I Made It; My Long Journey From Harsh Poverty To Success
Been born into a very poor family can be very terrible, very terrible indeed. In my own case, my family was so poor even poor people called us poor, i was born into a family of 8 children, five girls, 3 boys, i was the last born and the day i was born my mother was not happy to see me, because neither she nor father wanted me, i was the eight child of a man who dealt in scrap metals and we lived on one of the very many shanties on the Lagos lagoon, they didn't have enough money to do family planning and so my coming was a mistake.half of the time when i was kid, i wore no clothes but played around naked, because my clothes had to get dry after washing before i wore them and the washing was done on a weekly basis, it was never an everyday washing.
Soon as i was 10 years old, i started following my father to dump sites around picking scrap metals, which my father sold to metal dealers, i could not go to secondary school like my mates not even public school, my pidgin English was so good you would have thought it was me that invented the language, well i was proud of my language and i was proud of myself, in all those time i was never intimidated, i never for once thought i was going to die in poverty, i really don't know how i had such confidence and what me made me so sure, somehow i was going to become somebody in life. whatever spare time i had to myself (since i did all the work in the house) i would lie down and day dream about how many cars i would have, the number of house i would build and how i would get to employ a lot of people, in my mind then i also knew no matter how rich i became i would never have more than two children, i thought i'd rather help people than have so many children in the name of being wealthy, well it was all a dream for a long time, a very long time.
When i was fifteen, i became an apprentice to a shoe maker, my boss was quite a skilled person, he made all sorts of footwear, from Pam slippers to shoes, bags, all made with leather. I soon became very good in the art, because i learned very fast and i not only learned fast i also became very good so much some of the works i did started getting more accolades from customers than those made by my boss and we started having problems after then, soon afterwards he found a reason to send me away from coming to his workplace, he found a vague reason to send me away, despite all my pleas and those of my parents. leaving where i was an apprentice unceremoniously left me without a certificate from the person who trained me and it was difficult for me to get any shoe making company to employ me, i soon started making shoes and Pam slippers, displaying them in a small stall i was able to setup by the road side, i did this for another three years, saving money by the side, i was infact saving more money than i was spending, i never for once thought of women, so many of the young girls who came to my place to patronize me, tried all they could get my attention, but my attention was on God and on my dreams , in my mind i was saving money towards starting my own shoe making industry where i was going to employ plenty people, that was how much i believed in my dream, i knew it was going to be very very slow, but i was ready to pull through with it.
When i was 21 years old everything changed, I'd barely started displaying my wares when a very shiny car, so shiny that i could see my reflection on the body of the car and that point i didn't like what i saw of my reflection, my clothes, my looks and all that, this was not the me that I've always dreamed of, all this happened in a short space of time, i was soon kicked out of my stray thoughts when a white man cam down from the shiny car and walked towards my stall with another fellow that must have been his P.A or so.
He said my designs caught his attention and that he was an investor looking for young talents, he asked me where my factory was, saying such meticulous designs could not have been hand made, i pointed towards the stall as my factory, he was surprised. we talked further and i could not open my stall that day, not like the stall needed any opening though, it was an open place.
It turned out that the white man, was an Italian sent to the country to scout young talents in the shoe making business to be taken to Italy for training and eventual employment in one of the biggest Italian shoe making brands, my story changed very quickly.
with my savings i was able to pay for my passport applications, which was quickly processed having paid for the express type processing.
I left Nigeria when i was 21 with my pocket full of dreams, 9 years down the line, I'm living my dreams as the owner of a shoe making company based in Palermo Italy, with a sizable number of employees and to think that my employees are Italians even puts icing on the cake of my dreams.
Yes I made it, the journey was long, it was rough, but i made it, because i believed in God, i believed in me and i believed in my dreams and i stayed true to it not just by mouth alone but by my actions and here I am living my dreams, you can live your dreams too, if only you believe and stay true to your belief