The More Sibyl Podcast is hosted by Mo! Sibyl - a Nigerian-born, US-educated, Korean-speaking, Struggling Intellectual. The More Sibyl Podcast is a podcast about culture and culture nomads designed for Blacks and Asians and those who love them. On The More Sibyl Podcast, Mo! talks mostly with an invited guest, who she is inspired by, on a variety of issues, related to cultural experiences or other lived experiences related to third culture. If your concept of home is fluid, you feel like you are neither here nor there, or you consider yourself a cultural hybrid, then this podcast is for you.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with T-Dawg – On Enneagrams and Marriage
What do you get when a 7w8 meets a 1w2 or when an ENTP-T collides with an ESFJ-A (his E is highly questionable, BTW)? You get Mo! and T-Dawg! And what do these alphabets and numbers even mean? Well, glad you asked! The former is from the Enneagram while the latter, the Myers-Briggs’ – both personality tests. If you are yet to figure it out by now, T-Dawg is my current husband (haha) of almost a decade and best friend of almost two decades. We are quite the pair of imperfect people, oddly matched but striving to perfection by God’s grace. To know our story is to know that God is involved in the affairs of men. And our story is one we hope to slowly share more of with you as time goes on.
Listen to this episode to hear from a man that I highly look up to and the man who’s behind and beside the tour de force that is Mo! The one I call 내 반쪽(Google that :-D). He is a man of quiet strength and one who does not announce his strength to the world. Also, get to hear our responses to a question sent in from one of the listeners:
Why did you choose him then, and why do you choose him now?
PS: The education scholarship has been officially launched. Kindly go on to my GoFundMe page and see how you can be a part of this great initiative: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-33-project
PPS: Wanna win $20 (yes, open to everyone)? How well do you know Mo! and T-Dawg? The hints you need in acing this quiz can be found in this new episode? You can maximize your chances of winning, in addition to taking this quiz if you follow my page on Instagram @mosibyl. The winner can reside anywhere in the world. Payment will be transmitted via PayPal, Venmo, Paystack, or Zelle. Winner will be announced by Monday, Sept 23, 2019. Take Quiz Here: http://bit.ly/MoTeeQ2019
“By You” – Simi ft. Adekunle Gold (2019)
New Blog Article on Substack:
Shame in Rest - https://mosibyl.substack.com/p/shame-in-rest
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mo!- Mo!nologue II: Unmasking my Thoughts
Another monologue coming your way this week courtesy yours truly. In this episode, I got a bit intimate with the mic and shared a lot of the thoughts circulating in my head. Think of it like I was reading my diary aloud.
So, what things did I unearth in this episode, exactly? A lot, actually. Beginning with some personal reflections on stress, rest, and therapy. I also talked about all the travels I did this summer – spanning 11 cities and states and one foreign country, the 5-week cancer fellowship done at the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the amazing people I met, the implications of my beloved therapist quitting her practice, and how my imminent birthday is giving me major depression vibes.
Finally, I am turning 33 in a couple of weeks and I’d like ALL of the attention from that to go towards my educational scholarship – The 33 Project. My goal is to identify and shortlist 33 indigent children in Nigeria who will benefit from the scholarship for a given period of time. I am hoping to raise $3,300. Look out for more information on that, especially how you can be a part of that (yeah, I need your money :-D), please and thank you!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Lizzie Lopez – Mexican-American, Korean-Speaking, Spanish-Learning Lizzie
Meet Lizzie! A Mexican-American who is learning Spanish. I met Lizzie at my language school (s/o to Northwest Baptist Church); she was one of my former Korean teachers. Lizzie spent a year teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to Korean elementary students (K-6) in Gunsan, South Korea. Lizzie is also an artist who teaches arts to children and the elderly. She belongs to the Canadian Valley art Guild (CVAG) and loves to paint human and animal portraits, abstract art and illustrations.
In this episode, we talked about her cultural history and what her identity means to her, especially the pressures of cultural expectations. We also talked about the year she spent in Korea and why she won’t be moving back there permanently. She also shared some tips for those considering teaching abroad. Finally, we explored the downsides of being creatives, how to cultivate friendship, and what her faith means to her.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!: http://bit.ly/LizzieL2019
Recommended Song: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” – Selena (1994)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Omotayo – A Nigerian in Brazil
It is a well-known fact that Nigerians can be found in several pockets around the world. In fact, it is said to avoid spaces where Nigerians cannot be found because we go where prosperity can be made (#Amirite?). In today’s episode I introduce you to – Omotayo Fadina – a Nigerian living in Brazil. She moved there three years ago to pursue a PhD in Environmental Geochemistry after completing a Master’s degree in the UK
In this episode, we talked about why she left the UK, life being a Nigerian in Brazil, the culture and lifestyle of Brazilians, her research and its environmental impact especially opinions on climate change, opportunities for Nigerians in Brazil, and why we should all include Brazil on our next travel destination.
Finally, we also briefly talked about Yoruba not as a culture but its traditional religious and spiritual concepts, as widely recognized in Brazil.
“Han is to Koreans as Hygge is to the Danish people. I wonder what collective term can be used to describe the Brazilian spirit”
“The average Brazilian sees happiness as the most important thing. And they derive happiness from interaction with people and nature, rather than in material things.”
PS: Speaking of BRAzil (see what I did there. This is why my friends won’t say hello to me anymore :-D), check out my new post on braffering (a term I just coined about the pains of wearing bras) to hear more about my convoluted history with this contraption of tortures.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
From his book – The Four Loves, CS Lewis had this to say about friendship. “The ideal climate for friendship exists when a few people are absorbed in some common, but not always necessary interest. Lovers are usually imagined face-to-face, friends are best imagined by side; their eyes ahead on the common interest.”
That said, here’s reintroducing my dearest friend – Olabimpe - with whom I am well-pleased. Our common interests being doing God’s will, Jesus and plantains (expect a 7-min full convo on our love for Jirade’s plantains: s/o to my supplier – (Mojirade Bepo of Jirade Diadem (@jiradeventures), and fighting injustices in our little spaces. Bimpe and I met when I was 16 when we both signed up to be a part of a choir for teens and youth ministry (@solid_live). So you can say we go a long way, despite how much I moan about not being good with female friendships.
In this episode, you get to hear all about Olabimpe’s story which is a rare opportunity given how private she is. We talked about her being single, a recent heartbreak that almost made her curse the guy out, signs you might be dating a narcissist, how she nursed her broken heart, why she’s still hopeful about love. We also talked about what it takes to be a good friend, the huge fight we had that nearly changed the course of our friendship, as well as conflict resolution tips. If anything, you get to hear two silly friends talk about everything! Yeah, we failed the Bechdel Test a few minutes into the episode.
A friend loves at all times and a brother (or sister) is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
Question of the Day: Why would a man who’s on his way to marrying someone “commit” himself to another?
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
This week’s episode with my guest – Bibi – attempted to answer the following questions surrounding single life: How do you maximize your singleness and joy in a world that wants everyone to be coupled up, by any means necessary? What can the church do to encourage everyone, especially singles, to find their life purpose above and beyond the institution of marriage? We also explored the many gifts singles have that are envied by the married (especially yours truly). And yes, we also went there – to talking about premarital sex, porn, and masturbation. And finally, I threw a wild question at my guest as to why it seems that single (godly) men aren’t committing to women these days.
My guest, who is in her 20s and whom I met on Twitter BTW, Bidemi “Bibi” Babatunde, is a minister of the gospel of Jesus with this central message: “God is not angry with you, He expended all His anger on Jesus.” She is passionate about helping believers grow in their full identity in Christ and drop the cloak of meaningless religiosity. She was the best graduating student of her bible college (The Stand Point Church Refinery) in 2018 and currently lives in the Greater Toronto area where she manages fundraising and communications for a charity that helps children with autism.Find out more about her on www.bibilamour04.com or via Twitter bibilamour04.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Meet Adekunbi Oyelade, a lawyer, youth advocate, and the CEO/founder of Sesewa - Nigeria's first internship-focused career development company. Sesewa was founded in her college dorm room in 2009 while a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. She founded it due to the frustration with difficulty in getting an internship position.
Subsequently, in this episode, we talked about her entrepreneurial journey, regrets, and future plans. We also did a smooth segue into gender roles and the relative advantage of the gender-selective child-rearing conferred upon the Nigerian girl child as well as tips to balancing this.
Mo! adds: A brief observation about Adekunbi: She’s business, man!
PS: Got some major announcements to make regarding the podcast, if you are yet to subscribe or will like to be in the loop, sign up here: https://www.mosibyl.com/ (scroll down to the very end to “Let’s Get in Touch”)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Let’s take a trip to Nepal, everyone, with today’s guest - Sujana Rupakheti. Sujana is a pre-med international student from Nepal and she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and mathematics. In this episode, we talked about her move from Nepal to the US, adjusting to the educational system here, acculturation challenges, and her reasons for choosing the US to pursue a medical degree.
Facts about Nepal
Their flag is the world's only non-quadilateral flag.
Despite sandwiched between two super giants – China and India, Nepal has never been colonized.
In 2001, there was a royal massacre that decimated several members of the royal family.
Nepal has its own calendar system – the Vikram Samvat and according to it, it is the year 2076
You also hear about the similarities between Nigeria and Nepal and why relocating from either of these countries to the US is not without its challenges.
Here’s the much-anticipated story of the other woman – aka Dr. Diana Escobedo or Diana as I fondly call her. Because you get “more” listening to the show, we also explored her life. In addition to the unique role she plays in our lives, Diana comes with her own story.
She was raised in Mexico and grew up in a less-traditional household where children were given free reins to explore their unique individuality. With this flippant freedom, Diana found herself pregnant at 16. Yet, she pushed through this and completed medical school only to be bedridden for almost two years. With her liver failing, and a looming diagnosis of the autoimmune condition – rheumatoid arthritis, she was at the brink of death.
Listen to hear more on how Diana turned all of these around, broke the family cycle of alcoholism, found purpose in her suffering, and her suggestions on how not to give up on our own dreams too. Diana is now a licensed family medicine practitioner and will be opening up her clinic in the El-Paso area with a focus on providing care to low-income families. Also, hear about the key people that helped her get from there to here.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
하늘의 왕국| The One with Patricia Qhobela-Jenkins: Stories from Lesotho – The Kingdom in the Sky: Episode 18
Still on Africa! Today I bring you stories from an expat Brit/Mosotho who was born in the UK to Mosotho (refers to persons from Lesotho) parents. When she was 16, she was whisked back to Africa, which made for a lot of stories that we unpacked in this episode. Patricia Qhobela-Jenkins, who I once dubbed ‘African Leprechaun’ the very instant I met her, and I talked about Lesotho’s history relative to Africa’s and why we don’t know so much about her country, her losing both parents and the process of grieving, as well as upholding choices regarding marriage and decisions not to have kids. Lesotho, a constitutional monarchy, regards water as white gold and exports it to South Africa to boost its economy. Lesotho, where owning cows is a sign of wealth, is a beautiful country with hillsides reminiscent of The Shire, traditional ponies, and lush greens but find out why I won’t be visiting it anytime soon.
Patricia is the founder of Podcast Maven (www.podcastmaven.com), and for over four years has helped introvert female business owners find their voice, connect to their audience, and launch their unique podcast.
Follow Patricia on IG: @the_podcast_maven
PS: Looking for investors and partners for a cultural exchange program idea I have for Africans and Asians.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!
Recommended Song: “This is Me” – New Found Glory (2019)
Visit www.mosibyl.com to see show notes.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Selena: The Girl from Mauritius – On Island Living
Let’s explore an African country together in this episode. And no, it’s not Nigeria, haha.
Welcome to the Island, peeps! This African island boasts of enviable beaches for destination weddings. It is a religiously diverse nation, with freedom of religion given as a constitutional right and the only African country with a Hindu majority. As Hawaii is seen drifting away from the continental US, so is this country relative to Africa when viewed on a map. It’s also a country close to Madagascar and the only known habitat of the now-extinct bird – dodo. Mark Twain once quipped that Heaven was copied after this country and Lewis Carroll was inspired by the dodo to write his famous book “Alice in Wonderland” in 1865. Life expectancy here is well higher than the world average and is well above the average for African countries.
Welcome to Mauritius – one of only four countries in the world with no involvement in ongoing international or domestic conflicts and no tensions with neighboring countries. The others being Botswana, Chile, and Uruguay.. As a result, Mauritius does not maintain a standing army.
I invited Selena – who I describe as a spunky, ethnically-ambiguous, culturally-rich, cosmopolitan, Mauritian gal - to talk about her country’s history, its unique aspects, and what her identity and nationality mean to her. We also talked about her overcoming body image issues, experiences as a US immigrant, and how she responds to questions about her origin.
Recommended Song: “Lingua Lebi” – Talulu (2006)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Ozi: Tales of an African Princess in America – On Imposter Syndrome at Work and in Marriage
What do you call it when two podcasters come together to talk about podcasting (and so much more) on a podcast? A meta-fricking moment! Today, you guys get not one, but two African royalties, both with PhDs, dripping in finesse and sauce. In this episode with Dr. Ozi of the Tales of an African Princess in America Podcast, we unpacked a lot on imposter syndrome, its root causes, impact on our work and marriages, and how we have tried tackling it. We also talked about the importance of having mentors, not only in the workplace. If anything, you also get to hear two nerds gush about their research. Special shout-out to Mr. Kenny (from Episode 30, 2018) who made this connection happen!
Ozi is a fashion guru who lives in the music city of Nashville, Tennessee where she does research on sarcoidosis. #Peng
What Dr. Ozi and I have in common:
We are both kicka$$ podcasters and storytellers.
We are total nerds and can gush about our research all day.
We both work on research areas involving rare diseases – she, sarcoidosis, and I – lupus erythematosus.
Our disease areas both have gender and ethnicity disparities; sarcoidosis and lupus affect more Blacks and females.
Recommended Song: “So Far So Good” – Phyno (2017)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mr. Lanre Jacob – The Two-time Nigerian Cancer Survivor
Cancer has become a major source of mortality and morbidity in Nigeria, and with the growing population, impact of westernization, sedentary lifestyle coupled with genetic factors, cancer is on the rise. Today’s guest – Mr. Lanre Jacob of the Lanre Jacob Sarcoma Foundation - has survived cancer - Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans - not once but twice IN NIGERIA. His cancer experience spans three decades with multiple surgeries that have taken a considerable chunk of his head. As a cancer survivor, he went beyond the last stop of the cancer control continuum (survivorship) to become a cancer advocate.
In this episode, we began with his life before diagnosis, the diagnosis odyssey he went through, delayed treatment due to ignorance, and why he is passionate about using his voice to reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Nigeria. We also explored potential opportunities for religious leaders and cancer survivors to lead the campaign in cancer education, reducing stigma, and advocacy. Finally, drawing parallels from our fight against HIV, we talked about why cancer is a war Nigeria is not ready to win given its weak healthcare infrastructure, low budgetary allocation for health, and poor engagement in cancer research.
All in all, I hope this episode serves as a cue for you to go visit your doctor to get a run-down of your numbers and explore potential risk factors, especially for cancer.
PS: Wanna support his foundation and grassroot community efforts on cancer control in Nigeria? Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org; ljcancerworld.blogspot.com; +2348130133902
PPS: Can you say Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans three times without blabbing?
Recommended Song: “El Cóndor Pasa” – Simon & Garfunkel (1964)
The awkward conversations replete in today’s episode is made possible by my guest and friend - Angela; a real-life princess (things I do for you guys, honestly), one of my privileged, certified haters (because I don’t even acknowledge the rest), and a dear friend who is totally in awe of my awesomeness.
Angela is the last of 10 kids, which explains why she is really spoilt. She is a geology scientist and one of the many victims of the oil market collapse, which caused her to seek greener pastures in the oil-abundant area of Calgary, Canada. But as all that glitters isn’t always oil and in need of a job, she did a two-minute elevator speech of her resume. So prospective employers, if you are need of skills like hers, kindly email her on email@example.com
Angela has overcome a lot to be where she is today, especially a delicate, high-risk surgery to treat her chronic back pain from sciatica. And I could not be more proud of her, especially her resolve to find meaningfulness in suffering. That said, I will wish for her to quit her chronic staple diet of Yoruba Demons (and I speak freely on this issue as a Yoruba person) as they have brought nothing but indigestion to her. So, I conducted an intervention for that, and she also used the opportunity to talk about what she wants in a mate. So if you are single and NOT YORUBA, kindly inquire within.
Most importantly, Angela is kind, caring, very thoughtful, and genuine. She will always be unforgettable for a lot of reasons – chief among is how she worked in cahoots with my husband to throw me a surprise party for my 30th birthday that had over 60 people in attendance. I am yet to forgive this transgression.
Love you, Angie. 2,999 times!
In light of the COZA events, a guest and I explored societal influences on the churches' reactions to such happenings. Also, a take on cultural influence on religion and reverence for men of God, and so much more.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mine Tafolar – The Turkish Adventurer
Meet Mine Tafolar – Latin American-loving Byzantine lady. I met Mine through a mutual friend of ours – Gio from Nicaragua (hello, Gio! We love you). Mine was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, where she studied political science and international relations and history at Bogazici University. She has also worked as a journalist for Hurriyet Daily News and prepared internal and international news stories. She holds an MA degree from the Government Department from the University of Texas at Austin with a thesis titled: Buying Support without Brokers: Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey and Argentina. Right now, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She's lived in Istanbul, Ankara, Austin, Buenos Aires, and Chicago.
In this episode, we talked about her life, Turkish pride, starting a Ph.D. program, transitioning from being a teaching assistant (TA) to a teaching role, teaching tips, how she deals with imposter syndrome, and her strategies for balancing being a newlywed grad student.
Mine is pronounced – Me Nay.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Here’s a follow-up to Episode 10. In this episode, I present Dr. Alalade with a real-life case scenario of a patient named “X.” Her story touches a lot of points discussed in Episode 10. Patient X is a 32-year-old Black lady who currently resides in the US. She has had two pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages during the first trimester. Her clinical diagnoses include left ovarian dermoid cyst, severe pelvic adhesive disease, and stage-4 pelvic endometriosis. Together, Dr. Alalade and I explore this patient’s history with him providing a handful of options in helping Patient X reach her goal of multiparity.
Patient X may very well likely be someone you know or someone whose story eclipses yours. Regardless of which category you fall under, never quit seeking the answers you need. The hope, in the meantime, is to build community around these difficult, untalked about socio-cultural issues.
Let me know how I can help.
Disclaimer: Please note that all the contents discussed in this episode are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
It all began with this Facebook post I made in March to find answers to some gynecological questions I had. A friend, then, connected me right away with Dr. Alalade – the award-winning, stock market-loving, UK-trained gynaecologist and founder of the Facebook Group – AsktheGynaecologist, which currently boasts more than 1.3 million members worldwide! Dr. Alalade is a diplomate of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and currently a member of the Institute of Clinical Research UK and Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, London. According to him, his mission is to bring about a total change and accessibility to healthcare information in Nigeria and Africa. He is also a fervent promoter and advocate for maternal health issue. Learn more here.
How, then, can pregnancy outcomes be maximized? How are pregnancy outcomes and sexual intercourse affected by ovarian cysts, fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometriosis? Can you tell the differences between these four gynaecological issues? And why do these issues plague more Black women? What foods can worsen or lessen the symptoms from these gynecological issues? Are herbal products safe to use? Why do fibroids cause painful period and sex, and irritable bowel syndrome? How do we prevent and conservatively manage these issues while maximizing fertility outcomes in women of reproductive age? Why does upward mobility from developing to developed countries worsen reproductive outcomes in women?
So many questions. Not to worry, listen to this episode to get the answers.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
#Phew (breathe in and out)
Let’s take a deep breath from the back-to-back heavy episodes of ovary talks and whatnots. In this episode, I titled ‘여기도 거기에 없어 요’ meaning ‘neither here nor there,’ I talked with my friend, Adrian Patenaude – a confessional poet, one of my pen-pals, and one of the 20-something-year-olds who greatly inspire me. Growing up White in rural Northern Thailand sure had its ups and downs; all of which we unearthed in this episode. We also talked about nostalgia of the moment, our love for books, poetry, and music, giving the gift of music to friends, and reminisced on our Black Mirror viewing party days gone by. I live vicariously through Adrian as she does a great job of archiving her 20s and embracing the awkwardness, quirkiness, otherness, and everything-ness of those growing pains – something that came too late for me in my 20s.
Her poetry has really inspired my work and process, especially with my writing and the show. Reading her poetry is like reading a diary that was accidentally left opened, intentionally; a process she calls performed vulnerability. Also, listen to this episode to find out how she practices self-care.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: Rising Above the Voices – A Deep Exploration of A Nigerian Living with Schizophrenia
For more than 15 years, I have battled with pulsatile tinnitus (the closest diagnosis I have been given) – a condition that equips me with the ultimate pleasure of hearing my own heartbeat (24/7) in the form of a pounding or whooshing sound in both ears. I have done all kinds of series of test ranging from MRI, Doppler scans, to conductive hearing tests, but everything checked out. My symptoms are worse at night, away from the humdrum of the city, causing me increased irritability. Using ear plugs and not thinking about it have helped considerably. For the most part, I have been able to cope with it. It doesn’t really affect me except when it does. I think it’s bad enough having this.
Now imagine that scenario but rather than your heartbeat, you hear actual voices – three distinct ones to be exact. Voices with their unique characteristics and personalities with names to boot. This is a tidbit of what those diagnosed with schizophrenia go through. Schizophrenia is an umbrella-like diagnosis (meaning very broad) with symptoms ranging from delusions, hallucinations (auditory and/or visual), disorganized speeches or behavior to some negative symptoms. Suffice to say, each person’s condition is unique to their own.
Take, for example, our guest for today (let’s call her ‘Sis’) loves the color pink and get excited by it whereas, in another TEDTalk video I watched, the speaker therein talked about how the color red triggered them negatively. Today’s guest is based in the south south part of Nigeria. Sis was diagnosed in 2012 and attributed this to being sexually abused for a prolonged period. Noises from a running tap or generator set trigger her.
For a while, she was catatonic when she was first diagnosed – meaning she could not speak, move, or respond. Getting on medications not only helped her regain her activity, reduce the number of voices to three, but also to harmonize the characters and rule over them. She regrets delaying treatment.
In this episode, we explored her life from diagnosis till date, the impact of this condition on her social life, relationships, activities of daily living, and so much more.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
First, Happy Mother’s Day to moms – in every way, form, or the other. This episode is especially dedicated to a special category of moms – angel moms; mothers with babies in heaven. On a day as triggering as today, I hope you remember the strength that already lies in you.
I brought on a dear friend, Jolasun, to share her experiences as well on pregnancy losses and struggles with motherhood. Drawing from our own experiences, we provided tips on how to retain your joy and not feel resentment towards others. Finally, we shared resources on how wives can facilitate the difficult talk with their husbands regarding the anger, sadness, and missed expectations stemming from miscarriages. To such couples, remember that the best place to be is together.
Remember, it's okay to mourn your loss irrespective of the cultural influence. After all, it’s YOUR loss not the culture’s. The hope for sharing this episode is to encourage anyone out there who’s hiding in the shadows out of shame or sadness from pregnancy losses. Come onto the light, lift your head high, and let’s heal together.
I am here, if you need anyone to talk to.
All my love, tender as it may be,
Mo says: Losing a child (especially one you never got to meet) is like being lost in a crowded marketplace trying to locate someone without a face.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Vaginal talks, because contrary to what you've been told, the vagina has more uses than just sex. Sometimes, things come out of it and other times, things go into it . Today, we will be talking about the former. And by period, I mean menstrual flow, Aunt Flo, Aunty Fola, The Red Robot, Crimson Tide, Lilith Streak (I came up with this one), Carrie, Shark Week, The Red Wedding. Ah, you get the point already!
This episode is a painfully accurate account about all the changes we women go through and the accommodations we have to make during those days of tumultuous bliss, periodt! Plus a no-holds barred convo style on sex education, vaginal (and women’s) health, symptoms management (boob tenderness, mood swings, painful periods), dealing with heavy flow, preventing and cleaning bed stains, and how to properly insert a tampon without impaling yourself to death!
Rihanot Jolasun, RN-BSN, is a nurse with several years of experience who currently practices in the Dallas area of Texas. We did this episode to build support around taboos that have shrouded this topic for way too long. We hope that by getting this conversation started, women too can serve as an ally to other women.
PS: Heavy blood clots during your period are often an indication of something problematic. See your doctor to learn more.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Victory - An Aspirational Nigerian Youth
Nigeria has made a lot of impact on increasing the diversity and talent pool in the US educational system. Meet one of its contributors - Victory Ogunbanwo - a junior student majoring in forensic science and accounting. Victory is young, beautiful and one of those aspirational Nigerians I have been honored to meet here in the US.
In this episode, we explored her life growing up in Nigeria, moving to the USA, and the challenges of preserving cultural values. She also shared what she likes and dislikes most about living in the US as a Nigerian.
You will also hear a little bit on about Nigerian names and their meanings and why names are important to us.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Rania - On Being Muslim and More
Meet Rania Zeithar: A Middle-Eastern Arabic Muslim woman who has lived on three continents: Africa (Egypt), Asia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and now North America (the United States). Rania is married with two children and currently works in special education in the Plano public school system in the US. She is a member of Plano Library’s writers’ group and keeps current with a blog.
In this episode, we explored her tripartite life as a Muslim, African, and an American woman. Other topics explored included whether Islam is a religion of peace and how/why do extremists justify their actions using the Qur’an. It was important for me to initiate this conversation because I could not reconcile the Muslims I knew, while growing up in Nigeria, with the ones portrayed on the news. In short, I wanted to create a space for civil discourse on these matters.
Fun facts about Rania
She overcame glossophobia to help who are suffering from Islamophobia.
Has written and published a book and is currently working on another one.
Credits the humanity and kindness in the American people she’s met in helping her navigate America better.
Book review: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Link to Rania’s book: https://amzn.to/2Y08GJ0
Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/moresibyl
Be a guest: Share your story or process, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe on: iOS, Android devices, RSS. OR join our email list: for weekly podcasting updates
I would love to hear from you! Socials: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Artists (songs) of the moment:
Neotheater Album by AJR. My favorites (so far) from the album are:
Don’t Throw Out My Legos
Break My Face
100 Bad Days
Let’s build bridges,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Tolu - Of Female Friendships, Shared Spaces, and Empathy
Here’s a bold story for you on female friendships and how sometimes, it is not organically formed. And how when you get to a space in your life, and you find yourself in shared spaces with some people and realize that you may have been probably wrong about them all along.
Today’s story is about Tolu. She and I go way back; we went to college together. Tolu is a medical doctor and a researcher who’s based in Denver, Colorado. In this episode, which was taped in Denver, Tolu and I examined our paths – the times they did not cross and when they finally did. And the circumstances and commonalities that brought us together. Her story is one of hope and God’s presence, especially in our darkest, lowest times.
More importantly, this episode is also how to walk away from the intergenerational cycle of pain, the burden of firstborns, grieving the childhood you never had, and loving oneself.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Woot, woot! She’s back!
Welcome to Season 2 – let’s just say that the creative break taken since December was well worth it. I am kicking the new season off with something a bit different – Mo!nologue series (see what I did there :-D?) – where you get to hear me just talk.
In this episode, I did a quick recap of Season 1 and gave some updates on the outcome of some episodes. A big one is how my podcast episode on miscarriage is changing a clinic’s practice in New York City.
I also provided some updates on what I have been doing since December, upcoming travels (let’s hangout, if I am in your city), how I handled a recent failure in my life, my beef with the IRS, and some other moaning of life, in general.
Finally, I will be rolling out a new initiative this year to help with education scholarships and mentorship programs. Find out how you can be a part of this by supporting the show.
PS: I started adopting ASMR recently to help with insomnia, and I have stumbled upon some good videos. See show notes for details and listen to the end of the episode at my lame attempt to recreate ASMR.
Read more on: www.mosibyl.com
So, I am not officially back from my creative break. However, as a matter of urgency, here’s a public service announcement to my fellow Nigerians (especially those in the diaspora) about renewing their Nigerian passports through those Passport Intervention exercises.
It’s about time for me to renew mine and if there’s anything the last two renewals taught me, it’s that it’s a stress-inducing expedition coupled with perhaps, the worst customer service experience I have ever had. I did not want to make the trip to any of the Nigerian embassies in Atlanta, DC, or New York (partly to save time and money), so I searched Google for nearby Passport Intervention activities. What I stumbled upon was startling, to say the least, especially an article written by today’s guest – Prof. Umez (email@example.com) - on what he uncovered. There are several reports and eyewitness accounts of extortion and corruption by those entrusted to provide this public service to Nigerians. Prof. Umez is the president of the Nigerian Foundation in Houston, Texas and the Founder of the Nigerian Leadership Council in the United States.
In a few days’ time, the Consulate General of Nigeria based in Atlanta will be holding a Passport Intervention in Houston, Texas (see link below for more details). This episode highlights the ban and warning already in place to prevent innocent Nigerians from paying additional charges for this services.
Please share this with every Nigerian you know.
PS: In other news, the Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a new passport scheme that’s damage-proof and weather-friendly with a 10-year validity!
“The true deterrent to crime is not the severity but certainty of punishment.”
“Nigeria Go Survive” – Veno (1985)
Passport Intervention Exercise in Houston this coming weekend: http://nigeria-consulate-atl.org/
Article referenced in the episode: http://umez.com/Ongoing-Passport-Intervention-in-Houston-and-Dallas.html
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Villagers
“It takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to help when you have lost a child.” – Mo!
Here you will hear some voice notes from the Villagers - some of those who have been supportive in this journey of miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
I reached out to some of them to leave me voice notes and voicemails. My hope is that some of their words might be encouraging to you too in your own journey.
Resurgam (we rise together),
Of all the things we experience as women, there are some stories that remain hidden. And even when you do get to hear these stories, they are often told from the standpoint of someone who has weathered a forgotten storm.
Here’s a story that defies all of that.
In this episode, I had a heartfelt conversation on a recent pregnancy loss with a fellow sister. Mine ended in an early-stage miscarriage in October and hers, a still-birth at 31 weeks, in November. Culture says we are not supposed to tell you this story. But here we are telling it, anyhow.
Please note that I’m not sharing this story because I expect people to care about how all of this affects me. But because it’s comforting knowing that I am not alone. Maybe some of you who listen to this episode will see your story here. If not, I hope you at least find insight into something that happens all of the time, but only few talk about. After all, this affects one in four women.
Background: “Penelope’s Song” – Loreena McKennitt (2007)
Outro: “Let It Be” - The Beatles (Matt Hylom acoustic cover) (2014)
I see you, Sis:
In Episode 45 – The One with Zainab, Zainab and I talked about the song – Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann and what this song means to us. A line in that song “Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good,” inspired this episode with mom.
Like most families, mine isn’t without its secrets. Growing up, I had a hunch that my family was different, in terms of its origin. For starters, there were no wedding pictures (my parents legally got married eight years after I was born) and I thought my parents’ lives were interrupted. So what was the big secret?
Country bumpkin girl moves to the city with big dreams and bumps into city boy. Boy falls head over heels in love with girl. On one stormy night of passion, one thing led to another; girl *fell pregnant and yours truly was conceived. Girl gets kicked out of the house and begins life, which became the life of mom. Sounds like an R-rated Korean Drama, right?!
This episode is really about getting to know that girl before she became mom and also an opportunity to give words to her fear. While, it’s a story about mom, her sacrifices, and the sheer strength of this woman I am blessed to call my mom, it’s also one about setting our stories free.
So, here’s me hoping you get to know your parents before they became mom and dad. You might just be surprised as to what you may find. I hope you let me know how it goes.
PS: You also get to hear one of my own struggles in this episode.
*Refer to The Linda Ikeji Dictionary, version 18.5
“When You Learn To Sing” – Rocco De Luca (2009)
Here’s a joke for you:
Two Ghanaians and a Nigerian walk into a bar… but left because they didn’t have Nigerian jollof rice.
Ghana, a relatively unknown place until Nigeria shot them into popularity (ugh, the things we do for them!). Also, Ghana, the place filled with people of mystery, strange English diction, low production movies, and weird jollof rice concoction. In a bid to explore this enigmatic country, I invited two Ghanaians over to my house over a meal of Indo-Thai goat curry, Korean steamed rice, and mixed vegetables (all made by yours truly). We explored salient issues like jollof rice (of course! And why Ghanaians cannot get this right), pet peeves (turned out I am more finicky than I thought, ugh), acculturation problems, adjusting to the educational system, books, what traits determine success in grad school, racial identity, questions about my marriage, and so much more.
PS: One of the guests – Elias – took me on my offer to cook any meal of choice for anyone who was visiting Oklahoma and wanted to stop by my house – this is still an open invitation to anyone BTW. Living in America, the off-and-on Ghana-Nigeria banter never ceases. In fact, we unite more as Africans against common causes like acculturation, socialization, and just everything else American. So I guess this is the story about three Africans who are trying to hack it in America.
We Ghana be alright,
Meet Zainab – single mom, graduate student, and special-ed enthusiast! She hails from the Hausa tribe in the Northern part of Nigeria. Zainab has faced some adversities in her life as a domestic violence survivor and divorcee, but she’s turned that all around to pursue her dreams. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.
She plans to go back to Nigeria to establish a world-class school in rural areas and provide free and subsidized education to children, especially those with special needs, who will otherwise not have access to education.
I met Zainab on an online forum, and we became fast friends. In this episode, we talked about her life story, why Northerners don’t migrate to the US, her dreams for her daughter, and why we all need to wear sunscreen, and so much more. Also, find out one thing Zainab does well, that shook me as a Yoruba girl.
Perhaps, the most central thing about this episode is the merit of educating the girl-child and providing her with equal opportunities to change the world around her. Also, remember to seek help if you are in an abusive relationship. Abuse is not OK!
PPS: Hausas was used interchangeably to refer to those from Northern Nigeria. Please note that this is an overgeneralization.
“Wear Sunscreen” – Baz Luhrmann (1999)
Trust me on that sunscreen; wear them,
As this is a show for Blacks, Asians, and those who love them, what better way to solidify that message than with this week’s guest – Teresa Nhi Nguyen. Nhi is pronounced /ɲi/ and Nguyen /ŋwɪn/. Teresa is a freelance graphic/web designer based in Austin, who hopes to create work that can serve to communicate beautiful messages, inspire others, and change the world. In her free time, she dabbles in HTML/CSS, goes on food adventures, and learn new skills to add to her arsenal. You can learn more about Teresa and her work here: http://nhibnguyen.com/.
In this episode, we talked about what being Vietnamese-American means to her and the gentrification of the Asian culture via food and clothing. We also explored career switch, fear of failing, and managing parental expectations.
Perhaps, the most central thing about this episode is how our dreams can shape our world and that of the people around us – from Teresa’s father’s dream of fleeing communist Vietnam (way back then) to start afresh in the US, to Teresa’s dream of changing the world around her through her eyes and talents.
She’s really versatile and comes highly recommended. She is the brains behind the More Sibyl website as she designed it. She also curates logos. So, you got design and branding needs? Hit Teresa up; mention the show to get a discount.
Before design became a passion, she was on her way to optometry school. Find out more by listening.
Parents, especially African and Asian ones, are alike in many ways.
To appreciate and honor other cultures, learn more about its underpinnings and why things are the way they are. Don’t take parts of a culture, relabel it and tag it ‘authentic.’
Cultivate your hobbies because they may someday become your passion and lifework.
“Try everything twice – once for the novelty and second time to see if you really like it.”
Meet Rev. David Esosa Ize-Iyamu, one of the more than 30 Nigerian presidential candidates running in the 2019 election. On a warm, humid Friday evening, just before I was scheduled to catch my flight out of Nigeria, I sat with him in his office to talk about his platform, why he is running, and what he hopes to achieve if given the opportunity to become the next president of Nigeria.
Rev. Ize-Iyamu is the senior pastor of Jesus Evangelical Assembly in Lagos. For more than 20 years, his platform – the Youth Revolution Movement (YRM) has aimed to mobilize youths to play a decisive role in the national socio-economic development and to see empowered Nigerian youths fully realize their potentials and positively contribute to the overall growth, development, and governance of Nigeria.
According to Rev Ize-Iyamu:
Here are the things we need to look for in a presidential candidate: courage, strong nationalistic interest, and integrity.
A lot of credible Nigerians have stayed away from politics. They have focused on different fields and have excelled. As a result, the political terrain and governance realm have been left in the hands of a lot of incompetent, unpatriotic set of Nigerians. And that is why we have the kind of system we have today.
How do we then change this narrative?
Look out for a new breed of Nigerians who are patriotic with burning national interests, be given the competence to lead at every key level of governance. A new team of competent levels can spark off an overwhelming change in the entire governance of the nation.
Remember to exercise your civic duty by voting and doing so wisely.
God Bless Nigeria,
Here’s re-introducing, Yvonne Edo-Olotu. She is a lawyer during the day and a content creator at night/weekends. She is the brains behind the Beautiful Mind Podcast; you can find that show on iTunes/SoundCloud/Stitcher. We met when I worked in Ibadan (a Southwestern city in Nigeria) several years ago. She got her LL.M at Cornell University and recently returned to Nigeria.
In this episode, we took a drive to memory lane to explore our differing personalities and how this defines our friendship; our love-hate relationship with Korean dramas and favorite shows; and why we, as women, need fewer mentors and other kinds of key players to advance our careers and grow personally and professionally.
We also talked about adjustments she had to make when she moved back from the US and how she builds social support in a city as boisterous and crazy as Lagos!
Tips from Mo!:
Never trust a person who kisses with their eyes open.
About our friendship:
She is introvertish and I try to be sometimes (haha).
We bonded initially over the song - 99 Red balloons by Nena.
She is an avid reader as well.
She is a podcaster too; check out Yvonne’s podcast: https://soundcloud.com/beautifulmindpodcast
“Free Fallin’” – John Mayer (Matoma & Nelsaan Tropical Mojito Remix) (2014)
Today’s guest on the show is very dear to my heart and has been a source of support and an oasis of wisdom, especially during some rough patches I experienced in my first few years in the US. Dr. Nnabuchi Anikpezie or 'Buchi (as I like to call him) is another Nigerian in diaspora trying to make a home in his new environment.
Though he trained and worked as a physician before moving to the US, he currently works in healthcare administration as an analyst. His work does not define him, rather it is his Rotary affiliation that he credits for much of his experience and culture. 'Buchi has been part of Rotary for almost twenty years. He is the immediate past president of Rotary eClub One. 'Buchi lives with his family in the Houston metro area.
In this episode, we explored his childhood dreams, why he studied medicine, his decision to switch career trajectories, considering he took a different route than most of his counterparts who end up writing the USMLE and practicing in the US. We also talked about home, our constant search for it, and the sad realization of what we find at the end of it all. Also, on how his accidental stumble into fatherhood changed his life and sharpened his focus.
PS: I really loved taping this episode with Buchi, especially as he talked about his regrets and why he would not change any of those. Here’s a special shout-out to the Bro. Emmas out there: siblings parenting and raising their siblings. Thank you for all you do!
Support the show:
Buchi has a full-concierge travel agency. If you book a flight or hotel through his website, you get a discount, and I do too. By using the code – “MOSIBYL”, you get:
A $10 discount (minimum booking of two nights) on hotels.
$30 off flights (international flights only and does not apply to promo fares).
Check out his page here: www.bcatravels.com
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” – Allen Saunders.
Sometimes, we come to certain decisions or pathways for different reasons. Once we make that decision, we have to own that decision and live it.
Don’t dwell on your regrets, no matter how mighty they were.
“Ojigi” – Phyno (2014)
Now, even more than before, many Nigerians are leaving the country to seek better opportunities in developed countries. This is unsurprising if you consider the prolonged political and economic instability that have rendered the country hard and reductive for its inhabitants. For those who have moved abroad, fewer are even willing to relocate to Nigeria voluntarily. That’s why I find today’s guest intriguing.
Meet Afolabi, who holds dual citizenship as a Nigerian and an American. He spent a chunk of his formative years in the US but made the decision to move back to Nigeria after college. In this episode, we explored the reason behind this decision, returnee issues, and how small businesses can thrive in a parasitic environment like Nigeria. Finally, what Nigeria, despite its extractive economic and political institutions, where a culture of monopoly, corruption, and lack of political rights are the norm, does relatively better to help businesses grow compared to Western countries.
PS: As a Nigerian living in the US, I have been asked several times by several people if I plan on moving back home and my answers have varied throughout the years. These days, I say an emphatic ‘no’ with poignant reasons. However, my discussion with Afolabi has given me a lot to think about, so let’s see and never say never.
Tip #1 for returnees: Be flexible.
Surviving as an entrepreneur in Nigeria takes a lot of effort and consistency.
Nigeria offers a greater foundation for transformation and creation than the United States and other countries in the West.
Not everyone who is living abroad is doing well as most live mediocre lives.
Nigeria needs our help; the more hands on deck, the better the country will be.
For Nigerians who are living abroad, what strong factors would make you consider moving back to and staying back in Nigeria?
“Motherland” – Sound Sultan (2007)
Meet Tanya Crossman – she grew up in Sydney and Canberra, Australia, and lived in Connecticut, USA for two years of high school. She moved to China independently at age 21, where a study year turned into 11 years abroad. While in China, Tanya began mentoring Third Culture Kids (TCKs) - young people who, while not Chinese citizens, were growing up there due to parents' choices of work or study. After ten years spent supporting TCKs, Tanya wrote a book to explain their experiences and perspective to others. She currently lives in Beijing with her husband.
In this episode, we talked about homesickness, the constant search for home, acculturation, and how to build emotional support in a new country. In addition, we explored emotional resilience, why we should visit Australia, and what I would want people to know about Nigeria.
PS: Find more details about Tanya and her book here: Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century
Fun facts about Tanya:
Like me, she finds language fascinating and unlike me, has studied more than 11 languages.
She studied Mandarin for many years before relocating to China.
She is a data nerd.
Her job entails serving as a liaison between TCKs and their parents. Tanya comeswith some expert authority on TCK life including statistics and stories from her original research.
We should never take people at just face value. Looking at me, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I speak Korean, or that Tanya speaks Mandarin. Our experiences are etched deeply in our stories and you would not know until they are shared.
OCTOBER 25, 2018
This is one episode you should not miss as it features my very own Poojee!
In this episode, Poojee aka Omonike (my mother gave her this name, and it means ‘a child to be cherished’ in Yoruba – A Nigerian language) and I gush shamelessly about the love we have for each other. Pu, as I love to call her, and I went to grad school together in Austin, and she now lives in London. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you would have seen posts of me her and together. In this episode, we explored Poo’s story: growing up (female) in India; dropping out of grad school; how she coped with managing those expectations and from others too; our friendship and its oddities; and why we will not be breaking up anytime soon.
Poo is about one of the very few friends I chased (I am usually the one being chased), and I explain why this was so and why I would shamelessly do it over and over again. Poo is as geeky and nerdy as I am and loves Korean drama too. We also both share a mutual disdain for Apple® products. Suffice to say, our friendship will irretrievably break if either one of us cheats on the other by taking a bite from any of the already-bitten Apple products that are Mac and all of its i-Friends.
TL; DR: It’s a story of an odd love, friendship, and sisterhood between two most unlikely people who share different beliefs on religion (she is Hindu, I am Christian) and food (she eats rabbit food (aka vegetarian), and I eat rabbits (aka non-vegetarian), and even personalities (she’s introvertish, and I am hella extravertish, yup it’s a word!). How we make it work and how a little understanding and radical acceptance is needed in cross-cultural friendships. It’s also a story of resilience, dealing with the fear of failure, and keeping things moving.
PS: I would love to hear from my listeners sometimes, you know. My inbox is getting too lonely, and I am feeling a bit insecure about this. Please help me overcome this podcast insecurity by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org on what you either think of the show in general or this current episode. Please and thank you!
Poojee says: “Don’t be afraid to look like a fool asking for help.”
Speak candidly and gently to a friend about their hang-ups and things you think they could work on. In return, listen patiently too to what they have to say about you. The goal is to establish openness in your friendship.
“Monta Re” – Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Bhattacharya (2013)
Hey friends, I want to take a hot moment to let you know how grateful I am to have this platform to share stories and connect humanity. So, if you are reading this and would like to come on the show to share yours, please let me know. This is our platform, and together, we can set our stories free.
Meet Shama Farag – an Arabic-English Translator at TED talks, Coursera Global Translator Community. She’s an author and a journalist blogger at HuffPost Arabic, Aljazeera blogs, Sasa post. She is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church Interfaith community FIRE “ Fostering Interfaith relationship in Eastside,” a member at MAPS MCOC “Many culture one community,” member of IOC “Interfaith outreach community at Muslim Association of Puget Sound. She is Egyptian and a mom of two boys.
In this episode, we talked about heart stories and immigration, how Africans aren’t really taught about other African countries and what we can do to fix this. We also talked about what it is like being Egyptian, and she gave us reasons why we need to visit Egypt.
Her book, “Hi, I am Syrian” was inspired by some negative experiences she had as a Muslim and she decided to do something to change that narrative.
Shout-out to Salma for making the introductions!
PS: My ignorance about African countries, especially Egypt, shone brightly in this episode.
Question: Why do you think Africans aren’t taught about other African countries?
There are many Arabic dialects – I did not know this.
Egypt has a lot more to offer than just the pyramid.
We can use our stories to transform the world around us.
Notable Quote by Shama:
“Every calamity you have in your life will treat you a lesson.”
السلام عليكم (Peace be unto you),
First, happy birthday to me! It’s the second anniversary of my 30th birthday! As a way of saying thank you to you all for being wonderful fans, here’s a bonus episode. It’s also a special one because it depicts my favorite trait in all of its rawness – vulnerability. In this episode, my guest – Mr. Ayokunle Falomo and I traded stories on our struggles with depression, how we cope with it, and how religion can be a cure and curse, depending on how it is wielded. I chose to share this with you all because I think it is important to remind you of the story behind the glory. I also believe that God is not silent when we suffer and that we ought to reject the shame and embrace the hope in Christ. Finally, that: 1) depression is not as uncommon as you think and affects a lot of people, 2) it’s OK not to be OK sometimes, and, 3) there’s always help around the corner.
So, I hope this episode helps someone feel connected and to remind that someone that they are not alone. Don’t give up on fighting and it’s OK to seek help. Here’s me saying that a new day will dawn tomorrow and you’d be there with me to practice your purpose once again; one replete with choosing life and finding ways to be more gentle and compassionate with yourself. That you would always remember to remind yourself that you are enough and always will be.That every baby steps you are taking right now to get back on track are a significant move towards the right path.
PS: We also explored how funnily our depression can be brought on by just not our fear of failure but when we succeed. And how there’s a recurring struggle with purpose and productivity, and how these are tied to our self-worth. Ayokunle Falomo is: a Nigerian, a TEDx speaker, an American, the winner of the 2018 Stacy Doris Memorial Award and the author of kin.DREAD & thread, this wordweaver must! As a poet, his singular mission is to use his pen as a shovel to unearth those things that make us human. He and his work have been featured in print (Local Houston magazine, Glass Mountain) and online (The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and Berkeley Poetry Review. You can find more information about him and his work at www.kindreadbook.com.
Shout-out to Dr. Ayomide Adebayo whose post in 2013 about depression gave me the insight needed to seek help.
“The work of digging into the past is the work of the now. For some of us, the past is never past. A lot of things still hold us back, and factors such as family dynamics, environmental and work factors contribute a lot to our mental health.”
Read more about my story here: https://goo.gl/dtc2ZQ
Intro: “Eye Adaba” – Asa (2007)
Outro: “Fame” – Adekunle Gold (2018)
Love you all,
Welcome back to another episode of the podcast! I have not been getting feedback about the show like I used to, so I am guessing things are either good with the show or I’ve been forgotten :-(. Guess all that was just to say, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email on email@example.com or just say hello here :-D
Here is introducing Dr. Planas, Ph.D. - an Associate Professor of Pharmacy, my senior colleague, and African sister! Her office is two doors away from mine, and she’s partly one of the main reasons I landed my academic position at the University (it began with a conference in 2015, listen to find out how). I met through my advisor while I was still in grad school.
Dr. Planas or Lourdes as I call her is Cubana-American; her parents fled Cuba when she was just one month old. In this episode, we talked about life in the US and growing up in New Orleans instead of Miami (this has the largest concentration of Cubans). We also explored racial identity and how pharmacy helped her overcome racism and cultural identity issues, especially growing up in a time when it was certainly not cool to be Cuban.
You will also hear about the two clocks that are churning fast for fecund women in academia – the biological and tenure variety. And why Lourdes’ deliberate plan of putting her biological clock ahead of the tenure one is one she does not regret. Also, we talked about why women require more than just mentors to have a successful career.
Dr. Planas is married to Rick (also a pharmacist), and they have two adorable kids who I have had the pleasure of babysitting a couple of times. I am technically family :-D Lourdes also emphasized the importance of having a supportive spouse when on a tenure-track or in grad school while raising kids.
PS: After taping this episode, her mother’s DNA results were updated and linked with hers. She is 0.5% French, yayy her wishes finally came true. Only 0.5%, you say? C’est la vie!
Fun facts about Lourdes:
She waited 12-13 years to have kids.
She was recently promoted to Associate Professor.
She is really of mixed heritage; a small part of her is Asian, African, European, Native American.
She made me see Black Panther with her as a condition for coming on the show.
She has all the cutest tchotchkes; there’s almost nothing she doesn’t have in her office.
We both serve as co-advisors to the organization - Student National Pharmaceutical Association #SNPhA.
Go to conferences – it helps to build your social capital and network that could land you that job.
Find yourself a Lourdes at work or even better, be a Lourdes to someone.
Whether you put the biological or tenure clock first, make sure it is a decision you have given careful thoughts.
Women have been over-mentored and under-sponsored.
Try a Cuban sandwich but not outside of Miami or Tampa Bay, Florida.
“I got the biological clock and the tenure clock, which one was going faster. I put the biological clock first, I really did, I don’t regret it. Sometimes, things happen in life, and everyone is different, but I wanted to be in a stable position, put down some roots.“
“Once I moved to Jacksonville because I was a Pharmacist and helping people, I felt more connected to that community, and I felt less threatened by them, and I felt empowered. Being educated, having a career, and being a pharmacist, helped empower me to rise above the tension I perceived between my culture and the society at large.”
Intro: “Big Chief Part 2” – Professor Longhair (1964) &n
A little-known fact about me is that I grew up on a staple diet of Indian movies, and this continued shortly until after Bollywood became a global phenomenon. India, for me, will always be my first entry point into Asia and its cultural diversity, as a young child growing up in Nigeria. And still on India, this week’s guest has a unique story, especially how her love for India was forged at a young age (hint: it began in a classroom). In this episode, you will hear how her dream spurned into something glorious that has now shaped her life-course and those of the generations coming after her.
Meet, Emily: she describes herself as Jewish-ish and a lover of Jesus. She is also a wife to Jose and mother to two delightful, energetic kids. In this episode, you will learn what it means to follow your calling even when you are not sure where it might lead you. You will also hear tips on multicultural marriage and how to raise kids in such a dynamic environment, as well as its beauty and challenges.
PS: This episode was shot in my house when Emily came visiting with her kids; you may hear her daughter’s voice in the background. Shout-out and a Namaste to Daphne Raj for introducing me to this wonderful lady.
Fun facts about Emily:
She convinced her mother to let her go to India when she was 15 (Please do not try this at home with your African parents, thank you. And if you must, approach them with caution).
She loves tea.
From the ages of 15, till she turned 22, she visited India up to nine times.
Her interest in India was initially piqued by her need to fix Christopher Columbus’ error #DiscoverAmerica.
Similarities between the Jewish and Indian cultures
They are both family and community oriented.
People from both cultures have driven personalities.
Differences between the Jewish and Indian cultures
Women have a lot of say-so in the Jewish culture, in general, and can be headstrong.
The approaches towards money differ.
Find the beauty in both cultures and highlight those but bear in mind that there is going to be a more dominant culture. You kinda have to accept this otherwise you are just gonna fight all the time.
Let your kids take part in the different cultural activities that are part of their background.
“The Whole 30 diet is like Paleo on steroids.”
PPS: After our talk, I got this text from Emily later at night.
“I think I should have said on intercultural marriage... Jesus! Without Him, we would fight like cats and dogs! He puts it all into perspective...culture and His perspective on it all really helps us to keep our particular preferences in check!”
Nama’stay here, with y’all for a bit,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Kenny
Still on the daddy issue (I know! But hear me out on this one). This week’s episode started with an email I received from one of my ardent listeners - who was also today’s guest on the show. It was also the first official fan mail I got!:
Everyone believes fathers should be strong and just provide financially while the mothers raise the children. I am a father of a 3-year-old daughter with a rare medical condition (which has resulted in massive learning/developmental delays). My wife and I are very hands-on in raising our daughter. What I've experienced in the three years of fatherhood is that the mothers get more support than fathers. I'm Nigerian born but been living in the UK for the last eight years. Do you have any guests who can talk on the topic - fathers and support for them?
The contents of the email tugged at my heartstrings. After much reflection on the choice of guest, I decided to ask Mr. Kenny if he wouldn’t mind doing the honors as I could not think of any other perfect guest to do justice to such an important and rarely discussed topic.
In this episode, you will hear about the challenges, societal expectations, and triumphs of raising a child with special needs. You will also hear tips on how to build and foster support for those with special needs, especially for parents and caregivers. More importantly, you will hear about a father’s love; the kind that is unspoken but constant, affirming, assuring, and ever-giving.
PS: Olivia’s condition is called 1p36 deletion syndrome (also known as monosomy 1p36). It is a congenital genetic disorder characterized by moderate to severe intellectual disability, delayed growth, seizures, limited speech ability, and weak muscle tone with varying symptoms depending on the exact location of the chromosomal deletion. There is no cure for this disease. Treatment depends on the symptoms and may include rehabilitation/educational programs, antiepileptic medication, and standard therapy for affected organs. You will also hear about a day in the life of Olivia.
According to Kenny:
Olivia’s condition has brought him and his wife together, as a closer family unit.
Don’t be afraid to be open and vulnerable, especially to those who love and care about you.
Be their voice and advocate, especially when talking to health care providers.
Read, research, observe, and pay attention as much as you can on the condition.
Love is a powerful tool with healing powers; make sure to show your children love.
Social support is critical when dealing with rare diseases. Find a patient advocacy group to belong to and if unavailable, consider starting one that is relevant to your cause.
Fun facts about Olivia:
She just turned three and is quite the spunky three-year-old with some sass. #Yasss
She loves her soft toys.
Her favorite color is blue.
She loves grabbing things so be careful with your earrings, headphones, or necklaces when around her.
She is the boss of the house.
Hearing her distinct laughter echo around the house, according to dad, always warm his heart.
And to dearest Olivia, when you can get to read this, dad (and mum) would like for you to remember that:
You are beautiful and specially-abled.
You will be able to live a fully functional life.
You can achieve anything you put your mind towards.
Always show love to people.
"Daughter" – Loudon Wainwright III (2007)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Nathan - My Burmese Friend
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is the second largest country in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 50 million people. Chances are Myanmar is one of those countries that has never crossed your radar. It used to be this way for me too until I met my dear friend, Nathan, in 2014. Nathan is from Myanmar and is ethnically Chinese. He left Myanmar in his teens to live in Singapore. He holds a Masters in computer science and software development but switched his career by bagging an MBA with a focus on public health, so people won’t think he is the IT guy (*insert Asian joke here*).
In this episode, we explored the shadows of our countries, post-British colonization. If I learned anything from this episode, it is that poor countries (as measured by absolute poverty) have similar presentations, no matter what part of the world they are located in. This is because poor countries are poor because they have extractive economic and political institutions, where a culture of monopoly, corruption, and lack of political rights are the norm. (Recommended text: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (2013) by D. Acemoglu and J.A. Robinson). As a result, Nigeria and Myanmar as so much alike in more ways than I thought, and not just due to our common colonizer – the British.
I gauged his opinion on Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who is making headline news over her alleged inaction to the persecution of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and refusal to accept that Burma's military has committed massacres.
We also talked about his hobbies – reading and traveling, as well as our mothers and WhatsApp broadcast messages.
PS: Nathan and I met in 2014 while interning at the same biotech company in Boston. During that time, we hung out a lot and explored a lot of the Boston scenes.. This episode was shot at his house in Somerville while I revisited Boston in July.
Fun facts about Nathan:
He loves to dance and is exceptionally adept at it. I have gone dancing with him a couple of times, so trust me on this.
He is a polymath; a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.
He is not good at Math (Shocking! Insert yet another Asian joke here).
We both have a dark sense of humor, haha.
Similarities between Myanmar and Nigeria:
The income gap in Myanmar is among the widest in the world, with supporters of the former military government controlling a larger share of the wealth.
A lot of people move out to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Think push and pull factors, with Singapore being the top destination. With the UK, USA, or Canada being top destinations in Nigeria.
June 12 is to Nigeria as August 8 is to Myanmar #8888.
Self-censoring was rampant throughout the 80s under the military era.
While there is a huge importance placed on education, both countries experience corruption in educational equality mostly due to poor government infrastructure.
Both countries ‘run’ on US dollars, with hundred dollar bills being the most preferred.
Inflation rates are off the roof and highly unpredictable.
Mothers in both countries have a special thing with sending cringe-inducing WhatsApp broadcast messages.
Due to outdated power grids, dating back to the British colonization era, blackouts are frequent.
The people are really about the best thing about these countries.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Lawals
In talking with some of my friends, especially those who just became new parents, I found that a lot of them struggle with the feeling of insecurity around parenthood and fear of not doing enough as a parent. It humbles me when I hear these conversations because I think most of them are really good parents. In a bid to build community for these issues, I invited The Lawals on the show. Thus, this episode is dedicated to those friends and others like them. I hope you connect to this and that much more, you realize how amazing you already are.
This episode features a candid conversation with Nigerian parents who are raising Nigerian-American kids. You will hear about their insecurities, fears, and rewards regarding parenting. On how certain adaptations and tag teaming are necessary when raising kids in a different society than the one you grew up in. Also, on cultural differences and why some Nigerian parents do not allow their kids to go on sleepovers or playdates.
PS: This episode was shot in their house on a lazy Saturday morning. I have come to a soft conclusion that third-culture kids, raised by Nigerian parents, have a lot of shared experiences, especially of being grounded similarly, regardless of where they grow up in the world. Gotta give it to Naija parents for the homogeneity.
Fun facts about The Lawals:
They have twin girls! I am crazy about twins; so much so I married one (not only for this reason, haha).
Mrs. Lawal is still a patriotic Nigerian; you need to see the glimmer in her eyes every time she talks about Nigeria.
They met online way back when we used dial-up technology to surf the internet. #truelove
They play good cop, bad cop with the kids; listen to find out who plays what.
Be mindful as parents. Always turn back to say: “Hi, I love you, I will see you later.”
Tell your kids what to do but make sure you show them why, when needed. Especially as they grow up and become more assertive.
Parenting is a continuous improvement process. Parents learn through their kids as much as their kids learn from them.
Be a lazy parent – let your kids figure some things out, engage their curiosity to help their brain grow.
“It is crazy that the one place that you seemingly cannot truly feel that your kids are completely safe is inside American schools. You are not truly sure of whom you are handing them over to or with whom they are interacting.”
You cannot raise your kids in a bubble. From Monday to Friday, they spend more awake hours outside of the home, and you have no control over these external environment. This is why we communicate the whys and hows with our kids and lead them by example.”
These struggles, we have as parents, will never go away. What we need to fight this is the constancy of the parents, and hopefully, some of our teachings will stick. Not all will stick because they will form some of their own thoughts based on the environmental influences.”
" Ode to My Family" – The Cranberries (1994)
PPS: My prayers for us is that we never lose our purpose and inherent functionality unlike the dishwashers in Nigerian homes.
The kids are alright,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Bamgbade
For this episode, we need to do 100 cartwheels, throw some confetti, and roll out the red carpet, because it features the very Queen in all of her splendid glory! Here’s introducing Dr. Benita Bamgbade, aka BeNyoncé (get it?) Born to first-generation Nigerian immigrants, growing up in H-town (Houston), Benita grew up very conscious about her heritage, especially at an era when it was uncool to be African (pre-Wakanda times). In this episode, we talked about all these and what it has been like moving to Beantown (aka Boston) from Texas. We also explored life as a new assistant professor of pharmacy and how dating or making friends in your 30s can be Herculean tasks.
PS: She does research on mental health and designed an intervention recently on the health-seeking behaviors between Blacks and Whites in the US. She loves Jesus and Beyoncé! Also, we may have been well oiled and highly spirited when we taped this episode #redredwine #invinoveritas
Fun facts about Dr. Bamgbade:
She is so extra like me, and we connect on a deeper, spiritual level with that. We work well together and always come up with the most extra, lofty ideas, haha!
For her research on mental health, she has won two back-to-back awards at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) meetings. #gogirl
She is the first rapper on the show.
We both love and miss #HEB. If you never lived in North and Central Texas, you won’t understand the struggles #lesigh
Significantly higher proportion (81%) of young Black adults living with depression in the US do not seek help when compared to Whites.
Don’t get too bogged down about what your friends and family would think. The people you are worried about care about you. If you are living with depression and not living your best self, go get help. It gets better when you get help.
So people don’t like you? Oh well! You will be alright, and they will be alright too.
We cannot be our jobs; there’s gotta be more to life. Find your ‘more.’
Being Nigerian now is super cool, but it was not cool growing up from elementary school till the beginning of high school. Being African was not cool, but now everyone is like ‘Wakanda Forever.’ Like no! You used to make fun of me; this is not for you. Go sit down or apologize or do both.”
“Being Nigerian and American to me means being the best of both worlds. I love being Nigerian; I thank God that I am Nigerian, I love the culture. My American side too has its merits and having a ground foundation on both sides are great. The downside is not being fully grounded on either side.”
“Being a professor is like graduate school on crack. The pressure is so much more now on a tenure clock.”
" Red Red Wine" – UB40 (1983)
I woke up like this,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mai
Born to an Okinawan mom and an American dad, thus growing up bi-racial in a multi-cultural home meant Mai had to ask tough questions from the start about identity, equality, community, friendships and the like. An aspiring graphic designer and a secretive poet, she uses the arts to continue the journey of those questions, through her multi-cultural marriage, and the community around her. A fighter for love to be in action in all places; who loves hearing the stories of those around her in hopes to build better bridges in all places and with all people. Mai also enjoys the simple pleasures of puppies, coffee, food of all kinds, and summer activities.
In this episode, we talked about her cultural heritage and tips on how to navigate multiculturalism in language, marriage, and expressions.
PS: Okinawan-Japanese is the equivalent of Hawaiian-American; thus, Mai is ethnically Okinawan. Also, it would mean a lot to Mai if you went to see 'Crazy Rich Asians;' according to her "your ticket purchase helps affirm the industry that people want to see diverse leads."
Fun facts about Mai:
Her parents met in Japan when dad was in the US Airforce.
If she speaks too much in one language, her brain gets tired. So, she needs a fine balance of people with whom she can speak English and Japanese.
She spent a lot of time in Japan when growing up. So much so that when she moved back to the US, she was classified as an international student and had to take ESL (English as a second language) classes.
Mai had two very good questions for me as a Nigerian about Nigerians.
Your insight as a multicultural person is always needed and valuable.
Be proud of your heritage.
Notable Quotes from Mai:
“I find the Japanese culture at times fascinating because even though it is a communal society, there is so much pressure on the individual to succeed which sometimes creates a painful tension.”
"In America, it is harder to build quality friendships because it is an individualistic society. Thus, self-love here, ironically, is to schedule spontaneous activities to make sure I spend quality time with my friends."
“Being married to a Chinese-American, we both have to learn how to navigate this space of multiculturalness we share. We both have parallel lives of being able to relate on how it feels to navigate multiple cultures and not really feeling like we belong to anyone in particular.”
"Say Anything" - X-Japan (1991) [Mo says: "The arrangement of the musical instruments reminds me of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody"]
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Bunns
Meet the Bunns or like I call them, Love Bunns; they are one of my favorite dyads in the world. Despite just meeting them a little over a year ago in Oklahoma, I consider myself blessed and honored to be a part of their family and that I get to call them “fremily” (family+friends).
Charlie and Dona Bunn are also the Directors/Chi-Alpha campus pastors for the University of Central Oklahoma. Chi-Alpha is an outreach ministry to universities to reach students, reconcile them to Christ, and transform the university, the marketplace, and the world. Statistics have reported that 85% of international students have neither eaten in an American home and 75% have never been in an American home. The Bunns, through their ministry, are trying to change those statistics. For twenty years, they have been building community for international students to give them a sense of belonging.
In this episode, we explored how Americans can benefit from multiculturalism, and how internationals (students) in the US contribute to broaden the worldview of Americans. We also talked about what Americans can do to change the perception held by most internationals of Americans of being just friendly but not necessarily good friends.
They are in need of funds for renovations, generate scholarships for students, and so much more.
Donations towards their ministry can be made here: goo.gl/YNa7dj
Contact the Bunns: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram: ucochialpha, Facebook: Charlie Bunn, Dona Bun
PS: I joined Chi Alpha in 2011 when I was a student in Austin, and I credit this group for enriching my American experience as they were very beneficial to helping me build community.
Fun facts about The Bunns:
Their kids have traveled for international mission trips to Haiti, El-Salvador, Jamaica.
Dona, like all the little girls who grew up in Montana then, wanted to be an Olympic skater. Now she applies her degree in counseling to help international students through her ministry.
Growing up in a small town in Arkansas, Charlie could have fought fires in Montana but now sees himself living in another foreign country.
They do really have a heart and love for international students.
Through this ministry, the Bunns have had contact with students from more than 125 countries.
It is worth the extra effort to befriend international students. Take the time, ask questions, as they want you to have a genuine interest in their lives.
There is room in your heart to show some love to international students
Wherever you may find yourself and when in need of community, find the Charlies and the Donas.
Cultural exchange is a two-way street; you are also helping Americans learn more about your culture as much as you are learning about theirs.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
“If God has called you to be a ditch digger, any other thing you would do (e.g., doctor) will be a step-down. I think sometimes we place importance on a certain level of job, income, notoriety. Whatever God has called you to do is what you should be doing. Find what your talents are, and find how to make money from there.” - Charlie
"We love it. We love that our kids did not see color. I am glad that they have an appreciation for international students and can easily connect with people. And I am a little jealous of that because we were raised differently." - Dona
“Before Christ, I enjoyed people to a certain extent. After Christ, God gave me more of a love and a trust. I don’t think I trusted people very much before; I was suspect of so many things." – Charlie
"Kola" - Damien Jurado (2016)
On one lazy Sunday in May, I fell into one of those YouTube black holes and ended up watching a video about Damilola - today’s guest. I remembered being transfixed for the whole 30+ minutes I watched it. It made me cry, raise my hand furiously to heaven, sigh deeply, contemplate the hearts of men and the pains we inflict on each other, and most importantly, it made me want to do something. Thus, I was moved to action to help this young lady re-tell her story in a more humanistic way, with more emphasis on the person behind the story, as I thought this element was grossly lacking in the interview I had just watched her in.
Dear friends and listeners, today, I present to you a story of Ms. Damilola Falodun, a 23-year-old native of Ekiti state, an orphan, and a survivor of human trafficking. Lured under the pretext of finding work in Oman, her and several others endured harsh conditions while in Oman. It’s a story about finding your way back home after you have lost your way, in every sense of the word. It is also one that reminds us of, perhaps most importantly, that home is always where the heart is.
Ms. Damilola is back in Nigeria now, safe, and slowly trying to build her life back. She also recently enrolled in a University to study entrepreneurship and business management. Her goal is to set up a foundation to help rescue and train young girls on artisan skills that can make them financially independent.
You can make that Ms. Damilola’s dream come true by listening to this episode, sharing it with your friends and contacts to increase awareness on this issue, or making a small donation to help Damilola get her life back. You can also do all three.
Here are her account details: Damilola Falodun, 2065970162, UBA bank
You can also donate via the show by emailing me. Every cent received for this purpose will go directly to Ms. Damilola.
Contact Ms. Damilola : Email: email@example.com; Instagram @sayno2slavery
Nigeria currently has no diplomatic presence or embassy in Oman making it extremely difficult for those who want to leave to seek refuge.
Dear teenager or young adult reading this, do not fall for quick ways of making money. You could be selling your life away.
Most countries have standard procedures in place for visits, so do not be lured by promises of free visas, steps that entail bypassing those standard procedures, and whatnots. If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
Ms. Damilola is still plagued with the guilt of leaving the others behind.
While we explored Oman in today’s story, there are other countries (e.g., Libya) that have been implicated similarly.
Notable Quotes by Damilola:
“While in Oman, I prayed to God that if I was rescued and made it back to Nigeria safely, I will use my voice and all my resources to create awareness on this issue.”
“It is better to drink garri and ordinary water in Nigeria, at least you will be free here, than being stuck in a foreign place as a slave. I will not stop until I see people rescued back to Nigeria.”
"Hallelujah" - Funbi (2017)
Meet Solonia: America-born-Ethiopian-Taiwanese, currently living in Singapore, with life chapters spanning the US and Asia. Solonia identifies as a citizen of the world - challenging conventional notions of identity and purpose, and evangelizing life + work by design. As co-founder of The Change School, Solonia designs and facilitates transformational learning for harnessing self-discovery, entrepreneurial grit, and creative intelligence. She is a writer, storyteller and mindset coach.
In this episode, we talked about being a cultural nomad – tips, its perks and downsides, embracing one’s cultural richness, and how to homogenize ones’ culturally-rich identity.
PS: Solonia and I compared Asian and African cultures and the concept of same-same but different.
Contact Solonia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about TheChangeSchool: http://thechangeschool.com/ and mention the show “The More Sibyl Podcast” to get discounts on their programs.
Fun facts about Solonia:
Solonia has been recognized as Asia's 50 Women Leaders for Leadership Excellence by CMO Asia, awarded for Global Training & Development Leadership by the World Training & Development Congress.
She was invited to speak at TEDxAuckland on the future of Global Citizenship.
African and Asian cultures share similar traits like shared core values, familial piety, the value of education, celebrating around food, and respect for elders.
Really embrace your cultural richness; don’t hide it! Your difference is what makes you unique.
Bring that (cultural) curiosity to your life and work.
Being African and Asian can mean being twice under that parental pressure to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or nothing else.
According to Solonia:
“Does anyone else think it questionable that we use the word "expat" to describe non-natives living/working in non-Western countries, whereas in the reverse instance we refer to "foreign workers" and "immigrants" or "migrants" only? When was the last time you heard Asian professionals or short-term residents in the US, Europe, or Australia, for example, being described as Expats? #justsayin
“The beauty of Singapore is so diverse and shows the difference between homogenization and melting pot. In America, there is a push to homogenize and adopt the American culture and become American. In Singapore, by contrast, there is no real need or pressure to become Singaporean. Everyone can coexist, and there is a feeling that everyone is able to retain their culture while existing in a diverse society.”
“My background and upbringing have really helped me to appreciate historical cultures and be able to connect with people from different backgrounds because you are constantly adapting and making empathetic connections.”
WARNING: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS MESSAGES THAT MIGHT BE DISTURBING TO SOME LISTENERS – ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO MAY HAVE EXPERIENCED ONE FORM OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE OR THE OTHER.
This was easily the most difficult episode I have worked on this podcast. The prevalence of child sexual abuse is one that cannot be ignored (especially in a country like Nigeria with its burgeoning population and lax rules). Why? Because abused children grow up to become adults who may suffer from mental health issues ranging from substance abuse, personality disorders, conflict in romantic or interpersonal relationships, to eating disorders. Of all the things that can be done to you, rape is probably one of the worse because it is your body and you have to carry it along for the rest of your life; there is no escaping from it. Even when you try to physically escape from it, the body (and brain) always keep the score.
In this episode, I discussed these issues at length with a longtime friend and a lawyer – Theresa Odigie. As an author, Theresa uses her words to rescue people from grief, insecurities, or anything that poses as a stronghold in one's life. Follow her on Instagram as Theresa.odigie.
PS: We discussed a poem from Theresa’s new book, a collection of poems – Broken Porcelain. This book is a collection of pure sadness and connectedness which can be purchased on Amazon at a discounted price (for the next 10 days), courtesy of the show. Kindle version and hard copies are available.
Things not to say to a child sexual abuse survivor:
“I know how you feel.” – [This minimizes the robustness of their pain]
“It could have been worse.” – [Also minimization]
“Time heals the words.” – [There’s nothing powerful about the passage of time. Memories don’t know time]
“Tell me more details on how it happened.” – [Voyeuristic and misuse of trust. Let them offer up their story how and when they want.]
“Don’t worry, it is going to be all right, God makes beauty from ashes.” – [Certainly not biblical.]
“You need to forgive and move on.” – [I can’t even!]
Rather, try saying:
“I believe you.”
“I am glad you are talking to me.”
“I am glad you are safe.”
“It’s understandable. You are not crazy for feeling this way.”
“It’s OK to cry.”
“I am sorry this happened to you.”
Find someone to talk to. If you cannot, talk to strangers, you are not really investing in them emotionally.
Even better, find another survivor to talk to. They have lived the abuse, and are usually able to nurture another survivor.
Don’t blame yourself for what happened to you. Give that baggage away; it was never yours.
Healing is possible and a long journey, but it is worth it.
If someone confides in you, you are obligated to listen
When someone opens up to you, do not break their trust
Parents should be more vigilant and strive to create safe spaces for their children to communicate openly with them on any issues.
“Leave the Lights On” – Beth Hart (2003)
US: National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline - Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) - https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline
Nigeria: Mirabel center - Managed by Partnership for Justice Tel: 08155770000, 07013491769, 08187243468, 01-2957816 www.pjnigeria.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, http://mirabelcentre.org/
Holcomb, Justin. (2011): Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. Crossway Publishers
Child Sex Abuse: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse
You are not alone; I see you,
So, y’all know like how I am the first Nigerian-Korean you know, right?! Well, I am here to introduce you to the first Korean-African - Soo, or Joshua (you will get this reference once you listen) who speaks Pidgin English fluently. He’s as African at heart as I am Korean and as passionate about Sierra Leone as I am about Korea. The only difference is that I am yet to set foot in Korea. I always describe my guests as amazing or wonderful; Soo is all these and much more and one of the spectacular 20-something year-olds I have met. Soo is Korean, born in England in 1995, but raised in Sierra Leone. His parents work as missionaries, and due to unforeseen conflicts and disasters, he has moved around quite a bit. For now, though, he is in Michigan, USA for his studies but hopes to go back abroad. In this episode, we talked about the duality of being African while looking Korean. The advantages of being a third culture person and how growing up in Africa is helping him excel in his studies. We also talked about first-world problems, African values, weighing wants vs. needs, and learning how to empathize with others who are not like us.
PS: He reminds of me of an upcoming Albert Schweitzer (which coincidentally is one of his role models), and I think that as his nuances become more pronounced, he might just be as great as Dr. Schweitzer, if not greater. I met Soo through Adrian – a mutual friend.
Fun facts about Soo:
He is currently pursuing a dual degree in medicine and a Ph.D. in Microbiology (DO-PhD).
He loves a lot of Nigerian artistes, especially Yemi Alade.
He is passionate about social causes in Africa such as domestic abuse, patriarchy, unequal education between boys and girls, and in improving the healthcare infrastructure.
He had a pet hedgehog named Collette, who recently died. #RIPCollette
He speaks three languages fluently: Korean, English, and Creole. He speaks advanced French, and he is intermediate in Spanish. He is interested in finishing Arabic and may want to continue with Japanese.
He loves Starbucks for a unique reason (find out why), and it’s not about him being bourgeois.
He started the African Student Association (ASA) chapter in his college during his undergrad years to unite his friends from Madagascar, Rwanda, and Ghana to create a family of their own.
Despite being a missionary kid, he tried out different religions before deciding to be Christian.
He is a foodie and can make jollof rice, albeit the Sierra Leone variety.
Anywhere you find yourself, try to search for a supportive community that can draw you in.
Have a consistent circle of friends.
Actions (especially subtle ones) speak louder than words.
Being from Africa confers us with an ability not to forget the most important things and values.
Parents can help their TCKs thrive better by being more open about struggles.
Notable Quotes by Soo:
“Home is where I make myself comfortable. When people ask me where my 고향 /gohyang/ (Korean word for hometown) is, I always say Sierra Leone because that is where my heart truly belongs. In traveling around a lot, longing for just one place that I cannot go back to for a while made it very depressing and hard. So, what I ended up doing was making a home wherever I went. So right now, while my home is in Michigan, my heart is still in Sierra Leone, and it will never leave that place.”
"A lot of kids like me wanted stability, one place, one home, in a way I kinda missed that."
"As a scientific researcher, I’d like to be on the forefront of developing therapies, researching, characterizing diseases and be able to provide health care to people."
"Around a table, I have the table manners of a French, the greeting manners of a Korean, the respectful manner of a Korean and an African."
WIth Love from the Koreans,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Chinwe
One of the arguments against mainstream social justice warriors (SJWs) is that they reject the concept of sin and hold the belief that humans are inherently good by nature. As a result, in the face of evil, the society is largely blamed instead of upholding individual personal responsibility. In this episode, I chatted with Chinwe Oriji, a scholar and a PhD candidate in African and African Diaspora studies, on whether Christians should be involved in social justice or even identify as social justice warriors (SJWs)?
We also talked a bit about an article she wrote on Wakanda's Black Panther as a place that shows that post-independence Africans in and outside of African are not exempt from a diasporic reality of loss, longing, and resistance. We also explored the Biafra war and her identity as an American born to first generation Igbo immigrant.
PS: As at the time this episode was taped in April, I had not watched Black Panther then. Talk about not knowing the old days were good and blissful #teehee.
Fun facts about Chinwe
In high school, she would draw the Nigerian flag every single day in class to the point that her Spanish teacher had to get her a real one which she pinned on the blackboard permanently.
She’s got suave and sleek ‘fro for days (I touched them, so I know).
She was teased because of her name growing up and wished she had an English name. Kids called her chicken wings and chinchilla instead of Chinwe.
She once gave a presentation at The Igbo Conference in London where Chimamanda Adichie gave a talk too.
Being banned from and punished for speaking any of the Nigerian native tongues in Nigerian schools is a second-wave of colonization and racialization.
Christians, especially those with power, can fight societal justice while still acknowledging individual responsibility.
“To be Black means to be a part of a history of resistance, beauty, struggle but also of creation. To be Igbo is to be part of a history.” - Chinwe
“Let Food Be Thine Medicine And Medicine Be Thy Food” – Hippocrates
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Aayah
Get ready to kiss dieting goodbye in this episode (Joshua Harris, anyone?). Aayah, an Egyptian-American who is now based in Seattle, is a holistic health coach, detox specialist, YouTube content creator, wife, and mother of two kids. Her journey into healthy eating was inspired by her health issues such as chronic fatigue, joint pain, mood and digestive issues.
In this episode, Aayah drew from both her personal and professional experiences on ways to eat clean and well on a budget, recipe substitution (this is important especially for immigrants), and maintaining an overall balanced lifestyle. We also talked about the elephant in the room (literally, me!) and my constant love-hate relationship with dieting and ways people like me can be more successful at mindful eating and maintaining a healthy weight.
Aayah’s parents are currently held political prisoners in Egypt. Her mom is the longest held female political prisoner in Egypt and in solitary confinement. See link below on how you can support and help them raise awareness on this.
PS: Aayah is currently running a promo for a mid-summer detox session and health coaching. To get a discount on her services, contact her directly letting her know you are one of the listeners of the show.
Fun facts about Aayah
After having two kids and at the encouragement of her mom, she went back to school to learn health coaching and integrative nutrition.
Her goal as a coach is to get her clients to a point where they don’t need another diet.
She is a YouTuber who makes really crisp videos on healthy recipes.
She is a nature enthusiast – loves hiking and being outdoors.
She has found ways to keep her time to a minimum in the Kitchen – she’s certainly African, haha!
After having two kids and at the encouragement of her mom, she went back to school to learn health coaching and integrative nutrition.
Her goal as a coach is to get her clients to a point where they don’t need another diet.
She is a YouTuber who makes really crisp videos on healthy recipes.
She is a nature enthusiast – loves hiking and being outdoors.
She has found ways to keep her time to a minimum in the Kitchen – she’s certainly African, haha!
More about her parents: http://www.freeolaandhosam.org/
ALSO, I’D LOVE TO HEAR BACK FROM MY LISTENERS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT SUSTAINING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS. WHAT WORKED MOST FOR YOU?
“Fiat justitia ruat cælum” [Let justice be done though the heavens fall] - Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mr. Olanipekun Esq.
In Nigeria, the Police might not be your friend (insert police jokes here), but there are some friendly faces who are working on reforming the criminal justice system, and I’d like for you to meet one of them. Here’s introducing Mr. Nelson Olanipekun Esq., a human rights lawyer and the team lead at Gavel. Gavel is a civic tech organization, which started in 2017 and aims to improve the pace of justice delivery through tech.
Gavel has reached millions of Nigerians with over 100 indigent Nigerians benefiting directly from it. They provide free legal support for inmates awaiting trials, victims of domestic violence, and a whole lot of other people. In this episode, we talked about the Nigerian justice system and ways to rebrand it, as well as police brutality amidst the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) pandemic. We explored the Nigerian prison system and its many challenges, chief of which are overcrowding and not following due processes. I also probed Mr. Olanipekun’s thoughts on whether SARS should be reformed or as scrapped as a whole?
PS: Years and years of watching legal dramas such as Suits, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, The Practice have finally paid off. See if you can get your own legalese on, like I did, with this new episode. Also, Gavel has this cool feature on their website where you can track cases of individuals who are awaiting trials; it has been used to track over 500 inmates – check it out here: http://gavel.ng/opened-cases
Fun facts about Mr. Olanipekun Esq.
He wrote a letter to the Supreme Court of Nigeria (SCN) on enforcing the existing rules that have implications for ending police brutality. The SCN replied favorably. Wait what?!
He once sued the Government over the long detention of over 100 inmates who have been awaiting trial for over seven years.
He failed at his first start-up in 2014 but restarted in 2017.
He is, most certainly, not a lazy Nigerian youth.
If he didn’t study law, he would be a tech geek.
Tips for entrepreneurs: learn from your mistakes and don’t give up when you fail.
Be more active citizens. Most Nigerians need to take more interest in governance.
Be your brother’s (and sister’s) keeper; If you see something, say something.
Lawyers can also volunteer and donate their time to help at the Gavel.
Donations are needed to reach more people and to continue to provide legal aid to indigents.
As at March 2018, 68% of the Nigerian prison population are awaiting trial.
Avoid prison, especially the Nigerian kind, if you can.
Consider donating to Gavel to help their cause. Donations can be made here:
Local: Access Bank 0773466368, Citizens Gavel Nigeria
Dollar donations: Access Bank 0773502598 Domiciliary Account Citizens Gavel Nigeria
Online donations: rave.flutterwave.com/pay/citizensgavelnigeriagv8z
Contact Gavel via Twitter @citizen_gavel or email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Iyabo’s Story that started it all can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cs3oTKqyME
To report an incident, contact the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) on http://npf.gov.ng/complaint/
Read more about the ACJA (which was referenced) here: http://www.thelawyerschronicle.com/a-brief-analysis-of-nigerias-administration-of-criminal-justice-act-2015/
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Kelechi
I lost my faith once when I went through a phase of existential crisis that spanned almost a whole year; I wrote about it here - https://goo.gl/NCf1A2. I look back at that period with gratitude as it made my faith stronger and my relationship deeper with Christ. In this episode, I ‘sat’ down with one of my dear friends – Kelechi – who is on the other end of the spectrum, searching for meaning and questioning his faith. We talked about crisis of faith and the roles the church and our culture play in this. Kelechi is a Nigerian who has lived in Canada for a major chunk of his life.
PS: His favorite word seems to be “absolutely.” If you can correctly guess how many times he used this word in this episode, you get a chance to recommend a topic we can explore on the show.
Fun facts about Kelechi
He is a continent drifter since he has visited less than ten countries. With the exception of Antarctica and Australia, he has visited every continent on earth
He studied pharmacy briefly then got a degree in biochemistry and is now in school wrapping up his MBA
He is very single (*wink wink* ladies)
Not all who wander are lost; be kind to those who have left the faith
All your friends don’t always have to be people you agree with all the time. You can disagree with someone and still respect them
Christianity has a lot of space for questioning and asking those tough questions does not reduce the quality of your faith
Embrace your crisis of faith tightly; it could make your faith stronger
“Dare You to Move” – Switchfoot (2004)
Lewis, Clive Staples (1940). The Problem of Pain. The Centenary Press
Lewis, Clive Staples (1961). A Grief Observed. Faber and Faber
Bryson, Bill. (2001). In a Sunburned Country. Doubleday Publishers
Bryson, Bill. (2010). At Home: A Short History of Private Life. Doubleday Publishers
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Alex
Meet Alex: Alex grew up in Trujillo, Peru and is one of the amazing 20 year-olds I have ever come in contact with. He was an exchange student here in Oklahoma, and in this episode, we explored what growing up in Peru was like, his triumphs and regrets as an exchange student in the US, and his future ambitions.
According to Alex:
"I come from a multicultural family; being Latin, Hispanic, and Peruvian is such a blessing to me. Peru is such a multicultural place; we got so many influences around the world. We pretty much are still in the shadow of the Inca Empire. We were a Spanish colony for so long. If you wanna eat, visit Peru; if you wanna experience culture, visit Peru. In addition to visiting Machu Picchu, there are many other beautiful places to visit. Peruvians are warm and friendly, and the country is also very inviting. If I could choose one thing I love about Peru, it would have to be the food."
On why he is interested in international affairs and diplomacy, Alex had this to say:
“I do believe that together, we can achieve a lot. Sometimes, when we do not get involved with other people (from other countries), we see more differences than similarities. We are in an era of globalization, every culture must contribute something."
PS: In this episode, I throw out a theory of how I think Nigerians cannot call dibs on being the custodians of plantains. There are some African influences in Peru, and we explored the food and music angles.
Fun facts about Alex:
He is super worldly and knows a lot about several countries and their cultures.
I think he is going to be a UN Ambassador someday; say you heard it first on this show.
Like me, he loves plantains, FRIENDS (the series), and Bossa nova (Brazilian music genre)
Quinoa is an ancient food that originated with the Incas in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia. It was a food highly revered by the Incas.
We can connect with so many people from different cultures on so many levels via food, music, etc.
Visit Peru and explore its cultural abundance.
All llama love,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Hola amigos! Can you say Spanish-speaking Southern Belle three times without blabbing? I didn’t think so. Also, would you ever consider going back to school to learn a new language to help the people you serve? In this episode, I explored Andrea’s story and her love for the Spanish language, history, and travels. I also talked a bit about growing up in Nigeria during the restrictive, military regime. Andrea hopes to visit Ghana first, and I gave her the best tip ever – avoid the jollof rice there :-D.
We also explored her relationship with Africans and what she thinks of us. I am also seeking business partners for what I think would be a very profitable business for Africans and African Americans. It has to do with cultural exchange. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested.
PS: I spoke a bit of Spanish as well.
Fun facts about Andrea:
She is wanderlust like me and has visited six countries (one of which was Cuba #jealous).
She holds two bachelor’s degree.
She loves the Lord.
If you are in Ohio, consider getting the #Skyline chili.
Tips on how to avoid getting deleted as a Facebook friend.
Teach African-Americans about the African culture.
Africans and African-Americans need to learn to be more culturally patient with one another.
Why we need to visit Cuba ASAP.
Con amor de,
This is probably the most important podcast episode I have done yet. For those who might not know, I have had a somewhat turbulent relationship with my father based on how I felt he was like to me as a kid. As a result, we never really talked and there was a distance between us.
In this episode, I present to you the man who is perhaps one of the most important people to Mo! This episode also happens to be the lengthiest conversation I have ever had with my dad and I feel very honored to share this intimate side of me with you.
PS: The history is very strong (and long) with this episode.
PPS: Perhaps the most disappointing thing about dad is his chronic unending love for Arsenal #Chelseaporvida
The path to reconciliation might be a difficult process but it is often worth the troubles.
Don't forget to remind your parents to get their yearly health checkups done.
Daddy's Home (feat. Hailey Kiteley) by Travis Greene
WELL, ENJOY THEN. AND HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, I GUESS.
qualification for president was reduced from 40 to 35 years. This effort was spearheaded by the wonderful folks at the Not Too Young to Run (NTYTR) Movement.
Thanks to the one degree of separation between us, I was able to bring one of those wonderful folks (Mr. Mark Amaza) behind the NTYTR movement on the show. In this episode, Mark and I talked a lot about this campaign and he was gracious enough to answer all the questions I presented before him. As a late bloomer to all things politics, I must say that I learned a lot from this episode and I hope this will be the same for you too.
Outro-ish Song: This is Nigeria by Falz; original song by Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino
FUN FACTS ABOUT MARK:
He is a certified Bibliophile and one of his many love languages is Amazon Gift cards *hint hint*
He has an idyllic memory to recall countries and their capitals.
He speaks the Bura language which is spoken mainly in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states in Nigeria. The Bura language is a Chadic language and has been reported to contrast a voiceless palatal lateral fricative,  (ʎ̥˔), which is quite rare for languages.
Get more involved in politics or governance, at the least.
When voting, focus on the hows from aspirants; don’t just fall for the empty promises
Download the Nigerian Constitution online for free
Mechanisms like the “Ready to Run Movement” can help you run a better campaign. They can provide you with resources (not money to help you get started)
Get your PVC (permanent voter’s card) today
Run a better campaign
You, as an electorate, have power in your hands; use it wisely.
The More Sibyl Podcast is now available on Stitcher. Can you kindly help leave a review on Stitcher? Link: http://bit.do/helpmo
Not Too Young to Run Campaign: http://nottooyoungtorun.org/
BudgIT Nigeria: www.yourbudgit.com; @BudgITng
Ready to Run Campaign: readytorunng.org
Follow Mark on Twitter on @amasonic and Mark Amaza on Facebook
Here’s introducing my friend, Ada – one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met, who served in the US military. We began her story from growing up in Nigeria, moving to the US, being drafted into the army, getting married, surviving an eventful divorce, raising multicultural kids, and life as a single mom.
We explored divorce in a cultural context (stigma, shame, losing friends, etc.) and what we can do to support divorcees around us (and it is not by choosing sides or totally avoiding them like a plague). We also talked about PTSD, mental health, and ways to self-care - post-divorce.
Outro-ish Song: *Don’t Let Us Get Sick* by Pat Guadagno; the original song was by Warren Zevon
Fun fact about Ada: She backpacked across Europe.
PS: TO ALL THE VETERANS LIKE ADA, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.
How to Thrive after a Divorce:
Choose your battles
Do not rush into any kind of relationship (except with Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream and chocolates, of course, :-D)
Take your time to open up
Be vulnerable but not enough to allow reopening of old, healed wounds
Don’t waste yesterday’s tears on today
You need to draw from others but they may not be ready nor willing to give you what you need
Move to a new city (if practicable)
Nigeria: A $hithole Country?¿! Nah, it’s not but how else was I supposed to get your attention, ey?! Hehe.
It’s no news that Mo! is back from Nigeria. In this episode, I answered several questions that were sent in from my listeners and friends regarding my just-concluded trip to Nigeria. We talked about everything ranging from food, social issues, traffic, politics, music, getting detained by the cops, why I won’t be moving back home just yet, getting high (on not what you think), how I evaded prying questions from my well-meaning countrymen and countrywomen, what I loved and disliked about my trip, and so much more. Thank you to every one of you who sent in the questions; you made this episode rock!
Outro-ish song: Ire by Adekunle Gold. This song has been my current earworm. It takes me faster back home than a one-way first-class ticket.
PS: This is a long episode, but I think you will love the dynamic between Olabimpe and me.
PPS: My friends call me Tolani too (Olabimpe called me this all through the episode); it’s from my full name Mo-Tolani.
PPPS: As a thank-you favor to Olabimpe, I am asking this for her. Does anyone know anyone who knows anyone who knows Lynxxx – the Nigerian rapper/singer? She would love to get his attention as she’s one of his biggest fans. #Askingforafriend
Food I liked: Native rice and fish 😊
Foods I could not eat: Street roasted plantains (boli) ☹
On environmental pollution in Lagos: “Let’s forget about saving the whales and the trees. We need to start saving ourselves.”
The highlight of going back home: I was not Black anymore but your average Nigerian (Yoruba) girl.
The best thing about Nigeria: Nigerians - the love, the intentionality, the warmth, no Dutch pay.
Last week, I took you on a trip to India with an interview with Dr. Shah. I decided to stay longer in India to bring you this week’s episode from another Indian. Losing one parent is hard enough but imagine losing both of your parents, and in addition to this monumental grief, having to cope with the guilt of being thousands of miles away from home when this happens.
In this episode, I speak to Som Ghosh – a Tabla-playing Indian living in America on grief observed. We talked about how grief is handled by Hindus and how certain burial rites performed by Hindus might make coping with grief better, and how he has been coping with losing both parents. I also talked about a personal grief and how I was able to (and still) cope with this. We begin his story from why he decided to leave his job at Pfizer and head on to pursue a PhD in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) and tips for those considering going back to school after working for a while.
How to cope with grief, as surmised by Som and me (in no particular order):
Let grief run its course.
Take time to mourn the loss.
Cry if you must.
Label the emotions as they come, anger, sadness, pain, anguish.
Remember that emotions are like messengers, we do not shoot them. Listen to the gifts they bear and afterwards, send them on their journey in a nice way, knowing fully well that they might come back again.
Find someone you can trust to talk to about your grief. And if you cannot find someone, just like Tennessee Williams suggested, depend on the kindness of strangers who are usually obliagted to listen to you.
Seek grief counseling or therapy.
There are things you just cannot do in life. You cannot use your pen until the last drop of ink is out, you cannot teach your cat tricks or take it to obedience school, and you cannot go home again. ‘Home,’ the four-letter word that means different things to every one of us.
This week’s episode will be about my going back home after such a long time (seven years, specifically). The thought of visiting Nigeria after such a long time has left with me a lot of emotions – nervousness and a frisson of excitement to name a few.
To do justice to this issue, I had reached out to a couple of my friends to send me questions they either had regarding my visiting home after such a long time or questions I should be prepared to answer from my fine countrymen and women. The latter is of paramount importance as Nigerians are generally known for being too intrusive, or as I like to put it intentionally inquisitive.
Upon my return, there will be another post-evaluation to see how well my expectations were managed or not.
P.S: Can you ever really go back home, especially if you have become one of those neither-here-nor-there people?
For this week’s episode, I talked to one of my favorite Indians and wonderful colleague - Dr. Sanket Shah, a medical doctor currently doing his PhD in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) (a rarity for most MDs pursuing advanced degrees in the US) at my alma mater – The University of Texas at Austin.
We talked about and contrasted medical practice, culture, and education in India and the US. On graduate school in the US: imposter/impostor syndrome, expectational pressure, how not to quit, and using fear as a motivational tool. We also provided arguments for why foreign international students need to build positive social support systems to improve mental health, why I think Indians are different from Nigerians in certain aspects, and how both cultures can learn from each other. It was also my first time introducing the concept of cultural curiosity – where I ask my guests to ask me anything they are curious about regarding Nigeria.
Fun fact: Dr. Shah is still reeling from the shock of having dollar bills rained on him at a Nigerian colleague’s wedding dance presentation we all did in 2016. He wanted to know more about what ‘making it rain’ was all about. S/O to Chisom Chimah who was the bride at the said-wedding.
Why should we care or be passionate about Nigerian youths? We, the Nigerian youths, have been making headline news lately, and not in a flattering way. This is no surprise given that it takes more guts than glory to live in a country where surviving in itself should be listed as a skill on one’s CV.*
In this week’s episode, I interview a friend who’s just as passionate (if not even more) about Nigerian youths. We met at a mutual friend’s bridal shower two years ago. We talked about the challenges of being Nigerian and young and provide circumstantial solutions to moving our great nation forward with a special focus on this special demographic.
TL;DR: Nigerian youths might be ill-equipped but are certainly not lazy.
*Stolen and modified (with permission, of course) from Caroline Adeola Akinlotan’s Facebook status
$50 can go a long way, we know. But how long of a way can it go if you moved to the US with all of that in your pocket? In this week’s episode, I will be sharing Erika’s story which began with her Japanese father’s dream to move to the US. She is also the brains behind The More Sibyl Podcast logo and branding; see, Erika is super-talented that way :-D.
We also talk about cultural patience and why we need more of this in the charged climate we now currently live in.
P.S: By Jove! Erika was right, quokkas are quite the cat's whiskers.
Returning to the Motherland - An African-American's Perspective - Part 2
In this concluding episode, we talked about Nollywood, Mr. James' DNA analysis, and how African-Americans can reconnect to the Motherland.
PS: Turned out Bill is 7% Nigerian! Wait, what? Y'all know that there's nothing like being 7% Nigerian; you are either Nigerian or not, using the one drop rule of course. Along that line, Dear Nigerians and Middle Earthers, it is my utmost pleasure to reintroduce and welcome back one of our very own, Mr. Bàbáwálé (/Baba wahlay/ meaning father has come home) Bill James to the Motherland. We have accepted him and can't wait for him to really come home, whenever he sure chooses to.
Returning to the Motherland - An African-American's Perspective - Part 1
In this episode, I am joined by Mr. William 'Bill' James; a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City born in 1945. He is also a Veteran (served in the US Army from 1968 to 1970) and a Distinguished Toastmasters. He also happens to be a member of my OKC Toastmasters Club. In this episode, we talked about the results of his DNA ancestry and the relationship between Africans and African Americans.
This is Part 1.
Just Between Africans and African Americans - An African's Perspective - Part 2
We bring our talk to a conclusion by exploring what the future could look like for Africans and African Americans. We provided calls to action to both sides to aid in fostering a better connection and a more connected future together.
Just Between Africans and African Americans - An African's Perspective - Part 1
The relationship between Africans and African Americans has been historically fraught, due to several factors such as misconceptions, media portrayals of stereotypes of both sides, and carryover (negative) sentiments. As a result, these stereotypes are patronizing and ultimately damaging.
In this episode, I sit down with an old friend who has a lot to say on this issue. It all started with a Facebook post she put up sometime in January of this year (see below).
This is Part 1.
Bola At: Somehow I have managed to enrage a small community of African Americans, all due to a structureless, baseless notion that Africans hate African Americans(Not true). Who comes up with all these misconceptions anyway?? It is quite sad to accept the misguidance and the reverse-engineered mentality some have. Why the sensitivity and division? Africans have a rigid culture worn like a badge of honor. Failing to embrace or assimilate to a certain culture isn't necessarily hate, and while most African elders disapprove of certain western behaviors, most of us ( younger generation)still try to assimilate and get smacked for it (😂😂). To the African, respect, and honor go hand in hand. Everything you do in this world is reflective of your household; therefore you are expected to BEHAVE ( which some translated as trying to be "white" I detest that statement so much).
In this concluding episode of my interview with Dr. Tom, we provided solutions towards addressing the brain drain problem. For the developing countries like Nigeria, we need more policies with strong nationalistic basis. Beyond just increasing salaries, which can result in inflation, we need to make Nigeria a country worth fighting for. Implementation of policies with an all-hands-on-deck approach and though counterintuitive, encouraging more brain-drain but with the South Koreanesque twist.
This is Part 2 and the conclusion of the talk.
According to the WHO, migration of health workers or ‘brain drain’ is defined as the movement of health personnel in search of the better standard of living and life quality, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide.
A report recently released in Nigeria showed that eight out of 10 medical doctors representing 88% of medical doctors in Nigeria are currently seeking job opportunities abroad. The survey, which was conducted by NOI Polls, in collaboration with Nigeria Health Watch, revealed that Nigeria has about 75,000 doctors are registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), with only about 35,000 within the nation’s shores.
In this episode, I sit down with one of these medical doctors who is currently doing his residency here in the US. We discussed brain drain within the Nigerian context and offer some solutions towards addressing the problem.
This is Part 1.
Fiona is a Nigerian-American pharmacist who emigrated to the US from Nigeria when she was 12. In this episode, we talk about spicy food, culture shock, adjusting to the US educational system, and so much more.
Nigerian-born, US-educated, Korean-speaking, Struggling intellectual.
Mo's unique perspective is derived from her experience growing up in Nigeria to now living the US, learning Korean, and enriched by the adventures her travels have brought on. Join Mo every week to get More Sibyl.