WEAVING MY WORDS AND WORLD ON THE WEB
As the usual practice, I finished the last poem, late into the night and immediately, I added it to the pile of poems in a folder under my bed. In a bid to catch up with some sleep, I turned to the other side of the bed and began to think, not sleep; my sweet sleep has eluded me in the past months, life seems gloomy; as if there is no headway to success.
The last poem is my 79th poem, written and kept under my bed.
It saddened my heart each time I read through the earlier poems. The pages had turned to brown, dirty and chipping at the edge. They are called manuscripts, which ought to give me joy, wherein I had expressed my inner thoughts and expose the reality of the voiceless women around me too. Reading them produces adrenalin that releases sadness into my blood streams. The imaginary pain has now developed into silent and unanswered questions; when will my poems see the light of day? When will my thoughts, scribbled into words be read and appreciated by any audience whatsoever? When will I reap the fruits of these sleepless nights and scribbling on my cold bed?.
I am a daughter of the universe, who sprang up from a solid ‘rock’ I was a green grass turning into a brown dead grass; I am not from a well-nurtured, watered, manure or fertilized origin. I was not born with a silver spoon, but with a wooden spoon from a farmer’s loin. I grew with no support; I have no godfather and godmother, who will push me to the limelight.
Therefore, there is no publisher who will publish the works of a ‘non entity’ without a name. I have done my best at searching for publishers and the simplest response amongst the numerous replies was, how many times have you spoken on the national Television? I never replied to such mails.
A fateful day, my life changed with the introduction to a website by my husband. He came into the room panting and announced; today, I was browsing the net and I just stumbled into a website filled with women of same mindsets as you. He said its www.worldpulse.com. I do not need to write the web address down, I just turned it the other way round; the web where the pulse of the world is felt. With that I could easily remember. That night, I slept without thinking.
The following day, a life-changing day in December 2008, I visited the nearest cyber café in Festac town to ransack the web for a place where the pulse of the world is being felt. That day, my life changed. I did not join world Pulse immediately, I began to study the website as if it is a university website and I am seeking an admission, after few months I logged into the website. The day has break and the poems must see its light.
What follows is interesting, I dust my poem books and began to publish, nobody asked if my godfather was the president or how many times I have appeared on national television. Posting my poem is not even as interesting as the comments and the inbox messages praising my poems. Each comment and message became the new blood flowing in my vein, the new energy oil replenishing my wheel and the new grease on my elbow. It creates god sisters for my life.
Yes, Now, I have god-sisters.
Like the flash of lighning, writing became my pastime, an activity that I look forward to joyfully, unlike the hopelessness hanging on my past "under the bed poems". Now, it is no longer just the poems but articles about myself, my pain, my experiences about my domestic violence, my sisters, especially my ‘voiceless’ or ‘preferred to be ignored’ sisters, my community and my nation. That’s not all, I became World Pulse's eyes, ears and mouth everywhere I found myself, in less than 9 months after my initial log into World Pulse, I was selected as one of the Voices of our Future correspondents and this was followed by free citizen journalism training.
That first log in changed my whole existence, it became from glory to glory, World Pulse became a home, community and opportunity shop for myself and every woman around me, it became a place of refuge and a place of learning. I do not need any editor, before my voice is heard and it became a channel to air our voices, without inhibition or fear.
This is my fifth year on World Pulse, its my best year on earth. The community became my extended family and a home inside my bedroom, my World Pulse sister became my best sisters.
The journey became so sweet and rewarding, enjoying it alone is anemic, therefore, I made a conscious decision to introduce world Pulse to every woman who can read and write in my community. I did not stop at that, I went ahead to solicit computers from my sister, she donated 4 complete computer sets to my organization and we organized free computer training for poor women alone in 2012.
We began the free computer training but electricity became a major challenge, everyone began to buy fuel powered generator, but we could not afford that and the internet to connect the computers was unaffordable to a young organization. Theref0re we had to end the training abruptly. The computers are dusted daily, there is no electricity or internet and there are willing women, although, with my personal laptop, I continued supporting women.
There is no single library in any of the riverside communities, therefore, I began the first story book library in Nigeria!!!!!The riverside children and I ensured that it is free for all serious students and women who can read and write. Presently, I have been able to purchase 450 story books without any financial support from any funding organization and we also have some women's books donated by sisters that I met through World pulse; aside the story books that I purchased.
In addition, one of the beauty of my story today, is that a sister, that I met on World Pulse, who so much believes in me has paid for a bigger office space (2 bedroom flat) at the riverside community centre for my organization, with that I can be of much support to my people. In the next week, we will move to a very big space that has a separate room for our library.
My story is unbelievable.
Our center is the safest place for any woman to access the internet in my community because our community is notorious for online scammers especially Festac Town. I can authoritatively say this because I once operated a cyber café for my cousin in Festac town. That major challenge is that the riverside community does not have any access to electricity at all, we will still rely on fuel powered generator, even if it is for an hour each day, women will access the web, it is the only world where women weave their desired world without sweating profusely with the world of gender competition and inhibitions.
What is my world without the web? I do not want to write about that, I do not want to imagine it. With the web, I could weave a beautiful world around me and my sisters, a world, I long for, a world I desire, a world where ever voice is count and can be counted without bribe or favoritisms. The Web is our new world, where every woman is considered human; respectable and can form formidable allies.
The duty of a good government is to ensure a safer community for the citizens, Festac town is notorious for cyber crime, therefore it is unsafe for women to surf the net in the public cyber café, reducing the cost of internet will make it affordable to all and improvement in electricity supply is a must.
It is worthy of note that Nigerian youths, especially young men have very high unemployment rate which has being termed the tickling time bomb of Nigeria, entrepreneurship should be included in Nigerian university curriculum so that our youths should not only focus on escaping from Nigeria but on building themselves and becoming better employers of labour. Idle hands is not only the devil's workshop, it is also the cyber crime mode for employing idle youths. The internet could become another source of gainful legal employment, if necessary energy is channeled positively towards utilizing the available opportunities online.
Moreover, it is not enough to introduce students to computer classes alone, the Technology, Information and Education departments should collaborate with secondary and tertiary institutions to provide trainings to students on how to access international opportunities for self development. I reiterate is strongly, that, It is not enough to provide computers to schools, using it in the right way and for the right purpose should also be stressed and enforced.
I am World Pulse, World Pulse is me. Ater five fruitful years; I am still standing, speaking strongly for myself and my sisters, I am storming the World of gender inequality with full force because a wall made of sisters stand solidly behind me like Gilbrathar.
Imagine a World where all my sisters at the riverside communities can access the internet and tap into all the available positive opportunities. How beautiful would such World be??? A world where all women can drop down the Loom of words and weave on their World wide web.