From the 23rd to the 29th of August 2013, a team of over 30 people from Afara worked simultaneously in three neighbouring communities in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. A medical outreach was also carried out on Saturday 24th August inOkenla – Itamabo by a team of medical doctors, dentists, medical and dental students as well as pharmacy students. A total of 80 adults and about 40 children were attended to.
The outreach consisted of a health talk; demonstration of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) preparation; documentation of vital signs; anthropometric measurements; blood sugar tests medical consultations; dental evaluation; dispensing of medication; and where necessary referral provision of referral letters.
During the other days of the camp, mornings were dedicated to the literacy and crafts sessions for children and the life skills for teenagers. The evenings were dedicated to women: introduction to the basics of entrepreneurship, meeting with micro-credit providers and cottage industry skills acquisition.
The skills acquisition sessions focused on tie and dye, liquid soap making and baking. Both the sessions for children/teenagers and women took place simultaneously in three communities, namely Iloti, Irawo and Odolewu. In all, 284 children participated in the literacy and crafts sessions; 16 teenagers attended the life skills seminars and 40 women attended the entrepreneurship training and cottage industry skills sessions.
They were five intense days of hard work, of limitations imposed by the scarcity of the comforts taken for granted in the city: poor electricity supply, no tap water, poor telephone network coverage, sleeping on the floor, waking up early and working till late, walking long distances, inclement weather, etc. But they were also days that the LDP participants would not trade for anything else: everyone involved experienced the joy of giving to others in a service of love and discovered that they were the richer for it.
So much was learnt from the people served. As Nkechi, a fourth year computer science student put it, “The AMAD! experience is something I will long remember. It was fun and challenging. It taught me to appreciate things that I had previously thought I was entitled to. It gave me an opportunity to learn new things about myself as a person and as a leader. I have come to see that underprivileged does not mean inferior, it’s just another “me” with much less opportunity.” For Maureen (final year creative arts), “the trips we made on foot were enjoyable due only to the fact that we worked as a team, together. It made it easier to bear and forget the distance. We got one another through the long walks. I learnt something very important: I can achieve anything I set my mind to with determination and prayer.”
Linda is a student of political science. Her words nicely sum it all up: “Thrilled by the prospect of going to give and to serve, it scarcely occurred to me that I was going to receive. For me, AMAD! was a total package, it was as much about the in-house living and relational experience as it was about the encounters we had with the inhabitants of those villages where we served. In those mundane experiences, I learned tolerance and understood sacrifice. Altogether, however, I was rewarded with the opportunity of seeing through the eyes of others. The hands-on experience of service that AMAD! afforded me is priceless.”