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This post was written by Tee Akindele on April 1, 2009
Posted Under: personal

Sokoto … then Goronyo … and my trying to stay encouraged.

About 5 weeks ago, I got a text message from a Christian brother and former classmate of mine who happened to be working within the main campus of the Lagos State University, where we both graduated from. The Message simply read: ”Welcome to Sokoto.” All would be batch A youth corpers for 2009, where at that time already anticipating news regarding their place of posting, so I knew exactly what he meant. Immediately I called him to confirm that he was sure and not joking about the ‘Sokoto’ thing.

Ironically, just the day before I got this news, I was discussing jokingly with another brother and closest friend, Ifemakin Olasupo, who is coincidentally serving in Sokoto with the 2008 batch C, about where I could possibly be posted to.
“What if I were posted to serve in Sokoto” I teased.
“Never, ” he jokingly protested “they would throw you to Zamfara, instead.”

Somehow I had always hoped I would be posted to the North but I never wished to go as far up as Sokoto State. Yet when it became a fact that I was to serve my homeland Nigeria, for the mandatory 1 year youth service program as a corps member in Sokoto, I didn’t bother to consider the pros and cons, I embraced it with open mindedness as where God needed me to be for the mean time for whatever reason.

Sokoto, known as, the seat of Caliphate is the Islamic capital of Islamic states in and around the country. Some of the highest daily temperatures, as well as, highest variations of daily temperature change is recorded each year here in Sokoto. For someone coming from southwest Nigeria like myself, you could only describe the climate here in Sokoto as harsh; when it is cold, it can be very cold and when it is hot it can be extremely hot.

Almost all members of my family regarded my being posted to Sokoto as bad luck or as a tragedy, they greeted me with apologies. But somehow I felt a strong sense of peace and resolve about it, I wasn’t afraid, not even of the speculated 15-20 hours journey by road ahead of me. Anyway, I must have been rather naive as I couldn’t even comprehend most of what my folks where so upset about.

I took off from Lagos on Sunday, 1st of march, around 4pm and arrived in Sokoto town about 9am on Monday the 2nd – Night journey by ‘Young Shall Grow Motors’ luxurious bus, though there was nothing luxurious about the bus ride or the bus except that we had a safe and smooth journey.

I took a motorcycle ride from the ‘Young Shall Grow’ bus terminal in Sokoto to the Redeemed Corpers Fellowship(RCF) family house at Koko road where Ifemakin was waiting for me. There was something about his smile and the way he looked me over that I didn’t understand until I went up into the family house, where after I was warmly welcomed, one gentleman adviced me to go into the bathroom to wash off 50years of age from my looks: apparently whitish fine grained settlements of the desert-like Sokoto dust had accumulated over my hair, eyelids and moustache during the motorbike ride, so that I looked like a greyed-out old man. “Welcome to Sokoto Indeed!”

The 3 weeks at orientation camp was attimes boring for me, though there were a few fun times, as I made a few new friends and joined the NCCF(National Christian Corpers Fellowship) bible study group on camp. One of the other adventurous things I did on camp was to take an HIV test (it was free and sponsored by UNICEF or so), I was hoping to encourage other guys to do same. Most of all I missed my usual quiet, lone periods of personal bible study, and also, working on my Laptop etc.

As we dipped further into the month of March, the harmattan began to give way to the heat period – O burny gosh! And then the house flies intensified in their numbers. As I write now there are about 30 house flies clustered at the coolest area of the floor carpet of the room I’m in (the walls are hotter – and I guess the flies also are not comfortable with the heat). Sometimes it gets so hot, you wander if you are going to go crazy! At such times I could drink up to a litre of water every two hours or so, even right into the middle of the night.

When I think of dusty winds, draught, heat, flies and all at the same time , it’s hard not to think about the ten plagues of Egypt – but I should shun any reason for being discouraged.

For the 3 weeks I spent at orientation I was quite healthy, up until the day before the last at camp, when I began to have digestion issues and diarrhea. Soon I became quite weak and slightly feverish (I had never been ill, not even with a fever, in the past 2 years). I couldn’t think of something wrong I ate, or whether the brief illness was a result of anxiety about what part of the state I was going to serve in. Anyway, I got better the next day.

Another morning, a few days later at my PPA(place of primary assignment) in Goronyo, I had a feeling that I had some phlegm stuck in my throat, as I coughed it out what I saw frightened me for a moment: the spittle was a large thick mass of a dark red blood clot, I felt no pain or discomfort in my throat or chest area before and after then, and I have no explanation for that too (bleeding mildly in the nose – especially in the harsh harmattan cold – is common here due to the dry weather, but an isolated incidence of coughing out blood may be another matter). The point is, never in my life have I had to trust God more for daily protection, comfort and provision.

Well, people as good looking, healthy and educated as I am live and are happy in Goronyo – it is their home. And so, if only for a year, so can I. I’m beginning to settle down in my PPA at Goronyo; I’m beginning to gradually acclimatise; my health is stabilizing; psychologically and emotionally, I’m beginning to develop an even more positive outlook towards my environment – I’m already thinking for ideas for personal CD (community development) projects for my secondary assignment even, anything to keep my mind from the discomfort and to rather search more into the question: “God do you have a program for me here in Sokoto – what would you use me to do or what life would you use me to touch.” Because in the long run, all that matters in the life of a Christian is being a light everywhere we find ourselves.

Later I would give more details about my PPA, hold this for now.

Reader Comments

I AM VERY HAPPY TO STUMBLE ON THIS SITE. I NEVER KNOW THAT A SITE LIKE THIS EXIST. I SERVED IN SOKOTO, BATCH A, 2008. THOUGH I WAS WITH THE DEEPER LIFE BIBLE CHURCH IN SOKOTO. I WAS THE STATE COORDINATOR OF THE DLCF CORPERS FELLOWSHIP IN THE STATE. I FREQUENTED SOKOTO ATLEAST 3 TIMES IN A MONTH FOR MEETINGS AND PROGRAMMES. I AM PRESENTLY IN ABU, ZARIA FOR MY POST GRADUATE PROGRAMME. AS A MARK OF APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE TO GOD FOR A SERVICE YEAR WELL SPENT IN GORONYO, I AM USING GORONYO AS MY STUDY AREA.
I APPRECIATE YOU SIR.
NAGODE SOSAI.
IKPE, E.

#1 
Written By IKPE ELISHA on December 17th, 2011 @ 3:19 PM

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