To Sir with Love

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I confess that I had serious fears about teaching because save for minor tutoring of friends and relations on different occasions I’m seriously inexperienced in the field. But now I’m more confident, and sadly it’s partly due to the fact that the students I’ll be working with ain’t educationally sound (it won’t be an intellectually challenging job). The general standard of schools where I’m at is low. The students are so knowledge hungry yet so slow on the uptake. They were never given a solid educational foundation; the second-rate training repeats itself in the primary and secondary schools so they end up being merely “learned on paper”. I guess lack of finance is to blame and when one grows up in a community of non eggheads one can never reach his full intelligence potential.

Teaching as I see it is basically explaining what one knows to others. What you give your students they imbibe; you become the Alpha and Omega...students are so manipulatable! Anyways looking back at things now I feel that I could have done a much better job than some of the people who taught me when I was in school.

But talking about the present you should see the way I’m respected here. Good morning sir this, excuse me sir that. It’s all new to me and it’s a really pleasant surprise. Another pleasantry is going to be having a room to myself for the first time in my life! On the unpleasant side is the fact that there’s no strong FM radio or TV signal here! I never taught I’d find myself in such an information poor situation :(. Anyways thank God for compact discs. Hip hop album check: Modenine’s “Pentium ix”, check; Freestyle’s “free at last”, check; OD’s “don’t hate”, check and Pherowshuz’ “House of raps (rap-representaTIVs)”, check. I sure do hope to have a “SOUND” service year :). Nice play on words huh ;)?

And for the really unpleasant: we’re “loosing” a lot of quality bloggers in the Nigerian blogosphere; it pains me a lot. Back in the day it was Teju Cole, Obifromsouthlondon followed suit weeks back and now it’s Sir Aihammed Delot. Because of that let me put you up on some (if you're down with the blog thing). Your blog is meant to complement you and not to stress you. What I’m saying is blog easy and on your own terms. And please don’t put stuff that’s too personal online or stuff that you’ll regret later…especially when you’re not blogging anonymously. The internet has a very good memory you know...Ok class dismissed, i'm out.

To Sir with Love; great book, great film.

And time stood still

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My state of mind as I type this is like it is when listening to a goddamn beautiful song from the past. You go back in time to a period so wonderful and unforgettable that you feel like savouring or seizing the moment and putting it in a timeless jar. You shed a tear when you realise that time can never stand still.

Date: 26th September 2006, afternoon hours in Gboko. Benue State Batch B, NYSC Orientation camp closing day. The impressive passing out parade graced by the deputy Governor just ended. Photographers anxious to de-stack are working on the double trying to convince corpers to collect their unclaimed pictures for half the price. All types of buses and taxis with their destination written on cardboard papers and smartly stuck on their windscreens litter the camp ground waiting to convey corpers to their place of primary assignment. Corpers themselves are doing a last minute property check. Bags now stored in a safe place temporarily or strapped on the shoulders everyone proceeds to fall in by number (form lines) one last time to collect primary assignment posting letters.

Excitement is in the air and Jokes on possible postings are sprayed back and forth. Finally the unknown becomes known. There are screams and shouts of joy, unhappy faces and indifferent ones in equal measure. Phone numbers are exchanged and question and answer sessions start all over the place. Suddenly everywhere starts to look like one noisy Jankara market scene. Ironically as I valuably gathered in the next three hours here is to turn into a graveyard. A total contrast to the activity ground it has been for the last three weeks.

The mammy market people and the locals watch us in amazement. Wide eyed like kids deeply engrossed in ant colony observation. Business is effectively over for them, they’ll miss the money but they’ll miss our company more. I find a seat at one of the joints, away from all the madness and I notice the Madam in charge is at the point of tears. Her facial expression is a mixture of fascination and sadness. Fascinated like a student just put through on how to solve a hitherto hard and time consuming maths question and saddened like a newly wedded bride whose husband has just being carted away to join the army.

The saying goes that on this day all three week romances end and all contracts are effectively terminated at the camp gates. I observe a love or lust struck girl following her hunky boyfriend about like a small kid does his mother as he makes his moves to leave the camp. And I shake my head and ponder the wonders of the human hormones. I got involved in a three week old…or two week old relationship as well and later on I’d have a rather formal parting with B. A poor ass one compared to the parting kiss of Chinedu and Joan of Big Brother Nigeria on eviction day.

Corpers bid farewell to each other, friendship crews are dissolved and everyone, the popular and unpopular on camp alike, goes scampering about looking for a ride to help them kick start the next stage of their service year. I munch my buns and gulp down the last bit of my Fanta Orange drink and then I bounce…or literarily hop on the bus. Vex not that it wasn’t the traditional parting whisky shot, I’m drink shy.

The Matrix’s “bullet time” move is the perfect example of time standing still. Brilliant!

The “in memory of the money” song

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I’m sure some of you are familiar with songs and memories. As in when ever you hear some songs it reminds you of certain periods, people or event in your life good and bad. It makes you want to shed a tear or smile. The songs I’m working with now on that level are “obodo” the remix by Nigga Raw, “imagine that” by Styl-Plus and “jogodo” by Professor Linkin. I heard those songs over and over again, like a hundred times each day at the various joints in the Gboko NYSC orientation camp. And I equally bumped my head, tapped my feet, sang along or danced to them like a hundred times (the thing about this kind of scenario is that at times you either get sick of the songs or you grow to like them by force). That says so much about the Gboko DJs’ taste and the variety of jamz they have in stock.

The Nigerian job market is one big fear and challenge for graduates; it fucks with you big time. For the guys as a graduate you’re seen as “promising” so you have it some what easier with the ladies, but it’s not the case when you ain’t earning. You loose taste in chicks because at this stage they’re more of an unwanted expense than a lover/friend/f*ck buddy/friend with benefits. Job wise yours truly has been condemned to teach in Benue. It’ll be good as I’ll get the chance to make an impact in the lives of teenagers and it’ll be a nice life lesson/experience (but I never was low on experience and I believe I’m an all rounder who does a good job of adapting to the posh or hard life extremes). But career wise it ain’t shit and it’s more like a one year waste.

In that light self-employment really is the way to go. It’s all about having a winning idea and adequate funding. But it’ll require patience, intelligence and hard work. Me I want to be on that ish, the “your own boss” levels. With that mindset it bothers me when I see people my age or slightly older than me still in school (early college years), still content to be largely dependent on their parents, and flaunting about living the extravagant life when they didn’t personally work for most of what they’re enjoying…E don do, pens down. Right about now the “in memory of the money” song will start playing. Can you hear it?