TRAE at Uche Nworah’s “The Long Harmattan Season” book presentation



So I finally attended what should be my first book presentation (bookworms Oj-Uknaija and co. shift, make a little room for me to the left :)). It was Uche Nworah’s “The Long Harmattan Season” Abuja book launch held on the 26th of July at Chelsea hotel. It’s basically a collection of the articles he’s written over the past few years as an internet columnist. Having narrowly missed his wedding two years back I couldn’t afford to miss this one as well; the brother has been one of my blogging inspirations!

Being a true son of the soil I kept to Nigerian time attendance wise, thus I missed the review by Reuben Abati. But it was still enough for me to come to the conclusion that the presentation was great as a whole. I liked the caliber of guest and the event’s organization, although the attendance could have been much better. The MC for the day a bosom friend of Uche was cracking us up non stop and all others who spoke (bought a copy/copies of the book and supported the course) had nice things to say about the author. I Impressed myself by giving a nice commendation speech (I wonder if that’s enough to get me on TV) after which the good times rolled as I grabbed a copy of the book which Uche duly autographed and then graciously posed with him for the paparazzi :). It was nice finally getting to meet the brother and physically giving him my regards and having him acknowledge such.

By the way I was at the event with fellow blogger Josh from “What It Is”, who was a really good friend on the day as he saved me from some potentially embarrassing situations. The sad side to the whole thing though was that Uche was attacked and robbed some days earlier. Materially he lost a lot but luckily and more importantly he came out alive and with just a cut on the head. That explains the plaster he had on at the event.

I guess that’s it for now so I can get back to reading the book (my my, the packaging is top notch unlike a lot of Nigerian novels, anyway it was printed abroad so I guess that’s to be expected )…although I have already read quite a number of the articles online. That reminds me since it’s a “blook” a lot of the colourful online responses (comments) to the articles will be missing…how sad. You know we who are familiar with the guy know that he’s great with the pen but does at times allow his emotions to come too much into play thus considerably reducing the substance of his writings.

The event flyer; I’m waiting for Uche to upload the pictures and give his take on the event so that I can give this post some proper footing.

10 Things I won’t forget about my service year



As a Batch B corps member service year for me started in September 2006 to end sometime in mid August 2007. And these are the top ten things (listed chronologically not by importance) I won’t forget about my NYSC induced stay in Benue State. This write up is actually Kind of premature in timing considering the fact that I’m not yet done serving, but I still think the list would be the same even if I waited until after POP (Passing Out Parade: the official ceremony to mark the end of a service year) before writting it.

1 The 3 weeks Orientation Camp
What more can I say about this, I’ve already said it all here: “A September to remember”. In addendum sha the orientation camp in Gboko is definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever visited.

2 My Mum’s passing away
This happened 3 months into my service year and was the saddest part of it all. I still vividly remember the last (phone) conversation I had with her at the Zaki-Biam market right after I made my first trip to neighbouring Wukari in Taraba State; it’s a moment I won’t forget.

3 Getting my Laptop
My Dad got that for me 4 months into the service year. It’s the best quantifiable gift I’ve ever received…and it changed my life in many more ways.

4 Bendra
I’m a softie at heart often falling In and out of “crush”. I got to know Bendra on the 1st of February. She, my phone pal now turned fellow corper kept me company many boring NYSC nights, particularly in February and March.

5 Becoming more Independent
NYSC being the cushioner before submerging into full blown adulthood it helped me become more independent as a person. Amongst other things I became cooking and job hunting certified and on another level Mum being gone and Dad being far away I learnt how to purposefully run my life.

6 The friends I made
Service year offered me the opportunity to make so many new acquaintances (a lot of them being people of my age) and have new perspectives on the behaviour of different people. Being that no man is an island onto himself that certainly was a big plus.

7 The Corpers lifestyle
Damn, it sure was good while it lasted. You know: the goodwill and respect showed to me because of my status, managing the allawee pocket change, my secondary school short teaching experience, the fallout with my employer, the partially ghosting months, my Ebonyi State corper to corper trip, my financial secretary portfolio, the community development service, our corpers’ week activities, my batch’s roundabout project runs etc. I’ll miss it all.

8 My increased Nigerianess (Tivness)
Service year made me a more complete Nigerian by my ten fold increased acquaintance with the Tiv ways. It’s during the time that I found out that I could be completely detribalized, and that’s after freeing my mind from the entire stereotype and bullshit our parents and elders instilled in us. I could be in a bus for hours and be the only one not able to speak Tiv and my mind would still be at rest…not feeling any uneasiness at all. On a lighter mode I can now distinctly recognize the Tiv accent. So if I’m out of the state and I hear a Benue man speaking I’ll most likely be like: “hey Dude you’re Tiv, how far now!”

9 Getting my mojo back on with the NIM exams
I’m talking about the NIM-NYSC Proficiency Certificate in Management exams. I studied, wrote and I’m sure will pass them well. It left me feeling personally fulfilled…you know erasing my procrastinating academic past and setting up myself for a glorious intellectual future. Of course my new found love for the library also helped in this revival.

10 Getting my Articles published in the NYSC 2006 Batch B souvenir brochure
Yep, two old blog articles of mine: “And time stood still” and “A day in the life of a Corper (Corps Member)” (this is still subject to confirmation though as the magazine is not yet out, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be good). I’m excited about this as it’ll be the first ever time an article of mine would be in print, although I’ve been countlessly republished online.

Smiling happy children and mud huts, a constant feature during my NYSC days

As an add-on if there’s one thing I have to say about the NYSC scheme it’s that for most participants it won’t likely be career and financially rewarding but engaging in the teaching (there’s a 9 in 10 chance of doing that for your primary assignment) and community development work under it is a life changing experience for the better.