The Quest For
Valentine C. Okonkwo
Copyright © 2019 Valentine C. Okonkwo
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This is a fictitious and magnificent novel that motivates
people to aspire highly. It is a novel about a man who became an
eminent person in society with tremendous accomplishments due
to his determination, diligence and persistence in working to
meet his goals. This novel reminds us that professional sports is
very lucrative in United States of America and is a path to
economic empowerment. The main subject of discussion
achieved his objective of being a professional basketball player
after his graduation from a University. Later, he became an
investor, a community activist, a political aspirant and a senator
in United States of America.
Tim was born in a small town in California called Hanford.
This town and some other neighboring towns such as Corcoran,
Visalia and Porterville usually have enormous amount of pollens
in the atmosphere and were highly polluted.
One out of every four kids in Hanford and its environs had the
tendency to be asthmatic at that time. Numerous individuals also
had the propensity to be allergic due to lots of pollens in the air
and other factors. Many people experienced seasonal or perennial
allergies in Tim's town due to pollens, environmental factors and
other causative factors.
Majority of people were prescribed an inhaler called albuterol
(brand name, Ventolin or ProAir) which is used for treatment of
breathing problem or shortness of breath and fluticasone inhaler
(brand name, Flonase) for prevention of shortness of breath,
wheezing, sneezing and nasal congestion.
Non-prescription antihistamine medications such as
chlorpheniramine (brand name, clor-trimeton), loratadine (brand
name, Claritin) and diphenhydramine (brand name, Benadryl)
which are often used to alleviate allergic symptoms such as
sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and itching were commonly
purchased over-the-counter in various pharmacies and were in
Valentine C. Okonkwo
Packets of a nasal decongestant called pseudoephedrine
(brand name, Sudafed) were frequently purchased.
Eventually, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency
regulated its purchase to one packet a month per person based on
milligrams per weight.
Many farms existed in Hanford and its surrounding towns.
Weed killers, fertilizers and pesticides were commonly used in
the farms. The purpose of using weed killer products is to remove
unwanted weeds, fertilizers help for rapid growth of crops and
pesticides are important for pest control. The utilization of weed
killers, fertilizers and pesticides apparently created health
hazards. It was speculated that chemicals and substances in the
air might have the propensity to cause cancer.
It is reasonable to infer that environmental factors played a
role in causing cancer in residents of those areas. Animals like
cows, pigs and chickens were fed with growth hormones which
could be carcinogenic in humans. There was high mortality rate
in these areas due to individuals that suffered from cancer. The
appearance of severe fog and smog in the atmosphere in this part
of California at certain time of the year is rampant.
Sometimes, it gets very foggy with zero visibility which
makes it difficult to drive on the road.
The name of Tim's father was Shawn and his mother' s name
was Destiny. Tim's father was born in his parents' house at his
country of origin. A nurse assisted his mother to deliver him
during labor. There was no nearby hospital at that time and
people had to travel about one hundred miles to get to the only
city with a hospital.
Tim's mother was born in the countryside at a local
The Quest For Greatness
government clinic of her country of origin. His parents had a
rough and hard life. It was extremely difficult for his
grandparents to provide three square meals daily for their
children. His paternal grandfather was a farmer and he did low
scale farming by tedious manual labor.
There were no technological innovation and advancement at
that time. Mechanized farming was nonexistent during that
His paternal grandfather, Stephen married three wives
because polygamy was acceptable in their society and not a
crime. He had several children. The number of children and
farms a person had were the criteria used to assess how wealthy
the person was during the uncivilized days.
His paternal grandfather was a very strong man and a wrestler
that made residents of his town gave him a nickname, "The Under
taker". Wrestling matches were periodically organized between
different villages in his town. His grandpa was an unbeatable
champion. He was very famous, and many people considered it
an honor to be his friend.
He was an atheist and he worshipped three deities. He had a
superstition that the gods he worshipped brought him fortune,
wealth and good health.
Many people did not believe in the existence of God during
that period, so they were not Christians until Irish priests and
other foreign priests introduced Christianity in that country.
Subsequently, people's perceptions and beliefs broadened.
Many people were converted to be Christians. They came to the
realization that they should worship only one God.
Tim's maternal grandfather was a wine tapper and a hunter.
Valentine C. Okonkwo
He climbed many palm trees daily to extract palm wine which he
sold at a market. Due to lack of technology at that time, he used
strings of ropes he put together to climb the palm trees. He was
very creative in doing what he had to do to survive.
He hunted for deers. He sold some of the deers at a local
market and took the rest home to be used in cooking foods for his
He had three wives with several children. Tim 's grandparents
knew the value of education and encouraged their children to
attend schools. They believed that knowledge is power and
encouraged them to study hard. They had a strong desire to see
their children do better than them.
Tim's father, Shawn studied Accountancy at a University in
his country and graduated with honors. There was massive
unemployment in his country during the time of his graduation,
so he was unable to be employed as an Accountant for seven
months. Eventually he got a job at his State Department of
Commerce as an accountant, but his monthly salary was not
reasonable and there were no incentives to boost his morale.
He resolved to travel to the United States of America if the
Tim's parents, Shawn and Destiny were high school
sweethearts. Their friendship began when they were senior
students in high school. Both were eighteen years old at the time.
Destiny studied Sociology at a University in her country and
obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She got an admission
for an advanced study in Sociology at the time of her graduation.
She was awarded a Master’s degree in her field of specialization
at the completion of her academic program.
She got an employment in her State Department of Social
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Welfare nine months after her postgraduate study. Tim's parents
were African American Immigrants who travelled to the United
States of America in search of a better life. Tim's dad, Shawn was
helped by his paternal uncle, Godwin to migrate to United States
of America. His uncle who was a resident of United States of
America applied for his visa through a Visa Lottery drawn by
United States of America Immigration Office for the people of
Luckily, Shawn was one of the successful candidates that were
selected from his country. He promised to marry Destiny and
got engaged to her before he migrated to United States of
America. He was an affable and kind man. He was a man of
integrity and transparent honesty.
On his arrival to United States of America, he worked
diligently to have economic emancipation. Making transition in
a foreign country was not easy for him but as soon as he became
a little comfortable, he went back to his country and married his
high school sweetheart, Destiny as promised.
He applied to United States Immigration Office to bring her
to America. The application process took about one year before
Destiny was granted a visa. Shawn paid one thousand eight
hundred and fifty dollars for Destiny's round-trip flight ticket
from Lagos, Nigeria to Sacramento, California.
Destiny's parents and siblings organized a sendoff party for
her a week before her departure. There were plenty of foods and
drinks. Everyone ate to his or her satisfaction. Friends and wellwishers
gave her words of advice at her party.
On the day of her departure to America, her siblings, friends
and co-workers escorted her to the airport to board a flight. She
Valentine C. Okonkwo
was scared of flying in an airplane because this was her first time.
Her first flight was from a local airport in her state to a big
city in her country called Lagos where she boarded an
International flight to United States of America after three hours
of layover. She was terrified when her plane ran at a very high
speed on the runway to take off. She felt as if her heart ran
through her mouth to vanish, but she gradually overcame her
Shawn did a couple of menial jobs in United States in order to
survive and put food on the table. He worked as a security guard
in a parking lot for a while and also as a cashier in a convenience
store. The challenges of making a transition in a foreign country
were enormous and overwhelming for Shawn.
He and his wife had to deal with cultural differences and
diversity in America. They spoke with a foreign accent and
pronounced English words differently and many Americans
found it hard to understand them. Some Americans disliked and
disrespected them because of their accent. They came to the
realization that United States of America is a conglomeration of
people from all over the world and that these individuals have
diverse beliefs and culture.
It took quite a long time for Destiny to get her first job in
United States of America. She got her first job to work as a
waitress in a restaurant six months after her arrival to America.
She was very excited to earn the American dollars for the first
time which had much greater value than the currency in her
country of origin. She was paid five dollars and fifty cents hourly
for a forty-hour shift per week. Fortunately, she made extra
money on tips and made up to fifty dollars on tips each week.
She worked at this restaurant for a year before her husband got
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her pregnant. Their first baby, Tim was born at Hanford
Community Hospital and he weighed seven pounds at birth.
Destiny took a six-week maternity leave before she went back to
work. She drove Tim to a daycare daily before going to work.
His parents started teaching him how to read and write at the
age of three. When he was five years old, his parents enrolled him
in preschool. He started kindergarten at the age of six. He was a
good and likable child. He showed high level of intelligence in
Tim's father made him develop interest in basketball at a very
young age. He started teaching him how to play basketball at the
age of five which became very beneficial in Tim's life. He
purchased a small basketball hoop for him.
His dad never wanted him to play American football because
he felt that it was a dangerous sport at that time. He never gave
him the exposure to play football. When Tim was ten years old,
his dad taught him how to play soccer and tennis. He liked both
sports but not as much as he liked basketball. Tim's parents had
a baby girl when he was two years old. His parents gave her the
name Emily. He was very excited to have a sister who he played
with most of the time.