Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas Day


I anticipated a white Christmas, but didn't witness one because it didn't snow. In fact, it hasn't snowed in Nottingham in recent years. #globalwarming

However I had a colourful Christmas though I was away from my own family. I spent it first in church, then with a very lovely family, amidst turkey, rice, chats and lung-bursting laughter.

The children department performing a Christmas drama


Singing in the choir
Enjoyment galore with the Ifesemens

Selfie time

#colourfulchristmas
©Radiant ~ December 2016
 

Superman dropping on 2nd January

Hi everyone. I am happy to announce to you that the well, not-so-long-awaited new song by me, Superman is going to be available on the day after New year day, January 2, 2017. It will be on various stores and streaming sites including radiant.ng/music, Apple music, itunes, Spotify, e.t.c
Good news is, "you have a chance of getting it free if you subscribe to my blog on radiant.ng".

So subscribe NOW!



©Radiant~ December 2016

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Meet My Classmates 2

Hi guys. So this weekend I would like you to meet three of my wonderful classmates: Tawonga, Cheryl and Rosa.
 

My name is Tawonga Mwase-Vuma from Malawi. I have worked with Malawi’s Ministry of Health as a Nurse/Midwife before doing my undergraduate degree in Public Health. I chose to study MPH so that I can gain a wider understanding of other health contexts and ways of working so that I will be able to apply world-class healthcare solutions to the developing (health) systems in Malawi. I want to plan and manage health programmes that will improve lives and prevent tragedy. I want to see my country realise a reduction in the burden of diseases through prevention rather than cure. I like watching football,  playing volleyball and making new friends.

Me, Tawonga Savina & friend at the Cineworld cinema on Friday.

We went to see "A United Kingdom". By the way, y'all should see it. It's dope.

Hi. I’m Cheryll Smith! I’m a Japanese-American student from the US and I’m currently studying for my MPH in International Health. I received my bachelor’s degree from the US in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and worked in the hematology lab of a hospital for 3.5 years before coming to Nottingham. I chose to go into Public Health to be a part of the heath care field which aids in education, prevention, and maintenance of disease. I believe this coursework will give me the necessary tools so I can successfully practice my passion of helping others and making a difference! A little known secret about me is that I originally went to university for fine arts and somehow switched to medical science! I’m not only passionate about helping others, but I also love creating new worlds with pen and paper!
So I asked her this evening for a piece of her art and she did this portrait of herself in 15 mins. Isn't it amazing?


Hi my name is Rosa and I am in the same class as Chidiogo. I am studying the MPH course full time this year. I graduated from Liverpool University in July 2015 after studying Health, Nutrition and Well being and I have been working with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) since then. I am originally from Devon, South West England but I decided to move to Nottingham to study this interesting and engaging course as well as exploring the local area. I am also a European Champion Cheerleader and have joined the Nottingham Knights Cheer Squad here. When I am not training I am going for brunch, having fun with my flatmates or smashing the gym. This year, Manuel (you guys remember Manuel from the previous 'Meet my classmates') and I are course representatives for both MPH pathways and hope to be the voice of our courses.


Rosa doing her thing
It's interesting to see other aspects to people, to know what makes them unique and to share in their world. More to come.

Have a lovely week and don't forget to leave a comment.

©Radiant ~November 2016

Monday, 21 November 2016

Preparing Ofe Akwu (Banga soup) in the UK


Wow. I can't believe I just devoured a plate of my most loved Nigerian meal: Rice and Ofe akwu (Banga soup as some call it) here in Nottingham and that prepared by yours truly. The wonderful thing about it is that I didn't have to break my back to get any of the materials I used. Actually, I've been preparing Nigerian meals (Semolina with Egusi or Ogbono soup, plantain porridge, beans and yam, e.t.c) since I came to the UK with ingredients I brought from Nigeria (crayfish, Egusi, Ogbono & Cameroon pepper) using spinach as my ugu, but I never envisaged that it was possible to prepare Ofe akwu here. Where was I to get palm kernel nuts? Even in Nigeria Ofe akwu cooking process is really tedious.

Now you can imagine how surprised and elated I was three weeks ago to see already processed akwu (palm kernel) sold at a shop where I had stopped to buy meat. So I decided to try it out today and I am very excited at what I made out of it. I'm so happy I didn't have to go through the ordeal of boiling akwu, pounding it, and extracting the oil. That onerous process had already been surmounted by one tin of palm concentrate from Ghana. How brilliant! Some people really know how to create value.

Here are  the ingredients I used:

1. Palm nut cream concentrate



2. Dried smoked catfish




3. Spinach (washed and chopped) 
Usually I love to have a lot of veggies in my meals, but since I couldn't go shopping this weekend, I had to make use of my left over. If I were in Nigeria, scent leaf (Arigbe or Nchanwu) would have been the best. I haven't looked for it here. But it still turned out really nice with spinach.





4. Beef (I didn't have so much as I haven't shopped for groceries in 2 weeks). I used my 4 pieces left over though. I always prefer beef for Ofe akwu to chicken.

5. Red onions


6. Ground Cameroon pepper (I brought this from Nigeria. I love pepper and it's the hottest. But any pepper can be used)

7. Ground crayfish (I brought this also from Nigeria but they sell them in African stores)

8. Knorr seasoning (2 cubes)

9. Beef seasoning

10. Salt to taste

So quickly on my recipe:
I boiled the meat with beef seasoning and some onions and salt to taste. Then I emptied the palm concentrate into an empty pot, added a little water, stirred and brought to boil. Here is how it looked after that (just as if I manually extracted the oil from the palm kernels).


Then I added my meat with its stock, dried fish, crayfish, pepper, Knorr cubes and salt. Allowed to boil a little while, before adding onions. Last of all, I sprinkled the chopped spinach on it, turned and voila!


Food was ready to be served with already boiled white rice.

Are there differences in how you cook yours, I would like to know. Please leave a comment below.

©Radiant~November 2016

Now with more preparation, I made Banga soup again, this time with Bitter leaves, fish and cow skin, here's the outcome. 



Check out my other meals at www.instagram.com/afribelly and place your order.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Meet My Classmates


I have wonderful people in my class. Today, I'd love to introduce some of them to you.


This is Manuel. He is a very jovial and lively person and always has something to contribute in class. He is currently running for Medical and health sciences rep for the post graduate sounding board.

Hi, I’m Jose Manuel Besares Lopez, and I'm an international student from Mexico. I'm studying MPH Public Health (International Health). Back in Mexico, I got a Bachelor Sc. degree in Genome Biotechnology and I really enjoyed getting engaged in looking for answers to social issues through the application of biological sciences. I consider myself  a young and enthusiastic person, committed to the wellbeing of my community and I love to use the power of my voice to create changes in my environment through a constructive, inspiring, and transformational leadership. This year I received the Chevening Award, the UK Government Scholarship that provides me the opportunity of meeting Radiant and my other fabulous colleagues at the MPH!


This is Savina. Always smiling. She hardly raises her hand in class to make a contribution, but when we are in groups, she has very relevant knowledge or experience to share. I always thought she was a shy person, but I got to know another side of her last Thursday when she made a 30min presentation about Cambodian health care system in front of the whole class.

My name is Chham Savina. I come from Cambodia, a country in south-east Asia. Currently, I am doing a Master of Public Health at the University of Nottingham.
Having a bachelor of pharmacy and working experience based in the health field, I discovered that I have a great passion in public health. That's why I decided to pursue my postgraduate course in public health. This course is very rich in providing theoretical skills and knowledge required for public health practice which I am sure that after I graduate I will be highly valued by a wide range of employers. Also, I chose to do an MPH because I would like to advance my core skills in public health which surely helps to open up a world of possibility for Cambodia health care system. I am kind of self-spoiling, so I always give myself a good treat after long tired day. whether it is a good movie or stuff, it brings fun to me.


Finally, for today. Meet Shamiya. You guys have met her in my previous post. She is someone I can laugh with anytime. She loves to have fun. So she travels to London almost every weekend. 

I am Shamiya Nazir, Bangladeshi by origin, 26years old. I passed from school of medicine this year and have decided to pursue a career in public health because I am more interested in knowing why some one is diseased and the other one is healthy rather than working as a physician who deals with individuals. Hopefully, I want to be a successful epidemiologist later in life. For fun, I love to watch movies and try new restaurants. 



I hope you enjoyed getting to know Manuel, Savina and Shamiya. I'll stop here for now. That's Cheryl from USA in the background. Hopefully, you'll meet her in the next Meet My Classmates. 

©Radiant ~October 2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

International Student: First Lecture Week

             

I had my first week of lectures last week from Monday to Friday. (Henceforth, it will be only 3 days per week). A variety of teaching methods were employed including lecture slides, short videos, group exercises, class interactions and an excursion. I had thought that I would find it difficult to grasp the British accent on the first week, but for one or two lecturers, their speeches were lucid enough. On introducing ourselves the first day, it was interesting to discover that we came from diverse countries and backgrounds viz Ghana, UK, Mexico, USA, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, e.t.c. I was the only one from Nigeria until Friday. We are 2 now.

Me and some of my classmates

I want fresh air

The prevalence of smoking in Nottingham is alarming. More so, it is ironical that smokers happen to be concentrated in front of a hospital: The Queens Medical Center. On a second thought, maybe it is so due to the fact that smokers are more likely to come down with illnesses for which they have to visit the hospital. The annoying part is that I get to sniff my own portion of tobacco every morning at the bus station. Yuck!



Visit to Thackray Medical Museum

On Thursday, we had an excursion to the Thackray medical museum in Leeds. During our 2 hour drive from Nottingham, I sat beside Shamiya from Bangladesh and we talked throughout the journey. I noticed a transient change in my accent at the end of our conversation. Lol




We were made to see and experience the history of medicine in the UK, the ancient practices and how scientific discoveries led to what we practice now. We passed through the Victoria street, London where houses where built back to back, environmental sanitation was zero and I don't know how, but the museum was able to replicate the stench. We were asked to pick characters and find out where our characters lived and what happened to them. My character was a Mary Holmes, shown in the picture below. She had contracted tuberculosis and was bedfast. The only person with courage to care for her was the priest, who our tour guide thought must have been a Roman Catholic priest. Mary died of tuberculosis at the age of 29.


    More pictures of the Victoria street

A butcher doing his job

A typical bedroom in 1842

                       Shared latrine

                                 

The above shows a 10yr old girl who worked in a mill on Victoria street. Her job was to crawl under the revolving machines and sweep out what fell from them. While doing this oneday, she was trapped beneath it and the machine shattered her leg and so she had to have her leg amputated. She survived the surgery without anaesthesia (pain control) but died in a few days due to infection. As you can see, surgeons wore their regular work suits in the theatre and no gloves. This was before the germ theory (that diseases are caused by microorganisms) by Loius Pasture. Different types of anaesthetics have been discovered over the years. Surgeries are now performed under anaesthesia and in aseptic (free of disease-causing microbes) conditions.



It was insightful to know that UK has gone through the same problems many developing and underdeveloped countries are passing through currently, even when there were no solutions in other parts of the world and yet they overcame. It makes me believe even more strongly that there is hope for Africa.

©Radiant ~ October 2016

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

International Student: Settling In Nottingham


By now, you guys know I'm in the UK for a Masters programme at the University of Nottingham. For my previous post on my journey to UoN click here.

Arriving at Nottingham
First thing I noticed on arrival at Nottingham was the culture of hospitality. Everyone I asked for direction went out of their way to guide me. One saw me at the top of a staircase oneday and rushed up the stairs to help me carry my small box down the stairs. Another didn't know the way to where I had asked her but instead of dismissing me, she asked for my map and helped me to interpret it. How nice! It's a gross contrariety compared to what I experienced when I arrived Lagos in 2014. Everyone was so impatient. I wouldn't have finished saying "excuse me" before they walked out on me. They were all on their guard, reacting as if I were a beggar or a swindler. Lagosians were so hostile especially the bus conductors. In contrast, the customer service here is topnotch. 

Next thing that stood out was the efficiency of their transportation system. I don't find it difficult to cross the roads no matter how busy they are because there is always a pedestrian path on the road and once I hit the button and the traffic light turns green for me, I can walk majestically across the road knowing that all cars will be on halt till I've crossed. At the bus stops are the schedules for various buses. They are so efficient that if a bus is slated to arrive at 9:07pm, at 9:06 you may not see any sign of a bus, but as soon as it's 9:07, here comes your bus, right in front of you. The distances have been calculated to the second. It's amazing.

Welcome Programme
Freshers were given 2 days free accommodation in school during which they were expected to complete their registration, do other essentials like open a bank account, register with the National Health Service, and pack into their term time accommodation. That was really considerate of UoN and it saved so many students lots of money that would have been spent on hotel fees. The package included free breakfast and dinner for those 2 days. I located a Nigerian food stand called Item 7 where I had my meals. I wasn't yet ready to explore.


I got lots of stationery, flyers, and drinks from several student groups advertising at the welcome programme.


Settling In
I packed into my term time accommodation as soon as I vacated the free accommodation. I share a 4 bedroom apartment with 2 Nigerians and 1 Kenyan, all PHD students. My landlord is a very nice man.



Acclimating
I stepped out on Friday morning to go to school without my jacket because it's colour didn't match the dress I was putting on. I didn't need anybody to tell me to run back into the house to get my jacket and forget fashion when I saw myself freezing. It was 9°C then. 

Induction
We had our induction into Post Graduate School of Medicine on Friday. After the lectures hammering on what plagiarism is and is not, we were told there was free lunch. I walked enthusiastically to the cafeteria only for me to find this.


Can you imagine? This is the definition of lunch here. Thank God I came prepared to cook. And why is the bottle water here carbonated? It tastes really horrible.


Yesterday
Happy Independence Day Nigeria! I spent most of my day watching The Platform via live stream at channelstv.com and 
theplatformnigeria.com. If you missed it, please go back and watch it. It was phenomenal. To conclude my day, these 3 gentlemen came to visit me. 


From Left to Right- Timothy (Alhaji 4 Jesus), Dr. Ndubuisi Egwim, Dr. Sunday Ugwuoke

Today
I had a swell time at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rehoboth House, Beeston. It was a welcome service for the international students. We had academic, finance and career talks by current and past students, sermon by Pastor Sam inspiring us to aim for the best because there is a Spirit of intelligence in us (Job 32: 8 AMP) and then a proper Nigerian lunch to round it off. Lectures begin tomorrow. God help me!



Have you read my journey to UoN? If not, click hereRemember to leave your comments. More Nottingham tales to come. Ciao

 
©Radiant~ October 2016

If you are having difficulties leaving comments, please click the following link: http://radiant.ng/home/blog/international-student-settling-in-nottingham

Radiant's Blog Is Back Here

Hi guys. Radiant's Blog is back here. I needed some time to fix some technical issues. However, my official website still remains www.radiant.ng where you can find my songs, social media links, and other info. Blog posts will be on both sites. So really nothing's changed. See you.

Radiant

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Journey To UoN


This time last year, I was broke, busted and disgusted. I had no job (had resigned the one I had to attend the YALI programme in Ghana which became a blessing as it contributed to my qualification for a scholarship). One year is gone. I'm in the UK for a Masters programme at the University of Nottingham on a 100% tuition scholarship. God is faithful. 

Shopping List 
My shopping list consisted majorly of foodstuff. I haven't forgotten how McDonald burgers dealt with me in 2002 when I visited the U.S.A. This time I would be staying no shorter than one year. I had to have a plan to maintain my belly line. I made sure I got the things I would be missing most (Cabin biscuits) and ground crayfish, pepper, Egusi, and Ogbono since I heard those are neither easy nor cheap finds over here.


 
I hadn't weighed my bags at home. I was too busy packing. Getting to Murtala Muhammad Airport, my box weighed 38kg, travel bag 14kg, hand luggage was 12kg and bag pack about 10kg. Now I had a maximum allowance of 2 bags, 25kg each and 2 hand luggage 10kg each. I had to buy a Ghana-must-go sac for 1000 Naira, put my travel bag in it and unloaded the extra load from my box in it. At the end I had 50.8kg total for my checked in luggage and 23kg for my hand luggage. I was lucky that was overlooked.

 
"Anything for the boys?" 
I was held hostage by airport officials threatening to report me to their office for carrying food stuff such as Egusi until I had "appreciated" them. One even said, "Madam, I'm only helping you o! This is not my job", just because he lifted my box from the ground to the desk where it was being ransacked. I had to ask him whether the uniform he was wearing didn't mean he was a worker. He had the guts to come to me later asking to be appreciated for his "help". My sis and I searched our bags and brought out 150 Naira, only for the guy to hiss at us. Whether out of embarrassment because we had already had some altercation and all eyes were on us, or that he felt the money was too small, he walked out on us. 


Food Galore 
Virgin Atlantic wanted to make me fat before I even entered the UK. We were served tea/coffee twice, (I had tea the first time then skipped the next) juice/water twice, (had juice initially then water). Appetizer was pretzel nut which I spat out as soon as it touched my taste buds. I've always known they were horribly salty, but I wanted to take my chance this time. I had rice and fish stew for main meal which was served with salad, bread and butter and yoghurt for dessert. I dared not touch the butter. After that, we were served a packet of cookies. When I discovered it was chocolate, I advised myself to keep it for later and then a sandwich pack which I decided to take away. #weightwatchingmode. All these within a 6hr flight. 

Movieeez 
I hadn't slept the previous night. I packed all through the night till 3am and I slept till 4:30am. I expected to sleep really well on the plane but I had interesting movies to keep me awake.
I watched Everything Is Copy, a documentary about the late novelist and screen writer, Nora Ephron and The Man Who Knew Infinity featuring my favourite Dev Patel (from Slum Dog Millionaire).


The man seated next to me was nice and more experienced in air travel. I asked him a lot of questions like where to plug my headphone even though that was my 7th time on a plane.
 
Oyi o (Cold!)
At first I was like, I thought they said it would be really cold in the plane. Later on I had put on my socks, then a sweater, then my winter jacket and then the blanket. Hehehe. We arrived in the afternoon, the airport was warm and I started to sweat underneath my winter coat. It was obvious that I was a JJC because I was the only one dressed like that. Others had Jean jackets on or sweater jackets. I even saw a white girl on bum shorts. Later at night, I was grateful that I had brought the winter coat "cause I had to wear it on my sweater and tuck myself under a duvet to sleep soundly.
 
 
Been trying to settle in, mastering the roads, asking for direction, reading Google map like Bible. Hehehe. More Nottingham tales to come. Ciao.

©Radiant~ September 2016

To view comments visit http://www.radiant.ng/home/blog/journey-to-uon

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

I Wish I Met You First



Ifesi was seated across Emeka at a table in Barcelos. She had ordered chicken and chips with ketchup and Chinese sauce just the way he liked it, but he sat facedown barely noticing his best meal as the waiter lowered it before them. They looked like a couple who'd just had a fight.

Ifesi broke the ice.
"You look distraught. What's the matter?" her eyes combing for clues.

Emeka tried to lift his head, his eyes bleary. He bowed immediately evading her piercing gaze. Ifesi grasped his hand and squeezed it gently. But deep inside her she wanted to hold him, comfort and console him for his blues but she held back.

Emeka had become her best friend over the twelve weeks they spent together at the medical volunteer programme in Congo. They were the only Nigerians in the programme and they hit it off immediately. She was aware of the gold band on his fourth digit - Emeka would lose his finger than take it off. She admired that about him. And he was not silent about Lola either. He always made references to her. Ifesi knew he adored her.

Emeka finally garnered strength. He pushed back his seat to get up, making a screeching sound on the tiled floor. Ifesi trailed his steps with her eyes to the sink and back. He wiped his face and hands with a handkerchief as he settled in his chair. He picked on the chicken to avoid eye contact with her. Ifesi patiently waited for his lips to split.

"Lola didn't welcome me at the airport. When I came home, she was all frosty. I knew I owed her an explanation to why we hadn't communicated. I tried to talk, but she didn't want to hear. Then she saw our pictures and all hell broke loose.

"She started railing about how I never called again after the day we arrived and never responded to her chats, how she was worried sick about me not knowing I was busy touring Congo with you. I tried to explain that we were sent to a remote village without internet or telephone cables but she wouldn't listen."

"I'm really sorry. I didn't know about this", Ifesi said remorsefully.

"Remember on Wednesday, when I called to find out how your journey went? We ended with some statement in Igbo. I can't even remember what it was but I know you got me laughing. When I got off the phone she wanted to know who it was so I told her it was you. Since then, she's been a thorn in the flesh with her nagging, crying, sulking and pouting. She's been so grouchy and peevish.

"Lola knows I'm irrevocably committed to her. It really gets me confused why she is so mad at our friendship. I have other female friends who even come to the house to see me but she's never picked a fight like this". He paused for a moment as if thinking of what next to say, then he rapped, "Maybe we crossed our boundaries."

"Ah ah... How? We didn't do anything, did we?", Ifesi said with a puzzled look.

"By becoming very close."

Ifesi was more confused, "But we've not done anything illegal. We've not had any physical contact save for handshakes and occasional hugs in public. God knows I will never desire another woman's husband!", she was now swearing.

"I think we've shared some emotional intimacy that Lola and I haven't and she can feel it. You know why I like to spend time with you? You let me be myself. With you, I'm not trying to perform or impress anyone. I'm not trying to be the best husband, provider or leader. With you, I am free to just be me. I'm free to make mistakes and we just laugh about them. Lola and I are 2 years into marriage but we barely know ourselves. I guess I've been too busy trying to be the best husband".

He bowed down and continued to pick the chicken with his fork without lifting it to his mouth.

"I know she is hurt that we didn't communicate much while I was away. I wish she would just listen to me. I also miss our nights together, you know, but she wouldn't come to bed on time or let me touch her.

I can feel her pain but I don't know what to do. I've prayed but I feel like I'm guilty. Fesi, I've never looked at you lustfully''.

''But sometimes", he hesitated, contemplating whether to say it, then with a whisper he exhaled,


"I wish I met you first".

©Radiant~ May 2016

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