ONYINYE'S MIRROR ON LIFE

Onyinye OyedeleSunday, February 12, 2006
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Ontario, Canada

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JARA……….(EXTRA, BONUS)


romotions for some new DVD and VHS films offer some extra footages, exclusive clips and on the set filming of the movie. They may even include interviews with the actors and actresses. You can get these extra features when you buy the actual DVD or VHS. You can't go into the shop and request for just those extras because it is an all-inclusive product. I call this extras…..JARA. It is simply a free will addition by the producers just to make their customers happy. Does it mean that if they don't put any extra's you won't buy the movie? They have already put in quality work in the hour-long movie, so the extra is just their idea. Just an extra topping for the fans. A special promotion bonus to thank you for buying the movie.


In the context of traditional market setting where things like grains of rice, beans and garri (processed from Cassava) are measured in cups, the market traders often give you some extra…bonus..…

"madam, you no go give me jara…fisi for me oh? Ah, see all things wey I buy, that jara small oh". She will smile and say, "customer, no vex oh, I go give you more next time". This particular trader knows that for him/her to keep you as a regular customer, those freewill additions are kind gestures that keep you loyal. But first you have to buy a substantial amount of the product, the real stuff. You can not go and ask for jara when you have not bought anything. You will be committing an economic crime.

This issue of jara reminds me of how we focus so much on the fringe benefits of life and forget to be more grateful and enjoy the other blessings of life. We put our joy and happiness on hold because we don't have some certain jara's of life. Or maybe you are hoping for something great to happen soon. Have you paused to ask yourself what if it does not happen now, will I still be happy and remain faithful? Will I still have a smile on my face and enjoy the other things that God has blessed me with and wait for His perfect time?

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The whole process of coming abroad for me took roughly 4yrs. It was quite a long process because of all the documentation, verification and scrutinizing that had to be done. Also the running around for funds was not easy. And you know patience is one virtue that eludes us in times like this. This whole process was becoming a focal point in my life. I was going to the High commission and calling them all the time. My happiness and joy were being replaced by this desire to come abroad. At a point, I had to say "God if this is your will, it will happen in your own time. Everything will fall in place". I had provided all the necessary documents, and it was time to wait. I had to get my life on track and not put it on hold waiting for this Jara in my life. My hopes were still high and I prayed. But life had to go on happily.

I see coming abroad as an extra ………..Jara. It is not my right, it is a privilege: another opportunity in life. And I am grateful for it. But my life has a bigger context and the moment I decided that I was going to enjoy where I was while I waited for the whole process to come together, I felt great. I faced my Jamb and pursued my admission.

I got into the University and made wonderful friends and great memories I joined my youth programmes in my local church in Festac town, Lagos. Developing myself spiritually, mentally and socially. My character was being tested. My values were being strengthened, my relationships were being solidified. All these were helping to prepare me for the journey ahead.

It was a paradigm shift for me as I realized that I would not speed up the process of "Janding" by being sad and frustrated. My family still wanted a happy daughter and sister. It is great to have dreams of coming abroad to have an education, a great job, further your career, or just to live out here. But what if it does not happen now? Will you still be happy and enjoy your life?

If this Jara is part of God's plan for your life, it will happen in His time and it will be fine. When my final interview stage came through, I did not even know because I was so busy with my life that I stopped calling the High commission. Someone actually took on the burden to keep in touch with them on my behalf, as I gave my reference number to this person. The information was relayed to me. I got a free ride from Aba to Lagos courtesy of my friend's aunty. And it proved to me that Baba!!!! Chineke m, was at work. The whole process came together at a time when I was not expecting it but now I was seeing life from another perspective. I did not know whether I should jump or scream, laugh or cry with joy when I got my travel documents. I was ready to make the trip to the UK. Those years of waiting had prepared me in some ways for life abroad.

If I had come earlier than I did, I probably would not be writing this story today. God's timing is impeccable, precise and definite. He does not show up late. Just on time. I am glad I did not put my life on hold waiting for this Jara………..Fisi. I see it as an extra………bonus, the icing on the cake. Not the real deal.

I know that there are so many people who want to come abroad for one reason or the other. The choice is absolutely yours. Do your research very well before you check out. But while you are on this process, it will be good to enjoy your life. Because you don't really know what you may experience out here. Your life is bigger than just one event. You don't have to wait until you come abroad to enjoy life. Actually when you come, your first baptism may be a personal identity crisis and a test of your spiritual and moral values. You suddenly start doubting who you are and the values you once esteemed. Some people have not still recovered from this battle.

You know, sometimes in life we focus on these extras………. traveling abroad, a degree from a prestigious university, a big house, a nice car, a fat bank account, electronic gadgets, a fantastic job, status, designer clothes & shoes etc. But what if we don't get them? Will we still enjoy our life? Sometimes in relationships, you even edge people out because they do not have these jaras. Forgetting to look for the real deal………. Character: integrity, truth and moral values. Someone who has the fear of God, a vision for the future and can stand with you, when the storms of life come. The amazing thing is that when someone has the real chore values, Jara is inevitable. It will pursue you. You will have lots of extra toppings in your life. You are already the real thing.

In our service to God, have we become …………give me, give me children? Giving God a shopping list each day with ultimatums. And feeling sad because we don't have things yet. Jara is already part of the plan for your life and when it is time, you will get yours but first we have to direct our hearts to the real issue….. is your life changing daily and reflecting more of Him?

As a nation we need to address some core issues before we invite foreign investors and make a great impact on the world scene. We need to look good from the inside before we market our nation outside. We can not be spending so much public funds on events that will promote the image of the nation when its citizens don't have the basic things of life. Food, shelter, jobs, education, water, light, good roads, health and sanitation. The welfare of the people living in a country reflects on how the nation looks. Are we focusing on the Jaras of a nation? Political and economic stability amongst many others are also important. Foreign investors will see the real us when they come to our country.

If you are aspiring for a leadership role, are you going there because of the Jara or to serve the nation? Some jaras are questionable, oh. When applying for a job, you see the job criteria and you check your suitability. You also check out the salary but you don't focus too much on the benefits. You don't go for an interview and focus all your questions on the benefits. You tell them more of what you can do and why you are suitable for the job. It does not mean that you don't like Jara. You know that if you get the job, the benefits are yours. The company knows that it has to give the workers certain incentives.

Finally, your life is a whole picture with many pieces. Sometimes we focus so much on the tiny extra details and we forget that we are still beautiful no matter what. Extras are fine but if I don't get it, I can still be happy. There are still other beautiful things in life waiting to be experienced and we can not let one pending event rob us of experiencing life to the top.

Sing along…..

Seek first oh, the kingdom of God oh and His righteousness

All the rest na Jara………(2x)

Yankee oh……na jara

Jand oh…….na jara

Visa oh….na jara

All the rest na jara.

……………………………………He makes all things beautiful in His time.

Onyinye Oyedele is a former BEN-TV London News anchor.