My Random Reflections @ 36
By Adeola Aderounmu
I am writing this article to mark my 36th birthday. I was born on July 12 1972 right there in the heart of Africa. As a child I still remember vividly my dreams. It is absolutely impossible to forget all those memorable moments. In my own literary world, I also have what I’ve called thoughtless times.
I have never lied about my childhood. It was hard, very hard! It was hard to find food on the table and I will never be ashame to write about that in my autobiography. My father is an honest man and I am proud of him. My mother is more important to me than an angel. I will never forget who my parents are. They are one of those who never thought Nigeria could become the hell it is now.
I have come to accept that my writings are seriously influenced by my childhood. I am eternally grateful to my parents who gave everything possible to ensure that all their six children were educated. In my life, there will be many more people to appreciate and acknowledge and this is not the appropriate forum.
Yet, teachers like Mrs. Obi, Mrs. Aregbesola and Mrs. Nwuoha who taught me in the late 70s to the mid 80s in Central Primary School in Festac Town will never be forgotten in my life time. Mrs Obi told us that nearly does not catch a bird. How could I forget that? It was Mrs. Nwuoha who ensured that the best male and the best female students in her class would be the class captain and assistant. How can I forget that when I think now of the implications of National Character in a comatose country called Nigeria?
My dreams and aspirations were not only shaped at home, they were equally modified at school. They told me that I attended Jakande poultry school but who cares? I tried though to gain entry into the then famous Ijanikin but you can tell that my family was not well connected and we had no money to go the length. Above that, I wasn’t keen to go back one step in the name of Unity school.
My moulding was completed under great teachers at Festac Grammar School and the University of Lagos. I left Nigeria in 2002 as I pursued my third degree and after giving more than 10 years into the noble teaching profession outside permanent or regular employment. My last and highest stint was a GA position at the College of Medicine in Idiaraba. In 2004, I decided that I’d had enough of the academic world (so I thought) and I virtually gave away a part of my dreams. It has not come with any regret!
Some stories will be better narrated in books. There is always more to certain issues than the eyes really behold at a given point in time. The mind remains a terrible thing to waste and one of the greatest crimes a man can commit against himself is to become static. I can say that I took my chances to another lane and I decided to live life in the new perspective that I’d seen it since my entry into another world. It’s now like another life.
If life begins at 40, it means that a Nigerian male and female has only 6 and 7 years to live respectively according to the United Nations life expectancy figures. Life does not begin at 40 or maybe my own life will not begin at 40. I believe that my struggles through thick and thin during those formative years in Nigeria and here in Sweden are parts of my life. I have started living before 40. It may require hardwork or dedication, it may be destiny, it may be the hand of fate, it may be luck, it may be opportunities, it may be opened or closed doors, whatever it is I have been living.
I woke up today receiving a number of sms and phone calls from families and friends scattered all over the world. Several emails have also popped up and I’m delighted to be surrounded by thoughtful people and organisations.
I keep reminding myself of what the Asians recommended for a fulfilled life. Have children, build a house and plant a tree. We have been planting trees around our new home and today I will celebrate my housewarming and birthday party with several friends and family members here in Sweden.
As I celebrate, my thoughts are with my families in Nigeria. My thoughts are ever with all Nigerians who are going through those moments and extremely hard situations that I’d left behind. I hope they find their dreams and make them come true because there is only one life to live and life can never be rewind.
I dedicate this piece to two wonderful women. Anita Westlund is 84 and has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. The great-grandmother to my daughter Anita is one of the loveliest women I’ve ever met and I’m hoping that the rest of her life will be spent in peace. Doyinsola Aderounmu is 68 and she has not been on her feet for almost 3 years. We have not given up on my lovely and beautiful mother.
(Anita Westlund died at the ripe age of 84 on 10th August 2008, May her soul rest in peace).