|Chekwas & Coco 2015, Umuahia, Nigeria|
I think I had just returned to Nigeria and I was trying to cope with everything a teenager can meet in a new land, country when I met Amaka. Im trying to remember if we met in school or at the movie industry office in Enugu. Amaka was studying Mass communication, Third year and I was in my second year, As a Beautiful, Young and smart ass Chemical Engineering student.
We were both Hopeful Toward becoming Movie stars, we moved from classes in school to Movie Auditions and we were both doing so well. We were filming back to back, different movie locations and keeping up with school. We had No Bills, Life was good. Our Parents paid the bills of our Luxury life even at that time.
We had so much Fun in school! How do I even explain this? Amaka lived in the private hostel, with her incredible kid sister UD, Who had a friend Ruby who went for movie auditions with us. Amaka also had lots of friends. I benefitted so much from Amaka's already established life and knowledge of both Nigeria and School. My accent was a bit too foreign and Amaka and friends made sure I started blending with the native dialects, common pidgin languages and the Nigerian ways of coping so you not targeted as a kind of foreigner. They laughed at me most times, But I had fun with all of her friends. They still my friends, today, for the most part.
Amaka's friends would laugh at my movies then, tease us on the peanuts we were being paid back then and buy take us out. Like I said, Life was so good. All we needed to do was go to school and live the dream.
Amaka, Ruby, and I started to do so well in the movie industry, started to make a little more money, and Amaka graduated and I went back into my shell in school. The friends and team I hung with graduated and I started doing the auditions and schooling alone. Of course, I had friends, but my clique had left.
Amaka was posted to Lagos, Access bank and was doing her Youth Service (NYSC), The whole clique was scattered all around. And I grew up to become the Movie star. Life was good. There was money, education, Luxury, and Fame. I was this time, Fully doing very well with my job and depending on my self for funds.
Things happened too fast, Really Fast, I must have returned from one of my Dubai - South Africa - Uk Tour when I realized It's been months Amaka and me have been Out of contact. Then She told me,
Coco, I'm in the hospital at LUTH in Lagos, I had an accident. It sounded normal. She didn't expose much, though she told me Strangers found and helped her made calls. May they continually receive help, those strangers.
I had become a woman, though in my earliest twenties because I could dine with the noble, live in fancy places and pay my way through luxury dinners. My businesses were thriving, my career was insane, I was young, I could only think of the next target, Angelina Jolie or Well Who knows.
My mother got worried. She wanted so much more for me. She was scared I may be too proud, wayward, and maybe lose character and vision of all the things I had told her I can be. She wondered when I was going to start using my school degree. I wasn't hearing None of that. LOL...Imagine that nonsense, when ALL the Boys my age were practically touching themselves just by watching me on the screen or hearing my name. ( Me exaggerating...Hahaha)
Then, Amaka sent me a pic of the actual accident. Her One leg AMPUTATED!
Everything Changed!!! I mean this, everything changed. I had not gone to LUTH, and I didn't know. My friend had been there for Months, and I was busy Touring the world in the name of FAME. the first thing I did was return home to my mother and for the first time in so long, she spoke to me and I was her daughter, the little girl she bore. Amaka's accident affected me much more than I will ever admit.
Let me digress a little please, You see, My Friend Amaka, I actually call her CHEKWAS, Yes, so I will address her henceforth as Chekwas was The Single-handedly Most beautiful young girl I had ever met. Wow! You all needed to know Chekwas. My Gosh! She was a girl that girls admire. Bulky innocent eyes that will look at you with such a shy smile, her skin brightened lightened chocolate, her dentures, insanely white and she was tall, slender, slim fit, Chekwa FINEEEEEEEEE.
My mother told me, You that is flying from here to here and always here and there, can you see? Give your life substance, There's so much more you can do, so many people to help and create a deeper purpose, calm down, be a lady and build up yourself. I grew up too fast. I had everything and everyone rooting for me.
Amaka's Unfortunate accident Humbled me. I started thinking about going for my master's degree, I just wanted to grow a little older then do everything for myself. I got too wealthy and expose maybe too young, so I said, maybe I should go back to school. Movie Producers and superstar life can be tricky.
But I tried to stay back in England, I tried to want to be simple, regular, normal, and the world around me wouldn't have it. They all wanted Coco the superstar, I tried to be the regular girl, and well, i'm still trying I guess. My DAD died, and I was trying to get stable with my own adult life and i had to go back home again to be with my mother who just can't stay on the UK for too long. She runs at the slightest of the winter (Can't blame her).
My mother developed very bad arthritis and needed to have knee replacement surgery. I took my mother to India, for this surgery, It was successful, I signed on a partnership with the hospital and we launched my NGO Foundation 'Coco Medicare Foundation'. We were an instant success and Amaka went to India, repeatedly for even more surgery and she also got a prosthesis for the amputated leg.
Things just wouldn't go good again, either for My friend or my mum. Chekwas was having Infection here, the hospital there, more surgeries there, and my mother had developed Diabetes so she was learning to cope with Insulin. My Dad's demise was hard on her, as we expected. She was fine and strong and happy and all that, But LONELY. She had turned me into her Husband and that wasn't a job I could do too well - Little me.
My career suffered! I couldnt stay long in movie locations, my businesses were thriving but my mother always needed me. She started wanting me to be settled, to have my life straightened out, to just make sure everything about me was great. I had to move in again, FULLY with my mother so she could live healthier. Amaka started to get better too and we even did a MOVIE TOGETHER.
Amaka produced the movie and my Gosh, It was one heck of a family loving story. Tittle is 'It's all about Martha'. We have so many plans on working together and producing so much more, I am coming to Chekwas, give me some time, I finally Got to using my Smart Ass Brain again to SERVE. I just wanna serve, how kool is that?
Amaka makes Cakes, Beads, Writes, Opened her business and her One leg didn't have any chill on her.
I went through AN INSANE rough Patch, So Insane that I haven't SPOKEN about publicly and Not ready, My Mother died! My world crashed! I felt like I Really Lost after all. This Feeling, Oh, I have it when I think of having kids, this feeling felt like, She didn't wait to see that I started serving and growing up more. This is a story for another day! I was Done. I just wanted to breathe.
I think I spent about two weeks with Chekwas at her family residence in Umuahia, Abia State and I was closer again to everything she felt. She still has dreams and hopes and we talked and laughed and joked about the little tiny pecks and kisses we got hiding from class to the hostel to the quiet gardens, Oh Dear, I'm chuckling now Hahahahahaha....Where are those guys ahhahahahahahaha.
The United States was one of my many holiday getaways, I would come in for shopping and Fun and leave in two weeks, three weeks and return months in and the next year out. Well, Look at me, I stayed back. I made VERY tough decisions, I Let myself Refocus and Refocus again, I just wanna be My mother's daughter. I just really, truly want to serve and help and live and laugh and build my world again and have sex and more sex and love and make my world better every day.
So many people my age have never really gotten round to live, they trying to make money to start living, Well, they can come to me to give me an adult prep talk cause I been around the world, by myself, my money, my time, my life way in my mid-twenties. I promise to still Love myself, and love life and do all these again and again, But please, All the producers and Fans, Give me a moment, Take a chill pill - I am coming! Can I become a Nurse Please, and Serve with you with my best self and write different kinds of scripts and maybe, hopefully, change the stereotype of health care home movies, Please, Let a lady breathe!
Last Two years, My Friend, Amaka, My Own Chekwas had THE SECOND LEG AMPUTATED.
Imagine my world, Imagine my Heart Ache, Imagine my pain. I was BROKEN all again. How come, what happened, I don't even understand it. This was When I knew, I'm making good choices so far, and definitely going fully into healthcare.
Staying back In the United States was a Tough decision I had to come with terms with. My whole Family Just wasn't here. I made It Afterall - My mother's spirit is right after all!
Today, My Friend, Chekwas is Legless, both legs Gone, and I still Feel like I haven't really done nothing to make your life, you, better. You are so strong. Can You imagine the smile on your face? You even dared to call yourself Legless DIVA, Are You Mad? That's so Bold!
Amaka Chekwas, FINALLY shared a bit of her story on social media on her birthday April 20th, Last week and I have had all sorts of feelings since then. She knows I never forget her birthday - Hahahaha.
I was rushing off for classes when I saw that she SHARED, She opened up about her Amputation to the world, I wept in my car so much I got to school so late. We talked about this and I asked her permission to share my story through her eyes and she gave me her consent. I am a writer! It's been one of my highest paying jobs forever a decade, But this Story, This piece here, many parts omitted, has been postponed for so long. I could Only write this after Chekwas did. She had to be ready!
I'm so sorry for every pain, Pint of blood, repeated surgery, financial bullshit, emotional pain, feelings of deterred hopes and dreams and hurts and abandonment you have had to deal with Chekwas. None of us did anything right to deserve Better and through the years, a smile on any one of your pics Kept me Focused and Hopeful and Strong.
My love to your mum, your dad, and the best Family Life blessed You with. This piece is so long and made me look into my life again. May I do better in -understanding health issues, may I find more call time for us to laugh at ourselves. May we live to know more and do more.
Most Of Our School Friend DIDN'T KNOW Chekwas Story! Now, The world Knows why You were Not with me on the world Stages. I'm Sorry Chekwas! You didn't deserve this and Our countries Healthcare is Not something I wanna vent about On this article.
When we Know Better, We do Better - Maya Angelou!
May You Refocus and Refocus and Refocus - Collette Orji
To More Than I Can Be - Collette Orji
Remain brave My Friend - Let Love Reign!!!
All Rights Reserved, © Collette Orji
AMAKA CHEKWAS STORY SHE POSTED ON FACEBOOK! READ BELOW!!!
A SURVIVOR STORY
I am sure this would come as a surprise to many here on Instagram/Facebook
Oh yes, I had an accident and both legs were amputated... My story is a long one but I promise to tell the world someday.
It took a lot of courage to come to terms with my current condition. I mean you never get to see me post a full photograph of myself on the wheelchair until I came across a legless diva on Instagram by name @iamkeishagreen_ and of course other legless divas as we call ourselves and I began to see life from a whole new dimension.
It's so amazing how people live their day to day lives with no idea that someone, somewhere depends on their everyday post to forge ahead in life.
It's my birthday today and I am thanking God for the gift of life. It's been eight years of pain, perseverance and of course God's grace.
Yes!! EIGHT YEARS!!!!
Years of pain in and out of the hospitals, 38 surgeries both in and out of the country and with over 72 pints of blood. Indeed it has been the finger of God in charge.
I may have lost both legs but I am grateful that I have my mention, my eyes, my hot and functional brain and of course a pretty face.*wink*