Yesterday was such an exciting day that I couldn’t just wait to share it with you. The day, however, also had its not so bright side.
I happened to be invited by my very good friend to visit a school in one of the not so developed parts of Lagos, Makoko. Of course, I always love to visit places like this, to meet wonderful children and put a smile on their faces. It was exhilarating.
Makoko is a village at the water front of Ebute-Meta. You would easily recognize it as that village you see when you are crossing the Third Mainland Bridge on your way to or from the Island.
So we went as a group, representing SRU, which means ‘Sleeves Rolled Up’. SRU is running as an NGO that encourages children to take action about their future. To encourage them that they are indeed the leaders of tomorrow. We went by boat of course, which was a bit scary and a bit exciting. A little of both; but thank God for our strong able men.
We visited the school in the community, Whanyinna Nursery and Primary, which happened to be the ONLY school in that community. The school was constructed by tourists in 2006, so our guide said, which meant the school had been in operation for only ten years.
The school was divided into two and by divided I mean by water. The Nursery school and up to Primary 4 where in one building. Primary 5 and 6 where in another building, about a mile away. In the first building there were only four classrooms.Yes,4! All of the classes were shared in this four classroom;nursery and primary occupying the same class. The second school building held just a classroom and was shared by Primary 5 and 6 facing both ends of the room.
Interacting with the children brought me so much joy. Although I felt warm towards them, I also had this ache in my heart. I hoped I could do more- and I will. The children in the junior classes found it difficult to interact with us. It was easier for them to repeat what we said but couldn’t speak well on their own. The children in Primary 5 and 6 were very cheerful. Probably because they were older. I could tell that they were smart and they were quick to pick up on things. There was one child in particular that really encouraged me. His name is Emmanuel, and he wants to be a Lawyer. He spoke like one too! He was quick to answer all the mathematical questions.
Children are indeed the leaders of tomorrow and educating your child is one of the best gifts you can give that child. What separates two individuals is the knowledge one has over the other. As said, Knowledge is Power. Our guide, Noah, also grew up in the Makoko community. He was the only child out of the twenty-one children his father had to go to school. Yes, twenty-one children. Now, he is able to earn a living by being a tour guide for people that want to visit the community;being a link between the people of Makoko and the tourists.
On getting home that evening, I told my parents and showed them the pictures. They both said the same thing- be thankful.
There is not doubt that people are born differently. We did not choose the womb to be conceived in or the world to be birth in. But regardless of how or where we were born, we were given a choice and that choice was to make a choice. You have a choice to decide who you want to be tomorrow. You were given the choice to make a change. You will only fail and have yourself to blame if your choice is to be irrelevant.