I was a petty trader between 2001-2007. Yet, I love my voice, I love writing poems, I love writing stories and I love sharing stories whenever time permitted. Therefore, as a trader, I continued to write. It sustained me, during the dark days of domestic violence. Although I continued writing, but I was the only person who read the poems and stories. It occupied a secret, sacred space under my bed. Now, this remembrance, brought smiles to my lips, not tears as it used to be in those days.
In 2007, I decided to take back my life from dream hijackers. I decided that enough is enough my formal education and degrees will not remain under the bed. I dusted my certificates and began to look for a good job that had eluded me, this led me to an organisation in Lagos. It was tough, I had to make that decision in order to remain sane. The salary was $100 per month and my transport fare to and from the office was $40 per month. Yet, that salary was what my family depended upon.
Not sooner had I got the job, that had become voiceless, drowning in the ocean of poverty, oppression, humiliation and degradation. I was no longer the happy woman that I used to be, even in those days of domestic violence.
I realised that taking back my life was not as easy as it's spelled. To take back your life; you need stronger women who can pull you up from the mire and clay of oppression and not hostile women who will look for opportunity to tear you apart because of your scary past, poverty stricken presence and they can threaten you with your seemingly blank and bleak future; that is, if tomorrow/future will ever come.
My past made me realise that tomorrow comes. Yes, there is a tomorrow, fresh, unknown and beautiful.
It was during that teary - take back my life period that I discovered World Pulse, an online platform that helps women to raise their voices.
In January, 2009, I joined World Pulse. I was sad, dejected, disappointed, sick and of low self- esteem. In those days, my tears were my food and drink. The situation around me turned me into an aggressive and hostile woman. Nobody was spared of my hostility, my husband and children bore it most. Living life was not a better option, but I decided to give life another try.
I began a new chapter on World Pulse, this time around, surrounded by wonderful online sisters. My voice which drowned with me in the ocean of sadness of life was found once again, by me, I brought my voice out of the mire. I came out alive after several testing.
Through World Pulse, I am awoke. My spirit is awakened. It all began with my beautiful poems.
The poems resuscitated like our loving Jesus Christ. It came alive from the dead. The dried bones came alive, the lines, verses, chapters and poem pages found one another; on World Pulse. My voice came alive, it began to walk, dead poems began to run, it began to soars, I became a writer once again.
That was the year, when I used to use a finger to type a whole article. My index finger did that wonderful job.
The beauty of my voice can now be found in the comments after posting my articles on World Pulse!
My best fan in those days was Jensine Larsen. It took me some months to discover that she was the founder of World Pulse. It was unbelievable because I was not expecting the founder of an organisation to respond to articles on their platform, because the CEO, according to Nigeria standard was expected to be the leader in an arm armchair directing. It was what I expected, but Jensine proved me wrong.
In a short while, through World Pulse, Jensine became my sister and her sisters became my sisters too. She praised my poems, I was surprised, so the lines are beautiful in truth and indeed. This led me to dig further and farther, my under-the-bed poems saw the light of day. I brought more pages out, dusted them and posted them one by one on World pulse.
I am risen!
My tears dried.
My voice became stronger with the daily comments.
Jensine enlightened me about online publishing, I gave it a try. Jensine was the ONLY person who bought the poetry. She sent a mail to me; -your words are so sweet, they brought tears to my eyes, and the poetry book is by my bed side-
The encouragement from World Pulse gave me the boldness to rescue other women like me in Nigeria. I founded a local organisation that empowers abused women too. We began to organise free training from women in the riverside communities, my sisters in Nigeria joined us too.
My friendship with Jensine gave birth to many friendships with Jensine's friend. I was reborn into another family of sisterhood.
In April, 2010, I saw an opportunity on World pulse's resource exchange. I loved it, it was about Gender and Transformation in India. I loved it. I contacted Jensine and she said, you can do it. Its just India! Jensine gave me a letter to Indian embassy and documents to back it up, within three days, I had a visa to India. It was the first opportunity to travel abroad. It was a dream come true.
In India, I met a good woman, named Mercy Kappen, she recommended me for a scholarship opportunity in Cape town, it was a year Diploma in Transformation, I contacted Jensine again, she sent another packaged documents, off I went to the South African embassy. I got my visa, very hard process. Within a year, I rounded off the programme and was made an ambassador for the Transformation training. I was given the opportunity to recommend women for the scholarship, this I did diligently every year since 2011, this year, I recommended five Nigerian women again, so far, i have recommended up to forty women for such training abroad.
Jensine has recommended me for many Fellowship programmes, Awards and training abroad too. On many occasions, she would assign someone to support me, always. Writing about her efforts to pull and push will look unbelievable. Sitting and typing this brings out very deep emotion that cannot be controlled.
In 2013, Jensine asked if I will love to visit the USA. I responded in the affirmative because, I loved it. She began the process. I got the visa and I flew to the USA. At the airport, she told me to wait at a particular place. The airport officials came to meet me and asked who I was waiting for, I told them it was my sister, they asked of her phone and address, or the hotel address, I told them that I do not have that information BUT I have her WORDS- She promised to pick me up at this space.
The airport official laughed.
He looked at me as if someone had duped me. He said, “you came to the USA without any address or phone number of your hostess and you are looking for a space to wait for her” I told him that Jensine is my sister and her word is enough to keep me waiting until she arrived to take me to my hotel room.
They made jest of me.
But Jensine arrived.
We went into deep hug and tears. We shed more tears and more tears of joy. It was the first time to behold Jensine. My Nigerian family members and friends who made mockery about my imaginary online sisters saw the pictures. It was a moment that stood still as life passed by.
She gave me the best five days of my life so far, in a beautiful hotel in Aspen. We drove through dangerous mountains and I suddenly became the brave mountain climber because JENSINE WAS HOLDING MY HAND.
Nobody is at fault to laugh about the relationship that I had and still have with my online sisters; it is not their fault. It is just unbelievable.
Yesterday, January 2009, I came on board World Pulse to find my voice.
Today, 2016, I am a sister to thousands of sisters through World pulse founded by Jensine.
To crown it all, I am On BOARD of World Pulse to represent thousands of women and men who came on board voice to find their voices too. Isn’t it a miracle. Those who mocked me now want to be like me too. All because I have a sister, mentor, friend and connector who believed so much in me.
Every woman needs a Jensine in her life. Every abused woman needs a sister who will believe her story. Every rural woman needs a platform where she can speak and be heard. Every writer needs someone who can read her article and post comments. Every poor woman needs a sister who can send her a mail to ask, will you like to visit America? We will pay for everything and also give you a stipend.Everybody needs good news.
The power of sisterhood is that love that transcends the oceans, it is that love that pull others up, it is that love that connects to opportunities, it is love, it is strength, it is the might that keeps us going when hope cannot be seen from afar. It is the power in our sisterhood.
That power is a person.
That person is like a sister.
Every sister needs that power.
Every sister needs a sister like my sister.
Every human being needs a sister like my Amazon.
Thank you Jensine.
This post was submitted in response to I Am Where I Am Because....