Thrill of the Rookie

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Overview

Thrill of the Rookie chronicles the life of Osaze Ehigiator, beginning in Nigeria, a nation plagued with corruption and incessant coup, and how the author escaped to the USA. The tale then follows his difficult years in the States and his experiences with the underside of Americans who operate under different sets of codes called “The Eleventh Commandments” before pulling himself up by the bootstraps and finding success.

This is a book unlike any other before it. It is an ...

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Thrill of the Rookie

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Overview

Thrill of the Rookie chronicles the life of Osaze Ehigiator, beginning in Nigeria, a nation plagued with corruption and incessant coup, and how the author escaped to the USA. The tale then follows his difficult years in the States and his experiences with the underside of Americans who operate under different sets of codes called “The Eleventh Commandments” before pulling himself up by the bootstraps and finding success.

This is a book unlike any other before it. It is an autobiography with a twist to it-memoir. Instead of concentrating on me and my experience, lots of focus is placed on taking you through the entire journey I have been through and let you experience these things on your own without physically going through them. You get the full benefits of the experiments without actually been used as a specimen. You enjoy the thrills, humors and treats without feeling any of the pains or face the challenges. This book now dubbed the immigrants bible is also being defined as an adventure to a comic planet, full of excitements, challenges and humors.

3 independents book reviews

1: Ehigiator remains largely on point in his message that the American dream is attainable but must be appreciated and nurtured…….Engaging -Kirkus Review

2: A highly readable book----Ehigiator’s talent for story telling is evident -BlueInk Review,

3: An intense, personal story of what it takes to embrace the American dream. Told with an intoxicating blend of humility, earnestness, and absurdity. Clarion Review- 4 stars out of 5.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477237427
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 7/20/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Read an Excerpt

THRILL OF THE ROOKIE


By OSAZE EHIGIATOR

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2012 Osaze Ehigiator
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4772-3742-7


Chapter One

THE NARROW PASSAGE

The exit of the British colonial power a few decades after the Second World War left Nigeria politically divided into three major ethnic, political, and religious groups. There were the northern Muslims, who were mostly Hausa and Fulani. There were the nondenominational Christians in the western and midwestern regions, most of whom spoke Edo or Yoruba. The third faction was made up of Catholic Christians in the eastern regions, who were mostly Ibos speakers with some Calabar. Within a few years of celebrating independence in 1960, this division led to two successive coups d'état and a civil war between the federation and the eastern region. The war lasted more than thirty months and ended in favor of the federal side in the early seventies. In spite of the war and the reconstruction that followed, General Yakubu Gowon's administration did not incur any foreign debt. After Gowon, the successive northern military and civilian governments who benefited from the northern victory were clueless at running the country politically and economically. In spite of the discovery of oil and the enormous resources coming into the country's treasury, the economy and the standard of living of the average Nigerian was in a free fall from which it could not recover. General lawlessness, oppression, corruption, and uncontrollable crime waves followed the economic meltdown, which had serious consequences. The ordinary citizens became disillusioned because of sectionalism and corruption in every part of society. Many concluded that there was no way out of the hopelessness and social degradation in the near future. Leaving the country became a very attractive alternative for many young Nigerians. The United States was the country of choice for me and many others because of the promise of paradise for hardworking immigrants. So to the United States I prepared to go.

I was fifth in line at the United States embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 27, 1984. The embassy staff conducting the visa interviews sat on high chairs behind multiple glass windows. There they sat like Greek gods, deciding the fates of all the visa applicants. The young man at the third window pointed to the line I was standing in. "Come here," he said to the first applicant in the line. Instead of going to that window, the applicant ran away and sat down. So did the second, third, and fourth. I suddenly became the first in the line. "You in the white shirt, come here," he said. By now I could see the frustration on his face, because everyone in the line was doing their best to avoid him. It was not a good time to go to him at all, because he was visibly upset. But instead of running away like the others, I respectfully obeyed. He took my document, looked at it, and said, "I am going to give you the visa." He collected my passport and documents and instructed me to go and wait to be called to a second window to pay the visa amount. The amount then was a token compared to what it costs now. Instantly, my status and prestige had changed, and everyone who was waiting for a visa knew it. I had just been elevated to a new level, and none of the applicants were too big for me to approach. We were all there for the same reason, and I was already a success story. As Africans say, "Everyone loves a winner." My own fate was secure and certain. Everyone there was ready to listen to someone who was already a success story. They wanted to know if they could learn one or two things about what it took to be a successful applicant. Suddenly, I felt really important. Whatever I said made sense, and people were not only willing to listen but also very agreeable. I knew this was a dramatic turn of events in my life.

I had heard a lot about the United States as the last frontier and a modern-day promised land flowing with milk and honey. It was the home of the almighty dollar with the words "In God we trust" written on it, the protector and guardian of justice for mankind, the godfather of freedom and true democracy for all nations. African youths considered the country hope for all mankind and the last bus stop. Was I really going to America? God, please don't let this be just a dream, I thought, because I felt like I could fly and walk on water at the same time. I am a true Greek god, I thought to myself. Be that as it may, I also knew that the adventure would certainly not be an unmixed blessing. But the risk was worth taking. The obstacles and challenges would certainly provide me a good opportunity to overcome. I had been told that all immigrants to the United States had to undergo the holy purification also called baptism by fire. Those who survived came out purified and shining like gold to the envy of the entire world. But I had also been told that newcomers had to be very elastic or they would break due to the great pressure. So which one was it going to be in my case? Would I break or be envied? I was filled with a determination to conquer and overcome no matter the obstacles, because I had just tasted success, and it felt great. It was like a religious experience. I knew that I had to be willing to start from zero again, because attempting to climb any tree from the top is always guaranteed to backfire; so I had been told. Now I can say that is true. Neither the trunks nor the branches of such tress are accessible from anywhere except the ground. There is only one sure way to the top. There are no shortcuts without very serious consequences. My fellow brothers in the prison system, am I lying?

Many young Africans have a broader knowledge of the North American Continent than the average American. Many young Africans would give almost anything to come to the United States. A visa to the United States is an instant promotion to stardom. It is like winning a lottery, except that the prize is not cash but social status and opportunity. It is a promotion from obscurity to prominence overnight. I instantly could wine and dine with the social elite. Because I was heading to the United States, the future was bright, so I had earned my place among the local who's who, and wherever honor was served, I got my fair share. Africans and some Europeans have an unrealistic view of the United States. I later concluded that this is a secret society. Reality does not hit until one gets to the United States. I had to work three jobs making minimum wage just to pay my share of the bills even with more than one roommate. The first few years were very challenging and full of uncertainties. Coming to the United States was not an unmixed blessing, yet I would not trade it for any other experience or adventure in the world.

The trip to the United States was not direct, because I did not have enough money to sustain me for long. I also had no address of any friend or relative willing even to pick me up at the airport, so I had to first go to Greece just to sort things out. The journey took me through Sofia, Bulgaria, because Balkan was one of the cheapest airlines with flights from Lagos to Athens at the time. Bulgaria was still ruled by Communists, and having an American visa in my passport caused some curiosity even though I was only passing through to Greece. The immigration official at the airport in Sofia was more interested in the envelope with the American form I-20 and school documents than the passport page that really concerned them, which was the Greek visa. I had to take a stand when he tried to rip open the envelope with the American documents. I snatched the passport from his hands. "That page does not concern you! I am not staying in your country. All I did is purchase your airline ticket. In fact, it was the airline's idea that I come into your country, not mine," I said. At that point, a more senior officer came and told him to leave the envelope alone. Although the senior officer did not speak in English, I could tell from the junior officer's response to him that he was giving a direct order. He ordered the junior officer to look only at the relevant pages of my passport and later told me to proceed with the airline employee, who directed me to the bus waiting to take us to the hotel.

We were in Sofia for three days at Hotel Rodina. They fed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the second day, I had a terrible stomachache just after lunch. I needed to use the restroom right away. Our room was on the fifth floor, and the restaurant was on the very first floor. Besides, we were two or more to a room, and the key was with Chris. I had left mine in the room. I ran to the nearest restroom, but the information was written in their language, and for some reason there was no image to distinguish the women's room from the men's. Not having much time to waste and not seeing anyone around, I went into one. It was calm and quiet. I thought that everyone was having lunch, because the restaurant was pretty full of people. I went into one of the restrooms to take care of my business, and I felt a huge relief. Just when I was getting ready to come out of the stall, I heard a bunch of women coming into the same restroom I was in. It seemed like they had just come out of a meeting or some type of convention. One lady tried to open the door while speaking in their language. I just whispered yes to whatever she was saying. I heard them burst into laughter behind the door. I was in there for about twenty-four minutes, but it seemed like eternity. Just as I was stepping out, I saw a woman coming in, but there was no one else around. She looked at me strangely, and I just kept walking, avoiding eye contact. Then suddenly she turned and said something. I just waved her off with my left hand, saying, "It is clean in there," not knowing what else to say. I left in a hurry and went back to the room even though I would have liked to go back to the restaurant for some warm soup. Fortunately, someone was already in, and he opened the door for me. When we came back for dinner, I saw the woman trying to figure out whom she had seen. One hotel security man was walking behind her. The hotel restaurant was full of young black men because of the flight from Nigeria. She did not even look at me twice; her attention was focused on two other guys. I had changed my clothes, so she could not identify me; besides, no crime had been committed—just an honest mistake. The following morning when I passed the restroom on my way to breakfast, they had images to designate male and female. "I sure went to the wrong one," I told Chris. "It is their fault; you don't speak their language. This is supposed to be an international hotel," he responded.

My second mistake was calling Emmanuel in Greece to pick me up at the airport the following morning. When we were checking out very early in the morning to go to the airport, the front desk staff wanted to know who had made the call. I told them that I had. They insisted that I pay for the call. "No problem," I said, and I gave them a twenty-dollar traveler's check. The cost of the forty-second call was less than one dollar, but they told me that they had no change, wanting to keep my money. I said, "Never. You cannot keep it." They were counting on me having no choice, since I had to leave with the bus taking us to the airport. Chris had to step in and give them his wrist watch in exchange, which they accepted happily and let me go. Chris was also with me through Greek immigration and answered most of the questions for me in Greek. He also waited until Emmanuel came to pick me up from the airport. I never saw Chris again until I left Greece in the summer of 1985, and I have not seen him or heard from him since then.

Chapter Two

AFRICAN CONNECTIONS

In the mideighties there was a large African community in Greece, mostly in Athens and Thessaloniki. The majority of the young Africans were Nigerians who had come into the country to go to school. Once they got to Greece, most actually attended school, but schooling was far from the first priority. Everyone was more concerned about survival than schooling. There was only one kind of job available—buying and selling all kinds of goods and toys. This community had its own unique set of rules. It was a community of young men in their early and midtwenties. Those in their thirties were called Epa, meaning "pops" or "old man." To be candid, I cannot now recall anyone in his forties or above except perhaps Pa Oscar. Those with legal status were mostly students. They were often seen as the elite, partly because of the education they were getting and partly because they were not running from the law, so they could not be intimidated or threatened with deportation. Those without legal status suffered constant oppression, humiliation, and degradation from the few with legal status. The majority, who did not have legal status, had learned to accept this and treated the minority with legal status with a certain degree of respect. The newcomers especially also forfeited all kinds of rights and privileges to those who had been around and understood the system. Survival in the land depended on understanding and accepting one's place as a newcomer. Oppression, unfairness, and humiliation from other Africans was a daily occurrence. This also put the young female immigrants in a very precarious and vulnerable position. Unless they quickly attached themselves to a protector, they could be exploited in a way that defies adequate description. Often they paid in cash and kind. The very stubborn ones could end up paying in sorrow, tears, and blood. Many young women ended up with someone who would not, in a normal situation, have been their first choice to avoid incessant humiliation and oppression. If any of these new girls chose a newcomer for a lover, they had to hope that the newcomer had a solid godfather. They also needed to pray that the godfather was not interested in the same girl. It helped a lot if the godfather was married and loved and respected his wife. Then the new girls could seek the protection of the wife of a respected local champion and get the man's protection indirectly. But these girls had to be ready to serve the madam in a domestic capacity and run errands on demand without question. Years later, the situation has deteriorated. Young African girls throughout Europe are used as sex slaves. This situation is addressed fully in a later chapter about the Serengeti code of conduct.

The temperature was ten degrees below zero on January 10 when I landed in Athens. I was glad that my stay in Greece would be short before I proceeded to the United States. Pa Oscar had made arrangements for Emmanuel to pick me up. Oscar was then one of the African dons then in Athens. After picking me up at the airport, Emmanuel said he had an appointment with the Greek immigration authorities, and there was a letter to that effect on his table. According to him, the only reason he had not honored the invitation was to pick me up first. He did not even have the time to give me a bottle of water to drink before he hurried off for the appointment. He had put Sylvester Stallone's Rambo : first blood movie on the VCR to entertain me and welcome me to Greece. I had never seen the movie before. The room was full of people; there were about ten other young men. This was a little troubling for me, because it was a weekday. I would have expected them to be in school or at work at that time of day, because it was before noon when we arrived. A couple of hours later we got the bad news that Emmanuel had been detained by the Greek immigration authorities in Athens. We were all asked to leave the apartment in case immigration decided to come and check his residence. I later learned that more than half of the people in that room that day were illegal immigrants. In the confusion, I started to leave with them in a hurry, almost leaving my passport on the table in the room to which more than ten people had a key. More than eight of them had no valid documents to stay in Greece. Eddy had to remind me to pick up my passport. Thanks to him and to God for using him in that particular moment. The Nigerian passport at the time was very easy to manipulate, including changing the picture. The passport had a valid United States visa. Such a passport was more valuable than gold, even in Greece. To this day, I still wonder if this book would have been possible had I left my passport on the table that day. It was when I was about to step out that Eddy told me to pick up my passport. I turned back around and took it with me. Perhaps he felt that it was now his responsibly to look after me in the absence of Emmanuel, who had just been arrested. He too had come to Greece to meet Emmanuel and was in fact still staying with him when I came from Nigeria. At that point, Ezomon told Andy to take me home with him. Andy had just gotten his own place, having previously stayed with Ezomon. No matter what happened later, I owe both of them much gratitude for taking me in when they had just met me for the first time less than an hour before.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THRILL OF THE ROOKIE by OSAZE EHIGIATOR Copyright © 2012 by Osaze Ehigiator. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................ix
Acknowledgments....................xi
1. The Narrow Passage....................1
2. African Connections....................7
3. The Serengeti Code....................15
4. The Alkinda Encounter....................21
5. Crossing the Atlantic....................27
6. Real Culture Shock Begins....................31
7. La Migra....................37
8. Baptism by Fire....................45
9. Serious Language Barriers....................53
10. Blowing Hot and Cold....................57
11. The Payer's Kingdom....................61
12. King of the Homeless....................67
13. Ken and the Cabbie....................77
14. The Hot Chase....................85
15. The Late Valentino....................99
16. The Eleventh Commandment....................105
17. Christy, Sam, and Nicole....................113
18. The Golden Shower....................119
19. James and Trina....................123
20. Elements of the Fifth Ward Society....................127
21. The Handy Ride Experience....................131
22. The Dance of the Zulu King....................137
23. Graduation Years....................141
24. Leaving Mississippi....................145
25. Back to Dallas....................151
26. Spiritual Mechanical Advantage and the Divine Favor....................155
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. COULD NOT STOP READING IT AND LAUGHING. 

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. COULD NOT STOP READING IT AND LAUGHING. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Wonderful book to read.

    Wonderful book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    I love this book.....very funny and enganging, it was definitely

    I love this book.....very funny and enganging, it was definitely worth the time

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    A very interesting, funny and engaging book. Great read.

    A very interesting, funny and engaging book. Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Wonderful book. Very funny and easy to read.

    Wonderful book. Very funny and easy to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    This is the first book that I read that made me laugh and cry at

    This is the first book that I read that made me laugh and cry at the same time.
    To come from a third world county with nothing and no one and excel in life the book speaks for it self no one
    can not say what can not be done when there is determination to excel in life. Great Book!!!  Great Author!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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