Monday, May 18, 2009

Gbe, k'emi gbe

(Naija Monday Series. Theme: Teamwork)

It was hard for me to write this post.

I usually don't find it hard to write. I am the daughter of an English teacher, and my summer vacations were spent writing essay upon essay for my mom. I would ask her if I could go play downstairs with the neighbor's kids. She would ask if I had read 'all my books'. The few times I dared to say yes, she would say to sit down and write her an essay. Those were interesting days... But I digress.

Why was it so hard to write this? A simple reason: guilty conscience. I haven't been a very good part of a team I belong to of late. Of course life happens, and work happens, and travels are necessary, but guess what? Those are all excuses. So five or so different times in the past few days I sat down to pen an exposé on the amazing awesomeness of teamwork, and each time I felt incredibly like a hypocrite. "What right have you to write about this?" my conscience would ask me. Each time a slow reel consisting of the list of things that I had not yet done for N4C would begin to play, and I would put my laptop away, ashamed.

But that's not going to work. I cannot let myself get tied down by my shortcomings, and or let it suck out my energy and creative ability. I am not perfect. I recognize and acknowledge that. But I will not sit and wallow in self-pity. I will pick myself up, shake that dust off, and move on. So this is me moving on. This is the first small step towards me picking up my slack and doing my part. This is me rejoining the team... and this is part of the beauty of a team:

While I was otherwise occupied, my teammates have kept N4C going. They have researched articles of incorporation and tax laws, continued to encourage members and representatives all over the globe and co-ordinate projects. If I were doing this alone, N4C would most certainly have dropped into obscurity. But they were there - and I hope to be there for some of them in the future.

Man is a social being, but every now and then we are tempted to think we can handle our lives and projects alone. Unless it's a class project assigned to individuals, in which case collaborating can get you kicked out, I humbly submit that it's best to work with a team. It's amazing the diversity of ideas, based on all the unique individual's experiences, that each team member brings. I remember brainstorming sessions with this amazing group of people, strategy sessions with SWE in college, and staying up all night to finish projects for the organization my friends and I were charterring on campus at that time. Being in a team and contributing to a team teaches one so much about oneself - you get to see yourself through the eyes of others, you learn to compromise and admit that your ideas are not always going to be implemented exactly the way you want it, and best of all, you get to see the end product: the culmination of all your efforts, an achievement which, hopefully, if you picked the right teammates, is way better than anything you could have done by yourself.

Let's take this lesson from one individual's personal life and apply it to our lives in general and Nigeria in particular. Find a project you're passionate about. Find people who are passionate about it too and can come into agreement with you (so that you're not just going round in circles). Create a team, and actually be part of that team. I tell you, it's a beautiful thing, when done right.

Nigeria yii ti gbogbo wa ni.... Gbe, K'emi gbe
(This Nigeria belongs to all of us.... Lift her up, and I'll lift her up too).


Lerry said...

Nigeria yi ti gbogbo wa ni. Ko ma gbodo baje. Tori kosi ibo miran ti a le lo. Ajo o le da bi ile. E ja ka sowo kan ka fi mo shokan. Gbe k'emi gbe. If I butchered the song, it's probably cause i didn't consult my Yoruba teammates before writing a whole chorus in Yoruba. But then again, that goes to show the value of teammates and teamwork. Excellent post, E-y. None of us is perfect!! May we all learn to forgive ourselves and pick ourselves up whenever and however we slack. May God help us all.

Annonymous said...

I'm not even Nigerian but I am so inspired by this post.....well written!

Erere O. said...

The voice calling for change is stronger now than ever before.

It is such a great opportunity to be in a team with you and the rest of the N4C team. There are no coincidences in God's book. I join you in calling all folks who have had or are currently having this vivid dream to be in partnership with passionate people...

I will lift Nigeria with you...

(Excellently written prose...nothing short of beautiful).


"This Nigeria belongs to all of us.... Lift her up, and I'll lift her up too"

Nice one.

Thanks so much for sharing.