Yesterday, the 2nd of April 2016, Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation had a meetup session for kids aged 8-12 at the Ignite Africa Library, 13, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun Lagos. The children met with the author of “Adaeze the true princess”, Mrs Nnenna Ochiche who is a medical doctor and a writer.
Mrs Nnenna Ochiche read out a part of her book to the children and asked them questions relating to the book, their school, the lives in general which these children answered.
The children who were very excited to be there also shared their experiences relating to the story of Adaeze, the main character in the book.
“Adaeze the true princess” tells the story of the main character Adaeze, a spoilt child who had to leave the rich urban, Lagos lifestyle due to family problems to start a new life in Aba with her almost poor Aunt Felicia.
Towards the end of the session, there was a question and answer segment which was anchored by the Project Director, Mrs Winnie Aduayi.
Some of the questions asked and the answers given were:
Q: How did you come about your main character “Adaeze”. Was it through personal experience with anybody?
A: The character Adaeze was inspired by an experience at the hospital where I worked. A woman came in with her children and asked for our services at the hospital, and when she wasn’t getting what she wanted, she left. Her younger son went after her and they left the older one. So she just got into her car, switched on the A.C and wound up. The older son who was still in the reception had earlier on collected the phone of one of the nurses, so when she left, I told the boy that his mother had left already and he ignored me. I was shocked because I knew that at that age I couldn’t try that with my mother. I mean, I was the first child so I had to lay the foundation for the rest. So I told the nurse to collect her phone because the mother did not look like she would answer her if the boy damaged the phone. Even the nurse was scared too. So I collected the phone and gave it to the nurse and the boy kept staring at me and I stared at him back. Then all of a sudden he fell at my feet, started kicking his legs about and refusing to be carried out. I did not know what to do. He refused to leave my legs. In medicine, we have milestones for each age so I knew this boy wasn’t supposed to be doing this. We called out to his mother, but she ignored us like she too was fed up of him. Long and short is we managed to get him into his mother’s car and I felt like I needed to tell his mother that she was allowing him get away with so much. But then, it is harder to reach adults, so why not try to reach the children instead. And that was how the character Adaeze came about.
Q: Why did you get interested in writing about children
A: I think that is because of the influence books had on me when I was growing up. I always read a lot of books and they made me aspire to be a better person.
Q: What do you think Adaeze really wanted?
A: Sometimes children cry out for discipline, love and attention. Adaeze really wanted to be the best. She really wanted to be loved, to be disciplined but nobody was there for her. Nobody told her she could be the best and that was why she was defensive.Her being rude was just a front to the person beneath who lacked love.
Q: What was the main idea behind the writing of this book?
A: The main idea of writing this book was to make people know that even though children can be culpable, you dont just judge them, but you should endeavour to get to know the child.
Q: What is best part of being an author?
A: The best part of being an author is that you create characters who take up a life in other people’s hearts and effect a change in their lives. I cannot go to everybody’s house to change the children but my books can enter every child’s hand and each child can help the other child become a better person. Because children are more patient, they are the best teachers. They know what they would tell their peers to make them change, we adults just struggle.
Q: If you were to write a book about yourself what title would you give it?
A: Errr…..let’s say….My Journey To Self Discovery. But the book that changed my life as a child was this book “Without a Silver Spoon”. It totally changed my life.
Photocredit: Ignite Africa
I also took a picture of myself at the event. *covers face*
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