Saturday, October 31, 2015


When I was in college, I was asked many ridiculous but adequate questions about my life in Africa, by many of my American course mates, classmates, teammates and friends. Some asked me questions like "Maryam, when you lived in Africa, did you have cars?" Some asked me if I lived among wild animals in the forest. I was very stunned by most of the questions they asked. One particular teammate asked me if I had ever seen a flat screen plasma television. In complete shock, I told her yes, we had one. By we, I meant my older sister. Of course I didn't tell her that at the time. I just left it at we. Another one of my friends asked me if we had a leader like a president. In essence, they wanted to know what kind of political system is run in Nigeria but they didn't ask specifically because a majority of them thought that Africa was a country and everyone who lives in it, knows one another. It didn't shock me at all when they would mention the names of some Africans they knew and expected me to say, "yes," they were my neighbors.

I wondered about how ridiculous and legit their questions were all at the same time. Their limited knowledge of Africa is derived from the Western media's portrayal of my beautiful continent. Unlike Africans who are taught about Western civilization and industrialization at every level of education, Americans are not taught about Africa's development and economic advancement at the same level. In the face of some of the terrible situations in Africa, we are still taught in our school systems, the various developments that are happening around the world.That is why during my speech classes in college, I made it my duty to write and present speeches that showed my course mates the side of Africa they don't get to see in the media. I showed them pictures of developed African cities and amenities. They were surprised, as I had expected. I'm sure that some of them might have still thought that some of the beautiful pictures that I showed them, were taken of cities in America or Europe.

My main goal for giving speeches centered around the sides of Africa, that the media do not show, was to educate my listeners about the intent and purpose of Africa's portrayal by the media, as they know it. I had to persuade my listeners to see that those images are used strategically, for the purpose of raising funds for charities whose work were based in impoverished regions in Africa. Were these organizations to present photos of developed Africa, nobody would feel the need to help the impoverished people in places like Somaliland, South Sudan and Eritrea. These are just to name a few. Even in some parts of Nigeria today, there are still people living in abject poverty.

Nik Ripken shares his story and experience with the reader, to present a firsthand experience and reality of missions in Africa and the middle east. Missions that him and his wife were involved in and those that they spearheaded. They watched christian people get persecuted and killed for their faith in regions that were not receptive to christians and they lived to tell the story. What's great about this book is that it is not profit driven; like most charity advertisements on television. This book gives readers and religious donors to missions, a firsthand account of how their money and resources are helping the course of humanity and saving lives around the world. It further shows how the obedience of a family to pursue their calling for reaching people for Jesus, led to the deliverance and restoration of hope to a whole nation. At the time that Nik and his wife went to Somaliland, the land was out of the reach of the UN and other missionaries. Prior to their visit, when some had tried to reach these people and there were loss of lives due to the people's hostility towards christians and foreigners. When Nik obeyed, he was able to capture the devastating nature of the conditions the people of Somaliland were in. The articles he wrote about the human conditions in Somaliland afterwards, brought hope. The United States and the UN became involved and thousands of lives were saved as a result of his assessment and articles. This book is a great read and an emotional one as well and I highly recommend it!

The Insanity of God is available on the following sites: Apple Store, Google Play Store and on Amazon.