Turbulent Thrills (Part III)


My mother’s war created a lot of change; changes that came about because of personal decisions I made for myself. Decision to learn new skills, take private pilot lessons and serve two terms in Austria’s military, all played a part in the change that brought me a sense of personal justice and value that I believed was stripped from my country.

The journey to becoming a Military pilot brought its own war. From convincing my mother that this path was not just birthed from a dream but a personal manifestation of countless tears  she refrained from shedding in her storytelling. Convincing her that chaos demands a level of dedication and sacrifice in order to birth purpose.  

In troubled times, we are as planes that fly through turbulent winds and while some are privileged enough to sit comfortably first class and be treated as such, it still doesn’t take away the gut-clenching fear of falling from the heights of grace they are accustomed to enjoy. Others are not so lucky, they are subject to the economy and when the roller coaster ride of instability dips, they can only afford survival mode. Though it is commendable that such characters manage to find ways to enjoy the silver lining in turbulent clouds, it does not beat the adventurous trials of learning the cockpit and navigating not only yourself but the passengers who come and go including members of the first and last class.     

If this were a story about ambition and never giving up, I would have given you the detailed struggle of going through military training in Austria with my skin colour. Though, my story is not just about beating the odds of politics, instead a story of respect and value for the chaos that forms and creates the roots of family and history. Self-awareness and self-respect always breeds a different level of determination that sets one apart from peers. This highly unpracticed system of self-discovery and my desire to be the justice that my mother’s village never had the opportunity to experience were the two things that kept my blood pumping throughout my years of training, servitude and sacrifice.

It’s been five years since my service in Austria has ended. I have visited Nigeria countless times since then, meeting honorable men and women in and outside the official military. I have witnessed the growth of the country, its leaders and it’s army alike. My country has gone through it’s fair share of turbulent times but thankfully leaders who’ve heard my story put full pledged support behind me and entrusted me with not only different cockpits but the opportunity to teach tactical survival plans to my village in case of another famine - war induced or not.

The lessons I teach are simply a regurgitation of the skills and the training picked up in Austria, yet they’ve had a profound impact on the younger cadets and military quarters. My students joke and call me the Robin Hood of war trades, I don’t see it like that, I see it as making sacrifices that will give my country the justice it deserves. Till this day, I am still not sure whether it was my destiny to go down this path or if it was pure determination to play a part in my country’s desire for justice or none of the above. All I know is that whenever my mother sees me she says:

      "Site ugbu a gaa n'ihu, obodo m enweghị ihe ọ ga-atụ egwu; n'ihi na anyi amaghi ihe agha."

Translation: (From now on, my village has nothing to fear; for they have unknowingly bred a weapon.)


- Tobi Ogude