The distance from Egbema to Umuokanne was long and stressful. My colleagues and I decided to move in when the school decided they would provide accommodation for us but, the principal stated clearly that they do not pay Corp members.
while my colleagues were busy talking to the principal, I was devastated, worrying over how we would survive throughout the year. “How would I survive here?” Kept ringing in my mind. It was a remote area. Anyway, our documents were verified as legit Corp members then assigned subjects we would teach and the designated classes.
I resumed duty as the new Literature-in-English teacher, no salary. I would work and Labor on my own while depending on my federal allowance. The school had no library, there were no books, leaving me with the choice of either buying the book on my own with the little money or I do not teach them.
I began to look inward, working with the teachers, I was surprised at the poor standard of education in the state. I began to inquire why the state governor declares free education without paying and treating the teachers well? Sometimes, I would observe the disruption and lack of discipline among the staff and student. I had to endure when our Local Council turned her ears away from our request and petition, leaving the Corp member to endure the horrible treatment of the Villagers to the Corp member.
Every class and lecture was conducted using Igbo language as a medium of communication while those who couldn’t speak were at their own risk, this is a course that demands a good command of English; I couldn’t teach this subject this way. Still my petition was not attended to, the student was not told to read, they cheat freely, they brought books into the examination hall and were not ashamed if they are caught.
Many of these students assume they had no future, they believe after their SSCE examination, they would become motorcycle riders or join local security, many were not certain of what the future holds, unwanted pregnancy was the common trend among teenagers, these young girls believe they are free after their SSCE examination.
I was devastated yet did my best to encourage those who were eager to learn, I met more thugs than a decent student, sometimes my colleagues were attacked by students whom we discovered were mobs disrupting school activities and were no eager to learn.
It took time for me to realize that I was not safe and my security was not guaranteed. I was robed, my colleagues were attacked, we reported to our Local Council inspector, we got no feedback, no care if we were dead or alive.
Living and serving in this state was a great test of endurance irrespective of our status as graduates, we were disrespected and maligned by the community leaders, we got no benefit, jumping from town to town spending exorbitantly on transportation. It was a moment I could not forget.
I Lost some things. I lost my relationship with people and I was living alone, pondering over those traumatic moments, I returned to Lagos, I discovered I was a different being, questioning if serving Nigeria makes you ruthless and aloof after these traumatic experience.