When talent matters, I dare not joke with it. Such talent is that of Solomon, a young sculptor. You won't believe what this young chap can do till you meet him. I leave you to see for yourself as you read the extracts from his interview.
For the intent of this interview, please introduce yourself?
My name is Solomon Abuchi Ugwu from Ighalumona Nsukka, Ighandiagu Local Government Area of Enugwu State. I am in primary five in Ezi-Awka Primary School, Awka. I am the first born of my family, we are four kids in the family, two boys, two girls.
What do your parents do?
My mother is a seamstress and my father follows tipper to trip sand.
You are a sculpture, how did you start?
I started sculpting because God revealed it to
How did God reveal it to you?
It was one day while I was playing with my siblings. I just used ordinary sand to mould something on the ground, I continued moulding on the ground with the sand and I got used to it.
Can you remember what you moulded that day?
Yes! Keke (Tricycle) and tanker but it is no longer here with me because then it was ordinary sand I used in moulding it but now I use ajaulo(clay soil).
How do you get this clay?
If I see anywhere that soak-away is being dug, we will go and bring clay from the soil they dug out of the pit. When we come back, we pound it in a mortar and dry it under the sun then I use it for sculpting.
Who taught you that it needs to be pounded and dried under the sun?
Nobody taught me, God taught me. After pounding it, it will have the texture of powder, when you add water to it, you mix it together and I will use it to start working.
So do you only use clay for doing your works?
I use clay, but it depends. Sometimes to make my work straight, I use spoke from umbrella, even sticks of broom.
For how long have you been a sculptor?
I started when I was six years, that is 2013 and until now, I have been doing it.
Ok, do you earn from sculpting and do you sell your works?
Yes! Sometimes when we go out and display my works, people after looking at my works, drop money for me. I have also sold some.
What happened to your first works, the ones you did years back?
Most of them have been destroyed by water. Our house was flooded and it damaged them. We live in a house made of wood and I always pray that God bless us so we leave this place.
You went for AnambraTalent Show 2018, can you tell us what happened there?
I went and I displayed my talent which is sculpting. A lot of people were evicted and me too. But only three people made it to the finals.
What do you think made you not to make the finals?
The winners won by voting and I didn't have much people that voted for me like others.
Since you started sculpting, can you say your parents have been of help to enhance your talent?
Yes! Sometimes, my mother helps and go all the way getting clay for me, but my Dada, no, he wakes up early to leave for his work.
What do you wish that Nigeria do for you?
The only thing I wish for Nigeria is that they help me. I really want to be a sculpture so I wish they help train me in a technical school, with that I am sure I will realise my dream. And by God's grace I will try as much as I can to return those favours given to me.
So what is your plea to Government?
I sincerely plead that the government, whichever way they are helping the poor, should continue to help us
What then do you have to tell other youngsters like you out there who are also needing help?
I will say, any child that have a talent should continue to enhance and develop it. Don't
try running away from what you are talented at.
Dear reader, you have heard it from Solomon, Please read on about his mother, Mrs Agbo Nkiruka Euphemia as she inspires us with stories concerning her young scarlet.
I thank God for my son, Solomon for his talent. When he started, I was confused. Then,
if he comes back from school, he will go to the sand and start moulding. I will scold him but he will still insist on moulding with the sand. He will snap at me, “Mummy, leave me, I am moulding something”. I got tired of scolding him and I began to understand what he was doing. So, I left him to continue and stopped disturbing him because I found out it was his talent. From there, his school mates knew he sculpts. They will meet him to sculpt their school project for them and they pay little amount of money for it. As the day goes, he keeps sculpting different things. So, I decided to be sampling his works. I will bring them out and spread them in front of our house so people will be seeing it. From there, people started advising him to take him out and showcase his talent, if any one will help him develop his talent. Of course, I agreed. One day, I went to Women Development Centre, I was told they only help the blind, crippled and their likes. I was then told to take him to the government house, in the education sector. I didn't know how to go about it, so I went home. His picture that I left behind, hopefully will still be there.
Again, I was told that Gov. Obiano was doing his re-election campaign, that I should take my son to Aroma to meet with the governor. We there with some of his works but it was over crowded so I took him and ran from there leaving behind his works that we went with. From then hence forth, I decided never to take my son to any campaign arena but will be taking him to churches only. I will display his works in front of the gate for viewers . I have gone to St. Patrick's Awka, and other near by churches. There was a Priest at St. Patrick's that saw him and since then have been keeping to his promise of paying Solomon's school fees termly. He told me that Solomon will have to go to a technical school after primary school. I believed him. The day he met us, he even called people from Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) to interview us. He said there were going to show it on TV but then his works were no as many as they are now.
It was in one of our outings that I met Jerry-Mario Nnenanya that works at Fides. He asked few questions and I answered him. I also told him why I take my son out to the church which is to seek a helper who will rescue me and my family. My husband often fall sick nowadays because of the accident he had and me, my work now pays little for me. I mend clothes.
After our encounter with Jerry Mario, he kept calling and asked to visit us. I gave him directions and he came. I was very very happy. He later told me that he will be coming next time with a lady, which is you, Amarachi. He told me that you are going to give any help you can. Me seeing you today, I'm over excited.
When he told me, I doubted initially because so many people have promised us of their coming but we won't even see their brake light. Some will ask if Solomon moulded an idol or something like it. At some point, I had to instruct Solomon to give deaf ears to those who talk bad of him and his talent.
Sometimes, if I take him out, people will say that they won't put their money in something moulded with ordinary clay. Though, the ones that like him and his works encourage him with little money. From the money, I will buy some of their school materials like school bag, pencil, pen, books,shoes and even socks. That's how the money help us. This gives me joy and I thank God whenever I remember the gift he has given my child. Sometimes I wonder how my little Solomon will be helping to feed the family at his age through his works.
We have also one to Eke Awka round about. It caused traffic congestion because people gathered and a lot was capturing Solomon while he sculpts. They said they were posting it on Facebook. I said ok, I don't know anything about social media so they kept capturing till a police man had to come and intervene on behalf of the motorists who were blocked because of Solomon's talent.
It was at Eke Awka that someone have me the flyer for Anambra Got Talent. I registered him in a cyber café. I never expected it to tarry for so long. We have patiently waited for the main event for seven months. But finally we went for it last Saturday. So many people were evicted, so I didn't really feel bad. There was this boy that built a car but he was still evicted in as much as many people voted for him. We were told that Solomon's vote wasn't much, but before then, I hadn't gotten any people to vote for him. To me, most people that were evicted were people with rare talent.Anywhere I hear oftalent show, I must take my child there.
Where we are leaving, I will always say that it's is the Lord's doing. We've stayed here eight years now though water floods the little wooden house. It has flooded three times and destroyed some of Solomon's works and then he had many works he moulded. It has destroyed his works twice. I had to start again to search for drillers where they drill for water to get clay for him so he can re-mould the ones he lost to the flood.
I am not happy living here but as it is now, I can't afford costly house rent. Just like I told you earlier, I do not gain much from my sewing machine. So
day and night I pray for God to send a helper and bless my dear son, Solomon.
Maybe in next ten years, he must have learnt how to work with the proper materials for sculpting and not just with clay. Because sometimes his works crack in the bus if we want to go out. He will have to start mending the broken parts again so that people will really see that he is the one doing it. Some people doubt that he is not a sculptor. Most times if we encounter, police men on the way, once they see his handworks, they will allow us to go without further questions. He draws too. His school mates comes here and he draws for them and collect little money from them. This one I allow him to use it, sometimes he will say he used it to buy snacks in the school. People take his photograph and bring to me to keep by his works so others will believe he is the one who does the moulding.
He has enemies too. People have destroyed his works a lot. He will mould them in his small shade where he takes as his workshop in a corner here. He will leave it out there to dry. Then, at night, people will come and smash all of them. They did it a number of times so I decided to be taking them inside whether it is dry or not before we go to bed at night. That's why his work is big now. Then, once they see he moulded something beautiful they will destroy it at night. Since they are destroying his works, what if Solomon sleeps outside, that one they will definitely kill him.
I have always prayed that God keep him, grant him good health and lead him all day long.I thank you so much for coming to see us. May God bless you and Jerry-Mario Nnenanya. Not all will want to come to my house or help my son. May God lead you safe back home in Jesus name, Amen.
Dear reader, I bet that the inspirational story of young Solomon touched you deeply. If I can be of help, you can be of help too. Let's join hands together to make the dreams of this little boy a reality. Remember, the change begins with you!
To Contact Solomon's Mother, Call 07032593405