Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Life as I Knew it
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.”
I had a very different childhood from many of you who may be reading my blog. I was born in Nigeria, West Africa in the late 1950’s (yes, I’m that old, and I’m ok with it.) My memories of life in Africa are filled with running barefoot on warm (hot) days, the smell of the tropical rains, strange animals (that didn’t seem so strange at the time), and people with an assortment of skin colors pouring their love on me. Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me!
The Secret of my Birth
The village I was born in is called Joinkrama. It is located in what was then the Eastern Region of Nigeria but is today called “Rivers State”; in the Niger River delta. Joinkrama was a tiny place across the river from Port Harcourt – a crocodile infested river. In order to get to Joinkrama, my parents crossed the river with their two small children and all their belongings on a thatched roof pontoon type boat, somewhat like the boats at Disney World’s “Jungle Cruise’ except of course, the boat my parents was on, was wooden instead of aluminum (or whatever metal the Disney ride is made of) and the animals and danger in this river were real!
My father was a medical doctor and my mother was a registered nurse. Together they staffed a small mission hospital with my father as the only doctor there. Joinkrama is located in the small part of Nigeria that is in the tropical rain forest. It is an area of jungles. There were monkeys swinging in the trees outside of my house, elephants that occasionally tromped close enough to the village to be a danger to the villagers, and crocodiles in the river. The buildings were raised, for the occasions when the river overflowed its banks. It was in this remote part of the African jungle that I was born.
There are two stories about my birth…
One story has it that when my mother went in labor with me, she walked down a little jungle path to the hospital with my brother and sister in tow. According to this story, my father delivered me at the hospital once my mother arrived and then sent us back to convalesce at home. My mother was sent home on a stretcher carried by four men. She had me in her arms. Seeing us carried in this manner, the villagers assumed we had both died and began to weep and wail! One of the men alerted my mother to the situation and she quickly sat up, smiled, and waved so the people could see she was alive. Then, she lifted me up for them to see as well. The people’s weeping turned into dancing (literally) and they followed us home in a joyful procession! –that’s one story.
But my dad told me the real story when I was a little girl.
My dad told me that the stork was on his way to London, England –to Buckingham palace carrying in his beak the newest member of the royal family – a little princess (me) but unfortunately, he developed the hiccups, just as he was flying in the airspace above Joinkrama. …I don’t know where the stork lives, but apparently to get to London, it involves a trip over the Niger River delta. Well, overcome by one giant hiccup, the stork did something he had never done before – he dropped his bundle!
My father told me that he just happened to be walking home down that little jungle path when a bundle fell to the ground right in front of him! He said he knew immediately what had happened! …Now, my father never explained just how he knew all about the royal family, the stork’s hiccups, and all of that – but my father is a man of integrity so I never doubted his story!
“So you see” my father would conclude, “You are really a princess!”
….you can decide which story you want to believe, but I know the truth… I know I’m a princess!!
According to the Bible, I really am a princess!! I am a child of the King!
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-18