Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

10 Birthday Challenges for Buhari

We have a wreath like this on our front door.

We have a wreath like this on our front door.

Christmas Eve 

Music is an important part of my Christmas memories and celebrations. I can’t imagine  Christmas without music.

I think my favorite Christmas song is “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” which I always think of with the German title, “Es ist ein Ros’ Entsprungen.” On Thursday evening we rehearsed this and several other Christmas pieces for the Christmas Eve service at The Unitarian Church in Westport.

We will open with a Polish carol, “Lulajze,” as you might guess, a lullaby. The choir comes in holding candles and singing, surrounding the congregation. I always find it filled with emotion. I’m not alone – the congregation is in awe, and other choir members are equally spell-bound.

Once we’re at the front, we’ll sing five other songs in between readings and reflections. There will be also be two or three congregational carols.

My second most favorite song for this holiday is “The Holly and the Ivy.” I volunteered for a solo on one of the verses. It’s a little high – we’re singing it in a higher key than the video – but I love it so.

It’s a warm and wonderful service.

Do you celebrate Christmas? Any favorite songs? Did you celebrate Chanukah? Or do you celebrate the solstice like my friend Jim?

Christmas Decorations

President Buhari Also Had a Birthday

Our tree in the front window, visible from the main road.

Our tree is up. We have lots of lights, including several strands that are supposed to be flashing. One is, the others seem to have given up!

I brought the ornaments up from the basement, but haven’t put them on the tree. I’m thinking that I won’t. With two-year old Ikem coming, we couldn’t put any near the bottom.

I’ll see what our children, son-in-law, and grandkids say when they come on Christmas Eve. If they want ornaments, we can put them on then!

President Buhari Also Had a Birthday

I didn’t know Buhari’s birthday was so near mine! He turned 73 on December 17., an online publication, asked in relation to his birthday, “What ten things do Nigerians hope for in the coming year?”

“Buhari should know that a good number of Nigerians are praying for him to succeed as he continues to pilot the affairs of the nation. However, the president should know that there are some things Nigerians expect from him before the year runs out or right from the beginning of 2016,” the writer said.

No surprise, the first is to attack corrupt practices. For sure Buhari has made a start on this issue.

Second, improvement in the electricity supply. Hard to do. But there are short-term improvements that could be made. You can ask my husband for his suggestions; I think he’d say one or two generating plants could be brought online quickly with sufficent servicing and fuel supply.

Improving the economy and addressing unemployment, certainly related, are others.

I especially liked the final one, number 10: “Women should be given a sense of belonging.” There are only five women in Buhari’s cabinet of 36. Can’t he do better?

Friends of Nigeria

Friends of Nigeria is the organization of former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Nigeria with others who have an interest in the country, including a few Nigerians living in the U.S.  Peter Hansen and I were the founders of Friends of Nigeria a couple of decades ago.
The website is being upgraded by a dedicated committee. Apparently no one has volunteered to update the list of blogs, websites, and online publications for the site. So the current president Greg asked if I would do that.
How could I refuse? I want to have a list like this on my website, and haven’t yet prepared it. So I can do both!
I also hope to include a place to find books by former Peace Corps volunteers in Nigeria. Maybe they are all on the website of Peace Corps Writers who published my memoir.
I’ll have fun exploring! Send me your suggestions.

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Loved this! Thanks, Catherine. Merry Christmas to you and Clem! Enjoy the family.