Sunday, 30 November 2014

10 Lessons from my Mom's poultry farm

                                                   PhotoCredit: Google
 I have never been a lover of animals. Having lived in the city center, I was used to noise. The sounds of blaring horns, conductors calling out to passengers, hawkers announcing their wares and religious institutions  organizing prayer sessions and the likes was  the usual scenarios. But I became transformed when my family moved to the outskirts of the city . It was the complete opposite of where I had grown up- the area was  very silent, underdeveloped and sparsely populated.

A large percentage of people in the new region were into farming. The women were mostly house wives,clad  in wrappers tied up to their chests. There was enough space for everyone. It was devoid of the struggle attached to urban life. Th struggle for water, parking space and every other necessity. Living in the rural area made me appreciate nature and study animals like goats, sheep,lizards and yes, fowls and their lifestyles.My concentration in this write-up would be on fowls(Poultry)

So my Mom ventured into poultry business. Trust me, It came with its own challenges starting up and managing.Below are lessons I have picked up from this venture and how I apply it to real life situations:
1.The moment you add no value,you are as good as minced meat: Fowls that were just there to consume without producing eggs or having prospect of being sold to make huge profits were killed for supper. They were just consumers so the best option was to sell them to frozen food owners. #This goes to show that to remain in the workplace,one should be a value adder or face the likelihood of being fired. No one wants to employ a liability.

 2.Cleanliness is next to godliness: The poultry must always be kept neat and disinfected to prevent the spread of diseases.  The  poultry equipments and apparatus are to be washed regularly. Handling of the poultry requires one to be clean. #To avoid being contaminated with bad eggs in an organization , one should strive to maintain his/her values rather than blend with anything negative.

3. Only the strongest and fittest survive:  Fowls that were lukewarm were deprived of food, water and other benefits. It was the strongest and smartest ones that got the lions' share of everything that came their way. # In life, one has to think , act and work smart. Being tenacious and courageous would take one very far. Those who are onlookers would forever wait while those who are active and goal getters would get the best of everything.

4. Waste can be recycled to produce other products: As smelly and obscene as poultry waste is, it is still useful. Farmers use them for manure,. And this usually comes with a  price tag. # People should focus on the good things that can come out of something bad. We should see solutions rather than problems.
5. Do not allow anyone to cage you: The fowls were caged and that placed a restriction on their movements and what they could do. #In real life,people would respond to you on the limitations you allow them to put on you. As the saying should not make any one make you feel inferior. There is so much one can do when one does not cage himself or herself. Explore!

6.Water is  necessary/universal solvent: As much as the fowls were greedy for their feeds, nothing could replace water. I watch them as they gulp down water continuously when given, leaving their feeds. #A large percentage of the human body constitutes water. Doctor's recommend at least 8 glasses of water per day,innit? Drink water and watch the wonders it does for your body!
7.Poultry business is not child's play: The larger the chicks,the bigger the risks, the greater the commitment and inputs and the  greater the profits.# Life is all about risks. All things being equal, little( investments) efforts produce little results, big efforts when channelled properly produce big results. Even the bible says if you sow sparingly,you would reap....fill in the gap.Which one would you opt for?
8.Sickly fowls are isolated: This is done in order to prevent the spread of diseases.# People with negative attitude and energy should not be allowed into ones space to vitiate the individual. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron, so also people with like minded interests and values should be together for  better productivity.

9. Nurturing provides maximum output: The fowls flourished,looking well taken care of. They produced massive eggs. This meant increase in profits. # Any Organization that wants to increase output/profit should invest in their workforce in form of trainings, allowances,incentives,work leaves,appraisals,feed backs etc. Basically anything that would motivate the employee to do more than what he/she is paid to do. A conducive work environment is key to boost productivity.
10.Do not give up!: At the onset, the poultry business consumed virtually all resources-time, money,space. The return on investment was nothing compared to  cash input but my Ma remained undeterred. She kept on keeping on.#People are tempted to give up when things do not go as planned but one must learn to be tenacious.Understand the ropes,connect the dots and fill in the gaps until every thing makes sense and there is maximum yield. I end with these words; every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.Never say never.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Prestige versus Purpose.

 PhotoCredit: Google
Well...I have always striven for prestige right from childhood.Probably because it created a form of self esteem and status. This surfaced when I had to make a critical decision as a high school student some years back. While my close friends were opting for Art and Commercial classes, I made the decision to go to the Sciences. Not minding contending with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. For me,those subjects were not the issue, I had easy understanding and was capable of scaling through .

My concern at that period was to be regarded as an egghead or as we would call it here" efiwe". Truth be told,there was nothing to prove . As the saying goes,a gold fish has no hiding place.  Trying to  "buy" people's respect is uncalled for. Respect is earned and not demanded wrongly. What should have been important for me at that time was to check my motive and how it aligns with my purpose.

Science class for me was more of showing off. However, it still paid off because it made me to be on my toes. The atmosphere was competitive. Only the toughest survived the assignments,tests and projects. Some of the teachers were biased as they focused more on those in the Sciences.  The Science students  were the school's representatives at competitions.

Prestige landed me in a prestigious university but was it a prestigious course of study?Year one was all about self discovery and I kept asking myself what I really wanted. It took me a year after to accept my course. It was even that bad that I was hiding my department particularly when I bumped into old time friends.  There was so much sarcasm and "yimu yimu"

"You mean you are studying Geography??? Of what use ???"

"So after science class,na Geography you go study?"

 "Why not medicine or engineering?"

Some courses demand respect and carry prestige- True .I never envisioned studying medicine because I could not stand blood and gory sights. Engineering didn't just do it for me. Law was very far from my case. My love for the Sciences on the flip side was as result of research  and experiments. That was an aspect that caught my interest. And then, I just stumbled into Geography ( that is another post for another day) and I thought it was a mistake. But that is not same case now.

My journey of four years in the University has changed my orientation.By year two, I knew the essence of being a geographer because I dug deep. I am still digging. I have learnt to accept my course.This bold step made me perform better and relate with people in the academic world with ease rather than with inferiority complex.

 I have learnt to be comfortable in my own skin( field) and I am motivated as I look up to people that I admire in my field-my lecturers, celebrities,diplomats,entrepreneurs. Also researched  those that were in my field and were representing with the likes of Funmi Iyanda, Omowunmi Akinnifesi ( making particular reference to women because I am one.

During a job interview,I found favour in the eyes of my interviewer because she also read Geography. The interview shifted from work things to similar interests. The topic of discussion was on the relevance of a geographer. I am pretty sure that my geography teacher in Secondary school would be very proud of me to have majored in his subject. The beauty of the subject is that it is not limited . It is virtually applicable in all spheres of life .
                                               Photocredit: Google

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Mystery cough

So I begin with the mystery cough*clearing my throat and coughing out*
What exactly is the mystery cough? I do not have a detailed explanation because it is quite baffling. But a suitable definition would be something people do to make the other person uncomfortable. I'm painting different scenarios as they come to mind to show what I mean by mystery cough. Let's see if you can identify with them.

Scenario 1:
She is in the bus heading to her destination. She gives the bus conductor signal and then as she announces her bus-stop,another passenger starts coughing.Hey,the other passenger may naturally have cough but how come it is when she talked that the passenger probably intimidated by her, decided to respond with cough.

Scenario 2
Collecting ones change is now a problem.So in the market after purchasing the things on the list and it was time for payment.It was then and only then,the seller developed cough. Oh! She's having a sore throat and all of sudden ,it is when she hands out change to the buyer that she starts the cough.

Scenario 3
They were very much in love. The time came for him to introduce her to his family. It was when she appeared on the D-day that his family members developed cough especially when she had to introduce herself.

Scenario 4
Thankfully, he got to the interview venue on time beating the traffic. He tried to gather himself and prepare for the encounter. And then ,it was his turn and as he handed over his C.V to receptionist, it was then the receptionist started coughing.

Scenario 4
Walking down the street,she approached some group of guys who were lazying about. And then,as she passed the mystery cough was within her earshot.It came from the guys!

In the above scenarios,one thing was common-the mystery cough! It is used to taunt,annoy or make the other person feel uneasy.  As for me ,I do not let it bother me anymore. Normally I do react but I  have taken it to mean the instigator is sick and needs healing!