Put bluntly, my novels are about women’s survival in a harsh world ruled mainly by men.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that all men are harsh or disrespectful towards women. I know this, because my own father was the kindest husband I ever saw. He was kind, generous and very loving towards our mother and us, his children. He was a God-fearing man who lived strictly by his Christian principles.
So, I grew up expecting the same loving kindness from my husband. It didn’t always go the way I expected, so, I had to develop my own survival strategies – in order not to collapse under harsh or cruel treatments from the men I had to either live with, or work with.
I also discovered that people, not just men, were quite deceptive in their ways – they tell you one thing, when, in fact, they mean something quite different. The world out there can be really harsh, but you can’t run and hide away somewhere, you have to learn to develop survival tactics, what I call “survival muscles” so you can fight your way through life without being “broken”.
So, what survival muscles can you develop?
One survival muscle that Ada developed is her strong belief in God – not as a far away old man who watches from afar, but God as Her Main Companion – on a daily and hourly basis. God for Ada is the only one who understood her joys and her woes completely. Not only that, God is the Inner Voice that guided her in every situation. So, she learns to listen to God’s guidance, follows that guidance to the letter and survives the traumas that follow the acute loneliness of living in a cold and harsh and extremely lonely environment.
Ada’s other survival muscle is learning to accept the situations she cannot change and making the best of the situation. One thing she learns from the Spiritual path – Eckankar – that she is on, is not to cry over “spilt milk”.
There was a saying someone gave to her while she was at University many years ago after she lost her second child – a girl – at the age of four months.
“God, give me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference”
ADA IN LONDON-SURVIVING THE TRAUMAS.
My novel, Ada in London, Surviving the Traumas, is an autobiographical narrative of issue that led Ada to leave her home in Nigeria and relocate to London just to help her husband and family.
Things didn’t go as planned – more because her husband, Fred, broke all the promise he made to her while persuading her to leave her home and abandon her beloved career.
Ada in London is set mainly in London. The novel, though biographical, tackles in general, the issues of an immigrant’s acclimatization and overcoming the culture shocks that abound in London. As an immigrant black woman, who arrives in London to teach, Ada is totally unprepared for the dramas that go on in some London schools. Ada thought she had been thrown into a “Mad House” rather than a School, to teach English. For someone who had been a beloved head teacher for many years in Nigeria, having to start afresh as a probationer was a very hard knock for Ada. Ada had to learn to adjust her teaching styles so she could regain the respect she always enjoyed as a teacher in Nigeria. That took some hard work. Ada suffers discrimination, humiliation, betrayal, acute loneliness, bereavement and much more.
The themes in Ada in London also hinge on survival – this time, on the ability of an individual to overcome all kinds of difficulties and obstacles in a strange land, without lowering one’s moral standards or one’s self-esteem. God comes in as a firm ground upon which Ada stands and finds solace. Her faith in God pulls her through.