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A life story with a difference


Juanita Ingham-970Mangawhai is quite prolific when it comes to published authors covering a wide range of subjects. Local Mum Juanita Ingham has recently released her ‘life’ story – thus far.

It seems that everyone has a story inside them although most never get around to expressing their innermost thoughts, feelings or experiences, generally not knowing quite where to start.

Those who know Juanita will relate entirely to the title By The Way.

The preface begins: “My children often say that I make large decisions without informing them. The first they know about it is when I start a conversation with the words ‘Oh, and by the way, we are going to…’ or ‘By the way, we’re doing…’. Over the years this has become a standing joke – it’s the way I randomly live my life.”

The by-line ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ is the clincher for this family who have found, like most young married couples, 20-odd years down the track, life is certainly not a straight line between point A and point B.

Any couple with four children in this day and age probably has far more random times than they care to believe or certainly write about, but this is a no-frills account of a couple whose lives and those of their children have weathered those ups and downs of life.

The Ingham’s have been aided in no small way by their strong Christian beliefs which have taken them to some amazing places and on some incredible journeys and learnings. Answering a call to the outer islands of Vanuatu the family dealt first hand with people bearing horrendous afflictions – cancers, leprosy and other medical problems with little or no means of treatment or likelihood of recovery.

Lows such as this were tempered by the highs of being able to organise a team to install a fully functional fresh water system for a village, all through voluntary labour with the necessary pipework being donated by a New Zealand company.

India became their next frontier. From the bustle of the city they again moved north into small impoverished villages where, through faith, their own expertise and the new-found willingness of villagers they set up a chicken farm which was to produce a food source, eggs and work and income for many who would otherwise be living at subsistence level.

The trials and tribulations sometimes have one wondering ‘why?’ but the successes of their ventures are savoured by many.

Basing their decisions on ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ Juanita’s optimism means she has never been afraid to change direction if it meant improving their own situation or answering a call, and where that optimism sometimes falters, her faith invariably carries her through.

By The Way is an easy read because it’s written just as Juanita would tell it. It is an account by an everyday working Mum about a family who live and work in our midst and whose children are well known through local schools and beyond which makes this book both insightful and revealing and, in many cases, will cause us to reflect on the parallels with our own lives.

n By The Way is in store at Mangawhai Books & Gifts at $24.95 or direct from the writer Juanita Ingham, inghams@orcon.net.nz.

SO FAR: The globetrotting adventures of the Ingham family through the eyes of Mum Juanita Ingham – so far.

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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