Who is Ejikeme Valentine Ntamaka?
I cannot write about me or my experience without you.
I write because you are here.
I, Ejikeme Valentine Ntamaka, was born into a Christian family of Mr Bennett and Mrs Evelyn Ntamaka. I came from Eziome Mbieri, Mbaitolu, Imo State, in Eastern Nigeria. I am the sixth child and the fourth son in the family of seven (four boys and three girls). I lost my Mum last year. We buried her on 14th October, 2021, two days later, I jumped on a plane to come to Australia, I had no time to mourn her. In the midst of the sadness I received the invitation to come to the Brisbane Archdiocese. I arrived in Australia on 20th October, 2021 in company of my brother Priest Fr. Anthony Chijioke Odionyenfe—who has been appointed to Caboolture Parish.
After a long journey from Nigeria, we spent over five hours at the airport, then we were taken straight to quarantine at Pullman’s Hotel in Brisbane. The quarantine experience is not something one wishes to undergo twice. I was given a room, no window, no balcony, so lonely – your companion is your phone and television. One day at the quarantine, I opened my door to receive fresh air, within some seconds, I got a call from the Police to closed the door or I will be fined $4000. Immediately, I close the door. The quarantine lasted for 2 weeks. After the quarantine, I went to Aspley, from Aspley to Wilston, from Wilston to Nambour, from Nambour to Coomera. Then, we had a meeting at Childers. Finally, I arrived at Caloundra on 13th December 2021, I was well received by Fr. Peter, Fr. Josh, Fr. Dang and Fr Joseph.
It is true that it is not easy for one to leave his country to a new one, new culture, new people, new food, BUT, since I came to Caloundra, I have seen how lovely the people are. Last Christmas, was my first Christmas outside Nigeria, it was fun. I visited many places for the celebration. Really, there is always an opportunity to learn and develop. I have celebrated Mass at Caloundra, Unity, Little Mountain, Beerwah, Landsborough and Maleny. Kawana and Currimundi, I will be there soon. I have visited Sunshine Coast University Hospital and some Age Care Homes for Pastoral Care of our elderly.
The care and love shown to me by Fr. Peter, Fr. Josh and Fr Joseph is overwhelming. They have been teaching and telling me how to adapt. The little I know about cricket, I got it from them. Many do come to me after Mass to offer to help in many ways, which is lovely. Thank you, ALL. Caloundra has many beautiful places with beautiful people like YOU.
I am coming to you as your brother and pastor in the Lord, who wants to listen, learn from you and lead you all in the ways of Our Lord Jesus Christ; the High Priest. Together, we will journey as pilgrim people sharing wisdom, faith and love of Christ. May the Lord direct our hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ and give us peace at all times. Amen.