From the brilliant young lady who educated us on the Math of life… Read and enjoy!
They say most Nigerian students aren’t creative and I say to myself “How can they be when you don’t give them a chance to?” I mean if you let us do our thing the way we understand it, we’ll be so creative that you would have to beg us to slow down. Anyway, that’s by the way. Now, down to the issue. If I were given the opportunity of writing my IT( industrial training) report the way I wanted, I would report every detail of my experience without leaving out anything and I wouldn’t even be short of words or try to do the whole copy and paste thing from the internet and soft copy materials. You might say that’s like writing a book, my point exactly! Most people’s IT experience like mine can make up a novel. Well, I’ll try not to write one here so it doesn’t become a project for anyone reading to finish, though its going to be l-e-n-g-t-h-y, I hope you go with the flow and enjoy.
Even before the time the industrial training(IT) was to begin, I was so enthusiastic, I couldn’t even count the number of times I imagined myself in a coverall, with safety boots on and a hard cap looking like an Engineer. Just the thought of wearing all that and working in a good oil and gas company gave me one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Don’t get it twisted, not like I would love to wear and do the whole engineering routine job all my life but the thought of doing it for just six months, getting to see the equipment I read about in textbooks and lecturer’s slides, working with experts and so on, was an experience I sure was looking forward to.
So it began with searching for companies that will accept your request to undergo the training in their firms. Walking the streets of Trans Amadi ,well known as the industrial area, wasn’t funny at all but walking with friends always gave me the strength to pull through.
The first time, I went with two of my friends on a day we all agreed to go do IT space hunting. It was quite an overwhelming experience.
We started off with Weatherford which we heard was accepting IT letters. Getting there we met two security men who asked us to hand over the letters to them, Blessed and I brought out our letters which were in brown envelopes then gave it to them. Only for us to turn to Ozori, the only male with us that day, to discover he didn’t just attach his personal letter to the school’s letter but also attached copies of the following ;his school fee receipt, his spreadsheets, and two other documents I can’t place my hands on right now.
“You really mean business O! All these for IT space?” I said to him. He then told me some companies required all that and so he didn’t want to take chances.
Handing his documents over to one of the men, the other one couldn’t help but burst into laughter then he turned to us and said,
“You sure say all of una come for the same thing?”
“No sir! He is applying for a higher position” I replied
We all had a good laugh and later the men told Ozori all he needed was his application letter. The security men were nice enough to give us some hints of what we should except when we’ll be called to write the interview. After thanking them we set off to continue our journey to other companies.
We went to some known companies and we were immediately discouraged by the security men at the gate simply because we didn’t know anyone working there and so they told us it was a total waste of time to drop an application letter. Was it just me or did that moment suck like crazy. We all wondered if this was what people looking for real jobs pass through, there and then the thought of graduating and going through the stress of finding a job wasn’t interesting as it used to be in our early years in the university. Though we weren’t so successful with other companies, I kept an open and positive mind about the one place we were able to submit.
The second time, I went with only Gabriel and it was way worst than the first. I felt dehydrated and the hot sun didn’t help matters. At some point I thought I was going to faint.
Then the third and final time was a bit successful.
For the first time I felt really responsible and the fact that I was doing it all by myself made the experience fun filled and more mature.
Days,weeks and months went by and nothing positive came out of the whole stress. I tried to distract mind with other things so I don’t get to worry but no thanks to my course mates who sang “I need IT space” like a song. Getting to class or chatting with a friend the first question after exchange of pleasantries was ” How far IT?, “Gotten a space yet?” which meant there was no way I could escape from those thoughts.
Finally we all got calls from Weatherford to come write the interview. “Men its about time ! I mean what took them so long to call” I said to myself
That evening I got a call from an excited Ozori ,who couldn’t believe they finally called, to confirm if I was also called and we were both thankful for the success of our hunt.
On my way to the venue for the interview, it began to rain and of all days for me to forget my umbrella was that day. I was literally drenched by the rain. Turning to Toni who was also invited for the interview i said “After getting soaked in this rain, they had better give me this space”
Getting there, we saw lots of people which could form a community. Some were course mates, friends from different departments and other folks from different institutions. It was one of those moments when you feel you’re the only one and getting there your chin drops seeing the crowd ahead of you.
I finally wrote down my name in the attendance list after squeezing my wet self into the crowd in order to pave my way to the reception, then I had to go back to join the queue. After being embraced by the rain I was feeling cold and the last thing I wanted was to stand and wait for hours, now this part wasn’t funny but I waited anyway.
After putting myself together, I joined a course mate to revise some possible questions. Just when I thought nothing good could come out of that day, a young pretty and good looking lady walked out from a particular room to call names for the next batch. She was in charge of calling people in line for test. She wore a tiny heeled shoe, her dressing was on point and her hair long and full. She was small in statue but she spoke with so much authority that even the guys knew they had to respect themselves when she was around. She just restored my dream of being a working class lady. Now for me that was my high moment for that day.
Got to my turn and I was so thankful to God that the wait was over. Standing close to the pretty lady, all I could say with a large smile on my face was “I like your hair”, and then we were led by her to the interview room. She showed each of us which seat to sit on and then read out the rules before sharing the question papers. With the air conditioners on, I felt so cold that for a moment I thought I would freeze so I raised my hands in order for the instructors to come to my rescue. Then I heard “Jennifer what is the problem?” asked the Lady
I told her my plight and she changed my position. At that moment I felt so good, not because I wasn’t cold any longer but for the fact that she called my name, now that was another high moment for me. I’m sure if she was guy, my friends would have accused of crushing on her but thank goodness that wasn’t the case. I just admired her so much, I mean seeing someone that is as successful as I would want to be someday is always a priceless moment for me.
After the test, I felt really good and optimistic that I was going to ace it. I joined Toni and we both made our way back to school forgetting about the rain and the long hours spent in that venue.
Weeks went by and I tried so hard not to worry but the time for the training to kick off was so close.
When I heard people were been called after the test, I was even more optimistic that everything will fall into place and in no time I’ll experience what it feels to be a working class lady. I envisioned myself going back home and telling my folks about my success and that kept me going.
Finally the wait was over, I got a call from a woman and she told me she was calling from Weatherford and that she wanted to complete my database and if I was successful I’ll be contacted. After the call, my mind started running through so many things, I had a lot of questions on my mind like, “Could this mean I aced the test as I thought?” or “Was this another test?” and several other questions followed.
The end point was that it meant another round of waiting but this time I waited with so much enthusiasm, I could already see myself wearing coverall but this time a customized one,Weatherford’s, boots and a hard cap once again.
When I heard they had started calling people and I wasn’t called, disappointed was an understatement. Words couldn’t express nor explain how I felt that day. I thought of a billion things that might have gone wrong, I was so down and when I thought of the stress I went through I asked myself “Was it all worth it?”
The last thing I wanted was for my dad to get involved but at the end when I had no other hope as to which company, where and how to get my training done within the time marked out for it, I just had to call home. I even gave him a copy of my application letter in case he had anyone working in an oil and gas firm. Just as I thought, he did!
So he called me and gave me directions to a company which I was to go to in order to see the owner of the company and drop a copy of my letter with him. That should be exciting you may think but it was definitely not to me because I wanted to prove to him I could handle it on my own.
If there’s one thing i have learnt is that “No matter how you feel, get up,dress up and show up” so as usual I dressed up for this meeting, looking all corporate and smart, which covered how terrible I was feeling.
Driven by my uncle to the place, I had little or no expectation but still went with the flow and trying to know where my fate lied. We waited for close to an hour since the man we came to see went for lunch. When he came back I was signalled by the security men to come over, I did the whole signing in and was led to see him.
His office was well spaced, bright and cold. The windows wide, the tiles so white and the glassy table was amazing. There he was sitting in his seat a white fellow, plumpy and homely, did I mention he is an Indian.
So I and the gentle man who showed me the way walked forward towards him. I introduced myself to the Indian man and when I mentioned my dad’s name, he made me feel even more comfortable. He went straight to the point. He asked me when I wanted to start and how long the training was for. I gave him answers to the questions he asked and within myself I was like wow! this is even easier than the test i took for Weatherford. He then made the atmosphere a bit lighter by telling me how he got to know my father how much of a great person he is, I mean he literally sang my dad’s praises for a minute or two. Then he turned to the gentle man who had been sitting next to me all along and asked ” Mr Chinedu How much do you pay the interns again?”
The man replied “We pay them N15,000”
“Hmm make hers N25,000”. said the Indian man
I was so grateful that I didn’t know to thank him enough. Wow best news so far! All he said was when you are ready just call Mr Chinedu and he’ll prepare your appointment letter. Mr Chinedu wrote down his contact and handed it over me . I thanked the both of them before making my way out. Right there my dream of the coverall,boots and hard cap was renewed a bit.
After the fourth year first semester’s exams, the school expected students who were to undergo the industrial training to commence their training. Well they don’t care if you get a space or not , all they wanted was for you to come back after six months with a filled logbook and a technical report. Due to this effect most student end up faking companies and becoming CEOs overnight. Well you wouldn’t blame them after all “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”, maybe I should say “the tough gets creative”.
After the different disappointments I had gotten so far, nothing about the IT excited me like before but the thought of being away from school and its stress for six months. Not to talk of getting to sit in some boring classes for hours where the lecturers talk about so many things that aren’t relevant or related to the subject matter and at the end you’re asked to cover the textbook on your own. Six months break was a consolation to some extent.
Did I mention that my dad called weeks after to inform me that the company I went to was going to shut down soon and it wouldn’t be a nice if I do it there. Another set back but he assured me of getting another space.
This time I wasn’t so disappointed, I just took it in and tried to figure out my next move.
The thought of going back home and staying there for good six months was another thing I dreaded. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but I just feel people appreciate you better when they see you once in a while and also one thing was at stake “My Freedom”. Not like I do or go to extraordinary places when am in school but the feeling of being responsive to yourself, when you know you own your time like leaving and coming back any time you wanted is something I treasured dearly.
Anyways, I went back, though my return wasn’t the way I imagined it to be, it actually felt warm to be home with the hugs and kisses I got from siblings and mom, that was irreplaceable.
Staring at everyone’s eyes, I could read their thoughts.
Starting with my siblings, it was “Yay she is back! We can now eat anything we want at anytime”. For my immediate younger brother it’s always a mixed feeling “I finally have someone to talk to but she wouldn’t let me fling my stuffs anywhere I want”
For my mom, its always a sign of relief “There’s someone who I can share the workload with around here and also watch these kids when am not around”
Then for my dad, “Oh you finally decided you’ll come home, at least now you can takeover the house cleaning”
So there you have it a rundown of my life at home. No wonder why my friend Chima calls me nanny anytime he calls me on phone when am at home.
Though I get to do most of the chores and could have a degree in babysitting, home is one place I get to have peace of mind and though it could be extremely boring at times but knowing the people in it believe in me even when they don’t show it keeps me going.
On a Tuesday morning, my dad asked me to join them so he could drop me in front the next of the company he had in mind. I remained calm in the car till we got to the area where the company was and as usual he gave me a directive on who to meet and what to do then he drove off.
Went I got to the checkpoint, the security guys asked where I was going to, I told them, they pointed at the company’s gate.
I got in only to meet another set of security personnel who told me I came too early and that I had the options of going and then coming back later or wait till the person I wanted to see comes. Well I chose the latter. I just wanted to get it done with. So I stayed in the waiting room from 7:05am wondering why I came so early and trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do there. Had a lot of time to call some friends to tell them about my present situation. Of which I got responses like “An aviation company?” “Sweetie what would you be doing there?” “You wan turn pilot abi na hostess?”
At that point i could barely laugh at any joke and all I said was “This is the last option I’ve got right now”
Did I mention that the next company my dad had in mind was an “aviation company” . This idea would have been great if only I wasn’t a gas engineering student.
Not until 9:00am was I told the lady was around and I could go see her. I was given a number tag to clip on my shirt and they showed me to her office.
When I got in, I introduced myself and gave her my IT letter. She looked at it and said “We don’t do anything gas here o! ”
“Yes I know but my dad said there’s an engineering section” I replied
“Yes but it’s mostly electrical and mechanical engineering.” She informed me
“Well I can start here while I still search for another space” I replied
“Okay meet Susan, she’ll attend to you” she said pointing at a young lady in her office.
I went over to meet Susan who tried to make me feel comfortable while giving me directions on how to fill the forms and she showed me one I needed a guarantor to fill.
I was told to give my dad the guarantor form to fill then return it to them. I thanked them and left.
Reaching the checkpoint I was called by one of the security guys. I walked over to find out why he saw calling me.
“Sorry, i just want to find out what you came to do?” He asked
I began to wonder if that was part of his job description but in order for me not be rude I replied
“I came to submit IT letter”
“U wan work here?”
“Yes but its just for six months” I told him
“Oh Okay! You see you need someone who will take care of you when you start the training. Someone that will be there for you. Hope you know what am talking about. He said
Trying not to show how confused I was, I simply replied “Thank you”
Walking away I was amused at what I just heard. Don’t get me wrong not like I was looking down on his occupation but I was amazed at how everyone uses their position to try to influence other lives.
So I got into a cab to my dad’s office. I noticed I was the only one in the cab but I wasn’t bothered about that. I was more concerned with how to tell my dad I wanted to turn this one down. I was still trying to put my thoughts together when the driver all of a sudden broke the silence. He asked where exactly I was going to stop, I told him. Then he began to tell me how much money he makes ever since he stopped working in a bank and decided to go into cab driving.
I smile and said “that’s nice”.
Thinking that was over, he continued. He told me his name, his state of origin and asked for mine. I began to wonder what was happening that day, I mean can’t all these people see I wasn’t in the mood. All the same I answered him.
Getting close to my destination he said “I will like us to be friends”.
“No problem, we are already” I replied.
“Okay what I mean is that you should give me your contact so we can keep in touch” he said.
Really so that’s what all the gist was about, I thought to myself.
“No am sorry I can’t give you my number” I replied.
Before he could say jack I asked him to stop and I came down.
Got to my dad’s office and handed over the form to him and told him I didn’t think doing the training there was a good idea. Taking his eyes from the form,he turned to look at me and said
“It really doesn’t matter where you do it, so long as you get a working experience” .
“Its not like that. I have to do it in a company related to my field” I said trying to hold back the tears in my eyes.
“Do you have any other place in mind? See, the other company is going to shut down sooner or later that would have been a better option but right now its not an option” he said.
“I could learn how to use software related to what ‘m studying at least” I managed to say.
“Yes you can secure the space in the aviation company and still learn the program. Since you wouldn’t be doing much there I guess they wouldn’t mind letting you go learn it during the days you’ll be having the classes. “Short of words to say I remained quiet, I guess he had a reply to my every word. This time around it wasn’t my coverall dream that worried me but the fact that my “A” was at stake.
Luckily my mom was at home. She asked how it went and in the process of explaining to her all that went down, for the first time in two years I broke down in tears in front of my her. Then she knew it really meant a lot to me. All she did was to hold me and said “Jenny don’t worry at the end you might even gain more than those working in the industry. The company is a good one and you learning a computer skill isn’t such a bad idea”.
I went to my room feeling so downcast, like nobody in the world understood what I was going through and the only person I could turn to was God. At least He is the only one who wouldn’t give me His own opinion but just listen to my every word. To think I’ve been trying to handle this whole thing on my own. Just couldn’t figure out how got to the point of letting myself get so worked up for weeks and yet achieved nothing.
At that point all I needed was talk to God because in the end He is the only one I can ever depend on. I told Him how sorry i was for not filling Him in on what I was doing, how everything I’ve tried has failed and I was now down to the confusion zone. Also how much I needed His direction and help to fulfil His purpose because I’ve been so lost in mine. Though things didn’t change but at least I had so much peace and joy and didn’t care about where I would have been working and earning money. All I wanted was to make the best out of everything I was doing.
The next day, I went back to give the human resource department the guarantor’s form. This time I went a little later than the previous day. Even at that, I still had to wait for about 20 minutes if not 30.
I followed Susan to get the keys to the office after which we went straight to open it. While waiting for Mrs Bello the head HR personnel to arrive, Susan asked if I didn’t mind taking some pictures of her. In amusement, I said ” Why not!” She went from one pose to another and when we were done, she couldn’t make up her mind on which one to use as her Facebook profile picture. So we had to go through all of them over again to pick the perfect one. Before that day, I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed that way. When Mrs Bello arrived, we went down to business after which she told me I was going to be contacted when my reply letter from Lagos was ready.
That same week, I went with my mom to a computer school to choose which of the programs I wanted to learn. I wanted to go for PDMS but the receptionist said I needed a background knowledge on a drawing software so she suggested I learn AUTOCAD 2D & 3D first.
I began the AUTOCAD classes while waiting for the company to call me. On my first day, I discovered I was the only female in the class. It wasn’t too strange for me coming from a class of only 7 girls and the rest boys so blending in wasn’t so hard. The instructor was Mr. Sam, I perceived he should be in his late twenties or early thirties, and is very hilarious, he just has this way of making classes fun but with lots of teasing though.
After a week, Mr Sam travelled out of the country to learn a new software and after that I never got to see him again.
His space wasn’t left void as one of his former student, Mr. Olu, took over from where he stopped and it was even funnier. He even gave me a Yoruba name, Fummi, since he hardly remembered my name.
After two weeks, I got a call from the aviation company to come for my letter and inductions.
I went over to the company the next day. After the safety induction which was all about how to stay safe while working, the dos and dont’s concerning safety, I was given a reflector and a coverall but my size of boots wasn’t available.
Next I went for the human resource induction which gave me an insight about the company and later I was taken to every department and offices in the company.
From finance, to ICT, then procurement, after which ground operations, and flight operations, down to the technical department.
In the safety and quality office, I met Mr. Bola one of the funniest men around, young at heart but not young in age, free as a bird and extremely generous. When we got there the lady who was taking me round did the introduction as she did in all the offices.
“Young lady what’s your name?” asked Mr Bola
“Her is Jennifer,sir” the Lady answered
“No I don’t mean that one, I barely remember those. Tell me your village name” said Mr Bola
“Chioma” I said with a smile
“Ehen! Now you’re coming. What are you studying?” He said.
“Gas Engineering” I replied
“Wow engineering? I mean that’s great!” He said.
Turning to the Lady, Madam Peace, he asked ” So which of the departments are you putting her”
“Technical department” She replied
“Technical department? What are you going to do there? Work in the hanger?” He said laughing
“You look so fragile” He continued. Trying to prove his point, he put a calculator in my hands for me to lift.
“Look at your palms, so small. Can you even lift a screw driver?”
After all the teasing he wished me all the best.
In fact he later became my AUTOCAD student and always had a reason for not doing his assignment.
In every office same questions were asked like “what’s your name, school, course of study and where you from.”
By the time we were done the time was far spent so I thought resuming work the next day will be a better idea.
The next day I got to work early and went down to my department. I met the base maintenance manager, Engr. Kenny, who took me his office asked a few questions and then he said “Now which office do I put you?” “We have only two free office where you might fit in, the tools store and the tech library, so choose one”
“Sir you can put me in any one” I replied
“No Jennifer, I want you to make your choice” He insisted
“Okay but please can I see the two offices again?” I asked
“Alright!” He replied
Engr. Kenny and I went to the library which is closer to his office. There I met Mr. Peter and Madam Prisca who were so glad that I’d resumed work and were willing to tell me my job descriptions. Not until Mr Kenny told them I was yet to make up my mind.
Then we went to the tools store, where Mr. Emeka was and when he found out that I was yet to make up mind, he became impatient.
Seeing Mr. Emeka again wasn’t something I bargained. Did I mention I met him one of the days I went over to the HR office before I started working . We dropped from different cabs at the same time and crossed the roads almost immediately. He started asking questions and since we were both in a hurry he asked me to take his number which saved me the stress of having to go through the normal routine of saying no over and over again.
I stopped and listened as he called out his number after which we parted ways and I never called.
Never knew I was going to ever see him again and I’m sure he didn’t think I would ever be in his office.
After seeing the two offices I chose the former and stayed there throughout my IT period.
After a month in the technical library, I got used to Mr Peter’s constant music in the office which I think was to ease his mind off the stress that comes with not just work but getting to deal with people around you. His music ranged from soft and calm to loud and noisy, from old school to contemporary, I mean any genre of music you could ever think of. Most of his colleagues either came for music or for him to solve one problem or another and some had lots of complaints. He is someone I’ll describe as a workaholic. He practically never wanted to see me idle so he made sure he created work for me each day. Another thing I got to find out though he never told but his action proved it was that he trusted my judgement on so many things and sometimes he asked for my opinion on different matters. The best part was that I could bully him which made him more of a friend than a boss.
Madam Prisca on the other hand was on the lighter side when it came to work, she had time for everything. She is really knowledgeable about so many things especially about staying healthy. She gave me carrots almost everyday and had stories to tell about her exercises at the gym. Some mornings I became her mirror after she’s done drawing her eyebrows “What do you think?” she always says with a smile
I could either commend her for getting a perfect draw or ask her to adjust it a bit and she does.
She was Mr Emeka’s best friend or rather should I say gist friend.
He always had a new gist any time he came to our office. Even really personal and weird ones, he made them so open, he doesn’t care if you’re listening or not. Sometimes I wondered if some stories were true because they sounded so awkward and creepy, even thinking of them gave me the chills.
Though Mr Peter and Madam Prisca didn’t get along so well, I had my best moments with them and I’ll choose that office again and again.
If I don’t talk about the air conditioner in that office, then I’ve missed an important detail. The office was always so cold that even my sweater couldn’t handle it. I always sneaked to reduce it or sometimes if Mr. Peter chooses to pity me he tells me to reduce it. He told me the AC was always on the highest because of the books so the office doesn’t get stuffy. Well when it’s gas was reducing and it began to cool less I was the happiest person.
One day when I was alone in the office, Mr. Emeka came looking for Madam Prisca and I knew that was trouble calling. He noticed I was struggling with the cold then he said “You should get a thicker sweater. You know you’re slim and your bosses are on the big side, this AC wouldn’t have so much effect on them as it will on you. When i call you to come and eat, you’ll say no. Don’t worry when this AC sucks you dry, there’ll be nothing left of you.”
When he was done, I was speechless and freaked out then said within myself “God forbid”.
Got home after an exhausting day. After I settled down a bit, my phone rang and thank goodness it was one person I wanted to speak to, Chinenye. Someone calls her my gossip mate but I beg to differ. I feel we don’t gossip but only analyse matters and laugh out all our stress.
So I hurriedly picked the call and our conversation went this way.
Chinenye: Babe how far na?
Me: I just dey o! How’s momsi and popsi?
Chinenye: They’re fine. Am the only one with them at home and most times it’s really boring around here. Your people?
Me: Haha that word boring is everywhere you go o! They are good thanks! Hows work?
Chinenye: Work is fine. Just that its taking almost all of my time.
Me: Hmm see working class lady o! Abeg tell me how much they pay you so I can start writing list of what I want.
Chinenye: List ke! See this babe o! They don’t pay interns.
Chinenye: But someone offered to be paying me but you trust na I declined the offer.
Me: Choi see levels o!
Chinenye: Abeg leave that thing. Where are you working now?
Me: Still with that aviation company I told you about but hoping something will come up soon from those oil companies I submitted my letter to.
Chinenye: Wow that’s nice it’s way better than sitting at home and doing nothing.
Me: Hmm yeah but most times I feel I’m just wasting my time there, I can’t even fill my logbook right now because I don’t know what to write.
Chinenye: Don’t worry you’ll find something to write on.
Me: I pray I do.
Chinenye: Please tell me they pay you.
Me: For where! They don’t pay anything.
We both laughed at our present situation and then moved to a more serious matter.
Chinenye : Jenny, men around here are not smiling, from young to old.
Me: Are you just knowing welcome to reality. To think that most of them are old enough to be your father or even your grandfather is the most annoying part.
Chinenye: Seriously it is not funny over here. Someone even got suspended because of me and person who suspended him is asking me out.
Me: Mhen you be hot cake o! See serious battle of the fittest.
Chinenye: Go joor you’re the wrong person to talk to. Its really annoying, they’re making this place uncomfortable for me.
Me: Wow this is serious. Here I was thinking my side was worse but hearing what’s happening over at yours, I choose to console myself.
Chinenye: Am wondering why some men just don’t respect themselves, I mean why can’t they be faithful.
Me: My dear I really don’t know. Its the same story everywhere. Though where I am, they don’t make their advances so open, it’s more coded. Just one man that makes his open and he’s really freaking me out.
Chinenye: See fine girl things o! To be a fine girl is not easy.
Me: Are you kidding yourself? I’ve not finished dealing with the singles ones is now a semi married man, which I’m half his age, with two kids. Abeg ‘m too young to die.
When we were done laughing, we said our goodbyes. I was so glad to hear another voice outside my house ,work and AUTOCAD classes. I did a rundown of our conversation. The suspension part stuck to my memory like glue. I mean with the way the economy is going, every dime is worth fighting for. Now imagine a man who has a wife and kids going on suspension for months or even worst lose his job all because of infidelity! Seriously that’s a pity but anyways, who am I to judge anyone’s actions, only God can because He’s the only perfect one but at least we could ask for His grace to be the best we can be.
My life was like a routine, work, classes and back home. Waking up as early as 3:30am wasn’t really funny, talk less of easy. The reason being that my siblings had to go to school which I was used to but the fact that I had to resume work by 7.00am prompt was something I worked very hard to meet up with but failed. I always got to work by 7: 10am, 7:25am,7:30 am and latest 8:00am. I sincerely gave it my all but never made it before 7am and to think my logbook had a section for punctuality assessment helped matters a bit as it served as my alarm any time I felt like enjoying those early morning sleeps that comes with sweet and calm breeze.
At some point it all looked like you know what the next day held because it was same old story. Like everything was going round in circles, same faces, same way of doing the same job, same route every morning and evening, now that’s a boring life.
After two months of working I began to wonder if that is the way people who have jobs spend their lives. That’s close to not having one at all. You are robbed of quality time which can be spent with family and close friends, your potentials, and sleep. You’re stuck with a deck and a computer for the best part of your life and yet you can’t boast about keeping it forever because one day the owners might just thank you for all your services, that’s if they are polite, and tell you ain’t needed any more.
Somehow the benefits that come with a job could be so overwhelming that you don’t get to notice the adverse effects on time.
Although as an intern, it wasn’t all work and no play. I had cool moments. I got teased by my fellow interns which were all males as “the office engineer”. They always tried to get me out of my office but most of the time, I responded with a smile which simply meant I wasn’t coming out.
Any time we all got to chat, it was always great. One of them, Nosa, even has an NGO called Impactrotech, basically its about impacting our world through technology. He even gave me the opportunity to write a few articles on his website.
Then there was Fidel who never stopped to advice me on improving and trying out writing contest. He made me see so much opportunities if I decided to be a writer.
Almost everyone comes around the library for one thing or the other. The pilots and engineers are the ones who consult the manuals mostly. Speaking about pilots, they had this elegant look in their uniform. They looked so much at ease and most of them had this “the world revolves around me” attitude, always feeling so important. Well you wouldn’t blame them, their job is quite a risky one and the training they go through isn’t the same as taking driving lessons . There are some professions I really respect like doctors, pilots, astronauts, naval divers and others I can’t place my hands on right now. Not like am crazy about them, not at all. I just respect the persons, the risk and danger they face.
There were a few young pilots who came around once in a while.
I met one on my way to my office one day. He asked me my name and other normal questions and said “Anything you need just come tell me, I’ll be there for you”
I was totally blown away and lots of need started playing in my head. I mean here I was standing with someone who didn’t know me but was ready to give me anything I wanted if I asked. I felt that was so nice but recalling my mom’s statement ,
” Men can be very deceitful”, I simply smiled and replied,
” Okay sir, thank you.”
When he told to call him by his name, then I knew I had to make a run for it.
It has been said that humans have gotten so judgemental that they don’t know when someone is genuinely nice. Trust me “Its way better to be safe than sorry any time any day”.
Got into a conversation with one of them some weeks before Christmas. He came in to get some information from Mr. Peter after which he turned to me and after the normal questions like name, school, course etc.
” Why are you so quiet?” He asked
“Me? Am not. If you bring up a conversation that I can contribute to, trust me I will” I said after laughing
He tried to take me back to the first day I went to the HR office and how shy I was. I mean seriously that was my first day what did he expect.
“Looking at you I can bet you don’t party” He said
“Well it depends on what type of party” I replied
“Look you’re young and you should have fun once in a while.” He said
“What’s your definition of fun?” I asked
“Do you go clubbing?” He asked
“What would I be looking for there and besides I don’t like night outings” I replied
“That’s just our mentally over here in Nigeria. When I was schooling abroad the club is where everyone goes to ease out stress on the dancing floor.” He tried to convince me
“I heard they slip drugs into people’s drinks” I said jokingly
“Why are you being negative? It depends on the type of friends and people around you. Its just dancing. ” He said
“Yeah right! Only dancing indeed” I said
“Hey! Am not asking you to start going crazy or go extreme. Our society has become so backward that everyone hides behind religion and culture. If only we can just put religion and culture aside and just do the right thing” He said
“That is so true.” I said
“Do you have a boyfriend?” He asked
“I think that’s quite personal” I replied
” What’s personal about that? See am not asking you out. I have a fiancee though she’s not in the country and she’s very pretty.” He said
“That’s great!” I replied
He went on and on about his girlfriend and how she doesn’t like outings etc. Then his sister who was all to herself during her school days and till now hasn’t gotten a spouse because she is the churchy type. Then his friend who was very churchy in their school days that refused to settle down with a churchy guy.
“Look you aren’t even churchy compared to her, you even wear trousers and make your hair. She doesn’t. I mean she was into church but at end the guy she married is just a Sunday church goer because she didn’t want a boring home and all spiritual” He said
“Hmm really” I said
“I mean she was so happy when she went to the pool for the first time in her life with her husband” He continued
“Wow” I replied trying to keep up with the gist
“Do you swim?” He asked
“I don’t know how to” I replied
“You see what am talking about, learn to have fun” He said
“I don’t have anything against swimming I just feel uncomfortable in those swimming suits” I said
” That’s because you don’t have the perfect body. If not, you’ll flaunt it. I mean look at Kim’s. She flaunts it because she knows it perfect” He said
After our conservation, he believed he had enlightened me about having fun, I guess. I wasn’t really surprised at how raw he was because I have met rawer people. Asides from doing the right thing aspect, I found the others a bit hard to swallow. I think everyone has their own definition of fun and if clubbing was the only way to have fun, I rather give boring a huge embrace. Its nothing personal, I just don’t like it. Also i don’t think you flaunt your body because it’s perfect but because you are insecure. I mean you don’t have to show off to prove your worth, period!
Everyone always has sometime to say about you whether you like it or not. Some will see never cease to see your good side and some will always look for the bad in you, the end point is “Your Self Believe”.
After that day I continued being me, always in colourful shirts, dark coloured trousers and flat black shoes throughout my stay there. I never wore skirts or gowns which I would choose any day over trousers.
Compared to other few female interns in other departments, I was the only stereotyped one when it came to dressing. One of them always had this elegant look with her fashionable outfits, high heels and perfect make ups, I mean it literally took everything in me to believe she was still a student undergoing training.
I cared less all the same. I believe in simplicity and it works for me.
I resumed work after two if not three weeks of self given festive break. Well, I tried asking Mr Kenny, the base maintenance manager, but he practically turned my request down telling me I could only have 25th and 26th of December free and also 31st and 1st of January free. I knew explaining would only lead to more rules so I left his office thanking him for his time. Then I didn’t show up at work until that Monday.
Getting to the office, it was just Madam Prisca in there and boy! did she give me a piece of her mind. Telling me how irresponsible I acted and if this was a real job, would I leave it for some break. She went on and on and I just stood still defenceless. I saw it coming anyways and was prepared but I felt really bad for disappointing her, when she told me how she had to work alone all through the festive season since Mr. Peter went on leave.
I apologized for my action after which she informed me Mr. Kenny wanted to see me and right there I knew i was toast.
Got to his office with a lowered head and prepared to hear the worst. He told me he expected better behaviour than that from me and how I should be more accountable to them then he asked if I had anything to say and I said I was sorry and that was all. I mean I knew I had done wrong.
Asides playing the role of a punctuality prefect on me, Mr Kenny always tried to make sure I was comfortable. There were times, twice to be precise, he called me to his office and I thought I had broken some rules, only for him to tell me he wanted us to chat a bit. Then I became a bit relaxed but more curious. In those chat sessions, he always wanted to know how I was faring in the company and my office. He asked a bit about school and tells me how surprising it was that we live in the same area but he never sees me around that was all.
Things went back to normal after that day. Back to my seat, back to hearing the sounds of coopers every morning, afternoons and evenings, back to printing and typing, back to errands and checking on a few persons I get along with easily, back to several people’s gist and complains in the office , back to singing greetings like a song, you sure don’t want to be seen as a snob, and certainly back to searching for what to fill in my logbook and report to give school.
Filling my logbook and writing my IT report had been my major concern ever since i started. Someone closer than a friend, he is more like a father to me, Daddy Ben. Sometimes I feel his prayers and that of his precious wife’s preserve me. He literally never stopped calling to find out how far I’ve gone in coming up with a report. I always had a complain about it, I practically didn’t know what to write. There was no way I was going to write printing large flight manuals, updating them in the system, photocopying and spiral binding, someone even said I might open a business center. Scanning of documents and the rest and those were basically what I did in the library. All I did was paper work and trust me no engineering lecturer would like to hear that.
He kept insisting that there’s something I could write on and I should search harder.
For the first time ,I went through the soft copy books Mr Peter sent to my USB when I first came to the company. They were mostly on aviation fuel as I told him that was what I wanted and a few slides on Aircraft. I Also got lots of slides on quality control for aviation fuel from Deji who works for a company that delivers fuel to aviation companies.
I thought it would be safer reporting something closer to oil and gas and since aviation fuel was a by product of crude oil then that was the perfect topic based on the circumstance I saw myself.
It would have been perfect if the Aircraft around had engines that used aviation gas but all the same I had to make do.
I can’t thank Mr Peter and Madam Prisca enough for their support and all the times they let me leave the office in order to work with those handling the fuel. Mr Peter even introduced me to Mr Akure whom I followed a couple of times to the tank farm and pump houses in order to know how they function and also got to do fuel testing with him.
I got few lectures from Engr. ID about aircraft maintenance.
The next step was putting all the information I’ve been able to gather together and writing them down. At some point, I let fear grip me with the thoughts of if its going to be convincing enough and of course give me an A which was the essence of going through the whole stress.
The same period I resumed I joined the company’s fellowship. I really don’t know what people mean when they say someone is churchy, all I know is that I’m not churchy!
I love Jesus and that’s the only reason for going to church. Some people ask if that’s for real and I say yes. If Jesus didn’t take me so seriously I probably would have been a goner.
I don’t go to church because I’m perfect but to get fixed. Its not the church that changes us but the word we hear and “practice” that does the work.
Well, at first I didn’t take joining them serious but the not going to church most Sundays attitude in my house was one thing I couldn’t get used to. I mean for a month my folks went to church just once and the other Sundays were taken as normal days, not for any reasonable reason but they believe it’s not always about going to church but doing the right thing with God’s help. Simply they believe in personal work than collective.
At some point I got so embarrassed because “No” became my anthem any time a particular friend asked me if I went to church.
Anyways, i joined the fellowship to complement for this deficiency. There I met great persons and heard awesome sermons.
Madam Uduak whom I consider to be very classy and unique in her own way, not to talk of how beautiful and young she always looked. I wouldn’t forget the day she talked about “family” and how her father asked them when they were younger to write down the names of their friends especially their boyfriends and girlfriends. She said back then they didn’t know what he wanted to do it and that made them even more nervous. Years later they found out that he prayed concerning their list of friends, asking God to take away the bad friends from their life etc.
I asked myself how many fathers have time to pray these days, i mean everyone in a home piles up prayer points for the mothers and believe its her responsibility.
Then there was Mr. John and Mr. Igwe who never stopped talking about the “person of the holy spirit” and making positive confessions and many more.
I was the only girl in the technical department for a couple of months and then another came, Biodun. She wasn’t doing the same normal IT this time it was “on the job training( OJT )”.
At first I observed her from far, I never wanted to get too attached to one person but to be free with all. The first time she came to my office to meet Mr Peter for soft copy materials on the aircraft she was specializing on, she talked and talked. It seemed like she had an answer to everything, I felt she was just too smart and not so approachable but that was just judging a book by its cover.
My first real encounter with her was when one of the interns, Johnson, bragged to her that I could answer a question she asked him that he couldn’t. They even had a bet that if I answered the question she was going to give him a certain amount of money.
When they came that morning to the library I thought it was the usual business but this time they were acting a bit funny and then she told me they came looking for me the previous day but I wasn’t at work. Biodun wanted to ask me the question at that point but Johnson said later will be better. He waited for her to leave so he could fill me in on what the bet was all about, told me the question which was on aircraft fuel tank capacity and asked if I knew anything about it . I was very surprised.
There was Johnson ,who hardly spoke to me before then was bragging about me and his reason being that I’m studying a course related to fuel. Really!? I began to wonder what gas engineering had to do with the fuel tank capacity of aircrafts. I mean asides from aviation fuel I was writing on which I was narrowing down to what it was, how the company receives and stores it, the fuel tests and samples, I had no other idea on aircraft. So i simply said no but since he didn’t want to loose the bet he asked me to do some research before i come to there office for the question.
I laughed at what I was hearing but I knew I couldn’t disappoint Johnson who bragged about me, neither was I planning to fall my hand. I asked Mr Peter and he referred me to some manuals. I asked an engineer who came around to get some info. There I was opening books, searching online like I had an exam to write or an interview, all just to answer one question. At the appointed time they called through the intercom and so I went over to their office. When I got there, they welcomed me with smiles. Biodun finally asked me the question and I gave her all I gathered with confidence. I didn’t care if i was blabbing or not I just didn’t accept defeat. When I was done she said I tried and then she went on to educate me more on the topic.
She just has this way of explaining things to the point you can easily relate to them. Though I never got to tell her, I think she’s a great teacher.
At the end she gave me half of the money that was put on bet. There and then I knew I had found someone that would assist me in filling my logbook.
Weeks later I started consulting her on how to fill my logbook. She did lots of corrections and gave me insight on how to make it better. Asides school work, we went a bit personal and then spiritual.
It was during one of the chat times that I got to know that she had bagged two degrees already. One in an electrical engineering and the other as an aircraft engineer and both as BGS. Though she looks small, she is mightier than you think. It was always a great time with her.
I finally decided to wear the coverall given to me when I first came. It wasn’t the type I always dreamed of but it was sure funnier. It was totally hilarious. Mr Peter couldn’t stop himself from laughing, he even took some pictures of me in it.
Later on I went to Biodun’s office so she could share in the laughter and also invite her to lunch. When I got there, as I expected she burst into laughter even I couldn’t help myself.
We were still trying to decide on which of the canteens to eat in and what to eat when a friend of hers, Ifeanyi, walked in. He works as a pilot in the aviation company next to ours.
He has this jovial attitude, I thought he was quite cute and had nice eyes. He was the second person that preferred my native name to the English one. Anyways Ifeanyi and Biodun got talking. When he was done accusing her of not filling him in on her engagement, she began to ask him how he was faring and getting over something which wasn’t clear to me then.
All of a sudden he turned to me and said “Will you marry me”?
“No!” I said with confusion .
“Why?” He asked
“I don’t even know you” I replied
“You didn’t even give a chance which means there’s someone”? He said
“Not yet!” I said, a bit embarrassed.
“Hope you wouldn’t be one of those ladies who will end up saying, Lord even if its a phone call or just a flash.” He said laughing
“God forbid! you’re not serious” I replied when I understood what he meant.
He asked what we were up to and all we could say was food then he brought money and stretched it out for us to buy lunch. I knew I wasn’t going to take the money but prayed Biodun did since he was her friend and she did. Got to find out they went to the same aviation school in Zaria and they’ve been friends since then.
Ifeanyi followed Biodun and I to the canteen so we could eat though he didn’t eat he simply talked about one particular person all through. He was suffering from a heartbreak which he couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Biodun tried to tell him its just a matter of time and he’ll get over it but that only helped a little. He tried to apologize to me for making the mood sober and I told him it was alright. Biodun and I tried talking him out of thinking about it but it was only for a moment.
On our way from the canteen, there were some blocks on the way and he and Biodun jumped over them while I simply crossed over not knowing they noticed it. “Oh my God! she is such a lady. Marry me na”. He joked
“Aww she’s such a lady” Biodun chorused
Next thing I knew they were both clapping and dancing and I was so amazed at what two grown people could do outside.
I’ve never seen people who have accomplished so much yet be so down to earth. They were so free to laugh, share memories and just be themselves.
We got to the hanger( where the aircraft are kept), there the three of us talked a bit more. He told us about the church he was attending in US when he was training to be a pilot. He talked about how cute the pastor is and his beautiful family. He showed us pictures of them and we totally agreed. We said our goodbyes and he left. Biodun and I looked at the time and discovered we had spent so much time and so returned back to our different offices.
Got back to my office to see Mr. Peter in front of his computer clicking and typing just the way I left him. Sat down and the only thing I could think of was all that happened during the lunch break.
Though Ifeanyi was going through a heartbreak there was never a dull moment and for once I felt free calling a pilot by his name without adding sir or Mr.
Then something came to my mind that of all days to wear the coverall it was that day.
After that day, I looked out for him through out that week but he never came back, or maybe I never saw him. It took God’s grace to forget him.
I know what you might be thinking right now but trust me it isn’t the case, maybe a little.
I was thought men are the only ones that put women through so much pain and suffering, and how they always have a replacement if you ever turn them down but in this case it was the opposite. Here he was suffering from a break up between he and fiancée. I gathered from Biodun weeks later that he and the lady had done a traditional marriage before then.
Well, I couldn’t judge any of them, I just wished they could sort out there differences and complete their wedding plans. Yet again I think a broken relationship even though it hurts is way better than a broken marriage.
Few days for me to stop my IT, I sang it like a song to Mr. Peter who was already missing me but wouldn’t accept it. It was time to start putting things down in my logbook all the activities and work I carried out. All my activities were on fuel handling and few aircraft maintenance.
The logbook had so many spaces for diagrams and sketches of which I’m an excellent drawer from behind. I can’t sketch a car perfectly not to talk of the things I wanted to draw in my logbook. In my first year I just couldn’t wait to be done with engineering drawing. Men! did I dread that course. Now drawing was starring at me in the face and I didn’t know where to start from. Then Paul, an intern, came along and I asked him if he could draw and he said he could try and so I gave him my logbook showed him what I wanted to draw. When he returned my logbook I just couldn’t believe my eyes because it wasn’t just the trying type but a perfect one and I thanked him.
The next thing was for the company’s IT supervisor to sign and grade my performance. I thought it was going to be Engr. Kenny but it wasn’t. It was Engr. Patrick whom asides good morning and good afternoon I had never spoken to, I literally had no dealings with him. It was sort of a mixed feelings for me. Was he going to grade me based on his observations from a far? I hoped he never saw all the times I came late and all the times I was talking instead of working. All the same I walked with faith and not my shortcomings. I gave Mr Patrick my logbook and hoped desperately for the best.
When I went to pick it up the next day in his office, he gave me my logbook and an amount of money since I was going back to school soon. I was so grateful and thankful.
I returned to my office with so much anxiety. I just couldn’t wait to see what he wrote in the logbook. Finally I calmed my nerves down and opened it and it was excellent even punctuality was 98%! I practically danced for joy. I guess he never knew how grateful I was.
That was one down, three more obstacles to overcome before the final A.
On my last day at work, I went round to say goodbye to people who made my stay enjoyable.
To some it was too sudden. Especially for Mr. Paul who was disappointed I didn’t tell him early and a new intern Prince who I was just getting to know.
I got lots of good wishes, advises, prayers, cash and even a big hug from Madam Uduak. Mr Peter even bought roasted plantain and fish for Biodun and I. We ate till we were so belly wise that standing up was a problem.
Before I left finally, I had a talk with Mr. Paul. He acted like a father whose daughter was leaving home. It was funny at first but when he was done I couldn’t laugh again. He said lots of great things and at the end said see you at the top. To me that moment was priceless.
When I got home that day, I shared my joy with my mom and laughed at all the funny stuffs that happened.
Looking back from when I started and till when I finished, I guess there was a purpose for me being there and hoped I fulfilled it. I would have ended here but I think the story isn’t complete yet.
I went back to school to see my IT supervisor whom i communicated with severally via text messages trying to book an appointment with him. The humour which he used to reply the messages made me believe not all lecturers are as grumpy as we think. Reaching his office, it was locked and so I waited for an hour or two. During my wait, I tried to put my act together and also wondered how i was going to cope with school stress again.
He finally arrived and I went in to see him. I guess he wanted to make the atmosphere less tense for me so he started by telling me of a beauty pageant he watched some days back and how the girl who won looked so much like me and so he was ready to congratulate me when saw me. To be sincere I was dumbfounded because the first and only time I tried pageantry was in primary four, which I came second. I just told him I wasn’t the one and we moved on to serious matters. He asked me what I did and i told him about all the fuelling activities. He went through my logbook commended my drawings and I smiled knowing I wasn’t the one who drew them, all thanks to Paul. When he finished going through it, he graded it an A .
Now this was two down, two more to go.
Writing the report was where the bulk of the work lied. After doing lots of patching of information from different sources, I think if we were in a developed country I would be sued for patchwork plagiarism. I showed it to Noble my senior colleague who Daddy Ben recommended me to. He said it needed serious arrangement and then we worked morning and night to fix it and make it presentable. When we were done with the report it was way better than the first time and I couldn’t thank Noble enough for his willingness to help.
Later I submitted the logbook and the report to school and waited patiently for the defence day.
I wasn’t so scared of defending it but the problem was which lecturer was I going to defend it to. I hopefully prayed it would be my IT supervisor which i think I was a bit familiar with but it wasn’t so.
On the day of defence, I thought I had it all together until after the defence.
I was next to defend. I walked in not ready to accept defeat for an answer.
Then the lecturer picked up my report when he noticed it wasn’t the usual, he started with a laughter that meant “you don’t know what you’re doing”. Anyways, I didn’t let that affect me, I just stayed calm and serious. When I was done saying all I wanted to say, he asked for a particular diagram which he said he couldn’t find in my logbook. I took it from him to search for it myself and behold it wasn’t there but I wrote it’s title. Sitting in front of him I just couldn’t figure out how I missed it, but I still remained calm after which he said I could go.
Though the defence didn’t go as visualized, I found strength to laugh about it with my room mates, prayed and praised out my fears.
Months later when I saw the result my feet couldn’t carry me. I was totally overwhelmed seeing it was an “A” finally! At that point i knew it wasn’t anything i did but what God has done.
I mean when all else failed, intelligence, connections, people, my strength and all other things, God didn’t fail.
Though I couldn’t see His great plan for my life at first, everything fell into place at last. I met great people, learnt great lessons especially on taking risk and seeing possibilities in everything. At the end I believe I was at the right place.
So there you have it! If I was ever allowed to write my report the way I wanted and not what lecturers wanted to see, the above will be what it will look like. 100% creativity and 0% plagiarism.*smiles*
Article Credit: Amadi Jennifer