Personal Stories

Loss, Poverty, Rape, Abusive Relationship And HIV – Ogechi Went Through It All But She Is Still Standing Strong!

   

Credit – Ogechi Stella Njoku

How do you go through so much hard times and you still stay standing and positive about life? This is something we all find difficult to do especially as women. But we have been greatly inspired by Ogechi Stella Njoku, a Nigerian woman who shared her amazing story of survival against all odds with The Humans of Abuja .

 

Read her story below:

My story:
MY VISION IS MY DRIVING FORCE:

I was born into the family of Eight Children, and I was the last born but unfortunately I lost Seven of my Senior Siblings, making me an only child.

I lost my father too, as a child, hence I was singlehandedly trained by my mother.

My mother was a petty trader who hawks on different seasonal fruits, ranging from oranges, avocado peers, banana, etc and when in out of season, she trades on kola nuts.

While growing up, I watch my mother cries every night, her pains was greater than I could imagine, I couldn’t proffer solution, all I could say then whenever she cries was “Aunty ndo kwanu” (Aunty sorry) yes, I calls my mother Aunty till date.

The pains of losing her Seven Children one after the other to the cold hands of death was excruciatingly great to her heart, to a point she almost lost hope that she had me. At any little experience, she would wish she wasn’t living, she often makes reference to them.

I grew up as a very stubborn child, my stubbornness and street fight always makes her remember her late children, she felt if they were alive, my excesses would have be tamed by them. So I kept hearing her making references to what the dead children would have been to her, her pains birthed my VISION.

Gradually, I started feeling her pains too, even as a growing teenage who doesn’t know what future holds for her, I assured her and reassured her each time she cries that “I WILL BE TO HER, WHAT THE SEVEN DEAD CHILDREN WOULD HAVE BEEN TO HER”.

My growing up was liken unto hell, I would hawk from 6am-9am before going home to prepare for school, immediately after school, I would hit the street again to hawk, that was our only source of livelihood, the proceeds were used for our feeding and my school fees and books, during holidays, my effort triples.

My Hawking experience became bitter when I was deflowered by raped at 16, in 1996, I lost my virginity. Nothing could be done to the guy who did it because his father was the chairman of one of the local government in IMO state then, so my mother dare not raise such accusations against the high and mighty.

My experience became more bitter when I was raped for the second time by gangs of men in pretence of trying to buy my market, they successful cornered me and over powered me at Ekeonunwa market Owerri. I hated hawking, my passion for education grew, my dream to become someone influential and rich grew, my vision for life became my burning desire.

I was determined by quest to take care of my mother and make her proud, hence I wasn’t ready to allow any challenges deter it. I kept pushing on.

I had a vision to be great, and rich. I was passionate about education, the fact that I didn’t have who would see me through my academics didn’t make me loose hope.

After my secondary education in 1997, I journeyed to Lagos in 1998, life was hell, at a point, I lived in an uncompleted building for over a year without anyone knowing that someone lives in there, because I would leave there as early as 4 am to go to where I worked as sales girl with a salary of 3,000 and would come home very late, the supermarket I worked for, used to close by 10pm, before I would get home, it would be 11pm.

When I had a change of work, I worked for Linar Pharmacy at Salvation road Opebi, Ikeja. Seeing my boss children who were schooling at University of Lagos, my enthusiasm for education and good life intensifies the more. I reassured myself of my dreams of becoming a graduate.

Then I knew I won’t just sit down and dream, I need to take an action but the nature of the job am doing and where I live was my stumbling block, but I took a decision to enroll into computer school, hence I changed my job of a sales girl to a cleaner, so that I could attend my computer school.

While in computer school at Allen avenue, Ikeja, I became very close to one of my course mate “Late Akpa Elina Odachi” (may her soul Rest in Peace) whose father was a Soldier and mother was a mobile Police Officer, they were living in Sam Ethan Air force Base, Ikeja.

She noticed that I was living in an uncompleted building, and sought to know why, I explained, she highlighted the dangers of me staying in there, should area boys became aware. So she suggested to take me to her parents in the barracks, that was how my how my journey to the barracks started. Her parents accepted me, I became a member of their lovely family. Her friends became my friends too, life became sweet.

Life in the barracks was sweet till I started dating a Soldier, pregnancy came, children came, no marriage, the sweetness of my soul was taken away, I was abused both by the father of my kids and his relatives.

I was abandoned, in fact the soldier worked his posting out, that was how I started Hawking again, joined cleaning work to it, to sustain myself and kids, in 2005 I decided to become a soldier through recruit, I bought the Air Force form, took my kids home to my mother.

It was in the course of medicaI screening, they found out that I was pregnant again for my soldier boyfriend again, hence I was dropped. All hope to good life were lost. My soldier friend still insisted that there will be no marriage, even if I born king David, and me, I love children, I saw them as brothers even though they were my children.

My suffering was raised to powered to three, the sisters of the father of my kids would mock me, each time they saw me Hawking oranges in the street of Oshodi, Lagos or they saw me sweeping the blocks of barracks, my sight was irrigating to them, they hated me with passion, they concluded that I wanted to entangled their younger brother with pregnancy to gain marriage, they were all graduates, I was just a waec holder, cum an orange seller and a cleaner.

The disparities between us were much, the gap was too much, they saw nothing good in me but the ability to get pregnant and have children. Their constant mockery was a reminder to my ambitions.

In 2007, I doubled my cleaning work alongside my Hawking business with the view of saving more money to go to school even if it is on part time bases. I would sweep the barracks and wash the gutters from 4am – 5:30 am, moved straight to oshodi market to buy my oranges before 6:30am, then prepare before 7:30 am to Pacific Access Limited, to clean their office, by 9am I am through with all cleaning work, I would go home, rest till 12pm, then wash my oranges, and hit the streets for my Hawking business.

Some days, I would make sales ranges from 3,000-5,000 per day, then get monthly salary of 5,000 for cleaning the barracks, also 5,000 from cleaning Pacific Access limited office at no 4 Anike Apena street, off Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos. Sometimes in a month I do have savings from incomes ranges of 30,0000-40,000. My hope for school started rising.

On August 29, 2007, i came to clean office as usual, I found a Wednesday Punch newspaper on my boss table, dated August 28, 2007, 1 flipped through the pages, I saw job advertisement for junior staff with minimum of Diploma and must be computer literate. I checked out for its location and organization, it was Abuja, the Nigerian Society of Engineers, National Headquarters, National Engineering Center.

My instinct told me to apply, I came home and told everyone, they all discouraged me, except one officer, Warrant Officer Ogumuyiwa who encouraged me to try my luck. I did, passed the aptitude test and interview and was given the job.

assumed office on 16th November, 2007, that was beginning of my breakthrough. My dreams came true, I found favour among my colleagues, Management Staff and the entire organization favored and blessed me. In 2009, I gained admission to study Financial Accounting at Fidie Polytechnic Gboko, Benue state, I got my National Diploma in 2011, in 2012, I gained admission to study B. Sc. in Economics at University of Ibadan, Oyo state through Direct Entry.

My dreams to become a graduate and take care of my mother came true against all odds, against all my failures and challenges, I conquered my fears and dismay.

I became a mother at age 22, a single mother of four children at age 28, started higher institution at age 29, owned a car at age 31, became an Oracle Database Certified Expert at 32, a landlady in Abuja at age 33, a graduate of Economics 2015/2016 at 36, established BDMG Resources Limited on 5th April, 2017, before my 37th Birthday.

Currently writing my ICAN and ACCA Professional Certification Exams. Above all, I am still gainfully employed with the Nigerian Society of Engineers, “the engine room of my breakthrough”.

God is my all in all, His grace, favour and mercy was sufficient unto me and my enabler, my mother is my Rock, my children are my motivators, The Nigerian Society of Engineers (The best Organization) was my strength, and MY VISION WAS MY DRIVE.

My only regret was becoming HIV positive, but I thank God that all my children are NEGATIVE and their father is also NEGATIVE.
Surviving the reality of living with HIV became my greatest challenge, my worst nightmare, the thought was killing, the pains was excruciatingly great, better imagine than experiencing.

HIV is a management disease, and not a killer disease, it is the fear of stigmatization and discrimination that leads to living in self pity/denials which leads to AIDS, which is the killer. Fears, Stigmatization, Discrimination and AIDS are undoubtedly and convincingly the killer.

I conquered the FEARS (False Evidence Appears Real Sufficiently). I became adherent to my ARV, today I am gladly living positively healthy with my viral load undetectable and high CD4 count.

Join me to kill AIDS and reduce the spread of HIV to zero level by stopping Stigmatization and Discrimination.

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70 Comments

70 Comments

  1. Gloria Idahosa

    Gloria Idahosa

    September 29, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    You are a strong woman God bless and keep u

  2. Ene Helen Lazarus

    Ene Helen Lazarus

    September 29, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Wow Ogechi..always cheerful i appreciate you more.

  3. Vivian Eze

    Vivian Eze

    September 29, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Is well, the lord is your strength

  4. Ogechi Uzoma

    Ogechi Uzoma

    September 29, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Wow my dear ur name alone qualify ur strength those named Ogechi always passes through hell but always have victory at the end my dear God is ur strength i will ask u only to go to scoan i no ur healing will be complete there

  5. Taiwo Salami

    Taiwo Salami

    September 29, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    So touching, Wow! The Lord is your strength.

  6. Teena Tinis

    Teena Tinis

    September 29, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I love hearing about the successful story of strong women who never gave up

  7. Ida Blacknell

    Ida Blacknell

    September 29, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    But God

  8. Uche Ada Adilue

    Uche Ada Adilue

    September 29, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    What a great story. To God be the glory

  9. Uchechukwu Cee

    Uchechukwu Cee

    September 29, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    wow just wow
    m short of words
    someone went through all these and still had her drive jeeeez
    and common small thing I will start behaving like my world is finished !
    wow wow am ignited again …

  10. Ngozi Okoroha

    Ngozi Okoroha

    September 29, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    It can only be God. His grace has brought you this far. Hold God tight Dear.

  11. Ughara Onome

    Ughara Onome

    September 29, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    U ear really a great inspiration to me… I need to buckle up and fulfil my dreams and desires… No more slacking or waiting on people or even seeking their opinion. It isn’t worth it. God bless ur soul sis and I pray for God’s healing upon ur life. God bless…

  12. Ngozi Ebube

    Ngozi Ebube

    September 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Waoo incredible, God is in control, u still have all it takes, ur children and life.

  13. Iyere Victoria

    Iyere Victoria

    September 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    God is great. Dis is really motivating

  14. Mayaki Abdulkareem Ashiat

    Mayaki Abdulkareem Ashiat

    September 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    So touching u make me cry u re a strong woman I respect u

  15. Ngozi Okoye

    Ngozi Okoye

    September 29, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Wow! My respects ma’am. You a tough delicious Nut. Thumbs Up!

  16. Oriade Adebayo

    Oriade Adebayo

    September 29, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    you are a story that must be told or shared everywhere. You are a lioness I salute your courage and strength.

  17. Slimsosa@yahoo.com'

    esosa

    September 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story.I admire your determination and positive outlook. God will continue to be your guide and strength

  18. Ngban Josephine

    Ngban Josephine

    September 29, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Perry Atuona

  19. Okorie Janet

    Okorie Janet

    September 29, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    You are a soldier,a fighter very strong and determined and you conquered,your story

  20. Okorie Janet

    Okorie Janet

    September 29, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    You are a soldier,a fighter very strong and determined and you conquered,your story is a life changing. I pray for divine healing upon your life in Jesus name. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Blessing Davo

    Blessing Davo

    September 29, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Thank God for your life.

  22. Akuma Uchechi Clara

    Akuma Uchechi Clara

    September 29, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Thank u so much….u just remained me of how strong I should be and never give up…..

  23. Olufunke Morenike

    Olufunke Morenike

    September 29, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    It can only be God

  24. Lois Ajije Chaimang

    Lois Ajije Chaimang

    September 29, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Wow! Very inspiring.

  25. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson

    September 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    U r wonderfully and fearfully made.
    U r great…..
    Against all oddsz.
    Thank God for u.

  26. Omega Suzanne

    Omega Suzanne

    September 30, 2017 at 12:28 am

    No one born of a woman that would have carried through all of these, except the Holy Spirit Himself. please sister! remain strong for the Lord shall perfect the healing which He has started in you. stay blessed and live stronger

  27. Honourable Bukky Seyifunmi

    Honourable Bukky Seyifunmi

    September 30, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Am touched by your courage…am inspired…Divine healing IJN…AMEN

  28. Chinwe Duruigbo

    Chinwe Duruigbo

    September 30, 2017 at 1:25 am

    God is your strength ogeee.

  29. Grace Ahmed Chidi

    Grace Ahmed Chidi

    September 30, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Great

  30. Love Okafor

    Love Okafor

    September 30, 2017 at 4:12 am

    There is no regret here. Live your life, hiv does not define u

  31. Asabe Gaius

    Asabe Gaius

    September 30, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Determination

  32. Maryam Tahir

    Maryam Tahir

    September 30, 2017 at 6:19 am

    wow am speechless, the Lord is ya strength but u will surely heal

  33. Sarah Queen

    Sarah Queen

    September 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

    wow wow wow wow ur story jus inspired me dis morning… I would stop complaining about my situation n fight till I get to the top… tanx fr sharing ur story

  34. Matshediso Lebako

    Matshediso Lebako

    September 30, 2017 at 7:46 am

    With tears in my eyes I feel encouraged by all obstacles that became ur stepping block to success. U r a strong woman. A living mother and a blessing in this world.

  35. SuiGeneris Toluwani Emmanuelle

    SuiGeneris Toluwani Emmanuelle

    September 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Wow! ur life is really an inspiration..

  36. Mhiz Lee Sandra

    Mhiz Lee Sandra

    September 30, 2017 at 8:50 am

    God bless you dear

  37. Chi-chi Kennedy Ukam

    Chi-chi Kennedy Ukam

    September 30, 2017 at 9:01 am

    U are a strong woman and u can be healed of the HIV

  38. Cynthia Chidinma Ogueme

    Cynthia Chidinma Ogueme

    September 30, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Our Nigerian slay queens shud come and see de true meaning of SLAYING…i.e standing high against all odds, to keep moving despite how many times u have fallen… Ma’am U ar an inspiration to me and many other women out there, God will continue to strengthen u!

  39. Josephine Oforiwaa

    Josephine Oforiwaa

    September 30, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Very inspiring

  40. Temitope Olaitan Durodoye

    Temitope Olaitan Durodoye

    September 30, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Very inspiring story.God wil heal u in Jesus name

  41. Funmilayo Uzor

    Funmilayo Uzor

    September 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Your life is a testimony. This is when God says enough to the devil. You are a strong woman. I pray for half the strength you have.

  42. Betty Malomo

    Betty Malomo

    September 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Great….

  43. Evelyn Attah

    Evelyn Attah

    September 30, 2017 at 11:19 am

    👏👏❤️❤️👄👄

  44. Alero Freeman

    Alero Freeman

    September 30, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    You ve great for yourself to be proud of!!!

  45. Adesuwa Edward

    Adesuwa Edward

    September 30, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Ogechi Stella Njoku yours will encourage others. Keep being you.

  46. Bini Ezinne Cathy

    Bini Ezinne Cathy

    September 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    U av got a great story to encourage others never to give up no matter what.

  47. Idongesit Frank

    Idongesit Frank

    September 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Super woman

  48. Anasiudu Musili Brenda

    Anasiudu Musili Brenda

    September 30, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Jesus💃

  49. Irechukwu Gloria

    Irechukwu Gloria

    September 30, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Inspiring

  50. Mc Chilombo

    Mc Chilombo

    September 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    wow!!! so motivation

  51. Patience Joseph

    Patience Joseph

    September 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Congrats dear, HIV is just a medical report, is not God’s report, Build up ur faith with the word of God believe me ur satus will change. In Jesus name. Amen

  52. Civian Nma

    Civian Nma

    September 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    You need JESUS nw, you can also register for christ embassy healing sch is free the Lord we help you

  53. Ada Mbaise Priceless Uzoma

    Ada Mbaise Priceless Uzoma

    September 30, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Nnem u nailed it. Thumps up. Against all odd u hit it. I love ur courage.

  54. Olufunmilola Kuye Olaniyan

    Olufunmilola Kuye Olaniyan

    September 30, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Strong and motivational

  55. Rikkey Brown

    Rikkey Brown

    October 1, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Its not how long you live that matters but how well

  56. Obikobe Amarachi Ojum

    Obikobe Amarachi Ojum

    October 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

    You’re a strong woman! May God heal you IJN AMEN

  57. Foluke Oyeyemi

    Foluke Oyeyemi

    October 1, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Give ur life to God n He will make u whole again

  58. Victoria Obasi

    Victoria Obasi

    October 1, 2017 at 11:40 am

    God will see u throu

  59. Praise Chisom Daniel

    Praise Chisom Daniel

    October 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Wooooow! I’m so motivated.. Okuwa John

  60. Judith Chimezie

    Judith Chimezie

    October 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    God who bless u ds much is bigger Dan HIV positive. He is able

  61. Salifu Igonoh

    Salifu Igonoh

    October 1, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    You are great. Your courage to overcome poverty is more than HIV. You are beautiful and great. God Almighty is more than that virus. Prince Omaye

  62. Adetoyese Olubukola

    Adetoyese Olubukola

    October 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Her story is an inspiration.

  63. Ijeoma Njoku

    Ijeoma Njoku

    October 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Thank God for your achievement God is all you need now there is anything difficult for him to do he will perfect your healing if you accept him as your Lord and personal savior

  64. Anwulika Joy

    Anwulika Joy

    October 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Niceone God will heal u ijn

  65. Mhiz Tinu

    Mhiz Tinu

    October 2, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    This world is full of amazement

  66. adaoma2008@yahoo.com'

    Ada

    October 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    You are a great woman. You are healed in Jesus name Amen

  67. Agatha Nkeiru Omoruyi

    Agatha Nkeiru Omoruyi

    October 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    The blood of JESUS can made you whole

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One of our favourite quotes at Woman.NG is a line from Emeli Sande’s Read All About It; “If you’ve got the heart of a lion, why let your voice be tamed?” This has inspired us to publish Nigerian women’s take on about everything. From conceiving a child to burying an old loved one and every life experience in between them - Nigerian women’s stories, opinions, issues, debates, advice, news etc. Read More >>

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