Read on as this incredible and inspiring experience of the NYSC year unfolds....
Dami's NYSC experience (Part 3)
And then God began to speak to me and show me answers that I wasn't yet ready to accept. So the first interesting thing that happened when I knew God was trying to get through to me was that I saw a movie. It was an American movie about a teacher who was in the community and dealing with children and teens. In that community, people loved him and respected him because of the impact he had and the change he brought to the community.
Interestingly, before my media career began to blossom, so to speak, or before I began to "blow", I realised that God had called me to teens and to young people. I had began to take up speaking opportunities and to mentor teens and young people. I knew it was a core part of my existence on earth . However, somewhere along the line in pursuing my media career, I had sort of pushed that somewhere and I didn't really focus on it any longer. It was now just something I had done in the past and I wasn't taking it as seriously anymore. I was more focused on building my career, getting all the accolades and awards. So when I saw the movie about the teacher, it pulled at my heart strings. It reminded me of the testimonials I had had in the past from people that had attended the programme I organised and the testimonies of changed lives. It reminded me of why I was a mentor to teens in the first place.
So I began to question my motives for wanting to be in a media house at all cost to continue to build my career. As far as I was concerned teaching for one year and then job-hunting afterwards meant I had veered from the path. How was that going to look? Career growth. Career progression. It wasn't going to be good. Those were my thoughts. I remember there was just ONE friend that had spoken to me in that time and had said "Dami, how about if you look at it this way, God is giving you a chance to be a mentor and a model to young girls for a year. There will be changes in their lives because they encountered you. Why not take up the teaching job?".
But I was having none of it because "TV girl"! So that was the first time I began to realise this might actually be what God wants me to do.
Eventually, the NYSC state Coordinator decided that she would repost me after all the pleas and me trying to get work in 3 media houses that didn't work out. So she said "Alright, I will repost you". I was glad because it would be within Benin City. Then my posting letter comes out and it's to a school but not just any school but a girls' school!
Now, the letter just had the name of the school so I didn't know it was a girls' secondary school. I already had a passion for young people at that time, especially for girls. I was on my way to the school but I didn't know my way around the city so I went to the secretariat to meet up with another corps member who was already serving in the school as her place of primary assignment. She then took me to the school to report there. I asked her what type of school it was? Was it a mixed school?
And she said it was a girls' school. I just started laughing because at that point I realised the joke was on me. Earlier on, I had said to God this year is for you and anyhow you want me to spend it I will spend it. Although somewhere at the back of my mind the "anyhow" was going to be in a media house! But God had other plans so I just laughed at that point. I remember I had felt like "God, I can give up every and any thing for you but you see this my media career? Please don't touch it". Now, I didn't know that at that point in time I had attached my sense of self-worth and my relevance to my career. So outside of that, I felt I had nothing to offer. "God, if you take this you take everything". I remember I struggled and I said to God, "I can give you everything else but don't take this thing from me". I also remember questioning God and saying if you gave me the gift of the gab, if you gave me these gifts and talents why would you then have me waste them away in a school when I can be actively pursuing a career in media and making an impact and income with it. So I was upset.
But then I realised I wasn't supposed to be a media girl. That wasn't what that year was for, that year was for people and for the lives that God would have me serve.
And so my journey to being a teacher began.
I remember getting to the school, it was one of the most popular public schools in Benin. You know what public schools can be like. This was the first time it really hit me what it was like to be in a public school. I had gone in the past to visit public schools for donation drives and a few speaking engagements but I had never actively been a part of the system. This time I got to see first-hand the lives of the girls in public schools. More saddening for me was the attitude of the staff to the girls. Although a few of them really did love their job and the girls, majority of staff didn't really care. There was mass cheating in examinations. Think of anything that could go wrong in a public school and they most likely had it there.
To Be Continued!
Catch up with Dami and all she's up to on Instagram @damibusari
Buy your copy of Memoirs of a 'Lazy Korfa' (eBook or Paperback) and read all about Tunmise's own experience of NYSC camp in Kano 17 years ago!