In this session of SALTY BROOKS, I hosted Chunu Tejiri.
Fondly called Teajay, he’s a Creative Thinker, Ideas Developer, Brand Strategist, Goals Coach and a lover. He’s a Life Coach who advocates strongly for teenage development. He’s passionate about seeking the mental awakening and value re-orientation of the young African. That has led him to reach thousands of teens across Africa.
He serves as the Creative Director at Dotbob Creative Solutions (a brand design and print firm), Creative Head Team at Imaginit Media Resource (a Social Enterprise focused on Teen Education Development and Advocacy) and initiator of StepUp! Africa, a social change project that reached 9 states in Nigeria in 2014, aimed at teenage value orientation and skill activation.
In this session, he shares his story so far…. Read on.
It’s a great day I am excited to share my story today on SALTY BROOKS.
I am Chunu Tejiri Jerry fondly called Teajay, born July 15th 1978 though I wanted to be born in 1985.
Born into a Christian family in Warri of 3 guys and 3 ladies, I was the comic character in the house. It’s no fun to be a joke. Having a mum like mine, an educationist, disciplinarian and fitness coach at 70+ I had no excuse.
I dared not wear one uniform to school twice and playful me will only remember to wash in the morning and dry behind the fridge. It got me several knocks on my head as I tried changing like superman in the car on my way to school. Thank God she did because I think the knocks shifted my creativity in place. Sadly for her, I cared less of her knocks.
I also had a magnetic field around me, when I move past things and money, they just followed me. I was accused of stealing severally but I didn’t know how to tell them it was a gift. I naturally attract. My mum was amazed when she realized I always ‘stole’ (in her words) to help people that didn’t have.
My thinking was activated when she asked “Do you know you could have bought yourself a car with all you stole?” Really? Yes, I knew I had a gift but I need to learn how to use it but guess what? I forgot again.
Let’s skip the dad flogging me till I couldn’t sit for 7 days part…but this boy had real African parents.
Feeling I wasn’t understood I took solace in following friend; the beginning of the “Story for the gods part 1-5.” Growing up in a compound of 8 girls and just 2 boys in the play range, girls were a natural. I didn’t have to chase. You know all that goes with teenage life – juvenile delinquencies and all. I will edit this part for another day.
I was searching for meaning. My mind knew I was meant for more, but I couldn’t connect the dots. I was top in school for art, geography and Maths. I represented in high jump and long jump and even set records, but was expelled. It was as bad of teams rejecting me from football matches because the last I played ended 1-1 and I scored both goals.
While roaming around I met Archbishop Benson Idahosa who directed me to Benson Idahosa University to start school without admission. Though they were strict and made us feel like we’re in a glorified secondary school, the things I learnt opened me up.
I stayed with a pastor who took all his electronics into his room, leaving me with furniture. I was grounded, it was boring. That was my ‘eureka’ moment where I was so bored all I could do was read. I read a book with over 400 pages in one day. I transcribed videos of Myles Munroe and Mike Murdock as I was amazed at the wisdom they shared. I read all books on the shelf.
At that point, I got a leading to help teens discover and deliver their potentials. I have done this for 17 years. My passion for teen development led me to start iStepUpAfrica a movement for value orientation and skill development of teens. Our projects have crossed 7 states in Nigeria and growing. We’ve hosted mentors – Steve Harris, Blossom Nnodim, Niyi Adesanya and more.
Follow StepUpAfrica and watch out how we will engage Nigerian and African teens this year. You’re welcome to be a part.
I started my brand design and printing business Dotbobng while in school and have never worked for anyone. I traveled to Lagos trekking from one bus stop to another picking posters because lagos was like jand to this Warri boy.
I started with House On The Rock Church when they just moved to Muson Centre and Daystar because I wanted to collect handbills. My passion for excellence drove me till I became the 1st to do a digital poster in Benin and became a household name.
I did well in business. I spoke on platforms. I inspired many until a hidden habit brought me crashing like humpty dumpty. I was duped, I had a son, friends castigated me, the church sold me out, my reality became a mirage, I was losing my mind.
It was shocking that my friend Lade Adeyemi duped me and has gone missing till today. Thanks to Hafsa Abiola Costello who’s been helping. Thanks to Praise Fowowe, Ibegbulem Victoria who helped and my sister Iwo Akinyoyenu who never gave up. Real friends are priceless.
I had to wear smiles to encourage others while I the tumor of depression grew. Thank God for preserving my mind. In the midst of pain God pointed me to those whose fulfillment were tied to mine. I then rose with the urgency of purpose.
In 2015 we helped Kevwe to go to go to school. Over 1000 children have been helped. See full story at http://unusualteajay.wordpress.com
In December 2015, with the childhood magnetic gift, I attracted support to feed and clothe over 1500 people in Warri. Apart from being the first in my family to meet the president, I was inducted into the NESG Youth Initiative and more.
I was inspired to write #WinToday @WinAgainToday ,teaching common sense daily that has helped many to win again. It gets better. My life has become a movie I titled “Beautiful Imperfections”. Watch out for the launch of my websites on Feb. 29th.
After working with the CommonWealth Youth Council to do #EnagageNigerianYouth today I didn’t know I could come this far. I am glad I did and blessed to know you read it smiling, but wrapping it up here are my life lessons.
Talking about your problems only magnifies them attracting problem makers. Stop talking and start doing the little solution.
Build a camp of strong people around you because they will help you build even in the rain. Your association feeds your motivation.
Don’t be naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face easily as anyone else. 1 Cor.10:12.
Thanks for following the pilot version of the Series of my life. I will love to be an episode in your life and vice versa. I’m happily available to engage your teen or youth audience and help them win again. I believe Impossible Is Nothing.
And save for my wedding coming real soon. Love y’all and thanks to Emeka Nobis.