It was 11:23 pm that night in September 2010, when I got the message from my friend Esther, that she had checked her National Service postings and it was in a school in the Ashanti region of Ghana, but she had no intentions of doing her service in a village.
Since it was late in the night, I did not want to bother her with follow-up questions. I was finally excited that the NSS postings were out and I will be joining the workforce to contribute my quota as a fresh graduate and to serve my country, Ghana.
I was all geared up for the future and it looked so bright.
Early morning, the following day, which was a Wednesday, I quickly ran to the internet cafe to check up on my gift from NSS.
Interestingly there was no information as to where I have been posted to. Meanwhile, my dad had promised to secure a place for me in one of Ghana’s multinational mining companies, Anglogold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine.
During my 3 years of tertiary education, I had the opportunity to intern with this very mining company, so I was rest assured that being placed there would be another great opportunity for me.
I remember asking a few of my friends about their postings and some mentioned they were yet to receive their postings, so I felt mine was also being cooked as promised by my dad.
Ladies and gentlemen, after 3 days of waiting, I finally checked, and I have been posted! And guess what?
To my surprise, it was not to the supposed company I desired to do my national service, but a school in a village I had never heard of in my entire life as a Ghanaian.
That was one of the saddest moments as a young graduate. I cried my heart out that whole day. I felt so disappointed. For 3 straight days, I could not eat. My dad tried all he could to get me reposted but to no avail.
Time was gradually getting past and I had still not done my registration. One early morning, my dad sat me down and said to me; “Maame, I know you feel very disappointed. I have tried my best to get you reposted as we planned, but it hasn’t worked out.
Listen to me, for the past 3 years of your tertiary education, you got the opportunity to intern with this mining company any time you needed. Now, this is the time for someone else to get the opportunity you once had.
There is a reason why you have been posted to that village. Do not be discouraged. You have a purpose in that village and you need to go and accomplish it. Take this as a project and do it diligently.”
In fact, after that very thoughtful interaction with my dad, I had a new and different vibe. The next day, I travelled from Obuasi to Kumasi to begin my NSS registration.
Within 2 hours I was done and I had to travel to my post to familiarise myself with the environment and to determine the next step.
Oh, it was actually a school. Afrancho/Chichibon D/A primary school in the Atwima Kwahoma District, near Treboum, where Afia Kobi Girls Senior High School is located.
On the very first day of reporting to the school as national service person, I was introduced to the school kids at the morning assembly. I felt very welcomed as all the school kids kept stealing glances at me and smiling.
After the morning assembly, the headteacher, Mr Boakye, asked me to be in charge of pupils in lower primary 2, since their teacher was on maternity leave. I gladly accepted.
To my utmost dismay, I entered the class and met only 11 pupils out of 33 pupils. Well, I didn’t even know they were a class of 33 until the next day I had a full class.
Can you guess what and why the full class? Hahahahhaha… your guess is as good as mine.
So I asked them in twi (ghanaian language for asante’s); “So those of you here today, where were you yesterday?”.
In chorus, I heard “Madam wo nti na y3 ba school nd3. Y3 se madam f3f33f3 bi aba y3n school ha, anka y3n mba school.”
To wit; “You are the reason we are in school today. We were informed that we have a new and beautiful teacher, and we came to school because of you.”
This melted my heart, I got teary and remembered my dad’s words, “There is a reason you have been posted to that village. Go and change somebody’s life.”
During my service period, I realized how important education is and the only difference between you and the person next to you is “OPPORTUNITY” and “EXPOSURE”.
Although, education is every child’s right, yet if you are privileged to get a better education, count yourself blessed.
It’s been 10 years since I did my national service but I must say, it was a blessing in disguise.
During that period, I developed the spirit of empathy, I learnt to be more kind to people, I improved on my problem-solving skills, I learnt how to relate to and understand kids better. I learnt to be content and to give hope to others, I discovered my other talent, teaching and training. And most importantly I discovered I am a changemaker.
I remember 8months into my service period, I got a job offer and had to leave.
The words of Mr Boakye, the headmaster, still ring in my ears. “Genevieve, your presence in our school really made a difference.
Absenteeism on the part of school kids was reduced drastically. You even went to the extent of providing teaching and learning aids for these kids. May God bless you.”
At the end of it all, I am glad I made an impact in the lives of the kids at Afrancho village. My national service period was a great experience.
Dear fresh graduate, in case you get posted to a geographical area or an organisation you do not like, never be discouraged, it may be a blessing in disguise, embrace it as part of your life’s journey.
And if you’re done with National service and hoping for the next opportunity, get connected only on Jobberman. At any point in time, Jobberman has over 400 jobs ready to be filled by qualified professionals just like you.
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