The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

November 19, 2012

Aziakas appreciate life in America

DANVILLE — Even though they keep their Nigerian customs alive for their four children, the Aziakas remind themselves every day how fortunate they are to live in America.

Family members include Neele Aziaka and his wife, Olubunmi; Victor (Bari-eeba), 19, Promise (NornuBari), 16, Faith (Baridakara), 13, and Hope (DornuBari), 10.

The young family came to Danville 16 years ago to escape political tyranny in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. They became citizens 10 years later after extensive studying and examinations.

Even though the family lived in a Nigerian city where conditions were fairly good, they continue to appreciate the opportunities and freedoms of this country.

“We have lived in both worlds,” Neele said, “and we all agree that you can’t put a price on freedom. Many people living in the United States don’t realize what life would be like if their liberties were taken away.”

Promise said, “I feel that God smiled on me by allowing me to grow up in this wonderful country. Teenagers living in America today don’t realize how good they really have it.”

He said that people’s religious beliefs are what keep them going. “Religion is a way of life … it determines how you treat people,” he added.

Family activities

Victor is a student at Danville Area Community College and hopes to go into criminal justice someday.

Promise, a junior at Danville High School, is in show choir, chess club, drama club, and on the math team. He also plays flute in the marching band. Promise hopes to attend the University of Illinois someday and major in his true passions: science and math.

Faith, an eighth-grader at North Ridge Junior High School, is in the Red Coats show choir, and she plays soccer. Hope is in fifth grade at East Park Elementary School, where she is in the MATS program and the choir.

The whole family is deeply involved in Danville’s New Life Church of Faith, where Neele serves as associate minister. Everyone in the family except Neele is a member of the church choir, and the boys play in the church band. They attend prayer meetings and Bible study, and Olubunmi belongs to the Women of Wisdom group.

“Our religion is the core of everything,” Olubunmi said. “We truly believe that when a family moves to a new environment — like we did — that their religion helps keep them focused on what’s important.”

Nigerian culture

In order to preserve their African heritage, the Aziakas take frequent trips back to their homeland to visit family. The two boys have also spent long periods of time in Nigeria with their own educational pursuits.

The family still wears brightly colored traditional clothing to church and when they get together with other Nigerians. In fact, Promise often enjoys wearing his Nigerian clothes to classes at DHS.

They also appreciate Nigerian food, and everyone in the family — even the men — take turns at cooking. Some of their favorite dishes include tilapia fish, boiled yams, plantain (fried bananas and scrambled eggs), black eyed peas, casaba (stiff mashed potatoes) and melon soup.

Health care

Both Neele and Olubunmi were practicing nurses when they lived in Nigeria. After coming to Danville, they both went on for their degrees at Lakeview College of Nursing. Neele has his master’s degree in patient safety and leadership from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He works at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center and the Danville Correctional Center.

His wife has her bachelor’s degree in nursing and works in the emergency department at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System.

The couple met in nursing school in Nigeria, and before they were married, Olubunmi converted from Islam to Christianity. It took several years before her Muslim parents and family would sanction their daughter’s marriage to Neele.

The couple finds it more satisfying to practice nursing here in the United States than at any hospital in Nigeria.

“Since there is no health insurance over there and everything is private pay, many people cannot afford the care that they need,” Olubunmi said.

She added the health care available in the United States is far superior to the technology and medicine available in her homeland.

Life in Danville

The family has traveled extensively and has visited many beautiful places around the world. “But when it comes to living and raising our children, we are very happy right here in Danville,” Neele said.

“My love for my kids makes me want to spend as much time as possible with them,” he added. “I can get to work in 15 minutes by living in a small town like Danville. I don’t want to waste several hours every day on a long commute.”

Neele reiterated that he and his family are very pleased to be living in the United States.

“We all need to pray for our country and the people in authority,” he said, “but if you have the knowledge and you are willing to work hard, then you’ll most likely succeed here in America.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DHA celebrates 75 years; contract under review DANVILLE — As the Danville Housing Authority celebrates 75 years this year, it’s also undergoing some transition with new board members.July 20 marked 75 years for the housing authority. DHA officials are talking about having a recognition event.The

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as battle rages GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.But ne

    July 24, 2014

  • Jet victims' bodies arrive EINDHOVEN, Netherlands — Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine’s restive east as fight

    July 24, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Tuesday, 9:23-9:33 p.m. — A medical call in the 200 block of Grace Street.Tuesday, 10:41-10:50 p.m. — A medical call in the 600 block of Pixley Street.Wednesday, 12:30-12:45 a.m. — A medical call in the 3

    July 24, 2014

  • Malachi Hatcher.jpg Murder charges coming soon DANVILLE — A man arrested on shooting charges at the end of June now will face murder charges stemming from the incident.Seventeen-year-old Malachi D. Hatcher was arrested on June 24 on a warrant charging him in connection with the June shooting of t

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jobs board sees numerous openings DANVILLE — Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen can’t remember a time when the local job openings board had so many open positions.It reached 68 job opening postings, some representing multiple job opportunities totaling more than the 6

    July 24, 2014

  • Fair Oaks7.jpg A full, balanced meal The line of children forms early in the day in front of the community building at Danville Housing Authority’s Fair Oaks public housing complex.The children, ranging in age from 1 to 18, eagerly wait for the nutritious lunch they will be served as pa

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walldogs artists come to Ridge Farm RIDGE FARM — A group of five Walldogs artists, four of whom worked on the Danville Walldogs murals, are making a return visit to the area.This time they will be painting a mural in Ridge Farm.The site is downtown, at Illinois Route 1 and Woodyard, wh

    July 24, 2014

  • Children’s play set for weekend

    July 23, 2014

  • Westville council limits parking on two streets

    Village trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday night to restrict parking on two village streets.

    July 23, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Must Read