How information changed my life!

Awareness raising is important as it gives you a choice.

I migrated to Austria about 17 years ago. If you have read my autobiography book – Die Wassergöttin, you definitely know my story so I would not bore you with details. In my childhood, I had the privilege to enjoy some years of comfort, until domestic violence sneaked in broad daylight into our family. In the midst of my many childhood negative experiences, there were countless “good” I am yet to share. Let’s start with my mother’s attitude towards food. 

The home economist was right after all!

My mum, who was an home economist specialist and taught that subject in school knew way far more than I did 15 years later with all the technology available to me, because she cared. Nutrition was her main field of teaching. Her philosophy then, I say then, because now it’s very different, her philosophy then was just to spice up the meal with a little portion of meat.  I literally grew up eating very little meat. Milk and dairy products were not the center of my nutrition. It was rather vegetables as soups and main dish. 

My mum knew better. She had information!

Exercise was not a thing of luxury or motivation. It was just life. You moved intentionally, frequently and strategically as a child, because you had to move. Someone had to fetch the water upstairs. Someone had to sweep the compound clean. Someone wanted to pluck the juicy ripe mangoes down the branches. Someone had to hide to be found by other friends. Someone had to practice for the school racing team. Someone had to get ready to win the next dance competition. That someone was me. Movement was part of life and sleep was intentional to recover. These were part of my mother’s philosophy. 

Moderate life with the right information vs. Prosperity in ignorance. 

Right at the Lagos Murtala Mohammed airport, on my way to travel to the city of Vienna for the very first time in my life, I sat in a beautiful airport lounge, filled with travellers commuting in and out of the state. If you want to know if it’s true that Lagos has over 18 million people at a given time, then go sit at the airport for 5 minutes. Then if you want to confirm if Nigeria is prosperous, watch what and how people at the airport eat. Everyone had a large plate with extra large assorted meat. Somehow food has been a scale to judge an economy. Why?

“Wao the world out there is even more gracious than my mother when it came to meat portions” I thought silently. 

Follow the trend.

Making sure to explore the airport’s meal culture, I ordered a plate of fried rice and chicken like it said on the menu. My attention could only focus on the hand and plate that marched towards my direction and landed right on the table in front of me. It was supposed to be rice, main dish and then grilled chicken, the cherry on top like my mother would say. But it was chicken, the main dish and rice, the grains around a massive oversized half chicken. 

“Agric” – fat, overfed

This was definitely not the type of chicken my family had raised months before we could eat it. Ours always were thin and really matured, so you felt the crunchiness while you took a chew. What I had in front of me at the airport lounge was what we called “Agric” – fat, overfed and soft like a sponge. Agric meant that the meat had gone through some kind of White man’s industrialization farming procedures, which at that time just started establishing itself in Nigeria’s daily consumer culture. This was about 17 years ago!

It could get worse and you will not notice, but information can get you back on track!

Getting to Austria and visiting the grocery shop made my “Agric” chicken experience at the Lagos airport look like child’s play. In Europe, the chicken is fatter and softer with an unbeatable price point. Should I be worried? Seriously, I didn’t care! All the lessons my mum taught me was now flushed down the toilet.  Now I can reverse my upbringing. I joined the movement of excessive food consumption without applying any brain power. Without information. 

We all have one time or the other in our lives experienced such. Maybe not with a chicken but with jeans, stonewashed with harmful chemicals but cheap enough to make us not think. Or maybe not with food but with sex, cheap enough to make us think it’s consensual. Maybe with clothes, affordable enough to make us stock it like we have a side hustle in retail. Oh we do, it’s called second hand export for emerging markets!

Activated your brain-power. Ask how, what, why, who? 

How does a chicken get ready to eat in 9 weeks? How can clothes designs be released endlessly at almost no cost? When we employ brain power to ask questions, we become open to receive answers. We begin to see information. That’s what I did. Although the truth is that I need my first bad cholesterol doctors report and pre-diabetics diagnosis was on the table to ignite my brain power. I am sharing my experience to make you know that you are not alone and that you do not have to wait to get skin irritations from the chemically washed jeans. 

It is always never too late to seek information, compare your findings, draw conclusions and take action. My action was to dedicate practices that would help me eat better and care better for my food source. Did I not only drop down 10 kilos from my weight, my health came back to great. What area in your life do you feel you need more information?

That was it this week. By the way, I am happy to get volunteers who will assist us build our editorial team. Our goal is to educate more people about diverse global social issues and how to integrate small practices in their daily lives for good change. If you are interested, write me via email – [email protected]

Thank You for reading till the end. You can watch the past episodes on my Youtube channel and read the previous blogs here. 

Stay safe and see you next week. 

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.

The Joadre Analysis & Industry Journal

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