his nerves.
There was a small sardonic smile playing across his lips. It was time to take a look at the wounds, time to come face to face with his ghosts and why he had left. Why he had promised himself he was never coming back. He needed to make peace with his father if not with himself. He remembered the bitter arguments, his sense of not being good enough for his father. He remembered Douglas and he felt some pain that no one had ever made any attempt to reach out to him.

It was a tough place to have dreams. He had wanted to further his education and he knew his father was not going to be able to cope with the payments. He had been grateful for the secondary education he got. He was not about to just sit down in the place, getting married, have babies, and be a fisherman. His whole soul had rebelled against such a future.
It was not therefore too surprising when he followed the boys to do some small oil bunkering. The first time he got paid he was stunned at making such easy money. He had instinctively kept that business from his father. But being a young man he could not resist buying a few things that was more than his income as a fisherman could fetch him.
His father had asked probing questions and he thought he had succeeded in deceiving him until one evening he came home to find his father in his room, a cold implacable look on his face, and his wad of currency in his hand. There was nothing left to do than to confess what he had been doing. He expected anger but not the blistering rage of the old man.

He still felt disbelief at the blazing words, stating that no son of his was going to be a coward and refuse to stand and fight.
“I can’t see much of any fight with you Papa,” he had taunted back. “No money, no food and I try to do business and you call me a thief.”
There had been the silence.
“Bravery has nothing to do with stealing oil from the creeks. A thief is a thief no matter in what clothes you dress it.”
He had yelled back in his own pain, “I have not stolen anything, just taken what belongs to me.”
“Who allocated stealing to you, Kenawari?”
“Papa!”
“Get out; you have a smell I don’t want around here.”
He had yelled back that he was getting out and was never coming back, that he would make good and his father was going to regret calling him a thief. That was when he made contact with Elias and left the village a few days later. Papa never spoke to him from that night. He never went back to the business, for it had served the purpose he wanted. He never called home.

Ken had not seen Ebijor either or connected with her until the night of his return. He had kept her in his mind for years, knowing he needed to explain his abrupt departure. Knowing the culture of his people, he knew she would have been married off after a time. He wondered if she had resisted or simply accepted his apparent desertion and shrugged her shoulders and settled down to married bliss. He had wondered if she understood about love. He could not sleep at nights as he imagined her in someone’s arms and he was racked by jealousy. A dangerous jealousy he knew, for she belonged to another man. Someone the rest of the community would defend if he tried anything funny. He had also not known about Douglas. He had assumed the silence had been in obedience to their father. He needed time to take a look at that piece of information.

Ken had stalked the markets hoping to catch a glimpse of Ebijor, but she seemed to have suddenly voluntarily imprisoned herself. He was not about to ask anyone questions. Tonbra too had become invisible. He understood, believing she was remorseful about her big mouth and was keeping out of his way with respect. He sighed and started walking along the single plank walkway.

Ken walked past his father’s home deliberately and chose to stop at a point two houses away, because he had not being prepared to find his father sitting outside on an easy rocking chair. He was sure his father had seen him. Ken suddenly lost his nerve. He felt lonely too. That is my father, damn it! You don’t just walk back to fifteen years at the drop of a hat do you? You don’t just wipe out fifteen years of longing, pain, anger and confused thoughts do you? The fact that his father had never enquired after him still hurt, he acknowledged to himself.

Interested readers in Nigeria can now buy copies of BLOOD CONTRACT from thefollowing book retailers:
1.Sunshine booksellers
University of Ibadan
2. The Booksellers(Mosuro Books)
Ring road, Ibadan
3.The Kids Centre
Akure Mall, Akure
4.Toyin Bookshop
Akure
5.Arowolo Bookshop
Akure
6,Seyem Bookshop
Akure
We will update youas more book retailers are added on

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GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT


My name is Mercy. I am a christian.
I got married at 25, finished my PhD at 27 and became a Professor at 40.
So fast you said? Yes, everything around me work fast. It was now that I realise that it was a misplaced priority.
My ambition blindfolded me and I got it all wrong, that is why I am sharing my experience through this medium to warn and encourage our young mothers not to be careless as I was back then.
I worked very hard as a lecturer and as an administrator, always busy that it became my language to my children.
My mum was around to nurse the children for me for sometime, the moment they clock ten, I usually send them to boarding school, though my husband was not in support but I always find my way. I have no good warm relationship with my children, 2 boys and a girl.
I never knew it was a bad idea not to have time with my husband, children and the household, until 5 years ago, when guilt, loneliness and restlessness filled my heart. I sent for my children to rejoice with me at my 60th birthday.
The two boys, staying in Canada said they are busy and that their sister will come down from South Africa.
Two days to my birthday, my daughter sent this message to me,
“Mum, I am very sorry not to be around over there, there is no time to squize out, my husband needs my attention at his newly established clinic, presently, I’m pregnant, very busy and lonely in a strange land”
Please pray for us mum. Happy birthday”. I could not get out of the meaning I get from the message. “First-thing-First”. When they needed me for warmth and discussion, I was not available, now I need them for warmth and discussion I could not get them, rather they returned my slogan back to me “I’m busy”
To worsen the matter, my dear died in his sleep a month after…only one of the children came without his family to the burial ceremony, I was dumbfounded!!!
#COMMENT: it is good to work and be a hard working fellow. But hear this important and salient biblical truth, Parenting is a sacrificial work, give it all it takes, any work that will take away your attention too much from your home – #Avoid it and be careful!
#SOLIDIFY YOUR HOME FIRST, CREATE TIME FOR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN, ESTABLISH THE FEAR OF GOD IN THEIR HEART THROUGH YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR.

THOUGH, IT IS COSTLY NOW, BUT THE FUTURE REWARD IS WORTH IT.
Prov 31 – the woman receive reward of praise at the end after series of home-care activities.
THIS IS AN EYE OPENER FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN.
LET’S BE SELFLESSLY AVAILABLE WHEN OUR CHILDREN NEEDS US.
GOD BLESS.

Kindly post to the Parenting Blog.
Very interesting you would say, a parent brought this to my attention.

Here is one response,
Charles Ayo Dada wrote: They wanted doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, geologists and engineers … and they ensured that they got it! Little did they know that with their “selfish aspirations”, the world would be losing… the best carpenters, cooks, musicians, writers, artists, gardeners, farmers, visionaries, and inventors, whose innovations and revolutionary discoveries were to change the world!

Parents beware!

Adjust yourselves to the nature of the child guest who comes through you … but does not belong to you!

That was Charles, but my questions are:
Are we guilty of wanting to fulfil our frustrated dreams through our children?
Are the children, investment against our old age or are entitled to be allowed to lead their own lives once they have attained maturity?
When must we learn to stand aside and watch, guide, love and be friends ?.
Are you a possessive parent?
So many questions. Let’s talk shall we?

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Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.

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Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.

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Thank you, Grandma

mother-and-daughter-668167_1280

I read the book SURVIVED THE JOURNEY by Memuna Barnes. It is a story of survival. A story that can inspire our young persons today. Captured and held by rebels, this remarkable young woman walked through the emotional mines of her teenage emotions of infatuation, confusion and was able to hold close to her heart and head lessons she had learned from a grandparent which helped her retain a sense of herself. When we started this blog, I wanted to have her share with us. She is African and comes from the value systems we hold dear, how mush of these values was impacted to her became evident when she was captured as a teenager. I feel that we could learn as parents the benefit of her impressions and how the relationship she enjoyed with her grandma became a source of inspiration during those terrifying times with the rebels.

Please meet Memuna Barnes Author of SURVIVED: The Journey.
Growing up, I lived with my paternal grandmother for a period of my childhood and whenever anyone of her grandchildren were treated unfairly and went running to her in tears or if she found one of us in a corner in tears she would sit beside that child and say, ‘Nothing lasts forever…..if life which is created by God inevitably ends, then there is nothing that can be inflicted on you that will last forever.’
This is one of my favourite of my paternal grandmother’s sayings. She used these sayings in raising her us with unbreakable emotional strength.
This saying of hers along with a prayer – Psalm 23, taught to me by my parents were instrumental in keeping me sane when myself, one of my younger sisters and two female cousins were taken from our family by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone and held captive for almost two years.
I have always been an outspoken individual, although in my teens this aspect of my personality was not always encouraged from my family – as in most African settings.
I was born in Liberia and so my parents along with one of my younger sisters and I lived in Liberia. We lived there till the civil war broke out in 1989, where I witnessed the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others humans on the more vulnerable side of life in the absence of law and order. A year later we were able to leave on the Sierra Leone army ship to my father’s side of the family, as he is Sierra Leonean and Sierra Leone was at peace at the time.
For some unexplained reason I would not curb this, I spoke my mind almost always during the my time in captivity. I was brave enough to tell the rebel commanding officers who showed sexual interest in me that I wasn’t old enough. As this was some of the advice my grandma gave me. That a girl must be past her teens before she can be sexually active or it would affect her fertility.
Most importantly, however, I always remembered where I was taken from (my upbringing) in order to keep my mind on where I want to go in life.
Another one of my granny’s advice.
So what do you think?
Let’s have your comments please.