“(Underground) is my unusual journey from childhood poverty to where I am today. How the impossible became a reality. Some people try to forget their past, especially the bitter parts. I prefer to cling to every moment. They are powerful reminders of who we once were, who we are, and if we allow them, who we are becoming. Each trial strengthened me, increased my confidence, and ingrained the discipline to seek accountability for my life,” Dr. Deji Ayoade writes in his new book. “I hope my book gives voice to that population, the life-affirming hope that America offers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://dejiayoade.com/
Through this intimate, firsthand account, I want to illuminate what so many people take for granted when we close the door on the one group of people who believe more ardently in this nation’s promise than anyone else. The ones that hold on to the core values of this country with unwavering tenacity decade after decade, through setback after setback. More hopefully, I wish for my story to exemplify how faith can prevail in the face of adversity, including poverty, betrayal, grief, and near-death.
I hope it reveals how this country’s promise and basic stability help immigrants heal and move forward from great loss and tragedy. To readily integrate into this new world and feel motivated to give back to the country that offers them so much. Above all else, I want this book to inspire my fellow dreamers, immigrants, and those born in America alike. Those who might be feeling afraid or worn down at this particular moment, who are wondering if the grief and uncertainty are worth it and questioning whether America still holds the same promise. To them, I say it does.”
He adds, “I’d always been honest throughout my education, my immigration to the United States, and my enlistment in the military. But this time, more was at stake than ever. Since I was a child, I’d promised my mother that somehow one day, I would take her and my siblings away from the country where our family had endured poverty, abuse, and misfortune for years…Now, in front of that military review board, I had the chance to create an even better life for us here. That leap was in the hands of the Officer Candidate Interview Board.”
Dr. Ayoade writes with this unpretentious, unsparing prose. Underground is a true American success story, and Ayoade being appropriately matter-of-fact in this vein adds to the power of said story, and what it can inspire in readers of all backgrounds. “I spent most of my childhood wishing, praying, and fighting to be free from all the sadness and injustice around me. I fought to achieve that freedom to a great extent, not just for me but for my family. It was only natural for me to acknowledge the cost of this freedom. And for me, the cost was being down here — and understanding that the world might be a little safer because of it,” he states.