FEATURE ARTICLE

Mrs. Binta IshakuTuesday, February 21, 2017
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Forwarded by: Prof. Herbert Eze

NIGERIA: A TEACHER'S FARMING EXPERIENCE DURING VACATION

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his is a long vacation story of Mrs Binta Ishaku, the Primary 3 teacher of Evangel Primary School, Mubi in Adamawa State, Nigeria. Evangel Primary School is the primary school programme of Evangel Academy, Mubi which comprises of nursery, primary, junior and senior secondary schools. The school was established in 1987.

The school vacated on the 29th of July, 2016 for the third term of 2015/016 academic year. Being involved in this programme as well, I am glad to share with others this teacher's experience during the long vacation especially on her farms.

Mrs Ishaku writes as follows: Before the closing date, I had been waiting for an opportunity to travel to Uba, a town in Borno State to check the rice farm which I planted during the mid-term break.

I left Mubi to Uba on the first of August; that day, it rained from morning till noon. Because of the rain, I could not go the farm but was able to meet some of my in-laws who were ready to follow me to the farm the following day to assist.

We left to the farm as early as possible the next day. When we got there what I saw was not like the farm I sprayed before planting. It was full of grasses that if one did not look carefully you would not see any rice.

I became discouraged and asked them to go home let's forget about the rice, but they from their experience advised me not to be discouraged that we should weed the grasses and apply fertilizer on the farm. We started the weeding immediately and within four days we finished weeding, and it was hard to believe that it was that same farm. Then the fertilizer was applied as I was told.

I had another farm where I planted maize. I was lucky when I checked it that it hadn't much grasses. I was told to apply Attrazen first before applying fertilizer, and I did so. But then, my son who accompanied me from Mubi in the trip fell sick, so we had to go back to Mubi in order to obtain money for his treatment.

The doctor said he was suffering from malaria and typhoid so he started receiving treatment immediately. I stayed with him sometime to be fully recovered, then I went back to Uba to continue with my farm.

I went straight to my maize farm together with an in-law of mine who helped me to spray the attrazen and the following day I applied fertilizer. While I was there, I was advised to plant beans even if small since it requires less labour without much expences. I thought about it and shared the idea with my husband, but he only said I should do as I wished. I planted the beans and went back to check the rice farm. I could not believe it was that same rice farm as it did wonderfully.

I came back to Mubi to have some time with my children. I prepared holiday lessons for my younger daughter who still needed my close attention especially considering her last report. She enjoyed it because she was so free to ask me questions on her difficult lessons at school. I helped her on how to join letters to form a word and how to pronounce well.

On the 26th of August, my mother in-law came to Mubi to see the doctor. She stayed in one of her son's house in Arahan- kunu; I cooked her favorite food and took to her. We stayed together and chatted until evening. When I was returning, I received a phone call from my sister- in - law that she lost her son of about 26 years old at Muva, a village after Vimtim. I thought of going to Muva that evening for the condolence ,but my husband said it should be the following morning

Since the holiday was ending, I started putting things in order. Unlike before, I started to apply my knowledge of Economics by arranging the things needed according to scale of preference. This is because the cost of everything has risen and there is no money to purchase them all. I bought the necessary things needed in the kitchen, bought exercise books, biros, sandals and socks. I took some sandals for repair since there is no money to buy new ones.

I later heard that 12th and 13th of September have been declared public holidays for the Salah break. I didn't want to waste these days so I travelled on the 12th to check my farms in the village and came back the next day 13th ready to resume at school the following day 14th September, 20016.

I must thank God for the gift of life to have seen the beginning and the end of the long vacation. I thank Him for good health, journey mercies especially for protection on the farms. I thank God on behalf of my entire family for his grace and mercies. My prayer is for God to grant us at school a wonderful session in this new academic year.

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