Town: Ijebu Ode.
To be honest, the first time I heard the name of the school, I burst into laughter (although I think I was the only one who found it funny). I continued laughing until our Head Coordinator said, ‘We would not be able to teach the students any academic subjects. The principal asked if we have qualifications in Education and we don’t. So, we would only be chanced to give them talks on general topics’
Immediately I heard that, my funny bones stopped rattling. I just stared at her hoping she’d laugh, point at me and say ‘Just kidding, you idiot’. But she didn’t… Their standards were/are actually really high.
And so it was, that on the second day of my arrival in Ijebu Ode, I visited Iloti village and together with the other members of the project group, we spoke to the Girls of Itamapako School on Career, Peer Pressure, Interpersonal relations and Beauty, Fitness and Hygiene.
This was anchored by Tope Coker, Tope Adeoti, Chinazom and Tolani. They basically spoke to them on study habits, study techniques and choosing a career. They made the girls list out their strong points, their talents, subjects in which they score the highest, their interests and so on.
The highlight of this session was when Tolani came forward and began prophesying. ‘I can see greatness in all of you. I have come to encourage you…’ She basically started with that and then the tempo increased. Although I was very impressed, it was all I could do from rolling on the floor. Made fun of her for days.
Another highlight for me was when the facilitators asked the three classes who their most brilliant students were. Normally, students asked that question would either keep quiet or call out their most brilliant mate. SS1 and SS3 students were basically mute, but when they asked the SS2 students, one girl suddenly shouted as she waved her hands ‘awa ni yen’ which basically means ‘I am the one’. Although I very much doubt that she is, I was inspired by her faith and confidence.
This was anchored by Chinonye and Amaka.
They spoke to them on friendship and will power and peer pressure.
The highlight for me was when they asked one of the students to do a recap of what they had just been taught and then the girl started saying some funny things. The good thing is that we know that she got the point of negative and positive peer pressure… hopefully.
This was anchored by Obiye and Mary-Ann.
This was basically on relationship with people, family and the opposite sex. As always, this kind of topic is always interesting. However, the highlight for me was when Obiye stepped forward to talk on relationship with boys. She started by saying; ‘Before you think of having any relationship with a boy, make sure you remove your uniform’. And then one of us had to shout, ‘Not this afternoon o!’
Then, she went ahead to practically freak them out. If you have a boyfriend, you’ll most likely get pregnant. You’d most likely also abort the baby which not only means that you might have damaged something in your womb but it also means that you’re a cold-blooded murderer. Also, if you decide to give birth to the baby, you’d have to take care of it and can you even stand a crying baby when you’re wearing your uniform and getting ready for school? Even if you don’t get pregnant, you’ll most likely have an STI and you’ll scratch all over the village. And if that doesn’t happen, well, the boys would point at you and tell their friends that you have been slept with.
Even I, was freaked out.
Beauty, Hygiene and Fitness.
This was anchored by Eghonghon and I.
When we were done settling the class after the uproar caused by saying a name like ‘Eghonghon’ to a bunch of Yoruba kids, we spoke on how internal beauty should be more sought after than external beauty. We told them how internal beauty would set them apart from other women in the world. But we also told that internal beauty is not an excuse to be complacent about your outward appearance.
Hence, we spoke on personal hygiene and fitness.
One highlight for me was when I told them to ensure that they take their dinner by 7pm. When I said this, the whole class burst into laughter as though I had just made a silly joke. Someone then spoke up and said that it was not possible. She said; ‘When it’s 11pm, that’s when I’m just eating my dinner’. And the whole class nodded in agreement.
For a first day in that particular village: Iloti, I felt very inspired by the kids. This was especially when a couple of them came to me to ask for my number as they wanted me to ‘be their mentor’. Of course, loads of them asked the other facilitators for their numbers too. We was bad like that.
The boys refused to be left out and so they posed for pictures before we left.
N.B. Ijebu-Ode is not a village, as was pointed out by a commenter yesterday. The villages I visited were Iloti, Iroto, Odonoko and Itawo.