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The Long Struggle to Discovering Me should be a source of inspiration to anybody going through difficult phases of life. They will find wise counsel in this book / Photo: Femi Awoniyi

A Nigerian woman’s long struggle to self-discovery in Germany

– Book Review –

Clara Meierdierks (born Uwazie), a nurse/midwife who lives in Germany, writes about her life’s journey so far in The Long Struggle to Discovering Me.

It’s a story of disappointments, setbacks and disillusionment but also of courage and eventual triumph.

Born in the eastern Nigeria town of Ahiara (Imo State) about 49 years ago, she writes about a beautiful childhood in a close-knit traditional family. It’s a period that the centre could still hold in the country.

The political situation and economic conditions in Nigeria were later to massively deteriorate from the beginning of the 1990s. It’s the time that young people began to leave the country in great numbers.  

Clara migrated to Germany to pursue her dream of a life free of the uncertainties that have come to characterize her homeland.

Clara Meierdierks holding a copy of her book. Her story is that of disappointments, setbacks and disillusionment but also of courage and eventual triumph / Photo: Clara Meierdierks

 

She was caught up in the difficulties associated with settling down in a foreign land. First, she had to win the battle of obtaining her legal residency, which frustratingly took long and severely tasked her.

Then she got into a relationship with a fellow Nigerian that was abusive but which she did not quit on her own. The couple also had difficulties realising their wish for a child. Ultimately the relationship broke down leaving behind so much emotional debris of regret, hurt and pain.

Moreover, Clara also faced challenges in the workplace, where she didn’t always find acceptance and satisfaction.

Despite all these troubles, the devout Catholic kept her faith in God. Even though she confesses that her faith was sometimes shaken during her many ordeals.

Just after Clara had decided to be contented with the hand that fate had served her, the miracle happened. She met a German man and their love was like destined. Clara, who is a Respiratory Care practitioner, put her pains behind her and began a new life. The couple’s joy became complete when their daughter was born.

Clara’s story is a story of faith’s victory over disappointment, of hope’s triumph over setbacks.

The Long Struggle to Discovering Me should be a source of inspiration to anybody going through difficult phases of life. They will find wise counsel in this book.

A remarkable character of the author is her determination for self-development. Even in the most turbulent periods of her life, Clara continued to pursue further education, obtaining a BSc in Health & Social Welfare and a Masters in Psychology, among other qualifications.

Clara writes about the value of friendship and family, mentioning by name those who stood with her through thick and thin, both in Nigeria and Germany. But she also painfully recalls the gossip-mobbing that she suffered when things were not going well for her.

This is a book about a life of pains but also of love, of harsh realities but also of beautiful moments, of despair but also of victory.

There’s no way you will read The Long Struggle to Discovering Me without taking away some useful lessons from it.

Femi Awoniyi

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