MYSELF IN A COMMUNITY (SAMARU -KATAF, IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF KADUNA STATE - NORTHERN NIGERIA, WEST AFRICA). EMPOWERING THE ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN OF "PRIME CENTRE "WITH SKILLS ON HIV/AIDS PREVENTION, USING VERY INTERESTING STORIES AND SONGS.
FANTSUAM FOUNDATION'S CHILDREN'S COMPUTER CLUB MEMBERS STUDYING.
I was born on the 20th november, a very impotant day im my family.Yes,
very important, because, it took my parents two years before they had
me, that brought about the reason for my name "MERCY,"(The Mercy of
GOd, brought me forth).
The very day I was born, I learnt to suck from my mothers nipples- I
LEARNT BY DOING the sucking. When I was six months old I learnt to
take solid food. At nine months I learnt to sit down, sometimes I fall
backwards, sideways or forward, I would cry and my mum will lift me up
and I will stop to cry.
At one year, I learnt to crawl. I would run on my knees, when I see a
beautiful toy far away and I want to reach out to it and play with
it.When I was one year two months I started walking. I would get up
get hold of a chair or anything stationary, I would be so happy that I
could do that. I would move first the right leg, then the left,
sometimes i would be so confident and i will let go the stationary
hold that made me stand confidently and I would fall. most times I had
people to encourage me, "Keep coming,""never mind," "you're
trying..."At other times I had no one to encourage me so I would fall
and cry get up and continue until I got perfect and started running.
When I was two years old, I started talking.First I learnt Hausa
language which is spoken both by my parents, neighbours and other
children of my age. Later on I learnt Jaba Language which is spoken by
my family members.
I did not go to nursery school. So between the age of two to six
years, I learnt to play with my younger ones,friends- my neighbours
children and the children of my extended family.I learnt to make kites
and fly them around running. I learnt to make boats with sheets of
paper and keep them to float in water. I learnt to play "Dara,"(a game
with carved holes on a flat wood, using pebbles to throw in and have
chances of wining).I learnt to play with the toy baby and car which my
mum bought for me. I would watch my mum cook with firewood and I would
go fetch fresh leaves insert them in an empty can, get three stones
and fire wood to imitate my mother and do same. I still have a fresh
picture of how my sister's hand got burnt with hot boiling water from
a tightly covered boilling can at one of such ocassions.My sister had
a serious deformity for six months and still carries a faint part of
the scar till date.
At the age of six years, I went to the primary school.We were not
taught crafts in school, but it was compulsory that we submitted
crafts at the end of the term.I took that as a challenge and I learnt
from my friends how to use croshed to make mouflers,table clothes,
pillowcases and caps.I learnt from my mother too who is a lover of
crafts how to use kneating pins to neat socks, hats, sweaters,
mouflers, showels, pillowcasses and table clothes.
As a young girl, I learnt household chores - sweeping, cooking,
washing clothes, washing plates,home keeping, entertainment and
hospitality.I learnt to from my mother how to plough the soil,make
ridges for maize, groudnuts, beans,gunea corn, millet and hips for
yams, cassava and cocoyam. I learnt how to mulch, weed, harvest and
store these foods.
At purberty, I learnt to appreciate my sex. I learnt how to appreciate
"The Joy of Being a Woman."I learn to appreciate having all the
changes in my body - enlarged breast,hair in my pubic region. I learnt
too to keep clean during my menstural cycle.
At the age of 12, I took the Federal common entrance and I was
admitted in a school very far away from home(Federal Government Girls
College Onitsha, Anambra State), in eastern Nigeria.Initially, I found
it difficult to cope, but later, with encouragements from my family,I
learnt the following:
1.How to stay away from my family members for a season.
2.How to mix up with people from other cultures with different
3.How to take care of myself even when mum isn't around.
4.I learnt travelling many killometers away from home even without
anyone accompanying me(by luxurious bus when going back to school from
Kafanchan and by train when returning from onitsha).
5.I learnt how to do things without being supervised.
My school was situated in the bush, many kilometres away from Onitsha
town(Three, Three Junction - as it is called).I would watch the palm
wine tappers climb up and tap palm wine.I would see some farmers climb
the palm tree to harvest palm kernels.I would see the fishermen use
some kinds of baskets to trap the fishes in the river.These were new
experiences I kept learning everyday- Things I might not have learnt
if i did not school in that environment.During the inter- schools
cultural dance, I learnt the "Egedege Dance" which one stands on his
toes and shakes the whole body, jumping to the right then to the
left.I learnt a little of the Igbo language( I would have learnt more,
but could not because we were not allowed to speak vanacular in school
- only English language).I learnt too to speak a little of the
Namibian Language from my friends from SWAPO - Esther Kangula and
When I went to the Higher Institution, it was also in another part of
the country - The Middle belt of Nigeria(Benue state).I learnt to
speak a little of the Idoma language.I had friends whom were reading
fashion and design. I would go at evenings to their labs and learn how
to make Batick and Tie and Die. They would teach me willingly and I
would always be happy as that is one of my hobbies.I learnt to how to
prepare some special dishes from the family whom I lived with.
My second employment was in a Hospital in Benue state(The Middle Belt
of Nigeria).I worked in the administration, but I learnt how to help
resorsitate a patient in times of emergiency especially during
accidents. I learnt this by watching the nurses, how they do it.At
first, i was scared when I see a corpse, but my friends who are nurses
and doctors encouraged me and I carried on. I remember, my first
experience in the theatre, When I rolled in a patient for a ciserian
section, I nearly collapsed, but i learnt gradually by seeing and by
doing and I became confident, and bold.
The hospital I worked, is situated in a community called
Ikachi(Bethesda Hospital Ikachi- Oju L.G.A.).The tribe there is
Igede.This tribe every year celebrates "The New Yam Festival(called
IGEDE -AGBA)."It is celebrated every first "IHIGLE" market day in
September, and this falls between the 1st and 3rd of September,every
year.No farmer harvests his yams until the chief priest appeases the
gods, a week to the festival.It was a joyous time for every
family.They bought new clothes for wives and children.Large quantities
of yams are cooked and pounded, eaten with either benniseed soup,
ogbonosoup having egusi lumps in it or with egusi soup itself.Cola
nuts and palm wine are shared amongst friends and loved ones.The
traditional "OGODO-GODO CLOTH" is worn by elders.Chickens, goats and
cows are slughtered to provide for enough meat during the
celebrations. Public holidays are given in every sector of the LOCAL
This festival too marked the migration of the Igede people from ORA in
Delta state(Thier initial Origin).
My stay in this community gave me the opportunity to:
1. learn a new culture
2.Learn how to pound large quantities of pounded yam as my working
place will celebrate the New Yam Festival(IGEDE - AGBA) for its staff too.
3.Learn how to speak Igede Language.
4.I was able to learn little of Dutch Language from my friends, the Dutch missionaries.
During my one year National Youth Service, I learnt how to work in the
communities helping the poor and marginalised women and children.I learnt how to
empower the children with skills on HIV/AIDS prevention, using interesting
stories and songs.It was quite an experience.while in the NYSC Orientation camp,
I learnt how to go on 16(sixteen) kilometres endurance treck which helped me alot
during my work in the communities as Ic ould treck long distances even when i go to
a community that that was not motorable.
I returned back to fantsuam - Kafanchan, 18th february, 2007 and
continued on my learning journey.In fantsuam:
1. I learnt to appreciate living in a hut as a building. Initially, I
thought such were meant for the Fulanies who lived in the bush, I
never new i could live in them too.
2. I learnt to teach children using objects,play and by using
questions( "The KEREMPE game"), making them to ask questions.
3. I joined two groups of self directed learners(The DadamacSDL and
The Fantsuamclc SDL where I learn by seeing, doing and asking.Thanks
to pam who created the oppotunity for me to learn how to make videos,
take photos and study online through DVDs,The Chat room and emails.
Thanks to Marcus who assited in the practical sessions of the teaching
and thanks too to Ricardo who supplied the DVDs and the Cameras.