Homecoming

By the time you read this, I will either be on my way home or be with my family for Christmas.

I only write this because I feel that some things must be written. Its a long journey home and in the words of a good soldier “If I don’t make it back, I need to know that I left nothing unsaid”.

I left Nigeria on Thursday 28th of June 2012. I had always wanted to leave Nigeria since I heard about Ghana. I first heard about Ghana in 2007. That was a horrible year for me and Ghana seemed to offer the promise of a second chance.

On that fateful day, I took the leap of faith. If you have seen The Dark Knight Rises, you would know what I am talking about.

For a time in my life, I was really angry. Angry at God, the people in my life but above all I was angry at myself. I had become toxic. I could not be reasoned with. In my whole life, I have never felt as angry as I did in those times.

The time I left was the initial days of the Nigerian technology space invasion. I looked at my future and only saw my eventual extermination. In the time I have spent away, the invaders have nearly taken over the land. Against educated bullets, untutored courage doesn’t stand a chance.

I have been away for 544 days. In all that time, I was finding myself but I didn’t know I was lost. I left because I was bleeding on the inside and taking it out on those close to me. When the invasion would start, I would be one of the earliest casualties.

It didn’t matter if I had poured 2 years of my life into trying to build a game studio. All that mattered was that I was born African, born poor and  thus condemned to have the things I cared about taken from me.

In a final desperate tactic, I did what Théoden would do in the Lord of the Rings. I rode out to meet my destiny. To secure an end to a problem I have had for as long as I could remember or to die in the attempt.

I found the story of the Polish Calvary Charge inspirational. In 1939 Germany would invade Poland. In a futile attempt to repel the attack, the men of the Polish Calvary would attack Hitler’s forces.

Picture this: Men on horseback versus war tanks. It wasn’t battle, it was slaughter. Yet they would die easiest. After Hitler would invade, no Polish youth could hope to die at home. They would be shipped off to die in camps.

As if that wouldn’t be bad enough, after Germany would be defeated, the Russians would move in and continue where the Germans left off. By the time communism would fall in 1989, Poland would be a very sad place to live in.

1939 – 1989 is 50 years of oppression and suppression. Did the men of the Polish Calvary make the right choice? I leave that to you. Did I make the right choice with my life? Yes.

My life changed for the better. Yet it was not without cost. I had to leave everything and everyone I cared about before I destroyed the very things I cared about.

What I gave up, I gave up to keep safe.

At the end, I am sorry everyone. I needed time to heal alone. I am whole now and I am coming home!

This is Truston Ailende signing off on the year 2013. Thanks you for reading.

Shammah

Shammah is one of the few men I would ever respect.

His feat came about by his refusal to retreat in the face of impossible odds.

Its harvest time and the Philistines attack his field. Everyone runs. He alone stays to fight them.

Miraculously, he is victorious.

Faith begins when statistics ends.

Have a great month everyone.

Developer Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the branch of engineering in which biological science is used to study the relationship between workers and their environments.

As a developer, ergonomics has a big impact on your productivity. It determines the tools you use and how much frustration you experience with them.

When choosing a tool, the ergonomic experience is what a developer is looking at. The following are the criteria developers generally use:

  1. Installation
  2. Configuration
  3. Administration
  4. Usage
  5. Maintenance

Whenever a developer is faced with a choice of his/her own tools, the tools that win are those with good ergonomics relative to the subjective experience of the developer.

Leaving My Comfort Zone

comfort zoneI left Nigeria for Ghana on June 28 2012. Today I have been away for 531 days. It has been a roller coaster. I have slept in some really horrible places and been through hell. Yet my life is better for it.

Today, my only regret is still that I should have started this journey years ago. Last decade when I first caught wanderlust, I should just have left. But then I didn’t. The limits society placed on me still had an effect and I was trying to be a patriot.

Now that ship has sailed. I am a Renegade Knight. I still believe in the ideals that I was raised with but I no longer believe in the world they were made for.

So on that faithful Thursday. I stepped out of that world. I didn’t know what I was doing was impossible so I made it happen. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have made the attempt. I might have stayed in my comfort zone.

By stepping out, I would find a zone where magic happens. I call it Death Ground. There is nothing glorious about it just a man trying to bend the universe to his will. Death Ground requires a deep seated conviction about what is acceptable in one’s life.

In my time away, I have seen the universe bend to my will. Making it rain in the desert always has a price and I have paid my bill in full.

Any fool can learn how to command. True greatness happens when we learn how to conquer. By stepping out of my comfort zone. I learned how to conquer.

My life is richer for the experience.

Captain GH

Captain GHCaptain GH is just a guy in a costume. No super powers just the possession of ingenuity. I was priviledged to grow up reading comics. Captain America was an embodiment of the aspirations of the American people. Captain GH is similar in that respect.

Captain GH Bus Travails

A great writer once said that we start down the path to story telling by first listening to them. In some of us, this grows into a desire to tell our own stories. Desire wells up from within us and one day we too start telling our own stories thus completing the cycle and starting it in the next generation.

Captain GH in Kente

If you happen to live in Africa, you would also have a sense of the everyday issues Captain GH has to face from entering buses to finding water. Captain GH is a hero for everyday problems. Captain GH was inspired by the need for young people to take charge of their destinies. That is the underlying motive. This is done by looking at everyday issues in the Ghanaian society.

As a Nigerian living in Ghana, there is that connection to the events Captain GH touches. Even if you haven’t lived in Ghana, if you are in Africa you understand what Captain GH is really about. Its about finding your way in life despite the odds that face you.

Finding Direction

Ghana would be the first time in my entire life that I would see water come out of a tap that was government supplied. Unfortunately, there was a period of water shortage in Ghana. During that time, Captain GH was on hand to deliver water to household. Thanks to his ingenuity, Ghanaians, got through that time safely.

Water Shortage

Comedy is also part of the Ghanaian experience. Captain GH has been known to pound fufu on certain occasions. Trust me on this. Fufu pounding is a way to burn all the calories you would gain if you ate fufu. It is a very labour intensive process.

Fufu Pounding

One touching moment was during the Westgate crisis in Kenya where Prof. Kofi Awoonor a Ghanaian diplomat got killed. Captain GH also joined the nation in mourning his death.

Westgate

Captain GH a hero you can call … Chale

PayButton Africa

PayButtonPaybutton Africa is one of the start-ups at this years Start-up Weekend in Accra. I landed in Ghana the day before and a friend of mine informed me that last week’s Sunday was the grand finale.

Jet-lagged and tired I make my way to MEST. Its nearly demo time by the time I get there. Personally Start-up Weekend was the best way I could touch base with Accra again. My phone number was frozen since I had been out of Ghana for 90 days.

Getting to MEST was a bit difficult. I had forgotten my way there. Eventually I get there. I do a cursory search for familiar faces and meet Mawuli who tells me he is working on Paybutton Africa for Start-up Weekend.

It is not often that a project intrigues me. Most projects I see are typically clone projects. What is really intriguing about Paybutton Africa is the fact that it is a payment system based on Bitcoin. Bitcoin is truly fascinating and that is what makes the product amazing. It is a way to process payment on a website. Currently, they are piloting in Ghana so they integrate with MPower Payments.

Now they need your help. They have qualified for the global start-up battle and they need your vote. In order to vote, please follow the following steps:

Go to this link

Click on the +1 Button

Popup

You will get confirmation of your vote

Global Startup Battle

Now go to your email and confirm your vote

So that is how you vote for Paybutton Africa. Please contact Mawuli for project details.

Now get back to work. Its a Monday 🙂