Why you need to forget everything you’ve heard about Northern Nigeria!
Have you tried googling “Northern Nigeria News”? You might shudder after the search, so be prepared.
But we decided to skip Google and proceed with the ‘reality route’. Now, we can say that the “Arewa” region is stunningly beautiful, with amazing people and mad vibes! Don’t you dare doubt it! See for yourself.
Sam, a member of the ASAP team enjoying the Great North
In January this year, we travelled to Taraba and Adamawa states and found the meaning of true peace! What peace? You can’t understand till you’re walking through the arid plains of Taraba, heat sweeping around you while clean air laps at your nose. Kai, we are suffering in Lagos! Lol.
In case you don’t know, the markets in the North are vibrant and interesting
So, in July, when we heard that the MTN-led Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) was heading to Kano for the final stop of its pilot phase, we couldn’t wait to see the Grand North once more. We wanted another feel of the north but on a whole different level – fighting substance abuse!
Students of the Kano University of Science and Technology performing during the ASAP session
1 plane ride, 1 hotel stop and 1 car ride later, we arrived at the University of Science and Technology, Kano, on July 23rd, 2019. We had the whole thing planned out like we had done in Lagos, Imo, Rivers and Abuja, but the students were way ahead of us. They gave us a big surprise when they informed us that they had their own stage play to perform!
The surprise continued when the talented young ones showed us the intense dramatic piece they had whipped up on such short notice. The punch of their engaging drama? Stay away from substance abuse, it could kill you!
Powerful scenes from the Area Boy play during the ASAP Kano Roundtable discussion
Two days after, we were hit with a strong case of deja vu when we saw the Area Boy play at the Round Table session. You would think that after seeing the play 5 times, we would want to stop. But NO! Too many high points to relive.
Senior Manager, Program Implementation, MTN Foundation, Abasi-Ekong Udobang, (middle) taking a selfie with volunteers who gathered to discuss and learn about substance abuse
As the days flew past we didn’t want the ASAP sessions to end. We tried to freeze every moment possible with photos, selfies and even more selfies
Volunteers during the MTN ASAP Awareness Walk in Kano State.
By Friday, July 24th, when we all gathered for the ASAP Walk at the Kano State Secretariat, every volunteer and teammate was bubbling with energy and the desire to make the last walk count! So in spite of the blistering Kano sun, we walked an extra kilometre just because we could
After the walk, a few of us headed out to eat and saw a gorgeous monument in Sabo Bakin, that stopped us in our tracks. The structure which means the “Unity in Diversity”, had the Arewa logo inscribed on it.
Unity in Diversity… so pregnant with meaning
Oh, we loved the super-smart kids who decided that it was too much stress to walk, so they simply cycled alongside us. Now that was really smart!
It has been seven months of transforming millions of young lives across the country and what a humbling experience we’ve had.
Now, can we ask that ASAP’s 2nd phase begin already? *covers face*