Connect with my village
Humanity! it is known as ‘ubuntu’ in Xhosa, Zulu, Tshona, Ndebele, even in the Great Zim; it is ubuntu, in Yoruba we say eeyan humanity; in Sutho, and Tswana it is known as ‘botho’, in Afrikaans it is Mensheid, it is utu in Kiswahhili, in Hindi, Gujarat, Marati and Malayalam in India; it is known as Manavata. What is humanity without connection? What is our humanity, if we constantly remain separated by space, oceans and mountains and forests when we can connect with the speed of light and be together online, and what is humanity if we find it hard to transcend what disconnects us in a situation when what can connect all together is just a wire away from the computer?.
Humanity can be expressed through our affection, mutuality and friendship; irrespective of race, nations, ethnicity and today, our easiest, cheapest and best connector is the internet. We need one another; the interconnectedness, the inter relationship and the interdependence. In affirming one another generating, loving and celebrating humanity we need connection, how can I reach out without connecting, how can I connect with someone and not express love and togetherness? By the way, it may not be possible to express and enjoy our inclusion without connection.
Years before the internet was invented, the best potentials from the developing countries; I was told died with their potentials mainly out of frustrations. These days, the best potentials even amongst the poorest of the poor in our countries will no longer be found six feet below our cemeteries! Oh Yes! they are online exploring every available avenue to showcase their natural talents.
Never Again will humanity be subjected to such alienation, distancing, separation and isolation as we experienced in our growing up years. Those were years I will never wish for anyone in the generations to come; they were years that must be erased from human experiences as quickly as we can.
The internet means something different to different people, it means life to me, ability to live and thrive in the midst of those who appreciate potentials.
You may not understand me if you are among the privileged few on earth who can scratch their walls to light their man- made suns at the night approaches. You may not understand me, if you enter a cyber café, pay the stipulated amount because you believe that you are paying for a service that must be delivered; and you may find my situation difficult to comprehend if in your own cybercafés, you can work in peace without the normal difficulties in Nigeria; where we surf the internet in fear of raiders; you can call them the police, at least they wear uniforms, and carry a baton or gun.
I do not blame you for not understanding my plight. Of cause, you will never understand if your youths, unemployed graduates, school drop outs are not on the internet looking for who to swindle, and there you are in the same cafe, reporting online, chatting innocently on facebook whilst sitting amongst these so called societal miscreants; who are never afraid of the Nigerian police. The police are their friends; though they pretend to arrest or re-arrest as the case may be, but the innocents usually do not go free, the police must dramatize so as not to raise suspicions about their involvements.
Who am I to blame? Not you, when you can access free internet in your schools and social recreation centers, such as libraries and town halls. Our universities are underfunded, I will not blame those in my village, if they are still receiving evening lectures under the trees, we are catching up. One step at a time, do not put yourself in my shoes because I wear medium size meanwhile you are a giant! It is not in our socialization to be blessed with full pots of source of compassion and empathy; but we can learn, re-learn and if possible un-learn. Draw energy from our inner strength and stretch out the hands of love and connection to fellow human beings.
What is genuine globalization if it is not Universal internet Access?
Three years ago, I was just a woman moving around like someone struck by lightening, but today, I can access the source of lightening because I have seen the light. I am a friend and sister to several women from more than hundred countries because another light has come, this time around not the light of chicken pox. I can see what I have been trained not to see; my eyes are open by the internet. I am privileged to know my right because I have been opportune to meet those who showed other women and myself the path honour. These days, I usually mount a mountain made of women to address women and men in a society that disdains women, yet they listen to all I have to say, and dialogue ensue before we always reach compromise.
With my connection to Worldpulse, I became a trained journalist with a free mentor. Through one of the mentorshhip; an ordinary woman that I am, I learn how to become a professional in my chosen career. Worldpulse empowered me suddenly, I met myself in Bangalore; attending Training for Transformation, the second phase of the training took place in Cape Town after which I began to transform the lives of women in my community. Training for Transformation's organiser informed me to join their team since they have never met such a brilliant young woman activist during recent trainings, I accepted the offer. Now, I am empowered to empower others, presently more than 300 women and children have been trained in tie and dye, bead and hat making, knitting and Life skills training and prevention of child sexual abuse without receiving funds from any donor whatsoever. It is a miracle that can only happen after such genuine empowerment.
The Worldpulse team was puzzled by the way I was gaining ground in the community without any financial support and the manner in which I was improving my writing and learning. Therefore, I was nominated for 2012 iLEAP programme and I was accepted by iLEAP, can we see the chain or ladder of progress in my life? I will be in Washington in 2012. This was that woman; Olutosin, who was living a purposeless life. I would have died with my potentials if I was not connected through the internet.
Presently, I refused to be inundated by my socio cultural inhibitions; I began to spread the news of liberation to my fellow women in my community. Like the miracle worker, the thing I could not do before I began to do them; those poems under the bed are now in Germany; my bookss will soon be on the bookshelves in your communities, those tie and dye we spread on the bushes in Ibasaland are now in Canada; those beads we strung in Ijegun are now in Scotland, those alamala style we spread at Alagbado in Ogun state are now in Bangalore; through this same internet. Now, it is possible to read this article on Worldpulse, because I have been trained by Voices of our Future Programme; if not, who knows my pig in Portland? Now I can access the internet, join the social media and continue to train fellow women especially the semi illiterate on how to use the facebook, build free websites and join several women orgnisations to sell their products.
This is not my story; it is our story.
The federal executive council of my nation is working, they may be busy discussing how thing will move on generally, but I do not think that their discussion is about electricity, if it was about electricity I think that something should have been done or is been being done about electricity, nothing is changing, ever since the President of Nigeria decided to assume the position of man in power and over the power section of Nigeria. When I say power, I mean electricity generation. Due to the fact that light is a luxury in Nigeria, I mean power generation, because I do not mean that the minds of the people responsible for power generation is dark but I think the powerlessness reflected in their inability to generate power has rendered the internet powerless. How can we surf without power?
I pity skype because the noise of diesel powered generator in cyber café has dwindle its popularity.
The new cost of internet connection is one US dollar per hour, this is a country where 70 percent of the population live on a dollar per day. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that my e-mail will open within this hour, in most cases, it never will and I end up leaving diconcertedly . Which means that the café attendant collects my money and leaves me to my destiny/fate. The computer will surely sign me out at the end of an hour. In a capitalist society everyone is driven by profit. How do I remain online when what I am expected to pay with no guarantee of service delivery is what can sustain me for a whole day?
Another World is Possible; if every human being believes that every human being has the same Fundamental Human Needs. The need to be online and well connected without epilepsy power supply and snail internet connection fulfils my Need for connection, belonging, acceptance and self esteem.
How long will the World continue to enslave me? How long will you continue to exercise your power over me? How long will you continue to dehumanize me? How long will you continue to oppress me? How long will you continue to remind me that the good things of life are for the privileged?
How long will I continue to fight for freedom and presence?
The world should replace conflict management with internet access and connection. Let us avail humanity the opportunity to meet the Needs for learning, competence, consciousnessm creativity, participation, adventure, authenticity, companionship and communication, this will reduce the friction and melancholic that have resulted in avoidable classhes and wars. Provide a better opportunity to connect all with a new form of friendship and the World will know peace. The internet has taught me the power of friendship, of motherhood, brotherhood, sisterhood and lastly of Worldhood.
This new connection has given me the opportunity to be heard, to be seen and to be me. It met my need for acceptance, for inclusion, stability, security, belonging to a global platform of sisterhood, equality, inspiration, harmony, inspiration, for community and for mutuality.........
In a time when freedom of expression and equal access to knowledge and ideas has become synonymous with access to the Internet, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What does "Universal Internet Access and Digital Freedom" mean to YOU? This month, we invite you to raise your voice by writing about the everyday obstacles you face and risks you take in accessing the Internet, or how you have used it to change lives and bring about positive change in your community. Click here to learn more about this campaign and how to participate.