Wednesday, 15 February 2017

#JusticeForShola: In Case CNNiReport Does Not Pick My Story


What really happened to Oluwashola Atunrayo Gaska (nee Adefolalu)? 

Sholly, as she was fondly called by most, was a young, beautiful, bright and talented English Teacher, Photographer and budding Filmmaker living in a little Polish town with her husband, Jakub Gaska. 

The 36 year old Nigerian had gone to Poland to study Architecture and Interior Design at the Cracow University of Technology in Krakow, Poland in 2000. On graduation, she decided to make Poland her home. In 2010, she married Jakub and all seemed well with her until December 28, 2016 when her older sister, Bola 'Salt Essien-Nelson received a phone call from Jakub (Kuba) that 'there had been an accident; Sholly had fallen unconscious and had died'. The call was disconnected. When Kuba called back, the story appears to have changed as he now told Bola that Sholly had fallen sick on Dec 27 and had been taken to the hospital where she eventually passed on at 3a.m on Dec 28, 2016. How could this be? Sholly had just spoken to her sister on Dec 24 and she was not sick. They chatted via Facebook on Dec 26 and 27 and still no indication that Sholly would be dead on the 28th.

The Adefolalu family was thrown into shock. Sholly's sister, a totally distraught Salt and her husband, Henry began to make plans to travel to Poland to join the Gaska family to pay their last respects to their sister and wife. Then comes the second bombshell. Kuba informs them that Sholly had asked to be cremated. Unable to believe such a claim (as it is not in the Nigerian culture to be cremated) but not wanting to create unnecessary friction in this already sad situation, the family agreed but asked that he wait for Henry and Bola to get to Poland. Third bombshell. Kuba informed them that he would be unable to wait for them to process their visas which would take ten working days. His plan was to have the cremation done on January 2, 2017; just five days after his wife's death. 

Why the hurry? 

Pleas from his wife's family and Sholly's friends in Poland could not sway him. An official from the Nigerian Embassy in Poland also spoke to him asking him to wait. Jakub refused. His last words on the matter were that 'the cremation will go ahead as planned and there is nothing anyone can do about it'. Now, Salt and her family became suspicious. 
  1. Why was Kuba in such a hurry to cremate his dead wife's body? 
  2. Why did he refuse to allow anybody see her body claiming that Sholly had said that only her sister, Salt was to be allowed to do so? Salt is 12 years older than Sholly so why would Sholly anticipate that she would die before her older sister?
  3. Why was he so reluctant to send photos of Sholly's body to her Sister, Salt? 
  4. Why does the only photo he reluctantly sent appear to show signs of attempts to cover up cuts and bruises to her lip, jaw and head?
  5. Why were there two different versions as to how Sholly had died? 
  6. Why, on Dec 28 had it taken him eight whole hours to call Sholly's sister? She died at 3am and even if it had taken him till 6am or 7am to get himself together, why did he not call till 11.28am? 
  7. Ashes are meant to be kept close by in an urn so why did Kuba bury Sholly's ashes? Why not just bury the body then?
  8. Why was Shola's body sent off so unceremoniously (alone; no family member was present) to be cremated like she had no family? Is this the practice in Poland? Is this how a loved one is treated? No funeral service? Just a graveside burial of ashes? 
  9. Why has he shut down Sholly's Facebook page and deleted her professional photograpy website - Ayofotografia?
  10. Why has Jakub refused to speak to the different journalists that have contacted him? Does he not want to clear our suspicious? Does he not want to give his own side of the story?  
  11. And why, till date is there no autopsy report? No police report? No call from any official to the family? No nothing!

These and many more are the questions the Adefolalu family is asking the Nigerian and Polish Authorities to help it answer.  Petitions have been written and sent to both Presidents and other top government officials of both countries. There is also an online change.org petition addressed to the Mayor of Krakow and the Polish Ambassador in Nigeria. 

It is the hope of the family that the Nigerian Government will put pressure on the Polish Police and Prosecutor's office to get to the bottom of this sad mystery. Losing a loved one is tough enough but finding peace and closure is that much more difficult when questions likes the ones above go unanswered. 

 #JusticeForSholly

(I really cannot afford to stand around waiting for CNN's approval. If it eventually approves, I shall take this post down and use their link. Till then, I am sharing because this lifts out most of the questions that are giving me insomnia. I am in some mad limbo where I cannot really mourn properly and begin to move on because I am so busy advocating. If I don't do this, who will? I am her mother. It is my duty. Plus, I must. For my family. For my Peace.

Anyway, I know God is working. We will soon get answers. Will we be happy with them? That is another question and we shall cross that bridge when we get there. For now, in the words of Betty Abah, 'we soldier on').



Saturday, 11 February 2017

Sholly was Human and That's ALL that should matter!


Jesus, please give me strength!

What a world we live in. What does it matter if Sholly is Nigerian and/or Polish? One way or another, at least one country should be concerned. Why this back and forth? Why is her nationality so critical at this point?

She was human!!!!

And that's what should matter to both Governments! A human being has died under suspicious circumstances and we are asking you to CARE. For once. Please.

My tummy churns at the insinuations that Sholly married for 'paper'. What? As far as I know, you only have to live in Poland for 2/3 years to apply for citizenship. She'd lived there at least 8/9 years before she met and married Kuba. I think she could have sorted herself out if she wanted to.

And even if she did marry for papers, does that make it OK for all that has happened? I shake my head at some of the things I've heard from people who should know better.... and I just thank my stars that my hope and trust is in the Almighty God alone.

Because it would appear that, in Nigeria and Poland, mankind has lost its humanity๐Ÿ˜ข. I'm begging to be proven wrong. I'm waiting for that call or e-mail that will prove me wrong.

And until I do, I will not let this story go away. So help me God๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

#JusticeForSholly
#BecauseHerLifeMatters
#BecauseOurPainMatters
#BecauseWeHaveARightToKnowTheTruth
#AboveAllThisFightIsForUsAll


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Let Your Love Be Wise - My Salt post on Pulse.ng


I am on a journey that I know I will be on for the rest of my life.

What I am doing right now is one step towards that destination that I know will be forever-shifting. The word ‘pain’ has lost its meaning to me. What I feel is an emotion there is no word for.
Still, to that emotion I am feeling, I must give purpose. My sister will not die in vain. So, dear African sister of mine married to a non-African, please read this and act. In your action, by God’s grace, I will begin to find purpose to my loss.
Please click here for the full post. If this makes sense to you, please share it far and wide. Especially with your sisters and friends married to non-Africans.
This is me, trying to find some purpose to my pain. This is me trying to make sure my sister does not die for nothing. Help me. Please.
Blessings!

#JusticeForSholly
#FindingPurposeInMyPain

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

God Has To Be Real


Since the 28th of December, 2016, the last word on my mind when I go to bed and the first when I wake up is: Sholly.

My PapaGod understands, of this I am sure. If he was mad at me, then I guess he could decide not to wake me. So, I think God gets what is going on inside of me. He is, after all, Love itself. He knows what my love for my Sholly is doing to me..... in this season.

He knows that while my first and last thoughts are about my AburoChild, it does not mean I have made her an idol, I know my PapaGod enough and I am so grateful to know that God is real. If God were not real. If his spirit was not really the Comforter. If He was really not being made strong in my weakness, then I would not be sitting hear typing these words. I would be long gone. Even if not physically. Mentally. But because of God, I am not. Because He is real to me, my sorrow is not without Hope.

Still, I hurt so bad.

Do you know what it is to lose a child? That's how I feel. When I was in my second year of Uni in Uyo, I recall having nightmares of my baby sister, then five years old being sad without me; of her being sick and me not being there to take her temperature; of her falling down and me not being their to kiss her booboo better. I was 17/18 and my worst fears were about my Sholly. Of something happening to her and me not being there to help her. That's how much I loved this child. Today, now, all those fears assail me and its odd cos she is no longer here with me.....still fear is mine or shall I say 'was mine'  because thank God I have the Word and Pastor Seye Kosoko prayed for me yesterday like he knew what was in my heart. How he saw into my heart and prayed for me so 'on pointly' can only be God.

Yes, God has to be real because as much as I hear all your words of comfort and I truly appreciate them, they don't have the power to keep me still. As much as I hear you, your words are like water off a duck's back. I cannot lie but the awesome thing is that God still uses those your words still in his own way to soothe me. Not by making me hear them but by making me realise how blessed I am to have so many people genuinely looking out and praying for me and my family. By using all these people to hug me. God shows me again that he is real.

And for that I am truly grateful. 

Sign our Petition please. By so doing, you will be helping to ensure that my family and I get the answers to our many questions. To understand better, please click here to read up on my currently reality. Thank you and God bless. And may you never, NEVER have to go through what we are going through right now in Jesus Christ's name. .


It is well. Why?

Because my God is real and he's got this.

Blessings on you.
My Sholly......Oh, how it hurts but it is well because God's got this.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

And the cut just got deeper

And the cut got deeper.

My Dear Sholly

I'm so grateful to God that you are far away from all the drama going on down here right now. As if losing you isn't devastating enough, we are now dealing with your husband, Kuba  claiming it was your wish to be cremated. Sholly? Really? Cremated ke? Why would you want that? It's not our culture.

As hard as I find this to believe it's even harder to believe you would not have told me if it were so. You told me everything! We hid nothing from each other! If it is true this 'unholy' discussion about how you wanted to be cremated and about how no one in your family was to be allowed to see your body ever took place, I can only wonder why? Why? Who discusses such things?  You were not sick and you are not old. So what would have warranted such a discussion between you and Kuba?

So, in spite of all our pleading with your husband, In spite of us getting the Nigerian embassy in Poland involved and him being directed to hold till a family member gets there and sees you, your husband cremated your body on January 2. Ah! It breaks my heart. How could Kuba do this to me? To my family? Aburo mi? It pains me deeply.

Kuba says you said nobody must see your body. He says you said that only I will be permitted to see you yet he refused to wait for me and my husband to process our visas and conclude travel plans. Truth is, these discussions just boggle the mind! Why were you two discussing this kind of matter? And what's is the evidence?

I am being made to understand that in Poland, Kuba as your husband, has the final say because you have officially taken his last name and that's fine. As horrifying as this cremation idea was to us, we were prepared to honor your supposed wishes. All we asked for was the opportunity to pay you our last respects first as a family. Kuba has denied us of that and for this I leave him and his family to God to mete out vengeance on my behalf.

Yes, Sholly, they must pay for robbing us, me, your SisterMom of closure. For thinking it right that we should travel all the way from Nigeria to look into an urn full of ashes! Ah! What a tragedy this is! How painful!!! My darling, I did not travel to Poland for that. You are not in the ashes. Neither were you in the lifeless body anymore but most people, faiths and cultures I know make provision for a lying in state ceremony during which family and friends of a lost love one can pay their last respects. It soothes them and brings closure.

Why your husband has  chosen not to give us this 'gift' is beyond me. To any friends of Kuba reading this, please ask him. Why? Why would he do this to us? Why couldn't he just wait for me to get to Poland?
My Aburo, my Cover girl

                                                             Always together. Always.

                                                         My lovely Aburo and I on her wedding day

As much as I don't want to, I just can't help wonder if Kuba and his family are hiding something. Because if there's nothing to hide, why the hurry to cremate Sholly?  If there is nothing to hide why the blunt refusal to let a family member see her body on my behalf? Why๐Ÿ˜ญ?

I know you Sholly, you would not have wanted to deny me or your family of this. But it's fine, you are here with me in my heart. You are in the hearts of all of us that love you dearly. So we leave your husband to God. The final Judge.

There are many lessons you are teaching us Sholly through all this. Especially we parents and siblings. This is the first and chief: If your child or sibling living abroad meets and chooses to marry a non-African and live far away from home? BEFORE they marry they must visit your home country. So they will understand that your child or sibling has roots, people and didn't drop from the sky! There is no point crying over spoiled milk but how I wish Prof had insisted you visit Nigeria with Kuba. Maybe, then it would not have been so easy for him to disrespect us as he has.

To my dear African woman /any one from any where, married to anyone not from their own country. I believe Sholly's story has a message for you too: Don't live on 'Love Fantasy' island. Stay connected to your roots. Have a will and let one other person apart from your husband know your wishes about the important stuff should you pass. As much as possible, have a relative that knows what's going on in your life. The big stuff like taking out life insurance, building a home, etc. Family back home must have phone numbers and addresses of key friends they can call should you be in trouble and untraceable.

My sister loved her husband. I believe he adored her too.  To me, they had a great relationship and as much as she shared everything with me, I see now how wide open I left her. No matter how much he loved her Kuba should not have been allowed to believe he was her only family that mattered. And he felt that way because he didn't 'feel' the presence of her Nigerian family enough.

*exhaling*

Sholly, it is well. Because God is still God and I know you are at peace. All this has happened only because God permitted. So while it has left me broken right now, I know that I, Salt will come through this still standing and so will my whole family. One day at a time.

Aburo, ma worry. We will organise a befitting memorial service for you here in Nigeria and by the grace of God, we will all then begin our journey towards healing from this double deep cuts of losing you and dealing with this unnecessary drama. I just thought I should let you know and explain that we did all we could to right this wrong. But God knows best.

Love you Aburo mi Owon!
My Mrs. Gaska!
Sun re o!
Iwo wa!
๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”

Please visit Sholly's memorial page on Facebook
Please sign our #JusticeForSholly petition
Thank you.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My 2017 Experiment



I was just looking over my 2016 commitments to myself. And it's either I am not very committed to myself or I'm not a very serious person. Because, of the 16 things I committed to doing to myself, I only really did two. 

But here's the thing. In 2016, I have achieved some things, climbed some mountains, scored some life goals, celebrated some victories I had no clue I would or could. These things, were clearly not on my list. But that did not stop me from getting them done. Just like writing the other 2016 commitments down didn't make sure I fulfilled them. 

So, in 2017, I'm honestly not doing anything.....separate from what God ordains for me. Because I figure, whether I write it down or not, God will have his way in my life. Especially because almost every single day of my life that's what I ask him to do. "Have your way PapaGod". And looking back on 2016, he truly did. And I'm super grateful. 

Don't get me wrong. I have broad stroke thoughts on what I want to achieve in 2017. I want to grow spiritually (I especially seek to hear God like I hear humans); I want to deepen my relationships with people starting with those I share blood with ( create memories and increase the size of my legacy-empire) ; I want to keep excelling at work not for promotion but to exude GodExcellence; I want to maintain a healthy heart and finally I want to take my writing to a new level that generates an additional stream of income for my family. There! That's it! 

Can I just say that this is somewhat of an experiment and I'm not suggesting anyone do same. In fact, I probably should warn you off this because it would appear that I'm not having any plans for my 2017. That could mean I'm planning to fail. Right? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

*shrugs shoulders*  We shall see. All I know is my 2016 was more spectacular than anything I 'planned' at the end of 2015. 

One thing is for sure and this perhaps is the one commitment I'll make to myself: I will write down every single 'first' or 'goal-like' thing I do or achieve or accomplish by the grace of God in 2017. 

So, let's see how this goes.  On January 1, 2017 I get a brand new Salt jar. Let's see how much good I can put in it over the course of 365 days. 

Wish me luck! Actually, no. Luck is for the superstitious. 

 Wish me 'God's Favour,  Wisdom, Grace and above all, Mercy. 

2017?  

Be afraid of Salt. I mean to have my jar full of Testimonies by the time you bow out to 2018. 

 
                             2017 Salt Jars of Life. Empty now.
                                             PTO to 2018
                               (photo courtesy of Google images) 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Compatible Opposites


Compatible Opposites. I came across this term for the very first time yesterday evening. Even saying it sounds odd. How can opposites be compatible, right? I know but do read on and I bet you will have the same ‘aha’ moment I had. It just makes sense and best of all; it is supported by the word of God. 

Dear Sister, the ‘good thing’ waiting to be ‘found’. Dear Brother still looking to find your ‘good thing’. Are you both still wondering why you are still waiting? Permit me to put it to you that perhaps you are still waiting because you are looking for someone that is ‘just like you’. You need to change that mindset because thanks to Jimmy Evans, I now see that when you are dating or courting someone, you actually should be trying to find your compatible opposite

What on earth does that mean?  Let me explain.

Apparently, while we think we should marry someone the most like us, God did not wire us that way. According to Jimmy Evans, God wired you to pursue your opposite, even subconsciously. No wonder I ended up with my MGM! We are so different and many times I have wondered how come we have lasted this long…but now I get it. Yes, we do love ourselves (and by the way, the love has only gotten hotter because it has been refined by fire) but we have lasted because our strength lies in our differences. We complement each other. I cannot lie; this was a light bulb moment for me.

Mgm and Salt: Compatible Opposites lati 1993.
Glory be to God!

And this is what Genesis 2:18 means, when God says of Adam, "I will make him a helper comparable to him." The word "helper" is translated from the word “ezer”. It means "to supply what is lacking." Wow! Can you see? God didn't create another Adam. He created someone to supply what Adam lacked. He made Eve to complete Adam.  God created me, Salt to supply the administrative and organisational skills that my MGM lacks. Ask him today about our children's birthdays or where our passports are or to complete visa application forms online…you are on your own. I am the Executive in charge of all such matters in our home. But then again, my MGM can smell a con a mile off. I am so trusting when it comes to people. So God placed him in my life to protect me from my own naivete. Lol! I could go on but I am sure you get the picture. 

The question then is how come my MGM and I are compatible then if we are different? We are compatible because in marriage, being compatible is not based on being the same. Being compatible is based on having matching beliefs, values, and character. My MGM and I are compatible because we both look to Christ as our Personal Lord and Saviour; we both are trying daily to live and love like Christ and because we both have agreed to always let God have the final say in our lives and marriage. Oh and yes, we both have also agreed not to ‘craze’ at the same time. Lol! Apart from that, with my hand on my chest, I have to say that we are 80 to 85% opposites.

You see, dear Single in waiting, the last thing you need is another version of yourself.  Stop looking for that. You need someone that will complement you. You need someone that will be strong in the places where you are weak. You need someone that will be the yin to your yang.

Yes, you need to find and marry your compatible opposite.


P. S. For those who are already married, I pray this helps us. No need to wonder if you entered one chance. You did not. Understanding this should enable us harness the power of the differences between us and our spouses. Abi? Yes o!


P. S. 1 This is an old photo but one of my favourites.....and even in our dressing we are demonstrating how compatibly opposite we are. Red is the opposite of white is it not? Lol!