Growing up on a grain farm near Wendell, Minnesota, this month’s featured Peace member is an expert at picking rocks. In addition, she excelled as a singer, a flutist, and a bassoonist in high school. She worked for many years as a nursing assistant and a home health aide before eventually going to school to become a dental hygienist. Angela Akhigbe is a woman living her vocation in various ways and seems to be having a great time while doing so.
As a teenager, Angela couldn’t wait to put the years of shoveling grain bins and working at chicken farms behind her. While in high school, besides being active in her school band (she marched in the parades for both the Fiesta Bowl and the Cotton Bowl!) and choir, she began working at a nursing home. After two years at the University of Minnesota, Morris, she moved to Minneapolis. In the Twin Cities, she worked at nursing homes, assisted living and memory care facilities, and as a home health care aide. At one of these facilities, she met her future husband of 25 years, Ben, who was also a nursing assistant at that time. Eventually, she attended Normandale Community College to complete her degree in Dental Hygiene, and she has been working in that field for 22 years. Angela and Ben have two children, Olivia (21) and Miles (18). Ben now owns a residential construction company.
“Thriving is, to me, being content with what you are doing (or not doing). It doesn’t have to be any big THRIVE but sometimes just to contentedly exist can be thriving,”
Of her career, Angela says that she enjoys her job and “almost all” of her patients! She loves making connections with patients and their families. She feels that her vocation enhances her faith as she gets the opportunity to “care for people and improve their health, which makes me feel batter as well.” She says her faith is present at work as she sends daily prayers for patience, staying on schedule, and smiling and nodding even when she doesn’t necessarily want to! She says that she is thankful every evening when she gets to go home to her family as she hears of tragedies from her patients regularly. Angela says that spending time with her family and friends helps her to work on being a better person. “I am trying to give more grace as I get older – both to myself and others.” She finds it easier to be open and vocal about her love for others as she ages.
At church, you may know Angela because of her lovely singing voice, which she shares with us as a member of the Adult Choir and as a cantor. Her grandfather sang in a barbershop quartet, and her mother played piano and organ by ear. She grew up singing at her home church, United Lutheran of Elbow Lake. She says she was “lucky” to be a part of the Minnesota All-State Choir and Minnesota All-State Lutheran Choir, but this writer believes some talent and training may have helped her into those prestigious groups more than any “luck” would have! At the University of Morris, she sang in the choir and a madrigal group. When Angela isn’t taking care of people’s teeth or singing at church, she is probably reading, as she is a member of two book clubs. She also loves to travel and go for walks. At church, along with sharing her musical gifts, she is on the church council, helps in the kitchen, and is a lector and greeter.
“Thriving is, to me, being content with what you are doing (or not doing). It doesn’t have to be any big THRIVE but sometimes just to contentedly exist can be thriving,” Angela shares. “In the words of Sheryl Crow, “it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Thank you for sharing your gifts with so many, Angela, but be sure to make time for that next book you want to read!
“care for people and improve their health, which makes me feel batter as well.”