STRANGE, by Onatunji Alex

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🌳🌳STRANGE: Comments, Email, Graduates and Successors🌳🌳
A bit long read.

Many people prayed for pleasant surprises as the month of August roll in, I am fortunate to share with you some surprises too as we round up the month today. The title shows my own perception of the surprises. I call them strange occurrences as they are not common to my routine. You may sit down to relax and enjoy!

🌳1. STRANGE Comments🌳
-“Knowing you and explaining progress and exposure forestry has afforded you to my father solely made him give me his blessing studying the largely underrated course.“_ that is from a Forestry student I have never met in person in my life.

Can someone attempting uniting thousands of Forestry students in Nigeria? my friend Sussiene as this to say – “Congratulations Alex, you did so well as a RR. You brought Nigerian forestry students together”
Another comment from my lecturer reads “Dear Alex, I must commend your effort for the job well done. Your report is amazing. We are all proud of you. Keep flying higher!” and another individual write – “Congratulations! You are quite wonderful, continue with the good work in conservation” after I shared my experiences as an IFSA official via a broadcast email.

Sometimes it is worth we share our experiences that we could be a source of inspiration unto others. David shares his encounters on the field tendering sheep to Saul before facing Goliath.
What are you sharing?

🌳2. STRANGE Email🌳
“Dear Alex, We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to attend the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit in New York City on Saturday, September 21…”
This is a strange email in my official inbox with an official United Nations in my email. How can I be selected and invited for an event I never applied for? And how can I be in the top 7% applicant of 7,000 entries? I wondered.

Unknown to me, I was nominated by an international student association I volunteered for. My lesson from this is that the world is watching and reading. Don’t try to cover what you are doing because one day it would pay off. Fortunately, I would not be able to attend the event because of short notice.

🌳3. STRANGE Forestry Graduates🌳
I was busy hypothesizing in a motivation letter that – “40% i.e. 800 of the current yearly output of 2,000 forestry graduates in Nigeria can go on to create sustainable forestry businesses that could provide about 8,000 decent jobs 5 years later contributing to SDG goals 1, 8 & 9” but just behind me I can see the a strange set of forestry graduate of 2019 from University of Ilorin.

I refer to them as strange set of students as many (between 60 – 70%) of them have launched their enterprises or go on to learn a trade immediately after their final exams while awaiting graduation ceremony. To satisfy my curiosity on what caused this, I learnt many of them maximized the 400 level PTYP period to learn a trade. From Honour who manages a blog – www.garrmusic.com, to Anu Mercy who launches Mercy Foods to ABK who owns a conglomerate of farms and printing services. One of them boasts of half a million (N500,000) Naira in investment. I wish them all success in their enterprises.

🌳 4. STRANGE Successors🌳
In the Nigeria political arena where trading blame is a regular thing among leaders and oftentimes, new leaders out rightly condemns and abandons policy and project by predecessor.

I found another narrative last night as I read the maiden edition of the University of Ilorin Forestry Students Association magazine named – “THE BAOBAB” and my successor as the Chief Editor, Erhinyodavwe Moses writes “From the birth of the idea last session, to many brainstorming sessions of what the contents of the magazine should be, to the interviews and the correspondence who gave their time to handle these interviews and also to the editing of the write ups and submissions, I am really happy that finally the BAOBAB is a reality.”

This is a thing of joy to me that someone could take the courage and determination to actualize a project and even surpass the initial goal. Congratulations to our STRANGE Successors

I hope this little experience of strange things in the month inspires someone out there and I pray we never lose our wonders (Amen).

Remember, “you can be your own Hero” in September as my Uganda friend, Amos Amanubo put in his WhatsApp about.

Alex B. Onatunji
© Choices August 31, 2019.

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