By Leslee Jaquette, Andelcare Client Relations
The first time I met Betty Ireigbe she gave me the biggest smile in the world and a beautiful big hug. She was simply irrepressible!
She had just returned from the East Coast from watching her daughters play volleyball. They are both on athletic scholarships at college and she was overflowing with joy and gratitude. My first thoughts were, “Wow, Betty must be rich, flying back several times this fall to see her daughters play volleyball.”
While I don’t know about the money part, I know a lot more about Betty after reading her memoir, “Courage: The Inspirational Life Story of an African Woman.” I have learned that Betty is not only blessed with unshakable faith, great smarts and determination, she is also rich in courage.
In the book the owner of Divine CNA Nursing School in Federal Way and Renton describes how she grew up the only daughter of an unwed mother in a Nigerian village with no running water or electricity. Her father moved to the city and took three wives, who usually treated her like a slave. Through hard work, guts and grace, Betty bootstrapped herself from no future to a life in America that transcends her wildest dreams.
As Betty tells the story of the first half of her life, most every paragraph rings with forgiveness and gratitude. Although her young life was filled with abuse and emotional pain, she refused to give into her circumstances. Despite very little love and encouragement, Betty somehow strives for a fuller life, filled with purpose.
Betty’s story reminds me of the definition of resilience. With great candor and always forgiveness for those who hurt her, she tells a story of struggle. But as she says, through God’s love she was able to survive and even flourish as she moved through her young life. She achieved an education, worked as a teacher, made the tough decision to marry and move to the U.S. and built a life for her husband and daughters.
“Courage” is a short book and a very easy read. Not only did I enjoy learning about this beautiful woman who hugs everyone, I appreciate her “can-do” attitude, an attitude that she imparts with every smile and embrace. In the book Betty also shares tips about living positively and purposefully.
Betty is a great model. After I met Betty and read her book, I have been inspired to forge my own path and to live life in gratitude.