So, after much anticipation and keenness, I am back to the working world at Connected Development (CODE). In many ways, it feels as if I never left – as if my entire absence for my internship was nothing more than a slightly peculiar dream. I remember vividly how I received the news of getting the internship slot, It was a dream come true as I had anticipated working in an environment where maternal and newborn health were the focus but this was coming with a prize, and the prize was quitting my job at Connected Development. This wasn’t an easy decision, my friends were like, you can’t do this, they couldn’t understand how I could walk away from what I had at CODE and they couldn’t see a path for me to walk back later. One year later I’m back to where I started from, the motivation house as Chambers stated on one of his posts on Facebook.
Bumping into Hamzat that fateful Wednesday was actually orchestrated by higher powers, because I was thinking about what I was going to do with my life when my internship ends on Friday. We got talking and I told him I was going to be done on Friday. He was shocked, “So you are going to be jobless? He asked, I said yes, after a while he told me I could come back to work for CODE if I’m interested. I was elated. At this time where the rate of unemployment has skyrocketed to 13.3%, here he was giving me a second chance and offering me an opportunity not to be among the statistics and also contribute again to the success of CODE. I sent out a mail the Friday I ended my internship and anxiously waited for his reply, the Hamzat I used to know while I was working with him, always reply his Emails before he retires for the day. I got scared when I didn’t get a reply and thought maybe he had changed his mind, I checked my mail over and over, refreshed it countless time yet no reply. Every notification I got on my phone got me running to check if it was the expected mail and trust MTN to keep you on your feet with their messages. Alas, I finally got the mail to resume on Wednesday.
The day before my big return to work was possibly the worst experience of Tuesday night I’ve ever experienced. But then, of course, it would be, wouldn’t it? The cough wouldn’t let me sleep; the anxiety of the changes I have to face and the new people I will have to be working with was all making me restless. I managed to doze off with the intention of waking up early so I can be punctual and not show myself as the famous late comer to work which I was actually known for before I left. I woke up that glorious morning with a beautiful smile perched on my lips, got prepared and set out for work in time, but the desire for me to break the barrier of going late wasn’t possible as I stood at the bus stop for close to 30 minutes looking for a cab. I finally arrived 15 minutes late. That feeling of dealing with enough newness on your first day was hanging around me, but then I have to deal with it. I met some strange faces which was expected because, over the year, I have kept up with the activities happening at CODE. I was introduced to the new ones and the old ones were happy to have me back I guess.
My running nose chose this blessed day to come in full force which got me sneezing every minute, I managed to start off with documents on what CODE currently does and how they achieve their objectives and targets, surprisingly it has really evolved. While I was here a lot of things were done by everybody, but right now we have people who work in different teams. They are new projects and also new partnership with various bodies has also been formed.
Now, though, I’m back in the rhythm of it, and back to finding ways to make every moment of my work count – moping around is certainly not allowed if I really want to make it up to the steep learning curve ahead of me. I have also been assigned to a team and I hope to add the new skills I developed while interning to propel my team and also learn more. I hope to also gain insight on how Follow The Money track funds meant for marginalized communities and how to use the FOI Act to hold our leaders accountable.
Another project of CODE that gets me really excited is the tracking of the Save 1 million Lives grant by the World bank to improve maternal and child health in states. This I hope to get really involved in as i am ruthlessly passionate in issues that leads to the survival of mothers and newborn. Finally I hope that my return to the motivation house will hone my skills in using advocacy to advance and bring about development in health, education and environment sectors.
Ijeoma Oforka is a Program Officer at Connected Development, with a background in Public Health. She is passionate about advocating for the plights and issues surrounding women and girls health and education. She tweets via @ijoforka