How I learned a New Skill In Quarantine

How I learned a New Skill In Quarantine

I have been cooped up at home for the past four months due to COVID-19. At first, I, like many other eager first-year college students, was discouraged at the fact that I would not be getting my “full college experience.” However, I begrudgingly accepted that my health and safety were my priority and hunkered down in my bedroom.

After spending hours upon hours sitting at home and staring at the ceiling, I had the bright idea to make the most of my time in self-isolation. I quit twiddling my thumbs and decided to learn something new. Little did I know, those particular skills would prove to help me flourish both creatively and mentally.

I had been watching countless YouTube videos on creators “getting their life together” or “maxing out their productivity” during quarantine, and thought “I could do that!”, so I picked myself up off my bedroom floor and got to work.

I made it my mission to start painting. I’m taking an art class in the fall, and I thought what better way to get ahead on my art prowess than to begin painting over the summer. I ordered a shiny new gouache set on Amazon, new paintbrushes, and pristine watercolor paper.

I knew that starting a skill as intimidating as a painting would prove to be no easy task. I’d taken a couple of art classes in high school, but aside from those, I had no real experience in painting. Nevertheless, I got to work, trying to make as much art as possible, regardless of how it looked. I was of the mindset that as long as I kept practicing, I would eventually make some progress. I started slowly, looking up painting tutorials on YouTube of basic techniques: how to hold your brush, how much water to use, how to mix colors and the fundamentals of color theory. My first couple of attempts were underwhelming, but I was just excited that I had made something.

As I kept practicing over the weeks, sitting in my room alone while the world continued to get crazier and crazier, I found myself slowly, but surely, getting better. It took quite a lot of practice and patience, but I compared my work at the beginning of May and to my work from the end of June, and I realized that there was a stark difference. I had improved.

I’m still very much a beginner, but I can safely say that I have learned how to hold a brush correctly, and maybe know a thing or two about how to mix colors. However, the essential skills I cultivated spending weeks sitting behind my desk creating, were that of patience, persistence, and chasing the reckless ambition to try new things.



We talk about finding beauty in the mundane, but also about whether or not we can afford to write about the little things while a fire rages in our backyard, burning things like gender equality, religious tolerance, and peace.

There has been the age-long argument on whether as writers, we can afford to listen to the voice of the heart when it is not speaking about the political. But then again, what is political? I’ve been thinking about these cages, and I’ve decided the little things are just as worthy of writing.


the fierce resistance of the sky
when the sun begins to sink
forcing it to spill,
i believe in the kindness of truth to call that beauty.

the width of my sister’s smile
and the tenor of my best friend’s laughter
the love song that exists between rain and a window
and the tender spot that is midnight
the dirge of silence, truth.

the weakness in my chest when i begin to miss the people i love.
scars and their lineage
the assent of a family of laughter taking off by the same sheet of time
the curse that soaks my country like a towel would blood
the glint in my brother’s eye when he wants to prank.

i believe in the curl of hair
the anguished cry of a half buried hurt.
the slight smirk of nature over greenery kissing harmattan
i believe in hands.

in the fabric of friendship.

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu is a final year law student at Bayero University, Kano. A poet and essayist, her work has appeared online and in print on platforms such as Ake Review, The Bitter Oleander, Afridiaspora, Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review, Selves, and elsewhere.

She is a 2018 fellow at the Ebedi Writers International Residency and interning here on That Green Tea blog.

All images sourced from Canva are free. Any copyrighted image will be rightfully mentioned. We don’t have litigation money so we keep it simple. 🙂




ART X Lagos is West Africa’s premier international art fair, designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and its Diaspora.

Launched in 2016, it has since become a cornerstone of the Lagos art calendar, drawing local patrons and a host of international collectors, curators, and critics annually. Since its debut, ART X Lagos has welcomed over 15,000 visitors to see the works of Africa’s leading established and emerging artists, including representatives of institutions such as the Tate Modern, Zeitz MOCAA, the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago and Centre Pompidou. These attendees and the satellite exhibitions that have emerged in response to the fair are undoubtedly indicators of Lagos’ position as a fast-emerging and exciting cultural hub.

In 2018, the fair relaunched the ART X Prize with Access, a prize created to support emerging talent and to contribute to the burgeoning contemporary art sector in Nigeria. The award provides funding and mentoring support for compelling projects by developing artists with the potential to propel them beyond the threshold of the local art sector and onto the international stage.

The 3rd annual ART x Lagos exhibit at The Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos took place between November 2-4, 2018


The event started with the usual effervescence, preparations for the Art x Live was in session, (which I did not attend). The venue took place at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos. Continue reading “ARTXLAGOS; THE UNCONVENTIONAL EXPOSÉ”