Archive for December, 2011

Sierra Leoneans and their attitude problems – It has to change!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 14, 2011 by Dante Bello

It is now ten months to be precise since I have been in Freetown. It is suffice to say it has worth the while being at home around family and friends – reconnecting lost moments and sealing family bonds and friendships that were at a point of decay.

Ironically the timing of life always has a way of fixing things – I am happy to say – the universe has been good to me.

I have had the pleasure of experiencing the freshness of the raining season in Freetown, the awe-inspiring moments of waking up in the morning to the fresh wind blowing from the Atlantic Ocean combing my hair to rise freely – what a subtle feeling…

What more can I ask for, having the pleasure of  standing right on top of Hill Station overlooking the city – the beauty of the Western Area Peninsula, the trees – the lush green ambience all around, the wind blowing softly as nature romanticizes itself with it creations.

I have also had the pleasure of eating good food that I have so desired after many years of being away from home – Cassava leaves, Potatoes leaves, Groundnut soup, Tola soup, Sawa Sawa/Bitter leaf and fufu and the list goes on…

What more can I ask for than to be grateful for the fact that I do have life and in the midst of all odds, being at home in Freetown has been worth it.

Penning down these memories comes with great delight from a good place in my heart. When I look back since February 9th 2011, when my life took a whole 360 degrees turnaround – and to where I am now – I am confident in saying – I have no regrets because I have settled my scores with karma – I have paid my dues – made restitution and most important of all – I have embraced the moment without at any stage complaining about my down lows.

It’ll be a gross denial to say my weaknesses have not had the better of me – I have battled some days to get by – there are days when it feels like life is strangling me to death and there are those days when I am able to rise up through faith because of my hope in what the future holds for me. I have learned to maximize the moments as much as I can.

Each day in Freetown has been a learning experience for me – sometimes it is so hard to adjust to some of the things I see down here – Sierra Leoneans attitude to everything is just kinda like weird to me – “people are like in a way slow…” The capitalist euphoria is yet to hit this country. People still wake up here at 9:00am – Shops open like 10:00am… etc – African time galore – so rampant for a punctuality infested creäture like me – just picture the frustration…

People are so glued to their comfort zones like: “as long as I have what to eat for the day, tomorrow is another – I’ll get there when I get there” type of attitude… I find this so archaic and strange – but hey, I am doing my best to “change” the few that I can – but for now I am starting with my little sister and so far we are making head way…

Sierra Leoneans attitude problems is the biggest obstacle to this country progress now. Change is like a taboo here – Some people have built high concrete walls around their comfort zones and what they know that any attempt to try to come between that will be met with serious resistance.

Complex is another phobia that is eating the mindset of Sierra Leoneans. People will rather pull you down if you have an idea than join you in making it a reality – to make it all worse  – if it does not benefit their pockets – you’ll be talked down to nothingness. Hectic!

What the APC led government of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has done is to come up with a campaign on Attitudinal Change” – A whole commission has been set up to sell this idea to the people of Sierra Leone.

The new democratic dispensation in Sierra Leone has a lot of prospect. But the image and damage of a decade plus civil war are still fresh in the minds of Sierra Leoneans – this is a fact that we cannot afford to sweep under the carpet.

Sierra Leoneans are hurting from the experience of war and some will never recover from the lose but there are also those that have dust themselves off from the experience and are willing to fight on and work towards building this nation to what it was before the civil war and even better to catch up with the developing nations – because clearly Sierra Leone is way behind in all aspects of life compare to where developing countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana are in the sub region.

A lot has been written and said about attitudinal change. Like I reiterated – Sierra Leoneans have attitude problems. Whether it is in the office, at home, in schools, public places or in government – this attitude problems exist at different levels and in all shapes and seizes…

“You can’t train old dog new tricks” – this is the irony Sierra Leone face as a nation presently. Attitudinal problems are deep-rooted in the system, which is as a result of many years of tolerance and acceptability without checks and balances.  Asking people to change now is a very hard task to meet over a short period – the truth is, unless Sierra Leoneans change their attitude, this nation will fall short of any form of progress especially in this 21st century.

For change in itself to be meaningful, the people would have to go through a gradual process of evolution and transformation as there should be structures, policies and legislation to back up these processes.  Talk, talk with no action and commitments will change nothing – so far that is what it seems like.

Society like Sierra Leone have been and gone through hell – the question is: how gradual should this attitudinal change process be?

The cold front is here – the weather is changing rapidly – dry hot/cold air is blowing – dust everywhere – damp skies as the sign of the harmattan season greets the shores of Freetown.

It is that season to prepare oneself for the cold, the Vaseline, ointments and lip gloss era is here – dressing warm and waking up early to take a bath before the cold sets in is one of the things I should get myself use to before I start packing my bags heading to my next destination.

I do believe Sierra Leone is bigger than any one of us – it is only our unrelenting commitment, unflinching dedication that will make this country what we wish it to be for us and the generations to come – it is only, and only then can we boast and beat our chest of being a true Sierra Leoneans.

Follow me on Twitter  – @dantebello

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There is nothing like an ugly human being.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by Dante Bello

If I could recall vividly I once had a debate with an acquaintance on Twitter about the tagging and calling of people “ugly”. Apparently that did not went down well like most debate on Twitter – 140 characters of expression sometimes is not enough to get a point across – many of what you are trying to pass across get lost in translation – misinterpretation is often the case which lead to most debate not yielding the desired results.

As I ponder upon it more often considering all the exegesis involved – I am quite convinced that there is nothing like an “ugly human being.” You might be wondering to know why I say this but first let us define the word “ugly”.

I check up the word “ugly” in the dictionary and here is the definition I got: 1. “unpleasant to the ear, eye and mind”, 2. unpleasantly suggestive; discreditable, 3. morally repulsive, and 4. threatening, dangerous.

I must say the aforementioned definitions are correct but in line to my thought when a human being is concerned, I see it differently. I find myself making sense of those definitions more to objects (like a piece of artworks, a car, a house, a boat  – (a person’s action – character ) etc) than directly to how a human being looks like. – Definitely a person’s face or body structure cannot be morally repulsive to society.

“Human beings are not objects…”

By saying a person is ugly is not a fact – it is a relative statement that anyone can dispute in many ways depending on their individual constructs and realities – “What is ugly to you; might not be ugly to me.”

I am of the view that there is nothing like an ugly human being. We are all created perfect according to the creators’ intent.

“Humans are the masters’ piece.”

Our creation does not fall short in whatever way you might want to look at it. Each human being is created for a particular purpose and mission on earth – that is what we are here for – to fulfil it.

Each person is created for a particular person that he or she will be attracted to – the instead of applies.

In the eyes of your parents for example, you are the most beautiful creation God ever made. I am yet to see a mother that will disown their child because the child is an “ugly” child – I am yet to find one. If there is any parent like that then definitely that parent is in  need of some psychological re-examination.

I tweeted on Twitter on Sunday saying: “I’m waiting for the day someone will define an “ugly” person for me outside their construct, preference and perception.”  Well I never any received any reply from my followers or from anyone because in trying to define “ugly” outside of our construct, preference and perception is practically impossible. Or do you want to give it a shot?

I believe most often times when someone say a person is ugly, it has more to do with the aforementioned from that tweet because the girl or guy who is branded ugly to you might be the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to another person – so how do you make sense of this swaying fact conclusively? Hence I find it rhetoric to tag a human being ugly because this “fact” in context to human being not being an object does not hold water in any shape form or kind.

An acquaintance of mine on Twitter @Anto_Prophy, well for now she is that as we just started our Twitter journey and hopeful we’ll get to know each more tweet to @Remzzilla: Reconsider the use of the word ugly, it’s meant for objects. A gentleman never goes there.” #BringItIn. This tweet is in context to a debate we were having in regards to @Remzzilla saying: “a chick that cannot keep herself presentable is ugly”.  What I find compelling to agree with Anto tweet is the fact – “ugly” about how a girl looks like (presentable or not) is flawed because is relative  – re: your construct, preference and perception.

Also in looking at it from the innate design of creation it is void – How a person dress or present themselves is circumstantial and it is our personal choice to use our preference whether we can tolerate them around us or not. That is a choice you will have to make based on your taste.

So, by saying a person is ugly is not a fact because somewhere somehow he or she is not to someone else – do we now flawed that and throw it to the dustbin because it does not fit into your construct?

Do we now say because someone does not align to your understanding and expectation of what beauty is – then he or she is outright ugly?

Do we now also say because a person does not meet your standard of what you have been constructed to believe beauty is – so anything outside of that understanding is ugly?

Rather, it is more correct to say someone is not your “type of girl or guy” i.e. putting preference into consideration – it make more sense and logically correct. I will like to believe each person’s preference and definition of what beauty is differs.

I believe we all are beautiful in our own right – our construct and perception creates this wall of what is ugly and what is not – what is beautiful and what is not – this goes against the innate mandate of our being as humans.

There is nothing like an ugly woman or man – if you dispute this – that is alright but first before you put me in my place – please define what an “ugly” person outside your construct, preference and perception.

There is nothing ugly about who you are. Stay beautiful in your own right…

@dantebello on Twitter

Spasm of reflections – Winehouse comes to mind.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2011 by Dante Bello

Yesterday was one of those days I find myself spasm into a space of reflections of all sort – I was unable to decipher exactly what triggered it so I allowed myself to embrace the feeling without trying to make too much mental sense of it before I loose the purpose of it all.

It has been a journey on Twitter these past eleven months but one thing that stood firmly on my mind throughout as I reflect was the announcement of Amy Winehouse death. I can’t say I am a diehard fan of hers but when her music is played anywhere I listen with so much attention because somehow I can relate to what she sings about – so her death somehow open my eyes to some things I took for granted.

The superficiality of Twitter was manifested when it was announced that she had passed on in her apartment in London. I could recall rhetorics and judgemental sentiments via people’s tweets that went on Twitter about Amy being a crack head, druggy and what not and have you. Somehow those comments/tweets are still vivid till today in my mind.

I was also involved in a little “Twitter spat” with couple of people as I honestly did not find some of their tweets fair on someone they did not know personally nor have a clue of her struggles rather their only source of information was only based on what the tabloid had written about her which can go both ways with so much room for relativity.

Truth is Amy Winehouse had her demons but we cannot take the fact she was a talent, she had a voice that mellows the soul, and speak to the heart. Her music was divine, the lyrics of her songs reads truth of our hidden secrets, dark sides – I am certain God himself will be impressed about her being His creation.

We cannot dispute that Amy had her weaknesses and she never pulled through some of it but for people on Twitter to blatantly make flimsy comments about her life and the journey they never knew all about send chills to my spine till this day, hence the superficiality on the Twitter platform is so surreal sometimes.

 The reality is some of us have dead beats vampires in our closet that will stink if the world ever gets to know about them.

Was I shocked about her death, I will say yes/no. It never crossed my mind – just like anyone per se but yet again I was alerted back into reality that death as part of our human existence and giving it a blind sight at times is not a human error but a reality that we sometimes tend to deny – overlook until something tragic happens to our loved ones and we switch to that reflective mode of taking stock of our lives inventory, family and all that we care about. Why must we get to that space before appreciating the gift of life?

As I ponder upon the “take no prisoners approach” on Twitter by most people in general I continued in that reflective mode throughout the day. I realize that the human body is associated with six stages of transformation: Birth, Growth, Change, Evolution, Death and Destruction.

The reality and painful truth is death accepts no excuse, tears do not move it heart, death gives us no advance notice of it arrival to take us; notice in the form of grey hair, falling teeth, falling vision, folding of the skin neither of those because death may call any moment regardless of who you are.

Every moment, we are nearing death; death is not a deplorable event but a journey’s end. It cannot be destroyed; one should not fear death, as death is but another stage of life. Death can happen when the time signal the right moment, when the yearning for living ends but the questions in my heart does humanity really yearns to live no more?

Our life begins with a wail and must end with a smile at death, it’s a harsh reality but if we agree it’s a truth that at death we celebrate the life of the deceased and by that way we are defeating the pains and anguish of death.

In summation to my thoughts, we should appreciate and celebrate our life and those of others. Know that you are born with the dawn of every day you woke up, that you nestle in the lap of death when your eyes are close in sleep. Know that each day is a gift given to you. Know that waking from sleep is but birth and going to sleep is death, do not forget the primary goal of life, – live it to the fullest.

Death is dangling its sword over every head; our life span is fast diminishing like water leaking through a broken pot of a melting block of ice and note that death overtakes man even before he realizes his mission in life.

Let’s reflects this elixir and put our lives into perspectives in appreciating the gift of life as the year runs to a close. Amy Winehouse and others who has passed on came, they saw and conquered even in their frailties and weaknesses, they lived their life according the script written for them by the divine – so don’t judge them by your own lenses.

“All are beggars at the gate of God, the hero is he who does not beg or cringe or flatter or fawn, he knows that the Lord knows best” – Sia Baba

 @dantebello on Twitter.