The Danfo Files: Mummy why are we late?

Monday did not bring its usual gloom with it. Not where Foluke was concerned. She skipped along the sidewalk, her hand firmly in her mother’s warm grasp. The pleats in her uniform stood proud and straight, belying the worn-out patches that told of the number of older sisters who had washed and starched this same garment with care in their own time, just as their mother had taught them.

“Mummy, I can name everything that is here. See, there is a house, that is a car, this is a bucket, that is a gate. Mummy say after me, car…” Her daughter’s excitement at finally getting into Primary Two was infectious, but Mrs. Lawal was not in the mood, not today.

“Baby mi I’m not in the mood now”, Mrs. Lawal tried to quicken her pace. Foluke’s school was still miles away.

“Mummy mi why are you not in the mood now?” Little Foluke went on naming objects. “…flower, waterproof, dustbin…”

“This one is not a dustbin, it is a refuse dump. The dustbin is the small one that is in the house. See how they littered the street with the trash here.”

“Mummy why are you not in the mood now?”

“That is because we are late.”

“Mummy why are we late? We woke up since!”

“Yes, but we can not enter bus today.”

“Mummy why can’t we enter bus today?”

“That’s because I don’t have enough money today. Foluke don’t ask me why I don’t have enough money today.”

“Why can’t I ask you why you don’t have enough money today?”

“That’s because I don’t want to answer.”

“Don’t worry Mummy mi. You don’t need to answer. When I grow up I’ll give you plenty money.” Foluke broke free from her mother’s grip to spread her hands wide as she said ‘plenty money’.

Mrs. Lawal broke into a smile, scooped her youngest daughter into her arms, schoolbag, lunchbox and all, and hugged her close.

“God bless you my daughter.”

The school didn’t seem so far anymore.

The Nigeria I see: Uncle Speed and Project27Africa

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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.

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Let the fun begin...

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Uncle Speed and the kids

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.  

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Coming down the bridge...

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.

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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.  

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Waiting to board the Adessa

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.

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The Captain shows them how it's done

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In the mess, lounging...

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Boogie time!

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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.
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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.

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Uncle Speed with the staff of AUD Primary School

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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 speed@project27africa.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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Parenting and childhooding…

Remember when you were a kid? Ever tried telling your father, “Dad, I just hate you now!”, and you’d see if you wouldn’t be beaten blue-black, starved for days and thrown out on the street. If you were an adult and you said that you’d be threatened with a matchete, and if you were still living at home, omo you don pack comot be that! Of course I’m not saying you should say that, it’s obviously wrong and way too extreme if you want to tell your parents how you feel about an issue.
So what am I saying here? In the era I grew up in, parents had the final say in anything. Heck, they had THE SAY. Finish. Fullstop. Shikena. And it was either you went along with it or you went along with it. No buts. No input from you. What did you even know?
That might have worked at some time, but obviously, a child grows to become an adolescent, then an adult, capable of making some decisions, and able to handle him/herself in a situation. But most times, these parents don’t change. And that’s when the fight begins.
Now, dear parents, I’m not saying you’re not doing your best to bring up your children in the way that they should go. I know that part of being a parent is setting boundaries for their children, in what’s appropriate and not. But please while you’re doing that, watch that child’s progress. Know when he/she is capable of doing some things on his/her own: first time out, first driving lesson, whatever it is. There actually comes a time when your child is going to make some major life decisions that are not your business to make, (yeah, I said so!) The only thing that will matter is the lessons you’ve instilled in them.
For some parents, parenting for them is all about the dos and don’ts with the ‘don’ts’ list far longer than the ‘dos’. Why would you stop a child from playing drums, just because you want him to go to school? A lot of times we don’t realise that extra-curricular activities actually help boost the brain’s capacity to learn. My advice, encourage the talent in that child, but help him/her find a balance that works, while pointing out that education is also important in developing the talent and making it truly worthwhile.
One thing I know parents, is that you should listen to your kids. Yes! Create that environment where you can play with them, laugh with them, crack a joke with them. That way they’ll confide in you, and keep doing so until your betray their trust, or push them away emotionally. How can a doctor know what’s wrong with the patient if there’s no communication between the two? How can a bird fly if it doesn’t actually get to fly? Like a woman once said in church, “As parents we’re not going to be able to monitor our children’s every move, but we can put the Word of God in their spirits and let it guide their actions right”.
And so, with this, I take us to God. Yeah, He made us, right? And He’s the one who gave us these children, right? So what better way do we bring up our kids than with God’s Word? I know it’s His manual for life to us. (Yes oh, we buy appliances with manuals, abi?) The manufacturer of any piece of equipment always puts instructions on how to use his creation. That’s what God has done. So it’s back to the basics. Let God run your life, live His Word daily and you’ll know how to deal with your kids…at least you’ll get to see the verse that comes immediately after the popular “Children…honour your father and mother…that you may live long on earth”. Wanna see the verse? It says ( `a la pidgin 🙂 ) “No dey provoke your pikin dem, no make them vex!” *laughs* Here you go, from the New King James: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”. (Ephesians 6:4) you can check out other versions of the Bible, like the Message translation.
So there you have it parents, no make dem vex o! 🙂
Kudos to all the parents who’ve listened to their children and pointed them in the right way for their lives, Congrats!!!
If you’re a parent and you’ve read this, pls feel free to drop your comment on how you talk to your child and help him or her answer life’s questions. Thanks and stay blessed!

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