THE CHANGE IN MY FRIEND WAS MY INSPIRATION

Walking down memory lane, I clearly remember a friend of mine telling me about Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics Inc. (CSAAE), and what they do. Seeing that it aligns with some of my dreams, I signed up for the Emerging African Leaders program (ELP). My hope was shattered when I was not selected. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping for another opportunity, when I found out about CSAAE’s Volunteering Program. Hopeful and more serious this time, I applied to be a volunteer with CSAAE. I thought “if it’s not CSAAE, then it is sham”.  You’d probably be asking why.

I saw the impact CSAAE had on my friend just a few months after she got accepted. Her thinking changed — it became better; she wrote and spoke better. She is always thinking of making a difference. I wanted to join the moving team.

Few weeks later, I got an email thanking me for my interest in CSAAE. My joy knew no bounds. My passion for making a difference became more crystal and realistic to me. I couldn’t help but feel grateful. My volunteering experience officially started when I was assigned the task of surveying some of the areas we planned to visit for our CSAAE University of Jos (Unijos) Valentine Program.

The next day, 14th February, 2019, at about 9 a.m, our matron, Francisca Chinelo Ekwuonu(EAL), some ENLs and volunteers (known as Associates) matched to Angwan Jarawa and Ganajigo communities in Farin-Gada, Jos to celebrate with the elderly. The joy and profound gratitude on their faces as each of them welcomed us was heartfelt. Their eyes spoke a thousand words. As we visited each house, 3 or 4 of us would stay back to do chores for them. Though long and tiring, it was beautiful.

I felt happy with myself and thought: indeed, this is one of the most inspiring ways to show love on a day like this. Before evening, we were all exhausted. We handed each aged person a gift, took some selfies and headed home.

It was truly a beautiful day for not only the elderly we visited, but for me too. Knowing that I was able to put a smile on someone’s face made my day.  Thank you, CSAAE Unijos family for making it possible for me to celebrate love on a day like that, for accepting me, and for making one of my numerous dreams come true. We indeed marked the valentine’s day in a graceful way.

Together we can make Africa a better place.

Juliet Ogwudile (Associate)