What is your Igbo name?
Ijeoma Chinyere (I don’t have an English name!)
What is the meaning of your Igbo name?
Depends on the context. It can mean safe journey and welcome. Chinyere means gift of God. My mum had three sons and really wanted a girl, so when I came she called me ‘Welcome Gift of God’.
What State are you from?
How long have you been a member of ICSN?
Since 2013 I think.
How did you first hear about ICSN and why did you decide to come?
I did a search and also my aunties mentioned being in a group that existed before ICSN.
What has been your favourite meeting, event or experience to date at ICSN and why?
I have many so that’s tricky. I do enjoy the GHMs, especially the romance one and the one celebrating womanhood. I loved the Book Club I went to, the language and cooking schools…It’s too hard a question!
What Executive position do you hold and what does your role involve?
Culture. To ensure that learning about and promoting Igbo culture plays a key part in ICSN events and meetings.
What do you plan to do within your role in the over the next year?
Well, I’ll summarise. More of the same: language school, cooking school and GHM. I am also, with my co-culture exec, keen to promote our culture amongst non-Igbos by offering tasters of our cooking school and dance school for example. We’ve got other big plans set out, but you’ll hear those in due time.
What are you looking forward to most being in the exec?
Working with and learning from a forward thinking bunch of people to help ICSN do even better than it is already doing and to have a lot of fun doing that.
What motivated you to run to be part of the exec?
I am genuinely really interested in Igbo culture and helping people learn about it. I have learnt so much and I would love others to experience that too and be better able to relate to other Nigerians here and abroad.
What do you do for work?
I’m a primary school teacher.
How did you get into this line of work?
I love teaching, but went to study pharmacy (long story) and became a pharmacist. I really liked that but realised that I am more passionate about teaching; I kept on reading the TES in my spare moments during my undergraduate days.
Any advice to anyone wanting to get into your field?
Do it! You’re able to be creative and positively shape generations of children. How amazing is that! It’s hard work but what work isn’t? There are so many schools out there, so look around and get experience of schools before you decide.
What are your plans for the future career wise?
I would like to be a head or someone shaping education in some form. I’ve always felt that was what I was called to do.
What is your favourite dish (pick one Nigerian and one non Nigerian)? Can you make either of them?
Hmm, okra soup probably. Yes, thanks to my mum and cooking school. English? Chips! I haven’t tried.
Please tell us about one of your favourite pastimes/hobbies? What do you like about it? How often?
Languages, team sports and writing stories…That’s the short list.
Surprise me with an unusual random fact about yourself?
People say I make even the ordinary sound exciting lol. It’s not my fault an exciting story comes to me even from shopping in the supermarket!
Do you speak Igbo? If yes, how would you describe your skill level? If not, do you plan to learn?
Yes, I always understood but thanks to ICSN, I can read and write it. I’d say a rusty intermediate and will need to brush up.
If you were to have a dinner party and could invite three people to join you, who would they be and why (can be people you know or famous people both dead / alive)?
Jesus (though technically he’s always there anyway!), If He did all those things we’ve read about Him and is truly God, then it would be odd not to want to hang out with such a person. Also, as a Christian, I would like to thank Him for all that He did. Maya Angelou because I enjoyed her deep writing as a teen and I enjoy writing myself now. I imagine that we’ll have lots to talk about. My mum because she is remarkable and has always been there for us through much suffering and I would love for her to have a great time and show her off. Three is very few. Another tricky question.