Getting to Know: Agnes Onuoha
In this new feature, we hope to introduce you occasionally to members of our Vision Africa family and the ways they impact our ministry. We start with a name you’ve heard many times if you follow this newsletter, because Agnes Onuoha, daughter of our founder Bishop Sunday Onuoha, is the namesake of our hospital and the “AO” in “AOMH.” In the same way, you may know that Agnes died at the age of 23 from complications of Lupus. But, now we’d like you to know Agnes as a friend, through the perspective of her sister, Jane.
Q: What were Agnes’s favorite pastimes?
A.: Agnes enjoyed eating out, hanging casually with friends, and watching a whole array of TV shows!
Q. Did she have a favorite subject in school?
A.: Agnes was really good at both English and math, so she used both sides of her brain. She didn’t fit into any particular box, and she didn’t want to. Instead, she made her own box, and she accepted herself for who she was.
Q.: What kind of music did she like?
A.: She was really into pop music, the songs of mainstream radio, but music was her joy, and she generally knew all the words to every song.
Q. Is there a favorite family story about Agnes?
A.: Agnes was already 4 years old when I was born, so she was old enough to understand she was getting a sibling. Although my dad knew my gender, my mom wanted to be surprised, so Agnes was left to guess. After giving it some serious thought, she decided I would definitely be a girl. When I was born, and she found out she was right, she immediately started dancing and jumping around, shouting, “I knew it was gonna be a girl! I knew it was gonna be a girl!” I’m not sure if she was happy I was a girl or just happy she was right!
Q.: What three adjectives best describe Agnes?
A.: The first word that comes to mind is ‘anomaly.’ Agnes was different in all kinds of ways, but her differences made her unique, and she embraced them. She was at peace with herself. The next word I’d choose is ‘conversationalist.’ She loved talking to people and was known to strike up conversations with everyone she encountered. The word ‘stranger’ was not in her vocabulary— just ‘potential friend.’ Maybe the best word to describe her, though, is ‘kind.’ At her roots, she was pure-hearted and well-intentioned in all her actions.
Q: How did Agnes influence you?
A.: Agnes was a great example of how to live your life courageously on your own terms. She didn’t let the fear of what others might think determine her decisions or dim her own joy. That is something I will always admire about her.
Q.: What was Agnes proud of?
A.: Agnes was proud of her family, and she was proud of Vision Africa. She loved them both deeply and viewed them almost as one unit. If she were alive today, she would be so happy to see that the plot of land where we played as children among the bushes and trees will soon be the home of a first-rate hospital bringing access to medical care where there had been none. I know this project is putting the biggest smile on her face in Heaven, and I’m sure she is very proud that it bears her name.