Biography from Sharon of Nigeria
I will tell you the story of Sharon, my Nigerian colleague at the pot plant company, and our joint adventure in the musical world.
Sharon was born in Nigeria and is the seventh child of a family of eight children. Unfortunately six of her siblings have died. Their ability to go to school depended on the money available at the time. It wasn’t until she was twelve that she finally got access to education, thanks to the money she earned by her self working on a cassava plantation. From this she paid the school fees, the books and was able to buy the compulsory uniform, strictly green and white.
In the village, the community organi sed beautiful traditional festivals. The food was always evenly distributed and exchanged so that everyone could enjoy it to the fullest. These parties were a wonderful way to share and experience moments of happiness and joy. Unfortunately, there were numerous violent attacks with a religious background.
During one of these attacks, Sharon’s father was unable to prevent Sharon from being attacked with a machete and sustaining a serious leg wound.
In the rare moments of, when she was not attending school or working in the fields, she could go out fishing with her father in the boat. Those were beautiful times with lots of fun and memorable moments. Her father, a hardworking man, took care of his family, but unfortunately died too early of an unknown cause. Sharon and her sister moved in with their mother in their mother’s hometown. Here other family members were ready to help them.
After a few years of relative peace, things went terribly wrong again and they were forced to flee for their lives and returned to Sharon’s hometown with other family members. As if this wasn’t enough, she experienced another period of violence against the Christian Community at the age of 22. Returning from the cassava field, she was once again in the midst of a terrorist attack, a hell of fire and chaos. Her mother and sister had taken refuge in the Community Church and went into hiding there.
When she knew that her mother and sister were safe, she, with others, left the village by bus for the unknown. One thing was clear to her: never to return to her native village. Unknowingly, the journey took her to Libya, a place where it would be easy for her to find work!
A destination chosen in haste and despair, without even having a clue where that country was.
Sharon’s courageous journey.
Sharon fled her burning hometown after yet another terrorist attack on Christians in Nigeria. She endured the terrifying journey that followed with enormous courage. A long bus ride and a crossing through the desert and then unfortunately ending up in an inhumane refugee camp in Libya.
She stayed there for eight months before being helped by a Libyan family.
Sometimes she had to do housework for the guards, and in return she was given more food than was the case in captivity.
Twice she tried to make the journey from Libya to Italy with the help of a dinghy.
The first attempt failed due to a leak in the bottom of the boat: on that occasion she and the other 60 people were rescued by the Libyan coastguard. On the second attempt, they were spotted by a helicopter which then escorted them to the Italian Coast Guard ship.
After a few days of sailing, they arrived in Italy, were registered and received medical treatment. Sharon spent six months in a shelter before the immigration process was completed. There were many uncertainties in the shelter, so Sharon took the train to live with some friends.
Sharon and me
On my return to Italy from South America (Suriname), I went to work for my brother at his garden plant company in Tuscany. I first met Sharon in a supermarket, and she told me about working on a cassava farm with her mother.
I knew she would come and work next to me one day, because I knew she was a hard worker. After some time, Sharon was hired. It is fun work but physically quite hard as the Tuscany sun is often hot and the terrain hilly.
In the morning, during the break, we usually enjoy a cup of tea and a brioche, while in the afternoon we enjoy the delicious African food. But on Fridays it really is “pizza time”.
Sharon works hard and she learns quickly, and as a small reward, the boss gave her a bicycle for her commitment to the company.
She couldn’t ride a bike, I taught her that. Now I give her driving lessons with the van, but for now only back and forth in the pasture!
Sharon’s determination and her faith in Jesus
The reception and the subsequent integration in Italy were not always the best.
But certainly weren’t the worst part of her difficult journey. One day in March 2020, when I saw her particularly despondent, I asked her:
“What’s your problem, Sharon? Why are you so sad? ”
She replied: “Due to the fact that so many Italians are dying from this coronavirus; I have to pray for them because it’s not okay… ”.
Sharon prays for everyone who is suffering! Even though she herself has not been treated with much altruism by Italy’s State Institutes which is truly shameful!
But she will continue to pray to strengthen those in need no other words are needed to describe Sharon. She made a wonderful gesture, a gesture that most Europeans have long forgotten. We, Europeans, can only learn from other cultures.
In fact, these can make our lives much more interesting.
We just have to be willing to accept these differences because it will only bring us tremendous benefits. Her modesty, humility, and contentment with very little reminds me of the past.
It is sometimes difficult to recognize a true joy or to know when people are really satisfied!
Sharon wouldn’t be Sharon if she didn’t help other people.
Sharon continues to pay attention to those in her parish that are in dire straits and she actively works to give them concrete support. Several times she has collected usable clothing, footwear, spaghetti and other products to send to Nigeria.
During the first large coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, she even sent 1,000 euros to her community in Nigeria. As I assist her manage her finances, I did not entirely agree with this course of action.
Giving away almost everything you have while living in expensive Europe didn’t seem like a good idea to me. But given her Christian faith and listening to her heart, she felt it necessary to do something for the community of her village in Nigeria.
Later, in the same year, one of the families of this community gifted her 2,500 square meters of land for free.
Helping others feels good and is always rewarding; it is more beautiful to give than to take. This generosity somehow returns.
Sharon as a true companion
We help each other as much as possible in our lives, we are a great support for each other. This is very easy because we see each other every day at work.
Despite the hard work, she is always in a good mood and conveys joy to those around her, including me.
In 2017 I started working more seriously on my musical project and discovered step by step how interesting it was to write and compose music lyrics myself.
Sharon, who at the time had minimal experience in or knowldege of photo and video editing, immediately became my go-to person in my project for creating video clips.
She also makes the Karaoke versions of my songs. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions imposed on us during the coronavirus period, we did not have the opportunity to film outside. So for the time being we had to settle for downloading free photos and videos and using the “green screen”.
The SFF – “Sharon’s Farm Foundation”
Right now, Sharon sends money to her community parish often, which I find not very constructive. In fact, the famous saying goes like this:
“Give a man a fish and he has 1 day to eat. Teach him to fish and he can eat all his life!“
For this reason, we have now seriously considered establishing the Sharon’s Farm Foundation (SFF) in her hometown in Nigeria. We have the land that was donated to her to build a house, a reception room, a canteen, a shop and a shed. We will start with a cassava plantation, but we also plan to breed goats and cows.
The idea is to sell the in-house produced food, handmade clothing and other typical products of those regions through the store. We are confident that Sharon’s project will be a success. I will also use my experience from the multiple fair trade projects for organic bananas in the Dominican Republic to help her succeed.
Together we will ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Hopefully we can start this project in 2022 if the circumstances around the corona virus allow it.
Sharon wishes you nice listening and vision pleausure