WOW! It has really been 4 months, 3 weeks and 4 days since I uploaded my last blog. So much has happened since then.
Until August, I was extremely busy making a pet project (SCN) a reality. SCN (Summer Camp Nigeria) was an amazing 2 weeks experience for pre-teens and teenagers. It took place in Lagos, Nigeria and had 40 participants ranging from ages 4 to 16. It was a pilot program, had many challenges planning it but in the end it was all worth it. We gave a survey to the camp participants (to be filled out anonymously). One kid said this when asked to describe his/her SCN experience “Summer Camp Nigeria has changed me mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. It has been a once in a lifetime experience.” Another kid said this when asked about lessons they are taking away from SCN, “That humans are totally different, our characters are our greatest assets and our minds are our greatest tools.” With powerful quotes like these, I can’t help but feel really grateful to all that made this pet project a reality. Definitely my greatest highlight of this year…This is a link to the video the kids made on their SCN experience.
In September, I was mostly recovering from stress associated with SCN, so mostly I just tried to relax and get back my social life. I attended a conference in Osogbo, Osun State (about 4 hours from Lagos State) on Afro-Identity. It was organized by the one of the most prestigious universities in Nigeria – Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state. I didn’t attend as just a conference participant but as a paper presenter – YES, I presented a paper on Afro-Colombian Identity. I was pretty nervous because there were many important names in the house including Wole Soyinka. In the end, I was grateful, I got great feedback on my presentation and folks actually thought that I am incredible smart (hmm I don’t know how to respond to compliments/praises). I also made contact with amazing folks from Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Germany, Cameroon and Nigeria. As a part of the conference, we visited the King’s palace –the Alaafin of Oyo – the Alaafin is the king of Oyo state, the military capital of the old Yoruba kingdom. My first time in a palace or in front of a king – I was greatly impressed by the Alaafin, he is such an intelligent man. One thing that stayed with me from the visit is the greeting given to the Alaafin by the Brazilian and Cuban conference participants. They greeted the Alaafin in Yoruba (heavy Brazilian/Cuban accent) and using the same gestures as if they were Nigerian Yorubas. These people had never been to Nigeria before this, the greetings and other cultural displays were those handed down to them from generation to generation that survived slavery and assimilation to the mestizo culture of Latin America.
October, I was occupied with paperwork associated with completing my National service program. Remember my first post from Nigeria detailing my experience at the military camp. Well, I completed the remaining 11 months of community development. We ‘graduated’ on October 10. Gracias a Dios! So now am officially unemployed :(.
I’ve met up with 3 couchsufers so far – 2 from Argentina and 1 from France. I also hosted my first couchsurfers this month – two ladies. I have always surfed someone’s couch/extra bedroom so it was great to host finally :). I went to Benin Republic with them. It was an admazing adventure. First we crossed the Seme border (Nigeria & Benin Republic) by ourselves. Anybody familiar with this border crossing will be nervous about crossing it alone. In the past I’ve always used an international bus to cross. I had horror imagination of crossing without the international bus; however, the process wasn’t even half as bad as I assumed. If you have an ECOWAS passport, no luggage and not driving a car, then you should have zero problems. I will still encourage foreigners (non-ECOWAS passport holder) to use the international bus though; it will save you hassle and stress. On getting to Cotonou, we ate lunch and went straight to Lake Gauvie. I’ve always wanted to sleep overnight at the lake and we did it this time 🙂 #alifetimeexperience. I came back to Lagos the next time while they went on to Togo.
Oh, I also started job hunting. I’m not too picky on where I find a job but I would prefer somewhere in Africa, Latin America, or Caribbean – I wouldn’t mind DMV or NYC area of USA as well. I would prefer a job in the Education (administration mostly), Policy, Research or International affairs sector. I have experience in Project Coordination/Management, research and event planning. So please if you know of something that fits this, tell me know. I really do need a job, unemployment is NOT fun. Thanks….
This month (November), am recovering from a two-weeks mini self-pity state of mind. Mostly, I have been indoors, sleeping, eating, reading novels and doing it all over again. Today, I woke up with a promise to myself – self-pity will not bring me anything good so am just going to take each day -a day at a time. Intensify my job search, continue to network and hang out with friends.
Remember the Team FUN adventures I mentioned in the previous post. Well since June, we have gone to Badagry (July), Erin Ijesha, Osun Groove & Ooni’s palace (September), Arinta Waterfalls & Ikogosi warm springs (October). These trips were AMAZING. Who knew Nigeria had such beautiful sites to explore. The last Team FUN trip for this year will be on November 23, 2013. It will be a day trip to Erin Ijesha Waterfalls in Osun State. If you are interested or know anyone that might be interested, please send an email to me – firstname.lastname@example.org or add me on bbm (2998B321). Also if you need someone to organize your family trips or you have friends/family members coming to Nigeria for the holiday and need a tour guide, shoot me an email or bbm. My fees are not expensive I promise, I truly believe in exploring the Nigerian tourism sites :).
Oh, I climbed 653 stairs and walked 5 miles in one day – impressive, right? The most I ever climbed was 649 stairs at El Penon, Colombia. I went to Idanre Hills with two friends. On top of the hill is the former settlement of the Idanre people before they moved their village down the hill. The houses, Palace, court, school on the hill were made from mud, cool!
Lastly, I’m the project director for a communicator program scheduled to hold from December 16 to 21. This program – Scribes & Orators will focus on developing the writing and public speaking skills of preteens & teenagers (ages 8 to 16). Do tell your friends, family and co-workers about this rewarding program. Check this website for additional information or email/bbm me.
Thanks for reading this very long post 🙂 . I actually did miss blogging.
p.s, Naija is slang for Nigeria. ‘Things’ or ‘Tins’ is also slang in Nigeria use to describe events or anything pertaining to how you are living your life. For example, you can say ‘Work Things/Tin’ (to mean you are at the office or working on office project). You got it? So, now let me stop this ‘blogging things’…….
Until next time…..