TRIP TO AJANGBOTO

Odunayo, Toyin, Adeola and Joy at Ajangboto village, Ondo state

It was on a Monday morning – First day of Odunayo Aliu’s internship as a teacher at a school in Ondo, Ondo state. Odunayo has always had it in mind; thinking and brooding on how to best make sure that under privileged children in slums and forgotten communities have access to the basic things of life especially in the area of education, health and welfare. Before the time, she had already made an effort to help a child named Seun Dada who was in need of quality education. A flier had been designed in order to solicit help for her.

Interestingly, her first day on the field as a teacher was the day she was spurned to carry out a community survey around Ijare town to have good information of a particular village around Ijare where there are children in need of intervention as regards provision of quality education. So Odunayo reached out to her friends that would help her in the quest to scout for communities where children that fitted the profile she had in her mind were.

She called two of our friends and they left with together. Interestingly, Joy volunteered to be the tour guide that claimed to know the way despite her lack of experience as a tour guide. To the surprise of Odunayo and her inexperienced tour guide and companion, they realized that the initial information that Ajangboto which is the village they agreed to visit was not far from Ijare was false. It was a shock to when they realized that there was no regular bike to Ajangboto from Ijare and that the distance between the two locations was farther than a mile.

After failed negotiations with several bike men, they finally got two bike men to take them to Ajangboto at a subsidised rate but it was at that moment Odunayo began to think of her own financial incapability and she muttered within herself “I am broke yet I want to offer disadvantaged students scholarships” and it was clear that it was not her own financial prowess that was driving her to help these disadvantaged children but her zeal to make sure that every child is not deprived of what they need to have a fulfilled and productive childhood. And this realization made her resolution stronger!

The sojourners stopped at a town before Ajangboto called Ore Seun because Ajangboto was apparently farther than they were told before embarking on the scouting trip. Ore Seun is not a village like Ajangboto but a small settlement along the way. They were met by the community leader who was warm and upon hearing what Odunayo and her friends came to do, he was free to report that about 23 students were out of school and did not have any intention or hope of going back.

After talking with the community leader, they got to a house where there was a girl who was not going to school and a man who did not let them see the girl because he thought they came with money. Because he was demanding for money before they could see or talk to the child, they were unable to have a conversation with the girl. They met another child called Emmanuel. Emmanuel had to travel to attend school because the school he attended was not in Ore Seun and he was about dropping out of when they met him. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do to help Emmanuel at that time and they are still not able to keep in touch with him.

Joy and Favour were both orphans and they were not going to school. They were staying with an elderly woman who was the one taking care of them. It is unfortunate that they could not help these orphans as well.

The information they gathered from this scouting trip has been a source of motivation that drives the work of LLCSI till today. As much as it lies in LLCSI’s power, marginalised children that come across their path must be catered for as much as possible. LLCSI will make sure that marginalised children in forgotten communities like Ore Seun are catered for in terms of education, health and general welfare.

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