Let’s Talk About The Guy Who Rebuilt His Nation

In today’s world, there are so many broken walls to rebuild; in individual lives, families, organizations, and of course, countries.

Are you grieved over broken walls? Are you tired of just complaining? Do you long to play a significant role in rebuilding? Then let’s talk about Nehemiah and his building project.

A quick review of the Book of Nehemiah reveals six principles we can adopt when faced with the daunting task of building from the scratch up again.

  1. He fixed his focus

What exactly is the task before you? Many things will catch your eye, and you may even be deeply disturbed by many others. But you cannot do everything. You need to discover how you were custom-designed to bless your generation, and outline what you need to do to accomplish it. Nehemiah 2:2-5,

“2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Once you’ve identified that purpose, focus on it and channel all your energies and passion towards it, like Nehemiah did.

  1. He found the facts

Research, research, research! Your goal should be, “Nobody else should know more about this than me!” Do this quietly; at this stage, nobody really has to know. Nehemiah 2:11-13,

“11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. 13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. “

Find out everything there is to know about your project, past and present. If you’re working on something that is broken down, find out how it got there, the reasons why it failed, the mistakes that were made. Be realistic about the volume and extent of the work that needs to be done.

  1. He formed a fellowship

When your preliminary research and preparation are completed, you will need a fellowship- a strong team. Just as Jesus wasted no time in selecting The Twelve to work with him, you must also assemble your team. Nehemiah 2:17, 18,

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

  1. He fortified their faith

As you work to fulfil purpose, you will at some point face the challenge of getting your people to go with you and obey God. You must speak words of life to them, they need to hear them. Nehemiah 4: 13, 14

13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

  1. He faced the foes

There will always be haters and naysayers; this is a fact of life. You must stand up and face them, just as Nehemiah stood up to Sanballat and Tobias- in prayer and with your words. Nehemiah 2:19, 20,

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

  1. He fulfilled his function

Nehemiah followed a clear pattern, delegated, and accomplished his mission.  Chapter 3 details who did what, and how, and at the end of the book, we see Jerusalem inhabited again.

If our social media interactions are a reflection of what is in our hearts, then the condition of the nation is one of our greatest concerns; there seems to be no end to the lamentations of a people whose leadership has repeatedly failed them.

We pray for a leader who will be courageous and compassionate. However, we are all nation builders- he is going to need you. You may never hold office, but by making a difference where you are called to, you will bolster the efforts of those at the forefront. Building is never easy, but the principles found in Nehemiah point the way to success.

O God of all creation, grant this our one request; help us to build a nation where no one is oppressed- and so, in peace and plenty, Nigeria will be blessed.

 

I wrote this article for vinemag.com

 

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Why I don’t have a househelp…and why you shouldn’t

People laugh at me when I say “My Domestic Assistant” because they think I’m trying to be posh. But it’s not about that. Achalugo does justice to the matter in this insightful post. Be enlightened…

ACHALUGO's

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I hate sterotypes, strongly, maybe because I am a victim myself. There is a sport I cannot play, the sport of generalising, of using a one-size-fits-all approach to matters.

I have been seriously referred to as Mammywater, kudos to my Mtn complexion, also all lightskinned females bleach, all pretty females are harlots, add your own. It hurts, stop eeet!

So you must have heard, all househelps are wicked, possessed, lazy, dirty, will snatch your husband, *insert yours here*.

Now, lets kill this sterotype - the ‘I have a househelp sterotype’, I dont, you shouldn’t. Let us replace it with the ‘I have a domestic staff’ one. See? Easy, now we both do not have househelps anymore.

I happen to make up my mind on the kind of person you are, based on the way you treat a domestic staff and (shoot me) nomenclature is a big deal to me. So…

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What Happened When I Visited First Consultants After Patrick Sawyer

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t ready for what I got.

I had been looking forward to visiting First Consultants Medical Centre again, but having moved far away from that vicinity, I needed good reason.

A second pregnancy was what I had in mind. I cannot forget the compassion and dexterity the staff had shown when I had my first child there in 2012, having conceived with the assistance of the excellent gynaecologist who is also the hospital’s CMD. They deftly navigated the choppy waters of a threatened miscarriage at 6 weeks, and preterm labour at a little over 34 weeks. While many agree that the experience of being a first time mother is unforgettable, mine was made even more so by pregnancy-induced hypertension that rendered my body too hostile for my unborn baby to thrive. He arrived early and small, weighing just 1.54kg.

After I went into spontaneous preterm labour, my precious baby spent four infection-free weeks in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at First Consultants, where he was lovingly and expertly cared for: skilled and committed nurses taught me how to prepare a sitz bath and express breast milk, and gave me vital reading material for new mothers. They comforted me when I wept over having to leave the hospital with no baby in my womb and no baby in my arms. They took turns watching my baby night and day, and feeding him devotedly, first through an NG tube and later with a syringe. They made sure my husband and I took off all jewelry, washed and disinfected our hands, and put on fresh scrubs and slippers every single time we went to see our baby.

I was immensely grateful for the expert care I received at First Consultants at the time, but I had no idea just how grateful I, and other Nigerians, would be when two years later Patrick Sawyer would arrive from Liberia, bringing Ebola with him. First Consultants paid an enormous price to save Nigeria from the devastation of the Ebola Virus Disease. Their team of exceptionally competent professionals resisted pressure to let Sawyer out, and eight of them paid with their lives. The hospital was shut down for weeks, while The World Health Organisation (WHO) team thoroughly decontaminated it, removing and burning most of the equipment and furniture.

Nigerians expressed their gratitude, as did The Lagos State Ministry of Health: “The Ministry acknowledges the role your facility played in alerting the State Government of the index case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and appreciates your altruistic gestures in containing and managing this deadly virus, thus preventing an epidemic.

On August 29, 2014, the Federal Government issued First Consultants a certificate of decontamination, and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola re-opened it in October. While I had hoped to return there pregnant, when diarrhoea and vomiting kept us up one November night, we had to make the best decision for our son. An exceptionally healthy child, he hadn’t fallen ill since he left the incubator, and we wanted him to be in capable hands. So, to First Consultants we went, and here’s what I experienced when I stepped in:

Pride

Walking into the hospital that had survived such a significant attack and spared Nigeria unimaginable devastation, as I hugged the staff, their faces familiar and dear, I wondered how they had found the strength to survive the indescribable trauma. I felt unexpected pride. As I walked the hallways and climbed the stairs, I felt proud to be in a place posterity owed great gratitude and honour. I was proud to hold a patient card, proud to be a part of this institution in a small way.

Confidence

It rushed over me like calming, soothing water. Everything about First Consultants still announced competence. My son hadn’t been there in two years but his file appeared out of the thousands of files in a matter of minutes, loaded with vital information and carefully written notes. The nurses who weighed him were full of smiles, and the paediatrician who attended to him was, naturally, brilliant. I had to wonder what I had been expecting. The standards that had endeared the hospital to us and many others had not changed.

Grief

But sadness also gripped me when I saw all that was different, and it wasn’t just the new furniture and arrangements which I knew must have cost them greatly. It was the strange quietness that spoke loudly of poor business. The rooms were empty, the nurses far less busy than they used to be. I felt the weight of the trauma and sacrifice, but I was even more dismayed by the effects of stigma.

I spoke with the Senior Matron who had taken care of me in the days after delivery and she confirmed what I already knew. I listened to her with my eyes firmly fixed on her face, to avoid looking at the picture of the late Senior Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, pinned on her blouse. She told me how scarce patients were, how painful and shocking the reality of stigmatisation was.

As I left, I wondered if this was the way to appreciate a hospital that sacrificed so much for us. I wondered how former patients felt when they chose to go elsewhere for no other reason than the fear of contracting Ebola. I wondered how different our lives would be if, instead of being propelled by fear, we stopped to think, to feel, to remember. Fear is natural, yet it is only those who overcome it that get to enjoy the good things on the other side.

I have decided to live consciously and boldly. I have chosen the good things; amazing antenatal classes, an OB/GYN whose skill is unmatched, caregivers with heart and proficiency, topnotch paediatric care for my children, and the joys that come with constancy and lifelong ties maintained through thick and thin.

 

I wrote this article weeks ago and it was published in several online publications including Ynaija, NewsWireNGR, Omojuwa.com, theparadigmng.com and abusidiqu.com