The teens took in their surroundings as the city pulsed with activity around them. They stretched their necks back to look up at the tall buildings, moving slowly so as not to miss anything and to avoid entering traffic. The Transitions Program Students were in Abuja, Nigeria, but it felt like they were in a different world.
Last year, Nigeria launched the Transitions Program for the teens they serve. This is an opportunity for students who’ve graduated from the Hope Program and are taking their next steps as young adults in the world. One of the key components is to offer new experiences and opportunities to test their independence, problem solving skills, and maturity. Recently, the Transitions Students, along with adult chaperones, visited Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. This was a first trip out of their own state for most of the teens, and they all agreed it was like a different world. Abuja is a relatively modern city, with expressways, tall buildings, street lights, and shopping malls. For most of the teens, this was the first time they’d seen anything like a bustling city.
Working as a team, the teens had to figure out public transportation, how to check in at a hotel, where to eat, and how to get around the city. Adult chaperones were nearby, just in case, but the teens were encouraged to take these exercises seriously and to practice their critical thinking and independence. Each teen was given a budget for the day and encouraged to manage their funds well, and at the end of the day, each teen successfully handled every challenge and desired to stay longer.
While this is the first trip of this type, it will not be the last. The teens were asked their thoughts after the trip. Patience shared, “Abuja is a beautiful place and things there are very expensive.” Edmund, another Transitions Student, seconded Patience’s thoughts on cost of living. “The trip was wonderful, but life is totally different – the standard of living is high,” he commented.
When the teens were asked what their favorite part of the trip was, nearly every one responded the same – the escalators. They took time figuring out how to step onto the escalator without falling or tripping. They felt people watching them the whole time, but learned a pretty valuable lesson – there will always be things in front of you that are difficult to navigate, people may be watching to see if you fail, but you still have to take the steps forward.
Please join Back2Back Nigeria in prayer that each teen in the Transitions Program would bravely face unknown challenges and step into them with confidence and faith.