First-hand experience with insecurity and its effect on health. Pt. 1

I travelled again to Edo state, my home town in Nigeria for some projects mid 2021. When I am in Edo state, I sleep at hotels. However, this time I decided to spend the night at our family home which I had not done for over 20 years as there were a dozen reasons not to. This time, the rewards were high, I would spend more time gisting with my mum. And also save hotel costs and experience the space of my childhood.  After this experience, it dawned on me how the “insignificant” insecurity issues within Nigeria have become so normal that we can’t even think it affects our health. And again, I apologise already for this very long article. Read on to find out what happened and my tips.  

Beautiful early dinner experience at home

After a beautiful pounded yam and ogbono soup early dinner, a lot of gisting and singing, it was time to embrace the night with rest. My mum’s bed and grandma’s bed had these princess-like net curtains draping down from a hook on the ceiling right above the middle of the bed. I thought to myself, beautiful. Seriously, it had nothing to do with beauty, soon I understood that fact! I curled up into my own matterase, leaving the net-protected windows open for fresh air. The talks we had and the experience at dinner made my heart melt in joy. I was home, like a child, once again. These beautiful emotions cycling though my body did not last that long as I heard the first zooooom moving around my head.

More ambitious mosquitoes

In Austria, where I spend most of my night, there is what we called Stechmücken (Mosquitos). These mosquitoes could disrupt your sleep. But they are not always zooming and you could lock up the windows as it is often cold anyway. In my family home that night, these mosquitoes were rather more ambitious than their Austrian Stechmücken. All through the night, they bugged me. I covered myself fully with the blanket and tried not to suffocate. It was already a very strenuous sleep experience two hours into the journey of the night. 

Sleep is something I do not joke with. A good night’s rest, through sleep, is the very one human experience that gives us a great chance to rejuvenate, rebuild new cells and repair damaged ones. It was either I suffocate under the blanket  or condition the mind to sleep through the zooms and bites. I chose the latter. Like I had an option! Sooner or later, I caught some sleep. Then it happened. “The” trumpet blew! 

Yes, it is a trumpet. 

Deep in my sleep, I began to hear a sound. The sound became more and more pronounced. I transitioned rather fast from sleep to semi-wake state. My mind battled to recognise the sound. A trumpet. I became more vigilant but still battling to keep sleep close by. It sounded again. It was certainly a trumpet. Who blows a trumpet in the middle of the night? No one, my mum nor grandma was awake nor worried. Was I the only one hearing the trumpet? Or is it so normal to have a trumpet blow in the middle of sleep and sleep itself just continues its routine? What kind of sleep has evolved here in my hometown?

When mosquitoes’ zoom and bites became irrelevant

As my mind tried to grasp the sound and make sense of this experience, it opened up outrageous potential explanations. Outrageous because it showed me how deep environmental conditioning can access one’s mind. It is indeed a consistent work to stay deprogrammed. My christian childhood upbringing caught up with me. Eh, so there is the judgement day like I was taught in the christain primary school and many sunday school services where kids were conditioned to believe all sorts of outrageous ideologies and stories. On that day, the trumpet would blow. All the saints and the chosen will ascend to the kingdom of heaven. Mosquitoes’ zoom and bites became irrelevant. 

A religious upgrade experience

The trumpet blew again. Shit, so this teaching was true. It was meant to be this dramatic. You actually get to hear the trumpet. If I was hearing it, either I must be ascending now into heaven or? But I was still in my bed struggling with mosquitoes. Did the mosquitoes hear it too? Why is no one awake praising God and rejoicing for the last day has come. While my mind was wrestling to free itself from its conditioning, another sound came. A more violent sound. Like a sharp metal blade scaping the floors of concrete. Oh yes! Now my mind’s recognition ability has finally calibrated properly. I grew up with these sounds, just the trumpet was an upgrade! Dem right, a religious upgrade!

How to condition the mind in upcoming blogs 

The power of the mind and the conditioning through our experience is something we really need to explore and begin to intentionally approach. In upcoming blogs and videos we would dive deep into this topic. I will share techniques and practices you can employ daily to build your mind towards the life you love. Remember to subscribe to my newsletter to know when we publish content. Meanwhile let’s continue with the sleep and soundbites of the night at my family home.

It is judgement day, indeed!

Cultlasses scapping the streets. Ok this is familiar. Yet another sound. Probably an iron rod hitting an iron pan. Then the trumpet sounded. The mix of trumpet, iron rods and cutlass blades, created a scary rhythmic tune as the cycles repeated. Now I know. It was indeed the judgment day. Judgement day for any human being who dared theft or robbery that night. For any person who fell victim to the blades of the cutlass and pressure of the rod iron. Civil defence was activated on the streets. 

Who are these defence sound makers?

My sleep was heavily interrupted. I spent the rest of the night listening to the hourly routine. These sounds were deliberate attempts by the civil defence. A civil defence group in Edo state, like in many other communities is a group of volunteers from the community who dedicate their nights in routine to protect the community. Every household paid a token for this service, for these sleep beats, to feel safe. Almost everyone within the community civil defence group came from the community. They are your fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbours, friends and yes mostly men.   

Sleep sounds and its nuances

As the night went by very slowly, I could feel my mind adjust towards the beat. I began to find a rhythm that could lead to sleep, a rhythm that signified safety from the streets of  my childhood. Scary sleep sound. Sleep sounds that reminded me that one could be robbed at gunpoint. An experience I know too well. Sleep sounds that reminded me that there was a community looking after me. Sleep sounds that made me wonder what I had to protect and from whom I had to be protected?  How can this be rejuvenating? Well as I slowly drift into sleep, my body adjusts to normalise the condition. But yes, even when our bodies are consistently fighting to find balance in every situation, what effect does it have on us long-term? 

Normalised sleep disturbance

I used to think generator sounds at night were loud. They are but there is a consistency in the noise they create that still allows for sleep. This hourly alarm from civil defence was another level of disturbance. But their disturbance meant my protection. That night, I could understand how our cognition could get affected by long-term strain from these kinds of sleeping experiences. Who could escape this normalised sleep disturbance? Only those who could afford estate-like security, soundproof living structures, soundless generators and more distance to reality. They were wealthy and could pay for peaceful rest. If you can’t afford to buy a peaceful sleep, then either get your mind conditioned to expand what is normal or try out some tricks to enhance your sleeping cycles.

What security measures do we need?

Civil defence is a form of security system that has evolved around Nigeria as the government has failed to provide security measures for its people. Security would mean to ensure daily security systems for the Nigerian people. Systems that create environments and structures where less and less people find it useful to go into armed robbery,  theft or plaunderings people’s homes while they sleep. When still, some choose these paths, security measures would mean that there is a system in place to counter those acts swiftly and as just as possible. Measures that would not pressurise community people to reenact presumed judgement day with trumpets and iron rods. Seriously though, how did civil defence come up with the idea to use trumpets to sound-scare potential robbery? What security measures do we need in Nigeria? What do you think about civil defence and their engagement?

How to live through and stay rejuvenated. 
  1. Use an ear bud! No matter what area you reside in, if your sleep is interrupted by sound noise due to the good will of civil defences or street security or generators or just the express road or whatever noise that prompts you out of bed regularly, use an ear bud to shut down as much noise as possible.
  2. Take naps during the day when the time allows.  Do lots of sleep catching up but do not mess with your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle (Wikipedia). We will debate that under our health blog category some other time. If you have weekends off, do much resting during these weekends or free days to compensate for the lost rest. 
  3. Engage in strategic physical exercise like some forms of stretching the body, joints and muscles to increase your ability to rest. 

Very good and quality rest, consistently is very important to expanding your mind. With a nourished and rested mind, you can get better and innovative ideas to build businesses, further your career and design the life you love. And that’s where sleep comes in. Stay with me on Joadre by signing up to my newsletter as I share first hand experiences, explain how they affect your life and show you ways to enhance these experiences. I publish videos on my YouTube channel JoadreTV regularly, so make sure to subscribe there for more educational content around building businesses with empathy. 

I have been working on launching our in-house streaming and content app for your smartphone where you will have it all in one place. It is our Joadre app that combines our educational content with data intelligence. It will help you build your business in Nigeria and connect with potential partners from Europe and beyond. We will be releasing it soon. You can download the beta version now on google play store for android users to be one of our first test users. Thank you for reading to the end. Stay motivated and share your comments, suggestions or experience beneath. 



I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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