On Becoming a Man: The Fundraiser’s Diary – Part 1Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012 at 10:17 PM
By Gbenga Awomodu
“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Lowell Lundstrum
Exactly a month ago today, it was my birthday and I enjoyed accolades and well wishes from friends and fans – even though I am far from being a celebrity. I appreciate all the kind words, prayers, FB messages, twitter shout-outs, and much more. God bless you all! Today’s post is an attempt to tap the left side left of my chest and whisper to self, “All izz vell!”
At the beginning of March 2012, I wrote: “Over-analysis often leads to inertia, and inertia could send your lofty, achievable dreams to an early grave. Take charge today; take one more progressive step towards your destination. Expand your thinking and leave your comfort zone. Grab some courage.” That particular blog post was inspired by a personal struggle – in fact, it was primarily a note to self. But according to a popular saying: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Theory is easy. Let’s get practical!
Remember, I mentioned a project I had been working on for a while? If you have been to some of the interiors of Nigeria, as much as you might enjoy abundance of nature’s gifts, food and the likes, the lack of certain infrastructure soon makes you miss the urban comfort. I discovered a remote community in the Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State last January, during an Evangelism outreach as a member of the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship. We did as much as we could. Beyond preaching, we gave relief materials, provided medical services, and engaged in social activities like bathing the kids, cutting their hair, plaiting the women and girls’ hair, amongst other things. The encounter stirred up something more in our hearts and some members decided to return sometime later to attempt sustainable community development projects. Two people have built a block of three classrooms each, but much more is still needed to bring required attention to this community that lacks electricity.
Since February 2012, when I started making findings and eventually decided on how I could contribute in tangible ways, it has been quite an experience. I have been involved in raising awareness for charity in the past, even here on BellaNaija.com, but I must say I commend the efforts of those who go out of their way to speak for people who need a voice to plead their cause. Some progress is being made in my bid to ensure a primary health centre is established in the Nongov community of Buruku Local Government Area, where there is a dire need for such infrastructure. Here are some of my lessons, albeit funny.
Firstly, you may be too busy to write a beautiful, perfect prose that would move the readers enough to donate. I tell you, ‘begging’ for money is one of the hardest things you could do on earth! In the process advocating, ‘begging’ for money, paying regular visits to the project site, follow-up on letters, attending meetings, and conducting further research, there is obviously not much time left for writing such prose!
Next: Beware of the daydream. You are never more susceptible to daydreaming than when you have traversed the whole city with few or no positive responses. While you are waiting at the gallery of the legislative chambers, or the reception of that important person’s elaborate office, you might just slip into a trance. Mr. Bill Gates shakes you and hands you a cheque of XXX billion dollars to go change the world, and put an end to poverty and malaria. Someone taps your shoulder, and you realise you are not Aliko Dangote either. Even if you were, you need to stay in business… Then you go to another relevant Agency in Abuja to seek support. You get some technical support – a government-approved design, but no, “we do not give financial support in this context”, they tell you. You still smile; briefly, because the director is so kind he refunds your return expenses and even adds extra to get you something to eat. Food is the least of your worries at the moment, but you find solace in his assurance that you have a very good project idea and have done very well in articulating it in your proposal. He gives some more fatherly advice and tips on how you could still raise the required funds… As you return to your base, you lose your wallet and your ID card, but realise too late. That’s more pain!
When next you call that politician who told you to keep eyes on the dailies and ears to the ground for announcement of the 2012 state budget, he says he has breezed through it, it’s a nice project, but he doesn’t have the money. You try to plead further, whether he could give in trenches and bits to ensure progress, but you soon lose him – he cuts the call. Even when next you call him two weeks later to announce the little progress, now that the budget has been passed, he cuts the call again before the conversation takes off properly. The cloud gathers in your eyes, it’s about to rain, but you suppress the tear drops. It would not happen again – the hot tears that welled when you made your request formal at the cement factory in Gboko. Begging is painful, and you make up your mind the umpteenth time to work hard and become very wealthy and have more than enough to give. The average human is hardly satisfied, but you gave these people your word – that you would speak for them and ignite a fire in them to stand up and take their destiny in their own hands. They need this push, this big helping hand. You do not have much strength; you only have a small hand, but you grab some courage. You return to the people of the world who care enough to share the little they have with others in order to make the world a better place for all to live in. You return to your keyboard – that feature will be ready, very soon!
Photo Credits: www.goodbyetv.com
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. Follow him on Twitter: @gbengaawomodu | Gbenga’s Notebook: www.gbengaawomodu.com | Facebook Page: Gbenga Awomodu