Sunday 28 October 2012

Thought Picnic: There Really Was A Country

Of lives and wars
This is one of those spontaneous blogs that started from an exchange on Twitter that moved to Facebook where I for the first time abused the etiquette of leaving a status to write a treatise.
It revolves around how a friend and I were affected by the Nigerian Civil War, his was by reason of experience, and mine was by reason of the effect of pictures on an impressionable young mind. We both found there was a story to be told from our perspectives all the more after the publication of Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country.
The Facebook thread appears here and below you will find the comment I posted and because I have more scope on a blog, I will allow myself the latitude of more detail.
I walked into Blackwells on Charing Cross Road this evening and there were 5 books prominently displayed near the enquiries desk. Foyles when I went there just over a week ago had sold out and had 23 on order.
When we returned
My parents observed the events that changed Nigeria radically from the UK, I was born a few years before the war but I remember clearly how keen my parents were to return to help rebuild Nigeria. So keen, it was a few months after my dad had qualified as an accountant, winning prizes in the process but he also had to be cleared for travel after having gone for an operation hours after he completed his examinations.
The last picture we took before leaving England had me nestled in the trunks of the legs of the adults that came to bid us farewell, my mother a good 7 to 8 months pregnant with my sister, I am still surprised she was allowed to travel.
Up North, an amazing Nigeria
We arrived in Nigeria and after the hometown and village visits that still have my parents recalling my amazing precocity we were headed up North, first to Kaduna where my parents were lecturers at the Kaduna Polytechnic and then to Jos where I witnessed the many times Yakubu Gowon came home with Gnassingbe Eyadema, he had to drive past my primary school - I have the fondest memories of childhood, Nigeria and the North from those times.
[In the past few years, my heart just breaks when I hear of the indigene-settler conflicts of Jos and the Boko Haram bombings in Kaduna – I remember the neighbourhoods affected quite vividly.]
My visions of the war
The war, our house was full of books but there was one I could not miss, it was Peter Obe's photographic documentary of the war, [Nigeria: A Decade of Crises in Pictures, Peter Obe] I was sat down by my parents and we leafed through every page and for many years afterwards, the horrors of war were imprinted on my seriously impressionable mind.
I must however say, for a long time, I found no scholarly records of the Nigerian Civil War through primary and secondary school, I was a voracious reader of history and by 8 I had devoured all I could learn of American history from our school library, was teaching myself French at 9 and then read up on World War II in secondary school - the World Wars remain some of the material I still find too engaging to drop.
Rekindled interest
I will eventually read Chinua Achebe's book, but it was for good reason that I knew and listed on Twitter at least five names on my Social Network that I really wanted to review that book, Pa Ikhide R. Ikheloa being the most prominent of them all.
I see each time that we are missing complex and informed narratives of the Nigerian Civil War and this especially is lacking amongst our present day youth. I hope they can divorce themselves from the sentimentality of their affinities and allegiances to devour this tome as objectively as their minds will allow them.
My Nigeria
I lived in a Nigeria that once really did seem to work and even more so, my childhood experiences make me feel Nigerian first before any other thing. We left the North in the late 70s but I retain a good deal of the Hausa I learnt in my childhood and since this is about amazing mothers, the pride I have in mine is even more exemplified in the fact that she can pass for Hausa or Igbo just as much as she is Yoruba and the greater feat she achieved was learning to speak Igbo fluently without first setting foot in Igboland which she did decades later.
My regret is having never learnt more Nigerian languages apart from passing conversation in Berom and greetings in Edo.
The story needs to be told and we will do ourselves the greatest justice by dispassionately reviewing all the good material we can find.
I still believe mobility around Nigeria culminating in residency and imbibing the language, traditions and customs of the people in our surroundings is key to Nigerian integration and necessary for the cohesion that will make the entity called Nigeria grow as one united nation and the identity Nigerian mean more to us than where we are from. That challenge falls to our youth today, the generation before mine did live in Nigeria as a whole.

Monday 22 October 2012

Nigeria: Frankly, they don't give a damn

Odium and rottenness
This morning, incandescent with rage could not begin to describe my emotion as I read another news story from Nigeria that just makes your heart sink.
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in the weekend named Dana Airline the Best Domestic Carrier for 2011 in Nigeria. [The Guardian Nigeria - Dana Airline wins FAAN award.]
There were so many things wrong first with the timing of the award and then the award itself before we look at the justification given for making this award.
Too flawed for comment
The first question that came to mind was how an award for 2011 could only be made 10 months into the following year. One would think year awards like this would have been made the previous year like 2010 so that it serves as a pointer to the service to be expected rather than the year after as if it were made retrospectively giving no indication of the service to expect afterwards – the whole concept was fundamentally flawed.
As it transpired, despite being the best domestic airline for 2011, on the 3rd of June, 2012 within an hour of take-off for a flight lasting no longer than 1 hour in clear and good weather two engines of a supposedly well-maintained aircraft in Dana Airline’s fleet failed and with that 153 lives perished in a Lagos suburb apart from lives lost on the ground, along with the loss of livelihoods and property.
Why? O Why?
The toughest questions as to why this happened are yet to be properly answered, compensation has not been fully paid, due process and justice have not yet been served and much else that would make Nigerians seriously wary of air travel looks like boarding flying coffins.
It is in the light of this that the FAAN decided to shower accolades on Dana Airline. Now, until that day, there probably were good enough grounds for praising and rewarding Dana Airline, they seemed to tick every box that made for customer satisfaction even at the barest minimum for Nigerians though it is doubtful such will compare to service one would expect of more savvy and sophisticated airlines.
However, after that air crash it should have not been too much to expect the FAAN officials to be more considerate and understanding of the changed times and circumstances that cancelling the ceremony for award for its lateness and then the circumstances would have won widespread support and appreciation.
These are no human-beings
Sadly, we have been misguided by the belief that some sense of humanity, empathy, compassion and heart exists in these people who appear in human flesh but are habitations of the hellish evil and heartlessness of demonic influence unable to apprehend and comprehend the Zeitgeist.
So, FAAN’s Regional General Manager, Mr. Chris Bature had this much to say, “Mode of selection includes passenger capacity, frequency of the landing and take-off, their response to payment of bills. Among the domestic carriers, they were the best. They had the best volume, they were punctual in their operations.
The brazenness of it all
All of this would have been acceptable until the moment a distress call was made before the crash. Between a mockery of our intelligence and spitting on the graves of the victims, he went on to suggest the award was made after Dana Airline’s licence was restored, as if to say we now have to move on from the yet unresolved issues around that air crash.
In justification of the award he suggested, “In all fairness, they did their best and we need to recognise that and encourage them to get back to their feet.” And as if the intelligence of all concerned had not been insulted enough he lamented over the loss of lives occasioned by the crash, stressing that the operator visited and commiserated with the families of the deceased.
Cry all you like
I would hate to read this as crudely as it sounds, but I doubt I would be remiss in thinking what was suggested here was a visitation and commiseration to families of those who by all intents were unlawfully killed probably by negligence on the part of the whole of the chain of command that allowed for this completely avoidable air crash to happen was complete enough as to let bygones be bygones for Dana Airline has to return to the business of God forbid the floating of flying coffins again.
What is more horrible about this utterly reprehensible and repugnant affair is that it is so indicative of the “I don’t give a damn” in Nigeria attitude that the President voiced months ago to the general populace.
A lack of interest, concern and more seriously conscience seems to be the bane of Nigeria and it could easily be the reason we have endemic corruption, unaccountable leaders, the absence of infrastructure, the terrorism and the security issues amongst other problems in Nigeria because every institution with responsibility and duty does not give a damn about what they do or how they are perceived and because of this they act with impunity with no threat of consequence.
The brazenness of it all is breath-taking and if after this we are not as infuriated enough to take Nigeria back from the unconscionable grip of these kakistocrats in officialdom, we will be forever doomed because frankly my people, they just don't give a damn.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Thought Picnic: The Love of Money in the Church

Money and the church
Two articles over the last 24 hours seem to have brought into focus a crisis of confidence in the way church finances are being gathered and consequently disposed of.
There is a wider issue here and I dare say it is somewhat bordering on endemic and you will appreciate that view in a moment.
First, it was the way demands were being made to engage in a partnership commitment with the church the scriptural basis of which is no doubt suspect but the arguments put forth by the writer makes a compelling case for serious reflection. [NigeriansTalk – Casino Pentecostalism – Ebenezer Obadare]
Scandal in Britain
Then a news story in a UK tabloid suggested worshippers in the UK were being fleeced to maintain a situation in Nigeria. The story stated 73% of offerings contributed in the UK went off-shore and it was not clear if this funding was a primary charity activity undertaken by the UK church or the moneys were just been extracted for the ministry of the church leader. It included calls for a Charity Commission investigation. [Daily Mail -Laughing on his private jet - the £93m pastor accused of exploiting British worshippers]
Back in 2004, it was the second largest Pentecostal church in Britain that was involved in a multi-million pound scandal. [Rick Ross - Scandal in the second biggest Pentecostal church in Britain.] In 2005, it was the turn of the largest Pentecostal church in Britain being investigated for financial irregularities that have not been fully resolved yet. [The Telegraph - 'Wealth' church leader practised what he preached.]
Evangelicals tainted globally
Out in the United States, it was a Senate inquiry into the finances of 6 televangelists. [USA Today - Televangelists escape penalty in Senate inquiry.] In Ukraine, the biggest church there has been embroiled in a serious financial scandal too on a failed business venture that frittered away about $100 million. [Christian Today - Ukraine: Megachurch pastor in business scandal.]
Over in Singapore another megastar preacher with a superstar wife and all the accoutrements of amazing wealth was arrested on suspicions of false accounting. [Singapore News - City Harvest's founder Kong Hee, four others arrested.] Then a more bizarre case in Canada where congregants were left out of pocket by reason of “affinity fraud” that gained support from the church leaders. [The Vancouver Sun - Evangelical church in $14-million financial scandal.]
Practice lagging doctrine
All the citations above are not so much to castigate any of the organisations, many of the issues are still sub judice but this calls for serious comment and I am sure this is just a subset of a larger issue with regards to churches of this type.
I mean type because all these churches, ministries and the ministers that run them identify as evangelical and/or Pentecostal and they seem to all have similar teachings based around what is commonly known as the Prosperity Gospel.
There is scriptural basis for this slant of teaching but its projection and expression leaves much to be desired. One finds that these wealthy preachers are not modest and reserved in their show of riches that it is unbecoming, vulgar, hedonistic, ostentatious, bragging and almost evil.
Room for grave error
It excites covetousness and greed; believers are led to believe that a bartering and exchange system exists between God and man short of saying they have to pay God for blessings of health and prosperity. An objective reading of the first reference in this blog could easily imply this and it is dangerous presaging a slippery slope into error where the love of money sets people up for being agents of evil.
However, that is a different matter; the most critical issue is that these church leaders are not doing much to offer a transparent and sombre reflection such that we are found in debates about excess and abuse rather than being profitably engaged in preaching the gospel.
On the wrong side of controversy
I am saddened that many have confused the kind of controversy they are supposed to excite that should make outsiders curious about Christianity rather than being critical of practising Christians.
Churches, church organisations and leaders of such establishments should be the vanguard of probity, rectitude, accountability, transparency, honesty, clarity, responsibility and trustworthiness. It is disgraceful and beneath contempt and well as contemptuous of the gospel to find churches so remiss in character and honourable conduct.
If the church cannot give good example, the world we seek to change is definitely lost. We find church leaders behaving like new-money types with nothing to separate them from the ostentation and showiness of drug barons or hip-hop artistes. They have become outrageously acquisitive and excused this as proof of God being a rich God.
No sombreness
Then see the really rich people around the world, either scions of genteel old-money or the likes of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett who can buy anything they want but have given themselves to works of stupendous charity and unsurpassed philanthropy that puts literally every other billionaire to shame.
Then you read articles in the Forbes magazine about Richest Pastors in some country and the whole context of the article has nothing to say about the gospel but the personality and the grand lifestyles that are worthy of opprobrium because in all the investigations that I have highlighted the biggest failing of these organisations is no clear separation of ministry finances from personal finances.
In secular organisations, that will be grounds for bringing charges of financial impropriety and possibly fraudulent activity.
Responsibilities matter
Any organisation that collects money by persuasion, inducement, cajoling or proposition from the public even if the said public have willingly subscribed to the project owes the public full accountability as to how the moneys are being spent for whatever reasons along with full justification for such expenditure and where that appears to be lacking they should expect secular government organisations to wade in and sanction bad practice.
It goes without saying that the preachers should repent and change their ways, it stinks to the high heavens and it portends the odium that emanates from the pits of Hades, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been corrupted into a Gospel of Mammon – it ought not to be so. [Wikipedia - Mammon]
Beyond their responsibilities that matter, perceptions of being completely above board matter the most with the view of not bringing the name of Jesus Christ and the body of the church into disrepute.

Friday 19 October 2012

Thought Picnic: Appreciating The Need For Therapy

Knowing yourself to others
It has taken quite a while for me to begin to realise to any appreciable extent the consequences of serious illness.
I am 3 years away from a life-threatening diagnosis that I survived and have continued to recover from in other aspects of my life.
Somehow, the force of my personality was not helpful for the additional support I should have received from the outset. It transpired that people who had suffered as I once did are usually offered therapy as part of the holistic treatment regimen just to ensure that other issues do not complicate the medical situation.
Demand help either way
Apparently, I seemed to project the idea that all was fine, especially because I was not exhibiting any of the classic signs of depression that professionals could easily address.
There was no doubt in my mind that things had changed about my personality and confidence but those were difficult to assess using any of the conventional measures that all I ever got was the opportunity to chat to a stranger after struggling for 3 sessions to convince them I needed help.
Losses and keeps
Meanwhile, what I have termed the long tail of illness was waging war against my ability to get a job and I was losing things like my confidence, my purpose, my possessions and literally all that I had acquired in a lifetime
I could not explain the feeling that hit me when I realised that literally all my worldly possessions were given away when I thought something will be obtained in exchange for the stuff, I had trusted people with a responsibility they did not assume properly you just had to walk away and be thankful for life.
I gained my health whilst everything else was lost except the will to live and hope that change for the better was on its way.
Keeping sane
My lesson is with the onset of serious illness, get treatment for the body and well as for the mind, for the greater battle is always in the mind and it will determine how well you come out at the end of that experience.
Therapy is good for the soul and it is not about going mad, it is about keeping sane.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Thought Picnic: My Rose

A solemn remembrance
My love was like a rose, its beauty indescribable, its fragrance made me swoon, I was so love sick, I was sick, I was in love.
I beheld my rose from afar and my heart melted, for it was comely and pleasant to see, the day brightened for me.
To touch my rose I could not, for the thorns of the rose bush pricked me deep, it always drew blood and it hurt so badly.
The tincture I applied stanched the flow of blood but it hurt the more, yet I loved my rose.
My heart was soft, my heart was hard, my heart could feel the mighty blows, but my heart could not break; for my rose, my heart would bounce.
I watered my rose and it withered, I let it be and it blossomed, it was so contrary for long I did tarry.
I dreamt of a rose garden with just one rose and gave everything to see my rose many times, but it wilted when it should not that I did tire for its upkeep; I pruned it no more.
As the dawn broke many times, the fragrance of my rose wafted into my room but I abhorred my garden for the hurt of the thorns.
Not long after I went into my garden and my rose was gone, it was far gone; I mourned my rose, I grieved for my rose, I pined for my rose but it was gone, gone forever.
Three years gone, my rose, my love, my thorn, my ache, rest ye well; yes, my love was like a rose.
Always missed; never forgotten.

Friday 12 October 2012

Thought Picnic: Our Jungle Colonies of Mob Justice

Our jungle colonies
We need to reassess what we have become as a people. That has been the opinion of many with regards to events that happened in Nigeria over the last week.
For me, the news broke on Twitter that 4 students suspected of theft were lynched by a mob comprised of the people from a community that harbours a university – the same university that produced our President.
If the news was not harrowing enough, the fact that someone stood by to record the event on video and post it online should elicit much more debate about the victims, the lynchers, the community, our country at large and the impunity that allows for such acts without restraint.
A people devoid of culture
Sadly, what it suggests is that we have lost the sense of community that allows us to live peaceably with each other in civilised settings enabling law enforcement to take the lead in terms of dealing with suspects, crimes and criminality.
When we speak of our culture or value systems, we honestly must begin to wonder if we have any left that we can identify as our own.
The commonality of traditions we have once shared in respect for authority, accepting diversity without accentuating the differences, the respect for elders and the voice of reason have departed for something rather bizarre.
We are not civilised
When we attempt to compare ourselves with other supposedly civilised societies that we imagine have no culture or traditions, some things are evident in those societies that we struggle to exhibit.
Their communities have over time developed rights and freedoms that are protected by the force of law and yet they have not stagnated but have progressively found new causes to espouse and confer rights and freedoms on. From our somewhat sanctimonious perspective we agree amongst ourselves that those societies are decadent and that their values are un-African. Yet human rights should not be defined by anything but our humanity.
However, every person born into those societies is treated with dignity, respected and protected; they can seek and obtain justice and fairness from the cradle to the grave and where there is abuse, society acts decisively to seek redress, punishment and compensation.
Our detrimental cohesions
There is separation of religion from the state, everyone has the freedom to have a faith or have none at all and yet respect the fact that difference does not mean we cannot be agreeable. That is the fundamental of civilisation.
We have used our diversity to accentuate our differences, we coalesce into tribal Bantustans ready to be called into mob action than be inspired by reason and reasonableness. The ends of religion we adhere to border on the fundamentalist feeding a seething intolerance of blood-letting bigotry – No, that is not civilisation, it is language of the primitive and the expression of the savage.
Even in the most conservative interpretation of the foreign religions that have swept away the core elements of our value systems and mythologies, none recommend death as a sentence for death; yet, the call to mete violence out to fellow human beings is heard and responded to without flinching, we participate explicitly or voyeuristically through justifying those acts and pretend to a civilisation we do not possess.
Where we must go
It is empathy borne of civilising ourselves that will usher in the rights and freedoms we so desire for ourselves but rarely defer to others in our prejudices and judgements. Starting with the right to life, the right to justice, right to fairness, the freedom to pursue happiness individually and communally, the freedom to practice the faith of one’s choosing and the absence of fear because the government stands up to its responsibility to secure life, livelihood and property whilst enforcing extant laws.
We have to ask ourselves that question whether the union that is our nationhood is united in our minds and we must learn that our safety, freedom and security can only be assured if we attempt to walk in the shoes of the victim and strive above all else to be one another’s keeper.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Thought Picnic: Unnecessary Power-Plays

Much to the muchness
I know that in my writing I take the time to be lucid, to expatiate and explain my viewpoints with great care and determination.
Obviously, the attention to such detail is to eliminate any doubt as to my premise and purpose. Inadvertently, I find that even if I need to develop any part of that thinking any further, the original write-up always seems to have the completeness I have intended even though the reader might not have fully comprehended by reason of glossing over the minutiae.
Unnecessary power plays
When it comes to writing for business and dealing with thorny situations, one is even more thorough and exacting to ensure that what one needs to be understood is properly understood.
I dare say I sometimes get caught up in traditional English expression where the obvious is in the understated, there is no reason to be direct if you can be nuanced and still quite effective – that is the beauty of expression in writing.
I remember times when I have been caught in unnecessary power-plays of email atrocity that sap me of all energy and if I were of a feebler disposition, I might probably lose the will to live. In such cases, I find that the end to all conflict is contained in the brevity of a one-liner or at most two sentences.
In one such instance, when I finally got fed-up with the correspondence and at the same time had put in place the action to support the view I was about to express, you grab the best attention by first switching to formality and then delivering the line, which in this case was, “Apparently, this matter has moved on from personalities to delivering a solution.”
Do not forget to add your thanks and close with formality too. That was the end of the matter.
The subtlety of persuasion
So, recently, I found myself in the middle of one those email atrocities where I was determined something get done despite the reluctance if not truculence of the other party. With just the right people copied in on the email, there could be no argument against this and full acquiescence came within a day.
“The issue here is simply one of improving the User Experience, which is why it was put forward as a suggestion - I don't think that the quest for greater ease of use should generate much debate apart from seeing if it is reasonable or not.”
The art of persuasion is more in its subtlety than anything else, I have learnt over time.

France: As we did it

We were off
It could have lasted longer but for events completely out of our control. A butterfly apparently flapped its wings in America and it caused a hurricane in Europe.
A month ago, I jetted off to France to lead a deployment team that was to visit over 20 countries in the following 6 months – I was full of excitement.
Our arrival in the dreadful Charles de Gaulle airport had me walking literally a mile in Terminal 2 to meet up with other members of my party who had flown in from Manchester.
Disarray we could do without
Our firm had engaged a travel agent that just seemed to make a mess of our car hire, our hotel bookings and much else, a turn-around journey that could have lasted less than 5 hours took the best part of 11; we were not pleased.
When we got to our hotel, we just knew this was not where we wanted to spend the next 20 days, in the middle of nowhere, far from facilities and sentenced to pizza deliveries in the witching hour, something had to give.
Our firm got this sorted that we ended up in another hotel from the third night, it was further away from Paris but it had a life about it and good transport connections to our place of work and into Paris.
Not ready but going steady
Work was interesting, there was much to do but one could not vouch for the preparedness of the whole process to deliver what we were there to do.
In the end, we got some progress and things began to pick up as upheavals, dismissals and disbandment circled around us that we needed to seek assurances of all concerned.
One had to be able and deft, we won through and delivered on our remit, sought improvements to certain implementations and took the opportunity to offer advice that we thought could make things go even better.
Good for me
Though we were to be out there for 21 days with 6 days off, we did 24 days with only three days off, sometimes working the unholiest hours, caught in French detours of traffic that took over 30 minutes to unravel.
The politics of the environment was moving at fast pace from the United State; overruns and overspends suddenly meant that the dream of extensive travel will for now end with France.
For me, I regained my technical acumen, my confidence and my knack for problem resolution whilst being completely mindful of the people affected by my activities. I made three good friends too. We might just do it again – who knows?

Friday 5 October 2012

Thought Picnic: Reasonableness is the test of a good compliant

Getting it heard
I have written many letters of complaint and the last few weeks I think I have been prolific. Upon reviewing some of them, I decided it would be interesting to share what I view as components or the anatomy of a complaint letter.
Now, the reason I complain is usually to get something done about the situation, I am assertive but never aggressive, detailed but I doubt to the point of verbosity. I am not a habitual complainant, if things are working as they should, I am mostly satisfied and I will commend the persons or the service.
Who can sort it out?
What I have noticed is I first explain the situation, how I am affected, how it affects me, the frustration it brings, appeal to their goodness, ask for a resolution and make it clear that it is not my last resort.
The most important part is knowing who to complain to, it has to be someone with authority who can do something about it, seek out managers, where they fail, seek out their managers until you get to where the balance of reputation over indifference is too high for the responsible party to ignore.
The test of reasonableness
The litmus test of a complaint is reasonableness. The question you should always ask yourself is, am I being reasonable and would an independent party reading this letter see the reasonableness of the redress I seek?
Basically, reasonableness forces the person you are complaining to to step into your shoes and feel the way you are feeling. Only sociopaths will not respond positively to a very reasonable complaint. In most cases, if not all, I have obtained better than the redress I have sought.
Here is one I wrote recently, the headers are just for guidance and I have removed specific information from with the text.
Who I am
To Whom It May Concern, [I had a contact email address to the head office with a name, someone was going to pick it up and then act on it.]
I am a long-staying guest in a party of 5 who arrived at your hotel recently. We are on business from the UK with a requirement that we have constant communication with our office in the UK and the United States by email and conferencing 24 hours a day as well as access to local amenities.
We moved from another hotel because of its poor standard and poor customer service, one of the reasons why we chose your hotel was because it had Wi-Fi which is essential for conferencing and much else.
The situation
Now, for over a week, we have lost this Wi-Fi service and the manager at the hotel appears to have been completely clueless as to why that service was lost, first she said it was a network problem with service provider affecting other hotels but each time we asked she had some other story that we independently contacted the service provider and found that the contract between them and your hotel had been cancelled.
When I told her this, she expressed surprise at the information insisting she was right, by which time, our frustration with the seeming inability for the manager to own the problem has led to a complete breakdown of trust in anything she has to say.
My frustration
We find that we are in a 4* hotel with 0* staff desperately trying to make our 3 week stay that was supposed to be home away from home a harrowing experience as if your hotel is vying for a Worst Hotel Prize just because of poor problem management and an apparent lack of consideration or forth-coming solution to a long-standing problem.
Any good hotel provides internet connectivity either free or paid for, there is never a case of the absence of that service and while people staying for just a few days might not bother, those like myself staying for weeks find the situation untenable but that other detail is we now have a good experience of how the hotel is being run - in this case, quite badly.
My exasperation spilling out
This morning, the manager had another one of her stories, a new phone line will be installed on Monday and thereafter, maybe, just maybe, and the wireless connectivity might be restored. I have no reason to believe that this problem will be solved by the time we leave.
We will however leave with memories of never to consider your hotel chain anywhere in the world and ensure that our review of your hotel on the websites where it appears will highlight we were residents for over 3 weeks and for 66% of the time we were locked in the worst French hospitality experience we have ever had - we don't even have the comfort of just one channel on our televisions in English to compensate for the loss of the essential internet service.
You can do something about this
I wonder if this situation can ever be redeemed, but with this email, I hope that those who matter have been informed that this matter will not end with our leaving your hotel on our departure, every seemingly local situation has the possibility of gaining a global face - hopefully it is for a good publicity rather than for ugly customer service.
Yours sincerely.
The resolution
By the time the day was over we were offered a contingency Wi-Fi service that all guests could use from the hotel lobby, I was offered a discounted stay for my next visit, I engaged the manager in consequent problem-solving and by the time we left, the full Wi-Fi service had been restored to the hotel.
My frustration was borne from my having obtained more information about the problem than was volunteered by the staff at the hotel, the only thing I could do was escalate the situation to their head office where someone fully understood what I felt and acted to ameliorate the situation.
I will in due course share other effective complaint letters that get things done.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Happy Birthday! Bus.

She bit me
It was one of those rare occasions that my mother was away for a few days and then she returned with this amazing bundle of joy and a bit of noise too.
Within a week, I was handing out strips of paper at a party that was attended by students from my mother’s school who thought I was quite a dancer; I was just coming to 7. The strips of paper had her name which for me then was quite a tongue-twister so we settled for Bus (Buus).
The earliest memory I have of being big brother was when she gave me a bite on the back, I was supposed to be comforting her strapped to my back and there she was trying her newly grown milk teeth on me; I cried rivers and found no sympathy.
Amazing Bus
Bus was always going to be the most misunderstood of my siblings by my parents but then again her amazing brilliance in school kept her at the top of her class. Much more, she was the show girl too, able to sing, dance and recite Yoruba poetry she was bedecked in aso-oke and presented to many publics to perform and win prizes, she made us all proud.
Adolescence and then adulthood came through secondary school and university, then certain difficulties but always irrepressible and determined, she has proved herself accomplished, able, inspiring and much more.
If Bus were not my sister, I would have wanted to be one of her best and closest friends, she has always had my back through thick and thin, the wonderful and beautiful lady that she always is.
My very best wishes
If only I could write a better tribute in celebration of this landmark year, it is her birthday today.
I have every good wish for her happiness, her joy, her peace, her prosperity, her health and long life. May she prosper beyond her wildest imagination in all things good and wonderful because I believe her best is still ahead of her.
Much as I remember that bite, may she have the best bite of the sweet cake of life, be blessed, be honoured and be well.
To Bus with all love from Yankee.