Monday, February 8th, 2010
“In my country, Nigeria, my father was a deputy in the police force and my mother sold things in the market. I used to help my Mom sell bread in the market. My family lived in the police barracks with my father. But things happened that I don’t want to talk about and I came to the United States alone, and as a refugee. It was very tough. When I came here, I realized that America was a crazy place. It was totally different than Nigeria.
“When I came off of the plane in Washington, I met somebody who took me in as a friend to help me start my life afresh. The woman let me stay with her for some time. During that time, I had a daughter and spent a lot of time watching the TV to learn how white men and women act so I would know how to behave in America. I could not work during that time. Like I said, it was really difficult on me. My daughter really encouraged me and held my hand. Then, the woman threw me out because she said that I should be able to stand on my feet and not depend on anyone. That showed me how crazy this place is because in Nigeria we all look out for each other.
“When the woman kicked me out, I slept in the street. Then, we went to shelters, which was tough. I couldn’t handle the smell. I can’t even breath there. One day, I was looking at the television when Obama was talking about how we need to employ more people. I was in the kitchen mopping a floor and thought that I needed something better for me and my daughter. He was saying that it was not going to be easy, but if we worked together, we could make change. After that speech, I went to get a job at Street Sense. With Street Sense, at least I have something to do and a way to make some money. My daughter is nine and in the fourth grade. She inspires me to be out here everyday selling papers. With this job, I can also get experience to help me find another job and get on my feet. The hard thing is that many people believe that Nigerians are thieves and liars. Look at the guy who tried to bomb the airplane. Now, who is going to try and help me?
“But I don’t want to talk about the past. I want to talk about the future. The future is my job and my daughter. I want my daughter to be the best. What I don’t have, I want her to have. I like to work for Street Sense, but I want my daughter to have a job that she is really passionate about. The future is in my daughter and God’s hands. God knows the best for us. Even though it is difficult, God has the best intentions for us.”
Learn more about Street Sense here.