Arrows of God!
The day was here. We had been prepared and had been preparing for it and now it was here.
Arrows of God orphanage, here we come!
We left early after breakfast and drove into a warm welcome by the staff of the orphanage. A short formal welcome speech gave voice to the smiles of welcome. Good for me for I never liked long speeches. It meant more work to keep the mind from wandering out of the arena.
Then we set to teach. There were two main groups divided into various sub-groups for the different classes. Some groups attended to the primary school students for the ‘more than money’ programme. The other groups were with the secondary school students for ‘careers with a purpose (cwap)’. Two main group and one, well, what shall I call this set? I got it! Two groups and one set. As you can expect, there was enough work for everyone, even for those who didn’t feel called to teaching. These latter belonged to ‘the set’ and they had the opportunity to hone their fatherhood and motherhood skills, useful skills for the near future. ‘The set’ remained with the babies and the younger children that had not started formal education. I can recall the smiles of the babes, their waves to their uncles and tiny voices calling ‘uncle Chima’ – Chima Andrew Oparah – when it was time to depart.
There were nine students in the class my group was assigned to. It was good to see, to touch and to gist with them. They were no longer just an idea or a thought that I had conceived from preparing to teach them. They were there! I thought to myself ‘how lucky these children are’. I don’t know the circumstances of their birth, just as you don’t know mine and I don’t know yours. I do know that for some of them, their mothers chose life for these human beings rather than death for these ’clump of tissues’ or ‘group of cells’. I also considered them lucky because they could go through such a programme ‘careers with a purpose (cwap)’ early enough, thanks to Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) and ViMP. Perhaps if I had had such an opportunity, I might have chosen a different course in the university. Or it might not have been such a hard choice to settle for a particular engineering discipline.
An open confession – I am head over heels in love with engineering but the problem was and still is; I want all of engineering, not just electrical or petrochemical, not a part, but all of it. But I can’t have all and if you think otherwise please let me know how you managed to juggle all well. So I settled for electrical/electronics. I want all because I’m free. But I can’t have all – simple. Am I still free? Of course I am! But does it not mean less freedom? Of course not! Freely I chose the course and freely I worked towards graduating with the CGPA I have – don’t ask me what it was o! And even more freely, I am trying to chart my life along that line.
Back to Arrows of God orphanage; we began with skills and talents and asked the children to identify theirs. For Joshua Emmanuel, it was singing. And when prompted, he sang a lovely ‘happy birthday’ for Ellen Ukpi. It was her birthday that day. Boy! We were much moved. And Ellen? She declared that it was her best birthday ever, to have a future music star sing for her, free of charge I add. Life’s best things are free.
The children are very intelligent and good team players. I still remember their animated faces – they were practically bubbling with animation and excitement and hard work too. I remember their faces and voices as they worked in teams to group the quotes we gave them under the headings ‘job’ or ‘career’. By the time we were ready to leave, we had learnt more from being with them than they, from us.