AN END, A BEGINNING. GRATITUDE.
Before daddy let me go to the university for the first time, he said to me ‘the matriculation does not count as much as the convocation does. Promise me you’ll never forget your name’. I wanted him to be happy so I studied and worked hard. Today, I took a look at the blog archives, I stumbled on a post I wrote at a time I was depressed (Click here). I had failed again and I wrote as much. School was depressing, I thought I was doing everything wrong. That was two years ago but I finally made it. I scaled through.
Matriculation did not mean so much to me. Even now, ceremonies do not mean so much to me. This is probably why I reply every ‘congratulations to the latest ex-corps member’ with a rehearsed smile and a thank you. Because really, should it be such a big deal?
But on the bus to Makurdi, I flipped open the magazine/photobook I was given and there in that book, I saw my picture. I saw my name. Then I read my discharge certificate for the first time since it was presented to me.
It is over! It is over.
It was not just the obvious fact that I had finally completed one year of service to my country, it was more of what part of me I had sacrificed for others. Parents handed their children over to me. I used to think I did not like to be around children until I was sent to a remote village to teach them. I was the only chemistry teacher. I would have relocated because of my health but I stayed and I am glad I did.
My phone rang. ‘Congratulations Miss Aidee, aunty we miss you already, aunty we love you’. I cried.
Just the other day, I had tried to work my way out of the village and now, I want to hold my girls again and tell them to walk with pride and with heads raised high. I want to ask my students – who are mothers themselves – about their children. I want to hear them say ‘aunty, Junior’s birthday is today so I brought this drink for you’, I want to say again to my boys ‘come here, what did you just say? Okay correct yourself’ when they speak vernacular and I want to feel the satisfaction when my students try to speak good English Language.
This is why I cried. It is the end of a phase and the start of another. It is life.
To all who made the year a beautiful one for me – to big brother Ola who believes in me and supports my every decision; to Su’eddie who has proven to me that there are still friends who genuinely care, friends who can walk in the rain to buy indomie and egg just because their friend is hungry, friends who give love generously without asking for anything in return, friends who play with you like they are babies not minding that they are old men, friends who let themselves be bullied by playful Aidee…such friends I love; Ruth for encouraging me; Tarfa J. Benson and Peter Eteh for making Christmas and Valentines’ days worth the trip to Otukpo; Shantelle the best sister ever, the one who scolds and fights me, who would rather laugh at me and say ‘how dare you let a man hurt you so when you are worth millions of yards of wife material?’ A sister I love with all my heart; To my entire Igumale family (students and staff) for making my stay worth it; To my readers and subscribers – Thank you all for being there for me. Thank you so much. See you at the top.