Some weeks ago I walked away from my job. I had endured the job for long enough and the time came when I'd had enough and I acted almost on impulse. Walking out felt good, as if it was the right thing to do. It was exhilarating knowing that I would no more have to put up with what had caused me to be unhappy with the job in the first place. And although I knew not what I would be doing thereafter I left nevertheless, trusting my instinct.
Since then, a lot has happened. I have now reverted to my former employment status, self-employed. My professional regulatory body will not allow me to practise on my own, since I'm facing some disciplinary action brought on by the actions of my erstwhile partner at my former firm, which is now defunct. However, I've been able to work out a fee-sharing arrangement with a different firm that allows me to do my own work, (through the firm of course). Giving up half of one's fee cannot be easy for anyone, as you probably can imagine. But it is necessary that one should pull one's own weight within a firm in order to have some clout. Also when one considers the firm's overheads, contributing my bit can only be a good thing.
While all this was happening, I came down with the worst flu I've ever had, with a chest infection and sinusitis to boot, causing the worst one-sided headaches I've ever suffered. In fact on one occasion, I was forced to pull up on the busy motorway for about half an hour, not trusting myself to be able to summon the concentration needed to navigate safely home through the traffic. I had a fever and the severe headache refused to go away, despite having overdosed on Cocodamol. But since I desperately craved my bed, I eventually had to brave it and forge ahead regardless, until I clambered up the stairs of my building and staggered through my front door.
You're probably wondering what I was doing driving around when I was so sick. Well, I am no longer an employee, so it is impossible to call in sick to the office. Also, I still had to attend for all of my client appointments, attend court, attend meetings and so on, even while coughing, sneezing and wheezing..and of course spreading the germs around. Anyway, the good news is that at the time of writing this I feel a lot better, even if I can't help thinking that the effects of the illness would have been considerably less, had I the luxury of being able to afford to take a week off work..
Then the Commonwealth Games in Delhi came along and provided us with some comfort in the evenings. Thank goodness for the BBC Red Button, which allows you to watch all the action you missed while you were out. I was particularly interested in the athletics. Now bad publicity is something that we Nigerians are perfectly familiar with, (not that being accustomed to it makes it any less unpleasant). So it didn't particularly come as a surprise the hullabaloo over the winner of the 100m women, Nigeria's Oludamola Osayomi being disqualified and losing her gold medal, having tested positive for Methylhexanamine a nasal decongestant, which only made it into the list of banned substances for athletes in the summer of this year.
That Osayomi was awarded the gold medal in somewhat controversial circumstances anyway, meant that its loss was not as painful as it would have been otherwise. My main concern was to see that Nigeria won more medals than Kenya at the Games. So I was terribly glad to see that despite the loss of Osayomi's gold, Nigeria was placed 6th versus Kenya's 7th place on the Medals Table, although I must admit that I always looked forward to seeing Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi and Vincent Koskei on the track... PS. Well, the Commonwealth Games medals table has changed. Kenya is now placed 6th with 12 gold medals and Nigeria is at 9th place with 11.
And then there is the story of the Chilean miners, a story that has been making it unto the news for months now, usually as a side story about what for most of us, would have seemed like a mishap that befell some unfortunate people in a far off place. Last night I got out of bed in the middle of the night. Sleep failed to find me for some reason, although my guess is that the culprit was my persistent worrying about the financial side of things, (now that I do not receive a regular wage). Anyway, there I was at 2.35am perched on the sofa, turning on the TV, mug of lemon tea cupped in my hands. The pictures on the screen were of a paramedic (I later learned he's in fact a mine rescue expert) being strapped into the Fenix capsule before it began its first manned journey down into the bowels of the Earth at the San Jose copper and gold mine in the Chilean Atacama. I noted that all the major news channels were showing the same pictures, so I selected one, sat back and watched.
It would have been quite unnatural not to have become transfixed on the screen as I was for the next four hours, as I watched miner after miner being pulled out. The Chileans I think, have done a marvellous job in organising this feat, albeit with technical assistance from abroad. What strikes me most is how media-savvy the Chile government has demonstrated that it is, streaming live pictures from the cavern inside the Earth where these miners have been entombed for all of 69 days, the country's mining minister Laurence Golborne tweeting constantly about the rescue operation as it progressed (click here for his Twitter page). I think it is ingenious for the Chile authorities to have arranged for the orchestrated reunions of the rescued miners with their families to take place in the full glare of klieg lights and TV cameras.
As I type this, 15 miners have already been rescued and with much of the rest of the world, I am greatly impressed with the way this rescue operation has progressed. It was only a few days ago that in casual conversation with some friends, I was saying that had those miners died when the mine collapsed in early August, none of us would be talking about them now. Instead, they are now expected to become celebrities, recipients of substantial payouts in compensation. One can only wonder what the effects of their sudden celebrity status would be on each of them, some of whom we are told already faced somewhat complicated circumstances in their personal lives.
And then of course I've recently received an invitation from Rolex to participate in a two-day event to honour the first five winners of their Young Laureates Programme taking place at one of Europe's leading institutions Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland on 9-11 November 2010, where I am informed some of the world's foremost scientists, explorers, environmentalists, doctors and educators will be gathered. Interestingly, two of the young laureates are Africans, one a Nigerian. And I am still scratching my head, wondering if I really should accept the invitation and go over to Lausanne, Switzerland, unsure if I am deserving of this honour..