Second to none – ‘Nulli Secundus’ advancing youth development
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, September 14, 2017
A DPI feature by Delicia Haynes
One often hears of youth groups that seek to make a difference in their communities. Nulli Secundus is one such looking to go a step further and make an impact. Their first expedition ‘El Dorado’ in 2015 found them in Lethem participating in the repainting of culverts – one of several other projects. The goal is to make the structures visible to drivers, thereby reducing the number of accidents in that area.
Nulli Secundus (Latin for ‘second to none) is the largest contingent of youths to be engaged in community service in several villages in deep South Rupununi.
Their ‘Cinderella’ expedition in 2016 found them in Region Eight. While there, mini-workshops were held with youths enlightening them on the value of education, personal hygiene, business management and social graces. They also engaged young women in practical sessions on clothing and textiles.
This year a team of 36 individuals from the group, spent their time in South Rupununi, Region Nine, based at Aishalton. Among the community projects conducted, of note was their maintenance of the Aishalton Airstrip. They also visited smaller villages in the deep south such as Shulinab, Shea, Awarenau, Maruranau in addition to other communities. The team’s outreach to these areas was branded expedition ‘Wapishana Wave’
Sharing their experiences while on expedition ‘Wapishana Wave’, group member Prudence Joseph recounted, “One of our accomplishments was to climb the Shea Rock… As we were approaching the Shea Rock I thought to myself that it’s not much to climb… but as we got closer, I realised that this is not as easy as it may seem… I have learnt that we may have challenges and it’s all about overcoming them”.
Her colleague Aubrey Sultan noted, “From Aishalton, I really took away the history from the Amerindians there, because there is a plant called the ‘aishartoo’ which the Amerindians use, they throw it in the water and (it) would stun the fish so the fish basically floats up to the top… I’m using that as a starter for my final year project that would help me in my major, Agriculture Science”.
Upon conquering the 676 ft. Shea Rock, a plaque with the names of those who climbed to the top, was placed where others can see that Nulli Secundus ‘made it’.
A project they are especially proud of is the rehabilitation of the Freeburg Secondary School library. Today, the students have a functioning space where they can read, relax and research. They can also boast of being the first group to introduce steel pan music to Region 9.
Vice President, Tiffany David revealed there are plans to assist in the establishment of a library in Lethem. She said more activities can be expected alongside those already ongoing.
Referred to among themselves as ‘nulli,’ the team observing its tenth year in existence is comprised of young men and women between the ages of 13 and 26. Leading this vibrant group is retired Colonel, Wilbert Lee, MSM of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). Other coordinators play an integral role in ensuring that the group receives guidance in functioning as a non-governmental, Christian organisation.
Nulli Secundus was birthed out of the First Assembly of God Church-Wortmanville and is based at ‘Generation Next’ which is dedicated to empowering members of communities through training, recreation, and developmental programmes.
“It’s interesting how we really started because we really started as a group of young people who were having a difficult time adjusting to church life, graduating or being promoted from children’s church and we really started as a result of that”, Tiffany David recounted.
“Pastor Lee, who is our coordinator, was tasked with meeting with us and helping us to adjust to going over to our adult services.”
She said at first, they were just considered a church based youth group but the vision eventually transformed when its leader recognised the impact which the talented and aspiring young people could have on Guyana.
Tiffany explained, “I think what happened is he (Lee) recognised that he was sitting on a gold mine and the vision for Nulli Secundus actually changed so it was no longer just a group to help us to acclimatise to a church service but it became what it is today, which is a youth group which facilitates the development of our youth. We recognise the youths are the future leaders of Guyana and a lot of what we’re involved in is youth empowerment, development and growth”.
‘Nulli Secundus’ main objective is to mold and to mentor youth. This large group of more than 75 members is further divided into five groups. These smaller groups cater to career choices and study paths of their charges. These are the Law and International Relations, Science, Business, Engineering, and Arts. Internally, there is a heavy focus placed on education and the Government of Guyana welcomes initiatives such as these. Senior officials who have recognised the efforts of the group said that organisations like these will always find a way to reach out to indigenous youths, whose lives are much different from that of youths living along the coast.
Leaders of ‘Nulli Secundus’ believe that exposing the future leaders of this country to the rich and diverse content of this land will create a greater appreciation of the environment they will govern tomorrow. More specifically, far flung communities and remote areas which they visit will make it evident that though Guyana is large, with people from different ethnicities, the country is one nation.