I cannot say exactly how it all started, but when I count some of the good things that have happened to me, being part of this great circle of friendship ranks among one of the best.
Our origins date back to 1994, to those days in Prelim Science, our first year in the University of Ibadan. I cannot now say what triggered it all, but in retrospect I think a passionate love for God was key to our coming together.
That first year in Ibadan was particularly interesting. Lectures at the Faculty Lecture Theatre (FLT) and New Lecture Theatre (NLT) and particularly, rushing from the one to the other in a bid to get good seats due to the huge number of students in the class. 7am lectures. Some of us keeping seats for some of us… tsk tsk tsk.
From that first year, some our ‘traditions’ were set. We met every Friday evening to pray. We prayed almost every Friday from that point onwards (as long as school was in session) till we graduated in 2001. Ah! We prayed. Those prayer meetings were one of the major highlights of the week for me. From pre-clinical to clinical school, from beside FLT to the University College Hospital (UCH) football field, we prayed. We realized that Medical School was a daunting challenge and survival required strength greater than any we could muster. Writing this, I am a bit overwhelmed with nostalgia. I recall some of those meetings, the singing, the prophecies, the intercession, the worship…
We dined. We had gourmet cooks amongst us and generally, we had no lack of culinary skills. Many of us (mostly the guys) could hold their very comfortable owns in that department. So, from room to room, we shared alimentary fellowship. Saturdays were devoted to these events. I cannot now recall the frequency, but it was another thing to had looked forward to from time to time. I also recall that somewhere along the line in clinical school, this particular aspect of our social lives fell by the wayside…
We studied together. We had some serious ‘eficos’ (bookworms) among us. We had regular discussion group meetings which tended to increase in intensity as the different MBBS exams reared their ugly heads.
If you are reading this, I guess you have basically realized that the majority of us are doctors.
We are Ibo, Yoruba, Itsekiri, and some we cannot directly classify. Yet, despite our cultural diversity and sometimes very obvious and strongly held differences, we have remained as one. Our diversity and level of intellect also mean we do not always agree, especially considering that it easily gets quite hot under the collar for a few of us; however, we have weathered the literal storms and are still together.
We are Nigeria and an example of how its people should live; where cultural identity does not matter, love and acceptance rules the day, looking out for one another is vital, and praying for each other is critical for survival.
We are Christian. We believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and hold Him so dear to our lives.
We believe in the sanctity of marriage; that the family is the bedrock of society; and that having homes built on the foundation of love and faith in God is vital to bringing about much desired change in society.
We are not all here though and I would like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to Dr. Samuel Adejumo. Your passing was a great pain and loss to us, but we know that you are in a much better place, and we all look forward to seeing you someday at the feet of the Master.
So many stories to tell, some experiences that may sound stranger than fiction to some people. There have been joys and there has been pain and there have also been nights under the almond tree… wink!
So, before this begins to get very boring, this is my celebration of over 20 years of dear friendship and my being thankful to God for bringing all of us together. I love you guys and you are simply the best.
As I end this, I say to us all that there is always a reason. God brought us together for a purpose, both for our collective benefit but majorly to bring glory to His name through something much bigger than us all. Selah!
PS: Funny that it took over one year to write such a short piece…. Hmmmm….