Seeking American Dream

Two dreams are converging in the life of Nigerian immigrant, Ayesan. As a child he endured ten years of tribal wars in his small town. In elementary school, he survived attacks which left children dead. He survived being caught in the crossfire between warring parties, while returning home from school. While these things were occurring, he was simultaneously worrying if his family at home was also under attack. He describes this time as living through the highest form of fear that existed.

Even though he was the youngest of seven children, he was his father’s caretaker, responsible for administering oxygen for his COPD. Later he would realize that providing compassionate care for others, like he did for his father, was innate for him. He became fascinated with the doctor who cared for his father and followed his instructions carefully on administering medicine. He had already viewed the few Red Cross volunteers, who helped hold his community together, as superheros.

His family viewed education, as important as food and water. He devoted his time to studying in the hope of a better future and being able to help people. His father tutored him until his death, just before he made it to medical school. His value for education earned him an award from Chevron University as one of the best 100 first-year medical students in select Nigerian Universities.

When he completed his internship and his work for the government as a medical officer in Nigeria, he had participated in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief with outcomes of a 25% reduction in HIV in the community and mother to child transmission. He regularly treated cases of malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, and cholera. He developed and implemented and immunization program which inoculated 800 children and initiated clean drinking water program which decreased cholera by 10%. His passion for helping people was clear, he was helping people, just like he cared for and helped his father.

He achieved his goal of being a physician, but he had another dream, the American dream. Over time and through hard work, he saved money to travel to the U.S. and arrived on Independence day, which for him, had become truly special. He began the process of seeking residency so he could practice medicine in the U.S., doing externships, observations, internships, and completed a Master of Science in Clinical Research. He is actively seeking a residency program in order to fulfill the final portion of his dream.

The journey from a small child living in daily fear for his life, to physician seeking residency, is unimaginable for many. How many people could have made that journey? Some look at his application for residency and see test scores, or don’t even get that far. He is so much more than a score.

If you listen to his story, you can understand how far he has come in life, so far. This is not the end of his story, it is just a point in the timeline of his life. He only needs someone to have faith in him, and he can obtain his dream of being a doctor in the U.S. What will he aspire to for his next goals? Based on his former goals, it will be big.