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Expect your divine connection too


Sir: Almost exactly 22 years ago today, I boarded an Amsterdam bound KLM flight from Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on my way to New York. I was just another one out of many young Nigerians who couldn’t wait to flee the killing field of dreams of our motherland.

Just about the time I was to head for the airport, the heavens literarily opened up, and it started to rain. Such was the torrential downpour in Lagos on that fateful day that I was soaked to my underwear. In no time, Lagos streets were flooded, and the roads had quickly turned to a mayhem of parked vehicles going for miles on end. All I could do was hope and pray that I wouldn’t miss the flight.


Looking back now, after these many years, it is hard not to conclude that the heavy rain that fell on that day was a sign from the ONE who had prepared for me a future and a hope. Although I boarded that flight 22 years ago, my journey to the United States actually dated back many years prior to that date of my departure. My boarding that flight was a spectacular culmination of events in my life that only God could have orchestrated. In my high school, few things gave me more pleasure than reading. Right from a young age, I was enchanted by action packed fictional novels from authors such as James Hardly Chase, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Leon Uris, Sidney Sheldon, Nick Carter. Whenever I picked up one of those books, I’m quickly lost in the world of fantasy and ecstasy. Transported in my mind to far-flung places, I would find myself walking the beaches of Miami, flagging down a taxi in New York, hopping on the tube in London, or being chased through the rice paddies in Thailand pursued by mean looking sons of a gun.

To those who knew me, I was checking all the right boxes of societal expectations. Deep down though, I was making lots of motion with not a whole lot of movement. I was a man without roots rooted to a spot and unable to move forward.


My turnaround was epic. Without so much of an effort on my part, I found myself bound for the land of dreams. The day I received the letter in the mail informing me of my permanent change of address, I was like them that dreamed. It was particularly mind blowing knowing I did nothing to make it happen. By the grace of God, I have been taken to professional heights that I once thought was unattainable for a failure like me. That I am where I am can only be by the grace of God, and nothing else. For all of these, I’ll always be grateful.

So, if it seems as though you are stuck and your life is in a rot like I was 22 years ago, there’s hope. The invisible hand of God is at work in you. If He did it for me, be rest assured He will do much more for you.
Akin Ojumu, MD, MPH, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, writes on the African Plume Blog.


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