So today I woke up to loads on RIP messages on my IG TL.

A beautiful young soul, Awele fought with all her might to stay alive, but she lost. I never knew Awele personally, but loads of my friends were close to her. Judging from all the comments and messages, I realised that this girl was full of love and life and hope and so much energy, that is, until she was in crises.

This got me thinking, why do people have to die at such an early age because of something that can be avoided? I decided to do a little research on this condition called Sickle Cell Anaemia and the NHS UK website (link provided below) gives a detailed explanation about this condition. In fact, what got me interested is that, this condition is hardly reported in people of Caucasian descent. It is, what one would call an “African-Caribbean Disease”.

I am no doctor, so I won’t go into the intricacies of SCA, however, according to NHS UK, the sickle cell gene is inherited (passed on between family members). To get sickle cell anaemia you have to inherit the defective gene from both parents.

If you only inherit the gene from one parent, you have what’s known as the sickle cell trait. It’s likely that your blood will contain some sickle cells, but you’ll be able to produce normal haemoglobin and won’t usually experience symptoms. However, you’ll be a carrier of sickle cell anaemia and may pass the abnormal gene on to your children.

If two people with the sickle cell trait have a child, there’s a one in four chance that the child will be born with sickle cell anaemia.

The question that should be asked is how this can be prevented.

First of all, PLEASE… know your genotype. I cannot explain what a genotype is, but all i can do is advise that you find a hospital and just tell them you want to know your genotype. I promise you, its not that difficult. The hospital will further advise you on what steps you should take if you have an AS or SS genotype. I cannot emphasize this point well enough. Like seriously, this is no joke.  I knew my genotype in secondary school, and me being who I am, wanted to confirm it hadn’t changed (silly me), so I walked into a hospital and checked again a few years back.

Secondly, if God has been so merciful to keep you up until marry-able age and your genotype is AS or SS, i beg you,  DO NOT get married to a person that is your “type”. If you love that person so much, either get your womb tied or get a vasectomy or something to ensure you do not have children. If you want children that bad, adopt! Believe me, if you have a child that is SS, the pain that child is going through would make you hate your partner. Someone said that when you meet a person of the opposite sex, the next question to ask after exchanging names is “what is your genotype”, even before other pleasantries.

Thirdly, pray. This might sound a bit like a “Nigerian Miracle” but i heard about a couple who were AS and SS and all four of their children came out AA. Seriously, there is nothing God cannot do. But please, be as wise as a serpent, do the needful.

I applaud foundations like SCAF-NG for their hard work in ensuring that more people are made aware of this condition. We as Nigerians and Africans have to ensure that our children do not suffer for our own mistakes in the name of love. It is not just fair. This is a fight we all have to be involved in, whether you are SS, AS or AA.

Please take a few minutes of your time to watch Awele’s Diary. She was truly a warrior. May her beautiful soul rest in perfect peace.

Don’t let ignorance kill your children, #knowyourgenotype

For more information see:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sickle-cell-anaemia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.scaf.org.ng

Twitter: SCAF_ng

Disclaimer: These are the personal views of the writer.

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It is that time of the year when i am allowed to be vain *smiles* I have come a long way…and i really do think a committee should be organized to honor me, or maybe i should finally be given the key to the city.. *cheeky smile*.

i really feel so blessed and thankful!

Happy Birthday to me and may God grant me all my heart desires. AMEN!!!

*dancing in my birthday suit*

Lets be pretty together… Gosh i need to sleep!

Today i write…

i write for myself. I write for my children. I write for my grandchildren!

Today I write…

I write because I am told that the pen is greater than the sword. I write because i choose to be heard. I write because my words would make a difference.

I write because i am an unmarried Christian, black, igbo, female under 40! I write because i feel persecuted!!

I am slaughtered because i am a Christian! Persecuted by many because I am supposedly meant to be with dogs and because I cannot recite a few lines of the Qur’an. My brains are blown out because I am allegedly an infidel, a pig, a disgust to the earth.

I am killed because I am Black! “Once a slave always a slave”, they say. They kill me and lie about the reasons i lay lifeless on the cold ground. I am shot 8 times at my back. I am held so tight, I can’t breathe anymore. I am put in jail and left to die without granting me the chance to tell my story.

I am murdered because I am Igbo! People who know me, know i am industrious, a fighter, not with arms but with my God given ability to turn any dump to gold. Yet they hate me for helping develop their towns and cities. They murdered over a million of me yet they are not satisfied. Their hunger for my blood never seem to amaze me. They use their words to intimidate me, yet i stand strong. They believe i am the scum of the nation, yet i work like everyone else, to feed my family and sometimes to feed theirs.

I am despised because i am a woman! I have never been a feminist but today i stand in honor of womanhood! I am being sold and forced to get married to a man old enough to be my father. I am raped and plagued by all sorts of diseases, but because i am a woman, no one cares. I am given to terrorists and all subjected to all sort of abuse because they believe i am not allowed to speak and all I am good for is childbearing.

I am refused visas because i am unmarried and under 40! They say, i would become a prostitute in their country. They say i have no responsibility and might never return to my home state. They say…

I decide to speak!

I tremble with sadness and my eyes well up with tears, for i fear for my children and grandchildren who will be persecuted even more for such frivolous and ridiculous reasons. I fear that wherever they go, home and abroad, they will be persecuted for being black, female, Igbo, Christian or even unmarried under 40!

We fail to practice the much loved and recited phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” and instead, I am told “when you get slapped on one cheek, turn the other”. I speak because i am tired of being slapped. My cheeks are sore from your slaps and now, i decide to speak!

I am proud of my heritage, my race, my gender, my age and my belief and i want to live without being persecuted or wished out of the earth by humans who think they are gods or demigods.

These are my thoughts and today, I speak!

So am pretty much sitting in my room, jobless and tired from the long holiday. Suddenly, I decide to download the wordpress.com application on to my blackberry. After much thought, weighing my pros and cons I decide it wud be a superb idea. I mean, I can quickly post my thoughts using my blackberry without running to my ipad or worse still, my laptop (cringing at the thought of that)! At first, I go to the blackberry app page, to look for the wordpress.com app, what do I find? Absolutely NOTHING!! That’s pretty frustrating, considering the fact that I had to wait donkey years for it to load. So with much determination and persistence, not letting anything stand in my way, (u know that initial feeling you get when your pastor urges you to go into the world and invite people to church, yea, that’s what I had) I decide to look for it online. I enter the address on line and WALA, d first thing staring at my beautiful brown eyes: “download app to blackberry”! I download the app without hesitation. This is my first post using my downloaded version of the app, so hallelujah.. It works! Its been a long tedious journey, but am finally here. Typing away and enjoying my wordpress.com account on my blackberry. So let’s hope that this will encourage me to write more. Much love xx

So this is my first blog EVER! Coming from a family of writers and as an aspiring “bad-ass” lawyer, this is a major disappointment on my part, but hell, i still started anyways.

I’d have to apologize for the use of certain words such as, “innit”, “kinda”, “dunno”,”anyways”, “toh”, “abi”, “sha”, “biko” and my favorite, “ego” *smiles*. Apparently, a blog is meant to kind of reflect who you are, and these words, although very informal and a whole lot unprofessional, kind of reflect my everyday vocabulary. Hopefully, my prospective employers/ clients won’t think of me as incompetent *fingers crossed*.

So after procrastinating for decades unending about starting a blog, i finally sum up the courage to do so. Believe me, certain thoughts come to mind when you can’t sleep. Also, thank God for friends who enjoy blogging, you see, inspiration comes from unexpected places. However, i must ardently state that no good thing comes easy. Apparently, i had set up a  wordpress.com account, ages ago, just to criticize my friend’s blog. As we all know, critics hardly ever do work of their own- so yea, sue me! So since i created an account as a “non-blogger” changing my account to a “blogger” was kind of a herculean task, but as my mother told me when she dropped me off in London, “always read the signs, you can’t get lost if you read the signs”, i read the signs, even tho when i followed it, it landed me with no post and just a few yawns from me. Did i give up? Good thing am a fighter. So here i am, one blog post down, many more to go.

Hello World?

Am sure if you are still reading this post, you are either bored with your normal day-to-day activity or i have forced you to read the post and maybe criticize or you are waiting for what exactly i would be posting. Well, my normal sarcastic self would say “good things come to those who wait”, but since i have to start thinking like a blogger (chuckles), i’d be posting every and anything that comes to mind, stories that i think would make people cry, laugh, comment on or make them start a war(joking, totally!), or even world events(if i am that bored). I will try to keep it as modest as possible, but i will still be myself. That’s my pinky promise!

SO, Hello World… My name is Tochi and thank you for reading! (this is where you give the standing ovation)