A gust of nostalgic emissions enveloped my mind, as I flipped the pages of my childhood and I am forced to admit that change is perhaps the only permanent phenomenon in life. New paragraphs and chapters on the history of life are written for posterity as days and years roll by. This explains why a chapter in history at this moment captures my solemn story. Socrates notes that an ‘unexamined life is not worth living’ and so I took a peek into my past and my mind rested on the 10’ by 12’ room space of my humble beginning. A space that served as a sitting room on one hand, a dining space at will and the bedroom I shared with my mother and siblings for many years in Toru Orua, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The space, though like a matchbox, housed dreams in the limelight today. The credit of course goes to my mother, Mrs. Goldcoast Dickson, who enveloped her family with love. Daily, she borrowed the creeks and forests of
Toru Orua, to ensure that her family had the best life she could offer. For many days, my younger sister Keme and I woke up to the absence of mama, as she had sailed at dawn to strive for her family. For the sake of her children, mama’s body and soul grew tougher for a beleaguered life to crack; a dogged mother who stared at the face of hardship and refused to bow.
As fate would have it, I left the village at the age of nine in the 90s to live with my brother H.S Dickson, who was just a humble policeman trying to eke out an existence in the city of Port Harcourt. How frail and frightened I was, to witness the mystery of a vehicle and motorbike in motion for the first time, after reading about it in Onuora Nzekwu’s Eze Goes to School. Truly like the city of Rome, I have grown since my humble beginning and I am overwhelmed at the mercies of God. I remember how I lurked around my school premises, waiting to get the notebooks of my colleagues, simply because I was chased out for not paying my school fees. I remember how I laughed and wished people looked beyond the splash of dentition, to hear the cacophonic thoughts of rage in my voice. When I stepped out smiling in the morning, I wished they looked beyond the stripes of pain inflicted by my sleeping mat. My nights were always pregnant with wishes the mornings craved could come to fruition and so I resolved to smile in the face of uncertainty. In all those years, just like my siblings, I held unto faith, anchoring my hope on the love of God Almighty and the sheer resilience of my ‘soldier’ mother and brother H.S. Dickson. But for their love, my soul passed through the furnace of penury. Again, but for their self-sacrifice, my pride sailed through the torrents of shame, shame in the midst of whispering needs. My pride was dragged like a worthless effigy in the stinky mud of poverty, yet their steadfastness kept me going.
Oprah Winfrey says ‘it’s up to each of us to get very still and say this is who I am, no one else defines your life, only you do.’ Hence I give God Almighty the glory for blessing me with a loving mother and brother who laid the solid foundation that yielded the man I am today. Mama’s unflinching advice like her hurricane lantern at night illuminated my path to fame. Her admonitions wrapped in love encouraged me and my siblings to soar beyond our 10’ by 12’ room space.
Walter Leavy notes that ‘at some point in all our lives, we stumble and fall. But the true test of character is how you respond to that fall.’ Circumstances in my younger years summates that life is perhaps 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to what happened. By God’s grace, the storms of life established my inner passion to respond positively to the needy in society. Thus, to God’s glory and in honour of my aged mother, the Goldcoast Developmental Foundation was formed in 2012, with the sole aim of alleviating the plight of the less privileged. It specifically aims to improve the quality of healthcare in rural communities , strategic youth developmental needs and adult education to the less privileged.
Since its formation, Goldcoast has met the health challenges of so many in Nigeria, especially those of the Niger Delta region. It has provided health care to hepatitis patients, distributed free Jamb forms to students, provided relief materials to flood victims, and other meaningful ventures. Like my mum will always say,
‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’
But who is this Mrs Goldcoast Dickson? Well, here is – On October 11, 1946 the family of Mr. and Mrs. Oruama Nipe welcomed their third child. With utmost joy and gratitude to God Almighty, friends and family gathered Enimiyienye family in Esinikirizi quarters in Toru-Angiama town, Patani Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria to celebrate the birth of the rare gem they christened Goldcoast. She was such an adorable gift, a beauty to behold, as she grew to become a pride to humanity as a whole.
…To Be continued.
Opinions expressed are solely of the writer’s and does not represent the views of ALEDEH