For many corps members’, having a CDS Project towards the end of their service year is the height of NYSC and most times, an impossible feat. However, for some others, it is not necessary as long as their alawee keeps coming in.
It suffices to say that having a Personal CDS comes with much hurdles and challenges, particularly when it is one that deviates from the norm of providing bore holes, building class rooms and providing desks.
A corps member, Badiru Kehinde with AK/17A/0918 decided to see a Personal CDS from another angle. The corps member with the Akwa Ibom Editorial CDS group has decided to do something different. In his words: When I left a place I call home in April, 2017, I had no main picture of where I was going to, how it looked like and the tales that awaited me, I took my life with all care. Like one writer said, you must face life like a mirror and keep burning like flames of fire.
I spent the night at Ikot-Ekpene and from there the story to life, impact and realities of being a youth corps member was birthed.
More than anything, writing and seeing budding writers become better have been one of my greatest passion.
More so, in the pursuit of impact on the young minds and with the desire to promoting Nigeria’s Literature, I knew I had to do this. Do what?
All plans had been thought out before the beginning of the scheme. I had hoped to have a Personal CDS Project (which some people whispered to me as impossible). In proving every impossibility wrong, I walked the streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom under the rain and in the sun (Coincidentally, that’s also a line from the NYSC Anthem). I also jumped in and out, from different taxis and Keke marwas in search of sponsors and literary enthusiasts.
Many of these tales were filled with heartbreaks. Although, there were no pieces. I had some people look in disdain without believing in the proposal I had in hand. Interestingly, I had written and reprinted the proposal about 5 times before it was finally approved by the NYSC. That could have kept me down but I kept on with it.
What had kept me inspired were these tough times. One of such was when I wrote a poem in dedication to the state’s 30th anniversary. I had hoped I would perform it but I couldn’t due to one reason or the other.
I, therefore, knew a lot had to be done. I needed to challenge the stereotypes in the community and metropolis I was. I, therefore, adopted a Personal CDS Project named “Write Now” which successfully:
1. Trained over 150 young students on the art of Writing.
2. Empowered them with different writing materials from books to pen.
3. Provided close-watch writing workshops, feedbacks as well as virtual writing aids/prompts.
4. Helped the students discover and nurture their writing prowess.
5. Revealed the various genres and elements of writing to the students.
6. Published an anthology as written by the students themselves.
Many of the poems focused on themes such as feminism, the girl-child, education, politics, motherhood, justice, corruption, leadership and lots more.
All these would not have been possible without the wonderful team of writers, poets, photographers and lovers of art that supported me in one way or the other. For many of these people, NYSC made our friendship a real-time friendship and a journey in words, rhyme and rhythm.
I will save you the stories; you can read a lot more in my full-length memoir on the service year.
About: Badiru Kehinde is a writer, poet, spoken words artiste and freelance graphics designer and brands’ identity developer. He is passionate about Literature, Design and Branding, Digital Media and Poetry.
His collection of Poetry is available via https://www.okadabooks.com/book/about/i_know_why_your_mother_cries/14808
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