His Nigerian name is 26 letters long, meaning “Every day you live, you always remember the good things people do.” Here in Des Moines, he is known as Eric Idehen, and respected as a business leader who rose through the ranks from Dahls dishwasher to a Vice President at Wells Fargo Financial.
Dressed in traditional garments, Eric joined our Dreamer students for a morning CultureAll workshop during which he shared his homeland’s culture and his personal story of success in the United States. Son of a school headmaster and teacher and native of Benin City, Nigeria, Eric lived in Spain and the Ukraine before moving to Des Moines and working his way up. Along with interesting information about his home country, Eric dispensed inspiring wisdom:
“The one thing that can go with you everywhere in life, that nothing can take from you is your education,” he said. “The only person who can make you not successful is you.”
Poverty and hardship are relative, he explained, sharing the stories of orphans who live at the Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage he helped found. Hard work, respect for elders and people of other cultures and a mindset dedicated to giving back are fundamental for success.
Our Dreamer parents might want to adopt this Nigerian custom for their own homes!
Special thanks to ABC 5 and Banker’s Trust for the “One Classroom at a Time” grant that made this summer school workshop by CultureAll possible.
See more photos from the CultureAll presentation and other enrichment activities on our Flickr Page.