Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grandpa's Gone

Left to right: unknown aunty, Uncle, Aunty and cousin, Grandma, Grandpa
When my mom got the news last week that her father had died, she was devastated. She didn't know that he was sick and was still expecting to see him when she finally traveled home. It had been 19 years since she saw him last.

I was very sad too.  Though I don't really remember that much about my grandfather from when I visited Naija years and years ago, I remember talking to him on the phone over the years. He was always expressed his eagerness to see us... Now that will have to wait until we all meet in heaven. Chei....

You see, it's very easy for people to forget the original intent of coming to this country, America. No one plans to lose loved ones in their quest for a better life. But the reality of the situation is that it happens. People in Nigeria and other parts of the world dream of coming to America so they can just drink from the sweet waters that they believe are flowing here; but when they come, they are met with a bittersweet taste.

True, life in America affords us many things considered luxuries around the world: general security and safety; a somewhat reasonable justice system; the ability to go to school and get an education without the fear of strikes interrupting courses; constant light and internet. But life here can be difficult. Debt seems to be the way of life and as bills stack up, it seems many live to work instead of work to live.

The constant fight to keep from complete financial ruin can make it hard to live up to the expectations of those back home. They expect their lives to be transformed from grass to grace because they have a relative in America. But it's not always that easy. And as time goes on, people forget what's important. They don't want to go home because they are ashamed that they haven't achieved what they had hoped. They don't want to be ridiculed. And even if they wanted to, they couldn't afford the trip. Heck, it's hard enough scraping together funds to send home every pay period. So time passes and whole generations grow up hardly knowing their family overseas. What a painful existence. And when it comes down to it, it's all because of money.

I have decided, so help me God, that I will not perpetuate this cycle. As soon as I'm able, when I finish my program, I'm going to Naija to see my family. At the end of the day, the love for family surpasses anything that could deter harm.

This situation also spurs me on to excel in my field so that I can make a difference in my family's life. I refuse to accept life like this.

An excerpt from my poem,  Ada: Statement of Responsibility

Before I was born the prayers of my grandmothers
were going forth on my behalf,
beseeching God to do something new:
Now, here I am.

I am Ada:
First daughter of my family’s
Nigerian dream
to cross the ocean and fulfill the
American dream
and carry it back home.

I’m not here to live for myself
or just to have fun;
I’m on mission to improve the lives of my family,
both here and there.

Too many sacrifices have been made
Too many prayers have been prayed
Too many tears have been cried
Too many have longed to see, but died
waiting for the dream to be fulfilled;
And too many yearn for it still for me to forget them.

Excerpt, Ada: Statement of Responsibility by Chidinma Ogbuaku


  1. Speak on . . . I feel everything you said in this post. It wasn't until my grandfather passed that my parents nearly mandated that we go home. I think it was a wake up call. It truly is a double edged sword.

  2. Thanks for reading. Situations like this make you say, "Enough is enough." I'm passionate about this subject...

  3. I am sorry for your family's loss, Chidinma. This entry connected with me in an incredible reminded me of one of the reasons that I started my own blog, and of the first time you contacted me regarding blogging. I will be here to cheer you on as you work to accomplish your dream of financial freedom and your more short term goal of visiting your family again. xoxo

  4. Thank you, my dear sister. We shall overcome, indeed :)