Motivation Today - Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin II blog

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Never Say Die 2


Have you ever travelled on a motorcycle over a long distance, like from Lagos to Ibadan or even more? Two weeks ago I did an aggregate of 7 1/2 hour journey on a bike, and I must confess, it was an extraordinary experience.
                                                          6 of us traveling on 3 bikes.
I went to photograph a mountain where there was a volcanic eruption some months ago and to capture the impact of the catastrophe on life in the community. I wanted to bring this to the attention of the general public with a view to helping generate concern and tangible assistance for the people of the settlement. Situated in a dead-end village in Anwase, Benue State, which shares borders with Cameroon and Calabar, the mountain is surrounded by several settlements and villages of not more than 6 huts each. The roads leading to the mountain are creepily lonely. It occurred to me the possibility that even the last general elections may not have held there. Such is the almost endless and

Beautiful Anwase Mountain- photographed miles away (pix available for sale in 22x18”, 48x30” posters).
rigorous journey one has to go through – like a camel passing through the eye of a needle – to reach the village.

You must madly be in love – to visit a date in Anwase. Yet, the village, like all the others surrounding it is self-sufficient. Most of the settlers are farmers who grow yams, rice, groundnut, oil palm and pepper, while others tap palm wine. Some also breed livestock and poultry. What more do you need to have a decent meal? Unfortunately, with the contributions of this community to feeding this nation, it appears the government has turned a blind eye to the environmental plight of the people, the last volcanic eruption being the 2nd in 2 years! Lives were lost, many houses and farmlands submerged in the disasters.

In this post, I’ll share with you some of the lessons I’ll never forget about the Anwase journey:

1.       Set up a team of hungry people- Never execute an idea without the people with the requisite information. I had to source for the contact of the Punch journalist, Ozioma Ubabukoh, whose article I had read on the issue. He gave me all the scoops I needed about the community and the eruption. Next, I sought several Tiv friends who speak the language of the people. Most helpful was Mimi, an adventurer per excellence, who offered to escort me. I must also thank Nguher and Luper, her siblings who heard about the journey and showed interest. The Anyams are crazy about adventure: hiking and mountain-climbing, to say the least.

      The displaced rocks are evidence of the volcano (Here, Luper and the 2 other bikers are in the     lead, Nguher trudges at the back, while Mimi & I follow behind. I fell around here).
Honestly, I never planned to climb the mountain; I only wanted to photograph it and the community. But the hunger of my 5 team members made me climb. Hungry people feed your hunger. If you don’t want to give up on something, gather around you people of like passion. Who are your friends and mentors?

2.       Release your passion- You achieve your dreams when you release your passion. Climbing the mountain gave me an aerial view I would have missed. Every direction I pointed my lens was beautiful enough for a shot. I clicked away on the shutter and got more than I bargained for.  The tiring 5-hour bike journey was insufficient to stop me. Don’t be a spectator when you should be a player.

                                 When you're passionate, you go the extra mile to get results.
3.       Never say die- The journey from Katsina Ala to Anwase took as long as 5 hours due to some setbacks. First, 2 of the 3 bikes in our convoy had flat tyres at different times. On one of the occasions, we had to convey the bike on another bike to locate a vulcanizer in a nearby village! One of the bikes also broke down at Jato Aka.

                                                                    Bike piggy-back!
Moreover, climbing the steep mountain was like crawling to hell. I lost my balance a couple of times and pleaded with God not to take me home yet. Despite weary nerves, we all climbed and conquered the mountain. It was a life metaphor: we all climb mountains in our lives daily.  The farther we climb, the more we overcome life’s challenges. Success is for those who conquer, not those who chicken out in defeat.

4.       Know your bounds- Alas, our mountain climbing was made easier when we met a hunter on the mountain. Apart from showing us a less tedious path, he confessed that reaching the top of the mountain to see the volcanic spot was another 3-hour journey and we may not make it back till 9pm! This was around 2pm and we had climbed for an hour. Having a little conference, considering the distance and the issues we had encountered previously, we decided to descend and return to K. Ala. We had no lamp, food and water were running out and time was terribly against us. Know your bounds and if you have the wherewithal, cross them. Know the rules before you break them.

5.       Have enough rest- Interestingly; our return was unbelievably shorter- only 2.5 hours! The only stop-overs we had were to refuel our tummies and tanks. On returning to my hotel room, I took analgesic, previewed my shots and slept till the following day- a total of 12 hours! Celebrate each day’s victory with a good rest to sharpen your sword or your body will pay back.

6.       Applaud your team- Appreciate each person’s contribution. Having all my team members able to communicate in Tiv language was invaluable. Several times during the journey, they helped us find our way and get back on track, they helped us negotiate and find security. Effective communication has no substitute. My expedition would have failed 100% without Mimi, Nguher, Luper and the 2 other bike riders.

L-R: Nguher, Mimi & Luper on the mountain after the stressful climb- thanks a million guys!
After the trip, I phoned each one to know how they fared. Some of them had broken down after the journey but recovered days after. Without God, any of us could have lost his/her life.

Looking back, I savour the adventure, fun, bonding and above all, the exposure it gave me and an understanding of the cultural significance the Anyams attribute to that mountain, being central to their history as Tivs.

Life is a mountain with steeps and contours laden with risks. The point you are at is the point at which you have decided to stop momentarily. Fix your gaze on the goal and stay in the climb. Diligent hands will rule.

20 Comments:

  • Wow! what a breathtaking view! I've never been on a bike before, so to do it for 7.5 hours, sounds incredible.

    By Blogger Anya Posh, At 10 July, 2011 02:37  

  • Great Adventure bro... Should try this too sometime. Just not sure if I a that brave. Indeed life is like a mountain experience...

    -LDP

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