Friday, May 9, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: This Is How You Can Help

  Bring Back Our Girls Support Actions

If you think one person cannot make a difference, think again! The oceans and seas are made up of single drops of water.
Thanks to the combined efforts of ordinary people like you and I, the Chibok Girls and the entire Bokom Haram issue is finally getting the international attention and public outrage long past their due. This is all happening because people are speaking up and a resistance is growing.
If you want to help but don't know how or where to start, this is what you can do:
  • Read Up on the whole issue
  • Raise Awareness within your networks
  • Support A #BBOG group on Facebook
  • Write to Your Government and ask it to get involved
  • Shout-Outs on social media with # BringBackOurGirls
  • Walk With Us join a local BBOG demonstration in your area
  • Make Your Own #BringBackOurGirls SELFIE and share online
  • Share New Ways of Helping Out with others
Good luck and thank you for your support. Remember: One person can make a huge difference. The power of one is the power of all.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chibok Girls: A Call to Action!

There is a first time for everything.
Chibok on my mind
I have never organized a protest march. In the past  I have attended a 1 Billion Rising dance rally but I have never been part of its organization.Since the Abuja bombings and the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, Nigeria news has been on my vizier fulltime. With pain in my heart and a mounting almost surreal horror, I watched, with the rest of the world as the situation went from bad to worse. Initially my thoughts were fatalistic:  It is too late. Any help will be of no use. The girls are lost and gone forever. Nobody in Nigeria ever returns from such a journey. Nobody cares. So I shrugged my shoulders and decided to erase Chibok from my mind. I told myself that I live continents away and that Nigeria’s problems are too complex to tackle. I told myself that that the government was to blame and should clean up its own mess; that Nigerians are too caught up in their puny navel-staring and mini tribal battles to care. I told myself that one person can do nothing. Yet something strange began to happen within me. Chibok embedded itself firmly into my subconscious and began to stalk me. The events that took place there began to haunt me desperately.  Something started growing inside, gathering a furious momentum. I became filled with rage and pain. Frustration, guilt and shame. Shame that we all have stood by and allowed this to happen. I saw the faces of those girls everywhere. When I looked in the mirror, a Chibok-girl stared back in tears. My daughters' face transformed overnight into that of a Chibok-girl.
Fanciful Activism
I discovered that sympathetic tweets with #BringBackOurGirls or the sharing of breaking news on the situation on social media alone made me feel like a worthless, spoilt coward. Here I was, safely faraway and being fashionably politically correct: fanciful activism from behind my android. How cute, how superficial, how disgusting. And then the world wide protests commenced. Parents, brethren, loved ones, Africans, Americans, Brits. Ordinary everyday people going on protest marches and lending their voices to the cause. These beautiful  people; my heroes, all turned up and gave back the Chibok-girls their identity. These people not only symbolized the tragedy, they also gave the growing resistance a face. Seeing this humbled and fortified me beyond words. Love, hope, resilience, unity and solidarity; beyond the artificial borders of skin colour, tribalism, nationality and race. A new Nigeria emerging from the ashes.
I decided then that I could no longer look my daughter in the face and do nothing. I decided that I, that we all owe it to all the Chibok-girls of the world to lend our voices to their plight. I decided that I would actively participate in any activities held in the Netherlands for the girls. I scoured the internet looking for the organizers of rallies in the Netherlands and found nothing. Slowly, it dawned on me that I was looking for myself. That I would have to be the change that I wanted to see. That the organizer of the #BringBackOurGirlsNL which I want to attend, would have to be me. It dawned on me that I would have to get out of my comfort zone, cast myself into the deep and do something greater than myself.So here I am. My name is Chinello Ifebigh. I live in The Netherlands. I am organizing a peaceful march for the Chibok-girls on Sunday 18th of May 15:00 in The Hague. I have never done this before and I cannot do it alone. I need your help, your voice,  your presence and your support.

Please spread the word in your communities and networks and walk with us in The Hague us on May18th .Bring Back Our Girls Protest MarchThe Hague Netherlands

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Scent of A Woman

One rainy night, when I was a little girl, my mother brought home a strange creature. It was hidden in a small dark vessel containing fresh sugar water and tucked away under the folds of a dark heavy towel. The creature was reverently placed in a quiet shady corner of the kitchen and we children and the maids were solemnly warned never to disturb the creature or raise the towel because such was the nature of this aquatic creature that it thrived in sugar water and absolute darkness.
I was instantly intrigued.


Unbearable longing

From that moment on, I became engulfed by an unbearable longing to see the creature. My noisy childish banter was replaced by a furtive skulking surpassed only by the likes of Sméagol. Often, feigning ignorance, I positioned myself as unobtrusively close to the vessel as I dared, hoping to catch a sliver of activity or a sign of life from within its silent abode. My efforts were in vain, for the vessel remained immobile as though it were empty of its mysterious occupant.
Meanwhile, soon after its arrival, my mother presented my sisters and I every morning with a glass each, filled with a warm slightly steamy fluid which I can only describe as… blood-water.
The taste of it was peculiar yet not unpleasant. It tasted loamy and thick to the tongue; furred and intense, but with a fresh sweetness that provided an instant feeling of sustenance. Its fragrance contained a curious note: strong, sharp and fecund of character; vaguely familiar yet evasive. It serenaded my childish senses with confusing images of hidden caves and forgotten places. It’s odor was at once alien and strangely comforting. My father was not served of this refreshment. And in retrospect, my observations regarding that period of time are that he was never included in the general knowledge regarding the presence of our house guest.


Furious desperation

As the weeks passed, I noted that the vessel in which the creature was housed, regularly was replaced with one larger than its predecessor. Having arrived in a vessel not much larger than a cup, it was now being housed in a large basin big enough for me to sit in. This could only mean that the creature was thriving under favorable conditions and thereby constantly out-growing its home.
As the vessels grew larger, so did the quantity of the red elixir it so generously gave. So much so that soon, the refrigerator became filled with numerous bottles of the substance.
My sisters, good little souls that they were, quickly accepted these refreshments- without question or apparent curiosity, as a part of our morning ablutions and thought no more of it. Myself, ever the Devil’s spawn, grew restless and writhed from within; possessed by a furious desperation to acquaint myself with the silent lodger of our kitchen alcove.
One day, no longer able to contain the urgings which its presence evoked, I crept silently to the vessel knelt beside it and gently lifted a corner of the towel.
Nothing I had ever seen in my life prior to that moment could have prepared me for the sight which confronted my eyes. I beheld a flat watery creature about 60 centimeters in diameter. Its languid form filled the whole basin in which it was contained. Frozen and breathless with shock, all I could do was stare open-mouthed.


Unseen force

After the initial shock subsided, I observed that it appeared only partially submerged in its watery abode. It seemed somehow to float on the water, lifeless and impervious to my disturbance and scrutiny. With my face so close to the water’s edge I felts wafts of hot humid air emanating from it. My nostrils where once again assailed by its lush and familiar fragrance only this time it came with a claustrophobic and nauseating intensity that had me gagging on account of its undiluted composition.
Although it appeared lifeless, the conviction that the creature was very much alive and self-aware somehow rose unbidden in my mind. The physical appearance of the creature could be likened to that of a stingray without a tail. Its entire body seemed to pulsate by the powers of an unseen force emanating from its center. Its colour was a deep, dark, brilliant, velvety magenta.
My curious finger ever questing, slipped of its own accord into the basin to touch the creature. I noted that while the water was extremely warm to touch, it was of the same sluggish density as the contents of the bottles in the refrigerator. Its body felt smooth and firm to my inquisitive fingers. Its flesh displayed a consistency of quality similar to raw liver. The creature was completely devoid of any distinguishing animal or human features. To my bare eye, it was a body without a face, mouth, limbs or other such characteristics. It remained impassive to my touch. Emboldened, I carefully lifted a corner of its body to peer at the underside.
In the flash of that second which forever remains etched in my memory, I caught a glimpse of the soft meat of its underbelly; an unexpected and sickeningly pale hue, just as the creature released a loud human-like sigh.


Menstrual blood

Terrified out of my wits, I at once abandoned my quest and fled the kitchen. In the days that followed, I grew tormented with the fear that evidence of my misadventures would somehow come to light, to expose me for the Peeping Tom that I was.
One morning soon after, I woke up to discover that the vessel was gone. I was greeted by the sight of my mother silently emptying the contents of several bottles into the kitchen sink. Her face bore a look of resigned remorse. Tentatively, I posed the question to her regarding her activities and the nature and whereabouts of the creature. At first I was ignored but after some moments she sighed, ceased her labour and turned her attention to me.
Her explanation made no sense: the creature was as old as time itself. It had no known origins. It always had been and was simply known in some cultures as the Mother Creature. Its existence had been kept secret from men since the beginning of humanity. Its elixir was for females only and it possessed a secret property which was of immeasurable value to the well-being of the drinker.
Yet my mother was pouring this valuable elixir down the drain now because somehow, rumours of its existence had reached the ears of our local parish priest. He declared the creature with its gift of “menstrual blood” a manifestation of the devil and he ordered with immediate effect, that those in possession of the vile creature destroy all evidence of its abominable existence; never to speak of it again, on pain of excommunication.


Primal Vagina

My mother never disclosed how she rid herself of the creature. Further inquiries as to its name, origins, biology or even how it came to be in her possession in the first place, was met with a remorseful silence.
As I grew older, I scoured the internet in vain for any information regarding the strange creature. At some point I believed it to be a no more than a fungus, another version of kefir or Kombucca. I dismissed my childhood encounter as the figment of a lively imagination. Yet rumours have persisted and I have heard whisperings, read foreign documents and dubious reports alluding to the existence of a creature known only to women. The Primal Vagina some called it. The source of life.
It is said that through time, women all over the world have procured for themselves, a piece of this ancient vagina and kept it alive as It in return, kept them alive. A creature that fed on menstrual blood or sweetened water and gave its own menstrual blood in return.
That peculiar odor it exuded which always seemed at once familiar and claustrophobic, I have finally come to recognize. Surprisingly or perhaps not, it is an aroma that I still come across today. In the Ladies’ restrooms of busy places: airports, train stations, movie theaters and recently at IKEA. It is the collective, colourful and unanimously musky essence of every woman’s pussy. Familiar, yet claustrophobic, warm, rich, sweet, yeasty, billowing, raw, loamy and full of verdant life. It is the true scent of a woman.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Drover

The Movie Australia.
Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley and Hugh Jackman as The Drover.

Fast forward to somewhere two thirds of the movie: They have long become lovers. With the child Nullah to care for, she wants to create the ideal family with The Drover.


He is okay with this, albeit on his own terms. So he informs her ( I am paraphrasing here):
 “ In the dry, (season) I go droving”.            


 Meaning that although he loves her, he will not change certain aspects of his nature that make him who he is. During every dry season, he will exchange her loving embrace for the harsh and relentless arms of mother nature in the wild outback. Gone for many months, he will be in the company of cattle, other men, the raw elements and his own freedom.


As he explained to the child Nullah, “ be a man, a man needs to get away from woman every now and then...”


A man needs to get away from woman to do man-things and reconnect with his manhood; ergo:  go droving.

 For me this was the most significant part of the movie as I identify completely with the character of The Drover. In spite of my profound love for- and absolute appreciation of my own lover, the instinct within me to “go droving” is an irrepressible and unapologetic part of who I am.

 I am a social loner. An incurable lover of humanity and yet a person who mostly enjoys solitude above togetherness. I cannot suffer the company of another humanbeing for extremely prolonged periods. I cannot abide continuous togetherness.

 I am the woman who submits to- and luxuriates in the fiery intimacy that accompanies that kind of lovemaking when 2 people truly love each other and yet worships an empty bed.


Prolonged contact is for me at once ecstatic and agonizing: I am fulfilled by the gift of loving company,  yet somehow  my lustre diminishes. I stop hearing my song. When I look in the mirror, there is no reflection; I am happy enough yet I am an echo, a déjà vu of all that I encompass.

In a situation of constant togetherness, I retreat into the abyss and become a hoarder.  I develop dualities and secret chambers, booby traps and borderlines. I become elusive. I become a phantom.


It is my wish that I die someday somewhere, quietly and alone: an eccentric old herbs-and-dreadlocks lady in a rambling empty house in the middle of nowhere. Rigor mortis in a rocking chair as the spirit departs my ancient weathered body.  It may be weeks until I am found.

 I have seen this image before in my dreams,  the prospect gives a strange comfort.


It will be an honour to die the Drover’s death: all by myself, hopefully ready  for the final drove, listening to the symphonies of silence as a  nothingness without boundaries arrives to claim me for its own.