A Mother’s Courage: Jongpongnenla’s journey of single-handedly raising her daughter

BY | Sunday, 12 May, 2024

At 65 years old, Jongongnenla from Wamaken Village carries the weight of a lifetime of challenges, yet her spirit remains unbroken.

Jongpongnenla recounted giving birth to her daughter, Moasenla, on December 9, 2001. Sadly, in May 2003, her husband left them when Moasenla was just 1 year and 3 months old. Jongpongnenla remembered her husband, Yanger Imsong, as a Pastor at Ao Baptist Church, Jalukie, at the beginning of their family life. After their marriage, he pursued studies in theology. She expressed gratitude for their daughter, their only child, acknowledging that they were initially occupied with serving the community. However, her husband’s departure left her to fend for herself and her baby.

Following her husband’s departure, Jongpongnenla and her daughter returned to Tzudikong, Tuli Town Mokokchung, where relatives resided. Initially lacking a home, they stayed with siblings for a year until they could support themselves. Eventually, their relatives built a house for her father, where they lived together for a while. They were later provided with a small plot of land by a paternal uncle, where Jongpongnenla and her daughter began anew.

To sustain their livelihood, Jongpongnenla engaged in day labor, weaving, stitching, and livestock rearing. She reflected on how her husband’s presence would have eased their struggles. Moasenla received her education from Zion School HR. Sec. School, run by the Tzüdikong Town Baptist Church, for high school, and continued her studies at Lima Aier Higher Secondary School, Dimapur, and Fazl Ali College, Mokokchung, for her undergraduate degree.

Jongpongnenla acknowledged the support of relatives from both sides but stressed the challenges of single parenthood and societal expectations. She relied on her faith for guidance. While she initially envisioned Moasenla pursuing theology like her father, she supported her daughter’s aspirations for a different career path.

During Moasenla’s undergraduate studies at Fazl Ali College, she expressed a desire to participate in Miss Mokokchung 2021. Jongpongnenla initially opposed her daughter’s decision, citing financial constraints, but Moasenla persisted, eager to gain experience and compete for the crown. Eventually, Jongpongnenla agreed to let her daughter enter the pageant, despite their humble means. She recalled how they meticulously crafted Moasenla’s gown, combining “inexpensive fabrics and secondhand clothes.”

Reflecting on Moasenla’s victory, Jongpongnenla described it as overwhelming. “When my daughter won the Crown (Miss Mokokchung 2021), I was at the top of the world,” she expressed, attributing their success to divine intervention. “Words couldn’t describe my happiness,” she continued. “People from all walks of life came to welcome her daughter when she won the crown and returned to her hometown.”

Jongpongnenla said, “God is there for each one of us, be it poor or rich. God always guides us.”

After graduating from FAC, she requested her mother to help them earn a living and expressed her desire to become an air hostess. Despite Jongpongnenla’s resistance due to their financial situation and concerns for her daughter’s safety while traveling the world, she ultimately decided to support her daughter in every possible way—financially, morally, and spiritually.

Jongpongnenla expressed her happiness when her daughter was selected during her first interview in Guwahati, where only 5 out of 200 applicants were chosen. She shared her contentment in seeing her daughter travel and explore the world, saying, ‘It’s like I am traveling too.’

She attributed their successes to God, acknowledging the hardships and difficulties they faced, but emphasizing the importance of hard work in overcoming obstacles and meeting one’s needs.

Jongpongnenla expressed gratitude, saying, “We give thanks to God for everything.” She acknowledged the presence of hardships and difficulties in life, emphasizing that everyone experiences them, but stressed the importance of hard work to be productive and meet one’s needs, stating, “All I could do was work hard.”

Concerning her daughter’s safety while traveling, Jongpongnenla shared, “I always pray for her the moment she informs me that her flight is taking off, regardless of the time.”

Additionally, Jongpongnenla revealed that she has established a mini-shop at her residence to meet the community’s needs and support them. She clarified that only edible and usable items are sold, aligning with her family’s values as part of the Pastors’ family, ensuring no tobacco or intoxicants are available for purchase.

Moasenla, daughter of the late Yanger Imsong, reflects on her journey: “I live with my mother, Jongpongnenla, who has been a single mother since I was little. I am her only child, as my father passed away when I was just 1 year and 3 months old. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the daily struggles my mother faced. Despite the challenges, being a single mother has been both tough and empowering for her. Her story is one of indomitable grit and dedication.”

Moasenla acknowledges, “I owe everything I am today to my mother,” expressing gratitude to all her relatives, friends, and well-wishers for their unfailing support.

She credits her mother whose strength and resilience has instilled values in her from a young age shaping her ethics and perspective on life.

“My mother’s unfailing belief in the power of faith and hard work has been the guiding light towards my dreams,” Moasenla says. From aspiring to be a cabin crew member to eventually realizing her dream with IndiGo Airline, each step of Moasenla’s journey has been powered by her desire to make her mother proud who has shaping her ethics and perspective on life.

Now, as she looks towards the future, Moasenla brightly says “My sole ambition is to repay my mother’s sacrifices with the happiness and comfort she deserves. My mother will be my role model forever.”


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