It is exactly a year today, we lost Nurse Justina to Ebola, a disease she contracted on her first day at work at First Consultant Hospital.
Her Fiance, Mr Dennis Akagha, who also contracted the disease but survived, has come on The Connect to share his story and also celebrate her life which was sacrificed at the merciless hands of death.
I must say that in the short while I have known Mr Dennis, I have realised that not only is he a strong man, he is a man who loved….but let’s hear his story!!!
Q: It has been one year since the demise of your fiancee, how have you been coping with the loss?
A: You don’t expect me to feel great do you? You see I thank God for everything, which is the first thing I have to say because he knows best. I feel I have been sent on a journey I never planned for because this was a journey I wanted to make with the one I truly love. A journey of affecting lives and creating positive change in my country, but unfortunately, Ebola cut it short. So all I have to say is I have been coping and God has been helping me even in spite of my imperfections.
Q: Hmm…I must say I salute your strength. You went through the same ordeal as your late fiancee, what was it like?
A: Well, it wasn’t something to write home about in the sense that when I remember the experience, I always shed tears and at the same time, thank God for sparing my life, I believe it is an opportunity to do things differently. You see, some people don’t get to know their purpose in life until something tragic happens to them. It was like I saw death in the face and came back to life. You know, when within me, I have some days to live which is the most threatening part, but I must say that God was everything.
Q: So now, what are your plans?
A: Well as you know, I have not been in the country for a while now. I believe if I want to follow the call of being a social visionary, I need the experience and expertise to set up something that will bring change and change the mindset of people geared towards making the world especially Nigeria a better place to live. With this in mind, I had to go for a training that will enable me set up my own social venture that will challenge status quo, transform concept and change mindset. Therefore, my plan is to follow the course or path that has been placed before me via my experience by setting up a social venture that will focus on stigma and discrimination of people who are going through one health challenge or the other e.g. HIV/AIDS
Q: So there is this issue of stigmatization? Have you been affected?
A: Yes, a lot, I experienced it a lot. Well after my recovery, it took time for me to visit people or friends. Some were even scared, but I understood. You can’t believe that I went to see a friend in faraway Port HarCourt and he refused to see me.
Q: Are you serious?
Q: What would you like to say about your late fiancee?
A: She was the best woman I have ever met but that didn’t mean we didn’t have our issues, she was someone with a good heart, a lady filled with dreams and aspirations burning inside of her, a lady with vision and love. She was always telling me what she wanted to do, the people she wanted to reach, the lives she wanted to touch…she was a great woman even though she may not have lived to achieve them and I believe she led me to the path I am on now. I may not have done something in her memory as planned but I know, with time everything I have in respect of her being remembered as a heroin in Nigeria will be unveiled and accomplished. I want to also use this opportunity to thank Nursing world who have done something to always remember her as a sign of respect for a fallen colleague.
Q: Any last words?
A: May her soul continue to rest and I will always love her. I would be having a twitter chat today, 10:00 am +1GMT , I want to use this to celebrate her life and answer questions. The hashtag would be #CelebratingJustinaEjelonu #RIPEbola
Or follow me with @dennis_akagha….there will be a moderator and it will be a platform for people to send messages to the loved ones she left behind and the families of those who died in the same cause
Q: I wish you the best in your future endeavours.
A: Thanks dear.
All Rights Reserved: This interview is a property of The Connect, no part of it should be used without appropriate permission!!!