“I secured admission into Savonia Polytechnic, Kuopio Finland for a second Bachelor of Science, and this time in Information Technology with a major in Embedded Systems. This was a tuition-free program (not scholarship) and I am supposed to be responsible for my accommodation, feeding and general up-keep for the duration of the degree (4 years). I have just received my call-up letter to go and serve Nigeria and I was posted to Nasarawa.
I went to Kotangora market, purchased a few second-hand winter clothes and shoes, booked my cheap Turkish airline flight ticket, and packed my bags! With 700 Euros in my bag, no booked accommodation, knew no one in Finland, I travelled to Helsinki Finland on the 5th of Sept. 2008. Fast forward to my arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, everyone looked white (except for us the JJCs), everything was written in Finnish, it was slightly cold, and I was legit afraid.
Yes, I have just taken the “riskiest risk” of my life! At the train station where I was to board the train to Kuopio, I finally saw 2 black men standing (Wale and Dapo). I approached them and surprisingly, they are Nigerians! I explained my predicament and that no accommodation was waiting for me in Kuopio. Interestingly, Dapo had just returned from Kuopio as he did his summer school there. My eye lit up and I started begging him to connect me with anyone he has there.
Dapo and Wale were kind and compassionate,they asked me to get on the train and assured me that someone would be at the train station to welcome me. As I highlighted from the train in Kuopio, Sheriff welcomed me with a smile and helped me with my bags. He took me to Edith’s apartment where I had my first bowl of fried rice and chicken.
Since I was already “broke” on my arrival, Dapo persuaded Lola (another of his friends in Kuopio) to help me secure a cleaning job with the same company she worked for. Well, I don’t speak Finnish and no one get these cleaning jobs quickly especially with zero Finnish language skills. Ha! Lola put her name on the line and persuaded her boss to hire me. 3 weeks later, I started working at a supermarket in Petonen as a cleaner and everyone was surprised. I got my own room and started upkeeping myself.
After 3 months of juggling between school and work (school from 8-3:3pm and cleaning job from 5pm – 10pm), I was given a second assignment to clean offices in the morning at 5am. Buses don’t work that early so by fire and by force, I learned how to ride a bicycle, as this was my only option to get to work before 5am. So, the routine became from 4 am until 11 pm and continued for a year. What happened next? To be continued….
– I was faced with 2 choices: stay in my comfort zone (Nigeria with a known path) or dive into the unknown and uncomfortable (Finland);
– 700 euros for 4 years including paying your rent, feeding, and upkeeping, who does that? Dare to fall from a height, you will be surprised to see your inner wings come alive;
– I spoke to strangers: God positioned these strangers at the train station to help me. What if I didn’t approach them? A closed mouth is a closed destiny! Ask and you shall receive!
– Okay, black people who don’t talk to black people abroad, your community is your biggest asset. I understand the issues, but there is Chinese village everywhere you go for a reason. United we stand! Learn about the culture and mingle but don’t ever throw yours away. They will go extra miles for you;
– How did I combined working and school and still passed the heck out of those courses? There was a purpose and there was a pain, I used my pain as a fuel to fulfill my purpose;
– You don’t need millions to start that adventure! You are enough and have enough. Go ahead and dare to win your own race.
Since its Woman Crush Wednesday, I chose to love and appreciate me and my brokenness, doggedness, bravery, assertiveness, and all God placed in me. My name is Deborah, I am a WARRIOR, I am a KING WOMAN, I am a DAUGHTER OF ZION, I am “THE DEFINITION OF RISKY”, I am the BLESSED, I am the CHOSEN, and I am the ANNOINTED!
FIND YOU, CHALLENGE YOU, DO MORE, GO FOR GOLD, AND YEAH, ASK FOR DIRECTIONS ALWAYS!
Dr. Adeola D. Olubamiji