Lagos to Ames and Back: Sunday Ogunsola



Sunday Ogunsola

Sunday Oluwagbemiga Joseph Ogundele Ogunsola Adisa Ogundiran, known as Mr.O to most, is a world studies teacher and now a sociology teacher as well. Hailing from Nigeria, Mr.O came to the United States after being offered to be sponsored by his uncle so that he could receive a business degree in the US and come back to Nigeria to help with his uncle’s business. I had the opportunity to talk to this man, and gain some insight and advice while also sharing a few laughs, and here are a few of the snippets I think I should share.


Yet, how much you plan and ponder how life will unfold, it always seems to find a way to remind you that you are 


“I actually dropped out,” Ogunsola said “I didn’t have the support that I used to have from Nigeria.” 


Working day and night to support himself, Mr. O became a manager at Walgreens in Des Moines.


 “I basically went back to get my major in history and minor in political science at Iowa State.” 


This is a key moment in Ogunsola’s life, as it taught him what he believes is a key skill that everyone should have and in his view, seems to be lacking among students and could improve. 


“Self motivation is very limited.”


Just because Ogunsola will no longer be a teacher, does not mean he is going to stop teaching


“I have been in the United States of America for almost 40 years,” he said. “My older brother, my younger sister, has only seen me 4 times in the last 40 years.”


He wishes to spend more time with his family back in Nigeria along with continuing to finance and build projects such as a cooperative chicken farm and a study center.

Working with his hands is just the tip of the iceberg. As an avid documentary viewer, Ogunsola wishes to broaden his perspective with visual depictions of people’s stories around the world. A particular favorite is “Dangerous Journeys”.

Ogunsola’s most cherished moments were those of a student expressing their excitement and awe over new perspectives, while his lesser cherished moments are more of those to do with teaching in a newer age with “rapid changes” to curriculum and classroom settings. 


Yet Mr.O has a word of advice to all those who are graduating this year, or will be soon.


“Have backups,” he said. “So you are good at writing, and so are a million other people. So you are good at playing ball, so are a million other people. Make sure you have a backup option.”


Although the interview was more of an informal tone, I had a great time sitting down and discussing various other topics that would take far too long to write here. So before the end of the year, make sure you take a moment to stop in his room and ask about his nation of origin, the continent of Africa, or more importantly, if he can show you a copy of the “Little Red Book̈.