Hope you got to read the Jeremiah Attaochu story. A few tidbits I didn’t put in it that I learned from talking with his father Paul, who himself has a fascinating background.
1. Attaochu’s middle name is Ojima-ojo, which in Attaochu’s father’s tribal language means “God’s glory.”
2. Paul wasn’t so sure about Jeremiah’s football prospects. “I never thought that Jeremiah could withstand the rigor of that sport to get a scholarship,” he said. Paul said Jeremiah’s mother Comfort was more encouraging to Jeremiah about football than he was.
3. Jeremiah arrived with his siblings and mother in 2001 from Nigeria. Paul went to pick up his family at Dulles International Airport. They arrived with other international flights, which, as you might guess, were full of people from around the world.
Said Paul, “Jeremiah kept asking me a question: ‘Where are the white people?’”
4. Paul Attaochu grew up in a small village in Nigeria, went to college in Lagos, the largest city in the country. He went on an exchange program to a college in Wisconsin, where he finished his bachelor’s and earned a master’s at the same time. He went home, got married and then, with the economy faltering, moved to the U.S. in 1997.
He was there for four years by himself, working at a church and simultaneously earning a ministry degree. Paul said he sometimes was up till 1 or 2 a.m. and waking up at 5 a.m., and was so tired he got into a couple accidents because he fell asleep at the wheel. He never went back home and when he spoke with his kids, they always asked when they could join him. He called it the worst part of his life.
They joined him in 2001. Two years later, he took Jeremiah’s mother Comfort to an entrance examination for a nursing program. It was free, so she suggested Paul take the test also. He passed, she didn’t, and so he studied to be a licensed practical nurse for the next year and a half, going to school during the day and working a 10 p.m.-7 a.m. shift at Home Depot. He now works at a psychiatric hospital at night and is a pastor in the day.
Comfort later got her master’s in social work and works at a veterans hospital.
I don’t know if it’s because my parents are immigrants, but I always find stories about people like Mr. Attaochu remarkable.