Some people are born to stay at home,others are born to travel. This story is about a trip. It is a story for people who travelled and enjoyed it, and for people who wanted to travel but never made it. It is a story of a young man, who after much hardship and disappointment, both in the university system and the labour market decided to leave Nigeria for Spain.
Joe decided he would walk to Spain en route the Sahara Desert where he found himself sitting in the Sahara Desert by an empty road in 140 degrees Fahrenheit bake-oven heat, with approximately 1,600 miles between him and his destination. This journey, filled with discouragement, disappointment and even death, took him 180 days. It was a dare devil attempt .He lost several friends on the way and almost lost his own life.
Unfortunately, he got to the point where he sighted and felt Spain but never entered Spain. For 180 days, the plan to enter Spain became a mere figment of his imagination.
My heartfelt desire is that you not only understand this story about traveling but also feel at least in part, like a member of the team. Whichever way you look at it; as a story about traveling; as a search for truth; or as a biography ,one thing is clear : It is entirely true. Joe did it.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Have you ever wondered why some people are more successful than others? Why is it that some people enjoy better health, happier relationship, greater success in their careers and achieved financial independence and great wealth -and others do not?
What is it that enables some people accomplish remarkable things and enjoy wonderful lives while so many others feel frustrated and disappointed?
These questions were important to me when i started out in life .Right from my early days, i had dreams of being rich and doing great things in life. I had always wanted to be like other respected and recognised people in my neighbourhood.
“Joe”, as close friends and people fondly called me, was not the person to be satisfied by what i had then. I was a believer of everything is possible as every sixteen year old kid would believe, maybe because i was exposed to motivational book and literatures early in life. I spent hours reading and searching for solutions to the overwhelming poverty all around me.
I am from a large polygamous family, and the first son with six siblings from my mother. My father was a local farmer who could not support his family from the crops of his farm because the harvest was usually poor due to lack of money to purchase fertilisers and other farming implements . As it is the custom where i came from in the southern part of Nigeria where large polygamous families like my own find it hard to survive, everybody was on his/her own except for the mercies of the mothers. How far could my mother help to take care of my six siblings and i? She however tried to make her children happy by providing what she could afford. She was hard working, she cultivated cassava and groundnuts for sale to make sure her children ate and were well taken care of. In all, she was a strong disciplinarian, a woman of prayer and a believer of destiny.
After years of searching and reading i came to understand that  “the key to success is for you to set one great challenging goal and be prepared to pay the price, overcome any obstacle and persist through any difficulty, until you finally achieve it”. There and then i made up my mind to get myself educated, by making the move to gain admission into one of the Nigeria universities .
Such plans in other countries especially developed nations should have been plain sailing, “but not here in Nigeria”, and certainly not the university i attended .Everything that could go wrong went wrong .At a point i thougth i was jinxed, yes; it looked like i was under a spell ! After all, it was not me alone. My fellow campus mates had the same problems too.
What are the problems?
They came in all shapes and sizes with different names too. Students unrest with the resultant riots were a regular occurrence. Often it ended in school closure; don’t even mention cult activities as good looking young men were becoming monsters overnight, such that violence became the order of the day! Each problem resulted in the locking of the school gates and everybody was usually asked to go home.
We would spend endless weeks and months at home making our lives miserable and after several months they would recall the students, but before we could settle down we would again be confronted with the same situation. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) or Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASUU) go on strike frequently. The reason you find a program designed for four years lasting six or seven years and you can imagine what it was for medical students.
Meanwhile, my relations-half brothers and sisters who had abandoned their education and travelled abroad were as we call it, “making it”. They would come back from abroad “loaded” parading flashy cars and building the latest houses.
Copyright @180 days to Spain. Jeffery Igbinigie.