I saw this excerpt (picture below) while reading Greta Thunberg‘s book today and couldn’t keep quiet. The title of the book is No one is too small to make a difference.
The reality of this shook me hard, then I remember the Amazon burning and lament even more.
What’s worse is that the media hardly mentions climate change. Even worse is that I am from a country blinded by corruption, tribalism and other complex issues to even remember that the planet is in grave danger.
The scientists say that we have 10 years else we will be in a position of where we will set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that may lead to the end of our civilisation. Yet I check the news often and I’m appalled that nothing is being done.
The solution to fighting climate change feels complex but even a child knows it’s as simple as just reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, most especially creating laws to ensure that fossil fuels are kept in the grounds. What makes this solution complex are the companies, decision makers and politicians who being aware of the rapid environmental crisis, sacrifice their values for their insatiable quest for money and power.
I am in a deep state of panic. Yes! Panic is what we need to feel and action is what we need to take because our house is on fire.
To awaken you to the gravity of the situation, I recommend you read the book or check out IPCC reports.
Wow! It’s been such a long time here. Your girl has been seriously AWOL and needs to be spanked…lol. Your baby girl has just been living life, learning and going steady at her own pace. I probably need to work on creating a schedule so I can be more consistent with posting. Let’s see how that goes. I have a feeling I won’t.. ha ha!
Back to the story, guys remember, how I mentioned in my last post here that I planned on visiting more places in Nigeria. Well, your girl did! I went on a road trip to Ekiti State during the last Sallah break with a couple of friends and whoops! It was so exciting; I had so much fun.
It was a three day trip. We (3 of my friends and I) left Lagos on Sunday and got back on Tuesday. We expected the road trip to Ekiti to take a long time but not as long – we spent 7 hours to get to Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti, and another 1 hour to get to Ikogosi! We planned to explore the warm springs on getting to Ikogosi and leave the next day for Erin Ijesha. Imagine sitting in the bus for 7 hours; I couldn’t blame Eromo for complaining; baba said next time, we would have to fly… haha!
We met a nice cab guy, Olamide, who
drove us from Ado-Ekiti to Ikogosi (tbh everybody we met in Ekiti was nice, smh
that’s what happens when you don’t have the Lagos hustle wahala to deal with
and you live in a peaceful environment). On the way to Ikogosi and very much to
our surprise, we saw a Chicken Republic restaurant which was a complete life
saver for our hungry tummies especially for Timi’s (Timi and his love for
chicken republic). I also remember asking if there was an ATM and Olamide was
like, “SMH this is a bank road.” Lool…Lagos JJCs.
Our journey took us through thick
forests, hills and small villages. Ekiti is sparsely populated; the journey
from one village to the next can take about 20 minutes, but Lagos o!
We couldn’t resist taking pictures
when we got to the front of the Ikogosi resort. The environment was so
welcoming and peaceful, plus the entrance had this traditional aesthetic feel
to it. Lol, look at these playful children:
The resort itself is beautiful with cute bungalows that had this black leopard print thingy on the walls. There were flowers, grasses and trees just about everywhere. Just a perfect chill spot. You could seat on the pavement to have a conversation without having to worry that a danfo bus would suddenly jump out from somewhere (ode to Lagos bus drivers). We could even leave our rooms open with our luggage inside; although our Lagos instincts still warned us to lock the door.
We explored Ikogosi warm springs that same day and had such a great time. Again, our tour guide, an elderly woman, was super amazing. Amazing people everywhere. She even helped us take dope pictures, mama had learnt well from previous explorers…ah ah. She showed us the point where the warm water meets with the cold water. Guy, my mind literally went… what?! Nature is so beautiful! She also showed us the boundary tree that the farmers in the olden days used to mark their farms. For the record, people still farm and live the traditional lifestyle in Ekiti; so cool.
After exploring the springs, we had a cool dip in the pool. Apparently, the warm water in the pool also came from the springs. Eromo and Lolade were just showing off their swimming skills whereas Timi discovered that he could not swim, hahaha and me? I was so terrified of the water ehn..lol. Anyways, we paid an instructor and Timi eventually learned to swim while I conquered my aquaphobia and could stay underwater. I feel so proud of myself…lol
After the dip, we had dinner
(there’s a cafeteria but their food is quite expensive, which is surprising),
laughed, walked and retired for the night, after making up our minds that we
were no longer going to explore Erin Ijesha the next day because of the long
journey, instead we were going to the Arinta waterfalls.
Even now back in Lagos, I still experience nostalgia and crave the quiet, peaceful surroundings of Ikogosi. Our road walk from the pool to the main resort holds some of my favorite memories. Exploring Ikogosi has shown me that growing up in Lagos has really distorted my view about living. From watching the people in Ikogosi, I have seen that you really don’t need to have much to be happy and to live peaceful. We chase so many unnecessary things meanwhile God has blessed us with everything we need to live that peaceful life including the wonders of nature. I honestly don’t mind living in the middle of nowhere with those I love and the basic needs of life; food, cloth and shelter. Besides, I’d really appreciate less noise and pollution, just greens and the burble of streams all around…
Although, we had some uncomfortable
experiences in the resort, which I will talk about in my next post, as at now Ikogosi
is my favorite place in Nigeria, which is yours? I also plan to go east to
Obudu Cattle Ranch soon, who’s interested?
I enjoyed reading Tosin’s blog post on her visit to Ikogosi Warmsprings in Ekiti State. Check it out
I love to travel; to explore new places and enjoy adventurous activities completely outside the norm. Being a very serious thinker, travel stretches my mind, broadens my horizon and helps me to think creative and original thoughts.
One of the top countries in the world to visit for me would be Italy – Venice being my number one place to go to, then Rome and Tuscany. I’ve only seen pictures but I love Italy – the history, peaceful environment, breathtaking landscape and romantic vibes. I hope to visit next year.
In Nigeria though, I have only been to 3 states outside of Lagos – Edo (where I was born although I can’t remember anything about the place), Ogun (because I schooled and lived there once) and Ibadan (family road trips). However, I look forward to visiting more states soon. With that being said, who wants to go on a road trip to Erin Ijesha waterfalls in Ekiti state this August? Been thinking of it since I saw Cassie Davies post. Comment down below and let’s do this!
Zoom into Lagos, aha! This is my zone. I’ve been out and about a lot, still, there are a few more places I would like to go to. I still can’t believe that I have not been to Tarkwa bay but that is about to change soon. The Apapa Wharf was one of the places I had always wanted to check out. I had heard of the tales – bad roads and trucks; nevertheless, and probably because my hero dad used to work there when I was younger, I was enthusiastic about visiting the place.
My ‘dream’ to visit Apapa soon came true when a business trip took me to the area last month. On my first trip, I excitedly conquered my fear of traveling on water and took a ferry. It was pretty cool, and thankfully, the sea breeze did not blow my wig off. I took the ferry for some days then decided to start going by road for some official reasons.
I don’t want to say this turned out to be the worst decision of my life but this turned out to be the worst decision of my life. Still, I think it was very important I took those road trips because they were eye-openers. For one…
Apapa roads are TERRIBLE! Not bad, TERRIBLE!
Before I jump into detail, I need to quickly state the very obvious pain in the ass – my gosh! Trucks!
Trucks are just everywhere in Apapa; even parked on bridges, and they constitute a very big nuisance. Worse still, many times, the containers on these trucks are not even properly secured!
My fear of ‘traveling’ to Apapa really began when I heard of a container that fell and crushed three brand new cars on a beautiful Sunday. Like what the heck though?! Then it hit home when on my way to work one day, another container fell and completely blocked the Apapa Wharf road for hours. I remember thinking to myself: these things can fall on anybody!!! Later that day, a not very nice colleague of mine said to me,
“Tosin, the risk of a container crushing your head is higher than that of the ferry capsizing.”
Who says that?
To crown it all, I am usually in a relax mode on my way home after work – music plugged in, eyes closed, in my fantasy world… but all that changed the first day I felt the car move while in a still position in traffic. Different thoughts ran through my mind like the possibility of an earth tremor before I realized that the bridge was shaking. Really moving!
I remember screaming in shock to the driver, “The bridge is actually shaking right now!”
Dude was like, “Ehn now.” (Nigerians really need to stop managing things or suffering in silence. We need to start demanding for out rights and safety).
Never in my years of studying engineering in the university did I ever imagine that I would literally experience a bridge tremble, not due to earthquakes or tremors but poor use. An oil truck with a capacity of 50,000 liters weighs up to a flipping 36 tonnes! Now, imagine hundreds of them packed on a bridge definitely not designed to carry trucks! Of course, it will shake.
The Nigerian government knows about this so I wonder why close to nothing has been done to get those trucks off and maintain the bridge. Thousands of lives are in danger everyday plying the Apapa Wharf bridge, and the engineer in me cannot help but face the truth that – that bridge is going to collapse one day if nothing is done.
Frankly, I don’t have the solutions in my head because I feel this is a major work that lies in the hands of the government. Still, I felt the need to share because until we know what’s up as citizens, there would be no motivation to promptly demand for our safety from the government.
Another interesting detail, an Uber driver allowed me to drive!
So what bad road experience have you had in Lagos? Comment below.
The ankara fabric (pictured below) is very well known and worn in West Africa countries, so many Africans erroneously believe that the fabric has African roots. However, history has messed up with us badly: ankara actually originates from an Asian country – Indonesia. In fact, we kinda got the fabric through slave trade (straight face).
How?? During the Dutch colonization of Indonesia, textile factory owners discovered the locally made Indonesian batik and tried to replicate using machine printing processes. The resulting fabric (now called ankara) was rejected in the Indonesian market, but was strongly received in West Africa during the colonial period.
Now, it has largely grown to become an important part of the African fashion.
Do you feel regardless of its origin, ankara is still a part of the African culture? comment below
By the way, I am super excited to introduce to you 5 fashion brands that I have come to love so much. Besides having very beautiful fashion pieces with class and style, these fashion brands are so different from the traditional ones in that they practice sustainable fashion!
#1 Lisa Folawiyo
My fav of all time!!
Lisa Folawiyo has been featured on Vogue, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other international magazines and her collections have been shown on international platforms; Johannesburg, London, Paris, Milan and New York.
Her style is so elegant, unique, ultrachic… simply extraordinaire. To prove me right, her pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Kelis, Solange, Lucy Liu, Alicia Quarles, Thandie Newton, Angela Simmons and Lala Anthony. Whoop!
How Sustainable? Artisanal – Preserving traditions
Asides the gorgeous pieces, I love this brand because it supports fair work for local expert artisans in Nigeria, in the process preserving hand-craftsmanship, culture and traditions.
These artisans work in safe working conditions hand-embellishing every of the brand’s pieces and get opportunities to be introduced to the international community (Lisa Folawiyo works in collaboration with the Ethical Fashion Initiative, to partner local artisans in West and East Africa with international fashion brands).
You can wear the brand knowing that you are helping someone and out culture get out there.
I love Nkwo! The brand represents African Modern! The only brand I have seen turn the popular Ghana must go bags into beautiful head gears. You will find the clothes truly free-spirited, clearly inspired by the nomads of the Sahara. The prints are unique and very beautiful too.
How Sustainable? – Responsible Production, Upcyling
Nkwo started a sustainability project where the main focus is textile waste reduction through innovative cutting techniques, recycling and fabric manipulation. In the process, a modern ‘strip weaving’ technique emerged.
Also, from left over pieces of denim, Nkwo produced a new fabric (called the Dakala Cloth) that looks much like hand woven clothes. Amazing!
Yemzi is another exceptional brand. The prints are particularly striking. You will definitely feel like a daring self-confident woman wearing them. Roarr!
How Sustainable? – Responsible production, female empowerment
Yemzi is conscious about the fabrics used for its pieces, specifically natural fibres, azo free dyes and GOTs certified fabrics are sourced for each piece.
Much more, the founder Elizabeth-Yemi runs design workshops to teach teenage girls design skills and helps them to channel their creativity into a successful career in fashion.
#4 Labake Lagos
I only recently discovered Labake Lagos on Instagram. Although, it’s only a startup recently founded by Labake Anyebe, I could not ignore the creative mix of sustainability and fashion and quickly added the brand to my list of most loved. This brand has so much potential.
How Sustainable? – Upcycling
Labake Lagos sources for used materials and upcycles them into new designs which includes women wears, men wears and accessories.
Recently, the brand released a collaborative line of tote bags titled “ÀTÚNṢE”, a Yoruba word that translates into “Up-Cycle”. Leftover fabrics from apparel manufacturing company “Human Capital Development Center” (HCDC) were infused with various designs of Damask, a contemporary African fabric.
Another young brand on the list, only recently launched in 2018. Ekete is an accessories fashion brand that produces intricately hand woven basket bags with detail.
How Sustainable? – Ethical, Artisanal
The brand uses locally grown natural fibers; cane and raffia peculiar to the eastern and northern villages of Nigeria, combined with the finest leather and African print for production. In addition, every bag is handcrafted by local artisans; a process that takes about 5-7 days to complete.
Our goal is to contribute to the creation of sustainable jobs for artisans within Nigeria, promote fair trade and reawaken the love and desire for authentic African craftsmanship.
Thank you for following closely I hope this post inspired you to be creative and sustainable in whatever you do. To those wondering what sustainable fashion entails, here is a summary from Industrie Africa.
Other Fashion brands? PS: Click on them to learn more
I might have been biased in my list ‘cos the clothing brands I listed only do women’s wears (shy face). So bring it on guys (and ladies)…what fashion brands do you think should be on this list? Please share in the comment section.
And it all started with a stubborn 16 year-old… Greta Thunberg. With shear will-power and a complete understanding of what humanity needs, the teenage girl refused to attend her school classes and chose instead to protest in front of her country’s parliament, until they aligned with the Paris Agreement on the climate change. She has been doing that since August 2018 and now continues her climate strikes every Thursday, motivating hundreds of thousands of children around the world.
Shortly after the UN report was released stating that global temperatures could rise by 1.5 degrees, an estimated number of 1.4 million school children around the world walked out of school on March 15 to demand increased action from world leaders against climate change. The next match is scheduled for 24 May, 2019.
These children have managed to shame older generations into taking action to save the planet. But if they don’t, who will?
Greta Thunberg has been invited to speak at several forums including the World Economic Forum and TedXStockholm. This was what she had to say to some very important people,
“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes”
I really think it's high time everyone stood up to fight for this cause. It cannot be ignored any more because it affects our present and future. #FightforthePlanet #BeResponsible
On Thursday, Greta was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and if she wins, she will be the youngest.
Whenever my mother screams my name in its entirety, I know that there is fire on the mountain. Just that this time, I’m certain I didn’t start the fire.
‘Ada m, which one is Jaksuko?’ she asked tensely as I approached her, ‘and where is Yobe state?’
‘Yobe what?!’ I couldn’t believe my ears.
I have been posted to the Jaksuko local government in Yobe State for the mandatory national service year. For a young woman from my tribe, the north is the last place you would want to be, because of the ethnic tensions in the country. So all I could say to comfort my worried mother was,
‘Mama, God will be with me.’
However, my life would forever be changed at Jaksuko, and I would never recover from the day I met an exceptionally beautiful Kanuri lady, Aisha.
I met Aisha while serving as a nurse at the General hospital in Jaksuko and took special interest in her prenatal care because she was so young. Maybe twenty.
Very fun-loving and kind-hearted, Aisha would share stories with the other women, and try to teach me their traditional Kanuri songs in her soft high-pitched voice:
Lami lami yencheri..yancheri…
I just laughed and hummed along.
Occasionally, she would bring me Guda asking me to eat plenty so that I can be very beautiful for a man. I didn’t understand her logic but I always ate the delicious porridge anyways. I grew to admire her way of dressing and the way she spoke so highly of her husband. She would say amidst beaming smiles,
‘My husband is a livestock farmer and furma; he has two decorated horses.’
‘Ashe, we know o,’ the other women would reply teasing her.
Aisha was the life of the party and I always loved her being around. So, it was a good news of great joy when I heard she delivered safely of her first child, a bouncing baby boy!
As expected of her hospitable nature, she invited me for the naming of the child on the eighth day.
‘We will name him ‘Babagana’ because he looks so much like his grandfather, although I like ‘Yerima’ because he will be a great prince and ruler among our people.’
The naming day was a great day of celebration. We sang, danced and feasted, and there was enough food for everyone. In particular, I remember the unspeakable joy on Aisha’s face as she brought her baby to the Imam for prayers.
‘Oh! The joys of motherhood,’ I exclaimed within myself as tears of happiness streamed down my face.
However, two weeks later, I saw a distraught Aisha rush in to the hospital, holding tight to her son and desperately seeking a doctor.
‘What is wrong, Aisha?’ I asked as I hurried her to the doctor.
Aisha had come in to the hospital earlier that day to complain of her son’s high temperature and had been given some medications. Only to find her son unresponsive thirty minutes after administering the drugs.
Unfortunately, all efforts of the doctor proved abortive and, Aisha lost her precious son to fake drugs that day. The once jovial high-spirited Aisha became forlorn like the night, and she would never recover from that experience.
Find a “pain point” that you are passionate about fixing and create a sustainable solution for it.
Vivian Nwakah – Founder Medsaf
Provoked by this misadventure, I began to surf the net searching for answers to the drug problem only to be appalled when I saw that beyond the issue of substandard drugs, my country and the world at large faces other numerous health care challenges. I saw that my country still suffers from poor medical facilities, wrong diagnosis, high cost of health care, poor access to healthcare services in rural areas, and interestingly, the exodus of healthcare professional.
About 2,000 doctors leave Nigeria on a yearly basis
However, much more to my surprise, I discovered some made in Nigeria health tech startups already creating a shift in the health tech space, like Babymigo, LifeBank and Arone, the drone masters. Specifically, I got wowed with Ubenwa, the application that analyzes the cries of newborns to check for their oxygen levels during birth using machine learning and AI. Then I met Vivian Nwakah, who inspired by the tragic loss of her friend to fake malaria medications, drafted a solution strategy and founded the health tech startup Medsaf.
The day Aisha lost her prince was the day I too found purpose. I realized that indeed every issue presents us with two choices – the choice to turn a blind eye or to fight hammer and tongs alongside a justifiable cause. I made up my mind that I would rather be a Vivan Nwakah, turning every tragedy into blessing, and I will not rest until the problem of fake drugs is eradicated in my country. What can you do?
A big thumbs up for all the great feats we have accomplished over the years in different sectors. Globally, we have stamped our names on all sectors; innovation/technology, sport, art and music to mention a few. We accomplished this because of our work ethics, perseverance, determination, belief, values, purpose and competence.
However, looking at our social norms, I cannot help but say that we can’t be the leaders of tomorrow if there will be no tomorrow to lead. We have ignored the future for so long in our pursuit of our daily bread. We can blame the system for that, but that will not bring us out of the rat hole we live in.
If there is anything that we have undermined the most about ourselves; it is our strength in unity. We undermine the power we have to topple evil when we stand together for the good of our country.
Is there a way we can think of our current state in the country and say, “it is because of our complacent nature that we are where we are?” Not just because of the obvious bad government?
Our society will have us believe that we are ungovernable because of our ethnic differences, yet with the same fate, they come together to enrich themselves and impoverish the most of us. I put it to you that we are governable even with our differences. A large percentage of Nigerians want the same thing – good schools, good health-care system, good roads, good social welfare and an enabling environment for growth and success.
We need to wake up to the realization that today’s youth is tomorrow’s elders and our unborn children will be tomorrow’s youth. Meaning, while we still have the numbers, strength and zeal to make meaning out of the country we live in, we must not sleep on it. For a day is coming when we will sleep forever and our children will have to suffer the same fate.
My dear brothers and sisters… together, we can stand… We must build the Nigeria we demand!
As a Nation, we need conscientious leaders who are competent at every elected political offices in the country. We also need these kind of people in every other non-elective public sectors. If we do not find these people, we have to become them and then make ourselves available to serve the good of the people.
As Nigerians born in Nigeria, the least we can be is a second class citizen in another country and we will be treated as such. I am also aware that even as second class citizens in another country, we have a better life outside Nigeria, but, the time has come for us to make our country as good as the countries we go to for everything desirable, admirable and memorable.
My dear brothers and sisters, the roles we have to play cannot be done alone. For alone, we will fail. Together, we can stand against evil. We must build the Nigeria we demand!
Love always, DanielOTABOR.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Daniel Otabor is a public speaker and founder of SpeakWithDaniel, a public speaking and leadership development organisation that is raising successful leaders in different sectors. He organizes workshops to train young people on how to become effective leaders and influential public speakers.
His write-up today is a cry to all Nigerian youths to STAND UP and quit playing the blame game. The future of our country lies on our shoulders and we have what it takes to create the change we desire.
Let’s start with what we can do today like getting knowledgeable on political matters so we can be confident and wise in proffering solutions to national issues (really guys, no more unwise arguments about Nigerian politics), volunteer for policy making organizations (e.g. ONE.org) and many others. We’ve got to THINK. Nigerian youths let’s THINK on the way forward because there’s a bright future ahead for our country.
You are a very nice person and you would really love to bless someone, but you don’t just have the money to do anything at all!
Not to worry.
There are many easy ways you can give to a cause and still be the really good guy or girl you want to be without having to spend so much. Come along, let me show you a few:
Give your skills
Are you a web designer, a translator or a graphic designer or do you have a very important soft skill you think an organization might need? You can support an NGO by offering these skills for free instead of at a cost. That is one beautiful way to give to charity because many NGOs spend most of their money on helping people and may not have enough to be able to hire a web designer.
Also, you could organize a small tutor camp for underprivileged children, alone or with your friends, where you can teach whatever skill you have. You could train the kids on how to use the computer or on make-up artistry, beads making, tailoring, hair dressing, shoe making or anything else!
Give your time
Time is very valuable so giving it to help others really goes a long way. Many charity organizations are in dire need of volunteers so you can always enlist as a volunteer. One important tip in knowing which NGO to volunteer for is to go with one that aligns with your passion. For example, if you are passionate about helping women recover from any form of abuse you could support the Mirabel Rape Crisis Center (or Stand to End Rape Initiative ) and if you are passionate about education for underprivileged kids then I recommend the Slum to School organization. There are many other options.
Give your unwanted stuffs
You probably have tons and tons of unwanted stuff in your wardrobe you don’t need. Another great way to give to charity without spending much is donating all those unwanted cloths, shoes, bags, household items etc to those who really need them. Presently in my NYSC CDS, we are organizing a Library Project for a school and really need books for the library, you could help with that (please contact me through the comment section below or the contact form on the about page, if you are interested).
Sometimes last year, I started a social media campaign to encourage natural breastfeeding among women and it went a long way. There were testimonies from the campaign – even young women not yet with kids were sending in messages that they would really consider breastfeeding as an option for their unborn kids. Great right?!
So you can start a social media campaign to create awareness on any charity issue. The social media is really powerful and word can spread really fast about anything even with just a simple hashtag.
Support a social media campaign
If you feel starting out a social media awareness campaign on your own might be tasking or you would probably not have the time to monitor your campaign, you could support other ongoing online campaigns. Change.org is an amazing website that can shows you current online campaigns.
There are now many online volunteering opportunities. I just discovered the United Nations online volunteering portal and it’s really cool! You don’t even have to move an inch from your computer to make a huge impact after all.
Sign a Petition
Signing online petitions is kinda the in thing now and it has really made a huge impact like causing world government to end tax on tampons and sanitary materials for women. Change.org has really made it easy to voice your opinions, get others to support you and eventually create a positive ripple effect change. So, you could start your own petition today or support many others. (I have and there’s no better feeling that knowing that you are really helping to make the world a better place)
Give your space
You could offer your space (maybe backyard at home or land lease) to someone in need or to an NGO in need of a space. I would caution however that you should be very careful because of the many security risks in our country (Nigeria) at the moment. Be sure to investigate the genuineness of any NGO or person in need.
Give your money– Start a Fundraiser
Donating money to NGOs really does not have to be much. You can start by saving up as little as a 100 Naira per week and giving what you’ve saved at the end of the year to a charity organization – maybe that one time is on your birthday.
You could also start a fundraiser to raise cash for an NGO or a cause (just make sure the money really gets to the right people). There are a lot of fundraiser websites, with a little research, you can find out which one works best for you.
And that's it!
9 great ways to give to charity without actually spending a dime.
Can you give back when you're broke?
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What do you think though?
Would really love to hear more tips from you on how to give to charity without spending much. Make sure you leave a comment below!
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