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  • Writer's pictureChef Nii

Two Rock-buns

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Chalé … Stop! … Sit down and drink this. I need you to close your eyes and breathe, catch your breath before we talk. Now, did stopping result in an explosion? Or did anybody die? Did the world come to an end? Or did jollof stop existing? Yes “JOLLOF” because without jollof, what at all are we doing in this world.

Why is it so difficult for us to slow down? Why can’t we take things one day at a time; celebrating our little victories. Yes, we failed in certain areas, however we certainly overcame so much more. We keep forgetting that there is always tomorrow to eat khebab and do even better.

Why can’t we slow down and take in the amazing smells of freshly baked tea bread? Or the early morning smell of that Waakye (waa-chay) or bofrot (bow-frote)? Smells that give us this nostalgic feeling and take us back in time; back to our childhood where powdered faces always succeeded exciting night showers.

Why can’t we slow down and enjoy the people around us? Why can’t we take in the moments and experiences with these amazing people who are giving themselves off to us, considering the fact that they could easily be gone tomorrow. Leaving us with a feeling of loss, crying and drinking malt at a funeral?

But most importantly, why is it so difficult for us to say “NO!” … actually, for me to say “NO!” I am also so guilty of this. It doesn’t matter how busy, occupied or overwhelmed I am, my response will always be “Yes” when people ask me for favours. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO SAY NO!

This is something I have struggled, am struggling and might struggle with for some time. Most people assume it’s because I want people to like me, or that I am afraid of losing people. A WHOLE ME! NO OH! Rather, disappointing people, is what I am afraid of.

So I would say yes when in reality, I should be saying no because my plate is so full of jollof and adding even one piece of plantain will result in chaos. The entire plate might just fall down like humpty dumpty and there will be no one to put it together again.

Now saying yes is not a joke man! It involves a whole lot; it involves giving, not just my money, but giving my intellect, my will and my time … Time I don’t have, considering the millions of things I need to do and places I need to be, and all the dessert I need to eat! … Have you finished judging me? Ok! Let’s move on!

I keep on saying yes, which will result in me giving and giving to the point where I have nothing left to give. Yet, I will still have certain people asking the ‘finished me’ for more, at that point I just raise my hands and tell them “You know what, just take me and sell me! You might just get two rockbuns! … Against the pure water, you should be fine”

You see, people ask for things because people will always be in need. However, you need to have something to give else, you are of no use to them. I didn’t realise this until recently, “You cannot give what you don’t have” so giving of myself, yet not taking the time to replenish and nourish myself will bring me to the point where I will be completely empty, a big Konko (an empty container), with nothing meaningful to offer.

You need to be in a good place mentally, psychologically, emotionally and financially to make greater impact. At some point I was completely overwhelmed by everything; I would be in a room, but I wouldn’t be present. My mind would be elsewhere, planning my next move. Thinking of what I needed to do next or where I needed to be next. I was completely overwhelmed and extremely exhausted!

There was … just … lots of fleeting moments, quick HI’s and byes, nothing meaningful. I would have all these things I needed to do, and I would complete them, but they would be very mediocre. I would have all these places I need to be; I would pass through some; I would be late for a majority and for most, I would get there just in time to close them. I was never there for the entirety of anything to make memories and enjoy the company of people, I was basically existing and not living.

The first time I gathered the courage not even to say “NO!” but to respectfully decline … Wow! The person took such offence!!! I almost said I was joking, just to keep the peace. But I had so much on my plate at the time and I was struggling mentally.

I couldn’t sleep because deadlines were approaching and because deadlines were approaching, I was getting artist blocks; all my creative juices were all just upset and were refusing to squeeze! No Juice! Nothing! It was finished!!! Nothing was good enough! Time was running out! And then I had other people trying to add more to my plate. I had to think about my well-being and say no, which is what I did, and this person wanted to swallow me!

I look back on the entire situation and I am glad I gathered the courage to say no! I mean I still had a lot to do, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by new things that I had to focus on, or new people I had to deal with. I was able to focus and push myself and I must tell you, that was when I produced some of my best work. But most of all I learnt so much! Which has made me way better at the things I do.

Because of this experience and other experiences, we are not there yet, but saying no is an art that we are mastering. So now whether you will swallow us like banks aka Banku (B-uh-n-k-uu) or chew us like groundnut … “No means … No means … No means … No means… No! Protect Yourself!”

Chalé until the cock crows again, keep eating your kelewele “against” your pure water.

The Sun, Sunshine

And sunflowers

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Chef Nii
Chef Nii
Jul 14, 2020

Peace of mind is everything!!!


Jul 13, 2020

This is so true,it wasn’t until recently someone made me realize I just keep giving. Never felt so much at peace with myself since I started saying ‘no’.

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