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Toris Okotie

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My Story - A Journey to America
By Toris Okotie
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

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This is my story, the realization of my childhood dreams...a dream, dreamt by all.

My  story all started in a little town known as "New World City", population unknown, but nevertheless, every one in the community was connected to each other, whether by family blood line or through extended relatives. Just like every one in that community, I also had my dreams, dreams that have polluted our minds either by story telling or by the constant reminder of our economic failure. "The American Dream"; one that promises to solve all our problems and relieve us of financial burdens, I was no different, that was also my dream, I had a big dream, one that can only be imagined, amidst this all, my dreams where not too far away from reality.


My mum, a business woman, who works tirelessly to provide for her eight kids, had frequently visited America, her return stories has always been the talk of the town, oh, how I wondered how magical it would be to walk on the streets of Broadway. She always had a story to tell, she will gather us together and began to fill our minds with her great adventure to a place we all have only been in our dreams.


"it is beautiful, lights all over the streets and tall building that seems to never have an ending" she will tell us, and with the warmth smile on her face, she never forgets to equally distribute some of the spoil she had brought form our "Dream land", America.


If you ask any one in that community to tell you vividly the routs and description of America, more than half will tell you so accurately, that was how well, we knew America, the land we had never been too.


Back to my mum, the only way you can understand how exciting my mother tells her story, is if you where actually there yourself, her lips are so full of stories, she had been to Bergen, London and many other places, and for each place she visited, she had a story to tell. She is not very different from most "soccer mum" you see today, but taking care of eight children, including the dozens of close relatives that constantly  visits and sometimes stay with us, is never an easy job, I usually compare it to the presidentsí job, only in her case, their are no elections.


 I will love to tell you a lot about my family, but due to "Family Confidentiality" I can only tell you a few things that made my family stand out from the others.


My great grand father was the ruler of a town, located in the bank of Benin. He was and still is an historical figure to my people and most especially to the British people. He was "The Cat in the HatĒ so to say and not ones did he gave into the power of the ones colonial rule. With the help of his father and many country men, he started a revolution, a crusade for the freedom of his people, although he was captured, arrested and shipped to Britain, he always did find a way to come back and continue his fight, you can call him the "Martin Luther king jr." of the African people.

Great men are easily forgotten but thanks to the historical findings and the documented papers of the British, his palace now ones again stand, and is know an historical museum, located in the original town of "Koko".


The legacy moved on, from my grand father to my fatherís elderly brother. You might be probably wondering why I haven't talk about my dad? Well, his story is at the chain of high confidentially, simply because, he likes to keep to himself and does not appreciate any one violating his right to privacy, but I will tell you this about him; I'm basically his clone, to be frankly, he is taller than I am. He is the kind of person history never remembers, he knows he propose and he strive to get there.


I'm the seventh of the eight children, we all rage from about 5 years to 30 years, not even under an oath will you believe that my mum gave birth to us all, she is as young as my elder sister, no, Iím not saying that my elder sister is old, she is as beautiful as beauty can ever be define. Just like every other family, we have our differences, things raging from a shoe on the table to other major stuff but despite our differences, we always find a way to work things out and that is the beauty of my family. If I tell you that we are one big happy family, then I will be lying to you, if you have a brother or sister just about your age that you live with, then remember how pleasant you both lived together, no wait, I was speaking of "Pleasantville", now back to reality, do you remember those days of constant fighting and the display of angry emotions, yeah, I have been there too.


I wasn't that of a good kid during my infant years, right from as long as I can remember, self-respect and the fear of others is what I have always wanted. Although I wasn't very mush pleased with how I behaved during my childhood, but never the less, the strict discipline gave to my by my parent and the community is what has prevented me from exploding into a muster. Talking about discipline, most of the other world might not understand the level of discipline that the African people give to their disobedient child, even I sometimes think it is too hash, but now that I look back, I ask myself, if not for the moderate Fear that the society and my parent instill in me, what will my life be today, well, I can answer that for you, I will probably have my own 6 feet x 6 feet apartment, that comes with bathroom and a flat bed, I'm speaking of jail of course.


But I do question the amount of discipline, as many people do abuse this power, one given to them by tradition; "You must not hold back discipline from your children". I do consider myself a traditionist , although most of my views are now influenced by northern and western ideas. Life, I believe, is the balance between what we know and what we can't know. Tradition, or should I call it moral standard, as we know it begins to constantly change, as new generations evolves, the basic idea of our morality begins to be compromise and therefore by due time, changes. So back to my story...


Childhood memories were fun, I can recall quite a few. my mornings usually starts off with me running and climbing the "Guava" tree to pick the ripe fruit that had developed over night and the ones the bat forgot to eat, I wasn't alone, sometimes before I got there, my cousins have already been fisting of the remains, so with disappointment, I strive to get up earlier the next day, but on some occasions, Iím  usually the first to get there, and with no time wasted, I quickly pond on the fruits of the tree and leave the seeds for my cousins when they finally woke up. After the early morning snack, we all quickly held to the river, which by the way is very cold in the mornings, we fly into the waters and like a fish in the net, we play on the waters, but wait, I left something out, while playing in the morning water, we were usually ordered out of the water and sent to the bathroom for proper shower, but soon after the so call "proper shower", we return back to the river.


Before the so call "proper showers", we all do our shores, and later in the day, if it's not a school day, we mount like bees, onto the playing field and engorge on our favorite sport, yeah, you guess right, "Soccer".


Soccer was the only thing that was real to us, to tell you the truth, I wasn't that very good at it, as a matter of fact, when teams are being choosing, Iím usually the last to be chosen and when they refuse to chose me, I unleash my angry side, and then Iím added to the game, I told you I wasn't that much of a nice kid. Game times were very special moment; we don't play for money or fame we only play for honor or maybe something like that. As time progresses, I got better at the sport and soon after, I became a regular player on the team. Wait a minute; I thought this was about my journey to America? don't worry, Iíll get there soon, but first, enough about this sweet childhood memories, not all of it was this pleasant, but I will also tell you about a part of my childhood you will never wish to have. So letís get back to the story....


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Reviewed by Mary Elshaday 3/20/2014
I liked it Toris. It reminds of how since my childhood I so yearned to come to London!
Reviewed by Sandra Mushi 4/21/2006
Enjoyed it, Toris! Wonderful story.

God bless,

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/16/2003
So glad you let us share a peek into your life, Toris! And so glad you came to America! Can't wait to read more of your story; it is very interesting thusly! (((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D ONLY seven brothers and sisters, and you are the 7th one?? MY!! Bet your family gatherings are joyful and noisy affairs! LOL

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