Meet our Farmer-to-Farmer Staff! (Series)
Blessing, Driver for Winrock's F2F Program in Nigeria
This is the second installment of introductory blogs written by our wonderful field staff. Today is from our friendly driver from Nigeria!
My name is Ndah Blessing, a staff of Winrock in Nigeria since November 2011. All things being equal I should graduate with a BSc in Mass Communication by the year 2020 from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Before I joined Winrock, I worked with an international school called Global International College as the Utility and Logistics Manager. My hobbies are listening to some good music, watching football, playing table tennis and traveling. My interest in working with an international organization had always existed, so my employment with Winrock International was an answered prayer. Working and interacting with Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers in different areas of agricultural value chains has given me the opportunity to learn and become an expert of some sort in different skill areas and value chains – for instance, I have used the knowledge I have received in beekeeping to help family, friends, and members of my church to establish and manage beekeeping operations – these I do without any fee. Many times I have leveraged my fluency in the local Hausa language and stepped in to further explain lessons/ provide contexts/ names of materials, etc. during assignments.
The most interesting aspect of the job to me is when working under pressure. For example, in the summer of 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 when we had a lot of volunteers arriving almost at the same time; which meant all but one of us were traveling to support the volunteers – it went smoothly, thanks to the Country Director, Mr. Mike Bassey who prepared us and trusted us and gave us the opportunity to handle this level of responsibility. One of my most memorable moments was when I traveled with a volunteer, Mr. Bill Symons, to Kaduna to teach a group of equipment fabricators on how to fabricate a grains thresher and after the initial introduction to the host community on a Friday where everybody was in high spirit to learn, there was an incident the following Sunday resulting in the government imposing a dusk to dawn curfew and we had to remain in the hotel all through the week. An opportunity came the following weekend when the government relaxed the curfew for four hours a day to allow Muslims go to the mosque on Friday and Christians go to church on Sunday as well as allow families to replenish their supplies, the Country Director arranged for us to get fuel and for a military escort to escort us to Abuja.
For me to pull that through was the proudest and most memorable experience on the job; the reason being that at Winrock International, our volunteers, come first. Winrock International provides a one-stop shop opportunity to work and to learn, grow, make decisions, work with minimal supervision – even under work pressure because as a staff of Winrock International, there are many opportunities for you to showcase your strengths. I remain grateful to God for the opportunity given to me to work with Winrock International.