In the Spirit of Throwback Thursday: The Transformation.

The phrase “Life is good” took on a whole new meaning for me after I had the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Training, Shere hills, Jos.
My tenth grade class was chosen by the management and staff of the British Nigerian Academy (BNA), Abuja, to attend the leadership training- the words ‘character’ and ‘discipline’ were used extensively.
With thoughts of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and yes… Moses on our minds, we embarked on our four-hour journey from Abuja to Jos.
Perhaps, the bone-jolting, stomach-churning, pothole jarring car ride should have been a harbinger of what was to follow; the compound looked like nothing we had fantasized about. The images of a well-appointed air-conditioned facility were quickly extinguished and replaced by the stark reality of archaic run-down buildings on an alternately grassy and sandy plot of land. The rooms were poorly furnished with floors littered with pot-holes of varying sizes, but… I digress.
Our luggage was removed from the bus and deposited in the ‘executive’ hall where we received a warm welcome that assuaged our misgivings, and helped us relax.
Suddenly, with a voice reminiscent of a crack of thunder, we were instructed to carry our luggage on our heads to the gate- a fairly long distance and back again, made me question the wisdom of my packing all that I had considered “necessary” that now contributed to the deadweight that was my suitcase. It quickly became apparent that Darwinism would prevail.
We were wakened on our first day of training by a gong reminiscent of Enter the Dragon, for our 5am jogging session followed by a grueling and humbling obstacle course. Our days were filled with various activities: assault and obstacle courses, news casting (not in anticipation of a job on the View but to build confidence), parachute jumps, camp craft, map work, endurance treks,plateau scheme, handicap football matches, rock climbing, abseiling, and rafting, broken up by short briefings, minute breaks, lunch, a cat nap, sports and finally, dinner.
In a particularly grueling session, my team got lost in the woods and although the ‘Blair Witch Project’ came up as a part of casual conversation, surprisingly, we did not panic. As a team we took stock of the situation and determined that the best solution was to retrace our steps until we got back on track.
Despite the fact that there were many moments when I wondered “Is there an app for that?”, the experience helped me master my fears, enhanced my confidence and self esteem and increased my appreciation for what I have. I also learned that “luxury” is relative and developed the ability to cope with inconveniences. At home, my family commented on my “10 Day Transformation” complimenting me on my positive behavioral changes and increased maturity.
I found an inner strength and appreciation for the mantra “the standard measure of a child is not how he lives in comfort and luxury but how he is able to deal with inconveniences.”


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