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 stationaryhold that made me stand confidently and I would fall.
most times I hadpeople 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
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 ofthe 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
withoutanyone accompanying me(by luxurious bus when going back
to school fromKafanchan and by train when returning
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 palmwine 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- schoolscultural dance, I learnt
the "Egedege Dance" which one stands on histoes 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 Veronica
When I went to the Higher Institution, it was also in another
part ofthe country - The Middle belt of Nigeria(Benue state).
I learnt to speak a little of the Idoma language.I had friends
whom were readingfashion and design. I would go at evenings
to their labs and learn howto make Batick and Tie and Die.
They would teach me willingly and Iwould 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 firstexperience in the theatre, When I rolled in a
patient for a ciseriansection, 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
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.Colanuts 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 GOVERNMENT AREA.
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 learnt how to speak 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 tories 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.