Tears to Joy (Ekundayo)

4 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Tybello

Photo journalist, TY Bellow, who discovered the bread seller model also discovered an unsung hero, Ms Ekundayo, a woman who had single handedly cared for near 500 orphaned children without any public or private applause.

An economist graduate, who had a brief stint in Government, Bello is a passionate Christian who has an amazing eye out for underdogs. Transforming the life of an illiterate bread seller caught in her camera by accident to a supermodel. But she wasn’t done yet.

In 2003, on a whim of philanthropic spirit, she decided to go visiting orphanages round the country to see which was in dire straight and how she could help, to her great surprise, she discovered an unknown and unsung heroine, who had quietly fed and sheltered close to 500 children in the backwaters of Kogi state.

In 1959, Mama Ekundayo, a married woman with five biological children of her own, decided to take care of orphans and abandoned children as well. Without money or power, she set about her goal and by 2003, she had taken care of well nearly 500 children without any government or international aid.

mama ekundayo

Mama Ekundayo

“Ekundayo,” which translates, “(my) tears have turned to joy,” captured Bello’s sentiments the days she met this woman.

“After talking to her about 10 minutes, I just started to cry,” TY Bello said.

“I felt so empty, you know there is something about her that is very peaceful, very wholesome. You can tell that she was happy but I felt that my whole life was just about me and my project and the things that I wanted.”

Greatly edified by sheer munificence of the woman and the gloriousness of this hidden sacrifice and the contrast of her own life Bello wrote a song for her which she turned to a music video called “Ekundayo.”

ekunday ophanage

Just like many things in life, there are many unsung heroes, people who do good quietly while the world largely remains unaware. Men and women who spend their lives serving others selflessly, at the cost fortune and family. They are so noble, inspiring and out of the ordinary.

It is like catching a glimpse of that image of God we bear in our souls, so obscure and difficult to see in a world marked by unchecked greed and selfish ambition for power, lust and personal gratification.

Using one’s talents or money to serve the greatest number of people is obviously more rewarding and effective, yet it is strangely not common in Africa, and in Nigeria especially. The truth is that it requires degree of spiritual awareness rare and hard to acquire, and even more, it requires willpower and self mastery over the animal instincts of self preservation that only very few can achieve in society rife with insecurity and poverty.

Yet, the Ekundayos of this world aren’t superhuman. They are people with deep convictions who choose to live out the consequences no matter the odds.

ty bello with mama

TY Bello with Mama Ekundayo

But they are the truly free. Those who understand freedom as the radically arbitrary license to do just what they want and to have their own way are living in a lie, for by his very nature man is part of a shared existence and his freedom is shared freedom. His very nature contains direction and norm, and becoming inwardly one with this direction and norm is what freedom is all about.

It is this radical shift in thoughts and philosophy that distinguish Ms Ekundayo from many. Yet, all Nigerians retain the capacity to walk the footstep of this giant.

Admittedly this is no easy task from start to finish in Nigeria. From scarcity of adoption agency to fraudulent agencies that run orphanages with a mind of achieving a clandestine agenda, to lack of proper documentation, to legal challenges to bureaucratic bottle necks ensure that only the truly convinced can walk this course on scathe.

“Mama Ekundayo has shown us how you can do so much with so little. There are countless examples of people like her out there,” said Bello,   “I hope the videos inspire us to help make their work easier or at least spread the word as much as we can.”

EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO (video)

LYRICS: EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO

Ekundayo sugbon E mi ko

Ise Oluwa ni

Her words resound over and again

Undoubtedly I’ve been changed

Madam your life your heart touched mine

And finally I realized

Even I can give a life

Ekundayo sugbon emi ko oluwa lo fun mi se

Mo dele ever before open my door

Jojolo

 

Life was all about me

My life was all about me

Did not see nothing wrong

The life that I lived

Was far from her reality

Don’t know how empty I was

Madam your life your heart touched mine

I was struck by the purity of your smile

Now I know

Realize the change I can bring (Change I can be)

To suffering children who’ve got no home

Pray for me so I can see

Through your eyes

Repeat Do you know beautiful you become

When you make way

For the all little ones

Who otherwise would not have made it through their day

You become a part of their tale

Oh how beautiful are the feet of every man

Who brings tidings of hope to children broken

Blessings from heaven gate

Will shower you every day

Everytime you open the door to link a child

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Eje kan wa oh oh

 

Open up my door (Say yeah)

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Ki won wa oh oh

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba


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