What they didn’t tell you about change


My first week in Calgary- somewhere in Inglewood

If you know me decently enough you will probably know that I moved to the States recently. Please forgive me if I am behind on responding to emails or comments, its been busy 😉

Last week I met up with friends to say goodbye and it finally dawned on me that I would never call Calgary my home again. Next time I’ll come as a visitor and while I would still know all its corners so well, it wouldn’t be the same. Some people that I met in Calgary will go just like me. Everything will reshuffle.

While I have made so many major moves in my life, it seems that as you grow older you start to be more reflective about choices. It don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

Especially since I will be in Colorado for a while, I had those moments of wondering-  should I or should I not, will it be worth it? Don’t I need to just dig in my roots somewhere?

Am I sure? Really sure? Really Really sure?

While I don’t have an answer to that question, one thing I know for sure is that this year God has been calling me forward into that sense of focus that comes from trust.

Life only happens once so how could we be sure of anything?

We could never really be sure of every move. We could never predict if it was right or wrong, we can never predict how it will change us, we can never predict how it will work out, we can never predict how it will impact our relationships. The best we could do is trust and to die trying to follow that sense of calling that only us can really understand.

I knew those tears were coming eventually, I just couldn’t really figure out when. Its always been the same. It would start with apathy and just doing all I needed to do but my breakthrough always came after I cried it out, grieved that part of me that is dying and finally embraced that part of me that is reborn.

Even as I sorted through clothes figuring out what to take and what to leave behind, so would my emotions and personality and relationships be sorted out too, sieving out what’s not helpful anymore and strengthening new connections.

With every transition, whether it is committing to a relationship, moving to a new place, moving houses, welcoming a child or saying goodbye to loved ones who pass, that liminal space between one end and one beginning can be very complicated.

While we are told that its for good, and to be strong and to be excited, I think we also need to begin to say that its okay to not be excited. Its okay to not be sure. Its okay to grieve even when we are supposed to be excited about good news. Grieving simply means we are closing one chapter and in the same way letting a new chapter unfold.

So if you are like me and you have moments where you think you are supposed to be excited but find only apathy or maybe apprehension, remember that it is more complicated than that. Give yourself room to grieve. Then let go- and TRUST.

My tears are so powerful. After them I become ready to move on and start another new beginning.

in Stanley Park, Vancouver

My story: How I started college at 14 and finished at 18 + YOU are a gift

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not

Did you know that you are a gift to this world?

Are you sharing your gift? How could you share it more?

In this video I share my story with you and help you understand why your story counts.

Watch it and when you are done leave me a comment telling me, what one thing will you do this week to share your gift?

Also who is your favourite student heading to college this year?

If you want to help them ace their college writing then you’d want to share this resource I created to help them.

I finished it this week and was so happy to finally have it out in time for them.

I hope you have an amazing new week.

Ps: This post was featured in the carnival of homeschooling. Check it out here.

Good news:)

So when I was getting on the flight to Nigeria this summer, I had a ton of thoughts in my head.

One was the overwhelming sense of gratitude I had because of my friends that came, donated, helped me set up, clean up etc. I could not give them anything in return but they came on board because they loved me and really believed in my visImageion. The day I was leaving my friend who was still looking for a job came to my house and he helped me take my bags to the car and gave me a donation to our work. That moved me so much.

On the flight I found myself wondering, hmm where will I start? I hope I can deliver and especially because I didn’t have any big hookups I needed a lot of faith. I wanted Engage Africa Foundation to get coverage in the media, I wanted to find sponsors, I wanted to talk to groups of people, I wanted to raise the profile of the problem in Nigeria and get people thinking and acting etc.

Sometimes I actually wondered if I was naive especially when I got the first couple of rude responses. I did my fair share of crying and doubting too. LOL

I don’t understand the mysterious ways that life works out but I have found that a teeny little bit of faith has a weird way of moving mountains.

Guess what?

Last week we got a whole page in the most widely circulated Nigerian newspaper- The Nation Newspaper.

I went to an event that had a couple of seminars at the same time. I abruptly decided to leave the seminar I was in to check out another one when this lady Hannah stopped me. She was working in the media and asked me if I could spare my time to do a short voice recording telling her how I was liking the event.  I agreed and along the line she decided to interview me about my non-profit instead because she said was inspired by what we were doing. A few weeks later I get a whole page in a newspaper read by hundreds of thousands if not millions. I thought I was doing her a favour by stopping but she was actually my blessing in disguise.

You can read the article here.


That same week I got a call from the University of Waterloo that out of a lot of people they were considering they had chosen me to receive the Young alumni award for 2013 because they believe in our work and my future, thanks to my sister who nominated me.

That same week a contact finally worked out and I got a chance to go on a TV station- Silverbird Television to talk about noncommunicable diseases in Africa and what we are doing about it at Engage Africa Foundation.

Its crazy- you go from working so hard with no clue how everything will work out to boom!boom! boom! so much good news in a week.

I am happy and hopeful:)

Have faith in yourself and your dreams. When you believe in yourself you’ll find it funny that people actually start believing in you and you get to meet the most amazing people in the course of following your dream. It makes all the hard work, bad days, and tears worth it, trust me. I hope that this blog pushes you to actually take a step (no matter how wobbly) in the direction of giving your ideas a place in this world. It will be so worth it.

Ps: I have a video coming up and even a surprise gift for you 🙂 Stay tuned.

Intersecting art, politics and marriage

Meet Ralph. He is the manager of a store where I went to see if I could get a nice painting for the house. He was very helpful and we started talking. Ralph has a degree in sculpture from the University of Alberta. He also showed me some of his paintings. They looked very picturesque and realistic.

Did I tell you I changed the questions for variety’s sake?

Check out the video to find out what the new 7 questions are.

Also, make sure to check out Ralph’s paintings here and support a local artist:) He has done a lot of paintings of the scenery all around Alberta, especially the mountains. You can view them here: http://members.shaw.ca/ralphtempleart/ArtistBiography.htm

Make it a great day / Meet Chike

Happy Easter everyone 🙂

Today’s interview is with my brother Chike. We sometimes like to pretend that we are twins but he is a few months older than me 😛

I love my brother so much. I love his intelligence and I love his confidence. He is a born leader and I see greatness written all over him.

He has always been someone that dreams with me, supports me and grows with me and we often can relate to one another with all the thoughts going on in our heads about life, our dreams and the future. We have done some many things together from being in the same class to being in the same sports team, to starting ventures together, travelling together, and for the first time in like 5 or 6 years living in the same city. He is someone that cares for the people in his life and loves to push them forward. I am grateful for him even when we fight 🙂

The other day I had set up an appointment for 2.30. For the first time, Chike would be coming with me for a pre-scheduled interview and he was quite excited. We got up on time, ate and got ready to go all the way to the north-west for this interview. Unfortunately, my interviewee must have forgotten because we met an empty office. It was Good Friday, a public holiday and it must have skipped his mind.

It was quite disappointing because I convinced Chike that we would have fun doing this.

However, the weather was good, the sun was out and everyone was having a good time left right and centre so guess what we decided to do? You guessed right- have a good time.

We went for ice-cream,


… we talked, we took pictures, and we explored the Kensington area of the North West. We went into all the little stores, enjoyed the sun and were happy.


Which made me think- wouldn’t it be awesome if everyday was sunny, warm and happy? That’s pretty much wishful thinking when its winter in Canada haha.

I was happy that we made it a great day even though we could have whined about coming on about an hour’s journey for a meeting that didn’t happen.

One of my best people in the world has a voicemail greeting where he says, ‘Make it a great day’. Its a bit different than saying ‘have a great day’ and I like it because it reminds you that its up to you to choose the kind of day you want to have.

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of creativity to make a day go good instead of bad.

Nowadays, when something pisses me off, I make up my mind to not let it spoil my day (still a work in progress). Bad moments are allowed but not bad days. Our days are too short and precious for that 🙂

Next time something doesn’t go as planned, indulge in your bad moment, vent if you like, and then drop the dead weight and find a creative way to make it a great day.

How does that sound?

I decided to interview my brother this time. He had just woken up from his nap and was still in bed so its quite candid hehe.


From Senegal to Calgary, a legacy of jewelry design, dance and culture

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

Sylla is many things.

He is a jeweller in Art Central, which is a cultural hub in downtown Calgary. He was born into a family where everyone made jewelry and he is carrying on that lifestyle in order to be able to travel and go back to Senegal one day, which is where he is from.

He is also an artiste. He teaches dance classes, specializing in African dance. He also does African drumming.

Funny thing: I am planning a fundraiser for my non-profit and was thinking it would be cool to have some interactive sessions where people learn African dance moves, drumming etc and then I walk into this building and end up meeting someone who teaches African dance in the most unexpected place. Isn’t that interesting?

Sylla loves his personal culture and his cultural heritage. He also spends time thinking about helping the people in his life and that is another reason why he wants to be successful.

You will see him at work making jewelry from the raw materials as he answers my questions.


Making money alongside acting gigs

This is the first interview I did with my brother Chike. We had gone to a business conference and met Derrick at the end. He was coming up the escalator and my brother said hi and told him about my project.

Derrick is an actor and has performed around the theatres in Calgary. He is quite cute:) He loves the arts and the thriving art scene in Calgary. I thought it was cool that he was an actor/businessman.

Given that he was born and raised in Calgary I was quite surprised when he said that he likes the tropics (to which I and Chike enthusiastically concurred) and is not a fan of the cold.

He doesn’t think the world will end but that the world is changing and that we are living in a lot less complacent and seeking generation. He is going through a lot of self-discovery and is looking forward to creating the life of his dreams.

Thank you Derrick.