. . . Discover Who You Are, Create A Niche – Fr. Martin Anusi
By Mercy Hill and Chioma Nnagbo
As part of her yearly programme to build ties, form bonds, strengthen relationships, as well as redefine young people’s perception about life, St. Camillus De Lellis Chaplaincy, Unizik, Okofia Campus, took over forty final year medical students on a three-day tour of Calabar, otherwise known as the nation’s paradise. The tour took place from 26 to 28 July 2019.
The tour, a brain child of the Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Jude Chetanna Chukwuneke, had been going on for over eight years and had achieved its aim of taking final year students within and outside Nigeria, Africa, as well as helping to build ties and inculcating values to aid young people in developing initiatives for growth outside their normal school studies.
Leading the trip were the Chaplain, Rev. Fr Jude Chetanna Chukwuneke; Fides Communications Director, Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi, and Rev. Fr. Augustine Ofoma, who works at Our Lady of Loudes Hospital, Ihiala among others.
Speaking in an interview with Fides during the tour, Fr. Chukwuneke said the tour was part of his initiative to instill in young people the act of building relationship, networking with others and exploring the world around them.
He further explained that the tour was done each year for all interested finalists as part of his vision to build young people which he started many years back through a Non-Governmental Organization called Youth Alive Development Initiative, YADI. The NGO, Fides learnt, had been running for some time, recording great successes.
He further noted that the students would be allowed to explore new places, visit historical sites and share beautiful moments and experiences among themselves.
Appreciating the priests who were on the journey with him, Fr Chukwuneke thanked in a special way, Rev. Fr Martin Anusi, for sparing time from his tight official schedule to be part of the journey. He further explained that Fr. Anusi had always been a part of the programme and had become a huge benefactor to them.
Fr Chukwuneke also commended Fr. Augustine Ofoma for facilitating the availability of buses for the journey through Fr. Gabriel Ezenwata, from Maria Immaculata; and Fr. Ugochukwu Onuorah, from Our Lady of Lourdes, Ihiala.
Speaking at a Mass during a visit to the family of one of the hosts, Sir. Mike Igbudu, Fr Martin Anusi harped on the need for young people to discover themselves, create a niche and conquer their environment. He explained that youths had in recent times lost their bearings and had not been able to make good use of their time and opportunity, thereby making society worse than it already was.
He advised people to embrace whatever they were good at and become professionals in their various trades and talents.
Fides also observed on the second day of the event that there was provision of T-shirts for all participants, with ”Youth Alive Development Initiative” crested on them.
Among those who spoke to Fides during an interview were Rev. Fr. Augustine Ofoma, who noted that it was an experience that could not be forgotten as the events during the tour had left an indelible mark of friendship, trust building as well as an awareness of self-development and realization.
He said this while recalling the homily during the mass, noting that he would improve on his approach to life.
Ogechukwu Cynthia Ikebido, a final year student of Medical Laboratory Science, UNIZIK, Okofia, Campus, expressed joy for being part of the journey. She explained that her father only approved of the journey when he found out that three police men were delegated on the journey, even as she described the experience as very outstanding.
She appreciated Fr. Martin Anusi for awarding her and her colleagues cash prizes, which, for her, had covered more than the expenses she made on the journey.
One of the tour drivers, Mr. Gabriel Ofordum, fondly called DJ Gabby, expressed joy at being part of the journey. He commended the organizers and wished that other chaplains would replicate such.
Others who spoke to Fides, including, Ngozi Agatha Ezeh and Nwanneka Sandra Okoye, said that memories of the visit would remain indelible on their minds.
Highlights of the event included a courtesy visit to friends and hosts of the group in Calabar, Mr. Effah Ojong, and Sir. Mike Igbudu, aimed at expressing gratitude for their hospitality throughout the journey.
There were also visits to tourist and historical sites, which included Tinapa, national museum, Calabar Sports Club, Drill Ranch and the Marina Resort, where the students had an ecstatic time in a boat ride.
Cash prizes were given to exceptional students, while quiz competitions, comedy, dances as well as song renditions, followed.