- Chukwuechefulam Okwuoha
I know a few years ago, that while we were making a decision and taking a career in fields more familiar to our yearnings, there were much of what we thought that never materialized. It didn’t nullify our ascent to finding meaning in life. It rather helped majority of us, make a proper resolution and seeking for professional counsel to arrive at a more potent result in the future. This is what I knew and that is what I feel to tell you.
When we vacated the senior secondary school many years past, I saw that what governed our minds was enthusiasm to get admission into the higher institutions. Even before we finished our WAEC, a greater number of my classmates have registered for JAMB, even when the future of their WAEC results was still bleak. I was not among the group of enthusiasts, because I already had a course.
The wind of life blew everyone to the different tent. There were respective endeavours which most of us plummeted and it created a nauseating feeling for some. I was carried away by my choice and so, I seldomly knew about those whose ship capsized on their voyage and those who continued the life amidst turbulent storms. Admittedly, some died on their way, of which I never foresaw that, because of my slim attention to characteristics of life.
One evening, when my Dad returned back from school, he told me about one young man who was going to take a teaching classes in the school he was the Vice-Principal. His name is Onyema. According to Dad, he was given Chemistry, Biology and Physics to teach and with other added responsibility. The whole description and the continuous concern to know opened the door of reality and it concluded that the new teacher was my classmate.
We fondly call Onyema “Ejpos”, a later explanation which he made that those initials came from his name. When we were having a discussion in the class and majorly during our academic laboratory experiments, Ejpos has reiterated that he wants to become a medical doctor. He was one of those who I appreciated his interest in science and he was very good at Mathematics. So, when I and my colleagues heard of his fragile resolve, gotten out of mere scientific excitement, some of us took him seriously. I did not waver of his choice of career. I was only worried about how he can become one in Nigeria, where getting admitted in the University regardless of your academic status is like migrating to Canada for studies.
In the village where he lived, on a very solemn Sunday night, he was attacked by a group of bandits, who took his phones, cart away with many valuables and left him with severe injuries in the head. His life was saved after the operation when he was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment. Unfortunately, that experience made him gave a focused thought about staying in Nigeria and how life may not be secured for him if he would continue to stay and earn a peasant stipend as an ordinary classroom teacher.
After sometime presumably two years of handling those students in the three core science courses and after multiple good recommendations my Dad published in my heart, I began hearing that Ejpos my ever-humble classmate has travelled to Belarus for medical studies. At the receipt of the news, I was astonished. It was honestly prolific to hear that the dream which he had while we were in the laboratory testing for base and acid, became fertile and progressive.
His travel to Belarus disconnected our rapports and I was eager to give him that serenity to read and get involved concretely in the field he has chosen. The only means of communication was through Facebook and he was not too active by the first three years he reallocated to Belarus. On fewer occasions, he chats and sends a word or two in our group WhatsApp. I could see how his maturity transcended, even though during our school days, he was one of the most mature folks we had.
Living in Belarus changed his mentality. He was no longer the former Ejpos, who has this traditional mindset about the world. He talks and comments with precision and with a correct volume in diplomacy. The only thing that I think that never changed was his Ihitenansa dialect. There is this uniquely appreciation he has for his mother tongue anytime he talks and I am very pleased with that part of him that remained unchanged.
It is a delight to read his Facebook update this afternoon about his induction and certification as a trained foreign Medical Doctor. I couldn’t control my frequency of joy. I ran out of my lane to embrace him from my comfort and it made me began recounting how this dream came to fulfilment after many years of it.
I congratulate you, dear Dr. Ezeanyanwu Onyema. It is a laudable achievement and I am not such a person who keeps quiet when something amazing is happening around any of my allies. As one of my classmates humorously pointed out that ” he can now get sick in peace”. This means that everyone believes in your capability and we are looking forward to hearing you break bounds and make history in the annals of Belarus.
I am going to inform my ailing Dad that his son, who was his friend has now become a Medical Doctor in a faraway country.