Paying It Forward: The Way I want To Live

In this story l want to share some real life experiences of paying forward.

Paying It Forward: The Way I want To Live

By Adeola Aderounmu

One day my phone rang 5 minutes after l returned home from a shopping mall. I had done the weekly grocery shopping for the family at a store barely 2 km from our home.

I picked up the phone and the voice at the other end was not a familiar one just as the number also did not turned up any name. Have you been shopping at the store today? The voice asked. Yes l just came home, l replied.

Can you check your wallet if you are missing something? Sure l said and immediately knew something was wrong. Yeaaaa….l said….one of my credit cards is missing.

I have it, he said.

Another 5 minutes l met the man at the store and he gave me back my credit card.

How did you find me, l asked full of curiosity.

When l saw your name, l sent a text message to my son and he looked up your contact information on the address book online. That’s how l got your number, he concluded.

I was short of words. It came to me at as a shock. The speed at which he got in touch with me gave me the conviction that he didn’t think twice about what to do when he found my credit card.

He could have gone on a spending spree and l wouldn’t have known until the next day or the next time l need the card.

I was so convinced of the man’s honesty that l kept using the credit card until it expired. I mean l was not afraid that he could have copied the number and the 3-digit security code at the back.

I was pleased.

When we exchanged pleasantry further with each other, he told me that he migrated to Sweden from Iraq many years ago.

We shook hands and l drove back home. I explained to my wife and she smiled. We were both pleased.

I know that when you talk about righteousness that l cannot claim to be holy. But l am sure that l do the best l can. I try to radiate love and to show people that l care.

I have paid forward so many acts of kindness that have been done to me.

I have asked friends and acquaintances to pay forward, but not all the time. Sometimes l need some things back so l can carry on with a normal life as well.

Just two weeks ago, l was at another shop where they sell stuffs they claimed come from all over the world. I found Nigerian plantain there, so their claim may be true.

On this particular day, an elderly woman was ahead of me and she had paid for all her grocery and stuffs. She was packing her things and had forgotten to remove her credit card from the payment machine.

The machine was positioned so that the cashier does not see if the card has been removed or not. The idea is that cashier do not see your codes when you make a payment.

Luckily for this elderly woman she was still packing her things when l wanted to insert my own credit card. It went quickly because l bought only 2 or 3 items. So l took her credit card and handed it over to her.

She was pleased.

On my way out, l said to her trevlig helg! (have a nice weekend) and she replied tack detsamma! (thanks, l wish you the same).

I didn’t think twice when l had the chance to hand over the elderly woman’s credit card. She has completely forgotten it in the machince.

I could not waste the chance to represent. I mean l grew up in Nigeria and we were raised to be good, to be kind and to be helpful.

In my family especially my father always say, remember the son of whom you are.

I am so ashame of all the negative news about criminals in Nigerian government and the stupidity of Nigerian politicians.

I am not going to be a perfect man or claim that l am a righteous man but l do my best.

Last week, precisely on the 4th of december 2015 l was on my bicycle  about 2 km away from home when l noticed something unusual on the ground, so l stopped.

autumn_morning

Cold Autumn Morning in November, Sweden

If you don’t know how it is in Sweden at this time of the year, then it will be hard to comprehend the cold, dark, winter mornings.

On this day it was cold and raining.  So l had every reason to hurry up to work. I should ignore every object that intends to distract me.

When l stopped my bicycle, l looked down at the dark object lying on the wet ground on this dark morning. It turned out to be a mobile phone. It is a Samsung-Galaxy S5.

samsung_S5

The Samsung S-5 l found on the ground on my way to work

The first thing l did when l got to work was to check the mobile phone out properly. Luckily l could access the phone by just swipping the screen. Luckily too the owner had a facebook account where l saw a home-telephone number.

10 hours after l found the phone it was reunited with its owner.

She was very happy and she brought a gift when she came to our house to collect her phone.

choco_plant_1 (2)

The Gift l got in appreciation

I do not know what she and her husband whom l got at the other end of the phone in the morning have discussed but the gifts she brought gave volume to their thoughts. I accepted the chocolate and the special seasonal plant that she presented to me. (see pictures)

This is the way l want to live.

This type of paying forward is what makes the world go round.

I hope Charlotte is as impressed as l was when a man from Iraq gave me back my credit card which l had forgotten in a shopping wagon as l hurriedly left the store.

I hope that that elderly woman at the global market store was impressed that some of us are in this country not just because of what we gain from the country but also because we are good people who can contribute our bits to make the country a better place to live.

We came here to learn and to share our experiences too. Now Sweden is our home too.

We are good people.

I can recall that l have been good in uncountable ways both at work and at play.

Some people have touched my lives both in Nigeria and here in Sweden. l have tried so hard to pay forward by touching other people’s lives positively. But we soon learn that we cannot please everybody and some people will make good deeds look like divine favours. They don’t pay back and they don’t pay forward.

I have always thought of writing for the rest of my life, because everyday in my head, there is always a chapter that is left unwritten out of my life’s experiences- at home, work, with friends, families and the people l see everyday on the train, on the bus, and everywhere l go.

The way l live and work have given me adequate shield and buffer from the negativity that surrounds me. For examples, all those extra hours l have spent on my students since 1990, without pay, are the ones that count most.

For it is at those times that l have gone out of my comfort zone to give my students the extra help and support that they need.

I am happy when they find the motivation with which they succeed in the moment and subsequently obtaining the momentum that keeps them going throughout life.

This is the way l want to live-full of content and paying forward all the good deeds.

In my view, this is part of the secret of authentic happiness. It adds meaning to our lives.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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My Random Reflections @ 43

I’ve realised (a long time ago) that the most important bond in life is the family bond. No matter what happens, people should learn to look ahead and move on with their lives. I’ll keep on sharing and l’ll never stop believing that where there is life, there is hope.

My Random Reflections @ 43

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

This is the 8th edition of my random reflections.

l don’t know where the days and years have gone. l appreciate the things that make life worth living including but not limited to good health, family, friends and good-will humanity.

I am also grateful for all the small things that make the world goes round, small things like a smile and all the little favours that are paid forward by good, kind-hearted people everyday.

Since the last edition of this annual reflection there has been a change of government in Nigeria. A former dictator turned democrat Muhammed Buhari is now the president of Nigeria.

Unfortunately the platform that brought Buhari to power the APC is somewhat in a slight disarray. The party did so well to form a formidable opposition that eventually unseated the People’s Democratic Party-the PDP. The PDP failed to deliver on its promises to the masses.

The failed political party was a nest of killers that succeeded the military gangsters in 1999 and misruled the country until May 28 2015. Apart from the civil war years, those 16 years have gone down in history as the most terrible years of the Nigerian life. In the end it was the lazy and clueless Jonathan who was booted away from power

Sadly now, APC in its early days is already facing a lot of challenges.

But the business of governance must proceed and the whole world is waiting for the ministers that will serve in Buhari’s second coming. I have written about the solution to this dilemma in a previous article-A Political Stillbirth. Political parties must have shadow cabinet or government even before going into the election year.

Let no one be caught unaware, many supporters of the PDP and unrepentant jonathanians are just waiting for Buhari and APC to fail so that they can tell the world that the useless reign of PDP was preferable. They would like to prove that in the end, all politicians are the same irrespective of their political parties. They want to prove that the change slogan was a monumental fraud.

Unless Buhari and APC lose their senses of purpose and direction, they dare not perform below the expectations of the populace. They dare not after four years come up with excuses and reasons why they have failed.

One of the fears expressed in my random reflection a year ago was the prevalence of terrorism. That fear is still valid. Boko Haram, the gruesome murderers of the deserts, have gone insane. They need to be purged out of Nigeria without further delay. Bringing back security of lives and property across Nigeria remains one of the urgent challenges of the Abuja-based central government.

By the time Buhari spends 100 days in office, Nigeria may probably have the executive cabinet in place and there may be ministers to manage the affairs of governance. Then a real first report card of the Buhari-Osinbajo reign will be on the front pages of major newspapers.

Let me digress, there are several other things that shaped my life in the past 365 days.

In May 2015 for example, the Yoruba Union in Stockholm-Sweden had its 3rd annual Yoruba Day celebration. It has been a very wonderful experience to be part of the leadership of this group since inception in 2010.

We put up a show that continues to be the standard reference for African cultural events in Sweden.

Earlier in the year l appeared on a life national (Swedish) television program and spoke about Nigeria, Ibadan and the culture of the Yoruba people.

My previous appearance on Al-Jazeera television was nothing compared to this because then l had to pre-record a webcam-meeting for the television program about Nigeria and Sahara Reporters. This was the real deal but l thought it went well and the experience of holding up a Nigerian flag on the Swedish National television will remain priceless.

Sometimes l had given up about Nigeria.

Sometimes l tell myself that Nigeria can be better. So much that a few years ago l wrote an article titled: Keep Nigeria As One Country. There are so many benefits of being a big country with potentials that can transform Nigeria into a global super power.

If the leadership issue in Nigeria is rightly settled, if Nigeria has leaders instead of rulers then the country can truly transform from (local) regional power to the super power of Africa and a contender on the global scene.

In recent years however l have been supporting the re-creation of regions and a political system that will return power to the communities. This is because of the extreme misgovernnce at the center formerly in Lagos and now in Abuja.

Nigeria has been ruled largely by very wicked, selfish, narrow-minded people since 1960. It has not really been significant if they were civilians or military. They were humans with bad attitudes and deformed reasoning. Many were criminals!

The giant of Africa in 1960 is now among the crawlers in 2015. One day l stumbled on the story of a Nigerian girl who was among the thousands of migrants stranded in North Africa after a failed attempt to cross the mediterrenean to Europe.

Her story is the story of millions of hopeless Nigerian youth. They were born into uncertainties and raised against all odds in total hopelessness in a country almost devoid of electricity and other basic amenities of life. They were raised under a socially unjust system.

The story would have been different if governance was organised and if the system worked.

But Nigerians destroy Nigeria at the altar of several vices making selfishness and greed the top crucifix.

For now, in all of these undesirable scenarios, the only choice ahead of APC and Buhari as its arrow-head is to succeed. Otherwise they can call for a new election in 2017 or a referedum should they hit the bottom sooner than later.

Ordinary Nigerians, l am sure, will like to take their future in their hands and form a way forward especially in their various regions rather than be locked in a permanent wedding of failure, terrorism and unending hopelessness.

To find a lasting political solution in Nigeria will always be paramount because of the distrust and tension hanging over the land all the time. It is time to take the message to the people on how they want to live and how they want to be governed.

Until a certain government makes that bold move, Nigeria will always be in need of changes in her political structure: a need that virtues like social justice and unflinching welfare of the citizens could have sealed under a functional system.

As for the celebration of my birthday, for the first time in 3 years, l’m bringing close friends to our home. It’s going to be a small barbecue party.

The biggest gift this year is my brother visiting us in Sweden after attending a course in Germany.

I’ve realised (a long time ago) that the most important bond in life is the family bond. As l drove to the airport some memories and flash backs crossed my mind and my eyes were swollen with tears.

When l think about the journeys, our dreams, our childhood, the brotherhood and the hoods we’ve been through, l’m grateful for everything and l realised that indeed every disappointment can be a blessing in disguise.

No matter what happens, people should learn to look ahead and move on with their lives.

I’ll celebrate.

I’ll keep moving on. I’ll keep on sharing and l’ll never stop believing that where there is life, there is hope.

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Madrilenian (part 3)

I will start a new life. I will create my own future and make love the foundation.

The Madrilenian (Part 3)

By Adeola Aderounmu

DSC_1136

Unknown to Pablo, his sisters took up the task of finding out more about Patricia since the day he invited them for a family reunion. It was a day he ate well and spoke the most to them ever. He had a little drink and spoke about everything that happened to him in St. Petersburg.

What he told them was enough for his sisters to hire a private investigator to locate Patricia in Madrid. This family has adequate wealth to do the things they actually set their minds on together.

Pablo’s sisters travelled to Madrid when the private investigator brought back his reports. They thanked him and paid him the outstanding fees.

Patricia is single, has a decent job and lives quietly on Castellana Drive-a part of Madrid that is about 0,5 mile from Santiago Bernabéu.

She laughed when she met Aleksandra, Cecilia and Viveca.

She spoke to them earlier on the phone and was open to meeting them. They even brought their children and spent a few days in Madrid. Together, they went to Santiago Bernabéu and saw Real Madrid won against Atletico Bilbao.

Since their first meeting in St. Petersburg, Patricia and Pablo have remained in constant touch with each other but like all emerging strange hearts trying to make love work, they were yet to agree on a few things.

Should she leave Spain for Catalonia or will Pablo leave Catalonia for Spain?

They have met once in Madrid and twice in Barcelona in recent months. They always joke of having different nationalities and they think that politicians are crazy citizens.

The future is always undefined; therefore many people always want to remain close to their families.

The family remains the greatest source of comfort and solace both during war and in the time of peace. It took Pablo a long time to realise some of these elements and values of family.

Did he suffer from a sort of disorder that heals with time and age? What went wrong when he was growing up? There is no need to worry about the past. For his family the best gift for the future is the present development in Pablo’s life.

For Pablo it felt good to get have this bond and to look forward to ways of finding the missing puzzle bits in his life.

Patricia promised to think about the proposals that the sisters brought with the wonderful, introduction visit.

Aleksandra is a top executive in Girona. Her vast experience in human resources and consultancy means that she can connect people with newer opportunities in Catalonia and other places in Spain.

The sisters came with a job offer in Girona for Patricia. Patricia may have to choose between all the comfort she has now and a future where she can have a new family.

I will think about it. She said as the sisters headed for the airport and flew back to Girona.

As she thought about what the future may bring, she asked herself, why did l travel to St. Petersburg? Was Moscow not enough for me? But she asked these questions not out of regret but fear.

That night as she lay on her bed looking at the dim lit lamp hanging from the roof, she took herself on the memory lane and thought about where she was coming from and where she could be heading.

Then she conquered her fears. Only cowards are afraid of changes she told herself. I am a Madrilenian and I should not be afraid to fill the vacuum in my life.

I have comfort, but I also still have a need. She tries to find a permanent reasoning that will stir her mood in the most positive way possible.

She went deeper in her thoughts in search of the positive energy locked in her soul.

She must find the conviction that that this change is the next stage of her life.

If this will be my future, so be it. So she decided she will go to Girona, to Pablo and to Pablo’s lovely sisters and their beautiful children.

I will start a new life. I will create my own future and make love the foundation.

She told her family about the latest development. They wished her well and promised to visit her often.

Patricia had been living in Girona for 2 weeks before she found the air that took her to Pablo’s house.

She turned off the location settings on her mobile devices when she left Madrid. She tested her new job, she lived with Pablo’s parents and she started to find her way around the town. Luckily she didn’t run into Pablo all of those times.

Pablo didn’t know that Patricia was living in the same town so he was obviously not looking at every person or object until now when he saw that someone was sitting in his garden, with back to the main street.

When he turned around and saw the face of the person sitting in his garden, he was speechless.

It was the same dumbness and reaction he had the first time he saw her image in the glass at St. Petersburg. She is beautiful.

Patricia was already crying before he arrived. Pablo could not hold back his tears too.

She gave him a gift she brought from Madrid. The packet contains a bracelet with the inscription, The Madrilenian. He thanked her.

They hugged each other and went inside.

(Concluded)

aderounmu@gmail.com