I will start with this disclaimer: I have never attended Franklin University and I am in no way affiliated with Franklin University. However, having gone through the whole admission process, I feel that I am entitled to have an opinion of the university. 

Bear with me as I will have to spell out the full name of the college, Franklin University each time I refer to the college. Because using its initials, F.U might be insulting to some of my readers :)

I applied to Franklin University's online Computer Science program because they have a liaison with my local college here and it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to attend any classes because I worked 9 to 5. When I checked online, there were a lot of raving reviews about Franklin University's Computer Science program and the university was also accredited. The application fee was also free so I thought I had nothing to lose by applying. Boy was I wrong!

There are so many things wrong with Franklin University's admission process (i.e if a process actually exists). My main issue was the lack of communication and inconsistency of the people I dealt with. Below is a sort of timeline of my dealings with Franklin University. I put a ~ in front of approximate dates.

9/28/2013- I completed the application form online.

10/03/2013- I was contacted by by an Enrollment Coach who was "assigned" to me. We chatted about my education and career goals, where I am at now and why Franklin University. He then instructed me to apply to Franklin University because "we are a good fit". I told him, I had already sent in my application about 5 days ago. But he said, he could not find it in the system so he will go ahead and take my details any way. He took the names of the schools I went to and dates attended. I also inquired about the transfer of credit and he said he would send me an email with instructions on how to get an unofficial credit evaluation. Sweeeeet!! I thought!

10/03/2013- Same day. I sent my unofficial transcript to the email address for the unofficial evaluation as per the instructions. The instructions also indicated that it might take up to 48 hours to get a response.

10/04/2013- No response from Franklin University with my unofficial evaluation.

10/05/2013- No response.

10/06/2013- 72 hours later...Still waiting for a response....

10/10/2013- After 168 hours of waiting, I re-attached my transcripts, re-wrote the email and re-sent to the same email address for my unofficial credit evaluation at 1:06 pm. Alas! I finally got a response at 3:26 pm! The evaluation looked good. A lot of my classes were transferable.

~10/11/2013- I sent my transcripts out to Franklin University.

10/21/2013- 10 days after sending my transcripts, I still had not received any form of communication from my "assigned" Enrollment Coach acknowledging the receipt of my transcripts or from anyone at the university. Note that there is no online tracking system in place to check the status of my application.

10/26/2013- 15 days later, no word from the college.

10/29/2013- 18 days later, I decided to send my "assigned" Enrollment Coach a quick email to see where I was at and if I needed to provide any more documents. I do not get a reply back.

10/30/2013- 19 days after sending my transcripts to Franklin University, I decided to call the University to see if I might be lucky enough to catch my "assigned" Enrollment Coach on the phone. The person I spoke to told me my "assigned" coach was not available at that time and if there was anything she could help me with. I told her that I had called to inquire about my application. She offered to look me up in the system. She came back saying my application was incomplete because it was missing one transcript. I told her that I had sent transcripts of all the colleges I had attended. She informed me that I had indicated that I did A'Levels (Sixth Form) and they needed those transcripts in order for the application to be complete. I told her that the University website indicated that those transferring in a degree do not need to send high school transcripts and that A'Levels is just an extension of high school. She curtly said "Ma'm, if you want to proceed with applying to Franklin University, we need those transcripts". That's when I told her that the school I went to for A'Levels is all the way in The Gambia, West Africa and it would be difficult to request transcripts from them and have them mailed over here because there was no tool to send a request online and processing and shipping to the USA will take at least 4 months. The lady on the other line said, "We still need those transcripts!" and I replied, "that's going to be a long process and I might not be able to get all of this completed before Spring semester begins so maybe I need to cancel my application. She quickly said, "That's fine ma'm. Have a good day!" and hung up!

10/30/2013 - SAME DAY! I receive an email from my new "assigned" Enrollment Coach informing me that my old Enrollment Coach is no longer with them and that she is going to take me up but she would need my transcripts from the University of Wisconsin in order to proceed processing my application. I replied to her email thanking her and informing her that I had NEVER been to the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN and I thought to myself; "where the hell do these people get these random information from?!". In true Franklin University fashion, she does not reply to my email.

11/08/2013- Nine days after she had ignored my email, I emailed my enrollment coach again (making sure to cross my fingers this time for a reply from her) telling her about the information I got from the lady on the phone the other day about needing my A'Level transcripts and asking her if photocopies of my transcripts will work since it is close to impossible to get my original sent from my high school, directly to Franklin University. I didn't get a reply..again... :-( 

11/08/2013- I went to Franklin University's website and looked up all the email addresses related to admissions on the website cc'd all of them in an email asking about the status of my application. It had been over a month and I still did not know what the next step in the process was.

11/08/2013- And here comes two replies! First person to reply tells me that my test scores on my transcript (because I scored very high on the math placement test, I was exempted from taking any math for my  previous degree) were transfer credits and I needed to send transcripts from that college too! I cannot believe how much new information I learn about my education that I didn't know previously existed! The second person that replied was more grounded, we will call her Ms International. Ms International asked me what school I went to and if I really attended the University of Wisconsin (??). But she called me "Mr" (ouch! I'm female!). I explained to her about the A'Levels scenario and she told me that if I still had the original certificate with me, I can send it to her and put in a note indicating that I would like it returned back to me. She was going to make a copy and send me back my original. Super! But after I thanked her, she replied informing me that another possibility was to buy a WAEC scratch card and send it to her to verify my results. Again, I didn't know where that information came from because we were talking about the A'Levels (Cambridge International Examinations Advanced Level) and she suddenly asks me for access to view my A'Levels at WAEC (West African Examination Council). These are two totally unrelated examining bodies!! I let it pass and patiently explained to her that she could not get my A'Levels results via WAEC but as previously arranged, I will send out my certificate in the mail so she can make a copy. She then said I should just scan and email it to her. I said I would do that as soon as I got home. She emails me back saying actually, they need to see the original so I need to mail it instead and I replied,  "no problem".

11/11/2013- I sent out my A'Level certificate in the mail to Ms. International.

11/13/2013- My long lost Enrollment Coach decided it was a good time to call me today. She asked me if I was still interested in Franklin University and I caught her up on what had happened since the last time we spoke. She was obviously taking notes while we spoke. She told me that I would not get my certificate back because nothing sent to Franklin University by a student is returned back to the student and that I was misinformed by the 
Ms. International. I told my Enrollment Coach that I had written proof from the Ms. International stating that she was going to return my original certificate. My Enrollment Coach said that if she actually said that, then maybe its possible, and that she did not know that her university did that. *sighs* So much for standard university policies!

11/13/2013- I received an email from yet another person from Franklin University saying once they receive my A'Level certificate, I should schedule a registration appointment with an admissions advisor to schedule courses. 

Ms. International emailed saying she had received my A'Level certificate and it is not what she needed but this time she provided a link to a pdf form on the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) website which I could fill out and mail with a ~$60 check to have a certifying statement sent to Franklin University in ~28 days. I paid $57 at FedEx to have this mailed out to CIE in UK. I cc'd my Enrollment Coach in the reply so I could avoid a repeat of the other day's awkward q&a.

12/02/2013- I emailed the 
Ms. International reminding her that she had to mail my A'Level certificate back to me. No reply.

12/4/2013- Still haven't received my original certificate. Still no reply.

12/6/2013- Still no certificate and/or reply yet :(

12/8/2013- Nothing so far. I am almost getting used to being ignored.

12/10/2013- Nada

12/12/2013- Zilch

12/13/2013- I emailed 
Ms. International again informing her that I will email her every seven days if I did not receive my A'level certificate back in the mail like she promised. I was afraid that she was not going to send it back. That did it! She replied saying she will have it out in the mail by Monday Morning!
Ms. International

1/03/2013- Apparently, it's been over 28 days since I sent the forms and payment out to CIE and they had sent a certifying statement to Franklin University. I received an email from Ms.International
 again with some text titled Transfer Equivalency Report with no explanation whatsoever

1/03/2013- I receive this email from my Enrollment Coach: 
Dear Oumie,

I hope this email finds you well.  I am writing to you today because you had shown interest in one of our previous terms and I wanted to let you know Winter Term registration is officially open!  We have multiple options for start dates and would like to connect with you if you are still interested in enrolling.

If you are still considering Franklin, and would like to know what you need to complete for the enrollment process, please contact me at: (614) 321-2081. If you are no longer interested in Franklin University, please send me a quick email and I will update your file. 

I hope to hear from you soon!

I replied that I was sorry but I was not interested anymore and in true Franklin fashion, I did not get a reply! :)

1/4/2013- I received yet another email from another person from Franklin University informing me that my application is still incomplete and that they are still waiting on my transcripts. This comes a day after I informally got my acceptance from Franklin University.

1/10/2013- I received a letter in the mail signed by yet another Franklin University admissions staff saying my application is still incomplete and that I need to send my A'Level transcripts in order to be accepted. She obviously did not get the memo- both memos!

Thankfully, during the roller coaster ride with Franklin University, I stumbled across another university with name recognition and very high rankings that offered online and evening classes and the enrollment process was relatively competitive but painless. Although I got to transfer a lot less credits than I wanted to, I believe I will get more out of that college than I went in with.

For me, Franklin University's inability to coordinate its admission process and foster communication between its staff and with the staff and (potential) students indicates what quality of education that college was going to deliver.

 Franklin University has wasted a lot of my time and my money. I will definitely not recommend F.U.

I am sure you have heard about the new Gambian entertainment website WhatsOnGambia. The website carries news on Gambian music, movies and celebrities, a fashion segment, a video and picture gallery for Gambian entertainment events, an Event page where people can submit their events for [free?] advertising, interviews with Gambian personalities and the most loved and most hated segment, the gossip segment!

WhatsOnGambia carries gossip  on Gambian celebrities and regular people and a lot of people go on the website specifically to read them. This segment has caused WhatsOnGambia to arguably be the most discussed and most visited Gambian website today. Gambians either love them so much or hate them vehemently. Most of the people that hate them have either had false or private news about them or their loved ones published on the website. And considering how interconnected Gambia is, you can never guess what someone's feelings are about WhatsOnGambia until they express it. I have only met a few people who are indifferent to the website.

WhatsOnGambia seems to get its news (gossip) via tips and follow up "investigations" which is the standard for gossip sites.  They have a web form on their website where people can submit tips anonymously to the editors. 

There are a number of people who have been publicly outraged by  WhatsOnGambia's gossip segment, claiming that what they do is very bad-i.e- spreading rumors and exposing private information. These people are the first to read and share every new piece of gossip from WhatsOnGambia on social networks exclaiming how disappointed and angered they are about what WhatsOnGambia does. Doesn't reading and sharing defeat the 

Anyway, bottom line is  WE ALL GOSSIP regardless of what you (like to) think. Maybe we do not appreciate it being written down for everyone to see. This is all new to Gambia.

Regardless of our personal opinions, we should not let the gossip segment overshadow WhatsOnGambia's  work to expose Gambian talents to the internet generation. Most of us also do enjoy reading the interviews  with otherwise unreachable personalities, on there. The whole website concept is beautiful and is exactly what we need right now in this revolutionary age of Gambian entertainment.

WhatsOnGambia should keep doing what they are doing. But that is not to say they do not have room for improvement. They need to work on a lot of things like grammar and presentation. Some of their writers present  articles that are so painful to read that they make you cringe and gnaw your teeth. Since you decide to use the English language as your medium, you should run all articles by an editor who has mastery of the language and knows how to communicate  in simple sentences. Another issue is the clutter on their website. The website is so "busy" with graphics and ads jumping at you when you get on the page so it's hard to figure out where you would like to start and what order you would like to go because everything is jumping out at you daring to be clicked first. Another issue with the website that seems to have been resolved recently is those annoying message boxes that tell us that the stuff on the website is copyrighted whenever you tried to right click and read an article. This made opening multiple articles and maintaining an order while reading almost impossible. This has been resolved now-kudos! One last issue is performance. The website is relatively slow to load so maybe they should have their developer team look into that.

All in all, we are all entitled to our own opinions. I thought I would make mine known. Feel free to drop your opinion in the comment section :-)

PS: I am not affiliated with WhatsOnGambia or any of their staff or with anyone featured on their website. This is just an objective opinion piece. Happy reading! :)

Its common knowledge that rastafari people are (or should be) vegetarians. And if you don't know, now you know (r.i.p Biggie Smallz :)

What am I doing?

Anywho, tomorrow, Friday June 6th 2013, to Sunday June 9th 2013, I plan to eat the rasta way. Except that I am going to take it a few steps further. I am going to (try to) eat everything raw and I am going to avoid all processed foods! I personally went to the Fitchburg Farmer's market to pick out the best from the best. I picked out a lot of organic veggies and fruit which I plan to feast on from Friday to Sunday.

Why am I doing this?

This diet was inspired by my girl Nette (what up Nette!). I am NOT doing this for religious reasons! I am doing this to detox.

Detox — n  1.treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances, esp alcohol and drugs
            — vb undergo treatment to rid the body of poisonous substances, esp alcohol and drugs

We go on a detox diet when we try to rid our blood stream, our liver, kidney and colon of toxins. So in other words, it is like resetting your system. For more information on detoxing, click here .

Why detox?

My cynical friend Serign asked why detox when you are going to return to your "normal" diet anyway? Valid question! But have you asked yourself why shower when you are going to get dirty or sweat again anyway? OR why do you change your oil when it is going to accommodate dirt again anyway? Aaaaha... See where I'm going with this? Bueno!!

Detoxing is recommended at least once a year. It in an alternative medical practice so you are definitely going to find people that are not very enthusiastic about it. But whether it works or not, it doesn't hurt at all if you have a pure fruit + veggie diet even if it is only temporal :)

But guess what! I will be the guinea pig! I am going to let you in on my journey and I will let you lovelies know every step I take and how I feel

Today on the eve of the detox, I made 2/3 days worth of fresh salad! The ingredients were:

  • Fresh organic romaine lettuce
  • Jalapeno (penny sized) slices
  • Green olives
  • Fresh cucumbers
  • Green, yellow and red bell peppers
  • Baby cabbage
  • Baby carrots
  • Avocado (sliced)
  • Fresh farm-made caliente cheese (shaved)
  • Green onions
  • Romaine tomato
  • Parsley leaves
  • Celery stick
... That's all I remember!!

Tomorrow, I am going to devour that! Now watch this space for whatever happens tomorrow!


age defying face mask

My African Grandma would say "We are all different, just like the 5 fingers". Each individual is wired uniquely but one undeniable shared characteristic is that we all want to look good!
Capitalism and media ubiquity have made looking good expensive and a hard decisions because of the array of available products with each one claiming to be the best for you. They fill their products up with unpronounceable ingredients and pay for expensive A-List celebrity endorsements backed up with claims that it is the all-natural product you have been dying for or the latest miracle breakthrough from the lab. In the last few years, I have decided that with all the unknown and incurable ailments in existence, I would rather pass on the risk of putting my body in harm's way and avoid succumbing to clever marketing.

These advertised beauty products are pocket loving suckers. With times being hard right now, and getting harder and harder for some of us, we have to painfully make a choice between eating what's healthy and using what's healthy on our skin. The beautiful secret (shhh!) I'm about to share is that you do not have to make that agonizing decision anymore! You can use stuff on your grocery list or stuff you don't need anymore to make yourself look great! Frugal folks like me will greatly appreciate what I'm about to share!

Okay, now let's get to the point. Today I am going to share my perfectly natural homemade age defying face mask that would keep all your pores clean, oil free and tightened!

We all love eggs! Or at least most of us do. Eggs are rich in protein and protein in used to nourish both your body and your skin!
Every Saturday, when I make omelettes at home, I leave a little bit of egg white in each egg shell. So when I',m done eating my omelette, I would take the remaining egg whites in the shell, pour it into a small container and whisk it. (you might use a spoon, a fork or whatever to whisk it). Apply to your face and neck(optional) in an upwards vertical motion. Leave it on and let it dry for -say- 15-20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Let your face air dry or pat with a clean towel. You will immediately feel your pores tighten!
For utmost results, add a spoonful of lemon juice to the egg white while you whisk it. 

Oooh the wonders of eggs...Egg white tightens the pores of our  skin and remove dead skin cells. You will see the instant glow on your skin after you rinse it! Do this frequently for a few years and see the difference :-)
Egg whites also removes oils from pores. My acne people know what I am talking about ;-) Oil clogs your pores and causees that horrible looking acne. Well at least now you know how to reduce the clogging and hopefully make it disappear forever and a day!
Lemon juice is just awesome! It tones the skin and removes black heads.

Well there you go! An omelette and a free face mask! Cant get cheaper than that.

Drop me a comment if you are going to try this, have already tried it or have some not-so-known economical beauty tips for us thrifty folks!

Cheers! Here's to muting the Tv and Radio when those ads come up!
Check out my next blog on how to browse without those annoying pop ups and ads on webpages. 

Peace, Love and Nappyness

The U.S Military maintains rules that govern military personnel behavior, actions and appearance. Occasionally, the responsible parties will revisit and revise some of the rules to fit social standards and to address new trends in pop culture. The latest revision of these rules includes a very  discriminatory, distasteful and irrelevant clause. The clause reads “Dreadlocks (unkempt, twisted, matted individual parts of hair) are prohibited in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty” (AR 670-1). The ban on dreadlocks is discriminatory to certain ethnicities and religions.

According to, dreadlocks are “hair worn in the Rastafarian style of long matted or tightly curled strands”. It is when you twist chunks of your hair into  rope-like forms. These can occur naturally – by not combing your hair for a while or can be made in salons. Dreadlocks are mainly associated with people from the Rastafari religion. But people from many ethnic groups in history have worn dreadlocks before the initiation of the Rastafari movement. In Egypt, mummified remains wearing locked hairstyles and wigs have been seen in ancient artifacts and sanctuaries (Return of the Mummy- Toronto Life 2002).  Indo-Aryan people from the Near East and Asia Minor, some Nepalese tribes, Indians, the Maori of New Zealand, Ethiopians, Pakistanis and medieval Irish Warriors are also historically known to have worn dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have always been interwoven with ethnic culture and spiritually of people all over the world since time immemorial.

Dreadlocks came into prominence in the 1930s during the advent the Rastafari movement in Jamaica. The Rastafari, also known as Rastafarian or Rasta strongly reject western culture because they believe the West have perpetuated so much evil against black people in the form of slavery. So in revolt, they embrace afro-centrism which embodies letting your natural nappy hair grow freely. This is considered indecent and a sign of rebellion by the West. However, when Reggae music gained eminence in the 1970s, dreadlocks became in vogue. The fashion industry capitalized on this new trend and set up salons, new lines of dreadlocks hair products and accessories. This made most people revert from the belief that dreadlocks are a result of not washing, not cutting and not caring for your hair, but the contrary. Corporate United States have now accepted dreadlocks as “just another fashion statement”.

First of all, the U.S Military’s definition of dreadlocks is disrespectful to people with dreads. They call it “unkempt”. Unkempt means “(especially of a person) having an untidy or disheveled appearance”(The Oxford English Dictionary). Using the word “unkempt” already dismisses everyone with dreadlocks as looking sloppy regardless of how the dreadlocks were made or how they look.

Secondly, the ban on dreadlocks are discriminatory to certain ethnicities and religions. Religions like the Mouride Brotherhood ,an Islamic sect require their followers to wear dreadlocks ( Ethnicities like the Ashantis of Ghana reserve dreadlocks for their spiritual people (Sultan). Prohibiting people like these from keeping their dreadlocks is unlawful and goes against the first amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”(Amendment I) . The U.S Military’s law against dreadlocks breaches the peoples’ rights because it directly contradicts the first part of the first amendment by being a law against the free exercise of certain cultures and religions.

Thirdly, the law is specifically bigoted against black people, especially black females. Black women are not allowed to wear dreadlocks so they are forced to use dangerous substances to chemically treat their hair. Unlike women of other ethnicities, it is relatively hard for black women to just comb and tie their hair to the back because it is usually very fuzzy and difficult to comb and tie together. Due to all the frustrations in grooming kinky hair given very short time, black women resort to using relaxers to make their hair look similar to white women’s hair. Relaxers are known to be harmful and painful. Otherwise, their only other alternatives is to ridicule themselves by wearing wigs or weaves or to cut their hair really short. Their Caucasian counterparts are not made to endure all these ordeals because they are fine the way they are. It is black women that have to conform to look like them in order to be accepted in the Military. This is prejudice at its peak.

Fourthly, it is common knowledge that the US Military values practicality. As a military personnel, you are expected to be prepared immediately when called upon. This is relatively harder for females because most have hair to worry about. Is it washed? Is it combed? Is the style comfortable enough to do military activity in? etc- People with dreadlocks do not worry about most of these. All they need to do is to wash it when they can while they shower and they are good to go. They do not have to worry about combing and comfort. Dreadlocks are so convenient and easy to take care of that it can be argued that dreads are the ideal hairstyle for military personnel and the ban does not make much sense.

The proponents of the ban against dreadlocks may argue that dreadlocks are a safety hazard. They may contend that military personnel with dreadlocks are unable to fit gas masks and gas helmets in case of emergency and will put their lives at risk in such situations. The premise is false because dreadlocks are as voluminous as regular hair and can be tied into a bun like regular hair, So if a hair without dreadlocks can wear a gas mask and a helmet with no problems, then someone with dreadlocks will have no problem doing the same, Football is a contact sport and the players need to keep their helmet on for safety reasons. Football players are known to have dreadlocks and there has never been an incident in football where a player’s dreadlocks have caused safety hazards. Their dreads fit into their helmet perfectly fine.

The dreadlocks ban advocates may also say that the ban is for aesthetic reasons and is not in any way discriminatory. They also add that dreads do not look professional. Firstly, professionalism is perception. There are no set standards anywhere on what looks professional and what does not. As long as your appearance is clean, decent, inoffensive and not distracting, you look professional. People with dreadlocks can look professional if people with long hair can.

Another argument defenders of the ban put forward is that in the U.S Military religion and individuality take a back seat with everything else. You are expected to be a soldier first and everything else follows. The argument is flawed in multiple ways. Soldiers are human beings first and American citizens second. They are protected by the first amendment. On the contrary, the military is forcing everyone, regardless of race, ethnic group or religion to adhere to their own laws and change their appearance and identity to be as close to mainstream “White” as possible. If the emphasis was so much on neatness, they would let every military member regardless of ethnicity look neat in their own right.

The ban on dreadlocks by the U.S Military is undoubtedly unfair and inappropriate. The U.S Military should consider revising their hair rules, especially those of women to cater to people of ethnic minorities. Military personnel are an important part of our community and the fabric of  the United States, therefore, we should not discriminate people that want to join based on trivial rules like the “no dreadlocks rule”. The United States is the melting pot of cultures, if tolerance is going to prevail, it must start among the defenders of this great nation.