American Soldier Recounts Growing up in Nigeria

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Vanessa Obioha

Living in Nigeria and the United States of America never presents the same experience. The two countries by geographical locations alone cut them worlds apart. While one is regarded as a third world country, the other is a superpower with immense possibilities. But for an American soldier in training, Esosa Ogbebor of Nigerian descent and who grew up in Nigeria there aren’t so many dissimilarities, at least not as shocking as many would want to expect.

She has been in the US Army for the better part of two years and according to her, would uphold her loyalty unshakably but there are still fond memories of her fatherland even though she’s living the dream of her life.

“Growing up in Nigeria and America afforded me the best of both worlds. In Nigeria, my childhood was strictly education such that I would go to school, come back home, go to sleep and repeat. Anything other than school was not considered as serious. Part of the experience that impacted my life was the food, music, and festivities. In the United States, it wasn’t just about education in school. I had opportunities for extracurricular activities. In Nigeria, I understood that my elders were always right and as a child I had to respect them in whatever they said. In the United States, there was more of a dialogue between a child and an elder,” she explained in a recent chat.

“I am a Nigerian by my roots and America by birth. I consider both as a positive aspect of my life. I love the culture that has been instilled in me as a Nigerian. It has made me who I am today. I love the great love that we have for one another. I am very proud to be part of a unique and empowering culture,” she added.

Apart from her military life, Esosa Omolola Ogbebor has many other personalities. She’s a dancer, fitness lover, student and a social crusader committed to the campaign of empowering and motivating others through her social media handles.

“When I am not doing Army work, I am transformed into a fitness lover, student, and dance fashionista! My passion is dance and it is one thing I love to do to keep fit. I also love to make creative videos on social media. My main goal on social media is to encourage people to chase their dreams and to never give up on anything they want to achieve in life. The military is part of my life and it has progressed my journey of who I’m developing to become. I use my platform to also encourage people that they can be anything they want in the military. Be all you can be! It’s about what you make of it. I work a lot of hours but I take advantage of the times I have off. God is my strength and I hope He can keep using be to be a light,” she declared.

Born 20 years ago in the United States to Nigerian parents, (her mom is from Kwara State and her dad from Edo State), Esosa moved to Nigeria at the age of four and returned to the U.S at seven.
She attended Oakland Terrace Elementary School (Silver Spring MD), Newport News Middle School (Silver Spring MD) , and graduated from Albert Einstein High School (Kensington MD). Upon graduation from High School in 2017, she joined the United States Army.

She is currently a student at the American Military University and taking prerequisites towards a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.