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Growing up, I enjoyed playing Mancala aka ncho. Whenever we travelled to the village for Easter or Christmas holidays, my siblings, young uncles and aunties, cousins and I would dig holes in the ground for this. We would use pebbles specially picked for this and we would play one game after another, for hours on end.
Years later, my mum bought a game of ncho for us. This was a wooden board, shaped like a tortoise and my siblings and I had lots of fun with it.
When I saw this board game in a store about two months ago, I was quick to purchase it in a bid to re-create some of that fun. I told Nwando it was a family game. The sound of that, for some reason, got her excited.
For a while, she reminded me that I hadn’t fulfilled my promise of teaching her. So, some weeks ago, I finally opened it. The board was plain but shiny and inside there were beautiful glass pebbles. We took the game into their room and played there. It was fun teaching her how to count her pebbles and try to outwit me and her excitement was catching. When we were done, we put away the glass pebbles into the holes on the wooden board. I folded the board to close it, then, put it into its paper packaging.
Not long after I left their room, I heard a crash that had me rushing back in. I realized then that I had forgotten the game in their bathroom. Ikem had found it there and when he tried to bring it out, it slipped from his hands and fell to the floor.
There were glass pebbles everywhere so the three of us started picking. I knew how many pebbles each hole was supposed to have during a game and I also knew how many pebbles had come as extras.
Luckily, we got all of them and I made sure to take the game with me this time.

A few days later, Nwando and I played that game again but on the dining table this time. After we were done, I just packed it up and left it there. The next morning, she got adventurous and there was another spilling of the pebbles. We picked up some of them; but, soon, I realized that a few of them must have rolled away, further than we could find without a thorough search. They were already dressed for school so we aborted the search and I dropped them off in school.
I knew that the game was useless if any pebble was missing, though. So, as soon as I came home, I carefully searched for the missing pebbles and heaved a sigh of relief when I found them all, extras included.

I went round tidying the house and by the time I got to their room, I went into their bathroom with a long broom. Sweeping under the washing machine, two pebbles rolled out and I started laughing when I realized two things.
I hadn’t swept their bathroom in days.
I had been so certain that I knew how many pebbles the game had come with originally. I had remembered six extra pebbles when, in reality, there had been eight.

Soon, it occurred to me how like life, Mancala is. It is a game that requires a lot of strategy and planning. It is not a game of luck and is not for anyone with a lazy mind because it forces you to think of ways to outwit your opponent.
No matter how sharp you are, though, if your pebbles are not complete, the game cannot be played. That is where the extra pebbles come in handy.

When I bought the game, inside it were all the pebbles I needed to play it, as well as extras, in case I lost any.
However, after the first time it fell and scattered its contents, I lost two of them, without even having a clue.
Then, after it fell again, I had to carefully search for the lost pebbles before I could have a game that, in my mind, had the complete set of pebbles.
Then, when I found the two I had lost without knowing, I realized that I had been playing that game, ill-equipped. The fact that those pebbles had been lost meant that I had reduced my chances of having replacements by two, without even having a clue about that.

We come from Him, complete. To each of us He gave pebbles of love, of joy, of peace, of patience, of kindness, of faithfulness, of generosity, of courage, of truth, of self-control and of lots more. We all are made in His image, after all.
But in a whole lot of ways and for many reasons, we lose pebbles along the way, sometimes without even knowing it. The fact that we can still function beautifully, does not take away the fact that if we are hit with a lot, at the same time, we may not be able to function at all, without those things we have lost.

Sometimes, the families we were born into force those pebbles from us. It may be that our parents didn’t try hard enough or just maybe, tried too hard to fit us into molds they thought best... molds that had nothing to do with who we truly are. It may be a case of deliberately throwing away some pebbles to fit into our respective families.

Sometimes, the friends we choose to be a part of our lives steal those pebbles. We want to be like them in a lot of ways, that we forget what we have inside of us. We crave their acceptance so much, that if we realize that our pebbles make us different, we carelessly throw them away.

Life and some hard knocks may have shaved off chips off our pebbles till they are so flawed that we have to throw them away.
They may have lost their shine but we forget that as long as we have them, they are useful to us.

However we lost our pebbles is not as important as the fact that without them, our lives are incomplete.
Sometimes, all we need do is search carefully for those lost ones, even if we have to bring out a long broom. Sweeping our lives more often is a sure way of finding out there if anything is missing from it.
Sometimes, all we need a beautiful partnership with someone who is willing to help us find our lost pebbles, or if that fails, shares some of their extras with us.

It is a New Year and as usual, most of us make New Year resolutions. How long we last before breaking them depend on how important they are to us and how willing we are to work hard to make them come to life.
We certainly need all the help we can get in this journey called life. No matter how many resolutions we make, no matter how much we strategize and no matter how much we plan, if we ignore what tools he has given us, we just may never make any head way.

May we be wise enough to search for any lost pebbles, even if we were never aware that any was missing and may we find all of them. He put them in each of us because He knew that we'd need them at some point in our lives.
May we find reasons to smile, no matter what our realities are and may our hands be eager to dry the tears of others.
May we forgive as many times as He has forgiven us.
May this be a year of love, of friendship and of rewarding partnerships.
Happy New Year, my friends!


  1. Anonymous7:06 pm

    I played that game a lot when I was younger,but more importantly for me is the story behind it,indeed He gives us many pebbles and we choose how to use them........hhhmmmnnn thanks Ola and a Happy New Year to you as well,God bless Xx.

  2. Food for thought this new yr!

  3. colettoo7:56 pm

    Happy New Year again sis. Well written and with the message gotten. Most times we just forget a pebble not intentionally, it just happens. Funny how a game inspires a deep message. Ur gifted dearie. Eyes on the prize. Ur getting there!

  4. colettoo7:57 pm

    I meant we forget a pebble in our lives.

  5. Nice one Lalicious! N happy nu year! Miss y,all !

  6. Anonymous10:37 am

    Food for thought. Happy New Year.

  7. jbaby4:38 pm

    Wow how inspiring Ola. Its amazing how you relate a mere game to life and Gifts from God and how well we put these abilities to full use. I admire your gift of golden thoughts.Eyes on the price your getting there my dearest. God bless and happy new year once again.

  8. You always have a beautiful way of connecting the dots. you are a deep thinker, dear.Thank you for the reminder. now where r my pebbles??

  9. This is awesome writing. Fluid. Deep.


    The analogy was skillfully connected with the message, like you maximized every possible meaning that could be drawn out from the story of the pebbles.


    May this message sink into our hearts and minds, making us complete and unique in the way God intended. Amen

  10. Anon 19:06, God bless you too, dear :)

    Ng; For me too, girl!

    Colettoo; Eyes on the prize, baby!!

    Kiki; Thank you, sis. Welcome home :)

    Anon 10:37; Thank you :) Happpy New Year to you too.

    Jbaby; Thank you, sis. God bless you too!

    Rowzlyn; Thanks, dear. Found them yet? Lol.

    Samuel; Thank you :) Amen! to your prayer.

  11. Hi Olaedo, your thoughts are truly golden. You know how to relate things to life and teach a lesson.
    Happy New Year!

  12. Eya; Thanks, so much :)
    Happy New Year to you too.


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