The Girl Who Found Water (Memoirs of a Corp Member)
Author: Chibuzor Miriam Azubuike
Publisher: Easy Voucher Limited Publishers, 2014
The novel is about the experiences of a Nigerian graduate during the mandatory one year of national service, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), An experience that resonates with the average Nigerian graduates. The protagonist, Miriam, recounts her experiences teaching as a fresh graduate to save up money in Lagos. Then comes the call that took her to Bauchi State as a corp member. The emotional trauma of being posted to northern Nigeria of Bauchi, where she concluded would be dream shattering, was tough.
“I will not go to Bauchi. I will never go to Bauchi” Miriam, a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Benin retorted crying. She had dreamed of either serving in the southwest or south-southern part of Nigeria where could learn foreign languages, boost her CV and build a better future for herself after the service year.
Enroute to Bauchi, she was restless; worsened by her perception of Bauchi and the post-election violence recorded earlier. She wanted to settle for any other alternative. However, in the NYSC camp, with a desire to make this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity memorable, she found herself engaging in various activities. Since she was not redeployed like other corp members who had applied, her desire kept her going.
The book captures an interesting narrative that is often neglected because of the loud echoes of insecurity caused by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria—a story of the contribution of Nigerians to make the life of their countrymen better even in the midst of crisis. It also captures themes including the nation-building question and the kind of conversation that goes on among the different ethnic groups, regions and peoples in Nigeria especially young people who know little to nothing about other parts of Nigeria, the kind that has formed the perception and responses of Nigerians to national issues.
The interesting story describes NYSC from the three-weeks camp experiences to the rest of the service year. This could serve as a go-to narrative of what NYSC is about. Reading the text will be reminiscent for a former corp member and could serve a sample for an intending corp member or anyone who wants to know about the scheme.
The Girl Who Found Water is not only simple and compelling but a personal story of the author. Her contributions to community development earned her recognitions including state honours and numerous recommendations from the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda (who wrote the foreword) being named “Lady Haske” and crowned Sarkin Aiyuka by the community of Bigi Tundunwada in Bauch state.
The book has also received several praises:
In this slim book, the fluidity of the prose is one that haunts and endears your heart to the story told within… This is a story of dignity, laced with emotional trauma and excitement. It is once, griping and appealing to the heart.
– Onyeka Nwelue
A simple message with a strong message. Chibuzor epitomizes what happens when we decide to change our community with action rather than criticism.
– Okechukwu Ofili
I find it interesting particularly as Boko Haram is making such an impact [in] the news at the moment. This interesting portrayal of place and situation was great to read.
– Sarah Odedina
This is an interesting narrative. A must read!
Featured image source: Bellanaija