I am not a nomad


I wrote this article on February 11, 2014, as my entry for an online magazine. The editors liked it, but didn’t use it, so I kept it till yesterday when I was browsing through my article archives. Then there was a spark – and here it is!

Well, this is actually an alter ego of the story of my life. Pick out something for yourself. I wish you luck as you figure it out! Hehehe!

I am not a nomad.

In Four years, I have moved thrice. But I’m not a nomad.
In my country the Fulani bororoje are nomads. They are the cattle rearers that wander from one place to another seeking green and water for their cattle. Dictionary says nomads are people who move seasonally from place to place to search for food and water or pasture for their livestock – wanderers.

So, I am no nomad. I’m just a city boy with hopes of a bright future. And the pursuit of meaning has made me move thrice in four years.

First – away from my parents’ home.

It was a great relief for me when I received the mail I had been selected to study Neuroscience, a pre-med course in the United States of America. Mummy was exhilarated and she gave a testimony in church the next Sunday. But I didn’t tell her I selected a minor in creative writing. She would almost tear me apart. That was an unserious adventure for which I could not convince her of the benefits.

I would face the long hours of creative thinking. I might live at the back seat of my car or be rejected a number of times by big-name publishers. There was uncertainty in the horizon, and the only light flickering on was the passion torching within me. To Write. It refused to go out since the ignition many years ago when I was in primary 5. But then, mummy wanted me to bring money home. So I kept the news away.

I moved from Ibadan, Nigeria to Rosenberg, Texas. The pasture was greener there though, and everything seemed big. I had struck one. Still I’m not a nomad.  I only entered College.

College went past like a breeze. Not without swaying me farther from my dreams. I got enthused with Pre-Med and topped the class, graduating summa cum laude and was offered a placement at a prestigious Medical school. Meanwhile my box of unfinished novels and articles lay stacked under my dorm bed. When I listened to their intermittent screams, I managed to send in a few articles to here and there magazines anyway.

On the night of graduation, I moved again. I REJECTED the offer and instead proceeded for a Masters in Creative Writing. Mummy didn’t know anything. Just that I was sending money home – from the three day jobs I juggled at Kroger, Wal-Mart Store and McDonald café. I didn’t have much money – just me my car and my apartment room – but I reckoned that as long as I lived fulfilled, I’ll keep moving.
I am not a nomad. I just moved.

Three – I met a girl.
Now you’re thinking I fell in love. Not really.

I churned out my first work – a short story collection on what mattered to my publishers. It sold really big, but I felt I was in a parched land. Six book signings and a mini nationwide tour later, I still felt thirsty and hungry for green land. They wanted me to write what came to mind – what sold in the main stream market – like Sci-fi, romance, thrillers or suspense novels.  I wrote it for them and I got paid for it.

Until I met Marsha – the thirteen year old without a home though she lived in her parents’ house. There was constant fighting daily and she had no one to teach her the rudiments of a good life. She moved out at thirteen and in with her boyfriend. Few months later, I met her at a life Clinic where I volunteered for two months. She wanted to have an abortion. I almost missed her if not that I looked up from my laptop as her feet shuffled and the entrance bell dinged.

There and then I moved. My writing passions shifted from the mainstream genres to… well I don’t know what it’s called. My publishers couldn’t give a name for the kind of story I wrote, so they let me go, not before stealthily stealing the right to my first book success. But I didn’t mind.

There may be no mane for it yet. But what I write now touches the heart of teenagers. It helps them view life from a different perspective now. My sales are not in the big digits, but I reach one teen at a time – at teen camps, support centres and Clinics like the one in which I met Marsha.

I am not a nomad, but I moved out of the rat race. From a well-worn path into a green-fresh one – where my soul leaps for joy every waking day.

I say “I’m not a nomad”. I am only moving away from the status quo, the expectation of people about my life; into purpose. I’m only aspiring to get better at it every day. And to fulfil my call.  If it takes me to move daily, I will reach for the greens.

But isn’t that what nomads do?

Anchor text: I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 [HCSB]

If moviemakers use behind-the-scenes, then I would use between-the-pages, right?


Author: Toluwanimi

Toluwanimi believes young people can do great things with their lives. “Give them wings; watch them soar,” He always says. He is a physician by training and a budding behavioral scientist with a keen interest in child and adolescent health and development. Having worked with teenagers for over a decade, he loves to study and practice evidenced-based methods of inspiring positive behavioral change. His current project, GrandHeights, aims to provide resources and mentorship connections that inspire and empower young people to realize their life’s full potential despite negative circumstances around them. He plans to develop an establishment that will conduct research, develop effective strategies that will impart hope, empowerment, and refuge for youth and families in at-risk situations. He also believes creativity can be a transformative tool and through his start-up, Missionary Creatives, he helps nonprofits tell their stories and develop strategies to drive growth.

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