I have to say that going on this AMAD trip was one of the highlights of my year. I feel like I appreciate it so much more because I almost missed out on going. A few days to the trip, my parents withdrew their permission and it took a lot of persuading to get them to change their minds.
We arrived Iloti at about 1pm on the 9th of December 2014 and the first thing that came to mind after I stepped out of the bus into the harsh Ijebu sun was “the sun here will kill me”. Well, I am glad to say that that sun did not kill me.
My major duties during this project were
- Water captain
- Teach physics
- Photograph the entire trip
- Give a talk on beauty and hygiene.
I like to think that I carried out all of the above duties to the best of my ability. Of all these, I think the hardest was the part of being water captain. I have never had to draw water out of a well before and it was a little hard the first time I tried but I surprised myself in the following days (upper body strength of an Edo girl).
I came for AMAD preparing for the worst. Yes it was nothing like home, but sincerely, it wasn’t half as bad as I imagined it was going to be. We all got along really well, even those of us that were not from my LDP class blended in perfectly. We were one big AMAD family with everyone eager to help the other out. Take cleaning up for instance; even though we had a roaster for it, most times it ended up being a team effort as anyone around usually just lent a hand.
I went to two secondary schools, Itamapako High School where I gave a talk on beauty and hygiene and Obafemi Awolowo Comprehensive High School where I taught physics. Sincerely, I left these schools feeling a little bad because I had only been able to cover so little. I kept thinking that I had not been able to help them very much and wishing that I had more time. When I was leaving each school, students came up to me to ask for my phone number which I willingly gave out. Since I returned, I’ve received over 10 phone calls from students asking for advice, asking about my well-being and generally just saying thank you. This has done so much for me and I know now that I do not need forever to make an impact.
Of all the communities we visited, the one that hit me the hardest was Itawo. Itawo was one of the communities where we held the medical outreach and I have to say that they needed it the most. I was particularly impressed by the Baale of this community. He was very organized and genuinely concerned about the welfare of his people. As soon as he knew we had arrived, he started putting things in place to make the outreach go smoothly, he gave us numbers for the villagers and began arranging for a canopy to be set up. I learnt a lesson or two in leadership from this man.
Another thing I was really impressed by was the eagerness of the women at Odonoku during the skills acquisition. There was one lady in particular that kept going from table to table. Tie and dye one minute, soap making the next, trying to gather as much information as she could. It just made me think of how many times I take learning opportunities for granted. I remember how much persuasion it took for me to sign up for the Afara LDP and I can’t think of a reason why I was hesitant. I have never been more thankful that I signed up for it than I was in that moment.
Sadly, I came home and realized I had developed some weird rashes on my arms and legs but none of these rashes count as a single regret.
In all, AMAD is definitely something I will do again if given the opportunity.