Meet Dr. Adeola Olubamiji: The First African Biomedical Engineer(Ph.D ): Her Life & Projects

A few days ago my boss asked me to accompany her to a meeting where I eventually met a young promising woman from Nigeria who lives in Canada and is making Nigeria proud. The story was that this lady was already doing a lot to project Africa and empower girls, women and the youth. Now that’s the kind of story I love to hear and therefore I was delighted to go meet this inspiring lady. But I actually met her via a SKYPE conversation … hehehe. I tell you our conversation with her blew me away and left me feeling good about my heritage as a Nigerian woman. She is the kind of role model young people need to inspire and motivate them to go on to achieve their dreams and goals.

So here I am trying to celebrate and project the good things this beautiful lady is doing.

This post shares a bit of our conversation with Dr. Adeola Olubamiji the first black person to obtain a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan . She speaks about herself and an ongoing project to empower young people in Ibadan in Tie-Dye Engineering. Dr. Adeola’s story went viral on the social media after she shared her story about how she rose from a humble background to become the scientist that she now is. Adeola went on to start STEMHUB FOUNDATION to inspire young people to pursue science and discover the possibilities therein. Bolatito Joseph- BJJ (Deputy Director Programmes- Radio Nigeria) conducted the interview.

Interview

BJJ: Tell us about yourself, a little bit about your background and why you are doing this project

DR. Adeola: Recently about a year ago I happen to be the first African to obtain a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan here in Canada. My upbringing, I was raised by two people with no formal education; from hawking pepper on the streets of Mokola, Ibadan to becoming a child farmer; having to help my mum on the farm and how all of this happened to me; then because of my love for science made me who I am today. I went ahead and posted my story on Facebook the day I convocated. That story went viral and it was in the news in Nigeria and the media basically. So I grew lots of followership on social media and as such I couldn’t hide anymore as a scientist who just wanted to live my life for myself. I realize that my life wasn’t mine anymore; a lot of people wanted to be a part of it; a lot of people were looking for a role model and some people were looking for mentors for themselves or for their children. So that’s how STEMHUB Foundation started.

Mokola, where the empowerment training on Tie & Dye engineering for young people is taking place in the neighborhood where I grew up. It is in this neighborhood that I hawked pepper. So I looked at my neighborhood and I found out that it is still the same. We still have people involved in vices and using prostitution as the only means of livelihood for them. So I was looking out there to see – what Is it I can help people acquire that they can use as a means to fend for themselves instead of having to do something shady or having to sell their body.

This Tie and Dye program is not the only program my foundation has sponsored. For the celebration of Women in the month of March 2018, I partnered with the Female Designers Movement in Lagos to sponsor design engineering for 150 women. We taught them graphic design making of posters; a user design for websites.

Right now after my Ph.D., I got a job and currently work as a lead material engineer in a company that basically manufacture Pollan, parts of engines of aircraft, fighter jets and all of that here in Canada. I am very passionate about anything engineering, 3D-printing which is my area and right now I focus on aerospace.

BJJ: Great! Ok can we talk about the many awards you’ve won

Dr. Adeola: Ok one thing I always tell people is, it is a lot difficult to talk about when it comes to hyping myself; I am not good at it.

BJJ: (Laughs)

Dr. Adeola: I believe something, “If your mission and vision in life are about you, you won’t go really far.

BJJ: Yeah

Dr. Adeola: But if your vision and your mission are about the people you will go really, really far. And often times those types of vision and mission are bigger than you and require a lot of resilient for it to happen. After my story broke out on the internet, the “Media Broadcast Corporation” which is our own “Radio Nigeria” here in Canada recognized me as one of the 150 black women making Canada better for the celebration of Canada at 150years last year. Also last year the Canadian Nigerian Association honored me as “The Woman of Outstanding Achievements in Education”, July 2017. Fortunately, Oni of Ife and some other dignitaries from Nigeria attended that event.

“If your mission and vision in life are about you, you won’t go really far. But if your vision and your mission are about the people you will go really, really far.

In my absence the Ondo state government honored me as 2018 female role model of young girls in the state. I have also been nominated by the Canadian Business Treat; these are a group of women whose passion centers on finding entrepreneurs and young Canadian women and honoring them. I have been nominated as one of the people that will receive an award this year, 2018.

Dr Olubamiji at a science training for some children

There is been a couple of awards here and there but to me, it is not about the awards. It is about what I can do for people. If it wins an award, yes I am happy but I would gladly celebrate the people and the progress we are making in the lives of the people than how many accolades I get or how many awards people have given me. This dream and vision are not about me, it’s about the people.

BJJ: You have done so well for yourself and I want to tell you that Nigeria is proud of you. Now, are you thinking of coming back home?

Dr. Adeola: The Industry that I work in right now focus on 3D-printing different on aerospace material. During my Ph.D. I was fortunate to use this same 3D-printing, to manufacture. So 3D-Printing is an area growing drastically around the world; Nigeria has not embraced the idea yet. If there is an opportunity to come and be a part of trading digital manufacturing space for Africa so that we can attract automotive companies to come and open their brands in Nigeria, I will definitely love to be a part of such change. Until that moment when this type of opportunity happens I think I will stay here in Canada to grow my knowledge and without money, I wouldn’t be able to help people in Nigeria.

BJJ: (Laughs)

Dr. Adeola: So I will stay here to be able to make some money and to be able to do what I do right now (Laughing). But if you ask me where is your heart? My heart is in Nigeria. I believe that positive role models are very, very rare to find in our society. And when we have such positive role models, often times they do not have the right platform to be projected so our young girls can see them. I feel that if I were to be present in Nigeria I will achieve way more; I will inspire and motivate way more. And I could be a part of those people who can help drive success among women and young people in Nigeria. Until that time when I get the opportunity, I have to be here.

But the good news is that I will be coming home to Nigeria in August for two weeks to receive an award. I will do all I can to inspire; to encourage and be a part of the people; to let them see what is possible if you study science, believe in God and if you work hard and are resilient, you can go really far in life.

BJJ: Thank you very much for speaking with us. I really enjoyed this conversation. God bless, bye

Dr. Adeola: Thank you too Bye

I look forward to following Dr. Adeola’s journey and contributions to society and sharing more of her story and the lives she is touching. In another post, I will share photos and stories of young people I met at the Tie & Dye Training which held in Ibadan for young people. It was sponsored by STEMHUB Foundation.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

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GUEST POST: MY FGM STORY by Omoye Oriaghan

This piece was sent to me a few days ago to share and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is a personal experience of Omoye Oriaghan. Great insights to her fears about Female Circumcision and her journey into discovering whether she had been cut or not. I was held spelt bound and couldn’t stop until I came to the end of this story. Enjoy it and feel free to share with others.

“How do you feel, if I cut that sensitive nub above your privates
Cut the lips to your womanly haven
And then stitch close the opening to leave only a urinary passageway
I do not stop there,
But when you get married, I tear you back open for sexual relations with your husband (as in some cases)
Can you imagine how you would feel?
Well, that is the gore of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Tolarnee

I have always heard of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), its ills and the various calls for an end to its practice in our society. Before my final year at the university, I knew little or nothing about this awful practice, maybe because I was too lazy to google its meaning and prevalence in Nigeria and Africa as a whole or maybe because I just wasn’t interested in knowing what it meant. However, during my last days at school, we had this course taught by the only professor in our department at the time, Prof Akinfeleye, on campaign messages and design (I can’t remember the exact course title now).

As part of assessments for the course, the class was divided into different groups, given different health challenges and asked to design campaign messages for them. This was to be presented in subsequent classes. I remember a particular group was to design campaign messages for FGM. As against other presentations that I didn’t accord much interest, this campaign against FGM caught my attention, maybe because the medical practitioner took his time to explain with a slide presentation its prevalence in some parts of Nigeria. The gory pictures of the different types of cuts and the girls (children) made to undergo such, aroused so much anger within that later gave birth to the hatred I now nurse for it.

Also in my final year on campus, I had a friend who when we had a discussion on FGM told me in confidence that she and her sisters were mutilated after birth by their mother. However, what was more shocking in her revelation was that her mother told her while she much older not to let her would-be husband know she had been circumcised so as not to ‘drive him away’. According to her mum, no man or most men do not love the idea of marrying a ‘circumcised’ woman because of the lack of satisfaction during sex.
I must confess that while listening to her revelation I got a bit scared because I wasn’t sure of my own status. Who knows, I may have been circumcised too! However, the fears subsided…….

I met Tunde (real name withheld) and we got really close and someday I hoped I would settle down with him (didn’t happen though *winks*) and into our relationship the talk of circumcision (FGM) came up and the fears came back in full force. I was not ready to drive my man away, or so I thought. I think it’s time I had a tete-a-tete with my mother, I concluded, but somehow I didn’t know how to bring up the conversation because my mum and I never really had such conversations. And so again, I managed to keep it in until…….

I sat comfortably as my hair stylist braided my hair one fateful day when a woman from the next shop walked in to loosen her own braids and then ‘the conversation’ began. My hair stylist (Woman A) started the conversation:

“This circumcision thing, everyone seems to be talking about it like it’s a bad thing o she said
The woman from the next shop (Woman B) replied,
“Yes o….In the olden days it was not a big deal but these days, women are discouraged from circumcising their girl-child………My mother says my sisters and I were circumcised, however, she warned us not to tell our husbands (here’s the warning again), so they don’t leave us and sleep with other women”
Woman A: “Hmmmm”
Woman B continues
“When I have sex with my husband, I pretend sometimes to enjoy it even when I don’t, so I don’t push him away………Well, my mum warned me not to circumcise my daughter so she doesn’t go through the same problem and so I didn’t circumcise her”

Now, while this conversation ensued, I was paying rapt attention, picking every detail, and of course, they didn’t know I listened. They thought I didn’t understand what they were saying because they were not having the conversation in English.
And so the conversation continued,
Woman A: “Well for me, my mother circumcised all of her female children o and me, I circumcise all of mine ( now, Woman A has three daughters)…….Not long after I give birth to my girls, I always tell my husband that I want to go and visit my mother in the village (She was Igbo and her husband Yoruba) and when I get there I circumcise them without his knowledge”
“It is good to circumcise girls so they will not become wayward” she continued “I will continue to circumcise my female children o”.
That ended the conversation and also ended my delay in asking my mum the big question.

I got home that evening and immediately put a call through to my mother, “Hello Mama, this circumcision thing, do they do it in our village?” I questioned curiously. “Well they did it a long time ago, but your grandmother did not circumcise me or my other siblings” She replied. That was all I needed to hear to have a beautiful sleep that night {smiles).

Last year, I was also privileged to watch an edition of BBC’s HardTalk with Stephen Sackur on FGM. On the show that day, Stephen had two African women with British citizenship. One was for and the other against FGM. Now, I was more particular about the lady who supported the practice because I wanted to know why anyone would support such a barbaric practice. However, after listening to her point of view, I didn’t entirely condemn her.

The lady (from Ivory Coast, if I remember correctly) explained that female circumcision was a huge ceremony in her village for women who had come of age, girls who were 18 years and above. It was a Coming out Ceremony of some sort. She further explained that she was convinced at the age of about 20 years by her aunt who had a paid a visit to her family in the UK to participate in the ceremony. Her aunt and mother told her a little about the pain associated with the procedure and some of the health risks. With this knowledge, she agreed to travel to Ivory Coast to be circumcised. She concluded by saying the procedure, though painful, was healthy and that years after it she had enjoyed sexual relations with her partner.

So for her, FGM should only be carried out on girls who are well aware of the health risks and others risks and should also be done on their consent. However, she was against the complex stages of mutilation.

As my story winds up, let me conclude by saying, I am against FGM practiced on a girl-child who has absolutely no idea what is being done to her. If when she is well of age weighs all the risk factors involved and still decides to be mutilated, then I bid her Godspeed, but again, I don’t think any girl would love to go through such pain from a very unhealthy procedure for whatever gain.
As I drop my pen, or this time, my keyboard (winks), let me say #IStandAgainstFGM and #FGMMustBeStopped #EndFGMNow

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Guest Interview: A Political Scientist Clicking Away with Her Camera

My eyes, ears, and heart are always tuned to catch real-life stories at events, training or workshops. So here was I trying to take a few photos at a Management and Leadership conference for Female Journalists; this lady kept bumping into me or was it me interfering with her professional photography work. And look at me holding a simple Android phone trying to take my amateur pictures😀 After bumping into her a few times the light in my head turned on! 🌞🌞 The writer in me asked, “what’s her story? So here I am ready to bring this beautiful damsel’s story to you. An interesting, down to earth chat it was. Enjoy meeting this talent. 

Interview :
Me: What is your name? Any brand or pet name?

Tiwa: My name is Tiwatope Badmus… My brand name is Tiwa Badmus Photography.

Me: Could you share the schools you attended?

Tiwa: I had my secondary school at Adesina College, Ibadan.
Then I proceeded to the University of Ibadan where I studied Political Science.

Me: What was growing up like for you

Tiwa: Growing up for me was two-sided… We used to leave somewhere that I termed as a ghetto. I learned a whole lot as a young girl of 5. Street fights and drinking was the order of the day.  so I learned a lot of self-defense. I was a really gentle kid growing up.Then by age 6, we moved to a new environment where our movement was restricted then I became the ‘get inside’ kinda kid. I was a very shy girl throughout my secondary school days. But as soon as I entered the university I began to build up the courage to meet and approach people.

Me: Photography! How did you get into photography, what was your motivation?

Tiwa: Photography has always been in me. I remembered as a secondary school student how I used to save my lunch money so I can go take pictures with my friends… How I used to capture the sun moon and stars with my First camera phone which was a Nokia C1.
My Motivation: When I was in 300L at the university there was this very long ASUU strike that broke out and I decided to learn Photography as a passion and then it became my career path.

Me: Do you do anything else besides photography?

Tiwa: Right now, I don’t do any side jobs… I only do photography.

Me: Is it lucrative, I mean pay your bills?

Tiwa: Photography is a very lucrative job.. Especially when it comes to events. I have met several people I would have never imagined if I was on other jobs within a short span of time.

Me: What has been your challenge following this career path?

Tiwa: The first challenge was procuring all the necessary equipment… OMG!!! Photography can be a very expensive biz to start with. Getting clients too was another challenge but when you know what you are doing and they see your work, they will eventually want you to work for them. As a female photographer, I have had experiences of some sexually related insults like a guy was trying to hit me on my back(bum) the other day.

Me: When you feel like giving up, stressed out, what keeps you going?

Tiwa: My passion for the job keeps me going. Most of the time I don’t look at the money. I work because I enjoy what I do which is why I am into so many voluntary groups.

Me: So if I want to become a photographer like you *wink, what do I need to do?

Tiwa: What you need to be a good photographer is in You. You need just your eyes to see something picture worthy of your environment. And then you need to be creative with that you can get behind the cameras and shoot your shot!!! It doesn’t take long to learn if you put your mind to it. In the space of 2 weeks, you can start shooting!

Me: You must have a favorite food…

Tiwa: My favorite food will always be Amala with Abula as a core Yoruba girl that I am 😃

Me: What is your parting word for young people like yourself especially ladies?

Tiwa: Believe in yourself, believe you can do it… Birth your dreams in Prayers. Don’t ever let anyone talk you down from following your passion.
You are strong
You are powerful
You are beautiful!!!

Me: I am so having fun and enjoying your story but hey we to wrap it up somehow😀. On a final note, what else would you like to share about yourself?

Tiwa: I am a Christian and I love God with all my heart.

Me: Don’t go away without giving out your social media handles

Tiwa: Instagram @tiwabadmus_photography
Facebook page @tiwabadmus_photography
Twitter @i_am_tiwatope
Thank you very much for the opportunity, ma’am. I do not take this for granted… I am so very grateful🙏🙏🙏

Hope you enjoyed meeting Tiwa? Go leave your dream, don’t let anything stop you!

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Radio Drama.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Njideka Ekuma Mbam: She Ran and Her Whole Community Had to Make A Decision

There are stories that you hear and it just gladens your heart in a warm way. And when something you were a part of contributes to the success of the story then you get a sense of fulfillment that you have made a difference in someone’s life. The telephone number featured on the FGMC sensitization radio drama “Pim Pim Pim” became a life line to people who attempted to get help for three girls on the run.

Njideka had listened to education talks about the negative effects of female genital mutilation and cutting also known as female circumcision on girls in school and in church. In her community girls must go through the rite of female circumcision to attain womanhood and soon the drums heralding her time to be cut began to sound.

A few days to her being circumcised Njideka ran to protect herself. Two other girls joined her. A series of event took place which finally lead to the IZZI community abandoning FGMC. Njideka is indeed a brave girl and a hero in the fight against a harmful cultural practice. Here is a short video telling her story and that of her community:

Adebisi Adetunji (C) BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development. Email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com twitter – @DebisiBusybee 

I Met A Girl at a Bus Station

technologytimes.ng

While waiting to board the bus en route to my destination (Calabar) on an official assignment this young lady, Amara(not real name) who sat beside me suddenly sighed out loud. Unknowingly she voiced out her thoughts, “How long will I continue to do this”, she mumbled. I was sited beside her and since we had been chatting earlier on about life in general, I took the liberty to ask her what the matter was in a concerned tone. Amara said she wish a man would come and whisk her off in marriage. She was tired of selling in a shop at the bus station. Enquiring further about how long she had been there, Amara said 7 years.

It has been 7 long years for her working at her uncle’s wife’s shop without getting paid. Amara was simply tired of this life that made her future look bleak. In her mind’s eye, the ticket to her freedom was getting married. Her hope is to have a man set her up for a business. I listened to her talk about her life and frustration then I gently told her that marriage is not the answer to the kind of freedom she dreamed of.

I shared with her the importance of having a job or some kind of trade of her own. Something to empower and give her financial freedom. Our discussions further revealed that she had finished her secondary school education and also has acquired skills in fashion designing(sewing clothes). I then encouraged her to pursue this business while waiting for the right man to come. It seemed to me that she had no choice but to live with her uncle’ wife who by the way had died. The widow housing her is probably doing her best to feed and cloth Amara including her own children.

After my attempt to inspire Amara to pursue her dreams she had this to say”Some girls are lucky; they get married and their husband sets them up in a business. Why can’t my own be like that?”. I kept quiet and thought to myself … “you may never understand the reality of her world”. Soon Amara stood up trying to chat with some men and bus drivers who work at the station. As I boarded my bus on the way to my destination, I hoped that things will turn out well for Amara; I hoped that she will not fall into the hands of men who will take advantage of her.

I wished that I lived in her town to possibly still keep in touch and help link her to opportunities and resources but all I had were my few words of counsel. Many young girls are out there just hoping for a brighter future like Amara. Perhaps if she had a higher education maybe her life might be easier in getting a paying job.

A lot of girls out there who come from a humble and economically struggling background as I have observed believe that finding a husband who will provide for them is the answer to their financial troubles. Maybe a few girls get lucky but often these girls find themselves in tougher situations when the man cannot provide as they had hoped.

We need to educate our girls/women; we need to empower them. It starts with each family, don’t just allow your girl/daughter to only sell for you in your shop, ensure that she is truly empowered for the future. Marrying her off is not the answer to your economic and financial problems. You may soon have to care for her and her babies if the man is irresponsible. This will become a big burden. You can also share this wisdom with people who think like this as they come your way in the marketplace, bus station, taxi or wherever.

Educate a Girl, Give her a better future
To empower a woman is to empower a family and nation.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

She Needed A Chance to Believe Part 2

Catch up on the first part of the story: She Needed A Chance to Believe Part 1.

Alexandra is the second born of her siblings. She saw her older sister, Esther get enrolled in the university while her closest younger siblings were getting ready to also get into college. She felt left out and a bleak future stared her in the face. She badly wanted to continue her education but this WAEC mountain refuses to give way to her dreams. To challenge her father’s plan to enroll her in learning a trade was out of the question. Her father was revered and his authority was not to be challenged. He wanted so badly that his children succeeded and Alexandra’s case left him feeling like all his hard work to provide was wasted.

If only I would be allowed to attempt the exams again”, Alexandra thought to herself but even she didn’t believe that she could pass any more than her parents.

Days, weeks and months pass by and then one day her father announced that she would be sent to her grandma’s place in the village to enroll in something. Alexandra’s heart was torn in a different directions.  To her it felt like a plan to abandon her far away from home. She was not ready to leave her siblings and all that was familiar to her. Her self-esteem took a deeper downturn.

One day in the midst of all this her older sister who was in the university shared a hopeful news with Alexandra. There was an opportunity at the university where her sister was enrolled in to do certificate courses that did not require scoring up to 7credits in WAEC. Alexandra had a few passes and probably one credit, she wondered if she would be admitted to do the course. Her sister insisted that it was possible but they had one hurdle to cross, convincing their father who by then had lost hope of Alexandra getting into the university.

Her sister, Esther summoned the courage to speak with their father but the meeting took place at his office. Convincing their father was not easy as he argued that Alexandra was terribly weak in learning and so it would amount to a waste of money. Her older sister, Esther pressed harder and had to promise that she will ensure that Alexandra pays attention in school. Esther had to agree to be held responsible if Alexandra fails again.

When Alexandra got the news that her father was willing to give the certificate course in Library science a try, she was ecstatic! Her siblings celebrated this news in their room. The next step was to actually get her admitted into the course. For some reason, the university didn’t give her any hassles as she was admitted. It was a lifeline for Alexandra, she gave the course her best shot, studying so hard and getting her brilliant course mates to teach her. Many nights she will sleep in the class studying and learning as far as she was concerned she was now a university/college student. Never mind that people wondered what good could come out of such a not so “prestigious course” of the times. It wasn’t even a degree or diploma just a certificate course. Alexandra did not care she kept at it and when her one year course was over, she scored 4points, she was an A student. Alexandra wept as she looked at her result, it was unbelievable.

She never believed that she had what it takes in her to succeed as a student talk more of coming out with an A grade. Her parents and siblings celebrated this victory and all voices and ideas that said,  she wouldn’t make it through school were debunked.

Alexandra went on to study nursing, midwifery and became the only medical person in the family. None of her brilliant science-oriented siblings ended up in the medical field and there were high hopes for at least one doctor…hahaha; although there were engineers, biochemistry who ended up as bankers and more.

Well, this story is not about her siblings but about Alexandra, a girl whom many thought couldn’t make it through school and she started to believe it herself too until she faced her mountain squarely in the face. Interestingly years later Alexandra would write her WAEC and scored credits and As in science subjects that she never did while in secondary school. She wanted to make her papers in one sitting and she did it.

Believe in yourself; Believe the best of your children and others. Never give up.

This is my immediate younger sister’s story and I am the older sister who had to face my father to get her to continue her education. I look at her today and marvel at the great woman she had become. Never give up on anyone, keep believing the best.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

She Needed A Chance to Believe – Part 1

via Daily Prompt: Believe

What you believe today matters as it brings the life you wish for tomorrow.

Often we hear the phrase “believe in yourself” but still we are unsure. Nothing can stop you except you so you’ve got to believe in yourself. But we also need others to believe in us so we can believe as well. That was the case in Alexandra’s story:(A True Life’s story)

Alexandra was born into a family of eight of royal descent. Her father and mother worked so hard to ensure that their children got a good education. The expectations for Alexandra and her five siblings were very high. Their parents wanted them to be graduates of prestigious professions like medical doctor, Lawyer, Accountant. In those days everyone wanted their children to become medical doctors so they can be called, “Baba Doctor”, “Mama Lawyer”.

Each child had their strength but most were brilliant and others very brilliant, the A students except for Alexandra who struggled with her academics. It was tough through primary and secondary school. Finally, she graduated but failed her WAEC woefully. Alexandra wept bitterly as her father was really disappointed and felt let down. Lesson teachers were hired to prepare her to rewrite the exams for without this there was no moving on to the university. Alexandra sat for the external secondary school leaving certificate (GCE) again and hopes were high that she would make it this time.

When the results were released it was no better than what Alexandra had score previously. She rode the horse of GCE again to see if she could break its back but it threw her off again. Alexandra became withdrawn and felt that of all her siblings she might not be caught out for school after all. And soon extended family members and friends started to sell the idea that, “not all children are meant to go to school” to her parents. Suggestions were made to enroll her in learning a trade, Alexandra fell deeper into despair and self-esteem began to ebb away. Her father gave up in a way as he began to consider this option.

There was tension between her parents and her siblings discussed in hush tones about the plan to enroll Alexandra in a trade. They were not happy and none of them wanted a future where only Alexandra will be the one who didn’t finish school. Her mother was worried sick but was also helpless in the matter. Who would face their father to challenge this plan to stop her from furthering her education?

Find out what happens next in Part two of this story.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)