He’s not your average uncle, at least not to me… 🙂 but to the rural school kids he’s their favourite kinda guy: the one who’ll give you sweets and treats every 5 minutes on the bus to funland, the one who’ll let you scream and shout and make all the noise your lungs can afford to let out, the one who’ll make sure you’re loaded with gifts to take back home at the end of a very exciting day. His goal: putting lasting smiles on the faces, hearts and memories of the young’uns whose educational experience consists of broken desks and noisy, crowded classrooms.
Prince Olaiya Tolufashe, a.k.a. Uncle Speed is the founder and president of Project27Africa, a non-governmental organisation that does something special: opens a window to the world of fun and excitement that rural children usually do not have access to, either due to financial constraints or their location. And he does a very good job at that, I know, because I went with him on the 4th Project27Africa tour that took place on the 26th of December, 2013. The 27 children had loads of fun on the tour, all the way from Ansa-ur-deen Primary School, Ibowon-Epe, to Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island and then the Adessa Ocean King Vessel at the Naval Dockyard.
As we drove to Victoria Island, the kids stopped at the pedestrian bridge before Admiralty Toll Plaza at Lekki just so they could know what it was like to cross a bridge like that.
At the Galleria they were treated to a 15-minute 5D movie, where they not only saw the exciting images on the screen, but rocked, rolled and felt other sensations just as if they
were in the movie itself. We could hear screams coming from the not-so-brave ones who came out crying, while the “big boys” just came out feeling cool with themselves. From then on they took pictures outside and then went in to feed their eyes, it was window-shopping galore as these kids had never seen anything quite like it. There was a mini-party going on inside, and they joined in with other kids as Tang juice, Cadbury beverages and sweets were distributed in merriment.
Next stop was the ocean vessel, The Adessa Ocean King. When we got to the Naval Dockyard it took a while for us to get clearance to board the ship, that was launched on the 1st of July, 2013. While waiting the kids gazed up in wonder at the sheer size of the vessel and how it bobbed up and down on the water. So by the time they got on board their curiosity was at its peak and they were all ears as Captain Taiwo Akinjide and other crew members showed the kids round and explained different aspects of the ship’s operations in places like the bridge, mess, kitchen and heliport. The kids got their sea legs after a while and even got to dance after being treated to snacks in the mess. It was a great day and the kids were so happy as they went back home.
Getting back home, the parents were quite happy seeing that their children had fun on their trip, and they thanked Project27Africa and all the Angels who donated lots of gifts such as School Bags, New Sandals, Socks, Exercise Books, Pencils, Umbrellas, Mathematical Sets, Pens, Drawing Books, Crayons, Toothpastes, Toothbrushes, Toys, etc.
Special thanks go out to all the angels who donated gifts, and to all the volunteers who came on tour: Tosin, Becca, Obinna and of course Dozie, who helped make it easy for permission to be granted by the school in such a short time.
Now that’s the Nigeria I see; a Nigeria where one man’s passion brings smiles to the faces of children who can’t pay him back, where people willingly give of their time and resources so that other people have something to smile about. For further information about Project27Africa and how your gift can put a smile on the faces of these rural children, please contact Uncle Speed on Twitter or go to The Project27Africa site. You could also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +234 703 840 6465. Let’s all do our bit to make the world a better place…one love!
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