Making Friends In Texas

A truth that many will agree with is that as one gets older, it becomes more difficult to make friends.   But, what do you do when you find yourself in a new town with no friends?  How do you go about making new friends?  Do you even bother?  What of if you are an introvert?

I really do not know if I have friends in Texas but I do know that there are a couple of people here that I can ask their opinions and expect a somewhat honest answer.  How did I do it?

a) By being myself.  One of the joys of getting older is that it becomes easier to become who you are because you really do not care.  You  believe that those who like you will,  and those who don’t will fall to the side.

b)By pursuing my own interest: Pursuing a hobby that you love provides an opportunity to meet people of similar interests.  Sometimes, saying hello leads to something deeper.

c)Work relationships:  One of the positives of working in crappy positions is that you meet with different people and gain a different perspective.  Some of these work friendships continue after the work day is over.

d) Loving yourself: you might find out that you actually prefer your own company to the company of others.  Introvert issues (finding that constant interaction with people leaves you tired).  If that is the case, own it and pursue fun activities on your own.   It isn’t a crime to travel, explore the city or check out a new restaurant on your own.

Disclaimer:

It is important to know who and why someone is in your life. Ensure that only authentic people are allowed into your circle. This ensures you do not get hurt.  Warning:  These are the reasons that some might want to be your friend. a) They want to get something from you. b) They want to copy you.  c) They want to have a front row seat to watch you fall on your face. Understand this ,and don’t be scared to refuse to engage, if you think that  you are dealing with someone who isn’t truly genuine.   When you have the right people around you, things often end up working out the way they should.

Take away message:  it is always great to make friends but it is more important to be your own best friend and advocate.

A rite of passage that pushes girls into sex

Chiradzulu district, Malawi (CNN) — When Grace learned she’d be going to a camp with her friends, she was thrilled. Every girl around her age in her southern Malawi village would attend the rite of passage, known as an initiation camp. They counted down to what seemed like summer camp.

“We were happy, because we didn’t know what was there,” she said.

When she got there, the messages she heard stunned her.

“You should sleep with a man and get rid of child ‘dust.’ If you don’t do it, your body will get diseased.”

A demonstration involved one girl lying down, with one of the older women on top.

“You should be dancing and have a man on top of you, making him happy,” she was told.

At age 10, Grace was being taught how to have sex.

“Fueling child marriage”

Like the other girls in the village, Grace had been sent to camp with her family’s blessings. Neither trafficked nor forced to work in the sex trade, she was attending a time-honored ritual passed through generations.

 

To Read More Click Link:    Child Marriages, IVF, AIDS,HIV, STD

Yes, It Is On!!! First Thoughts!! Random Thoughts!

So, Yes, I am in Texas and I am loving it. I permanently changed residence about two weeks ago even though,I’ve had an apartment in Texas for a while now.

My mum describes the state of Texas as dry but compared to Florida, I say give me dry Texas that allows and accepts people’s independence to move around. Unlike Florida where you are forced to depend on people to do anything or go anywhere, here, you just pick up , and go meet people and solve problems.

I love Texas.

So, why am I in Texas? As I mentioned earlier, I was accepted into a graduate program in the state and I am excited about the opportunity to first, pursue a passion; secondly, pick up skill sets to become a voice in a particular field; finally, have the tools necessary to impact lives either in this country or Europe or somewhere in Africa (not Nigeria). For someone like myself, education and learning is my thing and as such, I do tend to get frustrated with people who seem to want to place me in a box of who I am supposed to be and how I am supposed to react.

Things that have irked me about Texas:

a) people stating that my youth is the reason that I am impatient: I, often want to respond that the word really should be enthusiastic.  Put me on the path and send me along. I am definitely not youthful even though I still fall within that age range. People that have gone through half of the life experiences that I have gone through, cannot be described with that word – youth.

b) People who make assumptions about you: I’ve been told that I am standoffish. I wanted to ask, okay, where did you get this from? If I remember clearly, when I met you, I had a cold, my eyes were red, my nose was red and I had a mucus filled cough. Moreover, I do not get this American thing of putting your whole business out in the street at first meeting. Honestly, I am from the old school. I stick to the point of my meeting you and as time progresses, I, start opening up to you. But, opening up to you is at my discretion. There are people that I have worked with for more than 3 years that really do not know anything about my private life because I believe in the separation of the private from the public.

c) Assumptions about one’s  academic background:I often want to say, sweetie, we can put this all to rest by actually just asking me or giving me an impromptu test.

d) Assumptions about the legality of my stay:I’ve had to correct this several times. Yes, I speak with an accent but then from what I see, many within my program do…so get over it!

e) no water: Okay, I am a water baby. I calm down when I am around water. Water gives me a sense of peace, sense of calm, a sense of belonging. So far, the only natural water source that I’ve seen seems to be a dirty, brownish river that people were kayaking or canoeing on. I hope to see something different this Saturday.

So, far that’s it …

But, there are many things I love about Texas namely:

a) The weather : It does not snow here but there is quite a bit of dust around.

b) The ease of transportation:  You can actually get around without getting on the high way, you also have high speed trains and other means of transportation. Everything is so connected.

c) The people:  Everyone is so friendly and they genuinely want to help you.  

d)The people:  everyone is so polite.

e)Getting things done: there is this common misconception that people are as slow as molasses in the South. But, I’ve not found that to be true yet. But, I’ve seen people use their phones at inappropriate times. Today, a lady kept me standing on the line while she had a conversation on the work phone and then on her cell phone. LOOOl

f)The houses: The houses are made of bricks and in many cases, red stone bricks. I love it. My late grandma’s bungalow in the village used to be made of red bricks and so, being in my apartment, is actually very nostalgic. I also believe that the redstone bricks help in regulating temperature.  

Will I recommend Texas?

I really don’t know. It all depends on what you are looking for. I do believe you can find everything you want here in the lone star state but then you can do the same in other states as well.. …it all comes down to you, what are you in the market for? 

 

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Proposed Goal: Combat HIV/AIDS In Africa.

Though the incidence of HIV is in decline because of the impact of antiretroviral therapy(ART) in some countries, the numbers are still significant. As of 2010, HIV/AIDS was the 5th cause of global burden. The burden of HIV increased by 354%. In 2010, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of DALY (sum of years lived with disability) in Eastern and Southern Africa, Central Africa, etc. In twenty six (26) countries, HIV/AIDS is ranked within the top five causes of burden.(2) As of 2011, we still have 2.5 million people still getting infected daily and 1.7 million people dying from AIDS related causes. Currently, we have about 34 million people living with HIV. (1) From the data, described above, this disease affects a huge number of the population and cuts across socioeconomic, cultural, and country boundaries. It is the 5th leading cause of DALY in Africa  and as such it affects each country’s human resources and is therefore critical to combat for the development of each country and the continent as a whole. Just think, humans are involved in every facet of a country’s development and when you have sick humans who are unable or too weak or dead to work/ create/innovate, you have a country that is on a steady decline to its extinction. 

To combat this disease in Africa, we will need a mixture of strategies involving gender equality, empowerment of women, getting men involved as willing participants in the prevention and care. Education, ART, protection will be some of the tools that will be used in combating this disease. Everyone will have to be on board from the clinicians to the recognized and accepted power brokers within the society. In some communities in which traditional doctors and medicine are seen as superior, there might be a need to involve a form of medical pluralism in which accepted clinical practices work vis a vis traditional medicine to get the support of these communities. While in other countries or communities, discourse might need to be started in which alternative means of protection beyond abstinence is shared.

To achieve this goal of combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, we will need to achieve certain sub goals. These sub goals will involve prevention and care and they are namely:

a)Create awareness of the disease, its spread and its effect in countries. This will involve education and will combat misinformation, myths and disinformation about the disease. For example, in previous years in South Africa, it was believed that having sex with a virgin or little child will cure AIDS. We need education in similar countries that might have the wrong information about the infection, spread or cure of HIV/AIDS.(3) 

b)Promote empowerment of women, so that women understand that they have a voice in sexual negotiations. This empowerment should also include commercial sexual workers who will understand that they can refuse to have unprotected sex.

c)Train health care workers and clinicians in the tools necessary to combat the disease.

d) Have condoms and other tools for protection provided either free of charge or make the cost inexpensive, so it accessible to all. This will also include ART.

e)Create welcoming communities, so that those that are infected and their loved ones’ do not feel ostracized or alone.

Political Realism:

Africa is a huge continent with different social, economic and cultural climate. In countries in which the health sector is very involved in combating HIV/AIDS, this goal is very achievable. Some of these countries are South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana etc. (4) But, in other countries, for example, heavily Islamic countries that have an extremely strong ‘moral’ compass there might be a need for a stronger push. Combatting HIV/AIDS in these countries will involve addressing the issue of sex and taking off the blinders that many will prefer to have about sexual relations and other activities of the country. But, yes, this goal is achievable in Africa.

1)http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ourwork/hiv-aids/overview.html

2)http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/publications/summaries/burden-hiv-insights-global-burden-disease-study-2010

3)http://www.journaids.org/index.php/essential_information/myths_and_misconceptions_about_hivaids/having_sex_with_a_virgin_will_cure_hiv/

4) http://www.etu.org.za/toolbox/docs/localgov/municipalities.html

By OPUSC.

I was in Houston, Texas for a couple of days and I fell deeply in love with this highly organized cosmopolitan city. Why did I go in earlier than planned? Well, on campus housing was booked to the tee and it was best to get the housing aspect of admission taken care of.  I spoke to a lady in Houston  who was looking for a roommate and the plan was that I will spend the weekend in Houston, meet her and sign the contract necessary to be apartment mates.  But, unfortunately, that plan fell through the cracks and my plans were turned upside down.  Despite, the little upheaval to my plans, I did get to explore Houston a little bit, I got to go to my school on Sunday and gained a deeper appreciation for google maps.  My school is absolutely beautiful by the way.

The good news is that I did achieve my aim of getting a place to stay that met my criteria.  It is amazing how it all worked out.    There were many times that I felt frustrated and I thought I will return back to my temporary abode without achieving anything but when you keep calm and appraise your situation rationally, things generally fall in place.

What are my thoughts on Houston?  I love it and I am definitely looking forward to spending some years in this city even though, I have this weird feeling that my roots might eventually be in a different Texan town but this is okay for now.  Houston is actually very funny.  In New York, the disparity between the rich and the poor were pretty obvious in terms of the cities and towns that they choose to live in but in Houston that really isn’t the case.  The rich and the poor seem to live side by side amicably. But, I found a little undercurrent of racial tension in Houston.  Now, before typing my experiences, do realize that these are first impressions, so they might not be how things really are.  Secondly, I might be looking at everything from New York eyes, so my view might be a little flawed.

I stayed in a little place where international travelers et al, generally stay and I came in very exhausted and had to find somewhere to eat.  I have to admit that I did not look at my room number when I was taken up, my mind was only on food and eventual rest.  After eating my little heart out and returning back to the place that I had to stay, I realized that I did not know my room number, it wasn’t written on any document, so I walked up to the lady in charge at the receptionist desk to ask her what my room number is.  She looked at me, opened up her fingers  and said room five.  I was taken aback.  You know how people use their hands to communicate with those who they feel can’t understand English, that’s what she did and I wanted to slap her silly with those fingers of hers but I just shook my head and told myself that maybe I misunderstood what she was doing.  She was Caucasian.

The second place of racial undercurrent was when I went in to eat. I chose to eat at a Chinese restaurant because I could not find a Mexican restaurant that could promise me the kind of spicy food I needed.  Once, I stepped into the restaurant, the server scowled at me but still led me to my chair.  She gave me the menu and I made my order.  When she came to give me the food i ordered, she kind of slammed the food on my table. I was like, huh, but thought maybe I could be over reacting.  But, then , I listened to her talking to a caucasian man who she was asking how his food was and she was very pleasant and showed a different side from what she showed me.  I was very turned off by her behavior.  I tipped her, but only because I wanted her to see that black people do not go into restaurants with trouble making written on their foreheads.  The waiter was Asian.

The third place was when I was looking for a place to live for the new semester.  The guy who was managing/supervising the place was Hispanic.  The first comment that rang some bells was when I came in , he seemed taken aback by my appearance and then the next statement he said was,”I have no problems with race, I believe we are all one” He said all these without any conversation about race. Once, I heard that, I knew I had to be on my guard.  Then, he mentioned, that he only had two black tenants living in the apartment  complex and he sent the other black tenants out.  He went ahead to mention that he had refused to rent his apartment to some black people because he had a bad feeling about them even though they were qualified and had the money necessary to rent the apartment.  Then he went ahead to insinuate about my legal status in this country.  You know at that point,  I was mentally counting up to ten.  Then he goes ahead to say that the reason that a certain country in Africa was better and more organized is because white people are still in power, of course, I had to correct his history because he obviously had his facts wrong about that country.   Then, he refused to give me documents to fill my tax information and then gave me a form to fill out all my information which he wanted to fully investigate.  I shook my head.  This man obviously had issues with race, okay, black people to call a horse, a bloody horse.  But, I was polite to him because, seriously, my mind was focused on one objective which was to get a place to live next semester.

But beyond, these three instances showing the undercurrent of racial tensions in Houston, everything was okay.  I noticed that the homeless cut across racial lines.   That was meh!

What did I learn from this trip?

a) Do not take any road trips that is more than 6 hours long.   All you get from it is a cramped back, lack of sleep, and a jacked up system.

b) Houston has some delectable eating places.

c) Houston is a very organized city.

d) Houston is cosmopolitan.

e) Houston has some very friendly people and some very hot men!!  *ahem*

f) Google maps is the business.

g) Keep an open mind, open log, relax and enjoy the flow!

🙂

Me.

I just learnt that today is National Coming Out Day.  Yipee!!  There are many who ask if there is a need for such a day – after all, we do not have days to support our heterosexuality. People, do not go around saying, ‘hey, I need your support, I am coming out as a heterosexual”.   But, we have to remember that heterosexuality is normative, a.k.a, socially acceptable and homosexuality is still unacceptable in many quarters.  In some parts of the world homosexuality is  considered as being a mental health disease.  There is still a lot of work that still needs to be done in terms of psychology and the gay community.

But, what I do know for sure is that coming out as being different or having a different sexual orientation in today’s heteronormative world is extremely difficult and many like these need some form of support as they step out globally to claim or reclaim who they are.

Honestly, I believe that each person’s sexuality is their personal business and people should not be punished for where they lie on the sexual scale.

For those who will be coming out today:  Be You!

For those who choose to remain in the closet for whatever reason: Well, that’s a choice.

To the world at large:  I hope we learn to just accept people as they are without trying to fit them into our own view of what the world is or what is ‘believed’ to be right.

Happy Coming Out Day!!

From This Very Happy But Extremely Supportive Heterosexual,

ME.

When Service Delivery Goes Wrong

“MEXICO CITY (AP) — An indigenous woman squats in pain after giving birth, her newborn still bound by the umbilical cord and lying on the ground. It’s a photograph that horrified Mexicans because of where it took place: the lawn outside a medical clinic where the woman had been denied help, and it struck a nerve in a country where inequity is still pervasive.”

Continue Reading:   Service Delivery Goes Wrong Because Of Social Inequities, Over Worked Clinical Employees, UnderStaffing,  Staffing Shortages Which Led To  Low Numbers Of Clinicians Available To Provide Care And Not Having Enough Rural Clinics Available.