I wanted to be a Microbiologist. Creatures and the little miracles or sciences that made them exist were fascinating to learn about to me. So upon graduation from secondary school, I applied to study Biochemistry in LAUTECH( yes, chemistry interest me too). However, to my surprise, the school offered me admission to study Agronomy ( the Crop Production and Soil Science aspect), and just like that my destiny took a different turn.
To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of that particular discipline before, so I carried out some researches on the course, even though I knew I had another choice– to reject the offer (as if that’s logical in Nigeria) and go through the horrendous task of seeking admission the following year. I was eager to become an undergraduate, so, rejecting the offer was not an option. That canceled, I resolved that I would cross out of the department in my second year in the institution and gladly accepted the admission, but my plans changed.
You will recall I said that learning about the processes of creation and origin fascinates me, but I later discovered that pure joy for me is not from learning of the origin of man and animals, but of plants. Yes, plants, (kind of weird, right?) You know, the simple idea of covering a seed or two with earth to produce food plenty enough to feed multitude humbled me. I knew then that I would remain in the faculty of Agricultural Sciences, it seemed I had found my true love, one that seemed ideal. I would be a farmer, the kind that would be proud to get down and dirty.
I have always looked forward to my 400 Level days just like every other student of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in LAUTECH as it is the ultimate FARM YEAR. Tales had been told by our seniors about how exciting the farm year was, and we all see it has a peak that must be reached. There would be no exams in the first semester, and that was really one of the things that gave us joy about the farm year. It means no to night classes, no to sitting in confined spaces for hours of lectures. We would undergo 12 weeks of rigorous and intensive training on the farm, where we would get to practicalize everything we had been taught right from our 200 Level.
The journey to that point was not an easy one: countless tests, exams, quizzes, weekend classes, and tutorials, writing 7 exams during the course of a week while running on 14 hours of sleep, all just to qualify for the farm year. It wasn’t at all easy. I know many of my mates will agree that the farm year is one of the biggest things that will ever happen to an Agricultural Science student in LAUTECH.
After several delays, and prayer sessions, the farm list which entails the students qualified to be on the farm was released, and I was one of them. My joy was boundless, as I’m sure several of my mates can relate. It was ‘an achievement.’ I bought my farm kit, and every day during the course of the training, I wore a long green coat, a straw hat, a bag containing my rain boots, a hoe, and a cutlass, a bucket tied to the bag and a watering can in my hand. I was a complete farmer by the standard set of the faculty.
I experienced a lot during the course of the training. Some of the experience was beautiful, while others have left me with questions. The first day of the farm training was not as expected. I knew a total of one person in my group personally. One can imagine how awkward the first day at the Crop Type Collection Unit was with none of your pals in your group and when everyone around is trying to show class( you sabi as he be). Everyone stayed out of each other’s ways. We watered the vegetables, planted while observing each other and keeping to ourselves.
Naturally, with my shy and laid back nature, I wasn’t bothered. Until about 3 weeks later, when everything changed dramatically. These strangers, one after the other, became very dear friends. They became people I was excited to see every morning. The Farm Year, in its own way, has helped create lasting connections between people without any previous acquaintance. Follow me on this beautiful journey as I relate my experiences with this group of people.
Do you remember your plan to cross when you get to 200L? What went wrong?
By: Abdul Waheed Fatima (Zahra)