YALI West Africa Experience, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL WORLD – Yetunde Adenrele
I remember the day I applied for the YALI fellowship, I was on my way from Lagos State, Nigeria to Osun State for a burial. I was so determined to finish the application that I did it from start to finish on my android phone. It was pretty tough, as atimes, the internet connection would disappear, along with what I had typed and I would have to start again, but I eventually finished the application (Yippee!!). Fast forward to a few months, and I had not heard anything from YALI. For me there was no turning back though. It was either I got in or nobody did (Yelz o, we are determined like that. Applying for the second time for YALI West Africa is not beans abeg). And then that fateful day when I got the ‘Congratulations’ mail! I was so excited I screamed! At least I had something exciting to look forward to.
The days couldn’t go fast enough for me. I kept counting down the time to the programme, but there was one minor glitch…my bank account was so red, it was practically begging to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment! I kept wondering how I would make it through, but thank God, my family rallied round and funded my coming to YALI (thanks guys!!!). Oya time to find my way to ASCON, where we were to have the programme reached, and I negotiated N5000 with the cabbie, thinking it was a stone throw from my house. Na so I form big girl for the front of the cab, thinking of the adventure I would have on YALI. Ahan, we started going and we were going and we were going and we were still going and we still never reach ASCON. The cab man started making sounds ‘Eh eh’ ‘Oga o’ and was giving non-verbal cues till I told him I would add to the cab price (wia de money abeg?). Anyways, after going as far as the end of the earth (it was that far), we finally reached ASCON…phew!! It was thrilling to see the faces of other young people like me from all over West Africa who were around for the programme. The first friend I made was Mr Enoch Olaoye (the baba dey pray fire!). See me thinking I have seen a catch till he casually mentioned he is married (oh well, there are still many fishes in the river).
My time in YALI has been awesome really, I have made amazing friends! Meeting my special friends, Obinna, Ola, Chris, Seyi and Lucklene, has made the YALI experience all the more exciting. And yes, though I am in Phase 2, I am unfazed, because I have great friends, with whom I have lovely experiences. The food here is something else!!!! Ahan!! We can eat like three times within 6 hours! They can use food to punish someboldy…but we are not complaining sha! The hospitality of the ASCON staff is second to none. Our rooms are cleaned every day, along with daily supplies of tissue and bath soap. The classes are also very insightful.
So far, I have enjoyed Dr Joseph Darmoe and Dr Okechuku Amah’s classes the most. I have learned leadership skills, as well as how to improve on my emotional intelligence.
It’s just the second week, but I don’t want the weeks to go by so fast so I have started praying for the weeks to be a bit slow (yelz, I can pray about anything). My eyes are also opened o! I may just catch a ‘vision’ before I leave here. Please don’t ask what the vision is about jare, but it’s the type you should catch if you are still single (*singing* all the single ladies).
For me, being here at ASCON on the YALI program, as well as seeing my brothers and sisters from all over West Africa, has proven to me that indeed, it is a beautiful world!