Donatrus Mbonu, a Computer Numeric Control machinist working at Nibco, is pictured with Blytheville Primary School teacher Detris Poole and students in her second grade classroom.
By DAVID COOKE
Blytheville Schools PR Director
Students in Detris Poole’s second grade classroom at Blytheville Primary School listened to Donatrus MBonu for about an hour Nov. 16, and when Mbonu’s talk was over Poole had more questions for him and praised him about what his words meant to her even more than her students did.
Poole’s students have been studying “Books Come Alive” throughout the school year, and one of the books they’ve particularly enjoyed has been “Tinga, Tinga Tales,” inspired by traditional animal stories from Africa and from the Tinga, Tinga. “Through their research of the oceans, rainforest and Nigeria, the students developed a strong interest in Africa,” Poole stated.
Mbonu, from Lagos, Nigeria, has been in the United States - specifically Blytheville - for 10 years. He is a computer numeric control machinist at Nibco. He and his wife Queen have three children - Sean (MBonu, student in Poole’s classroom), Seth and their newborn daughter Seal. Lagos, his hometown, is a former capital of Nigeria. In addition to English, Mbonu speaks three other languages - Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa.
Mbonu said that the “Borno” family is a huge family, and that of every seven Borno members, “one or two of them are Nigerian”. He also said that the country of Nigeria includes 177 million-plus citizens.
“We as Nigerians have a tenaciousness” to survive anywhere,” he continued, adding that “I am living my dream … Give us anything and we’ll make life out of it.”
Mbonu also talked to the students about the Flag, crude oil and values. ‘You are your own’, he brought out, referring to every citizen having the right - but also the responsibility - to be in charge of his or her own life. “Mr. Mbonu helped me to understand that there are things inside of me that I have yet to use,” Poole said.
Mbonu stated that if he had just one phrase to tell Poole’s students, it would be that “Anything is possible. My advice to you is to 'take the best chance you have'. You can do whatever you want to if you want to badly enough.”