A twist of fate!
Who is in the garden, a little fine girl, can I come and see her, no no no!” It was a Tuesday morning at makoko primary school and I couldn’t control the smiles I had on my face while watching the Slum to School beneficiaries play with their peers. They jumped like they weren’t scared of falling and the joy on their faces couldn’t be explained. Amaka burst into tears within few minutes, I couldn’t tell why she cried, but I knew she was an active volunteer who met these children at their huts on the lagoon, without much hope for the future. I assumed she was overwhelmed by the impact and how their lives was been transformed after months. She couldn’t have imagined how these children would have still been locked down in the slum hawking, paddling their boats for petite naira/day or even being abused. It was a switch of fate.
We quickly joined them in playing and before long we were surrounded by hundreds of children, they all wanted to get a hold of us like we were gods. Mrs Odewumi, one of the head teachers spotted us from afar and called us into her office after noticing the chaos our presence had caused in the school . It wasn’t a well furnished office with rolling chairs, coffee table or a television set as we wouldl find in many beautiful primary schools, i wouldn’t forget the giant bell on her wooden table and the giant clock that ticked as loud as an alarm just above my head. She began telling us how speechless she had been for so long but couldn’t hold it anymore. “When ever I think about what you have done, it makes me reflect on my life as a child, she said, I was a victim of this same opportunity 50years ago, I was abandoned by my father and i had lost my mother, there was no hope for my future until i was taken by a lady who trained me as i served in her restaurant. Together with me was Amaka, Nowe and David, all volunteers and 3 other teachers. We could see tears dropping down her cheeks, and I could tell why her passion to contribute to the project was enormous.
She narrated her childhood stories and how she got transformed. “Maybe I would have been hawking bread and akara or rice at agege market, who knows”, she continued. She asked her teachers to come around us and they prayed and blessed us. This was the 5th community blessing in a row we had gotten in the last month. ” Their exams are to start on Monday and I know that most of these children will be promoted, they already have great interest to study, natural abilities and smart minds. All that was needed was that opportunity to unlock it, and that’s what you have done” she said.
At this point it dawned on me that what seemed like a dream had been achieved. The journey we once saw as a that of a thousand miles had almost been completed. Yes we did it and we will do more.
From the community impact team and the SLUM2School Project volunteer unit, we say thanks to all our friends, supporters, patrons and volunteers for walking with us thus far. Its amazing how your little act of kindness had created a massive impact in the lives of these children and changed them forever. Watch out for our upcoming town hall meeting during the “summer” long holiday break, makoko soup kitchen, the cloth a child campaign, the official SLUM to School project report release and several other amazing events lined up to get us geared up for the next stage. We will also kick off fresh registrations to profile other disadvantaged children who crave the same opportunity of basic education, ahead of the new academic session but weren’t fortunate to be part of the first batch.. Today makes it exactly 2 months after the enrollment ceremony and we have recorded a major success so far. We can do more.
On behalf of the children we say gracias muchos, merci beaucoup and thank a million folds.
For: The SLUM 2 School Project Team.