My Finale… A Tribute

If you’re surrounded by great friends, take a moment and be thankful for them.
It’s a blessing to be surrounded by people who are just like family. They aren’t usually many. As you know, there are three categories of friends. Some friends are like leaves. They are in our lives for a while and after a period of time, they fall off. Some friends are like branches. They may reach out and stay for a longer period. Eventually they also fall of. Let them go. The last category of friends are like roots. They stay through most of your life. They are the ones that make lasting impact even though you may have met them later in life. They add nutrients of joy and companionship throughout your life. You shouldn’t joke with such friends.
Well, in the past year, I’ve been blessed by great friends. More like sisters and brothers because it still feels like we are siblings in one wonderful family. ‘Siblings’ with a heart for God, who inspire me to persevere and be more dedicated. ‘Siblings’ who depicted their names being peaceful and joyful. Esther Ola and Peace Adeola Akintayo- I’m grateful for the opportunity to have you as sisters. Getting to know you has been a great blessing. Esther’s hospitality and Peace’s peaceful attitude taught me alot. Deborah Asekome, my co- artiste. (we composed great songs, I hope you get to hear some soon) You’re dedication is an inspiration. Mary Okans, you’re the silent worker, so capable of alot of things. Joy Anjorin, you depict your name. You carry so much joy with you, its infectious. Together, the five of us are the Virtuous Jewels. Tayoyi is our Headquarters. Ibukun Abodunrin and Lydia Pitman were our ‘parents’. The VJ5 would bear me witness that we learned alot of motherly qualities from them.
We have great brothers. Samuel Adegbusi, our talented and hardworking musician and computer guru. Harrison Emeka, who would mix humour and wisdom. Tony Chris, who tried to help us understand Hasua and also enjoy kunu. David Joseph John, who enjoyed mathematics and connecting cables so much you would want to do so too. Barnabas Akerele and Steven Oluwaseyi, our present day Paul and Silas, partners on the mission field . These brothers had a heart for God which was inspiring. Faith Omakuro and Appraise were also wonderful. Our ‘siblings’ who were in Katsina before us but still keep in touch long after. Its rare.
The mutual bond we shared was that we were children of the heavenly father. Such wonderful people. Such unforgettable memories. May we keep shinning for Him.
Well, I’m grateful.
To DLCF KATSINA Corpers, It been a blessing knowing you. Tayoyi remains our unforgettable abode. God bless you.Image

tid-bits…

Sanu!! That’s hello in hausa.
As I have mentioned before, the predominant religion in this area is Islam. They are devoted Muslims. The first time I witnessed worshipers praying on the road, I was stunned. Once it’s time for prayer, they stop wherever they are and pray. About ten minutes before the time, some roads leading to the mosques are barricaded. In Katsina town, all the churches are located within the same vicinity. This is because in the past the area was where brothels were located. The brothels were then demolished. The land was then termed unholy by the indigenes and they could not erect any structure there because of their belief. So the land was sold to Christians and they built churches there.
I visited a number of places.

 

Gidan Bala
‘Gida’ means ‘house’ in Hausa. So literally it means ‘House of Bala’. Its a small village close to Funtua. We spent a weekend at the place and interacted with the indigenes. We were there on evangelical outreach. The people are farmers. The grow pepper, mostly, along with other vegetables and grains like corn. The vicinity in which we were in was a large expanse of land with three cluster of houses spaced apart. Their animals like goats, cows and donkeys were so healthy and fresh compared to the ones I see in the south. The people are homely and are quite united. They go to the farm in the morning and come back in the evening. What I loved about the place was the fresh air and the natural state of the place. The smell of soil and the sight of the beautiful donkey.

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Dandume
Dandume is another place near funtua. They are known for sugarcane. I visited a corp member in this place. There was sugarcane in abundance. There was also the large expanse of land. There is a secondary school in the area as well.

Matazu
Matazu is near Dutsinma. They have alot of vegetables like carrots. Watermelons are also very cheap, especially on market days. These communities are so sparsely populated, everyone knows who’s who. A stranger is easily noticed.
The predominant occupation is agriculture and animal husbandry. There is alot of land for agriculture though the soil isn’t as arable as the soil down south.

Well, that’s all for now. Later!

MEMORIES…

Well, congratulations to all the ‘Batch A’ corp members. I hope you are having a great time at camp. Don’t worry, it will soon be over. Enjoy it while it lasts. I would like to go down memory lane and share a couple of experiences with you. My official first day at work and my visit to the orphanage.

 My official first day went ok. I wasn’t exactly excited but I was optimistic. I was wondering how I would be able to communicate with the students in the school I was posted to. I took my time to get there. I didn’t rush. I went to the proprietors office and she directed me to my class and laid a stack of textbooks on my so called ‘teachers table’. It was an apology of joined pieces of wood. Though the chair was quite comfortable. There were eleven students in my class and I asked them to introduce themselves.  I taught them though some are quite rambunctious nevertheless they were obedient and were under control. They were more interested in jokes than work which is quite normal. Towards the end of the day, one of them farted which sent the whole class running outside. They also asked for my name which sounded like ‘Koopfer, flis fwat is your name?’ (Corper, please what is your name)

When I asked them to recite the multiplication table, I had to control myself not to laugh out loud. Hearing ‘pour ties one, pour… pour ties seben, tiwenty wan’(four times one, four,…four times seven, twenty one) . Their accent was so thick, it was strange. All in all I had a fair day. They seemed quite welcoming though they were watching almost every move. I guess it’s natural when you have a stranger in your midst.

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My visit to the orphanage

As part of our community development scheme, my group visited the orphanage. It’s a walking distance from the stadium. I had never visited an orphanage before so I was happy about the experience. I had a new outlook about life. The children were so beautiful and handsome, it was heartbreaking to know that such kids didn’t have a family and had been abandoned by various people. If you still have someone call family, whether biological or not, it’s a blessing. You don’t have the right to be ungratefulImage.

These kids don’t have the privilege to call anyone mother or father. I feel it’s like being robbed of a precious time of one’s life. But I also believe it’s all part of Gods plan and God has a purpose for each of them. Life is too short to just exist and not live. So live life and influence those around you for the better. Do the right thing and treat people well. It’s unimaginable to me for someone not to have a family. And if it’s your capacity, touch the life of a young one around you.

One of the members of the management addressed us and told us how people bring abandoned children to the home. Also how as at year 2012, over thirty of them were relocated because they were of-age. Some were taken to universities and colleges. Others were taken to skill acquisition centers so that they would be integrated into the society as they had not had the experience of family life. There were about seven toddlers and six babies in the home when we visited. The officials also asked for our opinions on how to improve the home. It was a touching visit for me even though it was quite brief.

I hope to share more later!

KATSINA NOT KASTINA…

Its Katsina not Kastina…

Sincerely, I didn’t know how Katsina was pronounced until I got to Katsina. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know that.

Like I said earlier, there are 34 local governments in Katsina. These can be divided into four zones- Katsina, Daura, Dutsinma and Funtua.Image

Something interesting about Katsina is its road networks. The roads are much better than those in the south and I love the streetlights in the night. Well, I love streetlights whether in the north or south. They look like lamps hanging from the sky at a distance

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One thing you should know is that you will not find taxi’s in Katsina. That’s surprising since the roads are motorable. The major mode of transportation is the motorcycle. There are also tricycles, popularly known as Keke. These tricycles are well decorated. Some have cushioned seats, curtains and the ceiling of the tricycle is covered with a blanket. Some have small doors. They are well taken care of. These are equivalent to taxi’s.

 

HIGHLIGHTS…

It’s been a while! Congratulations to the Batch ‘C’ corp members that were sworn two weeks ago. I hope you had a wonderful three weeks. I hope you’re all getting into the festive mood.
Well, my first full day in Katsina dawned bright and beautiful. We were awake before we heard the beagle being blown. Everyone scurried out the entrance. A lady in the bunk next to mine was also yet to register so we decided to stick together that morning. We gathered at the parade ground where we had our prayers. The Muslims went to the mosque. By six, the Nigerian flag was raised and we all stood at attention as a tune was blown to signify Nigeria rising. I mean rising as in waking up. That’s how we all addressed this episode of the day.
Every morning the Camp commandant would address us. There was also an instructor there who daily taught us tid bits of Hausa language. Of course it sounded strange in our ears and there were rounds of giggles and laughter. The Orientation Broadcasting Station also gave us briefings on the news daily. That morning those who had not yet registered were asked to complete their registration. Those who were already kitted were led in some exercises. I met a lady from my school and we became friends. ( We Rep OAU! GREAT IFE! )
Here are some stuff everyone at orientation camp should have heard and experienced.
We were all divided into platoons and there were 14 platoons in all.
Maami Market- it’s virtually the social area on the camp. People go there to eat, play snookers, meet friends or just feed their eyes if they can’t buy anything. The sales people were also quite friendly and things weren’t so expensive.
The soldiers- to my surprise they weren’t so strict. They were funny and quite friendly. One was nicknamed ‘face-your-face’ because that’s what he always said when he wanted you to look ahead. They addressed short corpers as ‘water bottle’. It was all hilarious.
We had seminars and workshops every day from 9 am- 2pm. It was majorly a time to sleep or talk but a number of people made the best of it and actually gained a few things.
There was also Fellowship every night. Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF) and National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC).

PARADE GROUNDparade
The highlight of orientation camp for me was volleyball! I had fun and made friends through it. I played for my platoon and we came 2nd place. I had made up my mind to have fun. I figured volleyball was what I was a little good at so I played. The inter-platoon matches were fun. We were given the cup for a night so we could take pictures. The final match was sponsored by Golden Penny Noodles. They gave us T-Shirts and Noodles.
That’s about it for now. I’ll let you know anything I think may interest you more about Camp later.
One thing I loved about the early morning parade was watching the sun rise! I actually looked forward to it. For me, I had a great time on camp. A large percentage of corpers spent the time complaining about inadequacies. But you get what you give. The major lesson I learned in camp was to be positive. No one can make you happy except yourself. It’s your choice.
“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone that much power over your life”-Mandy Hale

The Adventure Begins…

 

Hello! Its been awhile! Katsina has been peaceful, thank God. I’m sure you learned a few things about this ‘Home of Hospitality’ in my last post. Now, I’d like to take you back to the day I arrived in this wonderful State.

It was a long journey to Katsina State from Ondo State; at least 12 hours not to mention the pit stops and all the other stops along the way. I left the park in Akure  7am. The journey wasn’t direct of course. I travelled from Akure to Kaduna about 8 hours, from Kaduna to Zaria about an hour then from Zaria to Katsina about 3 hours. Almost everyone in the bus from Akure were heading to orientation camp. Four were going to Zamfara, two of us were going to Katsina, and others were going to Kano. We all became friends and the journey consisted of discussions on why the NYSC should post graduates so far from home. Also, the fact that redeployment was the first thing that they were going to look into once they arrived at Camp.  They had reports from the doctor and other documents. I was a bit quiet. I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was looking forward to the adventure!

The first thing I noticed when we got to Kaduna was the dressing. Ladies with ‘Abaya’, or what we know as “Hijab’. It’s the cloth the ladies use for covering and the shortest usually reach below the knees. In the South, some Hijabs just cover abound the neck or to the elbows. The men were in the native Hausa attire. And there were more men on the streets than women. The next thing I noticed was the large expanse of land and I mean LARGE. I wish it were possible to transfer some down South. We were within Kaduna for over an hour before we arrived at the park. The distance from the border of Kaduna to the interior was surprising. It was already getting dark by the time we began to head to Katsina. And of course, there was more expanse of land. You could see expansive farmlands, then a cluster of houses. Another thing was that the roads were better than most roads in the South.

I entered the Orientation Camp gate some minutes after 9 with the friend I made on the bus who was also heading to the Camp. I was exhausted and excited. There wasn’t much I could do that night. My bag was checked for any electronic device and sharp object.  I was then given a four digit tally. I took this tally to receive a mattress. I hauled my bag with one hand and lifted the mattress with the other (no, not trying to be macho. I had no choice). Most of the mattresses were considerably flat but it was manageable. I secured a bunk in the hostel then I proceeded to get some things from the Maami Market. Yeah, I’m sure you would have heard it from a number of Corp Members. More about it later. I took in the view of the area that was lighted since some parts of the camp were dark. Some participants were already in their white shorts and white shirt. Some were still on mufti like me. I bought a bucket and joined the queue at the tap. I then called my family members and told them that I had arrived safely. There was a stream of prayers and advice- ‘God be with you o, be careful o, make sure you have money on you at all times so that if anything happens you can find your way to the nearest park and return home.’ (Lol! But that was really a piece of advice) I waited patiently for my turn to fetch water. The ladies there were also making phone calls and generally trying to make conversations. Some were already discussing about redeployment, the stress of the journey and the likes. I carried my bucket back to my room. I lay on my bed, grateful for the journey and excited about what the morning will bring. I made up my mind there and then to enjoy the camp, no matter how stressful or tedious it may be.

That was my first night in Katsina. The following morning dawned bright and beautiful. To be continued…

To those who don’t know, the graduates mobilized for the Batch C Orientation exercise have been posted. In case you know anyone posted to Katsina State, kindly let me know and link me with the person. I can assure you that the person(s) would be warmly welcomed at the gate of the Orientation Camp. Also there is no need to fear. Katsina is safe. Asides that,  God is our security. It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as God is with us, we are safe. Thank you so much! Later!

 

just so you know…

So if you’ve been pessimistic about coming to the Northern part of the country, there really is no need to fear. Katsina is a nice place. For me, it’s a serene change of environment. If you are an optimist and you don’t mind change and adventure once in a while, then coming to Katsina would be a learning experience. Let me drop some facts that should interest you about Katsina.

Katsina is a state in the Northern  part of Nigeria. It is bordered by Sokoto on the east, the country Niger on the North, Kano is 84 miles northwest of Katsina. Its capital is Katsina and it has 34 Local Governments. The state was carved out of Kaduna in 1987. It’s made out of Katsina and Daura emirates. Katsina is surrounded by walls which are 13 miles in length although now, these walls are in ruins.

In pre-historic times, Katsina was ruled by a semi divine ruler known as the Sarki. He directed the affairs of the people and faced a death sentence if he ruled incompetently. Katsina was under the rule of the Songhai Empre in 1513-1514.

Katsina was the commercial heart of Hausaland especially during the Sub-Saharan trade and became the largest of the seven hausa city states.  Katsina was conquered by the Fulani during the Fulani war in 1807, becoming a subsidiary to nearby Kano. In 1903, Emir Abubakar dan Ibrahim accepted British rule which lasted until Nigeria’s Independence in 1960.

Western education dates back to the early 1950’s when the first secondary school in the whole of the northern Nigeria was established. Now there are various institutions of higher learning like Umar Musa Yar’adua University.

Katsina is famous for the 18th century mosque featuring Gobarau Minaret, a fifty feet tower made from mud and palm branches.(seen below)

The weather in Katsina ranges from warm to hot early in the year and is damp and cold towards the end of the year. The climate is averagely as high as 23oC in January and as low as 21oC in January. Also as high as 28oC in July and as low as 26oC in July.

Hope you’ve learned alot.

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