Those Who Stepped Up

Have you ever encountered someone who steps up to help children in need when they lose one or both of their parents or guardians? Growing up, there was a family that always had a full house. It wasn't until I was in secondary school that I realized who their biological children were. This family was always ready and willing to assist others, particularly children who had lost a parent or both parents. I remember when a relative of mine passed away, leaving behind several children. None of her siblings could single-handedly care for all her children, so they divided the responsibilities among themselves. Each of the siblings took in one of the children. "Asake, I'm ready to get married now. My parents married early but struggled with infertility until their 40s. They had our youngest sibling when they were in their late 50s. I started working at a young age to help take care of my siblings, and now that our youngest is finishing up university, I feel like I'm in a posit

About Q!

There is something about Q; it seems fine when your name begins with it 😊. But when it is not the first alphabet of your name, you have to expect that some people will misspell it. This post is an addendum to BILQEES (a blog post named after me on my blog). Some years ago, when I began my career, I noticed a couple of people would switch the “q” in my name with “g”. Whenever I reply to such a person, I would sign BilQees hoping that the person would pick up the hint. Most times, they did.   As long as I can remember, I always write my name in block letters on official forms as this was the usual instruction in Nigeria. Recently, I decided to write my name in sentence case. I am happy to inform you that after so many years, someone wrote my name with a “g”.  The mix-up is understandable because q and g when written in lowercase sometimes look alike.  Till next time, consider writing your name in block letters (capital letters) if your name contains letters that are commonly misspelled


This post started as a caption for a photo on Instagram. As a member of the overthinking club, I was about to sit on this for a while but decided to post whatever I wrote.  I sometimes fall into the rat hole of perfectionism, especially in my non-professional life. I think, talk, and dream of the idea but because my work in progress is not “perfectly perfect”, I may delay executing it.  I have come to realize that in life, some people are starters, some are builders, some are scalers, and some are closers. Some people have  a healthy mix of everything, and it is ok if you are not one of them. Acknowledge it,  i dentify where you fall, and surround yourself with people who can help you execute the idea.  When I started my blog, I used to write whatever came to mind, but as I grew, I wanted something that would inspire me and others reading it. Many people may not know that I had a short-lived photography blog, but I closed it down because I was not sure my work was “ready” to be seen, f

Nakumbuka wewe

Do you remember them? Those that left. I still remember them. I hate to admit I have forgotten some names. But I remember something about them.   My earliest memory was in primary school. She was my classmate's younger sister. I remember her.   She lived down the road.   She was my childhood best friend's "street daughter." I remember her. I remember him. He lived a street away from me. He was a nice person and always smiling. His older brother is friends with my folks, so I remember him.   I remember his burial. I never met him, but I met one of his daughters. We were at NYSC camp together. Witnessing his burial humbled me. My brain could not process how he did not scream or push back when lowered to the ground. How could I ever forget her? She was my indomie eating partner. She was the coolest grandma ever! My grandma. She birthed my fave.  She always tried to ensure I did not get home late after visiting her. Whatever you give her, she would always give some out. A

This journey!

It is not that they do not care. It is just that they do not know how to bring up the conversation. They saw how excited you were when you started the journey. They saw how sad you were when you were unable to complete it. They are not sure if bringing it up will trigger you. They chose to keep quiet out of care. Some of them will call to have random conversations. Some of them will avoid calling because they are afraid they will bring it up. They might not be able to walk a mile in your shoes, but their feet also hurt. It is not that they do not care. It is not that they were hiding it. It is not that they did not value your relationship. It is just that they want to get to their destination before announcing it. They have been on this journey before but never got to the destination. While you cared to ask for the details then. The details sometimes became overwhelming when shared. And sharing led to comments like why didn’t you, you should have, next time try. Comments like that some


My name is Bilqees, that is the spelling on my birth certificate which was issued 11 days after my birth in the late 80s.  According to Islamic history, it is the name of the Queen of Sheba.  Blessed with different spelling variations, one of the first things my mother told me about my name was if an official document issued to you  is not spelt - B-I-L-Q-E-E-S then that document doesn’t belong to you. Well, I almost got kicked out of primary school because the accountant spelt my name wrongly on the school fees payment receipt and I refused to collect it.  Aunty Maggie, the accountant insisted on not writing me a new one, so I left her office. Some weeks later, I was not allowed on the school premises because I was not with the receipt.  I tried to explain but I was sent home, I am not sure AbdulGaniu (my older brother) realized I was not allowed into the school premises. I went back home and my Grandma (May Allah grant her Al-janah Fridaous) followed me to school and said – “My daugh


This life has all kinds of tests. A smaller test can break one. And a bigger test can prepare one for an upcoming smaller test. Having gone through a bigger test, one might not realize it when one is going through a smaller test. Having gone through a bigger test, one might unintentionally invalidate other people’s experiences by disregarding their struggles. Having gone through a bigger test, one might be ungrateful for “scaling” through a small hurdle.   When I jumped down Moses Mabhida Stadium's(The Big Swing) in 2015, I was super scared of jumping but when I jumped, I didn’t feel any adrenaline rush. Weird right? When I reflected on the fact that I didn’t feel any rush, I concluded it was because I had experienced a “bigger” rush in 2013. A 240km/h rush was a result of being on the fastest roller coaster in the world - Formula Rossa. So, when someone who had been on The Big Swing talks about their adrenaline rush, I cannot relate. Instead of disregarding their exp

The amateur photographer

I have called myself an amateur photographer for a long time. If my memory serves me right, I have been calling myself that for 6 years. I am thinking of changing it to DSLR owner – it sounds funky right – I know 😊 . Somedays ago, I stumbled on my first camera. I got it towards the end of Senior Secondary School.   I think a day student helped me to buy it, I do remember my childhood friend Rafiat playing a big role in getting it. It is an analog camera; I took a couple of secondary school graduation pictures with it. I still wonder why I did not include the camera in the list of things I own.   I guess it is time to update my asset register. Well, the first thing I must do is to download it from my brain and keep a soft or hard copy that is accessible to relevant people. My "second" camera was not mine really, it belonged to my Dad, but I used it most of the time till it spoilt.   Well, it did not get spoilt on my watch. My Dad did not want to fix it in Nairobi (the Cap

Ise abi alafia 2.0

As I waited for my turn at the paying till I couldn’t help but hear everything the man behind me was saying on the phone. “Yes, I understand he is ill and on admission, but this update cannot wait. Do you know if he has his laptop with him at the hospital?  He’s one of your best subordinates, those figures should be top of mind, I do not mind an estimate at this time”. He kept talking while I wheeled my shopping cart out of the supermarket. As I was about to judge him, I wondered if I have ever done the same. If there were times, I should have been more compassionate.   Hey, I am not feeling too well. I spoke with the doctor and she recommended some medications. Once the pain subsides, I will log in and attend to important tasks. As I laid in tears, praying for the pain to go away I could not help but think about the meetings I have missed and all the updates I promised to share before COB.   As I was about to judge myself, I wondered what I could have done better to prevent the pain.


People told stories of how their Mothers cooked a whole chicken when they attainted womanhood! aka saw their monthly period aka the visitor aka that time of the month. Whatever it is called, you get the gist, right? I was in boarding school, so no one cooked a whole chicken for me, but my friend did celebrate like I won a lottery. It was a tradition back then to celebrate your friend when their period came. People who started their period while on holiday came back to either announce it in the hostel or “display” an unused pad in a manner that sends the message. I can’t remember when I started my period, but I can remember taking sanitary pad to boarding school and “lending” it out with the hope of collecting it back when my period finally started. I never had the opportunity to collect it for some terms, in fact I never collected it back but las las my period came. It came after our teachers and parents had started talking about reproductive system and sexual education. I thought


Have you ever chatted with someone one day and then the next, the person was dead? At least, I knew my friend was ill because we spoke on the phone a couple of times. It took me a while to forgive myself for not visiting her in the hospital, but I find solace in the fact that we spoke a couple of times. “Asake, it is not possible, I chatted with her yesterday and she said she was fine when I asked her how she was doing. We chat every week and she never mentioned she wasn’t feeling well, she never mentioned she had been on admission for a month. How was I supposed to know she went through a surgery? I thought we were close, I thought we were best of friends…” Yeni kept lamenting with tears in her eyes. Yeni hadn’t spoken with her friend for months but they chatted every week. Tola, her friend went to the hospital for minor surgery (that was what her doctors called appendicitis) but never left the hospital alive. Life of the party, you are out this Saturday again, I commented on Omot


When I started driving, I had three guiding principles – 1.        Top up my fuel at half tank 2.        Always buy full tank when I drive into a fueling station 3.        When broke, buy fuel - at least I can still move around. Topping up my car at half tank made it easy to mentally calculate the true value of the fuel I bought 😁 (Yeah, I sometimes use excel but I have to know at the pump) One day on my way out, I decided to top up my fuel which was a little above half tank but something weird happened. The cost was over my usual spend and my tank was far from full. I told the station attendant to stop when it was a ₦ 1,000 above my average spend then challenged him. “Madam your gauge might be bad o, “he said. While driving out, I told him he just lost a customer. I wasn’t paying any attention to the fuel meter because I was trying to get out the keg I use to fuel my generator. “Your money is ₦ 5,000 she said, this one is ₦ 1,500 and the one I sold into the car