Of The Muse In You: The Ogbanje Hacker

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

becoming

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE Hero

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken. someone sent me a private message asking me to give them access to my email account so they could run a trace the email

The popular poll result was that I should run a back ground check on Og Banje so here goes

I opened a search engine tab and typed Og Banje and pressed search.

Could not find a match Did you mean Ogbanje? Showing results for Ogbanje

In Igbo lore an ogbanje is a reincarnating  spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune. The ogbanje child would die and be reborn again and again mostly before the child reached adulthood or got to an age where they could do anything of potential. The curse would be broken if a priest could find the ogbanje’s iyi-uwa (a stone that the ogbanje’s way of coming back to the world) and destroy it. The child is confirmed to no longer be an ogbanje after the destruction of the stone or after they successfully give birth to another baby

Well that was an interesting lesson on the Igbo myths  of West Africa, but it did not get me any closer to finding out my mysterious connection. I decided to check out other posts from the Facebook group while I figured what to do with Mr OG. Mr OG that’s how I had been referring to him in m head. There was an update in the group;

“Authorities have announced that one of the abducted girls is still alive after a voice recording was received of her (as confirmed by her parents that it was her voice) asking the government to rescue her. ”

That was good news indeed as some people had started thinking maybe the reason some of the girls had not be released was because they had died.

I typed a new post to add to the group:

Hi I got a private message from someone called Og Banje after the last message I posted in this group and I wanted to know if its someone that can be trusted.

A few seconds later a reply popped up

Ah we see you have had an encounter with our resident white hat hacker. Nobody knows who he really is or where he is and the authorities keep trying to get his account shut down but it keeps coming back to like a curse to expose government secrets and criminal activities, kind of like a phantom online vigilante.

Ogbanje

I typed whih read  “thank you and if I could ask__”

Before I could finish the comment, my phone started ringing, the caller was on incognito mode and the number did not show.

Hello” I answered.

“Hello my friend, you know me as Mr OG. I believe its time we talked ….:”

I froze, what should I do next:

  1. Nothing, hang up the phone
  2. Start a conference call to emergency services
  3. Put on speaker and record the conversation
  4. Find out how he got my number and what he wants then go to the police
  5. Find out what he wants and just wing it from there

~B

Day 18 of My Blog Everyday Challenge Themed Africa: Stories From Home

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Of The Muse In You: Hero

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE  ABDUCTED

becoming

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken.

The popular poll result was that I should find an IT expert to trace the original email and those who wrote in comments said Join The Facebook Group see what happens that seemed like a good idea …. So I will fuse those two ideas and see where the story goes.

I clicked the link to join the Facebook group and a pop up screen asked me a few questions to help the admin decide if I would fit in the group. I scrolled through the question then answering them as I went along.

Do you think all people were created equal?

Yes *I clicked*

Do you think everyone has a right to their opinion whether you agree with it or not?

Yes *I clicked*

What quality makes a hero and are you one?

I paused, thinking of a response. Being a serial binge watcher of superhero movies I wanted to write that, “a hero was someone with extra-ordinary powers doing extra-ordinary things with the powers vested in him whether by being bitten by radioactive spiders or marvels of modern science  or mythological connections and even by virtue of being an alien with godlike powers.”

Then I remembered something printed on a t/shirt worn by the conductor in the taxi I had taken on my evening commute home.

Not all heroes wore capes, some simply hold the door

He smiled as he slid the door open and so passengers could get on. “I want only two serious passengers we are about to go” he would periodically shout even though the taxi needed way more than two people before it could leave, and he was quite theatric in convincing people to get into his taxi than pick any of the other that were also trying to get passengers.

A hero is someone who perseveres against the odds *I finally typed*

Congratulations you are in the group, a notification flashed

#freeLeah

I was surprised to find the group full of people from all over the world, strangers bound together with a common need to fight for injustice and to pray and to lobby governments for the safe return of all abducted people.

There was a pinned message on the group wall:

This group is as a safe place new members introduce yourself and tell us your ideas on how we can achieve our objectives. Faith Without Works Is Dead

I felt nervous and more than a little scared but the word hero echoed somewhere in the back of my mind. What was I getting myself into I thought as I typed:

Hi I am looking for friend who may have been abducted. They contacted me via email is there a computer expert in the group who can help with a trace.

*Ping* A new Facebook message notification. A message from someone called Og Banje, his name, I assume he was a guy because the profile picture was of a guy with a handkerchief around his face like a western outlaw; his name reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Ogbanje

Og Banje

The message was short and to the point.

“If you give me remote access to your email I might be able to run an IP address tracer and ping the servers of the email you received to track location and find service provider.”

I reread the message as I decided.

What do I do next

  1. Allow Remote Access to email
  2. First run a background check on OG Banje
  3. Ignore the message
  4. verify with group admin
  5. Go to the police

~B

day 12 of my blog everyday chllenge themed Africa: stories from home.

Of The Muse In You: Abducted

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE :DEAD END

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email from a stranger called Nya who simply wanted a friend and a sympathetic ear to listen. Wary of internet scams I had google searched the email address before replying. Just I discovered the email belonged to someone from an area where nightmarish abductions occurred thats when I got a delivery notification that the email failed.

The popular opinion was: Go to tagged Facebook post and contact 

I felt goosebumps as I read again the message from the email server:

Message not delivered

I closed the notification and opened the Facebook Post Nya had been tagged in. It was a post from a page formed by a group of people who had come together to pray for the safe return of victims of the terror abductions. According to the page over 1000 girls have been kidnapped by the Boko Haram since 2013 in Nigeria. This includes the 200+ Chibok girls in April 2014 of whom 100 were released and more than a 100 taken in February beginning of the year though most of those were returned a month later countless others remain “missing”.

I was in shock, I thought those abductions had ended ages back had I not read somewhere that they had some form of uneasy ceasefire going. I thought all the kidnapped people had been returned, so many thoughts flashed through my mind. What if they never really stopped, what of the stories that never made the news and what if the person who had reached out to me was a victim. I clicked the message page tab and typed up short message:

Hi I am trying to contact Nya. She sent me an email but I am failing to contact her.

I pressed send and waited for a reply because the page was marked as “typically responds within mintues”. Minutes grew into hours and longer still, then into days until I even I almost forgot what I was waiting for, almost. The one day months later *Ping* Facebook messenger notification

It was a message from the page admin.

Good day Sir. 

Thank you for getting in touch

It’s highly unlikely that Nya could contact you, as it would be next to impossible for her to get email access. She is one of the girls who were not released when the others kidnapped with them were returned, the ones we fear either are still in captivity or might have died. Those who would not renounce their Christian faith. Today marks 200 days of their captivity if you will join us in a prayer vigil for their safe return RSVP and join the FB Group in the link below……..

I read the message again as I tried to understand……. so who had sent me the email I wondered.

What should I do next

  1. Nothing: The End
  2. Join The Facebook Group see what happens
  3. Find a computer guy to trace the original email
  4. Contact the police
  5. Contact one of those who returned

~B

Day 6 of My Blog Every Day Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

#MyAfricaMyWords

 

Of The Muse In You: Dead End

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE: Online Strangers

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email  from a stranger I decided to reply it, after a google search check to verify if email address was implicated in any scams. Now I decided how I should proceed.

The popular opinion “investigate cautiously” as you wait to hear from her

 

Once upon a time I got an email from a princess, her father, a warlord had been executed by rebel forces, leaving her sole heiress to a vast fortune in blood diamonds and prime real estate, worth several hundred six figure digits. All she needed was someone to marry her, then to transfer ownership of the late warlord’s estate to husband, so that the government would be unable to forfeit the assets and fortune. If I married her, she would grant me a quarter of the wealth, which would still be in the six figure region too. The catch though was that I had to wire transfer her plane ticket money and my bank details so she could begin part of the transactions……

Sounds too good to be true right? Yeah, that’s what a typical email scam looks like, you get lured in with a promise for wealth, lottery or a lucrative business investment and then asked to advance cash for something or other suddenly bang all the money in your bank is gone…….

Constant Vigilance” I thought to myself, in the words of Mad Eye Moody teaching a class for Defence Against Dark Arts in the Harry Potter Books. “Well if I knew what to look out for I wouldn’t get scammed, right?”

I opened my Google to do a bit of internet research. It’s strange, how little we know of what happens to world around us, even though the information is right there, if you know where to look. Nya Chiuta’s hometown state was in the area were the nightmarish abductions where being done by the Boko Haram, I had seen it on the news, I might have even tweeted a solidarity message hashtagged #bringbackthegirls. But could a hashtag ever really bring back anyone?

Who or what was the Boko Haram anyway and why did they kidnap people? Well according to Google, they are The Islamic State in West Africa and have gone by various names most popular being Boko Haram, which loosely translates to “western education is forbidden”  or “western influence is a sin” or “Westernization is sacrilege”…..

As I was doing my research, I happened to stalk Nya’s Facebook profile again to check when she was last active and noticed a tagged post. She was tagged in a post where people we people were praying for her safe return………..

A ping indicating new email interrupted my research.

It was an email from the mailer daemon indicating that the email to Nya Chiuta had failed reason unavailable mail server.

Message not delivered

What happens Next?

  1. Dead End: The End
  2. Check Email address and try again
  3. Send Facebook message
  4. Check if Facebook profile has alternative contact number
  5. Go to Tagged Facebook post contact person who tagged her

Of The Muse In You; Online Strangers

Welcome,  if you have been here before welcome back; for the benefit of those joining for the first time and those who don’t remember I am continuing where I left off…….

This is a writing project that I started and it somehow slipped my mind but  ITS BACK!!!!!!!

How it works: I am developing this story and you can be part of the journey, at the end of the post you get to help me decide how the story proceeds next.

becoming

The story so far: Which you can read by clicking  here: The message in a bottle

I received an email from a stranger on the internet, as I was about to delete I took a chance and decided to read it instead. The popular choice  from the readers (thanking everyone who voted) was:

Google the sender and email address to check if they not listed under any scam artists

Another ABBA track played on the radio, I sang along to it as I used the Google search bar to find my mysterious messager. I found it ironic how I called myself old soul, yet embraced technology as if I had born with my umbilical cord plugged into the internet. I laughed at the silly metaphors I made up by myself. Well, I was an old soul, call me old fashioned even but I loved letters too bad people didn’t write letters any more, only this instant messaging and social whats what media.

According to Google search results Nya Chiuta’s email was not associated with any known scams and had a FaceBook profile which was hardly used except for posts from friends wishing her happy birthday. “Well,” I thought to myself might as well as reply her email, “Who knows it could be just like pen pal except that emails took far much less time and you didn’t have to rush to the gate every time the postman passed hoping he had brought something for you, anything other than bills…….”

I opened my email tab and begun to type:

Dear Nya

I hope this email finds you well. I must confess your email had me worried and intrigued. If all you need is a friend though I can’t promise you much, I will listen.

Yours sincerely

T’Cha

I couldn’t help smiling at the way I signed my name, I guess the Black Panther craze had got to me too. I clicked send and watched as the email zipped away and into the information super highway………

Switching again to Nya’s Facebook profile because I had excellent research skills as I liked to refer to them; as opposed to stalker tendencies as my friends teasingly called them. Something about her profile had been bugging me, her location, it was a place in Nigeria, I suddenly remembered, a place I had recently heard in the news, where those girls had been kidnapped………..

What if….. but nah, but what if….. could it be just a coincidence?

What do I do?

  1. Wait for her reply and then ask her
  2. Pretend I know nothing and if she replies I’ll let her tell me if anything is wrong
  3. Don’t get involved, ignore any incoming emails
  4. Stalk her Facebook further, find her most frequent interactions see if there is anything to be found.
  5. send another email, ask point blank where she is and her intentions

Of A WordCamp Over Coffee

If you were having coffee with me…..

beaton Mabaso Wordcamp

I would tell you of my amazing time at the WordCamp Conference Harare 2017. I was one of the speakers alongside a number experts, I guess that makes me an expert too… you know what they say ecological species of the avian variety with the same plumage congregate in the same perimeter.

Birds of a feather

birds of a feather

This year the WordCamp was bigger and better than last year, the tickets sold out,  a local company ZOL Fibroniks was a gold sponsor; the future looks bright, hello 2018 looking promising……

One of the best things about a WordCamp is meeting the community networking and making new friends, its inspiring seeing people representing their grind, opportunities everywhere……

WordCamp Harare

If you were having coffee with me, I would give you a quick rundown on my favourite presentations:

 came all the way from German and spoke on Fast Websites and how to make them.

caspar hubinger wordcamp harare fast websites

He made an interesting observation of how in the Zimbabwe context basically “The Internet” basically means social media, Facebook, Twitter…because of the way internet operators bundle subscription packages offering only social media….

The bottom line is If you really want to make your website fast build a fast website, Load optimized your media.

Trust Nhokoyedzo’s presentation on Getting your Value was an eye opening talk on how to get value for your brand.

Trust nhokovedzo wordcamp harare

Some aspects of his talk were similar to my topic just not in the same words. Trust’s talk from last year’s WordCamp is one of the things that made me up my game and a contributing factors to my being part of this year’s speaker line up. When you have knowledge share it and you become an expert……

trust nhokovedzo beaton mabaso

Sizo Sinyolo’s talk touched on women in tech, she was also the only female speaker, (This year there would have been two but Alice had an unfortunate mishap and could not make the event but she send her love from across the globe) Last year you could count the female wordcamp attendees on the fingers of one hand but this year, this year so many more……….

Sizo

If you were having coffee with me; I would tell you about My topic titled “A Website is A conversation

Beaton Mabaso WordCamp Harare

A website is a conversation

Basically I was sharing on how from my experience as a storyteller; you must remember that at the other end of the screen is another human being, just like you, your site must reach out, make them pay attention make them not just subscribers or clients but your friends, make them have a reason to come back and ask “…..and then What happens next”

what happens next

And the story continues….

The internet where websites die

 

Ngoni asked me a question about how I manage to keep my blog running…..

Question segment

You see when you do what you love, you find the time, you make the time to do it;

A round of applause for everyone that made this WordCamp

WordCamp Harare Speakers, volunteers organisers The TEAM

If you were having coffee with, I would tell you that I uploaded the slides from my presentation and you can find them here, contact me if you want me to explain what they mean, I am the story, and the story is me every day I tell a little bit more about it…..

~B

 

PS and of course….. all work and no play……… After Party!!!!

wordcamp harare after party

Wordcamp Harare after party

 

 

You can find some of the conversation on this hastag on twtter #WCHRE

Caspar thank you, for the pics More Can be seen Here  I apologise I only have a grainy one of you but that is what happens when you are taking photos you wont have any of yours

Wordcamp Harare after party

Of A Dear Beaton Letter

Confession: I have always wanted to to be immortal. That is why I write.

but maybe its not such a hopeless dreams:

dear beaton letter

Dear Beaton   By Mable

My dearest Beaton;
I want to immortalize you in the only way I know how, so I have decided to write you a letter.

A letter, I promised to write a year ago but life, adulting and good old plain procrastination got in the way.
Finally, the way is clear, the time is now and the  dictionary has yielded flowery words that I can use, flowery words worthy of you.
I had to dig deep into those dusty old pages….I was crossed eyed this week, thankfully my glasses hid my eyes. Glasses that make me look like a sexy librarian, I’m told….But see only the best will do for you. Donald Trump does not have the best words. That honor belongs to the dictionary, as I found out this week.
I’m rambling…..I tend to that a lot when I’m nervous…
Have I ever told you how much I love That Writer Chic? Well I do….I really do. See, I first came across your name, Beaton, on her blog. In her comment section to be exact. And thus the stalking began….And I quickly fell in love with your style of writing. I mean head over heels, poetry spewing, boom box over my head kind of love….. It was/is more than just a writer’s crush, you see.
Why? you ask… Its the effortless humor. The way you draw the reader in make them (in this case, me) feel like there’s no one else you’d rather be having coffee with. The way you make the most mundane of activities seem like an adventure. The stories you tell…..its also the way you encourage people. The time you take to not only read my attempts at putting a point across but to also comment. Its your friendliness and your big heart. It’s the fact that even never having physically met you, I consider you a good friend (no, I have not friend-zoned you).
I would call us kindred spirits. Do you agree?
Do you believe in reincarnation and past lives? I do not, however the kinship I feel towards you must mean that at some point, in a past life we knew each other. Because even without really knowing you, I feel like I know you (does that make sense?)…
May be we were (and this is the first thing that comes to mind because I’m a hopeless romantic) husband and wife.
I can just picture it in my mind’s eye; In the Africa-of-old setting. You’re a king and I’m your third, but definitely your favorite wife. The first two you had to marry for political reasons and I was your love match. You spend all your time with me talking and planning and laughing, which is frowned upon by the elders because no man should talk to woman like that, let alone a king of a mighty tribe……but you and I, we are rebels….because that’s what we are, rebels.
Or, may be we were twins, born at a time when twins were an abomination, thrown away into a forest, raised by monkeys and surviving because that’s what we are, survivors.
Or may be you were the mad man in the village square, the mad man that could carry a tune and would sing sad songs with a beautiful voice and I was the village damsel who had a soft spot for the mad man. And the only one brave enough to step close and and sing with the mad man. And the villagers would call us crazy. They’d go saying things like, “Mzee Ngundi’s daughter has been corrupted by the mad man, she is now crazy.”….
But we wouldn’t care because that’s what we are, slightly off kilter, certifiably insane, absolutely crazy.
Its the romantic in me talking again; perhaps we were star crossed lovers, like Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Layla and Majnun (pretty interesting story)
Or perhaps we caused too much havoc together that the universe decided to separate us this time around, putting quite a bit of land between us but the universe did not count on there being a way for us to meet…social media. WordPress to be exact where you were busy becoming the muse and I was still experiencing growing pains….and somehow, our worlds collided.
Shifting from blogger to wordpress is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made…it goes without saying that the outcome has been very desirable, the amazing people I’ll call my forever friends, I found here one of them being Beaton  *insert shy emoji here*
You’re such a cool person, Even your name is cool.
You know that question that is usually asked to people that have fallen in love? When did you know that you know?
I’ll answer it with this story. This is when I knew ..
You have no idea how much your words have come to mean to me. They have gotten me through many a dark day.
I look forward to finally meeting you physically, giving you a big hug, objectifying your abs (I apologize in advance for that), tugging your hair to see if stretches and helping you count the white in your beards. Yes, I’m crazy like that.
Keep writing B….keeping being the awesomeness that you are.

All My Love
Mable

Confession number 2 I happen to really really love letters too

~B

PS Mable I hope you dont mind but I had to share this letter because I heart this ♥♥♥

Of The Muse In You: message in a bottle

Welcome to this interesting journey where you muse me:

muse
The story so far…..

I sat at my laptop, about to press the delete button on an email from an unknown number but the universe spoke…. Take a chance

So the decision was unanimous Take A Chance (thank you all who voted now we proceed)

Just as I was about to press the delete button, I realised that I had been humming along to a song playing on the radio, a golden oldie classic by ABBA, Take A Chance On Me. What further sign did I need from the universe?
Here goes nothing, I thought as  I clicked open the email. I paused a little bit, half expecting my antivirus to pop up a notification with a red alert sound warning announcing threat detected. I really should mute that option, it had gotten me into several awkward situations, but again it was another one of those things I meant to do but never did quite get round to, anyway all was quiet on my antivirus front so I guess it was safe enough.
I quickly scanned through the email, then read it again slowly.

Hi Stranger
I randomly entered your email address and hit the send button. Think of this as a message in a bottle.
I will understand if you don’t reply I am not asking for much all I want is simply a friend to talk to. I hope you reply
Regards
Nya Chiuta

I stared at the screen wondering what I should do…..
1 ignore the email
2 delete the email mark sender as spam
3 forward it to my know-it-all friend
4. Google the sender and email address to check if they not listed under any scam artists
5. Reply to the email
6. Other…. comment your suggestion

Of The Muse In You: The Beginning

Becoming The Museum

My auto-correct does this cute little thing, every time I type the word museum it sneaks in the word museum with hilarious consequences. It’s  interesting how it tries to finish my sentences with its next word prediction but on the upside it inspired me to start a new story.

But I need your help, yes you its simple, muse me, be my museum of muses.

muse.jpg

I will write a lil short story, and at the end of it there will be a choice of how the story should proceed, you tell me; and at the end of the week I will pick the most popular choice and continue the story from there to the next set of choices, where the story leads nobody knows, making it up as I go along.

The Muse in you……..The beginning.

take a chance.jpg

Take a chance” that was the message I found in the fortune cookie I ate for breakfast. The piece of paper was lay there on table not going away.  I am not overly superstitious but sometimes, you know how you get that funny feeling, that the universe is trying to tell you something, I had that feeling.

I powered on my laptop and a notification for two new emails popped up.

The first message was some spam email from Daily Horoscopes, I kept meaning to unsubscribe but never got round to it, sometimes the messages were little inspirational gems. Today’s message read:

A wonderful opportunity awaits you today….

I know the messages were some generic computer generated messages but sometimes they brought a smile to my face. Maybe thats why I never got round to unsubscribing to them, that and sometimes those were the only new emails I got and those that started “Dear Sir we regret to inform you……”

The second message, was some email, I did not recognize the sender and the subject line read Dear Reader. That’s how you got a virus on your machine by clicking on emails from unknown people.

I was about to click on the [Delete ALL]  button without even reading when I happened to glance at the little piece of paper beside the laptop “Take A Chance….”

What happens next; you tell me:

  1. Mark as spam then Delete Delete Delete
  2. Take A Chance

~B