Pages

Sosial media

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"
FROM BURUKU WITH LOVE (CENSUS 2006)
.............So this is how the census went
Day 1
FIRST CONTACT
We got into buruku on day 2 of the census at about 9 a.m. We dropped our things at the Yula guest inn and immediately went in search of the coordinator (we were told that he was at a school which was distribution point for all materials for buruku). We met the coordinator and he immediately assigned us to our different S.A.s I got one S.A. comprising six E.A.s. he informed us that in our absence he had taken the liberty of assigning the different E.A.s to the enumerators and that they were already in the field. Therefore, we had to go to the field to try to locate our individual enumerators. Luckily, one of the enumerators assigned to me was at the school so he offered to show me round my S.A. so I could see the others and get to know them.
Under the hot buruku sun (its hotter here) I went in search of my team. We walked and walked but we could not locate any of them. Therefore, we went back to the school, where I met the seriki of my S.A. waiting to see me so he could lodge his complaint with me. According to him most of the people in his domain had not been counted neither had their houses been numbered. He spoke through an interpreter but his anger was apparent. I slowly began to realize the enormity of the job I had just started. It seemed that most if not all my enumerators could not read the maps correctly and had been doing what they wished. It took me the all day to find them, gather them together, go through the maps one by one, and reassign all of them.
Those that had started enumeration had filled the forms so badly that I had to re-issue new forms . One of them threw a tantrum ( a full fledged feet stamping one) at the prospect of re -enumerating again. I had to psyche her and plead with her before she agreed to do it again. By the time I had waded through the fine mess they had made it was already evening I was hungry, dusty and tired. All I needed was a cold shower, a meal and a bed. I went back to the guest inn and met another drama the supervisors were threatening to riot because the secretary to the district head had not arranged for our feeding and accommodation. He finally showed up at about 7 p.m. full of apologies he psyched us, paid us , arranged for the accommodation and bought us suya.
Then I was finally able to get my Shower, meal and bed (all in that order).

Day 2

SUFABISOR
How do you divide six E.A.s between five pairs of enumerators? That’s census math for u. I had 10 enumerators (later, I was given an additional 6) three males and seven females and they had to be assigned in pairs. I decided to give the last E.A. to whoever finished first(i didn't tell them though so they wouldn't rebel).
There's a serious shortage of materials. The coordinator has promised to try and get some . So we wait and wait under the sweltering sun. We finally took refuge under a big tree in the school compound (the classrooms are locked). I had to ration the little materials i had. My team kept coming back with all manners of complaints : sufabisor them no let us count them o , sufabisor them no want thumfrint, sufabisor the "porms" is "pinished" and on and on they went.
The heads of the individual e.a.s (they are called mai ungwar) were not left out, they all wanted a piece of the sufabisors : madam ba karatu gida ba karatu( they've not numberd our houses, and weve not been counted) , one even called me inbigilator(invigilator) all day long all we did was talk , pacify and talk some more for them to exercise a little patience. I must have finished all the little hausa i understood. Thank God for interpreters.
Later in the evening as we (supervisors) sat together in front of the guest house as we normally did, some truck drivers came up to us and asked to be enumerated as they didn't know when they would get home. They were from ibadan and it was refreshing talking to them. They made us laugh with the answers they gave. There and then i realised the difference between the average southerner and northerner. For example even though they were uneducated they knew how old they were , they knew their LGA and seemed aware of happenings around them unlike the average buruku man who didn't know his own age.

Day 3
The sun seems to be hotter today. I feel like im in a microwave . I enumerated the district head today. He is uneducated but i hear that he's a billionaire (he's into haulage and has a huge fleet of trucks). He seems intelligent but he is illiterate. His secretary swindles him because he(the secretary) is slightly educated. his billions do not reflect in buruku though. Buruku has only one school (the primary school holds in the mornings and the secondary school holds in the afternoon) , it has only two or three bore holes so most people drink well water or pure water which is brought from town.How sad.
Due to the terribly hot sun i asked the seriki of my E.A. for money so that i could get drinks for the members of my team and he gave me the grand sum of two hundred and thirty naira. All i could get was pure water and biscuits. I decided to do this everyday.

Day 4

On Saturday, which was supposed to be the last day of the census, the coordinator assigned four more e.a.s and four new enumerators to me. Although we had heard rumors that the census might be extended I did not take kindly to the extra workload. I had enough problems already most of my team had not finished enumerating and there were no materials for them to work with. Any way I just had to since every one else had two some even three S.A.s .
I met with the enumerators an old man, two married women (from same husband although only one showed up) and a young guy (probably a school cert holder). And I realized then that I had taken more than I could possibly manage . Of the two teams only the men knew what to do. The woman that showed up could write well and didn’t know how to enumerate (I doubted if she could even read at the time) and the other woman simply did not show up. My God wahala.
I asked the old man how he had been coping and he told me that he normally stood outside while she would go inside ask the questions then come outside to tell him then he in turn would write them down then she would then go back and take their thumbprints. Due to this fact, they had only managed to cover one of their E.A.s.
So I decided to join them to make it faster. We would go in together and she would act as an interpreter. We agreed to start the next day. I became the butt of other supervisors' jokes they even gave me a name (Sufabisor enumerator).


Day 5
ENUMERATOR
I started enumerating the E.A. today and I have been shocked beyond words by what I’ve seen. Just when I think there can’t be any other situation worse than this I’m rudely hit with something much worse. At the first house we entered we met a woman who had given birth thirteen times and only had five boys to show for it. She did not know how old her children were and none of them attended school. Their poverty is evident in their surroundings: mud walls threatening to collapse, dirt floors, and kids with swollen bellies, torn tattered clothing, it almost made me cry.
At the next household the situation was no better A young man probably eighteen or twenty at the most with a young wife probably thirteen or fourteen (they both don’t know their ages so we had to guess) with two children a one year old girl and a two day old baby. Next household was a little better wife was a tailor, she knew how old she was and she could speak English but the husband was a farmer and so ba turenchi (no English) by household five I almost couldn’t control my emotions (anger, wonder, pity ) I had to sit and try to calm my self .
In household five I get the rudest shock of my life. Head of household had five sons; the five sons had one wife each. The wives’ looked like little girls who had been playing with mummy’s makeup. Four of them had one child each. They didn’t know how old they were but I guess their age range was between fourteen and sixteen I was immune to that by now we asked for the wife of the fifth son and they said she was the amariya (New wife) it took a lot of begging by my interpreter before we were allowed to see her . When they brought her out I was shell-shocked she couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve thirteen at best. She looked sickly and when I asked what was wrong they all burst out laughing. My interpreter explained to me that she was pregnant I was stunned. My eyes smarted and for a minute I thought I would loose it right there. Which kind of maniac would have sex with this child? I had to take a minute to compose myself before I could ask her any questions.
The subsequent households were the same as five except for household fourteen where the head of the household had four wives and didn’t know how many children he had ( he had twenty- six, no birth control here) it took like three hours to enumerate his household .
In household fifteen I met a woman had given birth fifteen times but only had three daughters to show for it. Her husband had married three other wives and it seemed to me like she was bitter about it. She looked fifty but she had a one-year-old daughter (she was the most beautiful child I had seen in all buruku). Even the squalor of her surroundings did nothing to tarnish her angelic beauty. I ask her mother if she goes to school and she said no. I sat with her mother for a while and try to encourage her to send this beauty to school she grudgingly agrees (probably to get me off her back) and I sowed a brand new pencil into Miriam’s life.
I walked back to the guesthouse, my mind is a riot of emotions and I feel so privileged to have been born in the south.
Day 6

We quickly round up with the last E.A. and just as I’m about to say thank God its over I get another terrible shock at the last two houses. For the first time in my whole life, I see a child that has kwashiorkor. It’s a terrible sight. His mother’s mother was taking care of him. We asked her if he has been taken to the hospital but she says babu (no). What have you been giving him then? We asked and she answered mastina (maltina) and alheri (Ugwu).
Once again I leave the household with my mouth hanging open and my mind reeling.
As we made our way back we (he two enumerators and I), got talking the lady told me that poverty , ignorance and a terrible culture was the reason for all these things. So I asked why the district head doesn’t do something about it and she replies “the man is not educated so how can he know the benefits of education” I didn’t have any answer to that one.

Day 7

Corrections, Corrections, and more Corrections

All E.A.s have been covered (most of it anyway) and most of the enumerators have started submitting their documents. The mistakes are enormous; one enumerator (not mine) actually forgot to take thumbprints. When his supervisor brought it to his attention he went Ina zu wa (ill be back) and came back two minutes later this time the form had eight thumbprints (the household had four members) by now the supervisor was yelling and he went back and bingo the members household had increased to eight. He had apparently put his thumbprints in all the spaces and created fictitious names when he realized his mistake. All day I corrected and re corrected only to have them go back and make the same mistake over again.One of my enumerators said to me "madam walahi talahi this work i bery hard she is not easy, the feffle they are not cofrate"and when i laughed at him he said " madam the hausa man is not know how to dippretiate between fee(p),eph(F) and b(v)"
By evening the summary forms looked like rough and dirty.In the end I just collected the forms and hoped for the best. Then I began the extra wahala of signing the forms, while making corrections. I had asked them to write my name , number and initials on the forms to make my job easier but i didn't sleep until it was almost dawn. I must have signed over a thousand forms because I had ten e.a.s my bottom was numb.
Day 8
THE ECLIPSE
I woke up late cos i didn't get any sleep until dawn. I arranged the forms according to e.a.s and just as i finshed i heard shouts from outside. We all went out and saw that the sun was slowly loosing its brillance. Then it hit me it was the eclipse!!! i ran inside and grabbed my phone and took some pictures of it as it happened. The people were pointing at the sun and someone said that the school had closed. Though most of the people didn't know what was happening they didn't really panic they just exclaimed allahu akbar (God is great). Someone adviced us to look at it in a bowl of water and it was a magnificient sight. Buruku experienced a near total eclipse (it looked like it was late in the evening ) and im so happy that i experienced it .
In like fifteen minutes it was over and the sun returned to its usual brilliance. I Finally submitted the forms to the coordinator , packed my bags and we left buruku. On the way back even though i was fagged i felt happy. I had experienced the eclipse, i had served my fatherland, and i had had the chance to see how the other half lived.
"
FROM BURUKU WITH LOVE (CENSUS 2006)
.............So this is how the census went
Day 1
FIRST CONTACT
We got into buruku on day 2 of the census at about 9 a.m. We dropped our things at the Yula guest inn and immediately went in search of the coordinator (we were told that he was at a school which was distribution point for all materials for buruku). We met the coordinator and he immediately assigned us to our different S.A.s I got one S.A. comprising six E.A.s. he informed us that in our absence he had taken the liberty of assigning the different E.A.s to the enumerators and that they were already in the field. Therefore, we had to go to the field to try to locate our individual enumerators. Luckily, one of the enumerators assigned to me was at the school so he offered to show me round my S.A. so I could see the others and get to know them.
Under the hot buruku sun (its hotter here) I went in search of my team. We walked and walked but we could not locate any of them. Therefore, we went back to the school, where I met the seriki of my S.A. waiting to see me so he could lodge his complaint with me. According to him most of the people in his domain had not been counted neither had their houses been numbered. He spoke through an interpreter but his anger was apparent. I slowly began to realize the enormity of the job I had just started. It seemed that most if not all my enumerators could not read the maps correctly and had been doing what they wished. It took me the all day to find them, gather them together, go through the maps one by one, and reassign all of them.
Those that had started enumeration had filled the forms so badly that I had to re-issue new forms . One of them threw a tantrum ( a full fledged feet stamping one) at the prospect of re -enumerating again. I had to psyche her and plead with her before she agreed to do it again. By the time I had waded through the fine mess they had made it was already evening I was hungry, dusty and tired. All I needed was a cold shower, a meal and a bed. I went back to the guest inn and met another drama the supervisors were threatening to riot because the secretary to the district head had not arranged for our feeding and accommodation. He finally showed up at about 7 p.m. full of apologies he psyched us, paid us , arranged for the accommodation and bought us suya.
Then I was finally able to get my Shower, meal and bed (all in that order).

Day 2

SUFABISOR
How do you divide six E.A.s between five pairs of enumerators? That’s census math for u. I had 10 enumerators (later, I was given an additional 6) three males and seven females and they had to be assigned in pairs. I decided to give the last E.A. to whoever finished first(i didn't tell them though so they wouldn't rebel).
There's a serious shortage of materials. The coordinator has promised to try and get some . So we wait and wait under the sweltering sun. We finally took refuge under a big tree in the school compound (the classrooms are locked). I had to ration the little materials i had. My team kept coming back with all manners of complaints : sufabisor them no let us count them o , sufabisor them no want thumfrint, sufabisor the "porms" is "pinished" and on and on they went.
The heads of the individual e.a.s (they are called mai ungwar) were not left out, they all wanted a piece of the sufabisors : madam ba karatu gida ba karatu( they've not numberd our houses, and weve not been counted) , one even called me inbigilator(invigilator) all day long all we did was talk , pacify and talk some more for them to exercise a little patience. I must have finished all the little hausa i understood. Thank God for interpreters.
Later in the evening as we (supervisors) sat together in front of the guest house as we normally did, some truck drivers came up to us and asked to be enumerated as they didn't know when they would get home. They were from ibadan and it was refreshing talking to them. They made us laugh with the answers they gave. There and then i realised the difference between the average southerner and northerner. For example even though they were uneducated they knew how old they were , they knew their LGA and seemed aware of happenings around them unlike the average buruku man who didn't know his own age.

Day 3
The sun seems to be hotter today. I feel like im in a microwave . I enumerated the district head today. He is uneducated but i hear that he's a billionaire (he's into haulage and has a huge fleet of trucks). He seems intelligent but he is illiterate. His secretary swindles him because he(the secretary) is slightly educated. his billions do not reflect in buruku though. Buruku has only one school (the primary school holds in the mornings and the secondary school holds in the afternoon) , it has only two or three bore holes so most people drink well water or pure water which is brought from town.How sad.
Due to the terribly hot sun i asked the seriki of my E.A. for money so that i could get drinks for the members of my team and he gave me the grand sum of two hundred and thirty naira. All i could get was pure water and biscuits. I decided to do this everyday.

Day 4

On Saturday, which was supposed to be the last day of the census, the coordinator assigned four more e.a.s and four new enumerators to me. Although we had heard rumors that the census might be extended I did not take kindly to the extra workload. I had enough problems already most of my team had not finished enumerating and there were no materials for them to work with. Any way I just had to since every one else had two some even three S.A.s .
I met with the enumerators an old man, two married women (from same husband although only one showed up) and a young guy (probably a school cert holder). And I realized then that I had taken more than I could possibly manage . Of the two teams only the men knew what to do. The woman that showed up could write well and didn’t know how to enumerate (I doubted if she could even read at the time) and the other woman simply did not show up. My God wahala.
I asked the old man how he had been coping and he told me that he normally stood outside while she would go inside ask the questions then come outside to tell him then he in turn would write them down then she would then go back and take their thumbprints. Due to this fact, they had only managed to cover one of their E.A.s.
So I decided to join them to make it faster. We would go in together and she would act as an interpreter. We agreed to start the next day. I became the butt of other supervisors' jokes they even gave me a name (Sufabisor enumerator).


Day 5
ENUMERATOR
I started enumerating the E.A. today and I have been shocked beyond words by what I’ve seen. Just when I think there can’t be any other situation worse than this I’m rudely hit with something much worse. At the first house we entered we met a woman who had given birth thirteen times and only had five boys to show for it. She did not know how old her children were and none of them attended school. Their poverty is evident in their surroundings: mud walls threatening to collapse, dirt floors, and kids with swollen bellies, torn tattered clothing, it almost made me cry.
At the next household the situation was no better A young man probably eighteen or twenty at the most with a young wife probably thirteen or fourteen (they both don’t know their ages so we had to guess) with two children a one year old girl and a two day old baby. Next household was a little better wife was a tailor, she knew how old she was and she could speak English but the husband was a farmer and so ba turenchi (no English) by household five I almost couldn’t control my emotions (anger, wonder, pity ) I had to sit and try to calm my self .
In household five I get the rudest shock of my life. Head of household had five sons; the five sons had one wife each. The wives’ looked like little girls who had been playing with mummy’s makeup. Four of them had one child each. They didn’t know how old they were but I guess their age range was between fourteen and sixteen I was immune to that by now we asked for the wife of the fifth son and they said she was the amariya (New wife) it took a lot of begging by my interpreter before we were allowed to see her . When they brought her out I was shell-shocked she couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve thirteen at best. She looked sickly and when I asked what was wrong they all burst out laughing. My interpreter explained to me that she was pregnant I was stunned. My eyes smarted and for a minute I thought I would loose it right there. Which kind of maniac would have sex with this child? I had to take a minute to compose myself before I could ask her any questions.
The subsequent households were the same as five except for household fourteen where the head of the household had four wives and didn’t know how many children he had ( he had twenty- six, no birth control here) it took like three hours to enumerate his household .
In household fifteen I met a woman had given birth fifteen times but only had three daughters to show for it. Her husband had married three other wives and it seemed to me like she was bitter about it. She looked fifty but she had a one-year-old daughter (she was the most beautiful child I had seen in all buruku). Even the squalor of her surroundings did nothing to tarnish her angelic beauty. I ask her mother if she goes to school and she said no. I sat with her mother for a while and try to encourage her to send this beauty to school she grudgingly agrees (probably to get me off her back) and I sowed a brand new pencil into Miriam’s life.
I walked back to the guesthouse, my mind is a riot of emotions and I feel so privileged to have been born in the south.
Day 6

We quickly round up with the last E.A. and just as I’m about to say thank God its over I get another terrible shock at the last two houses. For the first time in my whole life, I see a child that has kwashiorkor. It’s a terrible sight. His mother’s mother was taking care of him. We asked her if he has been taken to the hospital but she says babu (no). What have you been giving him then? We asked and she answered mastina (maltina) and alheri (Ugwu).
Once again I leave the household with my mouth hanging open and my mind reeling.
As we made our way back we (he two enumerators and I), got talking the lady told me that poverty , ignorance and a terrible culture was the reason for all these things. So I asked why the district head doesn’t do something about it and she replies “the man is not educated so how can he know the benefits of education” I didn’t have any answer to that one.

Day 7

Corrections, Corrections, and more Corrections

All E.A.s have been covered (most of it anyway) and most of the enumerators have started submitting their documents. The mistakes are enormous; one enumerator (not mine) actually forgot to take thumbprints. When his supervisor brought it to his attention he went Ina zu wa (ill be back) and came back two minutes later this time the form had eight thumbprints (the household had four members) by now the supervisor was yelling and he went back and bingo the members household had increased to eight. He had apparently put his thumbprints in all the spaces and created fictitious names when he realized his mistake. All day I corrected and re corrected only to have them go back and make the same mistake over again.One of my enumerators said to me "madam walahi talahi this work i bery hard she is not easy, the feffle they are not cofrate"and when i laughed at him he said " madam the hausa man is not know how to dippretiate between fee(p),eph(F) and b(v)"
By evening the summary forms looked like rough and dirty.In the end I just collected the forms and hoped for the best. Then I began the extra wahala of signing the forms, while making corrections. I had asked them to write my name , number and initials on the forms to make my job easier but i didn't sleep until it was almost dawn. I must have signed over a thousand forms because I had ten e.a.s my bottom was numb.
Day 8
THE ECLIPSE
I woke up late cos i didn't get any sleep until dawn. I arranged the forms according to e.a.s and just as i finshed i heard shouts from outside. We all went out and saw that the sun was slowly loosing its brillance. Then it hit me it was the eclipse!!! i ran inside and grabbed my phone and took some pictures of it as it happened. The people were pointing at the sun and someone said that the school had closed. Though most of the people didn't know what was happening they didn't really panic they just exclaimed allahu akbar (God is great). Someone adviced us to look at it in a bowl of water and it was a magnificient sight. Buruku experienced a near total eclipse (it looked like it was late in the evening ) and im so happy that i experienced it .
In like fifteen minutes it was over and the sun returned to its usual brilliance. I Finally submitted the forms to the coordinator , packed my bags and we left buruku. On the way back even though i was fagged i felt happy. I had experienced the eclipse, i had served my fatherland, and i had had the chance to see how the other half lived.

5 comments:

Pilgrimage to Self said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi there,

just a gentle reminder that today is the deadline for your 'Letter to My Younger Self'. Once it's published, please leave a comment on my blog to let me know. :-)

TRAE said... Best Blogger Tips

such a pity, the North is trully backwards. i know alot of people who served up North plus My friend is presently serving in Zamfara so i can relate with what you're saying. the key to positive change is education and literacy.

i really think it's about time that Nigerians are striclty limited to having a maximum of 4 kids (a la the Chinese style). since we can't help ourselves let the law help us. nice blog by the way. one!

somborri said... Best Blogger Tips

@trae....there is a law like that sort of...if you have more than four kids you pay extra tax...i think that this law should be more enforced because forcing ppl to have more kids is not the way go at all. so ppl should be paying extra extra extra tax. there is of course the problem of tax evasion. also if we can knock some family planning sense into these women,i dont know anyone who likes to be preggers 13 times, maybe something will work

Adunni said... Best Blogger Tips

@trae and somborri
The worst thing that could happen to anyone is to be a female born in the north. It'll take much more than a law or taxes to keep a woman from getting pregnant 13,15 times. Here even the "educated" people marry off their daughters young (18,19)i have at least three friends who are also corpers and they all got married at 18. It'll take a revolution for those kinds of practices to be stopped b'cos they are deeply rooted in religion and they feed on the average northerner's hatred for anything western hence the high level of illiteracy especially in females.
Indeed it will take the women themselves standing up and saying "we don't want this and we want change" we can only hope that this will happen soon.

albibie said... Best Blogger Tips

I schooled in the north - Jos - and yes!, I saw alot that could really make you wonder like..."what could a 60 year old man possibly want from a 13 year old girl" But thats the reality over there apart from the level of illiteracy. Reading your blog brought back all those memories and more. I wish you'd publish it or something. Apart from the fact that you captured it so well, these are issues that must be publicly addressed sooner than later.