When you begin to ask your friends to line their buckets up so you’ll help them draw water from the well in the wee hours of the morning with your wrapper across your chest and your towel and sponge draped across your neck, just know that you’re undergoing the village experience.
When you brush your teeth at the backyard where a chicken is crowing and somebody in one of the ‘face-me-I-face-you’ rooms is probably boiling rice and another is shouting at her children to wake up for school, ‘ti won ba fe gba igbati laaro yi’ (if they don’t want to be slapped this morning), then you’re probably undergoing a village experience.
When you do not have access to the Internet, neither can you call, plus you don’t even try to raise your phone high to see if it’ll ‘catch’ some network, you’re in the village. Most especially when you visit another village and you suddenly see one bar of network and you start to send to as many people as possible; ‘Hey, I’m alive. Just bad network’; you’re in the heart of the village.
When you calculate the distance from one place to another by the minutes it’ll take you to walk there, you’re living the village dream.
When you greet everyone you meet on the way; I mean, hunters, farmers, laborers, school children, old women and men, traders, goats, dogs; have it at the back of your mind that you’re living the Yoruba village life.
When you see a man walking freely with a gun slung across his back and he does not pose a threat to humans; only animals, believe me, you’re in the village.
When you have to pass through four houses before you get to the general bathroom, smile, because you’re in the village.
When you bathe with water so hard, every time you pour it, it hits you like bricks (-_-) and detergents have nothing on the water; you’re most likely in some village. Most likely.
When Garri is the order of the day, then know you’re undergoing the Ijebu-Ode Village experience.
I had my village experience this past week and all the above experiences featured in it. It was mainly fantastic. I went to Ijebu-ode (in four villages) with 23 other ladies from the Afara Leadership Centre, Sabo, Lagos, for our Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Project (AMAD- Afara Makes A Difference) as the wrap-up project of our one-year course on Leadership (LDP- Leadership Development Program)
The activities were; at times eye-opening, at times funny, at times tiring, at times surprising; at times baffling, at times emotional but always fulfilling. I don’t regret going and I really cannot think of how I could have better spent five days of my life.
I might probably keep saying this for a long time but I don’t think I’ve done as much good to people other than myself in my entire lifetime as I have in the past 6 days.
Apart from the fact that I did stuff which I probably would never have imagined myself to do; like drawing water from the well, or having to interpret medical consultation sessions in Yoruba or having to live the aforementioned village experience or having to trek miles everyday or even having to go for the Catholic Mass everyday, the project also made me really excited about this coming year.
I had earlier told myself that 2015 is going to be an upgrade of making impact; God-willing and the AMAD project has really put this in focus for me. Project AMAD was an amazing way to kick-start the new year!
Watch this space for more updates on the project!