Tue | Dec 1, 2020

From a life of despair to victory - Terry-Ann Bodden's roller coaster journey, Part 2

Published:Thursday | September 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Terry-Ann Bodden, left, with a batchmate at the recent commencement Ceremony of Northern Caribbean University.
President of NCU Dr Lincoln Edwards hands Terry Ann Bodden her degree.

Last week we introduced the story of Terry- Ann Bodden, who after a series of devastating episodes of abuse, disappointments, setbacks, hospitalisation, the death of her son, among others, is standing tall today as a reflection of God's goodness.

This week we highlight part two of her story and how things slowly began turning around for her.

"A young girl introduced me to Northern Caribbean University (NCU) once and I kinda pushed it out of my head because I thought it was expensive. With the three subjects I got, I applied to University of the West Indies (UWI) to do an associate degree and I got through."

But she was soon deregistered for not paying her tuition fees in her final semester.

She then remembered being told about NCU and she applied, acquired two additional CXC subjects, and was accepted.

Bodden describes NCU as her 'safe haven' and the place that would unknowingly cushion the many blows life threw at her.

And the blows were heavy.

"I got my (United States) visa and I went up to work. When I went up the first year, my mother who was living with me for the past four years died. I went up the July and she died August 17. I am someone who doesn't talk much and I bottled up everything, but that day I broke down ..."

Bodden who was to begin her third year at NCU left the US the 25 of August and had to start school on the 27th.

She however, could not have been prepared for what was to come.

"It was hell! But I did my courses and I passed them and I decided I would leave to US to work for the following school year. When I reached to the airport in Orlando, Florida, they (immigration officers) interrogated me non stop."

She continued, "I lied to them at first because I couldn't tell them I had come to their country to work, but then they had taken away my phone and searched it and I just told them everything."

After having her visa revoked and was told she could reapply after three years because of her co-operation, Bodden thought she would be placed on the next flight back to Jamaica, but she was in for a surprise.

"I was handcuffed and escorted into a prison van. I cried uncontrollably. But they treated me well. When I reached the facility I had to strip down to my birthday suit, I was sent in to see a nurse and by that time I realised my blood pressure was 237 over 198. The following day I was sent back to Jamaica."




It was here that Bodden vowed to be done with God. She had stopped going to the church she attended for years and sought to live the life she chose.

"Eventually I started going to another church and while there I started feeling this pain, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move and one sister shouted that they had to take me to do the doctor, but at this point I just wanted to die."

When Bodden eventually got to the hospital and they completed the necessary tests, she was told she had ailments that could lead to a heart attack.

"I had had a minor attack. I was treated and sent home. I really thought it was a false alarm, but my director at NCU said what the devil meant for bad, but God meant for good."

There was a lot happening in Bodden's life and each time she got redemption, something devastating would happen again.

"While I was on practicum, my first son was hospitalised for two months and diagnosed with schizophrenia. I went to visit him everyday before going to classes I don't know how I did it."

At the end of it all, Bodden says she is pleased she now has a Bachelor of Science degree in social work.

"I was determined to do well and I intend to go straight up to my doctorate, even if a when me deh Pon me sick bed!" Bodden laughed.

With a plan, for now, to give her sixth son the attention she didn't have the chance to give him, Bodden is hoping she can continue on a progressive path to greatness.

"I know people out there will read my story and I want them to know that if they are going through similar things, they should find someone to talk to. I have to thank my pastor, Pastor Sewell as he is the driving force behind my success. He is a father, brother and friend."

"You have to have a level of determination, it's not where you are coming from but where you want to go,"she ended.