Monday, February 15, 2010

An unforgettable Valentine’s day

It was exactly today, four years ago. Few days before, my colleagues and I were planning how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We made plans to organize a barbeque night to bring friends and family together. However, I was notified by my then producer at PRTV Jos, where I was interning, that I would be joining his crew for the making of “Rural Watch” a social diary-cum-advocacy program that serves as a voice for the voiceless at grassroots level.

So we made the long drive from one village to another. I remember being excited to see the Kerang Volcanic Mountain view as we drove by- It is the highland washed by fetching springs which supply the popular Swan spring water. We made a stop at Pankshin before heading to Doc Pai, the tipping point of my experience.

We saw the lack of basic amenities and the enormous inequity that exist in our society. It was an unforgettable Valetine’s day-one of the most challenging experiences of my life so far. For a young lady who grew up in Lagos, doing over three hours mountain climb and seeing beyond the myopic view of Lagos-city life came with life lessons that has helped me come on leaps and bounds.

Be well prepared: The teacher who gave us directions to the village up the mountain commended our team for being well prepared... Others relished the compliment except me because I was wearing a sweat shirt. Anyone familiar with mountain climb knows the importance of dressing light in comfortable clothes and shoes. You may never know what life will throw at you, but make sure you are always well prepared after making a decision.

Never give-up:
Midway through our climb, I became dehydrated and exhausted. I looked at my producer and Camera crew and said to them “I want to go back”. My producer laughed but disapproved of the idea. He told me that it will be much easier to climb down than climb up the mountain. Just like in everyday life, the way up is very difficult and tiring. So if you want to climb up the ladder of success, keep in mind that it won’t be easy, you must be ready to pant, sweat, and be frustrated at some point but be resilient, keep your eyes on the goal and never give up.

Be content: The people we met up the mountain were not wearing the latest fashion but they knew how to laugh and dance without inhibition. Their small community was cut off civilization (or not invaded by it), yet they made a receptive palace out of what seems like penury and we felt at home visiting them. They looked content - after all, "For better is half a loaf than no bread." But don't settle for half a loaf (which is better than none) when you can have a Bakery-- and feed more people.

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