My Coming To America Story

My Coming To America Story

By: Sophia Danner-Okotie

I moved from Nigeria to America at age 9 with my mom. It was the ultimate culture shock. For one, there was constant electricity in every home, and it wasn’t at the expense of my eardrums being ripped apart by a loud generator. 

Besida, Founder Sophia Danner-Okotie
The cold weather in New York was the polar opposite of the blazing heat we were used to in Benin city.
This is the journey that brought us here: My uncle entered my mom's and my names into an immigrant visa lottery. Annually, the US State Department randomly selects individuals to receive green cards for immigration to America. Unaware that my uncle had entered us, my mom one day in Nigeria received a letter notifying her that we had been selected. Soon after, we departed from Benin City to Lagos, then from Lagos to Amsterdam, and finally from Amsterdam to the Big Apple.

I remember being intrigued by how many Black people I saw in America. I thought they were all Nigerian. I imagined America was a land of only white people, so every Black person I thought in my mind, had the same migration story as I did. I laugh at how innocent I was at that young age.

For many Nigerians, coming to America is compared to entering the “Promise Land.” We leave in pursuit of better education, ease of life, and uncorrupt politics.

For me, the American dream is about finding and fulfilling my purpose. I found my purpose with Besida. This brand motivates me to extend the skills I gained in America with my native country. 

Creating our garments in Nigeria is the most fulfilling journey of my life. When we moved to America 20 years ago, I never imagined I’d turn back around and be so invested in the development of my native land.

Watch My Story Here

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