15 years ago, I went on this trip to a camp in Oyo state, Eruwa camp they called it. I can’t remember how long I was there but I do remember not wanting to go. I didn’t know anybody there. All my friends were going to London, America, Disney land etc and I was going to Eruwa camp in Oyo state. I was miffed. I decided I was going to stand out of the crowd; I would be aloof and not speak to anyone. Maybe, they’d say I was intolerant and unsociable and send me back home. It was a good plan so I packed up my bags and went to Eruwa camp.
That trip changed my life
On getting there, my bunk mate was so pleasant. It kills me that I can’t remember her name. But then she had lots of friends and knew almost everyone because she had been coming to the camp for a while. Contrary to my initial plan, I made friends and had the time of my life. But there was this girl called Blessing. We got along so well. It was like we were made to be friends and then we had another friend, her name was Tobi. She was in Atlantic hall; she even won the award for best dressed camper. I went back to Lagos with their address and phone numbers. Apparently they all lived together. Two weekends after I got back, my dad was tired of hearing me whine and he decided to take me to see them. Whooop! I had packed my clothes for the weekend because we had spoken over the phone and everyone had agreed that it was great.
My dad and I drove up and down Isolo road looking for the address on the paper I was given. Finally, someone directed me to a huge building that had SOS VILLAGE on it. I was confused, especially when my dad started asking me so many questions. What he wanted to know most importantly was if I really wanted to stay over under the light of the new discovery. I said yes I would, I could not imagine turning back because of that. So I called blessing and said i was outside. The gate opened and I saw them all standing there. Blessing, Tobi, my bunkmate and majority of the Eruwa campers. They all looked nervous like I was going to get in my car and turn away. For where? I got down with my bags and spent the weekend there. And that wasn’t the last time. I went back a couple of times afterwards till life got in the way.
I learned that, they hardly wear the clothes people donate because they are mostly worn out, threadbare and shabby. They have sponsors that come in and as opposed to adopting a child (which is prohibited in SOS ), they sponsor the child, pay some money for his or her upkeep weekly or monthly, pay their fees, get them clothes etc, So some kids get lucky and have sponsors send them to expensive schools, and others not so much. Most of my SOS pals are happy and don’t care to know who their real parents are.
A few years later when I started working in an AD agency, there was this one guy there who looked familiar; he was Tobis brother from the home. I felt so nostalgic seeing him. He was my boss. I never told him, but I was super proud of him.
It has all made me see life differently.
I will never be the one to judge people by who they are, where they come from or what they have or don’t have. I judge people based on how they treat me.
Ms Ssygala, is the mother of two rambunctious kids and blogging is her last line to sanity
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