It’s a new year, and many of us have made resolutions, goals, and more. Whether you wrote them down or not, you have that inner excitement that this year is going to be loaded with opportunities to shine. At work, in school, in business, and in your relationships, the time will come for you to step to the plate and prove yourself. You want a management position, have you considered the added responsibilities it will come with? Do you realize you may make enemies of your former colleagues when they become your subordinates? You may not have as much time for family, or social outings as you used to. Promotion comes with sacrifices; so you must adjust your lifestyle, else you set yourself up for ridicule. The bible says, “What man begins to build but does not check that he has enough to complete the project? Lest people mock him”(paraphrased).
I hope I have not bored you, I do have a story for you. My NYSC was a very interesting one. For my non – Nigerian muses, after college, every Nigerian is required to undergo 1 year of service to the land. A kind of para military affair, there is a uniform for official events, 3 weeks camping, and then everyone is posted to a school, health centre, or industry,to work. What makes it interesting is, often, you are posted to a state where you don’t understand the language or customs of the people. I was posted to a village in Rivers state, where there was no power supply. The health centre had a generating set that was put on for 3 hours every other night. The doctor posted there before me absconded, so they decided to try a female, hoping I would not mind the lack of amenities. I was given very comfortable accommodations, a royal welcome, and so I stayed. The first thing I noticed was that no one was coming to the health centre.
I was so bored,waiting for patients who never came. They had their native healers and patent drug stores, I was not needed. One day a boy brought his girlfriend for an abortion. When I refused, that dried up the major source of income I should have had. The girls got a dilatation and curretage (D $ C), every few weeks, without a pregnancy test. They did not thank me for refusing to branch into this business. I went to the churches, market squares e.t.c. preaching that people should visit the health centre to no avail.
One night, the matron woke me at about 2 am. A young man was brought in barely conscious. He was a member of a political gang who betrayed a deadly assassin to the police. I don’t know how the rival gang found out but, they traced him to a popular hang out. He was probably celebrating his reward money with friends. They descended on him with matchets and made mincemeat of him. No inch of him was spared. Who put him on a bike that brought him from the neighbouring village, I never found out. The matron actually called me to write a referral letter, for him to be taken to the general hospital, 2 hours away by car.
I decided to examine him first. His cuts were not very deep, though multiple, he was no longer bleeding actively, he was not unconscious, and I felt we could help him. The bike rider could not take him uphill to the hospital, taxis were a rarity, especially at night; sending him away was actually condeming him to death. I told the matron to put on the generator, that we would suture the cuts. She argued for a while but finally agreed, after emphasizing that the outcome was on me.
It took 6 hours to suture all the cuts, the matron holding a lamp when the diesel got exhausted. At about 4 am, the village roused. Rumor had gone round that I was performing ” major” surgery. They gathered to watch. We didn’t have a theatre, so we were using the corridor. I was too tired to send them away. The next day, his relatives, party members and friends, descended on us. By then I was getting so much praise that I didn’t need breakfast.
“Such a small girl! You need to see how she was putting her hands into the blood, like it was water”, the eyewitnesses magnified the story, till it was legendary.
Overnight, our attendance tripled. Patients were coming from neighbouring villages, we even had to admit for days. By the time I left, the centre was bustling with activity, and I have remained friends with many of them, years later.
I told this story, to encourage you to eat that frog. This year, when opportunity comes, it will be dressed as a difficulty, an inconvenience (those who know me, know I treasure my sleep, and being woken at 2am is a no no), and there will be many nay sayers. Do you want a prosperous, victorious 2014? Get ready to step outside your comfort zone.
My mantra is, “If God asked me to do it, then it’s not a risk”. See you at the top!