Sunny reflects on the day he was born as warm and pleasant, a stark contrast to a few weeks later when his mother had to escape the village, leaving her infant son with her polygamist family. He grew up in poverty, and didn’t encounter his mother again until the age of 10. In his story, Sunny shares how had to maintain a farm in order to go to school, but he agreed to the deal because his education was the pathway that helped him gain freedom and independence. Sunny later married and moved to America, where he published his book, “A Boy And His Dream,” a narrative based on his personal journey growing up in Nigeria. This story was recorded in partnership with MALA and StoryCorps.
“My story started the day I was born. It was a very warm afternoon, sunny, beautiful. And I was born. Everyone was happy. My mom was happy. All the angels in heaven rejoiced. And quickly that I know of. My mother knows that the story is going on it quickly changed. A few weeks after I was born I was bundled from the city and then my mother, myself, and everything that she had was left behind in the city. They were taken to the village and this village is very remote. You know she escaped from that village because she was born into a huge polygamous family. Her dad was married to seven wives. Lot of kids and several concubines.
She was brought back to that village, to her dad who was the chief of the village. She wasn’t supposed to get married or have kids she was supposed to serve the dad who has a shrine in the village called Alah. And she was just supposed to be the goddess to the shrine and that was her purpose. But she quickly rejected that purpose by escaping from the village to a city. And the year she was returned to that village when she took me back with her. And after about three months she found a way to escape and left me in that village with the grandma that’s when my ordeal started.
I was exposed to all kinds of hardship and adversity in childhood. And earlier I was six months old. Starvation. I did not have any of the necessities I need for my up care. At ten my mother actually showed up all of a sudden and she wanted to rescue me from that village after she had heard several things that happened to me. And she moved me to the village that she was currently living at and she married at that moment to a schoolteacher. And I was brought to the village. And when I was living there the schoolteacher accepted me for more raising because he owned you know farms and different locations and he wanted me to work at the farm while I lived with him. His primary goal his focus was just to make sure that I go to working in those land and you know keep food in the home.
So I maintained that I respected that. My goal is for me to have a place to stay so that I will be able to go to school because I believe that education is the key but having an equality education I should I will be sometimes in the future I will be free. So I wanted to empower myself through education so I took the offer and I stayed with them. After school I would go to that piece farm everyone stayed and I did that fro several years. And you know I had that feel as a child being singled out to do odd jobs just to have a place have a shelter. And I believe that at the moment I was being treated unfairly. And it hadn’t been. If I had another option I would have been there, that was the only option that I had.
The book, “A Boy and His Dream” was my story. After I overcome the challenge after I was recused from Africa and brought here by a lady called Ruth Ann Constelly and she came to Africa and married me and brought me here and gave me a foundation a good start and I decided to put my story into a book. I just wanted to do that because I figure there are thousand or millions of people who are currently experiencing what I experienced it or they have gong through it not knowing how to over come. Ok, so I was like its time to start saving lives. So I put my story into a book. I want the audience who is listening to this to know that you are beautiful, you are strong you will make it. It is not what happened to you it is how you choose to use the experience that you had that is the issue. Turn it around it into something beautiful. And use it to improve yourself. When you are better everyone around will be better.”